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Families want to know what happened in Benghazi

Obama administration not telling whole story, they say

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J. Christopher Stevens

The father of a former Navy SEAL killed in the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, says he learned the details of his son’s bravery not from the Obama administration, but in an email from an American whose life was saved by his son.

Tyrone Woods, 41, was found “slumped over his machine gun, which was caked with blood,” Charles Woods, the former SEAL’s father, said during a telephone interview from his home in Hawaii.

“He had continued to fire until he had no blood left and was unable to fire anymore,” Mr. Woods said.

He did not identify the email’s sender but said he later spoke with the person who “told me how Ty died.”

Washington politics has largely shifted attention from what actually happened nearly three months ago in the Benghazi attack, in which U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, former SEAL Glen Doherty and State Department officer Sean Smith also were slain.

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“My brother gave 17 years of service, with 10 as a Navy ... more >

Republicans have accused the Obama administration of attributing the attack to spontaneous protests over a U.S.-made anti-Islam video, and not terrorists, in order to maintain the president’s foreign policy image before Election Day.

The White House and congressional Democrats have accused Republicans of exploiting the situation for political gain.

For family members such as Mr. Woods, the need to know what occurred in Benghazi is as real today as it was the moment they learned that their loved ones had perished.

Some are angry at the Obama administration, and even the most politically neutral among them say they are dispirited by the way the incident has been spun by Democrats, Republicans and news media.

‘Deserve far better’

“The frustration is that all of the energy is focused on who to blame within our own government,” said Kate Quigley, sister of Glen Doherty, who was 42 when he died in Benghazi.

“There’s been so much finger-pointing back and forth, and somebody like Glen was completely bipartisan in his job. What he did was try to save American lives, whether he was protecting Republicans or Democrats, that did not matter,” Mrs. Quigley said in a telephone interview from her home in Marblehead, Mass.

“As a family, we decided early on not to get involved in the politics of it,” Mrs. Quigley said. “We’re not looking to lay blame at the hands of the U.S. government. When it comes to blame, in our eyes, we’re fully putting that on the shoulders of the terrorists who planned and executed the attack.

“If Glen were here, he’d be the first one to reach across party lines and redirect the attention to where it needs to go, which is stopping these individuals and making sure all of our consulates and embassies are safe,” she said.

Mrs. Quigley said her family is frustrated with how “the press continues to refer to the individuals of the attack as four dead Americans, without really looking at who these individuals are.”

“My brother gave 17 years of service, with 10 as a Navy SEAL. He and the others deserve far better than to be referred to that way,” she said, adding that if the public and the media really want to know who her brother was, they should visit, www.glendohertyfoundation.org, the website of a foundation that the family established in his name.

Her comments echo those of Stevens’ father, who spoke to a reporter in mid-October as the Benghazi incident was becoming an increasingly heated political battle between President Obama and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

“It would really be abhorrent to make this into a campaign issue,” Jan Stevens, 77, told Bloomberg News, adding that politicians should await the findings of a formal investigation before making accusations or judgments.

A detailed account

Other family members have been far less tempered in their remarks.

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About the Author

Guy Taylor

Guy Taylor is the National Security Team Leader at The Washington Times, overseeing the paper’s State Department, Pentagon and intelligence community coverage. He’s also a frequent guest on The McLaughlin Group and C-SPAN.

His series on political, economic and security developments in Mexico won a 2012 Virginia Press Association award.

Prior to rejoining The Times in 2011, his work was ...

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