South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham is one of the loudest voices of the Republican Party’s Benghazi conspiracy faction. According to Joe Hagan of New York magazine, Graham’s commitment to circulating rumors about the incident prompted 60 Minutes correspondent Lara Logan to consult the senator on what really happened during the September 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya. It didn’t go so well.
The two met two or three times to talk about the Libya attack, with Graham telling Logan that from his point of view, it was “a fair thing to say” that there was a “build-up of Al Qaeda types” in the area—a major talking point for the right in arguments that the Obama White House tried covering up alleged terrorist links.
As Michael Calderone of The Huffington Post points out, Logan later asserted in her October report—which featured the testimony of a discredited Welsh security contractor named Dylan Davies—that the terrorist organization Al Qaeda staged the attack on the American mission in Benghazi.
But Logan never provided, or even hinted at, a source for her claims about Al Qaeda’s role in the attacks, and they have not been proven since. (The Senate Intelligence Committee determined in January that individuals associated with branches of Al Qaeda, but not Al Qaeda’s top leaders, were involved in the attacks.) Logan has refused to say where she picked up these claims. Hagan’s story suggests, however, that Logan trusted Graham enough to buy his theories about Al Qaeda, and even approached him after Dylan Davies’s story fell apart.
After “the Times revealed that Davies’s statements to the FBI contradicted what he had told 60 Minutes,” Hagan writes,
Logan called Graham and asked for help. “She called afterward and basically said, ‘What did he tell the FBI?’ ” he recalls. “I’ve never seen the FBI interview, but I talked to the No. 2, who is now gone, and he said that he’s looked at the interviews and the guy never mentioned this.”
CBS eventually retracted Logan’s entire report.
For now, Logan’s future at CBS remains unclear. Last week, 60 Minutes spokesperson confirmed to Gawker that Logan and her producer, Max McClellan, had yet to return to the network. “They are on leave of absence,” he wrote in an email. “No timetable was given.”
[Photo credit: Associated Press]