WTOC Exclusive: Former security contractor recounts 2012 Benghaz - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

WTOC Exclusive: Former security contractor recounts 2012 Benghazi attack

(Source: WTOC) (Source: WTOC)

Accounts of what happened, and why, at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi in 2012 still fuel political feuds in Washington over who's to blame.

One of the men who survived that deadly terrorist attack spoke in Toombs County Sunday night.  In a WTOC exclusive, he sat down with WTOC to talk about his experience.

Kris Paronto held the audience on his every word as he described the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.  The former security contractor for the CIA says the unrest had been brewing for weeks.

"The area was hot. Benghazi was a bad place to be. Little infrastructure, lots of militias, terrorist groups,” said Paronto.

He rejects some accounts that the attack on the U.S. Consulate came from a random mob rioting over an internet video.

"The consulate had already been hit twice before the attack that night. They were hit with IED's to see if there'd be a response and there was none,” he said.

Paronto was across town at the CIA station, known as the Annex, when crews at the consulate radioed for help.

"The team was told to stand down and then told to wait, again. On that second time is when we decided we had to go,” said Paronto.

He detailed how his team drew attack before they could get there and had to fight the rest of the way.  They searched for survivors as well as any classified intel, but couldn't find Ambassador Chris Stevens.

They'd later learn he was taken, tortured and killed.

That still bothers him, as well as a lack of nearby military response to bring air cover or reinforcement.

"They were told by the state department that they weren't needed at 12:05. I don't know why. That was the big order. That's what was in question,” said Paronto.

He hopes a current congressional investigation will find answers and ways for the future to keep people safe.

"There were failures that went on from the administration and from the state department...and guys died because of it,” he said.

Paronto and other surviving members of the security team helped write the best-selling book “13 Hours” and consulted with film makers on the movie of the same name.

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