NEW YORK (AP) — CBS News said Friday that it was misled by a "60 Minutes" source who claimed he was on the on the scene of a 2012 attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, when it now turns out there are serious doubts about whether he was.
Reporter Lara Logan said "60 Minutes" would correct its Oct. 27 report on Sunday's broadcast. A video copy of that story was taken off the "60 Minutes" web site late Thursday.
"There are so many people out there who have the potential to deceive a news organization," said Jeffrey Fager, CBS News chairman and "60 Minutes" executive producer, in an interview with The Associated Press on Friday. "We do our best, and I think we do very well at spotting them. This time, I really feel like one got through and it's extremely disappointing."
The Sept. 11, 2012, attack that killed U.S. ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans has been a prime area of Republican criticism of President Barack Obama. Republican lawmakers have accused his administration of providing inadequate security before the attacks, failing to rescue the Americans during the attacks and playing down the assault afterward to prevent it from hurting Obama's re-election campaign. They have questioned the role of then-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who is considered the early front-runner for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination.
Obama administration officials say they are carrying out recommendations made by an independent review panel to improve security and training in the wake of the assault. They have denied any actions were politically motivated and have accused Republicans of using the attacks for partisan gains.
Logan had interviewed Dylan Davies, a security contractor who claimed he took part in fighting at the mission, and gave him the pseudonym Morgan Jones. But The Washington Post reported the contractor's real name four days later, and said that Davies had written a report to his employers telling them he was not at the site.
CBS said Davies had told them that he had given an interview with the FBI saying he was at the fighting, but The New York Times reported late Thursday that the FBI said Davies' report to them was consistent with what he told his employer — that he wasn't there.
At that point, CBS said the story was under review, but the FBI revelation caused CBS to lose confidence in its source. Logan came out on the CBS News morning show Friday to apologize.
"The most important thing to every person at '60 Minutes' is the truth, and today the truth is that we made a mistake," Logan said.
Logan said Davies had told them before the "60 Minutes" story aired that he had told his employer that he wasn't there, but the broadcast wasn't aware of the written report to the British-based contractor Blue Mountain until The Washington Post story was published.
Asked by "CBS This Morning" co-host Norah O'Donnell why she stood by the report initially when Davies had admitted lying to his employer, Logan said, "because he was very upfront about that from the beginning. That was always part of his story."
Davies' book, "The Embassy House: The Explosive Eyewitness Account of the Libyan Embassy Siege by the Soldier Who Was There," was published last month by Threshold Editions, a conservative imprint of Simon & Schuster. CBS News has also said that it was wrong not to disclose in the "60 Minutes" report that the publisher is part of CBS Corp. which also owns CBS News.
A Threshold spokeswoman, Jennifer Robinson, said that it had not seen the FBI report. "In light of these revelations, we will review the book and take appropriate action with regard to its publication status," she said Thursday night.
Associated Press National Writer Hillel Italie in New York and writer Donna Cassata in Washington also contributed to this report.