CBS apologizes for airing fake Benghazi eyewitness: “We Were Wrong. We Made A Mistake”

CBS News apologized this morning for airing the accusations of a now-apparently-fake Benghazi whistleblower, Dylan Davies.

Davies is the author of a new bombshell book accusing the Obama administration of massive security failures leading up to the fatal attack on our consulate in Benghazi, Libya in September of 2012.

Davies repeated his fanciful story on this past Sunday’s 60 Minutes television show, in which Davies claimed to have been at the Benghazi consulate during the attack, and heroically recounted how he climbed the compound’s 12 foot wall and clocked a terrorist with the butt of his rifle, and how he personally witnessed the charred remains of US Ambassador Chris Stevens, who was killed in the attack.

Or at least, that’s what Davies told 60 Minutes.  What he reportedly told the FBI is another story entirely.

Benghazi attack “witness” Dylan Davies told FBI he was nowhere near the attack

According to a blockbuster story last night from the New York Times, Davies told the FBI that he was never anywhere near the US consulate in Benghazi during the firefight.  He told the FBI that he didn’t get to the consulate until the next morning, long after the fighting was over.

Faux Benghazi whistleblower Dylan Davies appearing on 60 Minutes.

Faux Benghazi whistleblower Dylan Davies appearing on 60 Minutes.

Adding more credence to the FBI version of events, the Washington Post revealed that Davies, a private security contractor hired to protect the consulate, filed an incident report with his company claiming the same thing he told the FBI – that he was unable to get to the Benghazi consulate that evening, and that, rather than witnessing Ambassador Stevens’ remains in person, someone had shown him a photo.

Said 60 Minutes reporter Lara Logan this morning in response to the new revelations, “we were wrong, we made a mistake.” (Video of Logan’s mea culpa below.)

Logan also revealed that 60 Minutes has been unable to reach Davies since the newest allegations undercutting his story were revealed.

Did faux-Benghazi witness Davies lie to 60 Minutes and in his book, or lie to FBI?

Now, it’s still possible that Davies simply perjured himself to the FBI during an investigation of a terrorist attack. Of course, that would tend to undercut Davies’ credibility, as he would then be a proven liar who actively tried to obstruct a terrorism investigation.  In addition, is it more likely that Davies would lie to the FBI, knowing that the lie could likely send him to prison, or lie to 60 Minutes?

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who put a hold on all Obama administration nominations in response to Davies’ now-debunkt accusations, has yet to apologize and admit his error.

When will GOP Senator Lindsey Graham apologize for promoting the story of a Benghazi Truther?

Graham has been grandstanding on the Benghazi issue from the beginning, including using the attack in campaign ads, and as a list-building opportunity, only two months after it occurred. Here’s the campaign ad:

grahambengazi (1)

And here is Graham’s attempt to use Ambassador Stevens’ death as an opportunity to build his campaign email:

Lindsey Graham campaigning on Benghazi, Libya tragedy

Lindsey Graham campaigning on Benghazi, Libya tragedy

Graham is being challenged by a Tea Partyer in his upcoming primary for re-election, and is apparently using the death of our ambassador as an opportunity to show his straight-and-narrow fidelity to the Tea Party cause.

No word yet from Graham on why he wanted a hoaxster to testify before Congress.

Video of CBS’ Lara Logan apologize for faux Benghazi story

Here’s 60 Minutes’ Logan apologizing on CBS this morning (transcript is below):

Transcript of CBS’ Lara Logan apologize for faux Benghazi story

Transcript courtesy of Media Matters:

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.

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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