Dylan Davies, the British security contractor at the heart of a CBS segment about the Benghazi attacks that was pulled following questions about his credibility, has “disappeared” after sending an email to his publisher detailing an alleged “threat,” according to Daily Beast reporter Eli Lake, who obtained the email.
Lake previously received exclusive access to Davies, who apparently lied to the reporter in an attempt to control the damage to his credibility as his story unraveled.
The Washington Post reported on October 31 that the eyewitness account of the attack detailing his own personal bravery that Davies had provided to CBS' 60 Minutes and published in a book released by CBS-owned Simon & Schuster differed from an incident report submitted by his employer, which stated that the contractor never got near the compound on the night of the attack. In an interview for a November 2 article written by Lake and Josh Rogin, Davies said that he was being smeared by critics, that he hadn't written the report, and that his interviews with the FBI matched the story he had told to CBS and written in his book.
Days later, CBS retracted their report and Simon & Schuster withdrew the book after both The New York Times and CBS News confirmed from administration officials that the information Davies provided to the FBI was consistent with the incident report.
In his November 14 article, headlined “Exclusive: Why Dylan Davies Disappeared,” Lake writes that on November 8 -- the morning after CBS had pulled their report -- an executive at the publisher received an email from Davies. That email stated that Davies had received a threat to his family five days before -- the day after his interview with Lake was published -- and that while he stands by his story, due to the threat, he “will not discuss the book with anyone under any circumstances for the foreseeable future.” Hours after Simon & Schuster reportedly received the email, they announced that they had withdrawn Davies' book from publication and recommended that bookstores take it off their shelves.
Lake writes that he confirmed with the South Wales police that an investigation into the alleged threat is underway. He also details how the facts of Davies' original account have been “called into question.”
From the article:
In the message, which was sent on Friday morning to Simon & Schuster vice president Jennifer Robinson, Davies said someone had threatened to harm his family if he continued to defend his account of events in Benghazi to the media. The email was obtained by The Daily Beast.
The timing could not have been worse. Last week CBS's 60 Minutes, which had interviewed Davies for a report on Benghazi that aired last month, apologized to its viewers and pulled the report. After 60 Minutes walked away from Davies, Simon & Schuster on Friday announced they would be pulling the book from stores.
In the midst of all of this, Davies has not spoken to the media. Friday's email, which was sent before Simon & Schuster announced its decision to pull the book, provides some clues on his decision to stop talking.
Davies wrote that on Sunday November 3 at 4:00 a.m., he was hand-delivered a note to his home address in Wales that said, “Stop talking now or your wife and son will disappear.” In the email to Robinson, he went onto say, “Due to this threat I will not discuss the book with anyone under any circumstances for the foreseeable future, I am not prepared to put my family in danger. I stand by my story however I understand that it continues to be rubbished, which I expected.”
Davies wrote that the police took the threat to his family “very seriously” and that he had been advised to leave his home in south Wales and he did not know when he would return.
Rhodri Kendall, a spokesman for the South Wales police, told The Daily Beast that officers were investigating the alleged threat after a complaint was made by Davies. “I am able to confirm that South Wales Police is investigating this allegation,” he said.
At the end of his email to Robinson, Davies said he understood why his book was being pulled. “Having spoken with Damien this morning I have no problem with the book being taken off the market, I have no way of defending myself at present,” he said. “My reputation has already been ruined in the media and I will never work in the security industry again, this was inevitable due to the sensitive nature of the book, however threatening to kill my family was not something I expected.”
Davies ended his email with these words: “I will not be in touch again for a while, I'm sorry for the trouble this book has caused.”