NEW YORK -- Security officer Dylan Davies admitted this weekend that he lied to a superior in September 2012 about his whereabouts the night of the Benghazi attack. But Davies says his latest version of events, told on CBS' "60 Minutes" and in a new memoir, are true.
“I am just a little man against some big people here,” Davies told The Daily Beast in an interview published Saturday, suggesting he was the victim of a smear campaign.
Davies’ account of the night four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens, were killed in a terrorist attack on the U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi has been challenged since he appeared Oct. 27 on “60 Minutes,” in an interview CBS billed as “the first eyewitness account from a westerner” on the ground that night.
The Washington Post revealed on Thursday that Davies once provided a different account of the events. The Post reported that Davies previously claimed to have never reached the compound on the night of the attack, saying he only arrived the day after. But in the version he relayed on “60 Minutes,” as well as in a new memoir published under a pseudonym, Davies arrives at the compound as the battle rages on and tangles with a terrorist.
Davies' admission that he changed his story raises several questions for "60 Minutes." Did the program know Davies once told a superior that he didn't reach the compound? If not, will the network revisit the story? And if so, how did "60 Minutes" vet its eyewitness to be sure he's now providing an accurate version of events?
A spokesman for the program, Kevin Tedesco, stood by the Davies interview when reached by The Washington Post. Tedesco has not responded to repeated requests from The Huffington Post to discuss it.
Adding to questions about Davies’ credibility, Fox News correspondent Adam Housley said on air last week that he had spoken a “number of times” to Davies, but stopped “when he asked for money.” (Housley referred HuffPost's questions about his interaction with Davies to a Fox News spokeswoman, who did not respond.)
In the "60 Minutes" interview, Davies described scaling the compound’s 12-foot wall during the attack and knocking one terrorist fighter to the ground with the butt of his rifle. He also spoke about seeing Stevens dead in the hospital, and said Stevens had expressed security concerns just hours before the attack.
But The Post obtained an incident report from Sept. 14, 2012, that revealed Davies provided his employer with a written account of the events that differed greatly from what he said on “60 Minutes” and in the memoir.
Davies told his employer, British-based contractor Blue Mountain, that he was at his beachside villa the night of the attack. He wrote that he tried to reach the compound but “could not get anywhere near” it because of roadblocks. And rather than finding Stevens in the hospital, Davies described learning of his death from “a Libyan colleague who had been at the hospital [and] came to the villa to show him a cellphone picture of the ambassador’s blackened corpse.”
Davies defended himself in the Daily Beast interview, saying he lied to his Blue Mountain superior because he had been instructed to stay away from the compound. Davies said he didn't write, and had not previously seen, the incident report, which is written in the first person. (The report can be viewed here).
Republican lawmakers have remained focused on the Benghazi story, raising questions about what Obama administration officials knew before and after the attack. The morning after the “60 Minutes” report, Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.) said he’d hold up Obama administration nominees from being confirmed by the Senate until all survivors of the Benghazi attack appear before Congress.
Over the past week, progressive media watchdog Media Matters has published several stories challenging the “60 Minutes” report, including one in which veteran journalists and media ethicists expressed concerns about the program's reporting.
Brock also urged CBS News to set up an independent panel to investigate the story, similar to how the network responded to questions about Dan Rather's infamous 2004 report on former President George W. Bush's time in the Texas Air National Guard. CBS News has not responded to Brock’s letter.
On Sunday's "60 Minutes," CBS' Scott Pelley read three viewers' letters on air about the previous week’s Benghazi report. Brock's didn't make the cut.