Looks like “60 Minutes” is getting ready to walk away from at least part of Lara Logan’s controversial Benghazi report.
The CBS newsmagazine featured a segment last month about the deadly attack on the U.S. mission in Libya, which happened on the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
The CBS newsmagazine and Logan herself had been staunchly defending the segment for days against critics who argued that a key source -- British security expert Dylan Davies, a.k.a. “Morgan Jones” -- may not have been telling the truth. But late Thursday, the network acknowledged problems with Davies’ story.
“‘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,” CBS said in a statement. “We are currently looking into this serious matter to determine if he misled us, and if so, we will make a correction.”
A “60 Minutes” spokesman declined to elaborate. But reports elsewhere said that Davies had told the FBI previously that he did not visit the U.S. compound on the night of the attacks. That contradicted his interview with correspondent Logan, in which he said he barged his way into the mission during a ferocious battle and found the body of American ambassador J. Christopher Stevens. Overall, his story was used to buttress CBS’ implication that top U.S. officials downplayed the terrorism threat in Benghazi prior to the attacks and failed to protect or rescue personnel there once the situation grew dire. When it aired, CBS said it spent months reporting the story.
The CBS report has become wrapped up in a larger political fight over Benghazi. Conservative critics have accused the Obama administration of dragging its feet in calling the attack an act of terror and covering up the real story. These critics hailed the “60 Minutes” report as a rare attempt in the mainstream media to hold the Obama administration’s feet to the fire.
The Benghazi report summons up memories of another CBS News scandal that attracted heavy political fire. In 2004, then-anchor Dan Rather introduced a report that contained documents allegedly casting light on President George W. Bush’s Air National Guard service during the Vietnam War. An independent commission later found fault with producers for not adequately vetting the documents. Rather left the network in 2006 and later sued it for breach of contract, but the case was dismissed.
What do you think of “60 Minutes” and its Benghazi report?
[For the Record, 11:52 p.m. PST Nov. 7: An earlier version of this post stated that the attack on the U.S. mission in Libya occurred on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. It happened on the 11th anniversary.]