Last week, Kris Paronto, Mark Geist, two members of the Benghazi security team who defied stand-down orders and rushed to the sound of guns as the American diplomatic compound was attacked, challenged Congressman Adam Schiff (CA-D) to a debate after he said accused them of being “highly irresponsible” and essentially called them liars telling tall tales to sell a book.
In a press conference, Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA) and Rep. Schiff had attempted to shoot down the claims of the three Benghazi security operators who had appeared on Fox News earlier this month. They disputed the annex security team’s version of events, specifically their claim about defying a “stand down” order from a CIA officer. Paronto and Geist said “say that to our face” and challenged Schiff to a debate on “Hannity.”
Schiff, who usually jumps at any chance to get in front of the cameras, declined to appear on the show. So Thursday night, the two faced off with Rep. Smith – and things did get a bit heated.
Paronto said it’s ridiculous to argue about “semantics,” saying the order was given and the men had to wait a half hour before making the decision on their own to rush to the consulate.
“I don’t know how else to explain it. I want to say to Mr. Smith: was he there that night with us? Where was he? Because that’s what happened. We’re telling you what happened on the ground,” said Paronto.
Smith attempted to weasel out of it by claiming that he was referring to U.S. personnel in Tripoli having not receiving a “stand down” order, at the presser – not the men at the annex in Benghazi.
What he had said at the press conference with Schiff, was, “myths continue to be brought up. One of the big ones is the whole issue of a “stand down order” which was never given.” But what other “myths” (aka narratives that don’t benefit Democrats) had been brought up in the past month other than the allegations of the three men from the Annex security team?
The two special operators weren’t buying it and called BS.. Smith was standing right next to Schiff when he had defamed them.
Paronto told Smith he should have stood up and disputed Schiff if he disagreed with what his colleague was saying.
“The book is correct. Everything in the book is right. Don’t call us liars and if you’re going to, come to the studio with us, apologize for it,” said Paronto.
Smith’s mission Thursday night was to protect the White House and the State Department by denying that any stand down orders came from Washington DC. “That was investigated and clearly proven not to be the case,” he said.