Jeff Fager, the chairman of CBS News and executive producer of “60 Minutes” has responded to Lance Armstrong‘s lawyers who are demanding an on-air apology for Scott Pelley‘s report on the cyclist last month.
Yesterday, Armstrong’s attorneys sent a letter to Fager accusing the show of reporting a “demonstrable falsehood that you recklessly presented, and then bolstered with other untrue assertions and facts taken out of context.”
Today, Fager responded:
60 MINUTES stands by its story as truthful, accurate and fair. Lance Armstrong and his lawyers were given numerous opportunities to respond to every detail of our reporting for weeks prior to the broadcast and their written responses were fairly and accurately included in the story. Mr. Armstrong still has not addressed charges by teammates Tyler Hamilton and George Hincapie that he used performance enhancing drugs with them.
1) The letter from Keker & Van Nest, Mr. Armstrong’s attorneys, claims that there was no “positive” or “suspicious” test from the 2001 Tour de Suisse:
Mr. Armstrong’s teammate, Tyler Hamilton, told 60 MINUTES about the 2001 Tour de Suisse test. Included in his interview are the same facts that Hamilton reported under oath to U.S. federal officials under the penalty of perjury. 60 MINUTES also reported that the Swiss Anti-Doping Laboratory Director, Dr. Martial Saugy, told U.S. officials and the FBI that that there was a “suspicious” test result from the Tour de Suisse in 2001. This was confirmed by a number of international officials who have linked the “suspicious” test to Armstrong. In recent days, Dr. Saugy finally confirmed to the media that there were “suspicious” test results.
2) The letter from Armstrong’s attorneys claims that 60 MINUTES was inaccurate in reporting about a meeting between Dr. Saugy, Mr. Armstrong and former U.S. Postal Team Director, Johan Bruyneel:
60 Minutes reported there was a meeting between Dr. Saugy, Mr. Armstrong and Mr. Bruyneel. Dr. Saugy refused our requests for an interview, but after the broadcast he confirmed that the meeting took place. Mr. Armstrong, after our broadcast, said he couldn’t recall that any such meeting took place.
3) Mr. Armstrong’s lawyers claim our story was “shoddy,” while we found at least three inaccuracies in their letter:
They claimed that 60 MINUTES reported the meeting took place at the Swiss lab; they claimed that 60 MINUTES reported the meeting took place in 2001; and they claimed that 60 MINUTES said it was a “secret” meeting. All three are wrong. David Howman, managing director of the World Anti-Doping Agency, told 60 MINUTES that any meeting between Mr.Armstrong, Mr. Brunyeel and the Swiss lab director, Dr. Saugy, would be “highly unusual” and “inappropriate.”
Jeff Fager, chairman, CBS News, executive producer, 60 MINUTES