As Michael Calderone reports, 60 Minutes has finally conceded they got hoodwinked by “Morgan Jones” AKA “Dylan Davies.”
I’ve heard no related concession from Dick Cheney propagandist Mary Matalin that her Simon & Schuster imprint, Threshold, published a fabrication, “Jones'” book. Until we learn how that happened — which surely drove some of the credibility 60 Minutes accorded a guy working under a pseudonym for obviously nonsensical reasons (his other name, Dylan Davies, had already been published, at a time much closer to the attack) — I think it worth examining what story he chose to tell.
The 60 Minutes platform gave “Jones” the opportunity to make 3 claims that, as delivered, were unverifiable (because there were no witnesses).
2 of them conflict with the incident report that has been his undoing. In the first — and the one that has attracted all the attention — “Jones” claimed he had heroically entered the compound and bashed some guy’s face in (but not shot him).
Not long afterwards, Morgan Jones scaled the 12-foot high wall of the compound that was still overrun with al Qaeda fighters.
Morgan Jones: One guy saw me. He just shouted. I couldn’t believe that he’d seen me ’cause it was so dark. He started walking towards me.
Lara Logan: And as he was coming closer?
Morgan Jones: As I got closer, I just hit him with the butt of the rifle in the face.
Lara Logan: And?
Morgan Jones: Oh, he went down, yeah.
Lara Logan: He dropped?
Morgan Jones: Yeah, like– like a stone.
Lara Logan: With his face smashed in?
Morgan Jones: Yeah.
Lara Logan: And no one saw you do it?
Morgan Jones: No.
Lara Logan: Or heard it?
Morgan Jones: No, there was too much noise.
The incident report says that “Jones” tried to drive to the compound but upon hitting Ansar al-Sharia roadblocks, his driver judged they’d be killed if they tried to get closer, so they turned back. They were gone from “Jones'” villa for no more than an hour total.
But what’s remarkable about this heroic scene is the designed unverifiability of it. Had “Jones” claimed to have shot a man, there’d be bullets missing from his gun, a dead body. Instead, he bashed the guy’s face in, which is not only more exciting, but also has the advantage of being quieter. No witness to see or hear the event.
I’m far more interested in “Jones'” claim to have gone to the hospital (guarded by the same militia whose roadblocks convinced “Jones” to turn back from the compound) to see Chris Stevens’ dead body. The incident report says, instead, that one of his guards had gone to the hospital to check after one of the guards who had been shot and while there had seen and photographed the Ambassador, and learned he had still been alive when brought to the hospital by Libyan men but then died. Crucially, “Jones'” incident report claims he didn’t tell his own Managing Director that night about Stevens (at least about Stevens’ passing, but possibly even about his being brought to the hospital).
I kept quiet about the Ambassadors [sic] death as I knew there would be huge repercussions.
Compare that with what he told 60 Minutes.
Morgan Jones: I was dreading seeing who it was, you know? It didn’t take long to get to the room. And I could see in through the glass. And I didn’t even have to go into the room to see who it was. I knew who it was immediately.
Lara Logan: Who was it?
Morgan Jones: It was the ambassador, dead. Yeah, shocking.
Morgan Jones said he’d never felt so angry in his life. Only hours earlier, Amb. Chris Stevens had sought him out, concerned about the security at the U.S. Special Mission Compound where Morgan was in charge of the Libyan guard force.
The story was nonsensical in any case, because if an American employed contractor had seen the Ambassador’s body in a hospital controlled by a hostile militia, you might thing he’d claim custody of the body.
But the story does serve to let “Jones” claim that he had just spoken about security with Stevens.