'New Information' Prompts 60 Minutes to Correct Its Benghazi Story

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After weeks of controversy over a key source for a CBS 60 Minutes report on the 2012 Benghazi compound attack, the network has announced that it will consider adding a correction to the piece. A little under two weeks ago, the program aired a report from Lara Logan that leaned heavily on a source identified as "Morgan Jones." We now know that "Jones" is actually Dylan Davies, and his story to 60 Minutes (and in a recently-published book) doesn't match up to reports given to his employer shortly after the attack. Earlier on Thursday, the New York Times revealed that Davies's account to CBS also contradicts what he told the FBI. That Times report is apparently what prompted 60 Minutes to publicly reconsider. 

CBS's Thursday evening statement on the matter is brief. The network's video archive of the report in question is also nowhere to be found on their site: 

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. We are currently looking into this serious matter to determine if he misled us, and if so, we will make a correction.

Davies's account was at the time promoted as “the first eyewitness account from a westerner" from the site of the Benghazi attacks. The interview aired on October 27th. He described his attempts to rescue Americans from the compound (complete with a dramatic scene of taking out an attacker with the butt of a rifle), and even sneaking into a hospital to view U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens's body, killed in the attack. The dramatic story partially inspired Senator Lindsey Graham to place holds on all Obama administration nominations until Benghazi witnesses testified in front of Congress.

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But days later, the Washington Post obtained a copy of Davies's incident report to his employer Blue Mountain, a British security contractor hired by the State Department for the compound. In it, he wrote, "we could not get anywhere near . . . as roadblocks had been set up,” indicating that Davies may have misled CBS over his proximity to the attacks. As for his viewing of Stevens's body? The Post writes: "He learned of Stevens’s death, Davies wrote, when a Libyan colleague who had been at the hospital came to the villa to show him a cellphone picture of the ambassador’s blackened corpse." Faced with this contradiction, Davies said he lied to his employer.

Until Thursday evening, CBS stood by its source. In an email to the Huffington Post on Wednesday, the show's Executive Producer Jeff Fager said he was "proud" of the report, adding that he was sure the piece "told accurate versions of what happened that night.” But now, thanks to the New York Times, there are three versions of Davies's story about that night. Two of them match closely: the one he gave the FBI, and the one he gave his employer: he did not go to the compound, he did not personally view Stevens's body. The third, the much more dramatic story in his memoir and to CBS, stands alone. This was finally enough for CBS to stop digging in with Davies and take a closer look at their relationship with the key source. 

Update: According to Foreign Policy's John Hudson, the publisher of Davies's book is also looking into the matter following the Time's report: "We will review the book and take appropriate action with regard to its publication status," the publisher said in a statement. 

Update (7:00 a.m.; 11/8): Reporter Lara Logan appeared CBS This Morning on Friday and apologized for the story, saying "We made a mistake." Logan says she was aware that Davies had a told a different story to her than he told to his employer, but did not know about the FBI report (which also contradicted what he told CBS) before filing her report. Despite attempts to contact Davies, she has not heard from him since Sunday. She added that 60 Minutes will issue a formal correction of the story and an apology to viewer on the next broadcast, this Sunday. 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.