When “60 Minutes,” perhaps the United States’ premier news program, apologized for featuring a security contractor in its report on Benghazi whose story turned out to be a lie, it said had been “misled.” But a close examination of the controversial piece by McClatchy shows that there are other problems with the report, which renewed debate about one of the most contentious events in recent U.S. diplomatic history.
In its first acknowledgement that the issues with the report may go deeper than just the interview with security supervisor Dylan Davies, CBS on Wednesday, in response to a series of questions posed by McClatchy, said that it had begun “a journalistic review that is ongoing.”
"60 Minutes" spokesman Kevin Tedesco said the review had begun as soon as questions were raised about the piece, but he declined to elaborate in an email exchange and did not respond to the specific issues McClatchy raised.
The "60 Minutes" report, narrated by longtime correspondent Lara Logan, was controversial almost from the moment it was broadcast Oct. 27. Shortly after the story aired, U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham announced that he would block all Obama administration appointments until the FBI surrendered to Congress the interviews it had done with survivors of the Benghazi attacks.
But the credibility of the report also came into question. CBS was taken to task for failing to reveal that Davies, on whose recollections the report was largely based, was the author of a soon-to-be released book published by a CBS owned publishing company that features the work of politically conservative authors. On Oct. 31, The Washington Post revealed that Davies had filed a report with his employer, Blue Mountain Security, that contradicted his “60 Minutes” account, and The New York Times revealed Nov. 7 that Davies also gave an account to the FBI at odds with the report.
CBS quickly purged its websites of any mention of the piece, and even demanded that a copy of the report be removed from YouTube. On Sunday, Logan, in a brief appearance at the end of the program’s regular broadcast, acknowledged that Davies had misled her and her crew and said the report should not have been broadcast.
But Logan’s mea culpa said nothing about other weaknesses about the report that McClatchy's line-by-line review of a transcript shows.