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CBS News admits error in ‘60 Minutes’ Benghazi story



Published: Sat, November 9, 2013 @ 12:00 a.m.

Associated Press

NEW YORK

CBS News admitted Friday it was wrong to trust a “60 Minutes” source who claimed to be at the scene of a 2012 attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, and the publisher of the source’s book on the incident has halted its publication.

“There are so many people out there who have the potential to deceive a news organization,” said Jeffrey Fager, CBS News chairman and “60 Minutes” executive producer, in an interview with The Associated Press on Friday. “We do our best, and I think we do very well at spotting them. This time, I really feel like one got through, and it’s extremely disappointing.”

The correspondent responsible for the Oct. 27 story, Lara Logan, said the newsmagazine would correct its story Sunday. She had interviewed former security contractor Dylan Davies, who claimed he took part in fighting at the mission. His story had been quickly doubted, and his credibility crumbled with a New York Times report late Thursday that revealed the FBI said the story Davies told them didn’t match what he told CBS.

“That’s when we realized that we no longer had confidence in our source, and that we were wrong to put him on the air, and we apologize to our viewers,” Logan said on “CBS: This Morning” on Friday.

With it now unclear where Davies had been, publisher Simon & Schuster said Friday it was withdrawing his book, “The Embassy House: The Explosive Eyewitness Account of the Libyan Embassy Siege by the Soldier Who Was There.” It was published on the conservative Threshold Editions imprint two days after the “60 Minutes” story.

Davies had written the book under the pseudonym Morgan Jones, which is how “60 Minutes” identified him in Logan’s story about Benghazi.

In that story, which was stripped from the “60 Minutes” website late Thursday, Davies talked about rushing to the scene of the attack where U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens was killed, and striking one attacker in the head with a rifle butt.

But the Washington Post last week uncovered the identity of “Morgan Jones” and wrote that Davies had provided a written report to the British security firm for whom he worked that he had spent most of the night at the Benghazi home where he was staying and his attempts to get to the mission were blocked.

CBS said it had known all along that Davies had told his bosses at the Blue Mountain security firm a different story, and that Davies had claimed the contradictory report had not been written by him. CBS said Davies said he told the true story — the one he recounted on “60 Minutes” — to the FBI. But the Times reported late Thursday that the story the FBI was told by Davies instead matched the written report to Blue Mountain.

Logan said CBS has tried and failed to reach Davies again. A spokesman for Davies’ publisher told The Associated Press that their author is not talking.

CBS also has admitted it was wrong not to have disclosed to “60 Minutes” viewers that Simon & Schuster, like CBS News, is owned by the CBS Corp.

For CBS, the question will remain why it had put so much stock in what Davies was saying when he had already admitted that he had told his employer an incorrect story. But the network said Davies had had motivation to lie to Blue Mountain, because the company told him not to leave his home that night and he disobeyed his bosses to go to the scene.

Logan said CBS used U.S. government reports and congressional testimony to verify his story, “and everything checked out.” Davies had also showed them photographs he had taken at the U.S. compound the morning after the Sept. 11, 2012, attack.

“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.

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.

Graham’s office had no immediate comment on Friday when contacted by the AP, but he was due to discuss Benghazi on Sunday political talk shows.


Comments

1HappyBob(285 comments)posted 9 months, 1 week ago

It was apparently this same Davies that Fox news relied on a year ago for their reporting:

"Blue Mountain Security manager, who was in charge of the local force hired to guard the consulate perimeter, made calls on both two-way radios and cell phones to colleagues in Benghazi warning of problems at least an hour earlier. Those calls allegedly went to local security contractors who say that the CIA annex was also notified much earlier than 9:40 p.m." (Fox 11-3-2012)

That now discredited source initiated Lindsey Graham and others to claim that the Obama administration was lying about Benghazi.

It looks like the whole story was cooked up to profit a guy who thought he could make a million selling a lie to people who are anxious to believe anything.

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2gdog4766(1454 comments)posted 9 months, 1 week ago

I'm shocked! A rescumlican news agency and individual lied about Obama! I don't believe it, it can't be possible, your lying. I mean just when Ted Cruz was about to prove Obama is a Muslim Kenyan now they claim he's a Canadian born son of a Cuban communist I mean. What? Whats that? You mean he is? Oh, Nevermind.

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376Ytown(1229 comments)posted 9 months, 1 week ago

Do you still believe this was a spontaneous protest because of a video?

Fifteen months later the survivors of the attack Benghazi have not been made available to Congress for oversight purposes.

Where are the over 35 American survivors including two dozen CIA operative? Why are they not allowed to testify? Why are they being subjected to monthly polygraph tests to keep the the details a secret?

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4HappyBob(285 comments)posted 9 months, 1 week ago

Monthly polygraphs ???

Is it possible that the "unnamed source" of this information is the same person who is now discredited?

Do you have faith that CNN has independently confirmed the validity of their unnamed source?

Consider how long it took for the Fox - CBS story to unravel.

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5Sensible(118 comments)posted 9 months, 1 week ago

“CNN has learned the CIA is involved in what one source calls an unprecedented attempt to keep the spy agency's Benghazi secrets from ever leaking out. Since January, some CIA operatives involved in the agency's missions in Libya, have been subjected to frequent, even monthly polygraph examinations, according to a source with deep inside knowledge of the agency's workings. The goal of the questioning, according to sources, is to find out if anyone is talking to the media or Congress. (Jake Tapper’s CNN blog)

I am satisfied with the CIA’s cooperation and production of witnesses in our investigation of Benghazi. (Lindsey Graham to CNN’s Crowley 11-10-2013)

I suppose that you can reconcile these two versions by having the “source” testify before congress. I’d bet Tapper won’t reveal his source, so all you have is innuendo by some unnamed. And a lot of publicity for Tapper.

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6KSUgrad(144 comments)posted 9 months, 1 week ago

Last month, Senator Lindsey Graham vowed to block the confirmation of every Obama administration appointee because the administration was preventing Benghazi survivors from testifying before Congress. Now, three Benghazi witnesses are set to testify for the first time. Their lawyer says the administration never discouraged their testimony, but Graham’s office says the holds aren’t going anywhere. “Still have holds in place,” Graham’s spokesman Kevin Bishop tells The Cable.

Steve Benen 11-08-13: “Over the last year, convinced without evidence that their vague conspiracy theories have merit, said, “Give us classified briefings on Benghazi or we’ll throw a fit!”

At which point the administration hosted a series of classified briefings, offering nothing to substantiate the conspiracy. So Republicans said, “We demand testimony from David Petraeus or we’ll throw a fit!”

At which point Petraeus testified, offering nothing to substantiate the conspiracy. So Republicans said, “We demand testimony from Leon Panetta or we’ll throw a fit!”

At which point Panetta testified, offering nothing to substantiate the conspiracy. So Republicans said, “We demand testimony from Hillary Clinton or we’ll throw a fit!”

At which point Clinton testified, offering nothing to substantiate the conspiracy. So Republicans said, “We demand to hear directly from Benghazi survivors or we’ll throw a fit!”

At which point the administration agreed to make several Benghazi survivors available for testimony.

If Graham said he’d block the entirety of the Senate confirmation process unless the witnesses agreed to testify, and now they’ve agreed to testify, why is Graham still blocking the confirmation process?

Because it appears some people just enjoy throwing fits as if it’s some kind of mature habit.”

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7HappyBob(285 comments)posted 9 months, 1 week ago

This morning Graham allowed that the CIA has been pretty good at providing witnesses. How does that reconcile with the notion reported by Fox and repeated endlessly that CIA operatives are being prevented from testimony.

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876Ytown(1229 comments)posted 9 months, 1 week ago

"A House Intelligence subcommittee will hear from CIA security officers who are expected to tell a much more detailed story about the terror attack in Benghazi, Libya, that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans last year, CNN has learned.

The men, described by sources as former Navy SEALs, former Army Special Forces and former Marines, were under contract to guard CIA agents on the ground there.

The security officers were among those who responded when Stevens' compound was attacked on the night of September 11, 2012.

They will appear before lawmakers behind closed doors during the week of November 11, sources told CNN."

"The members of Congress say they don't want information that's filtered like what they've gotten in briefings and documents, but that they want to hear the answers to three basic questions straight from those who were there:

One: What was the CIA doing in Libya? There have been allegations the CIA was operating a gun-running program with weapons going from Libya to Syrian rebels.

Two: What happened during the failed rescue attempts? CNN has been told that there was a group of would-be rescuers at the CIA annex, armed and ready to go within minutes of the attack, but they were held off until finally they defied orders and staged a rescue on their own.

Sen. Lindsey Graham pushes for answers

Three: Did the administration know immediately that this was a planned terrorist attack? And if so, why did administration officials try to first claim it was a spontaneous response to a demonstration over a movie that offended Muslims?"

http://www.cnn.com/2013/10/31/politic...

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9KSUgrad(144 comments)posted 9 months, 1 week ago

76, from your link:
"And sources say the CIA has been trying to keep its employees quiet.
CNN reported previously that some operatives involved in the agency's missions in Libya have been subjected to frequent -- even monthly -- polygraph examinations to find out whether they've have spoken to Congress or the media, according to sources with deep inside knowledge of the agency's workings.
The CIA said in a statement this is "patently false.""

Those mysterious "sources" again, fine courageous American patriots who are afraid to be identified.

In our american justice system, the accused faces his accuser. This "unnamed sources" is like defending against ghosts, can not be cross-examined, may not even be anything more than a vapor, the imagination of sick minds.


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10Sensible(118 comments)posted 9 months, 1 week ago

Graham is such a political hypocrite. He pretends to be in search of the truth about Benghazi, when he really is in search of anything that he can find to smear H. Clinton.

Really, does it even matter what Susan Rice said a few days after the attack. Within 24 hours Obama was referring to it as a act of terrorism.

It is interesting, but not pertient to the attack, the allegation of what the CIA was doing in Behghazi. Are the folks making these allegations willing to testify?

"Would-be rescuers have told CNN...". like maybe the Blue Mountain guy? Who and where are these "would-be rescuers"? If Graham really wants to seek the truth, then why isn't he calling for testimony from these ghosts.

Maybe there is a problem with trying to issue a subpoena to Andrew Breitbart's ghost.

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11HappyBob(285 comments)posted 9 months, 1 week ago

Graham is such a political hypocrite. He pretends to be in search of the truth about Benghazi, when he really is in search of anything that he can find to smear H. Clinton.

Really, does it even matter what Susan Rice said a few days after the attack? Within 24 hours Obama was referring to it as a act of terrorism.

It is interesting, but not pertinent to the attack, the allegation of what the CIA was doing in Behghazi. Are the folks making these allegations willing to testify?

"Would-be rescuers have told CNN...". like maybe the Blue Mountain guy? Who and where are these "would-be rescuers"? If Graham really wants to seek the truth, then why isn't he calling for testimony from these ghosts.

Maybe there is a problem with trying to issue a subpoena to Andrew Breitbart's ghost.

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1276Ytown(1229 comments)posted 9 months, 1 week ago

KSUgrad: 4 fine courageous American patriots lost their lives on September 11, 2012 and yet we do not have the answers as to why we did not have their backs.

The American justice system is failing the VICTIMS. So far, the only accused perpetrator of this crime is the filmmaker.

HappyBob: What difference does it make? Did you seriously say that?

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13HappyBob(285 comments)posted 9 months, 1 week ago

What I said was this: "Really, does it even matter what Susan Rice said a few days after the attack? Within 24 hours Obama was referring to it as a act of terrorism."

Yes, I really said that, and really mean it.

In the context of the larger tragedy, the loss of life, in the context of "how should the US protect it's diplomats?", in the context of the initial stages of an investigation, in the context of a terrorist attack, are the initial estimates given by Rice all that significant.

I see her report in an entirely different context. Initial reports of an incident are almost always bungled, some times by the police, sometimes by the press due to the emphasis to get the story and worry about the details later.

Even after calm and deliberate investigation the story is sometimes misleading.... the fact that CBS had to retract this story after months of investigation is evidence of that.

I could be mistaken but I believe that the alledged perpetrator has been charged (and it's not the filmaker).
http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/...

http://www.cnn.com/2013/08/06/politic...

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1476Ytown(1229 comments)posted 9 months, 1 week ago

~ Why was Rice given the responsibility to speak before the American people and not Hillary or POTUS? Why were they so quick to come up with these bogus talking points? The entire world knew it was a terrorist attack. Why was the US Embassy denied help. What was the CIA doing there? Bungling or lies?.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013...

~ Ok charged, but apprehended?

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15KSUgrad(144 comments)posted 9 months, 1 week ago

Compare the relative importance of your questions.
1) Why was Rice....
Versus
2) Why denied help...

Can you see why the Rice questions are SIGNIFICANTLY of lesser importance?

Of the questions being asked what questions "really matter"?. What issues or questions are really worth spending time and effort to chase down?

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1676Ytown(1229 comments)posted 9 months, 1 week ago

Because they are all part of the puzzle. That one piece may be more or less significant to the puzzle but it may also just the one you need to tell the story.

Oh, don't listen to what Rice said. She was just having fun doing the talk show circuit and having her 15 minutes of fame. We didn't know she was going to say it was a spontaneous attack. We knew it was terrorist all along. If Rice was so incompetent why was she promoted from UN Ambassador to National Security Adviser?

We need all the answers. Did they hope we'd believe the lie that our embassy was under attack because of a silly video protest? We're grownups, we can handle the truth. Are we kept from the truth because they want to protect us, or is there something they don't want us to know?

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17KSUgrad(144 comments)posted 9 months, 1 week ago

Consider this, just suppose that Rice had gone on the tv and said that our best estimate is that the Benghazi attack was a preplaned attack by a terrorist group.

Would that statement have altered any of the other questions?

I didn't think so.
And it's for that reason the the whole Rice thing is little more than a distraction from other much more important issues.

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1876Ytown(1229 comments)posted 9 months, 1 week ago

Hummmm. I think you might be on to something. Rice was a distraction from the truth like Petraeus' affair and General Hamm and Admiral Gayouette's dismissal for refusing to obey orders (stand down).

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19KSUgrad(144 comments)posted 9 months, 1 week ago

That is entirely possible, but I don't know that there has been the same level of congressional inquiry in the Petraeus /Hamm affair as compared with Rice and the Sunday shows.

I would support digging in on any "refusal to obey orders", as that has much more to do with what went wrong on the ground.

IMHO the principle purpose for the congressional oversight should be directed towards making sure that incidents like this never occur in the future.

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