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In Michael Bay's 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi, the titular heroes are shown going up against an antagonist who isn't a Libyan insurgent storming the American embassy. While the C.I.A.-contracted warriors want to be deployed and stop an ambassador from being killed, they are held back by a C.I.A. Chief identified as Bob (played by David Costabile). The moment suggests that the elite soldiers went against orders when they attempted their rescue mission... but according to the C.I.A. Chief who was actually there, that part of the film is totally bogus.
The Washington Post had the opportunity recently to sit down with the real Bob (no last name given), and during their conversation he denied that particular aspect of 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi. Discussing the orders given in the movie, Bob told the reporters,
There never was a stand-down order. At no time did I ever second-guess that the team would depart.
The security team - which included Jack Silva (John Krasinski), Tyrone 'Rone' Woods (James Badge Dale), Kris 'Tanto' Paronto (Pablo Schreiber), Dave 'Boon' Benton (David Denman), John 'Tig' TIegen (Dominic Fumusa), and Mark 'Oz' Geist (Max Martini) - was brought to Libya and stationed at a secret base in Libya partially for the protection of Ambassador Chris Stevens (Matt Letscher). As portrayed in the movie, they want to leap into action once hell starts breaking loose at the embassy, but Bob repeatedly shuts them down. This doesn't last too long, however, as they eventually go against orders and try to stop the insurgency.
As the Washington Post points out, the subject of a "stand down" order during the Benghazi attack has been the subject of some debate ever since the event occurred in 2012. However, in 2014 a House Intelligence Committee report was issued saying that there was "no evidence that there was either a stand down order or a denial of available air support."
Of course, the big question that's raised whenever a story like this comes up is regarding whether or not it actually matters within the larger context of the film. Because real world events don't necessarily play out as perfectly tight three-act narratives, filmmakers almost always have to create some fictional elements - be it combining two people into one character for the sake of clarity, or manipulating the accuracy of events to add greater stakes or bigger laughs (depending on the movie). What writers and directors certainly strive for (or at least should) is creating a story that honestly captures the events even while changing a couple of details. Given the politics involved with this particular situation, it's a complicated judgement to make about 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi.
How do you feel about this element being included in Michael Bay's film? Hit the comments below with your thoughts.