This book documents the last hours of an American diplomatic outpost in one of the most dangerous corners of the globe. Based on exclusive firsthand accounts, it describes the bloody assault, tragic losses, and heroic deeds at the US State Department Special Mission Compound and at a nearby CIA base called the Annex in Benghazi, Libya, from the night of September 11, 2012, into the morning of the next day.
It is not about what officials in the United States government knew, said, or did after the attack, or about the ongoing controversy over talking points, electoral politics, and alleged conspiracies and cover-ups. It is not about what happened in hearing rooms of the Capitol, anterooms of the White House, meeting rooms of the State Department, or green rooms of TV talk shows. It is about what happened on the ground, in the streets, and on the rooftops of Benghazi, when bullets flew, buildings burned, and mortars rained. When lives were saved, lost, and forever changed.
The men whose experiences comprise the soul and spine of this book are well aware of the political storm surrounding Benghazi. They recognize that the word itself has become unmoored, no longer simply the name of a dusty Mediterranean port city on Libya’s northeastern coast. They know that some Americans use Benghazi as shorthand for US government malfeasance or worse. They also understand that their explanations and revelations will be used as evidence to fit arguments and accusations in which they have chosen not to participate.
It’s not that they don’t care about those issues. It’s just not their purpose. Their intent is to record for history, as accurately as possible, what they did, what they saw, and what happened to them—and to their friends, colleagues, and compatriots—during the Battle of Benghazi.