Report: Benghazi witness was nowhere near diplomatic compound during terrorist attack
A security subcontractor who gave his account to CBS “60 Minutes” of the events leading up to the fatal attack at Benghazi had previously told his employers he was nowhere near the diplomatic compound at the time, according to a Washington Post report.
The Oct. 27 television report was based on a yearlong investigation by reporter Lara Logan and producer Max McCellan and featured an interview with a man identified by the pseudonym “Morgan Jones,” who was described as “a security officer who witnessed the attack.”
A Fox News correspondent said the following day that the network had been working on a story with the same security officer, but those efforts ended when he asked for money in exchange for his participation.
Threshold Editions, which specializes in “conservative non-fiction,” published a book Tuesday by the same source, called The Embassy House: The Explosive Eyewitness Account of the Libyan Embassy Siege by the Soldier Who Was There.
The Washington Post report, published Thursday, said the book largely backs up the account provided to “60 Minutes,” but the newspaper says the source provided a written account to his employers three days after the attack that he’d spent the night of the Sept. 11, 2012, terrorist attack at his own beachside villa in Benghazi.
“We could not get anywhere near (the diplomatic compound) as roadblocks had been set up,” said the security contractor, whose real name was confirmed as Dylan Davies by officials who’d worked with him in Libya.
The newspaper reported that Davies provided a 2 ½-page incident report to his employer, Blue Mountain, the British contractor hired by the State Department to guard the compound’s perimeter.
Davies said he learned U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens had been killed in the raid showed him a cell phone photo of the diplomat’s charred remains, and the security officer visited the still-smoking compound the following day to photograph what was left.
The “60 Minutes” report claimed the security officer had scaled a 12-foot wall while it was still overrun with Al Qaeda forces, and Davies said on the program that he’d personally struck one of the terrorists in the face with the butt of his rifle.
He also told “60 Minutes” that he’d gone to the hospital and seen Stevens’ body.
Davies told CBS that he and a Foreign Service officer had been worried about security at the compound.
The security officer’s co-author told The Washington Post that Davies may have been dishonest in his incident report because his employer had asked him to stay away from the compound after he was told of the attack by telephone.
A CBS spokesman told the newspaper that the network stands firmly behind its story as it aired Sunday.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) used the “60 Minutes” report to justify calling Monday for additional hearings into Benghazi and threatened to block Senate appointments until lawmakers had heard from all the surviving witnesses to the attack.
However, Graham conceded Wednesday that witnesses have already been questioned by members of Congress, but their testimony hasn’t been publicly released because the investigations are still ongoing.
David Brock, chairman of Media Matters, has called on CBS to retract its Benghazi report based on the security officer’s comments.
Updated to include information about David Brock’s call on CBS to retract it report.