'Don't Call Us Liars': Benghazi Security Team Members Battle Dem Rep on 'Stand Down' Order
In a recent press conference, Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA) and Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) appeared to call into question the claims of three Benghazi security operators who spoke out to Fox News earlier this month.
The lawmakers disputed the annex security team's version of events, including about defying a "stand down" order from a CIA officer.
Schiff said Kris Paronto, Mark Geist, and John Tiegen were making the claims as part of a book promotion campaign, adding that congressional investigators interviewed the three men and concluded no "stand down" order was given.
Paronto and Geist challenged the lawmakers to a debate on "Hannity," and tonight the two faced off with Rep. Smith. Schiff declined to appear on the show.
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 answered that at the press conference, he was referring to U.S. personnel in Tripoli having never gotten a "stand down" order, not the men at the annex in Benghazi.
Smith said he does not agree with his colleague Schiff's statement that the men are making these claims to sell books.
He said he does not dispute that the CIA officer, referred to as "Bob," told the men not to go to the consulate. But Smith said he rejects the implication that there was any stand down orders coming from D.C.
"That was investigated and clearly proven not to be the case," said Smith.
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 reiterated he never called the men liars, but isn't willing to say everything in the book is the "absolute truth," saying there have been many accounts of that fateful night.
Watch the contentious debate above.