PopPolitics: ’13 Hours’ Author on Why Benghazi Contractors’ Story Is Credible (Listen)

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of
Courtesy of Paramount

Mitchell Zuckoff, the author of the book on which Michael Bay’s “13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi” is based, defended the security contractors’ account of what happened the night of Sept. 11, 2012, in the face of criticism from the CIA.

Much of the controversy over the movie is whether the six ex-military contractors assigned to guard a CIA annex in Benghazi were told to “stand down” by the CIA chief there, delaying calls to respond to a siege of the nearby diplomatic compound. Congressional committees have concluded there was no “stand down” order, and the CIA chief also denied it in an interview with the Washington Post.

But last week, on Variety’s “PopPolitics” on SiriusXM, Zuckoff explained why he found the contractors’ story credible.

“It was very that these were not self aggrandizing guys, that these were not guys looking to embellish the record and claim things they didn’t do,” Zuckoff said. “These guys are some of the most credible people I have ever worked with.”

He added that in writing the 2014 book along with the contractors, “We have never heard anything from the CIA other than, ‘No that didn’t happen.’ These guys are putting their lives and their reputations on the line saying, ‘We were forced to wait. And the record shows it.'”

The movie is expected to gross about $19 million over the holiday weekend, doing better in red states than in more liberal ones. Paramount marketed the movie to conservative audiences, and premiered it in Dallas on Tuesday.

Conservative critics have pointed to the movie to attack Hillary Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state, although she is not mentioned in the film. On CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday, she told host Jake Tapper that she was too busy campaigning to see it.

Listen below:

Bernie’s Bounce

Josh Ginsberg, CEO of ZignalLabs, talks about Bernie Sanders ability to outpace Hillary Clinton in mentions in social and mainstream media. On the Republican side, Donald Trump continues to dominate. Ginsberg also talks about what resonated during President Obama’s State of the Union address.

Listen below:

Sean Penn’s Adventure

Mary Murphy of USC Annenberg and political consultant Mathew Littman talk about the ethics of Sean Penn’s Rolling Stone interview with “El Chapo” Guzman. They also talk about the Oscar nominations and the Clinton campaign worries over Sanders.

Listen below:

“PopPolitics,” hosted by Variety’s Ted Johnson, airs Thursdays at 2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT on SiriusXM’s political channel POTUS.

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  1. Gayle Rorvik says:

    When will this be released on DVD, available to rent in Redbox? Netflix?

  2. Sal U. Lloyd says:

    Two words:

    Michael Bay.

  3. Jim Ward says:

    Zuckoff claims that he believes that there was a “stand down” because the contractors were told to “wait.” One would have thought, as a writer covering military action, that he would have familiarized himself with the military definition of “stand down.” It means to be taken off a state of readiness. The contractors, however, themselves testified that they remained at the ready: nobody told them to be at ease; nobody told them to put away their combat gear; nobody told them to garage the armored vehicles they were waiting in. The only delay came because their team leader, their chief and deputy chief of staff all were engaged in trying to secure local fighters and heavy arms, as well as intelligence to avoid entering a trap. Had these efforts been more successful, local forces would have responded and the annex location would not have been outed when the team exited. These efforts were not without some success: a number of Libyan fighters joined the response team and certainly deserve recognition for helping to keep the casualties low and aiding in the evacuation of dozens of rescued Americans. The contractors were there for a reason, they responded with the OK of their superiors and they did the job they were paid to do.

  4. RTF says:

    So, they made an entire movie on a far reached Republican strategy to take down Hillary Clinton? Congratulations. I can only hope it does well because I support the unions involved with the production .
    The implication of Clinton in Benghazi is silly because she never saw the requests for additional security. All there really is to blame for this lapse in communication is the bureaucratic system that goes back several administrations.

    Of course, all of this is moot compared to the fact that we had no business in Libya in the first place. Benghazi was but a microcosm of our overall disaster in the middle east. We take a side in a revolution, rebels linked to Islamic terrorist organizations are deployed in the effort, and they wind up using our weapons, our training, and our expertise to attack us. It’s like a song stuck on repeat.

    We need to get out of the middle east, and focus on lines of communication between intelligence and law enforcement. That’s all we can do to prevent terrorist attacks here. And, it would have prevented 9/11 if the lines of communication were open then, considering the intel was there. Whenever we try to take a preemptive action in the middle east to work in our long term favor, it only ends up making things worse.

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