CBS News issued a statement late Thursday acknowledging that “60 Minutes” is “reviewing” its recent report on Benghazi following days of questions about the veracity of claims made by a former defense contractor who claimed to be an eyewitness to the attack.
CBS News declined to elaborate on its decision beyond a statement posted on the newsmagazine’s web page. The online component of the Benghazi report was pulled off the site.
“’60 Minutes’ has learned of new information that undercuts the account told to us by Morgan Jones of his actions on the night of the attack on the Benghazi compound. We are currently looking into this serious matter to determine if he misled us, and if so, we will make a correction.”
Questions about the accuracy of Jones’ claims surfaced immediately after the Oct. 27 broadcast. In the “60 Minutes” segment, Jones claimed to have been in the thick of the fighting around the U.S. diplomatic compound, having scaled a wall and hit a terrorist in the face with his rifle, among other assertions. The attack left U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens dead and stirred controversy in Washington about the State Department’s preparedness and response to the threat of violence by militants in the Libyan city.
But according to the Washington Post, Jones gave conflicting statements on what he saw during the September 2012 attack by local militants to the FBI and other orgs as part of the investigations into the Benghazi incident. The Post also reported that Jones’ real name is Dylan Davies.
Should “60 Minutes” be forced to retract the report, it would be a rare black eye for the venerable newsmag known for its detailed reporting and fact-checking.
CBS News endured an embarrassing chapter nearly a decade ago when claims made in a “60 Minutes II” report about President George W. Bush’s service in the National Guard in the 1970s turned out to be based on documents that could not be authenticated. That incident led to CBS commissioning an outside investigation and the eventual ouster of CBS News president Andrew Heyward.