CNN broke a pledge to the late ambassador's family that it wouldn't report on the diary, said State Department spokesman Philippe Reines, a senior adviser to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton...
I'm glad CNN did this. The State Department — it's obvious, isn't it? — wanted to suppress this information, and CNN got it out. This is a major international event, and I don't accept privatizing it. Yes, there is a grieving family, but the State Department, which calls CNN "disgusting," is hiding behind that family. That's disgusting.The public has a right to know what CNN learned from "multiple sources" about fears and warnings of a terror threat before the Benghazi attack, the channel said, "which are now raising questions about why the State Department didn't do more to protect Ambassador Stevens and other U.S. personnel."...
"Whose first instinct is to remove from a crime scene the diary of a man killed along with three other Americans serving our country, read it, transcribe it, email it around your newsroom for others to read" and then call the family?" Reines asked.
In its online story, CNN said it found the journal on the "floor of the largely unsecured consulate compound where he was fatally wounded."Why wasn't the crime scene secured? If CNN hadn't taken the journal, where would it be now? Having taken it, they shouldn't read it? Having read it, they shouldn't use it?
Asked to comment on CNN's report that Stevens was concerned about a "hit list," Reines referred to a news conference last Thursday at which Clinton was asked about it.
"I have absolutely no information or reason to believe that there's any basis for that," Clinton had said.Why didn't Clinton know anything? Or was she lying? I'm sick of this suppression. Our ambassador was assassinated, the State Department has been lying or dissembling, and we're asked to be distracted by the family's wishes... as asserted by the State Department in cover-your-ass mode... or worse.
ADDED: Did CNN "pledge" to the family that it wouldn't use the information from the journal in its reporting? I'm trying to find the answer to that question (as I simply don't trust the State Department's choice of words). Here's what the WSJ has:
CNN said on its website that it notified the Stevens family "within hours" that it had the journal. The Stevens family then reached out to the State Department, which arranged a telephone conference call between members of the family and CNN. In that call, the family asked the news organization to return the journal and to not publish or broadcast any of its contents, according to a Stevens family member and State Department officials.Family members and State Department officials said CNN agreed... What did CNN "agree" to? This isn't in quotes, so it's hard to judge what was agreed to. CNN didn't quote the journal or say it had it. They did use the material to build a report that had more than one source. It seems as though the State Department leaned on CNN, and I don't know what the family's concern was — perhaps more personal things in the journal. Or was the family dutifully backing the State Department — which didn't want to reveal the security lapses?
Family members and State Department officials said CNN agreed during the Sept. 14 conference call to hold off on using the diary until the family had a chance to review its contents.
"Some of that information was found in a personal journal of Ambassador Stevens in his handwriting," Mr. Cooper told viewers [on his Friday show]. "We came upon the journal through our reporting and notified the family. At their request, we returned that journal to them. We reported what we found newsworthy in the ambassador's writings."That implies that they did not report other things that they did not find newsworthy.
CNN added in a statement on its website, "For CNN, the ambassador's writings served as tips about the situation in Libya, and in Benghazi in particular. CNN took the newsworthy tips and corroborated them with other sources."If the argument is that CNN broke an agreement, I want precision and I don't see it. I repeat that I'm glad CNN got this information to us and didn't supinely pass along the State Department's talking points (which were wrong).