“When distress reports reached U.S. Intelligence in Langley and the Pentagon that the American ambassador to Benghazi and dozens of his diplomatic personnel were under terrorist attack in Libya on Sept. 11 2012, CIA and Defense Department officials scrambled an immediate response.
Officials moved quickly to assemble a counter-terrorism team of professionals to dispatch to Benghazi. That little-known but elite squad, known as the Foreign Emergency Support Team (FEST), is, in fact, the government’s sole inter-agency, on-call and short-notice team trained to respond to any terror-related incident in the world.
But not this time. Not in Benghazi.
FEST agents intent on rescuing the stranded Americans from the siege on the U.S. diplomatic compounds in Benghazi — including Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens – were told to stand down, according to shocking revelations by FBI agents and CIA sources who spoke to True Pundit.
Robyn Gritz, a decorated FBI agent who previously served as the Bureau’s official attaché to the CIA prior to Benghazi, recalls the troubling details surrounding the stand-down order.
Gritz details the FBI counter-terrorism division’s initial emergency meeting to discuss the unfolding events in Benghazi. In the meeting led by now FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, he briefed agents about the violent attacks in Benghazi. McCabe was assistant director of anti-terrorism at the time but running the FBI’s response to Benghazi, sources confirm.
Gritz was already briefed by her Defense Department contacts who instructed her to prepare FBI personnel for the FEST plane.
“I said I got a call from DOD, people that actually put the FEST plane together and I was offered six slots for FBI but I can probably get eight,” she said, recalling the FBI’s initial Benghazi meeting. “McCabe said: ‘No, we don’t need your help with that Robyn or help from DOD.’
“I explained to him that I was the only SSA (Supervisory Special Agent) sitting in this room that has deployed FBI on a FEST plane to a U.S. Embassy under major attack. In Yemen, there were terrorists driving around blowing shit up. And it didn’t stop when we got on the ground. And the same thing happened in Beirut. But McCabe told us all in the meeting the FBI was standing down.”
Gritz led the FBI’s FEST contingency in 2008 in the terror attack on the American Embassy in Yemen. The al Qaeda-affiliated attack – almost four years to the day of the Benghazi siege — killed 18 people.
After the 2012 meeting where Gritz was spurned by McCabe, the FBI veteran said she was barred from further Benghazi briefings and the FBI’s anti-terrorism email chain on the Benghazi attacks. While Gritz was not directly assigned to McCabe’s task force, CIA had sought out her expertise to staff FEST for Benghazi, and Gritz happily volunteered to help McCabe and Mueller in the Bureau’s response. But she was basically told to mind her own business. Regardless, FBI agents quietly sought her counsel on Benghazi but did so in secret away from McCabe and Mueller.
For seasoned FBI agents, McCabe’s stand-down order was hard to process. McCabe told the room – after several emotional eruptions — then-FBI Director Robert Mueller had approved the official “stand down for now” stance, another FBI official familiar with the meeting confirmed.” (Read more: The True Pundit, 1/17/2018) (Archive)