CBS News said Friday that it was misled by a 60 Minutes source who claimed he was on the scene of a 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya. It now turns out there are serious doubts about whether or not he was there.
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 the investigative program's website late Thursday.
Logan had interviewed Dylan Davies, a security contractor with the British-based company Blue Mountain 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 to the FBI in which he said he was at the scene of the fighting, but The New York Times reported late Thursday that the FBI said Davies's 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.
Publisher to review book
Logan said Davies had told them before the story aired that he had told his employer that he wasn't there, but the broadcast wasn't aware of the written report to 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's 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.
Republicans accuse Obama of misleading public
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, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, of South Carolina, 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.