POLITICS

Trump Brought Benghazi Attack Survivor To First Debate

Politifact has rated Mark Geist's claims that he was told to stand down "mostly false."
Mark Geist speaks during the first day of the Republican National Convention on July 18, 2016, in Cleveland, Ohio.
Mark Geist speaks during the first day of the Republican National Convention on July 18, 2016, in Cleveland, Ohio.

Mark Geist, who survived the attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, in 2012, attended Monday night’s presidential debate to support his preferred candidate, Republican nominee Donald Trump.

Working as a CIA contractor at the time of the attack, Geist was on a security team stationed a mile from the consulate. He has repeatedly alleged that the CIA station chief told the team to “stand down” rather than help fellow Americans once the assault on the consulate began. Geist has used the story to suggest that then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton allowed four Americans to be killed that night, and to present himself as a hero in a narrative since turned into a major film.

But there has been no confirmation of such an order, according to a 2014 House Intelligence Committee report on the attack. PolitiFact has rated Geist’s claim “mostly false,” noting that a congressional report showed that the only time any official possibly may have told security officers to “stand down” was when intelligence and equipment were being gathered for them.

Republican-led congressional investigations into Clinton’s response to the attacks have cost more than $20 million and have not found her guilty of any wrongdoing in the Americans’ deaths. Two congressmen have noted that those GOP efforts were based in partisan politics rather than a sincere belief that Clinton allowed State Department personnel to be killed.

Like his candidate of choice, Geist seems undisturbed by facts that challenge his stories. He has repeatedly bashed Clinton over Benghazi, including at the Republican National Convention and in a pro-Trump ad sponsored by the National Rifle Association.

Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S.

CONVERSATIONS