Lara Logan, the CBS News correspondent under fire for using a discredited source for a 60 Minutes story on the Benghazi attack, has agreed to take a leave of absence, according to an internal memo published by USA TODAY.
The segment’s producer, Max McClellan, also was placed on leave.
“There is a lot to learn from this mistake for the entire organization,” Jeff Fager, chairman of CBS News and executive producer of 60 Minutes, said in an email to CBS employees Tuesday. “As executive producer, I am responsible for what gets on the air. I pride myself in catching almost everything, but this deception got through and it shouldn’t have.”
Fager didn’t address how long Logan or McClellan would be away from their jobs.
“The 60 Minutes journalistic review is concluded, and we are implementing ongoing changes based on its results,” said CBS News spokeswoman Sonya McNair.
In October, Logan reported a harrowing eyewitness account of the deadly attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi. Dylan Davies, a security guard for working for a British contractor hired by the State Department to handle security, told Logan that he violated his employer’s orders to stay away from the compound and fought off a militant at the facility. He also claimed to have seen the body of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens at a local hospital. Stevens was one four Americans who died in the attack.
Davies’ claims were widely discredited after it was revealed that he had told his employer and the FBI that he had in fact been nowhere near the scene.
The review, conducted by Al Ortiz, CBS News’ executive director of standards and practices, concluded that the error could have been prevented if Logan and McClellan had used “wider reporting resources of CBS News” to confirm his account.
“It’s possible that reporters and producers with better access to inside FBI sources could have found out that Davies had given varying and conflicting accounts of his story,” Ortiz wrote in another internal memo obtained by USA TODAY.
Earlier this month, Logan apologized publicly on CBS This Morning. “Today the truth is we made a mistake and that’s very disappointing for any journalist,” she said. “It’s very disappointing for me.”
Logan was scheduled to host the Committee to Protect Journalists’ press freedom awards dinner in New York on Tuesday evening. She will not attend the event.