A former CIA contractor who worked in the embassy during the Benghazi attacks threatened Barack Obama on Fox News
A former CIA contractor, Kris Paronto, said he wanted to “choke” former President Barack Obama during a live Fox News interview with Pete Hegseth on Sunday.
Paronto was enraged over Obama’s campaign speech in Illinois on Friday, in which he said the Republican investigation into the 2012 terrorist attacks on U.S. government facilities in Benghazi, Libya, was motivated by partisan politics. The former president, 57, also accused Republicans of “embracing wild conspiracy theories — like those surrounding Benghazi. Or my birth certificate.”
In response, Paronto — who’s become well-known for his role in saving several officials during the attack — said Obama’s comments were “disgusting.”
“It just raises the bile inside of me,” the former U.S. Army Ranger said on Fox News. “I had a hard time just watching the speeches. I just wanted to see what he had to say. And when that came across, I just wanted to reach through the screen and just grab him — grab him and choke him.”
Reached for comment, a spokesperson for the U.S. Secret Service told PEOPLE in a statement: “The Secret Service is aware of the comment. While we do not confirm or comment on the absence or existence of specific investigations we can say that we investigate all threats against our protectees.”
In the interview, Paronto also called the former president “just a complete disgrace… It’s completely offensive and I wish I had that man sitting in front of me right now without his Secret Service.”
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When Hegseth discouraged Paronto from threatening Obama, the 13 Hours coauthor shot back, “It doesn’t get yourself away from saying comments when my friends died in front of me.”
Paronto later said he was suspended from Twitter on Sunday night after getting into another heated debate about Obama’s speech in which Paronto repeatedly referred to his left-leaning opponent as “retarded.” Raw Story reported that Paronto’s use of the slur may have violated the terms and services of Twitter as hate speech.
The far-right pundit explained his version of events on Instagram, writing, “The look you make when you’re tired, sitting at the airport waiting for a flight and you see your @twitter account has been suspended for calling out a liberal hate group and their dumb*ss comments.”
The Benghazi attacks took place on September 11, 2012, and were carried out by militant terrorist groups. Four U.S. nationals, including the U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens, were killed and about 30 Americans had to be evacuated. According to CNN, there have been nine investigations into the attack by the U.S. government since.