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'60 Minutes' contradicts State's key Benghazi claim

Although unmentioned by the newsmagazine show, last week’s “60 Minutes” segment on Benghazi apparently contradicts a central element of the State Department’s Accountability Review Board report on the Sept. 11, 2012, attack, WND has found.

“60 Minutes” reported “orders to wait” were given to forces in Tripoli that could have immediately aided the besieged Benghazi compound. However, the Accountability Review Board, or ARB, specifically states the team was “not delayed by orders from superiors.”

The CBS program reported that about “30 minutes into the attack, a quick reaction force from the CIA Annex ignored orders to wait and raced to the compound, at times running and shooting their way through the streets just to get there.”

Continued “60 Minutes” reporter Lara Logan: “Inside the compound, they repelled a force of as many as 60 armed terrorists and managed to save five American lives and recover the body of Foreign Service Officer Sean Smith. They were forced to fight their way out before they could find the ambassador.”

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The narrative of ignoring “orders to wait” seems to directly contradict page 23 of the ARB report.

The page states: “Just prior to receiving the TDY RSO’s distress call shortly after 2142 local, the head of Annex security heard multiple explosions coming from the north in the direction of the SMC.

The ARB report said “the Annex response team departed its compound in two vehicles at approximately 2205 local.”

“The departure of the Annex team was not delayed by orders from superiors; the team leader decided on his own to depart the Annex compound once it was apparent, despite a brief delay to permit their continuing efforts, that rapid support from local security elements was not forthcoming.”

In October 2012, CIA spokeswoman Jennifer Youngblood denied reports her agency was told to hold off in aiding those in the Benghazi compound. However, her statement only seems to pertain to her own agency and not others trying to help, such as U.S. Special Forces.

“We can say with confidence that the agency reacted quickly to aid our colleagues during that terrible evening in Benghazi,” Youngblood said at the time.

“Moreover, no one at any level in the CIA told anybody not to help those in need; claims to the contrary are simply inaccurate.  In fact, it is important to remember how many lives were saved by courageous Americans who put their own safety at risk that night – and that some of those selfless Americans gave their lives in the effort to rescue their comrades.”

With research by Joshua Klein.