Update (5:31 p.m.): In response to a Fox News story claiming CIA operatives in Benghazi were prevented from aiding U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens during his time of need, the CIA says it never instructed any of its personnel from helping the four Americans who died on Sept. 11. In an e-mailed statement, CIA spokeswoman Jennifer Youngblood says "no one at any level in the CIA" told operatives at a local CIA annex in Benghazi not to help Amb. Stevens:
“We can say with confidence that the Agency reacted quickly to aid our colleagues during that terrible evening in Benghazi. Moreover, no one at any level in the CIA told anybody not to help those in need; claims to the contrary are simply inaccurate. In fact, it is important to remember how many lives were saved by courageous Americans who put their own safety at risk that night—and that some of those selfless Americans gave their lives in the effort to rescue their comrades.”
The blanket statement is in response to a range of allegations brought up by Fox News's national security correspondent Jennifer Griffin. Among the allegations, Griffin said "sources who were on the ground in Benghazi" said CIA operatives about a mile away from Amb. Stevens' compound were told twice to "stand down" after hearing gunshots during the night of the assault. (The gunshots were heard at approximately 9:40 p.m.) Additionally, Griffin's report says that former Navy SEAL Tyrone Woods disobeyed orders to "stand down" and rushed to the U.S. compound housing Amb. Stevens alongside at least two other personnel. After receiving fire from militants near the compound, the team reportedly evacuated everyone they could find and returned to the CIA annex to call for more backup. "At that point, they called again for military support and help because they were taking fire at the CIA safe house, or annex. The request was denied," reported Griffin. There are a number of details in Griffin's story that will likely raise more questions, such as an extended account of a security officer manning a "heavy machine gun" on the roof of the CIA annex who couldn't receive assistance from higher ups. For now, the CIA isn't saying no one was ever prevented from assisting the U.S. compound but it is vowing that the agency itself never played a role in denying those requests.
Original article: Here's something that could alter the discussion on the attacks in Benghazi: According to Fox News national security correspondent Jennifer Griffin, CIA operators on the scene repeatedly transmitted requests for military backup but were denied by U.S. officials. Not only that but the CIA operatives were also told twice to "stand down" rather than assist U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens after shots were heard at about 9:40 p.m. in Benghazi on Sept. 11.