America gripped by story of love triangle amid bombs of Baghdad

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The Independent Online

The main news tonight: a television reporter is making front-page headlines across America, after being entangled in a scandalous love triangle during a posting to Baghdad.

Lara Logan, a CBS news correspondent and former swimwear model, was labelled a "home-wrecker" in divorce papers filed by the wife of Joe Burkett, a civilian contractor Ms Logan allegedly seduced in between dodging bullets.

At the time, Ms Logan was also involved with Michael Ware, an Australian CNN reporter she had frequently interviewed for her popular television show, 60 Minutes. The situation was said to have come to a head when Mr Burkett walked in to a safe-house in Baghdad to find 37-year-old Ms Logan with Mr Ware. Mr Burkett's wife Kimberly, claims a lengthy and sometimes physical altercation ensued.

Rumours of the incident have been circulating on websites for months, and were first reported in print last month by the National Enquirer. They gained currency this week when detailed accounts appeared in the New York Post and Daily News, as well as in several Australian titles.

Susie Chmielowiec, a divorce lawyer in Houston, Texas, who is representing Mrs Burkett, a US embassy worker from Fredericksburg, in the same state, said Ms Logan "stole" her client's husband and broke up the marriage. She also said Mr Ware and Mr Burkett had fought for hours in CNN's Baghdad headquarters.

Ms Logan admits being involved with Mr Burkett, said friends, but denies she broke up his marriage, claiming he had been separated from his wife for six months before their affair began. Mr Ware had been an unfortunate one-night stand, they added.

"She is not the cause of the divorce; it was going to happen," a friend told the New York Post. "The simple truth is that it was a marriage that was breaking up, and that's the bottom line."

CBS responded this week by posting Ms Logan to Washington and giving her a new title of chief foreign affairs correspondent. She will continue to travel internationally and file stories for 60 Minutes, the network said. Sean McManus, the president CBS News, said in a statement: "Lara Logan is extraordinarily determined and courageous, but never fails to see and report the human side of conflict, including some of the most horrific stories of our time."

The promotion marks a coup for Ms Logan, born and educated in South Africa, who made her name reporting for GMTV after being granted a reporter's visa to Afghanistan in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.

She had moved to the UK after marrying Jason Siemon, a professional basketball player for the now-defunct Brighton Bees. The couple have lived apart for years and are divorcing.

Ms Logan is seen as a rising star in America's TV news, and has a reputation for brains and beauty, as well as bravery under fire in pursuit of stories; in 2003, she sneaked into Baghdad five days before coalition troops got there. She has also been named one of Glamour magazine's 2007 women of the year.

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