KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Two private security contractors who helped rescue Americans during the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya say our government needs to learn from its mistakes to prevent repeating them again.
Mark Geist and John Tiegen were part of a private security force hired to protect CIA workers in Libya, but not State Department diplomats. When they received a radio call for help on September 11, 2012, State Department workers told them if they didn't come, everyone at the consulate would die. The men say they sprang into action and fought to bring everyone in the building under siege to a safe place.
“To me everyone who did not do anything, did not try to send help, we didn't know the ambassador was dead for six hours," Tiegen said. "He was missing for that long, and they didn't attempt to send anything at all. That goes from the presidency on down to the lowest person in charge."
The operatives traveled to Kansas City to promote their book, "13 Hours," which they say details the facts of the battle that occurred in Benghazi.
"It's pretty easy to look at the fact that the people who came there to do the protest had AK-47s, RPGs and machine guns," Geist said. "Typically in my experience with over 30 years in and out of the Middle East, that isn't what you bring to a protest."
Geist says since 2001, 3,000 private security contractors have been killed in action in 80 countries around the globe. More than 60,000 have suffered injuries.
Both of these men suffered injuries during the Benghazi attack. But because they were private security not hired to protect the State Department, there were concerns that their health insurance would not cover them. That's why they have started the Shadow Warriors Project Foundation, to help support private contractors hurt while protecting Americans overseas.
The two men will speak about their experience and sign copies of their book at a special event Tuesday night at Centerfire Shooting Sports in Olathe, Kan.