Monday, June 27, 2016


This Washington Times story popped up at Memeorandum this morning:
One of the heroic survivors of the 2012 Benghazi attack, who held off invading Islamists until rescuers reached the besieged CIA base, has begun a national campaign to counter President Obama’s narrative on the terrorist threat.

Former Army Ranger Kris “Tanto” Paronto has started a nonprofit called Leading From the Front, which he hopes will translate into a national movement to drive home the real threat Islamic extremists pose to America.

“Radical Islam is at war with America, and we are slowly losing,” Mr. Paronto said. “From Benghazi to Orlando, we are seeing the deadly consequences of President Obama and Secretary [Hillary] Clinton’s ‘leading from behind’ and their willful blindness towards the threat of radical Islam.”...

Mr. Paronto has the celebrity status -- and the war record -- to make people listen.

He served nearly eight years as an Army Ranger before being honorably and medically discharged for Crohn’s disease in 2003. He launched a career as a private security officer stationed throughout the Middle East. He eventually landed a job as one of the CIA’s personal security officers. One assignment took him to Kandahar, Afghanistan....

The CIA shifted him to Benghazi, a hotbed of Islamic activism and gun-running in the post-Moammar Gadhafi era, weeks before the historical events of Sept. 11, 2012, at 9:42 p.m. That was the hour Islamists breached the gate and set fire to the U.S. mission, killing Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and aide Sean Smith....

Mr. Paronto became a voice for those who survived, appearing on Fox News Channel and other outlets.
Yeah, he's become a voice -- and Benghazi appears to be his career now, judging from his slick website and other sources:

Paronto continued to be a private security officer until 2013, according to his bio at the site, but he's not doing that anymore. His LinkedIn page says his current job is KPI LLC, the company set up to promote him, as well as 13 Hours, which is the title of a book about Benghazi written by "Mitchell Zuckoff with the Annex Security Team." (Paronto was as a member of the team, so to gets to claim that he's an "author.") The book was made into a movie, which Paronto has promoted relentlessly, and continues to promote on his site -- go to the merchandise page and you can buy 13 Hours DVDs (regular and Blu-Ray), a 13 Hours autographed poster, and a #BENGHAZI MATTERS T-shirt ("Perfect T-Shirt To Wear To The MOVIE PREMIERE!"). You can also buy men's T-shirts, a "ladies boyfriend T-shirt," and a "ladies racerback tank" with Paronto's John 15:13 logo.

(John 15:13 is "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends" -- something Paronto, of course, didn't do. If this is a reference to the Benghazi dead, Paronto has turned their deaths into his trademark)

You can book a Paronto speech through JL Wilkinson Consulting -- although Paronto has also worked with Premiere Speakers Bureau and Keppler Speakers. He gives speeches titled "13 Hours: The Inside Account of What Really Happened in Benghazi," "Bottom Up Leadership and How It Saved Lives in Benghazi" ("From combat to business, Kris shares techniques, stories, and lessons he learned from having a strong team under fire"), "God and Combat" ("This talk will equip you for your own battles as Kris walks through his faith journey, and shares how the power of God brought him through the toughest fight of his life"), and "Lessons for Leadership in a New World." So he's got a lot of markets covered.

He does get a fair number of gigs -- tomorrow he's speaking at the Texas Police Association Annual Training Conference; in mid-July he'll address a "Private Event in Las Vegas" (cough Adelson cough?) After that he's a keynote speaker at Republican events in Scottsbluff, Nebraska, and Volusia County, Florida, as well as at a gathering of the South Dakota Federation of Republican Women.

Does all this pay the bills? Paronto's LinkedIn page says that the only "opportunities Kris is looking for" are opportunities in "skills-based volunteering (pro bono consulting)."

Leading from the Front, The Washington Times tells us, is well connected, in a manner of speaking:
Mr. Paronto’s Leading From the Front is one of the first projects under the American Legacy Center. Executive Director Adam Waldeck said the center operates off of a small donor base and will tap former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a Donald Trump supporter, for help on campaigns.
The American Legacy Center appears to have ties to Ben Carson, jusging from this Baltimore Sun story, which appeared as Carson was gearing up for his presidential run:
Carson is the chairman of Save Our Health Care, a group that supports Republican congressional candidates. The group is funded by the American Legacy PAC, which has raised $7.3 million since last year. The organizers of the group have also formed the American Legacy Center, a nonprofit that can accept unlimited donations and does not have to disclose its donors.
Adam Waldeck, according to his LinkedIn page, currently works for American Legacy PAC, and has previously worked for Newt 2012 and Gingrich's American Solutions. In 2013, David Corn and Adam Kroll of Mother Jones reported that American Legacy PAC seemed to be a scam:
This PAC, founded in 2010 and fronted by Gingrich, bags a lot of money from conservative donors, but little of this cash reaches candidates. During the 2012 election cycle, the group took in $515,321 -- most of it from donors contributing less than $200 -- and it doled out a measly $9,000 to seven Republican candidates, including Ohio Senate candidate Josh Mandel, Virginia Senate candidate George Allen, and Gingrich himself.
And regarding American Solutions, Open Secrets tells us:
The old American Solutions raised more than $50 million in four years, much of which went to pay Gingrich’s travel expenses and otherwise boost his political profile.
Do you understand why I'm posting all this? Conservatives speak of Benghazi as a great tragedy and an outrage. They say they grieve for the dead. They say they want a wrong righted.

But here's a guy for whom Benghazi is a revenue source. He's hooked up with grifters who've made a habit of stoking various fears in order to separate ordinary conservatives from their money.

Nothing surprising about this, if you know how Republicans mingle politics and money-churning. But your uncle who keeps sending you email forwards about Benghazi doesn't realize that Benghazi is a business opportunity for some people.



Victor said...

It wounds like he's more interested in service to himself, than service to his country.
But, that's just my opinion, and wtf do I know, right?

petrilli said...

As much as I loathe this man's politics-- As much as I loathe the slimy organizations that fund this sort of crap, I'm ambivalent about judging what he's doing here on a strictly individual personal level. It appears his service was authentically heroic. He was in the shit and has been through hell. If anyone is going to cash in on those rancid wingnut bucks, let it be guys like him. I wish him well, yet oppose everything he stands for at the moment. I haven't walked in his shoes. Maybe he really needs the money. Sorry to sound like I'm defending the indefensible. I have no defense for anyone who wishes to tear this comment apart. I'll probably agree on some level. Like I said. Ambivalent.

Rand Careaga said...

An armed grifter. But he didn't risk his fucking life for me. I have a problem with the notion that the armed forces "defend our freedoms." On the contrary, every American war fought in my lifetime (I was born late in the Truman administration) has carried with it a diminution of domestic liberties.

aimai said...

The black and white foto is almost a parody of the genre. He is cradeling and stroking the gun, with his hands in a caressing mode, as though it is a combination baby and sex toy. And I love the way the soft pooch of his beer belly contrasts with his over muscular arms. The foto is definitely posed to give armchair warriors a thrill, not make them feel inadequate.

Yastreblyansky said...

I don't know anything about the rest of his career but it seems that Paronto's action in Benghazi on the night of the attack was inaction: being on the security team that wasn't there when Ambassador Stevens was dying, they said because of a "stand down" order, but nobody's ever been able to show that such an order was given, and there's really no reason to believe that there was.

Everybody on the non-right side of the Benghazi debate seems to be too nice to suggest it, but doesn't it look in fact as if the whole "13 Hours" story was cooked up in the first place to explain why Paronto and the others didn't show up when they were needed? I'm not at all convinced that his service was heroic at that particular time and place. Quite the opposite.

KenRight said...

Some of the hawkishness here is problematic--then again Clinton's policy is to start wars in the Middle East and import the refugees into the United States.

I see more hope in Paronto than Clinton.

Ten Bears said...

I continue to travel under the conviction "9/11" v2 was a Romney and the Retards attempt to stage a Reaganisque October Surprise, and ratfucked Obama the way they did Carter. Nothing else explains the degree to which The Narrative is pushed at the expense of all other interest.

We've seen this sort of thing before.

As a Vietnam Veteran, a Ranger, these people remind me of a biblical passage I like to cherry-pick:

Matthew 6:5-6: When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners so that others may see them. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.

You know, put it in the closet.

The guy is a fucking liar.

trnc said...

I wonder if Paronto ever gets asked about Gowdy's acknowledgement that there was no stand down order.

Chris said...

Does he travel the country by swift boat?

Unknown said...

First, anyone who believes everything that the government says is an IDIOT. Do people really believe that the government WOULD ADMIT to giving a stand down order that resulted in the deaths of four Americans???
All these keyboard warriors sitting safely behind their electronic devices spewing their garbage are probably the same ones who would be crying in the corner, sucking their thumbs if they ever experienced what Kris and his Benghazi Brothers did.
Also, when people are trying to spread the word about what really happened during a certain event... They usually WRITE A BOOK...and SOMETIMES that book will be MADE INTO A MOVIE!!! This is not the first time this has happened. You know what else, BOOK+MOVIE=MONEY... That's just part of it and it doesn't make Kris, John or Mark bad people because of it. If you choose to keep your head buried in the sand about the crap our government does and then LIES about... then keep it there. No need for you to come up for air to spew your hateful BS.
Instead of attacking Kris, why don't you focus on the fact that the request for additional security was DENIED MULTIPLE TIMES! Or how bout the fact that help might have arrived in time to save at least 2 of the men who died if the government hadn't been playing dress up with Marines.
If our GOVERNMENT had done what they should have from the very beginning...we would not even be discussing this and Ambs.Stevens, Sean, Tyrone and Glen would STILL BE ALIVE.

Bless this Nation said...

You "loathe" those who fund this? I happen to be a widowed mother of two, with low funds, but chose to put my extra $5 toward Kris' future. This man fought for our country. You write slander and garbage about those of whom you know nothing. I feel sorry for you.

Bless this Nation said...

Anyone who "cherry picks" the bible is disgusting.

Bless this Nation said...

Thank you! Agree wholeheartedly.

Bobbyw8469 said...

Kris is most certainly NOT a liar. He was there. You were not. They received "stand down" orders and received no help from our own government. Those on here attacking him have no idea what really happened. All of this political correctness kills me.

Rebecca Daniels said...

I'm not a Republican or Democrat for that fact, however I do find this article extremely biased and down right ignorant. Folks who have family and/or friends who have served this country - in one capacity or another should be horrified with what happened in Benghazi. What happened on the ground as well as what happened afterwards. I have no doubts that Kris Paronto's intentions and goals are of the best intentions. He doesn't cherry pick the bible either.

He like many live by and believe in John 15:13. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends.

This isn't cherry picking. This just happens to be the verse that hits home for so many veterans and first responders. It's about self sacrifice, something that so many seem to have forgotten how to do.