CBS News correspondent Lara Logan on Friday retracted and apologized for a “60 Minutes” report that was based on a supposed eyewitness to the terrorist attacks on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya.
Logan, appearing on “CBS This Morning,” said the network was “misled” by the man, Dylan Davies, who told “60 Minutes” last week that he had witnessed the Sept. 11, 2012, attack that left four Americans dead, including U.S. ambassador Christopher Stevens.
“The most important thing to every person at ’60 Minutes’ is the truth and the truth is we made a mistake,” said a chastened Logan, who had reported the original story.
On the “60 Minutes” broadcast, Davies — who used the pseudonym Morgan Jones — described scaling the walls of the diplomatic facility and encountering several attackers, including one whom he said he disabled with a blow from his rifle butt. He also recounted his clandestine visit that night to a Benghazi hospital to view Stevens’ body.
The report helped fuel another round of Republican accusations against the State Department and Obama Administration over their account of the attack.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said he would block confirmation of Obama’s nominees, including Jeh Johnson as homeland security secretary and Janet Yellen as head of the Federal Reserve, until the administration allowed government witnesses to the attack to appear before Congress.
The Washington Post raised questions about Davies account in a story published on Oct. 31, four days after the “60 Minutes” broadcast. The story noted that Davies gave his employer a different account of his experiences that night than the one he gave Logan on “60 Minutes,” the most prestigious newsmagazine show on television.
In a 2 1/2-page “incident” report to Blue Mountain, the Britain-based contractor hired by the State Department to handle perimeter security at the compound, Davies said he spent most of that night at his Benghazi beachside villa. “We could not get anywhere near (the diplomatic compound) … as roadblocks had been set up,” he wrote.
Logan said Friday morning that Davies had denied the report when CBS questioned him about it, and said he had told the FBI the same story he recounted on “60 Minutes.”
“But he had told a different story,” Logan said, adding that she was unaware of Davies’ “incident” report before broadcasting the story. “That was the moment for us when we realized we no longer had confidence in our source and that we were wrong to put him on air and we apologize to our viewers.”
Logan said the network had confirmed that Davies was who he said he was, that he was in Benghazi the night of the attack, and that he had worked for the State Department. She said Davies had showed her photos of the compound.
“We take the vetting of sources and stories very seriously at ’60 Minutes’ and we took it seriously in this case, but we were misled,” she said.
Davies is publishing a book on the incident under an imprint owned by Simon & Schuster, which is owned by CBS.
Logan said CBS would apologize further to viewers on Sunday’s “60 Minutes” and would correct the record again.