CNN To CBS: “Still Some Questions ... To Be Answered” About Faulty Benghazi Report

From the November 6 edition of CNN's The Situation Room:

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WOLF BLITZER: [S]erious concerns are raised now about a 60 Minutes report on Benghazi and whether it contained what the critics are calling lies. Let's bring in our Chief National Security Correspondent Jim Sciutto. He's been looking at all of this for us. What are you seeing over there, Jim?  

JIM SCIUTTO: Well Wolf, as you know the Benghazi story has been infused with politics since the beginning. Today there are new questions about the account of one of the key witnesses, and now new accusations that even some of those questions are politically motivated. We talked to the key witness at the center of the attack and others to get at the truth.

SCIUTTO (voice over): The question has hounded the administration since the night Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed in Benghazi. Why didn't the U.S. do more to keep them safe? A CBS 60 Minutes story reignited the debate, citing repeated security warnings before the attack by a private contractor. But now parts of that story are being called into question. The contractor, who used the pseudonym Morgan Jones for his safety, trained local guards there.

JONES (Clip from 60 Minutes): I was saying, these guys are no good, you need to get them out of here.


SCIUTTO (voice over): However an incident report obtained by CNN and first reported by The Washington Post revealed inconsistencies in Jones' account. In his book and to CBS, he said he went to the hospital after the attack where he saw Stevens' dead body, and then returned to the compound, scaling a wall and assaulting one of the militants. The incident report, which also revealed his real name, Dylan Davies, states those things never happened. In a statement to CNN, Jones said, “The account in my book is consistent with what I gave to the FBI and U.S. authorities about what happened in Benghazi.” Hi co-author Damien Lewis told is Jones has never wavered in his story.

DAMIEN LEWIS: He's been absolutely consistent from the word go. Not only that, he's the kind of guy who downplays his role.

SCIUTTO (voice over): Jones says he never saw or signed the incident report, but the version of events in it matches lies he told his supervisor to hide the fact that he had disobeyed his orders not to enter the compound that night. Jones has said that releasing report without redacting his real name has put him into danger. Republican congressman Jason Chaffetz, a vocal critic of the administration's handling of Benghazi, sees politics at play.

REP. CHAFFETZ (R-UT): To take a covert operator and purposely release his real name for the consequence of endangering his life and his family's life is intolerable. I believe it's retribution for coming out against the administration.

SCIUTTO: Well, the administration would not comment on that allegation. But today, one more revelation, that CBS had failed to disclose that Jones' book is being published by a CBS-owned company. In an interview with The New York Times, CBS correspondent Lara Logan admitted that was a mistake not to disclose. However, CBS News chairman and 60 Minutes executive producer Jeff Fager told CNN in a statement, “We are proud of the reporting that went into the story and have confidence that our sources told accurate versions of what happened that night.” We heard the same thing, Wolf, from Jones' co-author, but still some questions, certainly, to be answered here.


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