How CNN Got in Trouble With the State Department WSJ

The cable news channel CNN has come under fire from the U.S. State Department and the family of Christopher Stevens, the slain American ambassador to Libya, for broadcasting reports based on the ambassador's personal journal, reports The Wall Street Journal. (Please note that the WSJ is a subscription site and not all readers may be able to access the story.)

CNN obtained Stevens' journal in Benghazi, where he was one of four Americans killed Sept. 11 in an attack on the U.S. consulate, the story says. It's not clear how the network obtained it, the piece adds

“By finding and using Mr. Stevens' personal handwritten thoughts, CNN provoked an unusually sharp condemnation from top officials at the State Department, who called the network's conduct ‘disgusting,’" the story reports.

Philippe Reines, senior adviser to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, commented: "Not a proud moment in CNN's history."

CNN on Saturday said that it "felt there were issues raised in the journal which required full reporting." On its website, CNN said it had notified the Stevens family "within hours" that it had obtained the journal. In a conference call between the family and CNN, organized by the State Department, the family asked CNN to return the journal and not to broadcast or publish its contents.

Family members said CNN agreed to wait until the family had had a chance to review the journal.

But both U.S. officials and family members were surprised when CNN anchor Anderson Cooper then seemed to use information from the journal, such as that Stevens was reportedly worried about security threats in Benghazi, the story says. Cooper attributed it to a source familiar with the ambassador's thinking, the piece notes.