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Kris 'Tanto' Paronto: The man who lived the truth in Benghazi

Listen to the people who were there.

On my radio show on Friday, I had the real privilege of speaking with Kris “Tonto” Paronto, who was one of the elite contractors in Benghazi the night of the terrorist attack that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other people – the terrorist attack that the White House absurdly tried to blame on a YouTube video for as long as they could get away with it.

Kris’s new book, 13 Hours, details what really happened that night – and it’s quite a story. A former Army Ranger, Kris was part of a group of contractors that consisted entirely of men with Special Ops and Marine backgrounds. They were contracted directly with the CIA to assist with security in Benghazi.

But when the consulate came under attack, they were stunned to discover that their own government stood in the way of their taking action to save the ambassador and the others under attack – until they finally disobeyed orders and went in anyway, by which point it was sadly too late to save everyone.

As the attack got underway, Kris was told by his station chief to wait. Then his colleague John Tiegen was given the now-infamous “stand down” order, after which Kris received another wait order.

All told, the security team was delayed 45 minutes getting in place to engage the attackers. If that doesn’t sound like a long time, you have to consider how quickly a terrorist attack occurs. By the time Kris and his team engaged the terrorists, the building was already on fire – and that’s very significant because most of the victims died of smoke inhalation. They were able to fight off some of the terrorists with grenades, but it was far too late to save Ambassador Stevens and the others.

Kris tells me he was also very disappointed in then-Congressman Mike Rogers, whose ultimate committee report didn’t reflect what Kris and his men looked him in the eye and told him about the events of that night. The left got pretty excited when the committee report came out because it didn’t come off as the indictment of the White House, the State Department and the CIA that many of us thought it should have been.

No one felt that way more than Kris Paronto, and that was especially true when it came to Susan Rice’s absurd claim that the whole thing was nothing more than a spontaneous uprising caused by a YouTube video.

“It was 24-to-36 hours later that I turned on the TV and saw some excuse about a video,” Kris told me. “It was very odd that they went on TV that quickly to denounce it without even talking to the guys that were involved with the fighting.”

Of course, you will all remember why they did. The Benghazi attack happened on September 11, 2012 – in the heat of the presidential campaign and shortly after the Obama Administration had made the ridiculous claim that Al Qaeda was on the run. A terrorist attack on our own consulate in Benghazi would undermine that political narrative, and nothing matters more than political narratives to this administration.

So they tried to pretend that the whole thing happened because some American made a video about Muhammad and it upset people. It wasn’t long before details came out and it became clear what an absurd lie this was, but they kept it up as long as they could.

Kris Paronto knows the real story because he was there. Here’s where you can get 13 Hours and read his account for yourself. I highly recommend it.

We will not forget.

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