60 Minutes reporter Lara Logan and producer Max McClellan were sent on a leave of absence after CBS finished investigating the pair's now-discredited report on the Benghazi attacks. "The 60 MINUTES journalistic review is concluded, and we are implementing ongoing changes based on its results," a spokesman told Gawker.
"From the start, Lara Logan and her producing team were looking for a different angle to the story of the Benghazi attack," CBS News Executive Director of Standards and Practices Al Ortiz wrote in an internal memo summarizing the investigation's findings, a copy of which was obtained by Huffington Post's Michael Calderone. Ortiz listed 10 key failures of reporting or disclosure in Logan's October report—which relied on now-debunked claims from a private security contractor to blamed the Obama administration for the deaths of four Americans in the September 11, 2012, attacks on the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
Jeff Fage, the chairman of CBS News and executive producer of 60 Minutes, followed up Ortiz' report with an announcement of personnel changes:
There is a lot to learn from this mistake for the entire organization. We have rebuilt CBS News in a way that has dramatically improved our reporting abilities. Ironically 60 Minutes, which has been a model for those changes, fell short by broadcasting a now discredited account of an important story, and did not take full advantage of the reporting abilities of CBS News that might have prevented it from happening.
As a result, I have asked Lara Logan, who has distinguished herself and has put herself in harm's way many times in the course of covering stories for us, to take a leave of absence, which she has agreed to do. I have asked the same of producer Max McClellan, who also has a distinguished career at CBS News.
Fage also criticized himself for letting Logan's story go forward: "I pride myself in catching almost everything, but this deception got through and it shouldn't have."
[Photo credit: AP]