Lara Logan, a “60 Minutes” correspondent, was asked to take a leave of absence from CBS News for her inferior Benghazi news story, which aired on CBS Oct. 27. Her producer, Max McClellan, will also take a leave of absence.
“60 Minutes” executive producer Jeff Fager wrote an email Tuesday, saying both Logan and McClellan will be taking a leave of absence from the CBS network as a result of their inferior Benghazi story. Logan’s news segment was the result of a year-long investigation into the Sept. 11, 2012 attacks on U.S. diplomatic quarters in Libya, which killed U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three others.
In his email, Fager said: “When faced with such an error, we must use it as an opportunity to make our broadcast even stronger. We are making adjustments at 60 Minutes to reduce the chances of it happening again.”
After an internal investigation led by CBS News executive producer Al Ortiz, it was revealed Logan had committed a number of serious errors in her reporting on Benghazi.
First, and probably the gravest error, was Logan’s interview of Dylan Davies, a reported Benghazi eyewitness who claimed he was at the U.S. quarters when it was attacked. Logan had not sufficiently confirmed Davies’ account of what happened that fateful Sept. 11 day. What’s more, Davies’ accounts to his employer (Blue Mountain), the FBI and the State Department differed from his account to Logan, something that was known before the Benghazi story aired. The fact that Davies had lied to his employer about his whereabouts that night should have clued Logan in to the fact that he probably was not a reliable witness.
In her reportage, Logan was not impartial about what had happened in Benghazi. She was vocal in her belief that Al Qaeda was behind the attack. Though she had many sources that corroborated this personal stance, it was not enough to definitively report that Al Qaeda was actually behind the Sept. 11, 2012 attack.
Logan was also vocal about her personal position on Al Qaeda. She believed the U.S. government was not being more active about the Al Qaeda threat, and she publicly urged the U.S. to take a firm position on the Benghazi attack. This was clearly a conflict of interest on Logan’s part, as the role of a reporter is to remain impartial when presenting news stories, especially when Logan was still reporting on the Benghazi incident.
The photos of the U.S. quarters in Benghazi were also questioned but in the investigation, the photos were confirmed to be authentic, including a photo of Stevens’ schedule for Sept. 12, the day after the attack.
In addition, Davies had written a book about his supposed account of the Sept. 11, 2012 Benghazi attack, which was published by Simon & Schuster, an imprint owned by CBS. This demonstrates a conflict of interest. Simon & Schuster has since pulled the book from publication.
It is not known how long Logan’s leave from CBS for her inferior Benghazi story will be.
By Juana Poareo