CBS admits it was duped by Benghazi source in '60 Minutes' interview
NEW YORK — CBS News admitted on Friday it was wrong to trust a “60 Minutes” source who claimed to be at the scene of a 2012 attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, and the publisher of the source's book on the incident has halted its publication.
“There are so many people out there who have the potential to deceive a news organization,” said Jeffrey Fager, CBS News chairman and “60 Minutes” executive producer. “We do our best and I think we do very well at spotting them. This time, I really feel like one got through and it's extremely disappointing.”
The correspondent responsible for the Oct. 27 story, Lara Logan, said the newsmagazine would correct its story on Sunday night. She interviewed ex-security contractor Dylan Davies, who claimed he took part in fighting terrorists at the U.S. compound. His story was quickly questioned, and his credibility finally crumbled with a New York Times report late Thursday that revealed the FBI said the story Davies told them didn't match what he told CBS.
“That's when we realized that we no longer had confidence in our source, and that we were wrong to put him on the air, and we apologize to our viewers,” Logan said on “CBS: This Morning.”
With it now unclear where Davies had been, publisher Simon & Schuster said Friday it was withdrawing his book, “The Embassy House: The Explosive Eyewitness Account of the Libyan Embassy Siege by the Soldier Who Was There.” It was published on the conservative Threshold Editions imprint, owned by CBS Corp., two days after the “60 Minutes” story.
Davies wrote the book under the pseudonym Morgan Jones, which is how “60 Minutes” identified him in Logan's story about Benghazi.
In the story, pulled from the “60 Minutes” website overnight, Davies talked about rushing to the scene where U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens was killed, and striking an attacker in the head.
But the Washington Post last week uncovered his identity and noted that Davies provided a written report to his British employer saying he was unable to reach the U.S. compound.
CBS said it knew all along that Davies had told his bosses at the Blue Mountain security firm a different story, and that Davies had claimed the contradictory report had not been written by him.
Logan said CBS has tried and failed to reach Davies again. A spokesman for Davies' publisher said that their author is not talking.