November 8, 2013

CBS admits error in Benghazi ‘60 Minutes’ story

Source who claimed to be on the scene of the attack in Libya was not there.

By David Bauder
The Associated Press

NEW YORK – CBS News said Friday that it was misled by a “60 Minutes” source who claimed he was on the on the scene of a 2012 attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya when it now turns out there are serious doubts about whether he was.

Reporter Lara Logan said that “60 Minutes” would correct its Oct. 27 report on Sunday’s broadcast. A video copy of that story was taken off the “60 Minutes” web site late Thursday.

Logan had interviewed Dylan Davies, a security contractor who claimed he took part in fighting at the mission, and gave him the pseudonym Morgan Jones. But the Washington Post reported the contractor’s real name four days later, and said that Davies had written a report to his employers telling them he was not at the site.

CBS said Davies had told them that he had given an interview with the FBI saying he was at the fighting, but The New York Times reported late Thursday that the FBI said Davies’ report to them was consistent with what he told his employer — that he wasn’t there.

At that point, CBS said the story was under review, but the FBI revelation caused CBS to lose confidence in its source. Logan came out on the CBS News morning show Friday to apologize.

“The most important thing to every person at ‘60 Minutes’ is the truth, and today the truth is that we made a mistake,” Logan said.

Logan said Davies had told them before the “60 Minutes” story aired that he had told his employer that he wasn’t there, but the broadcast wasn’t aware of the written report to the British-based contractor Blue Mountain until the Washington Post story was published.

Asked by “CBS This Morning” co-host Norah O’Donnell why she stood by the report initially when Davies had admitted lying to his employer, Logan said, “because he was very upfront about that from the beginning. That was always part of his story.”

Davies’ book, “The Embassy House: The Explosive Eyewitness Account of the Libyan Embassy Siege by the Soldier Who Was There,” was published last month by Threshold Editions, a conservative imprint of Simon & Schuster. CBS News has also said that it was wrong not to disclose in the “60 Minutes” report that the publisher is part of CBS Corp. which also owns CBS News.

A Threshold spokeswoman, Jennifer Robinson, said that it had not seen the FBI report. “In light of these revelations, we will review the book and take appropriate action with regard to its publication status,” she said Thursday night.

Congressional Republicans have insisted that the Obama administration misled Americans about the Benghazi attack, playing down a terrorist assault in the heat of the presidential campaign. Five GOP-led House committees have investigated, demanding documents and witnesses from the administration while complaining that the Obama team has been stonewalling.

A day after the CBS report, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said he would block President Barack Obama’s nominees for Federal Reserve chairman and Homeland Security chief until the administration allowed survivors of the assault on the U.S. diplomatic mission to talk to members of Congress.

In fact, a diplomatic security agent who was an eyewitness to the Sept. 11, 2012, raid that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans already had been deposed by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

Graham and several House and Senate Republicans held a Capitol Hill news conference on Oct. 30 in which they cited the CBS report.

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