Stamford Advocate: Benghazi Survivor Says Hillary Clinton Has “No Soul”
Originally posted at Stamford Advocate by Neil Vigdor.
A survivor of the 2012 Benghazi siege that claimed the lives of four Americans and subject of the movie “13 Hours” repudiated Hillary Clinton Thursday night in Connecticut’s largest Democratic stronghold.
Kris “Tanto” Paronto, a military contractor and former Army Ranger, said Clinton failed as secretary of state to send in adequate reinforcements when the U.S. mission in Libya was under terrorist attack.
Part of the security team that tried to defend the compound, Paronto headlined the annual Lincoln Day fundraising dinner of Bridgeport Republicans, who make up less than 10 percent of the city’s electorate.
Paronto stopped short of endorsing the GOP’s presumptive presidential nominee, Donald Trump, but said he will work with Republicans to shine a light on what happened in the confusion of the attack that killed U.S. ambassador to Libya J. Christopher Stevens on Sept. 11, 2012.
“I don’t think she has a soul,” Paronto said of Clinton during an interview with Hearst Connecticut Media. “I hope it haunts her. I don’t think it will.”
A spokesman for Clinton, who campaigned in Bridgeport ahead of her primary victory last month in Connecticut, declined to comment.
Organizers sold 300 tickets to the dinner at the Bridgeport Holiday Inn, the largest turnout yet for the annual event. They expected to raise $20,000 from the dinner and a VIP book signing of “13 Hours,” on which the movie is based on and to which Paronto contributed.
The movie’s portrayal of the siege and a “stand-down” order to Paronto and fellow security team members has been challenged by Democrats. The film makes no mention of Clinton by name.
“You have a State Department that is giving stand-down orders when our embassy is under attack and our ambassador is killed,” said John Slater, the dinner’s organizer and Bridgeport’s former GOP chairman.
Slater met Paronto at the movie’s January premiere at AT&T Stadium, the home of the Dallas Cowboys. Bridgeport was a dramatic change of scenery for Paronto, 45, who recently appeared at the National Rifle Association’s annual convention and the Kentucky Derby.
Weary from a red-eye flight and holding a cup of coffee, Paronto posed for photos with VIPs at a book signing in a ninth-floor hotel room, including Connecticut’s two Republican National Committee members, Pat Longo of Norwalk, and state Rep. John Frey, of Ridgefield.
Paronto said he has no doubt that there is a nexus between the Benghazi attack and the email scandal that has dogged Clinton, who has been criticized for using a personal server to send and receive classified material when she was secretary of state.
He repeated accusations that Clinton misled the victims’ families over what incited the attack.
“She lied to the family members, period,” Paronto said. “People are believing her over the family members of teammates that I lost.”
Clinton has denied telling the victims’ families that an anti-Islam video was to blame for sparking the attack.
Andy Wainwright, a Republican State Central Committee member from Stamford, said he recently saw “13 Hours” and was mesmerized.
“It was not a political movie,” he said. “There was no finger-pointing. It highlights the bureaucracy and a lot of times the military being handcuffed.”
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