'Harrowing account' of tragedy offered by British 'witness' on TV news mag appears completely untrue, says Washington Post
UPDATED: Davies responds, says lied to employer originally, but telling the truth now...
By Brad Friedman on 11/1/2013, 3:11pm PT  

In what Washington Post's Karen DeYoung describes as an "explosive report" on CBS' 60 Minutes on Sunday, the venerable TV news magazine offered "a harrowing account of the extremist attack that killed four Americans" at the U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, Libya last year.

Naturally, Fox "News" and others on the Right --- such as Sen. Lindsey Graham who promised on Wednesday to block all of President Obama's nominees following the report --- have been trumpeting it all week.

In the report, CBS' Lara Logan interviews a man pseudonymously identified as "Morgan Jones", a British supervisor of security guards protecting the mission. He tells Logan that, as the attack that night went on and four U.S. officials were ultimately killed, he scaled the compound's 12-foot wall, took out an al-Qaeda terrorist "with the butt end of a rifle" and eventually was at the hospital to witness the lifeless corpse of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens.

But, as reported by DeYoung at WaPo today, that story by "Jones", as offered on 60 Minutes, appears to be completely untrue. That "harrowing account" by "Jones," whose real name is reportedly Dylan Davies, is completely at odds, according to the Post, with the written account that he "provided to his employer three days after the attack" when he said he was nowhere near the diplomatic compound on the night of the deadly tragedy...

DeYoung reports that "State Department and GOP congressional aides confirmed that Davies’s Sept. 14, 2012, report, a copy of which was obtained by The Washington Post, was included among tens of thousands of documents turned over to lawmakers by the State Department this year."

Davies is the author of a new book on the tragedy, said to have been written by "Sergeant Morgan Jones", released two days after CBS aired its report. The account in the book reportedly mirrors the one offered on 60 Minutes.

A 60 Minutes spokesperson tells the paper, however, that they "stand firmly by the story we broadcast last Sunday."

Media Matters for America CEO David Brock, on the other hand, who recently published a book on the The Benghazi Hoax by Rightwingers, penned a letter today to CBS demanding a retraction of the story and a full investigation into how this seemingly-fabricated report made it to air...

Today, The Washington Post revealed that the very same witness previously said he never got near the diplomatic compound the night of the attack. This completely contradicts what was reported on air by correspondent Lara Logan, who said that during the attack, the witness "scaled the twelve-foot high wall of the compound that was still overrun with al Qaeda fighters." In the interview, the witness told Logan he had personally struck one of those terrorists in the face with his rifle butt and, following the attack, he went to the Benghazi hospital and saw Ambassador Chris Stevens' body.

According to [the] Post, the witness revealed none of those details in the incident report he wrote following the attack. Instead, he said that he spent most of that night at his Benghazi beach-side villa and learned of Stevens' death from a colleague.

MMFA's Matt Gertz notes that in a Q&A about the story after it aired, Logan, who is said to have spent a year working on the story with producer Max McClellan, claimed that Davies was "tortured by guilt that he was not able to save his friends in the U.S. Compound, that he wasn't able to save Sean Smith's life or Amb. Stevens' life."

"That may sound ridiculous to people who couldn't think of anything more insane than rushing towards a burning building that is overrun with al Qaeda terrorists," Logan continued, "but Morgan Jones is the kind of man who would do that and who did do that. And when he failed the first time, he went back again."

WaPo's DeYoung reports that Davies' Wales-based employer, Blue Mountain, with whom he filed the reported conflicting account on the day after the incident, says he "no longer worked there."

She did, however, speak with Damien Lewis, the co-author of Davies' book. Lewis reportedly says Davies is "not well" and is in the hospital. He went on to offer this explanation to the Post...

Lewis said he was unaware that the Blue Mountain incident report existed but suggested that Davies might have dissembled in it because his superiors, whom he contacted by telephone once he was informed that the attack was underway, told him to stay away from the compound.

"All I can presume, and again I’m speculating, is that his boss told him to stay in the villa and not go anywhere. So he would have penned a report and said he had done what was ordered," Lewis said.

In addition to calling for a full retraction of the story, MMFA's Brock called on CBS to launch a full investigation akin to the one carried out by the network after questions were raised in 2004 about their report on George W. Bush's service, or lack thereof, in the Air National Guard.

At the time, the Rightwing blogosphere was furious about what they perceived as a fraudulent report making it on to 60 Minutes. They claimed that Dan Rather and the producers of the report were attempting to embarrass Bush and demanded they be fired. Eventually, they were, even though it was never conclusively determined that the documents at the heart of the story were fraudulent and no evidence was found to suggest that any of those working on the story believed the story was inaccurate when it aired.

No doubt the same Rightwing blogosphere that was so outraged about the last 60 Minutes report to embarrass a sitting U.S. President will be equally outraged and demand retraction and full accountability for the latest 60 Minutes report as well. Right?

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UPDATE 11/3/2013: Davies has finally decided to respond to questions about the wild variance between his report to his then employer Blue Mountain and the offered in his book and on 60 Minutes. In an interview with The Daily Beast, Davies explains that he was not lying to 60 Minutes or in his book, he was lying to his employer when he said he didn't get anywhere near the U.S. diplomatic mission on the night of the attack in Benghazi.

Foreign Policy's John Hudson also explores Davies --- and CBS' --- apparent profit motive. He notes that Davies' book, The Embassy House: The Explosive Eyewitness Account of the Libyan Embassy Siege by the Soldier Who Was There, "was published by Threshold Editions, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, which is a part of CBS Corporation, which owns 60 Minutes --- a fact not disclosed in the 60 Minutes story."

Hudson also notes, as have others previously, that even Fox "News" --- Fox "News"! --- stopped speaking to Davies once he began asking to be paid for his story. "He spoke to me on the phone a number of times and then we stopped speaking to him when he asked for money," Fox reporter Adam Housley said the day after the 60 Minutes report aired.

But, back at The Daily Beast, Davies complains that he is the victim of a smear campaign. "I knew I was going to come in for a lot of flack and you know mud slinging," he says. That complaint, tweets Media Matters' Eric Boehlert, makes Davies "the first person in history to claim Media Matters AND Fox news are smearing him."

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UPDATES 11/7 & 11/8/2013: And now the story has finally completely collapsed. First CBS pulled it from their website after issuing statement that 'new information undermines' star witness' story, then correspondent Lara Logan admitted they were 'wrong' and 'made a mistake' in running the story, then CBS's rightwing Simon & Schuster imprint, Threshold Edition, pulled the book off the shelves. It's over, except for the firings. Full details now here...

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CBS 60 Minutes' Lara Logan's discredited 10/27/2013 interview with "Morgan Jones", now known to be Dylan Davies, follows below...

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