Was Lara Logan’s husband behind the infamously incorrect 60 Minutes piece on Benghazi


The 60 Minutes hatchet job that Lara Logan aired last month and then had to retract because it was based on a lie was most likely based on information fed to her and her colleagues not by the person she interviewed on air, but most likely by the person she sleeps with at home.  Notice how Joseph W. Burkett, Logan’s husband, who has a shady background and an unnamed employer is a stay at home dad with nannies and hired help; shades of David Petraeus and Paula Broadwell where authors of the printed word meet commanders of  military might to produce fanciful fiction designed to encourage imperialism.  In Logan’s case both inhabit the same dwelling.

Nobody at 60 Minutes has been fired or even publicly disciplined for its odd, inflammatory and dead-wrong October 27 story on the Islamist assault in Benghazi that killed U.S. ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. But it has apologized. That mea culpa, however, left some large and troubling questions unanswered; the most important one is how CBS’s superstar correspondent, Lara Logan, her producer and other network news executives let security contractor Dylan Davies on the air with his explosive tale about what he did and saw during that attack.

While Davies was the central on-camera personality in that report, the most interesting figure in this mystery was never on screen, nor listed as a contributor to the piece. It is Logan’s husband, Joseph W. Burkett, a former Army sergeant and onetime employee of a private intelligence outfit hired by the Pentagon to plant pro-U.S. stories in the Iraqi media in 2005.

One recent account implied that Burkett, 42, was the Svengali behind the now infamous story that pinned responsibility for the Benghazi attack on al Qaeda, without citing any sources.

“He was an employee of the Lincoln Group, a now-shuttered ‘strategic communications and public relations firm’ hired by the Department of Defense in 2005 to plant positive stories written by American soldiers in Baghdad newspapers during the Iraq War,” the website Gawker reported.

The Gawker account also implied Burkett was a key operator in the covert action. A source intimately familiar with Burkett’s family told Newsweek that he regularly suggested he was some sort of super-spook.

According to an internal company document obtained by Newsweek, the Lincoln Group specialized in producing films, news clips, and print stories in Baghdad that would be fed to the media through cutouts on an unattributed basis, making them appear as originating from legitimate news organizations.

During the 2006 battle for Fallujah, “Our development of documentaries of the Fallujah campaign and our ability to develop non-Coalition attributable messages enabled us to reach out to the Iraqi audience,” the document says. “This multifaceted project produced content for Western, Arab, and Iraqi audiences and is still ongoing. For each audience we have identified content and formatting that is appropriate andnon-attributable to the actual source.” (Italics added.)

But others who claim to have known Burkett in Baghdad paint a starkly different portrait of the former enlisted man, one more akin to the role Steve McQueen played as a gofer for army supply sergeant Jackie Gleason in Soldier in the Rain.

According to a source intimately familiar with his family, Burkett routinely implied, without foundation, that he was a key player in classified operations in Iraq.

“He’s what we call a puffer – he puffs himself up,” said the source, on condition of anonymity. “He alluded to top-secret work, but he didn’t make as much money as a truck driver over there. He had some kind of minuscule position.… He was kind of an errand person or something like that.”

Besides, the source says, “People who are spies don’t really tell people they’re spies.”

When Logan and Burkett began their affair in Baghdad, he was married and she was in a relationship. They were married in 2008. “I knew him for about six years before we got together,” she told The New York Times in a soft-focus feature in 2012. “He had a very secretive job, and I always respected that. I know tons of people in that world, and I never ask them questions because it’s a violation right there.”

“He never crossed my boundaries,” Logan said of Burkett. “I never crossed his.”

After Logan was named CBS’s chief foreign correspondent, she purchased a $1.5 million home in D.C., which she now shares with Burkett and their two children. When asked for comment on Wednesday at the couple’s Cleveland Park home, Burkett angrily ushered me out the door. (CBS also declined to comment.)

Since returning from Iraq, Burkett appears to have cut ties with Lincoln and its various corporate permutations, but he has clearly kept a hand in the world of security contractors. In 2011, according to Texas public records, he was listed as “managing member” of Janus Lares Associates, an Austin-based ammunition dealer. (Burkett is from a prominent family in Kerrville.) In 2011, he was also named as the “governing person” of Sakom Services LLC in San Marcos, Texas, which lists an office in the UAE, whose owner-director is Justin Penfold, a U.K.-based “subject matter expert in the security industry” with experience in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Whatever Burkett is doing now, it doesn’t appear to be a full-time job. When New York Times reporter Sally Singer interviewed Logan at her home last year, she identified Burkett as a “work-at-home Congressional liaison,” without noting his employer. When I spoke to him midday on Wednesday, Burkett was home in jeans and a T-shirt, having just emerged from the shower, helping take care of the couple’s two kids with paid helpers in the kitchen and the backyard.

“Congressional liaison” is another way of saying lobbyist, but a search of public records did not reveal Burkett’s name. Nor did his name pop up in a search of the Justice Department’s registered foreign agents.

None of this would matter or even be a topic of conversation had Logan’s Benghazi story not included so many errors, documented most thoroughly by McClatchy Newspaper’s Cairo correspondent Nancy A. Youssef.

The unmasking of security contractor Davies as a fabricator was the starting point for Youssef and other critics, but what stood out for them was Logan’s unsourced allegations pinning responsibility for the attack solely on al Qaeda, and in particular, operatives with close ties to Osama Bin Laden. The effect of such allegations is to once again undermine the Obama administration’s position that the attack had local origins and came as a surprise, and that all that made rescuing the besieged Americans very difficult, if not impossible. And the 60 Minutes broadcast was hardly off the air when South Carolina Senator Lindsay Graham, a persistent critic of the administration for its handling of the Benghazi attack, declared he would block all of Obama’s nominations for government posts until he got more answers.

The State Department and CIA have conducted extensive internal investigations that, to unbiased observers, persuasively debunk charges of an orchestrated cover-up of the events in Benghazi.

Asked about the 60 Minutes report this week, a senior U.S. intelligence official toldNewsweek that, based on what U.S. intelligence has learned, “members of several militia groups and al Qaeda linked affiliates participated in the attack.” However, he added on the condition of anonymity, since he was discussing a still-sensitive matter, “even though it has yet to be determined who called the shots, I have not seen any credible information that it was core al Qaeda.”

So why did Logan put that story on the air? Her pro-military bias is as well known, but so is her mettle – she’s worked in some of those most dangerous parts of war-ravaged Iraq, Afghanistan, and Egypt, where she was sexually assaulted by a mob. She won an Emmy for one of her Iraq reports.

In other words, she’s a smart, tough, experienced reporter. And the producer and writers and reporters who helped her put this Benghazi story together are honored, respected professionals, many of whom have been covering the region for years. Whoever fooled them, whoever convinced them that al Qaeda orchestrated that attack on the U.S. embassy, had to be smart, incredibly persuasive and savvy about the media. And unquotable.

In other words, an intelligence source. And the person closest to Logan with those credentials is her husband. But he’s not talking.

Lara Logan in the news again?!?


Lara-Logan

Yes she is and it’s because of that disastrous segment she did on 60 Minutes about the attack in Benghazi.  That story was one of many concocted by Obama’s opposition to show the ineptitude of the administration but like so many of the other stories it shriveled and died because there essentially was nothing there.  That hasn’t stopped members of the #DemonicGOP or the press, especially FoxNews from regurgitating stale and inaccurate assertions and rallying politicians to join in the chorus of ‘just how bad the Obama administration is’.

Logan’s hit piece for 60 Minutes however tops the cake and is a case study of how low she and CBS News have gone to imitate the yellow journalism of the conservative opposition.  I remarked how (T)his is on the magnitude of FoxNews if not worse, before I learned CBS News is now being run by someone who once worked for FoxNews.

Few seem to realize that a former Fox News exec became the head of the CBS News in February 2011.  He is David Rhodes…….

Rhodes began his career as a Production Assistant at the newly-launched Fox News Channel in 1996, where he later became Vice President of News. At the network he managed coverage of three presidential elections, wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, hurricanes including Katrina, and was the channel’s Assignment Manager on the news desk the morning of September 11, 2001.

Brit Humes of FoxNews has even gone on record to attest to Rhodes’ bona fides as a conservative journalist. What Logan et. co did was to base their story on what happened in Benghazi the night a US diplomat was killed on the word of a liar they knew was a liar before they even put him on the air!

In the “60 Minutes” interview, Davies described scaling the compound’s 12-foot wall during the attack and knocking one terrorist fighter to the ground with the butt of his rifle. He also spoke about seeing Stevens dead in the hospital, and said Stevens had expressed security concerns just hours before the attack.

But The Post obtained an incident report from Sept. 14, 2012, that revealed Davies provided his employer with a written account of the events that differed greatly from what he said on “60 Minutes”

In other words the source for 60 Minutes segment on how terrible the Obama administration handled the Benghazi affair lied….the segment therefore, was a lie and it was produced under the tutelage of a former FoxNews executive. The symbiosis of conservative ideology with journalism has never been more stark than with this example.    Let’s be clear on one thing, the time line; the source’s account of what he did and what took place that fateful day was clearly on record for CBS to verify before they aired his interview.  He had a written account on record three days after the Benghazi tragedy that was completely contradictory to his TV account that CBS knew about but ignored.

But in a written account that Jones, whose real name was confirmed as Dylan Davies by several officials who worked with him in Benghazi, provided to his employer three days after the attack, he told a different story of his experiences that night.

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.

The State Department and GOP congressional aides confirmed that Davies’s Sept. 14, 2012, report, a copy of which was obtained by The Washington Post, was included among tens of thousands of documents turned over to lawmakers by the State Department this year.

Were it not for the due diligence of those in print media, CBS would have let their source’s own handwritten account which contradicted what they broadcast  remain swept under the rug; the apology Logan issued was sorrow at being caught, which brings me to the other aspect of this story.

Lara Logan has been the water boy/girl and a strident supporter for super power imperial adventures for a very long time.

Logan sounds like the most devoted member of McChyrstal’s P.R. staff or even his family…..Logan has done good and courageous reporting over the years, but she clearly sees herself as part of the government and military, rather than an adversarial watchdog over it

I took a shot at Logan on the pages of Miscellany101

It’s second nature to her, it’s her job to blur distinctions and make things equivalent when they are not.

Logan like so many others on todays’ airwaves is there to sell news and anyway that can be done to make it attractive, sexy, glamorous is what news executives want.  They are not interested in the truth and they will use anyone/thing at their disposal to increase reader/viewership.  Logan is a tool of corporate media….a misplaced, misused one.  In this latest mishap she has relegated herself to the pile of irrelevance.

The Oppression of Egyptian women under military rule


We may never know the name of the woman pictured here who was brutalized by the Egyptian army in horrific ways, but she is symbolic of what happens to Egyptians, men and particularly women, under the military rule of the government of Egypt.  There is nothing that this woman could have done to merit the public treatment she received at the hands of the men in this picture.  We will never know if the men are Christian or Muslim……does it matter, they  disrobed her purposefully and publicly and beat her mercilessly and senselessly.    This is the fate of women who protest against the government of Egypt and it doesn’t matter to the thugs who participate in this mass orgy of violence and sexual humiliation whether their victims are Muslim, Christian, Jewish,  Egyptian or foreign, expressions of dissent of any form is not tolerated and public examples must be made of those who violate that unwritten tradition or culture.  This is the face of totalitarianism, not Islam, of autocratic militarism that has plagued Egyptian society, our ally, for over 30 years.  It is what Lara Logan saw and faced during her last visit to Tahrir Square.  It is raw, naked brutal, and it is ugly.  You can read about what else women in Egypt are facing and have faced from the military regime here.  The accounts there are demoralizing, and inhumane and characteristic of military rule which has its own precepts and pillars, in that part of the world.

More rape news out of Egypt


More female reporters alleged they were sexually abused by crowds in Tahrir Square in Cairo Egypt last week.  It’s interesting that their claim has received far less notoriety than the one made by CBS News’ Lara Logan earlier this year. We wrote, in response to the Islamophobia that sprung up about her assault, that it had less to do with religion or Israel and more to do with the very rage of rape and its presence in Egyptian society.  So now the stories of other women being molested, two of them Egyptian and one French receive barely a notice in sensational American media.

What provoked my ire about the Logan rape story is how it was elevated above what normally happens in that country……as if Logan herself was single out and abused.  To the contrary asserts one of the more recent victims of sexual assault in Tahrir square, Mona Eltahawy who said, ‘It was an awful night, but what happened to me is just a taste of what happens to so many Egyptians. The brutality of Egyptian security forces has long been documented and I experienced just a bit of it.’

Raped by hands


Lara Logan, the CBS correspondent who was assaulted in Cairo, Egypt during the “Egyptian revolution” has finally come out and spoken about what happened to her.  It sounds very dramatic and Logan does an excellent job of provoking the imagery, stimulating the schemata but it rings flat on my dead old ears.  Not because I assume the typical attitude of many who don’t believe a rape victim’s story or dismiss it but because Logan, a member of the main stream media elite, has a job that depends on her exciting such mental images of noble wars of empire and chivalrous soldiers intent on serving the Nation or rescuing damsels like herself from the hordes of grabbing, prodding savages of far away place.

Initially we were told she was raped or suffered a violent assault.  Now we are told, by her, that she was ‘raped by hands’ an equally evocative expression.  It’s second nature to her, it’s her job to blur distinctions and make things equivalent when they are not.  Cairo, the city where the ‘rape by hands’ took place is 20 million strong and about a million of them were in Tahrir Square the night Logan’s attack took place.  Raping by hands undoubtedly happened to a lot of people there, men and women, who were jammed in an area not meant for their numbers.

Logan had previously been expelled from Egypt by the Mubarak regime, who at that time was an ally with America in its war on terror, but she was able to re-enter the country shortly thereafter. It appears even from her account she was recognized or identified as being a spy, an Israeli, a Jew or any other appellation to single her out from the rest and then set upon, but how and by whom it is not clear.  One account seems to suggest that Logan wasn’t raped by hands, but rather man handled as she was led away from the place where she was reporting.   Another female reporter claims she too was groped, fondled, sexually assaulted by the crowd but certainly not to the extent that her clothes were ripped off or that she felt fear for  her life.  Instead, this female reporter  claims, defiance at how she was violated;

In the middle of that crowd I suddenly found hands in the intimate parts of my body. When I realised that this was not a one-off incident, but that many people were interested in touching me, I felt vulnerable and became angry.

In an instinctive response, I wanted to smack the molesters, but they disappeared fast. Touching and pulling went on for some minutes when people around me started to notice what was happening.

My Egyptian friends and other friendly Egyptians closed the space around me, and gave precise instructions: while I was pulled forward, they told me to finger point to those people who were molesting me. They looked different from the bright, celebrating faces. After taking me out of the crowd, my new bodyguards turned against the attackers. An awful quarrel started.

With the right embellishment, the account above can turn into ‘rape by hands’ as well as a fear of an impending death, but the above account doesn’t give one that impression; moreover, she doesn’t seem to have assumed the role of  victim and is far too combative to warrant collective sympathy.  I get the impression she would and could readily wipe the floor with her attackers and instead of pitying her want to cheer her on to just such an end.  Yet that’s not what I  feel when I  listen to Logan.

What happened to her reminds me of  an amplified Adela Quested of A Passage to India, the book by E.M. Forster.  Quested an adventurous woman visiting colonized India  became confused after venturing alone into one of the Marabar Caves and emerges from it accusing her host of raping her.  What really happened is a story of human psychology, where a young woman backed up by a cultural belief in her absolute desirability focuses her rage and confusion on one man because of the damage he and by extension everyone in his group, i.e. Indians  have done to her emotional well being.  Logan reminds me of that Quested character , as she spoke of how she was penetrated front and back by the hands of rape during her 60 Minutes interview.  Yet all we have is her word.  None of the people who were with her have been interviewed, she does identify them and one was American, nor do we hear  from any of her rescuers even though she speaks pointedly of how they helped her.  Do we, the general public need to hear any of this or that?  Is it necessary to be allowed into Logan’s pain and suffering?  No, but Logan chose to reveal it to us, to take us there, and give a face to rape.  For me it’s hard to disassociate it from the other faces she’s given us in her role as a reporter.

Black is white and up is down


Cover of January, 1915 National Geographic Mag...

Image via Wikipedia

I’ve just seen the Nic Robertson interview with Imam al-Obeidi, the Libyan woman who says she was gang raped by Qaddafi‘s thugs and I’ve got all these swirling emotions going on in my head that I have to put down on paper.First of all, I was more than a little put off by Robertson’s calm assertion that Obeidi seems to be healing physically rather well from her assault. Let’s remember she was held for several days and repeatedly raped and brutalized by several men only three short weeks ago, during the week of the 21st of March. If you believe as I that rape is a crime of violence, then platitudes about how well she’s doing are too paternalistic for my stomach. Yes, it’s amazing she’s gone on and done an interview with him, and she was very calm throughout it, but her ordeal is far from over as she stated, and her wounds are much deeper than Robertson could know.

His attitude reminds me of the National Geographic types who have no problem showing pictures of naked female aborigines or Africans while claiming to be sterile and clinical in their approach to female nudity but would recoil at the prospect of doing something similar with women from Western society because it’s simply not appropriate. Obeidi’s motives have also been rather suspect in the eyes of some…..even I have cast a sideways glance at her when her story first appeared. We have been bamboozled by people who claim to have been victims, in an attempt to get what some consider the correct foreign policy response, as a result of a pleading victim…in most cases a woman. The Kuwaiti kid who went before Congress to lie about babies and incubators and the the female military service members captured by the Iraqi Army in the beginnings of the last Iraqi campaign all come to mind. Even the Libyan government called into question its victim’s motives, calling her a drunk, a whore and every conceivable name we usually toss at women who are the victims of sexual assault…….especially those women we don’t like and think somehow deserved what they got. But it’s altogether conceivable that this is what it seems, a woman who was brutalized by a brutal dictator who’s been around for a very long time who is completely indifferent to the everyday life of his people. As far as Qaddafi and his supporters are concerned, Obeidi merely was in the wrong place at the wrong time, like countless others in Libya and if she doesn’t look after herself no one else will either, certainly not the leaders of Libya.

While I watched the interview at the hands of a condescending Robertson, I couldn’t help but think if that were Lara Logan, would his tone be any different? You remember Logan, don’t you, the television reporter who said she was raped while covering the Egyptian uprising in February. We wrote about her previously. Since returning to America and her family, Logan has been neither seen nor heard from and I don’t know of any efforts to secure an interview with her to get her side of her story of Tahrir Square. Rather, it seems the “story” of Logan’s rape is the news about Nir Rosen’s tweet that looked sideways at what happened to her and the employment ramifications for him that Logan’s claim of rape has been. Rosen has been hounded or had to resign from two different jobs as a result of reminding people that Logan has been a water carrier for America’s wars of empire in the Middle East AND for quite frankly minimizing her rape as a groping, which others have asserted is really what happened in the first place. So what we have is the National Geographic type attitude towards rape….we can be clinical and far removed enough from the ugliness of rape to conduct an interview with a Libyan rape victim, still kept apart from her family and support structure by  an oppressive dictator, and ask all the right questions because it’s in the interest of journalistic integrity…..questions we might never ask someone who looked like Lara Logan nor even dare assert we have the right to ask. In the end however, both women, al-Obeidi and Logan, are asking us to do the same thing; take a look at the people behind the violence that was committed against them. Unfortunately the supporters of both women have perverted that message and made it a political rather than a criminal message they aim to convey. At least Obaidi has been more honest about it than Logan. Obeidi has come out squarely against the Qaddafi regime and pointed, indirectly, a finger at him for who is responsible. Logan’s supporters, particularly those among the press have made their points too, but it has been a finger of aspersion at Arabs, Muslims, Egyptians, men…the baby and the bath water. This is what has made what happened to Logan disingenuous and cheapens and diminishes her. So maybe Robertson, CNN indeed Logan’s own network ought to insist with as much vigor as they can muster that she be interviewed on television too to provide her side of the story and remove all doubt. No one will insist that, and some may even castigate me for saying that they should. Meanwhile I applaud the courage of all women who stand up to their attackers and demand justice!

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The Politics of Rape


It will be interesting to see if CBS reporter Lara Logan will come out and set the record straight on what happened to her when she was in Cairo, Egypt covering the downfall of Hosni Mubarak’s regime.  Surely she is reading, listening and watching the coverage about her alleged rape and the motivation behind it; some news reports claim the attackers were shouting Jew, Jew while raping her.  We here in America have been conditioned to believe that rape is a crime of violence, but in today’s hatred drenched society, where everything that has to do with the Middle East, Arabs, Muslims and Islam is magnified and collective guilt is the order of the day, rape has become a political football tossed about to further denigrate Muslims and Arabs in order to advance a political agenda.

In the case of Egypt, it’s not hard to know what that agenda is.  Mubarak, a long time ally of America is gone.  As the second largest recipient of US aid Egypt was instrumental  in allowing the genocide of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip to go on unflinchingly by a bloodthirsty and determined Israeli military.  His loss is a blow to the aim of eliminating, wiping Palestinians off the face of the map.  The prevailing mood in Western societies today is to set up the straw man of Islam as something to be feared and there is no greater victim that is ravaged by Islam than a white woman.  Much like the fear of 20th century America to African-Americans and the thought that every white female was the center of their lust, the perpetrator has been replaced by the Arab Muslim.

There’s no doubt Egypt and Egyptian men have a problem with sexual harassment.  Just ask the countless number of Egyptian women who have had to bear the brunt of that despicable act, something I might add we wrote about here when no one else was talking about it but their problem has nothing to do with their religion if we believe in the conventional wisdom that says rape is violence.  Otherwise, what do we account for the statistics found here about rape and the American woman on American soil, far removed from the so called Islamic menace?

There were 248,300 rapes/sexual assaults in the United States in 2007, more than 500 per day, up from 190,600 in 2005. Women were more likely than men to be victims; the rate for rape/sexual assault for persons age 12 or older in 2007 was 1.8 per 1,000 for females and 0.1 per 1,000 for males.7

Nearly one in four women in the United States reports experiencing violence by a current or former spouse or boyfriend at some point in her life.4

Do these statistics mean that 25% of all American men are liars when they say they love the women in their lives who they eventually go on to rape, and that therefore ALL American men are liars and rapists?    Or what about this comment from a person in a position of authority who had this to say about the rape of a woman who had gone to him for help

…’it must have been God’s will for her to be raped’ and recommended that she attend church more frequently.”

are we to conclude therefore that the Judeo-Christian ethic at work in America turns a blind eye to victims of rape and suggests their only remedy is increased attendance at their houses of worship, thereby making the law as impotent as their rapist no doubt was?  Yet pundits like Michael Graham of the Boston Herald too readily dismiss such connections to American culture and rape while reaping it upon Arab and Muslim culture because such shoddy journalism is en vogue in today’s media.

Having 200 “good guys” gang assault a female reporter while screaming “Jew! Jew!” doesn’t fit the narrative. Is that why CBS sat on the story?

Or is it the cultural issue? A rape in a bar is a sex crime. But a pack of political protesters who rape a “Jew” in public is a story about culture.

Graham gets it wrong on both counts; a rape in a bar is a violent crime, that has nothing to do with sex, but with control and a rape in public by people shouting Jew, if that’s what they were shouting, is also a crime of violence but in today’s journalism, the goal posts can be easily moved around in order to validate the racism inherent in the notions about Islam and Muslims, and no one sees anything wrong with that.  Men, who may never commit a rape or wouldn’t even dream of it are able to cast aspersions against those who do and make huge leaps to ascribe motive when rape is as simple, or bestial if you were, as inherent and primal as human nature itself; as murder, assault, or any other crime against humanity.  Logan wasn’t assaulted because of  politics…..ask the countless numbers of women in Egypt and America if their rape had anything to do with politics or religion.  She was assaulted because of the rage and violence, the fantasy and the lust that whipped her attackers into a frenzied orgy of lawlessness.  If you don’t believe me, just ask one of the women you might know who was raped.  Chances are you do know someone who was.