The review, by CBS News executive Al Ortiz and obtained by The
Associated Press, said the "60 Minutes" team should have done a
better job vetting the story that featured a security contractor who
said he was at the U.S. mission in Libya the night it was attacked
Questions were quickly raised about whether the man was lying —
something "60 Minutes" should have better checked out before airing
the story, the report said.
The report also said Logan should not have done the story in the
first place after making a speech in Chicago a year ago claiming
that it was a lie that America's military had tamed al-Qaida.
CBS News Chairman Jeff Fager, who is also the "60 Minutes" executive
producer, said he had asked Logan and her producer, Max McClellan,
to take a leave of absence of an undetermined length.
Fager said he prides himself on catching almost everything, "but
this deception got through and it shouldn't have." There was no word
about whether Fager will face any repercussions for his role.
"The 60 Minutes" journalistic review is concluded, and we are
implementing ongoing changes based on its results," said CBS News
spokeswoman Sonya McNair, not making clear what those changes were.
McNair said Logan would have no comment.
The "60 Minutes" piece relied on testimony by Dylan Davies, a
security official who was given a pseudonym in the report. The
newsmagazine believed his account that he was at the scene even
after informing CBS that he told his employers that he wasn't there
— something that Ortiz said should have raised a "red flag" about
A few days later, The Washington Post said that Davies had filed a
report with his employer, Blue Mountain, that he was at his villa on
the night of the attack and not at the mission. CBS went back to
Davies, who insisted he had been at the attack scene and had told
that to the FBI, so Fager defended the "60 Minutes" story.
A week later, The New York Times reported that Davies had told the
FBI that he was not on the scene. Within hours, CBS confirmed the
Times story, which was later corroborated by a State Department
source, and said that a correction would be issued.
Ortiz said the FBI report "was knowable before the ('60 Minutes')
piece aired." He said Logan and McLellan did not tap wider resources
at CBS to try and track this information down. Ortiz mentioned no
names, but CBS News reporter John Miller is a former law enforcement
official with deep sources in the community.
[to top of second column]
Ortiz said that Logan's claims that al-Qaida carried out the attack
and controlled the hospital in Benghazi "were not adequately
attributed in the report."
Logan's Chicago speech in October 2012 before the city's Better
Government Association urged the U.S. to take action in response to
Benghazi. Ortiz said it represents a conflict to take a public
position on Benghazi and do the "60 Minutes" report.
Ortiz said CBS also erred in not acknowledging that Davies' book
telling his Benghazi story, which has been pulled from the shelves,
was published by a fellow CBS Corp. company. In correcting the
report, CBS had already made note of this oversight.
Ortiz's report also said that questions have been raised about the
authenticity of photos in the report, including one that displayed
the schedule of the U.S. ambassador killed in the attack. Ortiz said
those photos appear to be genuine.
"When faced with such an error, we must use it as an opportunity to
make our broadcast even stronger," Fager wrote to his staff. "We are
making adjustments at '60 Minutes' to reduce the chances of it
Congressional Republicans have insisted that the Obama
administration misled Americans about the Benghazi attack, playing
down a terrorist assault in the heat of the presidential campaign.
Five GOP-led House committees have investigated, demanding documents
and witnesses from the administration while complaining that the
Obama team has been stonewalling.
A day after the CBS report, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said he
would block President Barack Obama's nominees for Federal Reserve
chairman and Homeland Security chief until the administration
allowed survivors of the assault on the U.S. diplomatic mission to
talk to members of Congress.
The liberal advocacy group Media Matters for America had attacked
CBS' Benghazi report from the start. The group's founder, David
Brock, said he had urged appropriate action and "the network has
done that. We hope this serves as a lesson learned to CBS about the
danger of misinformation."
Press; DAVID BAUDER]
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