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CBS reporter slams administration for 'major lie' over weakened Taliban

CBS News and "60 Minutes" correspondent Lara Logan took the gloves off last week, dropping her role as a disinterested journalist and delivering a speech in Chicago that criticized the Obama administration over its handling of the war in Afghanistan and the attack that killed four Americans in Libya.

Speaking to a crowd of about 1,100 at last Tuesday's Better Government Association annual luncheon, Logan accused the administration of downplaying the number of Al Qaeda operatives in Afghanistan to support its rush to leave. She also claimed Washington acts as apologists for the Taliban by downplaying their links to Al Qaeda and the strength of their organization.

"I chose this subject because, one, I can't stand that there is a major lie being propagated," Logan said. That lie, she explained, is that the American military has weakened the Taliban.

On Sept. 30, Logan interviewed the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Gen. John Allen, for a piece on "60 Minutes." He told her that "an awful lot of the population of this country is living in an area where there is vastly improved security from where it was just a few years ago." 

Logan, in her Tuesday speech, criticized the "narrative coming out of Washington for the last two years."

She said it comes from "Taliban apologists," who claim "they are just the poor moderate, gentler, kinder Taliban. ... It's such nonsense."

Logan also encouraged the administration to "exact revenge" on the terrorists who killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans serving in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11. She said she hopes America will "let the world know that the United States will not be attacked on its own soil -- that its ambassadors will not be murdered, and that the United States will not stand by and do nothing about it."  

She compared the attack on the consulate to the attack on the USS Cole, which went unanswered and was a precursor to the 9/11 attacks in 2001.

Logan's comments are reminiscent of another controversial outcry from a prominent war correspondent.  In 1994, CNN's Christiane Amanpour challenged President Bill Clinton on a live satellite feed from Sarajevo, accusing his administration of "flip flopping" in Bosnia and not intervening to stop the ethnic cleansing.  Some criticized Amanpour for dropping her role as on objective journalist and airing her sentiments about the war. Others say she changed the course of the war by shaming the president into taking military action in Bosnia.