Casualties sustained during the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi on September 11, 2012, could have been much higher if it was not for the work of a mysterious CIA officer, according to an official report from the House Select Committee on Benghazi.
The report, released Tuesday, noted that U.S. military support did not arrive to aid the small contingent of U.S. personnel defending the consulate during the attack. Instead, it was a militia made up of former Gaddafi loyalists known as Libyan Military Intelligence (LMI) that would come to the rescue of the U.S. officials several hours after the attack. According to the report, the militia group came to the aid of the officials thanks to a quick-thinking CIA officer known only as “Officer A.”
The report stated that the perilous situation began when a U.S. team defending the CIA annex housing the recently evacuated State Department officials came under mortar fire. The men belonged to what is known as a CIA Global Response Staff (GRS) team, an organization charged with protecting intelligence assets abroad. They had decided to evacuate the U.S. consulate after the first attack the previous evening and move the remaining staff to the annex before coming under a second assault. The Benghazi GRS team, initially comprised of only six men, would be reinforced by a second team that flew in from Tripoli overnight, but the welcome help would unfortunately not be enough to conduct a full evacuation.
“We decided that the situation we had was untenable to stay at the compound. We didn’t have enough shooters and there were too many wounded, and we were definitely going to lose our State Department wounded if we had stayed there much longer,” recounted one of the GRS personnel in his testimony to the committee. “So we were pushing to get out as fast as we could.”
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