C-SPAN Invites Disgraced Reporter Sharyl Attkisson To Spew Benghazi Myths For 42 Minutes

C-SPAN allowed disgraced former CBS reporter Sharyl Attkisson to push numerous debunked Benghazi myths for over half an hour. Attkisson has a noted history of pushing a “Benghazi Campaign” and left CBS News after executives saw her “wading dangerously close to advocacy on the issue.”

C-SPAN Hosted Sharyl Attkisson As Benghazi Commentator

C-SPAN Hosts Attkisson To Discuss Benghazi At Length. On the October 21 edition of Washington Journal, C-SPAN hosted Sharyl Attkisson -- who left CBS News in 2014 and now hosts a weekly news show on Sinclair Broadcast Group stations -- to speak about the 2012 terrorist attacks in Benghazi, Libya for nearly 45 minutes. Host Greta Wodele Brawner allowed Attkisson to speak at length about the topic with little pushback. [C-SPAN, Washington Journal, 10/21/15; Media Matters, 10/2/15]

Attkisson Has A History Of Shoddy Benghazi Reporting That “Wad[es] Dangerously Close To Advocacy”

Politico: Before Attkisson Left CBS, Network Executives Saw Her “Wading Dangerously Close To Advocacy” In “Benghazi Campaign.” In May 2013, Politico reported that CBS News “has grown increasingly frustrated with Attkisson's Benghazi campaign.” According to Politico, “CBS News executives see Attkisson wading dangerously close to advocacy on the issue, network sources have told POLITICO. Attkisson can't get some of her stories on the air, and is thus left feeling marginalized and underutilized.” [Politico, 5/8/13]

Attkisson Cheerleaded CBS' Infamous Benghazi Hoax. Attkisson used her Twitter account to relentlessly hype CBS' disastrous 60 Minutes report on Benghazi, which came under fire for featuring debunked myths, a serious corporate conflict of interest, and an untrustworthy “witness” who apparently fabricated his story and had once reportedly asked a journalist to pay him for his information. From conception, to execution, to the network's stubborn claims that the report met its high standards even as it publicly dissolved, the story on the Benghazi terror attack of 2012 quickly became a case study in how not to practice journalism on the national stage. When the 60 Minutes report imploded, Attkisson never acknowledged the network's blunder. [Media Matters, 12/26/14]

Attkisson Hailed By Fringe Group At Conservative Conference. Attkisson was offered a journalism award at the 2012 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) from Accuracy in Media (AIM), a right-wing group with a long history of promoting anti-gay views, birther claims, climate denial, and conspiracy theories. Attkisson was the first reporter from a mainstream news outlet to be offered the dubious honor by AIM, and it came after a year of notably bad journalism from Attkisson. A range of veteran journalists and media ethicists -- including a former CBS News Washington bureau chief -- criticized Attkisson's reported decision to accept the award. Ultimately, Attkisson did not attend the award ceremony, and CBS Vice President and Washington Bureau Chief Christopher Isham accepted the award in her place. [Media Matters, 2/7/14; Media Matters, 2/8/14; Media Matters, 2/9/12]

On C-SPAN, Attkisson Pushed Numerous Debunked Benghazi Myths

CLAIM: The Obama Administration And Hillary Clinton Knowingly Misled Americans By Claiming That The Attacks Were “Prompted By A YouTube Video”

Attkisson: “We Were Led To Believe This Was Some Sort Of A Spontaneous, Unpredictable Attack ... And It Was Prompted By A YouTube Video That Was An Anti-Muslim In Nature.”  On the October 21 edition of C-SPAN's Washington Journal, Sharyl Attkisson claimed that the Obama administration and then-Secretary of State Clinton were “forwarding that narrative” that the Benghazi attacks were “prompted by a YouTube video.” Host Greta Wodele Brawner did not counter Attkisson's statements (emphasis added):

SHARYL ATTKISSON: What we were told back then, it might be a good reminder, is completely different than what we know now based on documents and witnesses and evidence. We were told then -- we were led to believe this was sort of a spontaneous, unpredictable attack that came out of the blue, that nobody knew was coming and it was prompted by a YouTube video that was an anti-Muslim in nature. So that's what we were told at the time.

GRETA WODELE BRAWNER: Walk us through the days of this attack and pretty much the day after. What did the administration officials know? What did the secretary of state know? What did the president know about what happened?

ATTKISSON: We now know only from documents and testimony and so on that the State Department, the Obama administration, the people on the ground have said -- the people who worked for the Obama administration on the ground in Libya -- they all knew immediately this was a preplanned terrorist attack. There was no doubt in anybody's mind. That's what was exchanged in emails almost immediately. Ansar al-Sharia, an Al Qaeda connected group, claimed responsibility. That came over very early to the State Department, was forwarded to the White House, the FBI, the Pentagon.  Everybody knew that and operated on that internally. And yet externally, we were told something different. The first statement that came out from Secretary of State Clinton that night evoked the idea that maybe there was a video that had motivated this protest, that it was spontaneous and out of the blue. And so that's kind of where the controversy begins. And then it was followed by weeks of, “what happened?” Because behind closed doors Congress was getting briefings from the CIA that differed with what was being said publicly. And again now you can put together a timeline that's very clear. The U.S. told Libya right off the bat -- the very next morning -- Ansar al-Sharia, an Islamic extremist terrorist group, claimed responsibility, please help us go after them. But at the same time we're telling the public, “we don't have enough evidence to say, this was a YouTube video, we think.” And again forwarding that narrative. [C-SPAN, Washington Journal, 10/21/15]

FACT: Intelligence Community, The Suspected Attackers, And Eyewitnesses All Linked The Inflammatory Anti-Islam Video To The Attacks

Senate Select Committee On Intelligence: Intel Reports Linked Inflammatory Video To Benghazi Attack. A Senate Select Committee on Intelligence review of the Benghazi attack found that “some intelligence suggests” an inflammatory video linked to violent protests around the region led terror groups to conduct “similar attacks with advanced warning” :

It remains unclear if any group or person exercised overall command and control of the attacks or whether extremist group leaders directed their members to participate. Some intelligence suggests the attacks were likely put together in short order, following that day's violent protests in Cairo against an inflammatory video, suggesting that these and other terrorist groups could conduct similar attacks with little advance warning. [Review Of The Terrorist Attacks On U.S. Facilities In Benghazi, Libya, September 11-12, 2012, U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, 1/15/14]

NY Times: Suspected Benghazi Ringleader Told Witnesses The Benghazi Attack Was In Response To Inflammatory Anti-Islam Video. According to The New York Times, Ahmed Abu Khattala, who was captured in June 2014 by U.S. military on an indictment for murder in connection with his role as a suspected ringleader of the Benghazi attack, “told fellow Islamist fighters” on the night of the attack “and others that the assault was retaliation for the same insulting video” mocking Islam that inspired demonstrations in Cairo:

During the assault on the American diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, on the night of Sept. 11, 2012, Mr. Abu Khattala was a vivid presence. Witnesses saw him directing the swarming attackers who ultimately killed Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.

[...]

On the day of the attack, Islamists in Cairo had staged a demonstration outside the United States Embassy there to protest an American-made online video mocking Islam, and the protest culminated in a breach of the embassy's walls -- images that flashed through news coverage around the Arab world.

As the attack in Benghazi was unfolding a few hours later, Mr. Abu Khattala told fellow Islamist fighters and others that the assault was retaliation for the same insulting video, according to people who heard him.

In an interview a few days later, he pointedly declined to say whether an offensive online video might indeed warrant the destruction of the diplomatic mission or the killing of the ambassador. [The New York Times, 6/18/14]

NY Times: “The Attackers” In Benghazi “Did Tell Bystanders That They Were Attacking The Compound Because They Were Angry About The Video.” The New York Times previously also reported that on the night of the Benghazi attack, attackers “did tell bystanders that they were attacking the compound because they were angry about the video” (emphasis original):

What do eyewitnesses say about the events in Benghazi? Were they related to the insulting video, or is that a red herring? And was the assault planned for the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, or was it spontaneous?

According to reporting by David D. Kirkpatrick and Suliman Ali Zway of The New York Times, eyewitnesses have said there was no peaceful demonstration against the video outside the compound before the attack, though a crowd of Benghazi residents soon gathered, and some later looted the compound. But the attackers, recognized as members of a local militant group called Ansar al-Shariah, did tell bystanders that they were attacking the compound because they were angry about the video. They did not mention the Sept. 11 anniversary. Intelligence officials believe that planning for the attack probably began only a few hours before it took place. [The New York Times, 10/17/12]

CLAIM: President Obama Admitted That He Did Not Call Benghazi Attacks “An Act Of Terror”

Attkisson: Obama “Agreed ... That He Did Not Call These [Attacks] An Act Of Terror.” Attkisson claimed that President Obama agreed in a 60 Minutes interview with the assertion that he “didn't call the Benghazi attacks an act of terror,” claiming he told CBS News the day after the attacks “that's right ... we just don't have enough information to know yet” (emphasis added):

ATTKISSON: Steve Kroft from 60 Minutes interviewed the president that day after the Rose Garden appearance. And Steve Kroft's take was much like critics' take of what Obama had said, and Steve Kroft started his interview by saying, “you didn't call the Benghazi attacks an act of terror.” And the president in this interview that never aired at the time said, “that's right.” So he agreed with Steve Kroft that he did not call these an act of terror. And Steve Kroft asked why, and the president said, “we just don't have enough information to know yet.” So it became a great source of controversy because later when who called what when became an issue, CBS didn't air that clip. They had the answer to the question, that even the president agreed he did not call it an act of terror in the Rose Garden that day and yet CBS sat on that clip for quite a while. [C-SPAN, Washington Journal, 10/21/15]

FACT: Obama Told CBS “Obviously It Was An Attack On Americans”

Obama Said “It's Too Early To Know Exactly How This [Attack] Came About ... But Obviously It Was An Attack On Americans.” In Obama's 60 Minutes interview, which was filmed September 12, 2012, but aired several weeks later, President Obama did not say that he did not “believe that this was a terrorist attack,” but said instead that “it's too early to know exactly how this came about, what group was involved. But obviously it was an attack on Americans.” He also said that he agreed with Kroft that the situation was dissimilar to other protests in the region:

STEVE KROFT: Mr. President, this morning you went out of your way to avoid the use of the word “terrorism” in connection with the Libya attack. Do you believe that this was a terrorist attack?

BARACK OBAMA: Well it's too early to know exactly how this came about, what group was involved. But obviously it was an attack on Americans. And we are going to be working with the Libyan government to make sure that we bring these folks to justice, one way or the other.

KROFT: This has been described as a mob action. But there are reports that they were very heavily armed, with grenades -- that doesn't sound like your normal demonstration.

OBAMA: As I, as I said, we're still investigating exactly what happened, I don't want to jump the gun on this. But you're right that this is not a situation that was exactly the same as what happened in Egypt. [CBS News, 60 Minutes, 11/4/12]

FACT: President Obama Repeatedly Referred To The Benghazi Attacks As An “Act Of Terror” In The Days Following The Attacks

Obama The Day After The Benghazi Attacks: “No Acts Of Terror Will Ever Shake The Resolve Of This Great Nation.” September 12, 2012, the day after the Benghazi attacks, Obama stated in a Rose Garden speech, “No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character, or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for.” [WhiteHouse.gov, 9/12/12]

Obama The Day After Benghazi Attacks: “No Act Of Terror Will Dim The Light” Of American Values. In a September 12, 2012 speech in Las Vegas, Obama started a campaign event by mourning the “four Americans ... who were killed when they were attacked at a diplomatic post in Libya.” He continued that “as for the ones we lost last night ... no act of terror will dim the light of the values that we proudly shine on the rest of the world” :

As for the ones we lost last night: I want to assure you, we will bring their killers to justice. (Applause.) And we want to send a message all around the world -- anybody who would do us harm: No act of terror will dim the light of the values that we proudly shine on the rest of the world, and no act of violence will shake the resolve of the United States of America. [WhiteHouse.gov, 9/12/12]

Obama Two Days After Benghazi Attacks: “We Are Going To Bring Those Who Killed Our Fellow Americans To Justice ... No Act Of Terror Will Go Unpunished.” In a September 13, 2012 speech in Colorado, Obama brought up the “four Americans [who] were killed in an attack on our diplomatic post in Libya,” saying that “no act of terror will go unpunished” :

So what I want all of you to know is that we are going to bring those who killed our fellow Americans to justice. I want people around the world to hear me:  To all those who would do us harm, no act of terror will go unpunished. It will not dim the light of the values that we proudly present to the rest of the world.  No act of violence shakes the resolve of the United States of America. [WhiteHouse.gov, 9/13/12]

CLAIM: The Obama Administration Changed The Talking Points To Blame The Inflammatory YouTube Video For The Attacks

Attkisson: Administration Talking Points “Changes Were Discussed About Blaming Not Policy But The YouTube Video.” Attkisson claimed that contrary to the Obama administration's assertions, the White House made “substantive changes” to the administration's talking points about the attacks in order to place the blame not on U.S. foreign policy but on an anti-Muslim YouTube video, because “there was panic in the ranks of the Obama administration eight weeks before an election” :

WODELE BRAWNER: It leads to the Sunday news shows where Susan Rice goes on and repeats repeatedly on all the shows the same line of argument, “we don't know but--” , and points to the video. Go ahead.

ATTKISSON: And we know now there was this huge flurry of talking points that were circulated as to what she should say and shouldn't say and how many times they were changed and who changed them. The White House falsely stated over and over again they made no substantive changes, but we just found out last year from documents that they did. Changes were made by Tommy Vietor, according to him, he's a White House national security adviser at the time. Changes were discussed, or the policy line was discussed by Ben Rhodes, the advisor, about blaming not policy but the YouTube video. So it was false to say that no substantive changes were made by the White House. But at the time there was panic in the ranks of the Obama administration eight weeks before an election and they really didn't want people to think that they had fiddled with the intelligence and the public narrative. [C-SPAN, Washington Journal, 10/21/15]

FACT: The CIA's First Draft Of Talking Points Referred To Protests Against The YouTube Video

The CIA Submitted A First Draft Of “Talking Points” Stating That The Benghazi Attacks Were Inspired By Egyptian Protests Against The YouTube Video. Lawmakers and media have shown a continued fixation on the “talking points” then-U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice was given for appearances on the September 16, 2012, Sunday political talk shows. Many falsely suggested, as Attkisson did on C-SPAN, that the Obama administration had deceptively edited CIA intelligence to downplay the role of terrorism in order to benefit President Obama's re-election campaign. But the email record of the editing process shows that references to terrorists were removed from Rice's talking points in order preserve the ongoing criminal investigation, that the first draft of the talking points submitted by the CIA had stated that the Benghazi attacks were inspired by Egyptian protests against the YouTube video, and that the intelligence community signed off on the final draft of the talking points. [Media Matters11/30/12; Media Matters, 9/11/13; Media Matters, 5/15/13; Media Matters, 6/5/13]

CLAIM: The Military Did Not Deploy Help During The Benghazi Attacks

Attkisson: Generals Acknowledged That They “Just Decided Not To Send” Help During The Attacks Because They Didn't Know “If It Would Have Worked.” Attkisson pushed the falsehood that no security reinforcements were sent during the Benghazi attacks, claiming that “damaging testimony” came from generals who acknowledged, "'well, we just decided not to send an aircraft to buzz them'" because they didn't know “if it would have worked” :

ATTKISSON: There was some very interesting and I think damaging testimony that came, for example, from generals, who despite the public line that there was no rescue that could've been mounted and there were no assets available, that acknowledged under questioning, “well, we just decided not to send an aircraft to buzz them.” Well why not? “Well, who knows if it would have worked.” [C-SPAN, Washington Journal, 10/21/15]

Attkisson: “One Military Official Told Congress, 'Well One Reason We Didn't Deploy Help Is We Were Waiting For The State Department To Ask And They Never Asked.'” Attkisson also claimed that the military did not “deploy help” because they “were waiting for the State Department to ask and they never asked” :

WODELE BRAWNER: What questions are unanswered in your mind?

[...]

ATTKISSON: We're left with this image, in some testimony, one military official told Congress, “well one reason we didn't deploy help is we were waiting for the State Department to ask and they never asked.” To me it doesn't make sense that equal federal agencies would be sort of minding one another without somebody at the top helping to call the shots, so I wonder who was in the White House trying to call the shots among the agencies if the president was absent. [C-SPAN, Washington Journal, 10/21/15]

FACT: Reinforcements Were Dispatched From Tripoli And Elsewhere In Benghazi

AP: Six-Member Quick Reaction Team And 60 Libyan Militiamen In Benghazi Responded To The Attack. The AP reported that a “six-member quick reaction security team arrived on the scene from its compound across town, the officials said. About 60 Libyan militiamen accompanied the team, and it again tried to secure a perimeter around [Ambassador Chris] Stevens' building, taking turns searching inside.” [Associated Press, 10/10/12]

AP: Reinforcements From Embassy In Tripoli Arrived The Same Night. The quick-response team returned to its compound across town and the same night, a “team of reinforcements from the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli arrived on a chartered aircraft at the Benghazi airport and reached the security compound,” the AP explained. [Associated Press, 10/10/12]

Wash. Post's Ignatius: Reinforcements From Tripoli Arrived Before Second Attack In Benghazi. Washington Post foreign affairs columnist David Ignatius described a “detailed CIA timeline” of the events that occurred during the attack in Benghazi, which shows that the reinforcements sent by the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli arrived on the scene in Benghazi prior to the second attack of the night being launched:

·        11:56 p.m.: CIA officers at the annex are attacked by a rocket-propelled grenade and small arms. Sporadic attacks continue for about another hour. The attacks stop at 1:01 a.m., and some assume the fight is over.

·        1:15 a.m.: CIA reinforcements arrive on a 45-minute flight from Tripoli in a plane they've hastily chartered. The Tripoli team includes four GRS security officers, a CIA case officer and two U.S. military personnel on loan to the agency. They don't leave the Benghazi airport until 4:30 a.m. The delay is caused by negotiations with Libyan authorities over permission to leave the airport; obtaining vehicles; and the need to frame a clear mission plan. The first idea is to go to a Benghazi hospital to recover Stevens, who they rightly suspect is already dead. But the hospital is surrounded by the al-Qaeda-linked Ansar al-Shariah militia that mounted the consulate attack.

·        5:04 a.m.: The team from Tripoli arrives at the CIA base. Glen Doherty, one of the GRS men from Tripoli, goes to the roof and joins Woods in firing positions.

·         5:15 a.m.: A new Libyan assault begins, this time with mortars. Two rounds miss and the next three hit the roof. The rooftop defenders never “laser the mortars,” as has been reported. They don't know they're in place until the indirect fire begins, nor are they observed by the drone overhead. The defenders have focused their laser sites earlier on several Libyan attackers, as warnings not to fire. At 5:26 the attack is over. Woods and Doherty are dead and two others are wounded. [The Washington Post, 11/1/12]

CLAIM: There Was A “Stand Down” Order Given That Said "'Keep People In Place'"

Attkisson Theorized “There Was Somewhere, Somebody More At A Senior Level That Has Said, 'Keep People In Place.'” Despite admitting that she didn't “have any evidence to prove” there was a stand down order given, Attkisson still speculated that “there was somewhere, somebody more at a senior level that has said, 'keep people in place, do not move people'” :

ATTKISSON: We now know, you know the administration's repeatedly said there's no “stand down” order, that's been the story from top officials in the military and so on. Although, they played with the word “stand down” a little bit. I mean, when some people inside have said there was a “stand down” order given, they didn't necessarily mean those two words were used, and a lot of times in the denial, the administration will say, those words weren't used. But we do know that at least in three or four different countries, people were told not to go, to respond quickly. They were told not to go to respond quickly, according to the CIA folks at the annex. They were delayed from going. There was a small team in Tripoli that was trying to head, while the attacks were under way, to Benghazi, who was told not to get on the plane to go to Benghazi. There was a special terrorist response team in the U.S., not knowing how long this was going to go on, that immediately fired up, assuming that they would be sent to go. And they were told they weren't going. There was an FBI special team that my information says the State Department had contact with throughout the night that was stood up, stood down, stood up, stood down through the course of the night.

Those events together, one could theorize, there was somewhere, somebody more at a senior level that has said, “keep people in place, do not move people.” And -- I don't have any evidence to prove that that happened -- but based on these different incidents in the different countries, it would seem like too much of a coincidence that everybody individually decided to hold in place. [C-SPAN, Washington Journal, 10/21/15]

FACT: There Is No Evidence “Any Kind Of Stand Down Order” Was Given

Attkisson Admitted That She Doesn't “Have Any Evidence To Prove That” A “Stand Down” Order Was Given. Attkisson admitted during her C-SPAN interview that she doesn't “have any evidence to prove” that “somebody more at a senior level” said to "'keep people in place, do not move people'":

Those events together, one could theorize, there was somewhere, somebody more at a senior level that has said, “keep people in place, do not move people.” And -- I don't have any evidence to prove that that happened -- but based on these different incidents in the different countries, it would seem like too much of a coincidence that everybody individually decided to hold in place. [C-SPAN, Washington Journal, 10/21/15]

Commander Of A Small Special Forces Team In Tripoli “Was Not Ordered To 'Stand Down' By Higher Command Authorities.” Lt. Col. Gibson, who commanded a small team of special forces troops in Tripoli, told a Republican-led congressional committee on June 26 that he was never ordered to “stand down” (emphasis added):

The former commander of a four-member Army Special Forces unit in Tripoli, Libya, denied Wednesday that he was told to stand down during last year's deadly assault on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi.

In a closed-door session with the House Armed Services Committee, Lt. Col. S.E. Gibson said his commanders told him to remain in the capital of Tripoli to defend Americans in the event of additional attacks and to help survivors being evacuated from Benghazi.

“Contrary to news reports, Gibson was not ordered to 'stand down' by higher command authorities in response to his understandable desire to lead a group of three other special forces soldiers to Benghazi,” the Republican-led committee said in a summary of its classified briefing with military officials, including Gibson. [Associated Press, 6/27/13]

Pentagon Spokesman: “There Was Never Any Kind Of Stand Down Order To Anybody.” Pentagon spokesmen have stated multiple times that “no U.S. assets were ever told to 'stand down' the night of the attack,” and Air Force Maj. Rob Firman told both USA Today and U.S. News that “there was never any kind of stand down order to anybody” :

Pentagon spokesmen had previously stated that no U.S. assets were ever told to “stand down” the night of the attack in Benghazi. Air Force Maj. Rob Firman told USA Today Tuesday that the military's account of this response “hasn't changed.”

“There was never any kind of stand down order to anybody,” Firman said.

Firman reaffirmed this statement to U.S. News following Hicks' Wednesday testimony.

“Were these guys told not to do anything? No. They were in Tripoli, supporting the U.S. security in Tripoli, and they were told to stay there,” Firman says. Special Operations Command Africa leadership told them to remain where they were, and “it was more important for those guys to be in Tripoli.”

“I look at that as not so much a stand-down order, as it is a 'stay where you are,'” says Firman. “Those guys met the planes and continued to support.”

Firman adds that the C-130 was tasked with picking up the American personnel at the Benghazi airport and leave immediately. These Special Forces troops would not have been on the ground long enough to have contributed significantly to the operation. [U.S. News5/8/13]

General Martin Dempsey: “They Weren't Told To Stand Down. A Stand Down Means Don't Do Anything.” Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey, the highest-ranking military officer in the U.S. Armed Forces at the time, stated in a June 6, 2013 congressional testimony that “they weren't told to stand down,” explaining that “two [people working with the Joint Special Operations Command] went” to Benghazi to respond to the attacks, while another group determined they “would be better used to receive the casualties coming back from Benghazi, and that if they had gone, they would have simply passed each other in the air” :

GEN. MARTIN DEMPSEY: [T]here were two different groups- - there were six people not all working for the same command. Two of them were working with Joint Special Operations Command, they were co-located with another agency of government in Tripoli. And four were working under the direct line of authority of Special Operations Command Europe, or Africa, AFRICOM -- AFSOC. And it was the four you're speaking about, the other two went, the other four -- by the time they'd contacted their command center in Stuttgart, they were told that the individuals in Benghazi were on their way back and that they would be better used at the Tripoli Airport -- because one of them was a medic -- that they would be better used to receive the casualties coming back from Benghazi and that if they had gone, they would have simply passed each other in the air, and that's the answer I received.

SEN. KELLY AYOTTE: Ok, so --

GEN. DEMPSEY: They weren't told to stand down. A stand down means don't do anything. They were told to -- that the mission they were asked to perform was not in Benghazi but was at Tripoli Airport. [C-SPAN, 6/12/13; Media Matters, 6/13/13]

CNN: Two Special Ops Teams And An Anti-Terrorist Unit Were Deployed From Croatia, The U.S., And Spain, But Did Not Make It Until After The Last Attack. CNN reported that The national military Command Center gave “formal authorization for the deployment of the two special operations force teams from Croatia and the United States” around 2 a.m., after the first attack had concluded and before the second attack began. A Marine anti-terrorist team in Spain was also deployed around that time. However, the teams did not arrive at either their staging base in Italy or Tripoli until after the second attack had already concluded. [CNN.com, 1/23/13]