CBS News puts '60 Minutes' reporter Lara Logan on leave

Reuters News
Posted: Nov 26, 2013 3:36 PM
CBS News puts '60 Minutes' reporter Lara Logan on leave

(Reuters) - CBS News has asked "60 Minutes" reporter Lara Logan to take a leave of absence following a flawed report on the September 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, according to a memo from the chairman of CBS News, Jeff Fager.

Logan's producer, Max McClellan, was also put on leave, according to the memo, which was addressed to CBS News employees. A copy of the memo was obtained by Reuters. Fager is also executive producer of "60 Minutes."

"60 Minutes ... fell short by broadcasting a now discredited account of an important story, and did not take full advantage of the reporting abilities of CBS News that might have prevented it from happening," the memo said.

On October 27, "60 Minutes" aired a segment about the Benghazi attack based on a security official who claimed he was at the scene during the assault, in which four Americans were killed, including U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens.

Logan relied on security official Dylan Davies who had penned a book under the pseudonym Morgan Jones about the Benghazi attack. He claimed he fought off an assailant during the incident and saw Stevens' body.

Conversely, the FBI and the State Department said Davies was not at the compound during the attack, according to CBS News executive director of standards and practices Al Ortiz, who wrote a detailed memo about the segment to CBS employees obtained by Reuters.

Logan said later it was a mistake to put Davies on the air. "The most important thing to every person at '60 Minutes' is the truth, and today the truth is we made a mistake," she said on "CBS This Morning" on November 8.

Logan, her agent and McClellan could not immediately be reached for comment.

Davies' book, "The Embassy House" was published by Simon & Schuster, the publishing division owned by CBS, which has pulled the book from shelves.

A CBS spokeswoman, asked about the leaves, said, "The '60 Minutes' journalistic review is concluded, and we are implementing ongoing changes based on its results."

(Reporting by Jennifer Saba in New York; editing by Gunna Dickson)