Scandal: The California Democrat who suggested that his party boycott the Benghazi Select Committee as a waste of time now accuses those who fought on the CIA annex roof of lying "to promote a new book."
Calling the yet-to-be-approved committee a "tremendous red herring," Schiff said: "I don't think it makes sense, really, for Democrats to participate."
Well, the Democrats participated in the committee that conducted its first hearing on Wednesday, and Schiff, along with Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., finds himself one of the Democrats picked by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to sit on it.
In fact, it was Schiff who proposed that the first hearing focus on the Benghazi Accountability Review Board's post-attack review and recommendations, an idea that committee head Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., accepted.
But Schiff apparently is still not happy about the hearing, which pointed out the State Department's pre-Benghazi neglect of security, ignoring the security recommendations after the 1998 bombings of our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.
The State Department also brushed off the warnings of Ambassador Chris Stevens himself, who was killed by terrorists in the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on our diplomatic mission there.
The hearing came right after Kris Paronto, Mark Geist and John Tiegen, three CIA contractors who on that night fought terrorists from the roof of the CIA's Benghazi annex building, confirmed that there was indeed a stand-down order given that caused a critical half-hour delay.
Without that order, they say, Stevens and security contractors Tyrone Woods, Glen Doherty and Sean Smith might not have died that fateful night.
The story of the attack is contained in the trio's new book "13 Hours". The contractors said they had a team assembled and were ready to move to the consulate within five minutes of notice of the attack. They were held back by the top CIA security officer in Benghazi, a man identified only as "Bob."
Tiegen has said that he warned "Bob" that critical time was being lost. "And Bob just looks at me and said, 'Stand down, you need to wait.'" Without the delay, Paronto said, "Ambassador Stevens and Sean (Smith), yeah, they would still be alive, my gut is yes."
"I strongly believe that if we left immediately, they'd still be alive today," he added.
Schiff, who was not in Benghazi that night, says Paronto, Geist and Tiegen are making up a tale to sell their book, as if their story is less plausible than the proven lie that the Benghazi attack was caused by an inflammatory YouTube video, a myth promoted both by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Obama.
After seeing clips of Schiff saying the contractors were trying to sell their book and Smith claiming a stand-down order "was never given," Geist said he "would like to invite Mr. Schiff to a debate ... we can talk about it." He wondered if Schiff wished to "say that to my face."
Paronto said, "We can talk about it ... it's difficult for me because you're calling a Ranger, a SEAL and three Marines liars."
We would suggest to Gowdy that he invite the three to testify before the Select Committee to see if Schiff has anything approaching the courage of the men who risked their lives for their country in Benghazi.
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