CAIRO — 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 it had been "misled." But a close examination of the controversial piece by McClatchy shows that there are other problems with the report, whose broadcast 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 undertaken "a journalistic review that is ongoing."
60 Minutes spokesman Kevin Tedesco said CBS had begun the review "the moment we confirmed there was an issue in our story." But he declined to elaborate on the investigation and did not respond to the specific issues McClatchy had raised, which included unsourced assertions that al-Qaida was behind the Benghazi attacks and claims about the investigation into the attacks that the FBI and other experts question or deny outright.
The 60 Minutes report, narrated by longtime CBS correspondent Lara Logan, was controversial almost from the moment it was broadcast Oct. 27, as could be expected for another rendition of what took place Sept. 11, 2012, when gunmen stormed a U.S. diplomatic compound and set its main building on fire.
Soon after the segment aired, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who has been a critic of the Obama administration's response to the Benghazi attacks, announced that he would block all administration appointments until the FBI surrendered to Congress notes of the interviews it had done with survivors.
But the credibility of the report also immediately came into question. CBS was taken to task for not revealing 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.