CBS NEWS SAYS IT WAS BAMBOOZLED BY MERCENARY
Apologizes for airing report on fatal attack on U.S. embassy in Libya
November 09, 2013
(NATIONAL) -- It is a rare event when a major international news operation is forced to retract a big story and even rarer when the organization has the longevity, street cred and pedigree that CBS News has.
CBS Sixty Minutes reporter Laura Logan appearing on the CBS Morning Show Friday apologizing For airing a story the network now says was based on faulty information from a security contractor. CLICK TO ENLARGE
The security contractor Dylan Davies. CBS based much of its report on what he told the network. Photo from the October 27 broadcast featuring Davies. CLICK TO ENLARGE
But retract it has done.
On Friday, CBS News apologized for airing a report on October 27 that was based on false information about the September 2012 attack on the US diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya that included the murders of four people including the U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens.
Reporter Lara Logan of the CBS News magazine show "Sixty Minutes" which aired the story, went on the CBS Morning show Friday to make the apology.
Logan is the reporter who reported the story in question on Sixty Minutes that turned out to have been based on faulty information.
The network's report October 27 was based mostly on the word of a "security contractor," sometimes described as paid mercenaries, who told 60 Minutes he had been present during the attack, but later gave a conflicting statement to investigators with the FBI.
Logan said it was mistake to put the man on the air adding, "The most important thing to every person at 60 Minutes is the truth, and today the truth is we made a mistake. Nobody likes to admit they made a mistake, but if you do, you have to stand up and take responsibility and you have to say that you are wrong. And in this case, we were wrong."
What Logan did not explain - in detail at any rate - is how the contractor was able to weave his story through the network's vetting process without the contractor's story being exposed as either false or questionable long before the network decided to buy into the man's story and put him on the air.
Logan also did not mention if there was any outside corroboration to the man's story or if the network relied solely on this contractor's representation of events that night as the basis for its report.
The contractor, identified as Dylan Davies, told the network he had been at the US compound during the September 11, 2012 attack and that he had witnessed the attack, fought off an attacker inside the compound and later viewed the body of US Ambassador Christopher Stevens at a hospital.
But soon after the report aired other news organizations revealed that Davies had told FBI investigators, as well as his own employers that he was not at the Benghazi compound the night of the attack.
As a result of this latest revelation, publication of a book written by Davies (under the pseudonym Sgt. Morgan Jones) about the 2012 attack has been halted.
Threshold Editions, the publisher said on Friday it was suspending publication of "The Embassy House: The Explosive Eyewitness Account of the Libyan Embassy Siege by the Soldier Who Was There."
The book hit stores on October 29.
CBS News chairman Jeff Fager told the New York Times that Mr. Davies had lied to the network adding that, "There are people in the world who try to deceive others. We believe we have a really good system to guard against that. This guy got through that."
Fager did not explain exactly what that system was that Davies got through or how Davies was able to get through it.
Ms Logan said Friday that 60 Minutes planned to air a correction on its regular broadcast on Sunday evening.
You can view Ms. Logan's statement Friday on the CBS Morning Show here .