Was British Soldier told to Stand Down in Benghazi?

When we chimed in on Lara Logan’s 60 Minutes piece on Benghazi, what caught our attention was a glaring discrepancy between a claim made by Logan and a diametrically opposing claim by the Accountability Review Board (ARB). Logan reported that CIA Annex personnel “ignored orders to wait” while the ARB said “the Annex team was not delayed by orders from superiors”.

Was this man ordered to stand down in Benghazi?

Was this man ordered to stand down in Benghazi?

Now, 60 Minutes and Logan are on defense over the circumstances surrounding one of the people interviewed in its report. A British security contractor named Dylan Davies, who went by the pseudonym Morgan Jones for his interview, has 60 Minutes fighting off conflict of interest allegations as well as its decision to feature Davies himself.

Let’s take a look at the charges against Davies. In the 60 Minutes piece, he said he rushed toward the compound during the attack and later said he visited the hospital where Ambassador Christopher Stevens was taken and claims to have seen Stevens’ body through a window. That account was at odds with an account of the events of that night, attributed to Davies.

Via the Washington Post:

In Davies’s 21 / 2-page incident report to Blue Mountain, the Britain-based contractor hired by the State Department to handle perimeter security at the compound, he wrote that he spent most of that night at his Benghazi beach-side villa. Although he attempted to get to the compound, he wrote in the report, “we could not get anywhere near . . . as roadblocks had been set up.”

He learned of Stevens’s death, Davies wrote, when a Libyan colleague who had been at the hospital came to the villa to show him a cellphone picture of the ambassador’s blackened corpse. Davies wrote that he visited the still-smoking compound the next day to view and photograph the destruction.

This is where the story takes a rather interesting turn as Davies’ explanation for the discrepancy involves his being told to stand down.

Via the Daily Beast:

In his interview with The Daily Beast, Davies said the version of the events contained in the incident report matched what he told his supervisor, called “Robert” in his book, who is a top Blue Mountain Group executive. Davies said he lied to Robert about his actions that night because he did not want his supervisor to know he had disobeyed his orders to stay at his villa…

“He told me under no circumstances was I to go up there. I respected him so much I did not want him to know that I had not listened to him,” said Davies, referring to Robert. “I have not seen him since.” {emphasis ours}

This account was corroborated by the co-author of Davies’ book, Damien Lewis, who was contacted by the Washington Post for an article published four days after the 60 Minutes report aired:

“All I can presume, and again I’m speculating, is that his boss told him to stay in the villa and not go anywhere. So he would have penned a report and said he had done what was ordered,” Lewis said.

Kevin Tedesco, a spokesman for “60 Minutes,” said, “We stand firmly by the story we broadcast last Sunday.” {emphasis ours}

If, in fact, Davies submitted a false report of his activities in order to avoid being singled out for disobeying stand down orders, such an account would comport with charges that Annex personnel were ordered to stand down as well. If 60 Minutes knows this and is standing by its original story, perhaps we have additional subject matter for a future 60 Minutes story.

The next step would be to verify Davies’ claim that he was in fact ordered to stand down. If yes, his credibility is restored and several new questions are raised. If not, 60 Minutes should admit the mistake and move on.

The “intellectual curiosity” from the likes of Media Matters, the Washington Post, the New York Times, and the Huffington Post when it comes to digging into the 60 Minutes piece has been all but absent when it comes to investigating what happened in Benghazi. Short of a brief period around the time of testimony from State Department whistleblower Gregory Hicks, the mainstream media has been MIA on Benghazi.

The one concession that is being made by 60 Minutes is that it should have divulged Davies’ book was published by a CBS subsidiary.

Here is the entire October 27th 60 Minutes report:


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