CBS' Lara Logan Apologizes For Faulty 60 Minutes Benghazi Report: "We Were Wrong. We Made A Mistake"
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From the November 8 edition of CBS' CBS This Morning:
NORAH O'DONNELL: 60 Minutes has learned of new information that undercuts its October 27 account of an ex-security officer who called himself Morgan Jones. His real name is Dylan Davies, and he recounted to Lara Logan in great detail what he claimed were his actions on the night of the attack on the Benghazi compound. Lara joins us this morning, Lara, good morning.
LARA LOGAN: Good morning Norah, well. You know the most important thing to every person at 60 Minutes is the truth and today the truth is that we made a mistake, and that's very disappointing for any journalist. It's very disappointing for me. Nobody likes to admit that they made a mistake, but if you do, you have to stand up and take responsibility and you have to say that you were wrong, and in this case we were wrong. We made a mistake. And how did this happen?
Well, Dylan Davies worked for the State Department in Libya. He was the manager of the local guard force at the Benghazi special mission compound, and he described for us his actions that night, saying that he had entered the compound and he had a confrontation with one of the attackers, and he also said that he had seen the body of Ambassador Chris Stevens in a local hospital. And after our report aired, questions were raised about whether his account was real.
After an incident report surfaced that told a different story about what he'd done that night. And, you know, he denied that report. And he said that he told the FBI the same story that he had told us, but what we now know is that he told the FBI a different story to what he told us. And, you know, that was the moment for us when we realized that we no longer had confidence in our source, and that we were wrong to put him on air, and we apologize to our viewers.
O'DONNELL: Why were you convinced that Dylan Davies was a credible source, that the account that he provided was accurate? How did you vet him?
LOGAN: Well, we verified and confirmed that he was who he said he was, that he was working for the State Department at the time, that he was in Benghazi at the special mission compound the night of the attack, and that, you know, he showed us -- he gave us access to communications he had with U.S. government officials. We used U.S. government reports and congressional testimony to verify many of the details of his story, and everything checked out.
He also showed us photographs that he had taken at the special mission compound the following morning and, you know, we take the vetting of sources and stories very seriously at 60 Minutes. And we took it seriously in this case. But we were misled, and we were wrong, and that's the important thing. That's what we have to say here. We have to set the record straight and take responsibility.
O'DONNELL: Last Thursday, The Washington Post ran a report that questioned the central parts of what Davies had told you. They cited this incident report right after the attack that he gave to Blue Mountain, the security firm that he worked for. He told them that he never made it to the compound, that he was at his villa there. Did you know about that report, that incident report?
LOGAN: No, we did not know about that incident report before we did our story. When The Washington Post story came out, he denied it. He said that he never wrote it, had nothing to do with it. And that he told the FBI the same story as he told us. But as we now know, that is not the case.
O'DONNELL: But why would you stand by this report after Dylan Davies admitted lying to his own employer?
LOGAN: Because he was very upfront about that from the beginning, that was always part of his story. The context of it, when he tells his story, is that his boss is someone he cared about enormously. He cared about his American counterparts in the mission that night, and when his boss told him not to go, he couldn't stay back. So, that was always part of the record for us. And, that part didn't come as any surprise.
JEFF GLOR: 60 has already acknowledged it was a mistake not to disclose that the book was being published by Simon & Schuster, which is a CBS company. There are also these reports now that Davies was asking for money. Did he ever ask you for money?
LOGAN: He did not. He never asked us for money. It never came up.
O'DONNELL: So how do you address this moving forward? Are you going do something on Sunday on 60 Minutes?
LOGAN: Yes. We will apologize to our viewers, and we will correct the record on our broadcast on Sunday night.
O'DONNELL: And have you been in touch with him since?
LOGAN: We have not. We, after we learned of the latest news about the FBI report, we tried to contact him but we haven't heard back from him.
O'DONNELL: You have had no contact with him since then.
LOGAN: Not so far.
O'DONNELL: And not about this latest news about the FBI report.
GLOR: Lara Logan, thank you very much.
LOGAN: Thank you.