A Ranger Raises Questions

In a recently published book, The Ranger Way, Kris “Tanto” Paronto provides readers with extensive insight into what was going through his mind as he fought for his life and the lives of those around him on September 11th, 2012, and also breaks down those experiences into the lessons learned.

Paronto’s résumé is very impressive. A former Army Ranger from 2nd Battalion 75th Ranger Regiment and a private security contractor he has been deployed throughout South America, Central America, the Middle East, and North Africa. Many might know him as a member of the CIA Annex Security Team that responded to the terrorist attack in Benghazi. Previously, he worked with the U.S. Government's Global Response Staff, the U.S. State Department High Threat Protection Program, and the Blackwater Security Consulting firm in high-threat environments around the world.

He looks at the intelligence leaks today, where the British have said they will no longer share intelligence information with the U.S. and the Israelis blames the American media for outing them as a source, and wonders why nothing was ever linked about Benghazi, about which questions still remain: what did President Obama and Hillary Clinton know and when, who gave the stand-down order, and why weren’t the readily available military units deployed? Kris told American Thinker, “I really thought someone within the Agency would step up and tell the truth. This is when I saw the dirty side of government, seeing a cover-up of lies that included President Obama, Hillary Clinton, Patrick Kennedy, and Charlene Lamb. They along with the CIA acting director, Mike Morell, were entrenched within the political machine. It was disheartening and very disappointing. But to emphasize, it was not the guys and gals on the ground.”

The book describes an important tool to thrive, take responsibility. This mentality should be relatable for any person, unless your name is Hillary Clinton. Kris describes her as “arrogant. I want to be a thorn in her side. She sees herself as above the law. Yet, she leaked classified information, used open servers, and left people to die in Benghazi. She can rationalize away anything and puts herself before anyone else. I believe 90% of the national security people truly believe she would have made a terrible president.”

Kris also blames the national media. A quote from the book emphasizes how they spin the facts to favor the Obama administration, “If you want to take CNN’s word over a Marine’s, go right ahead. I’ll take the Marine’s word one hundred percent of the time.” This was in response to a question asked about the stand-down order given by “Bob,” the CIA Benghazi Chief.

Another life lesson: do not be afraid to ask a question. Kris believes good leaders “would be happy with questions. ‘Bob’ should have realized he was out of his element and asked questions of us, the experts. He pretended he knew what he was doing and it cost lives. I truly believe if we were sent out almost initially those at the compound would still be alive, instead of telling us we could not leave.”

At no time did he ever think of giving up and not speaking out. This is why he continues to want to reform a broken system. “It needs to be purged. The intelligence community should be about fighting terrorism, not leaking to support some agenda. They utilize the left-wing media outlets by putting out fake news. They leak stuff illegally to news agencies because they dislike the current administration. They are too heavily involved in politics instead of just doing their job.”

He realizes he is fighting a new battle. An important principle: have a battle strategy that strives to reach a goal by defining the mission’s importance. “We have a new combat area where we must speak out against politicians, TV, and news media personalities. Those of us in Benghazi were part of the Special Ops community and needed to be creative thinkers. We went through a process of anger, where we watched everything spin out of control, to realizing we must develop a strategy to fix and counter the false narrative. We are done just sitting on the sidelines. Military personnel have integrity, honor, and are patriotic. Maybe the national security agencies should recruit from the military because our love for country is stronger than our political views.”

An important lesson Kris wants to convey is, “Commit to owning errors when you make them, learning from your mistakes, and acting with integrity. These upper-echelon national security officials cannot admit when they are wrong. Maybe, they are taught it in a class on the Farm. They should have the strength to say a mistake was made here. For example, I do not think it was a coincidence that David Petraeus stepped down as CIA Director after an IT complaint was filed. People should know that on September 12th in Tripoli all the contractors were flown out to Germany leaving only the CIA staffers. No one wanted us talking to him. He was given the wrong story, which is when one CIA staffer had the courage to file the IT report. I now know it was all corruption.”

In reading this book, Americans will learn that Kris is definitely not a politically correct kind of guy. He persevered through the Benghazi tragedy and wants others to learn how they can succeed through life. Having integrity, courage, and faith in G-d has allowed him to overcome life’s hardships and he hopes his own life lessons can be helpful to others.

The author writes for American Thinker. She has done book reviews, author interviews, and has written a number of national security, political, and foreign policy articles.