Published October 26, 2012
The father of a former Navy SEAL killed in the Libya terror attack last month said Friday that U.S. officials who denied a request for help while the diplomatic compound in Benghazi was under attack "are murderers of my son."
Charles Woods was reacting to accounts by Fox News sources that a request from the CIA annex for backup was denied by U.S. officials. His son, Tyrone Woods, was killed in the Sept. 11 assault.
"They refused to pull the trigger," Woods said. "Those people who made the decision and who knew about the decision and lied about it are murderers of my son."
Woods said he forgives whoever denied the apparent request, but he urged them to "stand up."
Sources also said Tyrone Woods and others, who were at the CIA annex about a mile from the U.S. consulate, ignored orders by their superiors to stand down and not go to the consulate to help. Woods went to the consulate, and hours later he was killed back at the annex.
Charles Woods said his son's action "does not surprise me."
"I wish that the leadership in the White House had the same level of moral courage and heroism that my son displayed," he said.
CIA spokeswoman Jennifer Youngblood on Friday denied the claims that requests for help on Sept. 11 were denied.
"We can say with confidence that the Agency reacted quickly to aid our colleagues during that terrible evening in Benghazi," she said. "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."
Woods, in interviews earlier this week, also described a series of conversations he had with administration officials at the memorial service held Sept. 14. He said that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton -- despite signs early on that militants were behind the attack -- pledged to him at that event that she would pursue the maker of an anti-Islam film that had been linked to other protests.
"Her countenance was not good and she made this statement to me ... she said we will make sure that the person who made that film is arrested and prosecuted," he said on radio host Glenn Beck's online show, adding that she also apologized.
Woods said he "could tell that she was not telling me the truth."
The account shows an apparent disconnect between evidence that extremists were involved in the attack -- including a newly released State Department email on the day of the attack saying the militant Ansar al-Sharia had claimed responsibility -- and the desire by some to focus strictly on the film as the cause.
The State Department on Friday reiterated that the administration is committed to seeking justice for those responsible.
"Since the moment they were first given the terrible news of their loss, through that very difficult day when they witnessed the return of the remains of their loved ones, and every day since, the families of those killed have been a top priority of the department," State Department spokesman Mark Toner said Friday. "And everything is being done to bring to justice those responsible for their deaths."
Clinton and the rest of the administration made repeated reference to the video in their public comments in the days after the attack. U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice said on Sept 16 the attack was a "spontaneous" reaction to demonstrations over the video. The administration even funded an ad in Pakistan condemning the video.
Intelligence officials have since given a mixture picture, saying the strike was a coordinated terror attack -- but also leaving open the door to the possibility that militants reacted opportunistically to the protests in Egypt at the time over the film.
Sens. McCain, Graham and Ayotte wrote a letter requesting the immediate declassification of all surveillance video in and around the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi for the two days that it was under attack.
"It is vitally important that the American people know all of the facts surrounding the attack in Benghazi last month, and this surveillance video can shed important light on the nature of the attack and what kind of response could have been effective while it was ongoing," the letter said.
Woods also described encounters on Sept. 14 with Vice President Biden and President Obama.
He claimed that at one point, Biden came over to him and said, "in an extremely loud and boisterous voice, 'did your son always have balls the size of cue balls?'"
Woods said in the Beck interview: "I will ask you the question, is that the voice of someone who is truly sorry?"
In a separate interview with radio host Lars Larson, Woods said shaking Obama's hand was "like shaking hands with a dead fish."
Woods said: "He kind of just mumbled, you know, 'I'm sorry.' His face was looking at me, but his eyes were looking over my shoulder like he could not look me in the eye. And it was not a sincere, 'I'm really sorry, you know, that you're son died,' but it was totally insincere."