Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul cites information that has been disputed or found to be baseless by the House Select Intelligence Committee about the 2012 Benghazi attack in his new book Making a Stand: Moving Beyond Partisan Politics to Unite America.
In a chapter titled "Libya: A Jihadist Wonderland," Paul writes at length about the attack on the Benghazi compound and the ensuing political debate over who is responsible for the tragic events.
"A story in Forbes magazine said that President Obama, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, and other high-ranking officials watched a live video feed of the attack from a drone that hovered overhead, and did nothing," Paul writes. "The White House denied that gathering ever happened."
The Forbes piece Paul cites, written by opinion contributor Larry Bell, includes the same claim.
"Just one hour after the seven-hour-long terrorist attacks upon the U.S. consulate in Benghazi began, our commander-in-chief, vice president, secretary of defense and their national security team gathered together in the Oval Office listening to phone calls from American defenders desperately under siege and watching real-time video of developments from a drone circling over the site," Bell writes. "Yet they sent no military aid that might have intervened in time to save lives."
Reporting from CBS News cited by Bell states only that a real-time audio feed of the attack was monitored by a diplomatic security official in Washington at the time. While the attack was captured on security cameras at the compound, the footage was only recovered 20 days later.
The Daily Beast reported that there was also footage of the attacks taken by a U.S. surveillance drone, but there is no reporting to suggest that it broadcast live.
Paul also writes, "Another report stated that the embassy made three urgent requests for military back up during those hours and were denied. The administration refuted that report also."
That statement was also featured in an article by Bell another piece by Bell, in which he cites reporting by Fox News that two Navy Seals "were ordered to stand down three times following calls during the attack."
The report on the Benghazi attack released by the Republican-led House Select Intelligence Committee later found that there was no evidence "that there was either a stand down order or a denial of available air support."
Paul cites an article by Seymour Hersh in the London Review of Books, in which he reported that the CIA annex also attacked that night was part of an operation to ship guns through Turkey into Syria to assist in arming the Syrian rebels.
"It's hard to imagine, should there be any legitimacy to the reports, that the Secretary of State would be kept out of such a loop," Paul writes. "If the gunrunning operation in Benghazi existed, then Mrs. Clinton and the very upper reaches of our government had to be aware and perhaps even complicit."
The House Select Intelligence report on the attack "found no evidence that the CIA conducted unauthorized activities in Benghazi and no evidence that the IC [Intelligence Community] shipped arms to Syria."
An aide to Paul's presidential campaign said the senator noted the two allegations from Bell's Forbes articles in an attempt to lay out the narrative following the event.
In addition, the aide noted that reports on documents released on Monday by the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch provide support for Hersh's gunrunning story ahead of the attack.