UPDATED: Is CBS About To Retract The 60 Minutes ‘Benghazi’ Story?
UPDATE, Friday, 8:45amEST: Lara Logan has announced an apology:
In a humiliating retreat from a piece she had staunchly defended, “60 Minutes” correspondent Lara Logan admitted on Friday morning that she and the news magazine had made a “mistake” in their reporting of a controversial story about the Benghazi attacks. She apologized to viewers and said “60 Minutes” will issue a correction about the reliability of one of her key sources, security contractor Dylan Davies, on its next program.
“We were wrong to put him on air,” she said, adding, “We will apologize to our viewers and we will correct the record on our broadcast on Sunday night.”
If you try clicking on Bing or Google links to the CBS News video archive page for the 60 Minutes “Benghazi” story broadcast on October 27 — the one in which a
mercenary contractor appearing under that alias “Morgan Jones” (real name: Dylan Davies) made a number of claims, including supposed “eyewitness” descriptions of the attack on an American diplomatic compound by militia forces, that bolster conspiracy theorists claiming nothing was done to defend the American ambassador and a small security force — this is what you get:
That’s right — CBS News pulled the piece from their Web site, quietly and without fanfare, Thursday morning.
Several hours later, The New York Times posted a blockbuster new article to their Web site on what Davies told the FBI:
Dylan Davies, a security officer hired to help protect the United States Special Mission in Benghazi, Libya, gave the F.B.I. an account of the night that terrorists attacked the mission on Sept. 11, 2012 that contradicts a version of events he provided in a recently published book and in an interview with the CBS News program “60 Minutes.”
Mr. Davies told the F.B.I. that he was not on the scene until the morning after the attack.
The information he provided in an F.B.I. interview was described Thursday by two senior government officials as completely consistent with an incident report by the Blue Mountain security business, which had been hired to protect United States interests in Benghazi. The officials who spoke said they had been briefed on the government investigation.
Mr. Davies, who worked for Blue Mountain, has disavowed the incident report, saying in an interview last week with the online magazine The Daily Beast that he did not write it and had never even seen it, and was not responsible for the account of events it contained.
The contradictions between the versions offered in the incident report and what was presented on television and in the book, “The Embassy House” — Mr. Davies appeared on the program and wrote the book under the pseudonym Morgan Jones — have led to questions about how “60 Minutes” came to present Mr. Davies as a credible source for its extensive report on the Benghazi incident.
That could explain the disappearance if the “Benghazi” story.
Early Thursday evening, CBS posted this message to their Web site:
60 Minutes has learned of new information that undercuts the account told to us by Morgan Jones of his actions on the night of the attack on the Benghazi compound.
We are currently looking into this serious matter to determine if he misled us, and if so, we will make a correction.
Josh Marshall at TPM has the best analysis of the back story that put CBS in hot water:
The problems really got started when the Washington Post discovered that Davies had written an after action report to his employers three days after the incident in which he said he was never even able to get to the consulate the night of the attack. Which would mean that none of the things he told 60 Minutes could have happened.
Davies gave the Daily Beast the preposterously ludicrous explanation that he had lied to his superiors days after the account with a prosaic and unremarkable account of his actions but told the truth in his memoir and 60 Minutes appearance when there was money and fame to be had peddling tales about Benghazi heroics to the Benghazi conspiracy community. For good measure, Davies said he didn’t write the report, despite its being written in the first person.
Then today the New York Times reported that not only did Davies ‘lie’ to his supervisors at the time for no plausible reason. He apparently also ‘lied’ to the FBI, when they interviewed him, for no plausible reason other than to keep secret his heroic exploits the night of the attack. …
Meanwhile, Simon & Schuster, which is a subsidiary of CBS, said it “will review [“The Embassy House”] and take appropriate action with regard to its publication status.”
So, just to be explicitly clear, 60 Minutes, the flagship news show of CBS, was pumping a book published by a subsidiary of CBS.
The book was published by the Simon & Schuster imprint, Threshold Editions, which “specializes in conservative non-fiction [like] #1 New York Times bestsellers ‘Liberty and Tyranny’ by Mark Levin, ‘An Inconvenient Book’ by Glenn Beck, and ‘The Obama Nation’ by Jerome R. Corsi, Ph.D.”
If you were to wager that CBS is going to retract the “Benghazi” story, I’d say you made a safe bet.