CBS: Lara Logan, producer ordered to take leave
NEW YORK (AP) — CBS ordered "60 Minutes" correspondent Lara Logan and her producer to take a leave of absence Tuesday following a critical internal review of their handling of the show's October story on the Benghazi raid, based on a report on a supposed witness whose story can't be verified.
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 last year.
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 his story.
FILE - In this Jan. 12, 2013 file photo, "60 Minutes" reporter Lara Logan takes part in a panel discussion at the Showtime Winter TCA Tour in Pasadena, Calif. CBS has ordered “60 Minutes” correspondent Lara Logan and her producer to take a leave of absence following a critical internal review of their handling in the show’s October story on the Benghazi raid. The show relied on an interview with a security contractor who said he was at the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya the night it was attacked last year, but questions were raised about whether the source was lying. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, File)
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.