Lexis Nexis deleted the transcript from a 60 Minutes piece on the terror attack in Benghazi, Libya at the request of CBS News.
On October 27, 2013, CBS News correspondent Lara Logan ran a story on the popular television news program in which a former security contractor claimed he was at the U.S. diplomatic outpost when it was attacked, had himself attacked a supposed al-Qaeda operative and saw U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens’ dead body.
However, within days, various news outlets had not only discredited the contractor’s story, but also highlighted other false and misleading claims from Logan’s report. She subsequently apologized for the errors and the network asked Logan and a colleague who worked on the story to take a leave of absence.
The Logan saga was renewed on Sunday when New York Magazine published a lengthy story on Logan and the affair surrounding her Benghazi report. Notably, the piece reports that Logan met with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) — who has led the charge in politicizing Benghazi, himself advancing numerous falsehoods about the attack — “two or three times to talk about the Libya attack.” Graham reportedly told Logan that “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.”
Soon after the report, Graham trumpeted it as a “death blow” to the White House’s Benghazi narrative.
But what did Logan’s report say about al-Qaeda’s role in the attack? CBS deleted the story and transcript from its website and searching the Lexis Nexis database will yield no results for a transcript of the report — that’s because, according Lexis Nexis, both the introduction to the story and the report itself have been “deleted at the request of CBS News due to legal or copyright reasons.” Here are screen shots from the search result for Logan’s report:
CREDIT: Lexis Nexis
CREDIT: Lexis Nexis
However, according to a web archive of the CBS News transcript, Logan reported last October that “it’s now well established that the Americans were attacked by al Qaeda in a well-planned assault.” But the accuracy of that statement is still unclear. The New York Times reported in December that “Benghazi was not infiltrated by Al Qaeda, but nonetheless contained grave local threats to American interests. The attack does not appear to have been meticulously planned, but neither was it spontaneous or without warning signs.”
Moreover, a Senate report released in January found that the attackers had links to some al-Qaeda groups, such as al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, but it’s still unclear whether high level al Qaeda operatives planned the Benghazi operation.
Both 60 Minutes and Lexis Nexis did not respond to emails and phone calls regarding this matter at press time.