Since the embassy is in Tripoli, the United States Diplomatic Compound in Benghazi did not fall under the guidelines of the State Department’s standards for embassy security; therefore, the niceties of bulletproof glass and secure air supply went overlooked in the main residential villa used by Ambassador Chris Stevens during his stay in Libya’s second city. That was the first blunder. The second was keeping the American security contractors at a second compound, known as the Annex and controlled by the CIA, ten minutes distant. Probably the most fatal security breach was employing Libyans as guards. Most sentient persons know of the storming of the diplomatic compound and the killing of Ambassador Stevens, and three other Americans, on September 11, 2012, but the truthful details of what happened are less clear. While six heavily armed, expertly trained and highly motivated American security men chafed under the temporizing yoke of the mysterious CIA operative, “Bob,” Islamic terrorists had free range to set alight the Ambassador’s villa with himself and communications officer, Sean Smith, trapped inside the “safe haven.”
13 Hours in Benghazi lifts the cloud of political obfuscation from the facts of this American tragedy. Mr. Zuckoff’s collaboration with five of the surviving security contractors is an even handed, if gritty, depiction of that catastrophic night in Benghazi. Failing to do the right things, from the President to the Secretary of State to the embassy staff in Tripoli to the CIA head of station, Benghazi, is a national disgrace. Furthermore, the still ongoing denials and cover-ups by Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and their spokespersons, is nothing less than calling five American heroes liars and denigrating the memory of the four deceased.
This should be required reading for all Americans. The story is told through the various viewpoints of the participants. It is concise and well paced. Sadly, the prose is, shall I say pedestrian—no, I should say atrocious. One has the sense that a race to market took precedence over good writing.