Lara Logan: 6 Big Revelations From New York Magazine's Expose
Is Lara Logan returning to 60 Minutes?
The reporter has been on a leave of absence since November, a month after the CBS News program aired her report about the 2012 attack of the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that turned out to be, in her words, "wrong."
On Sunday night, New York Magazine published an exposé online looking into Logan's past, detailing the events leading up to and after the faulty report aired and posing the question about whether she will be returning to the newsmagazine. It also paints her as a driven, ambitious, hardworking, rising star within CBS News who was a favorite of CBS Corp. chief Leslie Moonves.
Here are six of the biggest revelations from the story:
1. Logan was seen as a danger to herself and her peers due to her risk-taking.
The exposé details several instances in which Logan defied orders from her superiors that potentially put her in harm's way. Eleven years ago, CBS banned the 60 Minutes correspondent from covering the invasion of Iraq because of the dangers of the "shock and awe" bombing campaign, but she went anyway. (She'd been smuggled across the border by two "Iraqi fixers.") She also "often flouted traditional Islamic dress codes," wearing blue jeans and a white T-shirt at an Afghan election rally at which she drew jeers and had to "battle" her way to safety with her crew. Eventually, CBS News' cameramen in London refused to work with her on fears she was "going to get somebody killed," a CBS exec says. She later made headlines after being assaulted in Cairo by a mob of men who ripped off her clothes and groped her.
2. Her colleagues believe she was able to get away with more than her peers due to her "star power."
Moonves "loved her," says an unnamed CBS staffer, while a former CBS producer adds that Logan used that to her advantage: "She was very fond of saying, 'I could end your career with a phone call.' " Adds another former CBS News producer: "She got everything she wanted, always, even when she was wrong, and that’s been going on since the beginning." Adds yet another CBS News colleague: "It's not an accident that Lara Logan f---ed up. It was inevitable. Everybody saw this coming." (According to New York magazine, Moonves has now "soured" on her, though he declined comment.)
3. The former swimsuit model knows how to use her looks to her advantage.
She became a tabloid sensation after London papers published pictures of her in a swimsuit and dubbed her "34D Lara." New York also claims she gave exclusives to papers like The Mirror, including one reading: "Here’s a sight that would stop the Taliban in its tracks. War reporter Lara Logan relaxes on a deck chair in a sizzling swimsuit." She also reportedly once admitted to telling a photographer about her lingerie hanging on a laundry line. "Men play on the military thing, they play on the macho thing, they play on the brotherhood thing," she once said. "No one accuses them of using gender to their advantage. The fact is that sometimes being a woman can open doors for you, but more often than not it makes things more difficult." Logan, who reportedly once showed up to work in a black bustier, also drew attention from the troops: A list of top 10 reasons to be deployed in Iraq was circulated among soldiers that included "Lara Logan in a T-shirt." And Gen. David Petraeus apparently had a picture of her in his office.
4. After the faulty Benghazi report aired, Morley Safer demanded she be fired.
Safer -- who's been with the show since it debuted 45 years ago -- went into the office of CBS News chairman and 60 Minutes executive producer Jeff Fager and demanded he terminate Logan. But Fager refused, saying that Logan would return sometime this year.
5. Since the report aired, the atmosphere at CBS News has become "toxic."
Producers and correspondents tell New York they feel they can't express criticism. Meanwhile, CBS has reportedly advised Logan to bow out of paid appearances where she was supposed to have given speeches. For her part, Logan is reportedly "stressed out of her head."
6. CBS News could already be grooming Logan's replacement.
Logan's agent, Carole Cooper, is married to Fager's agent, Richard Leibner, and negotiations are described as "precarious." Meanwhile, a 60 Minutes producer says Fager is "very high" on Clarissa Ward, a 34-year-old who, like Logan, is "attractive, blonde, and fluent in three foreign language."