American broadcaster CBS admits report on Benghazi attack was wrong

Television station realises error after newspaper publishes story that contradicts its main source

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 10 November, 2013, 7:19am
UPDATED : Sunday, 10 November, 2013, 7:19am


The American broadcaster CBS apologised to viewers, saying it was misled in a report it aired recently about last year's attack on a US mission in Libya that left four American citizens dead.

In the report, a former security officer, named Dylan Davies, gave harrowing details of what he said he did on the night of the attack. CBS said it has learned that he was not telling the truth.

"We were wrong," said Lara Logan, the correspondent who prepared the report, on the channel's morning news show.

The disputed account also led Simon & Schuster, which had published a book by Davies about the attack, in the city of Benghazi, to decide on Thursday to pull it from shelves.

Davies "described for us his actions the night of the attack, saying he had entered the compound and had a confrontation with one of the attackers, and that he had seen the body of Ambassador Chris Stevens in a local hospital", Logan explained.

But questions arose about his account, and "what we now know is that he told the FBI a different story from what he told us. That's when we realised that we no longer had confidence in our source, and that we were wrong to put him on air, and we apologise to our viewers", she said.

The New York Times reported on Thursday that Davies had told the FBI he did not arrive on the scene of the attack until the morning after.

Citing two senior government officials, the newspaper said he told the FBI he had remained at the villa he was living in that night. The officials said the FBI account also matches the incident report provided by Blue Mountain security, which was contracted to protect the US mission. Davies has denied writing the security company's incident report and said he has never seen it.

Logan said before airing the 60 Minutes report on October 27 that the news team had verified that Davies worked at the US mission in Benghazi and was there on the night of the attack.

"He gave us access to communications he'd had with US government officials. We used US government reports and congressional testimony to verify many of the details of his story, and everything checked out," she said.

"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," she said, adding that the news show planned to run a correction during its normal broadcast today. She said Davies had not responded to requests to contact them since news of the FBI report broke.