How CNN Got in Trouble With the State Department

Sep 24, 2012  •  Post A Comment

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.


  1. I can sympathize with the family. CNN agreed to wait until the family had a chance to review the journal. Why show journalistic dishonesty and still reveal the information that you agreed to withhold.
    The State Department, on the other hand, is mad because the journal showed the ambassador was clearly worried about security and they ignored his fears. The journal showed the State Department didn’t give a rat’s backside about his security. I have read where Marines were stationed 3 blocks away, without any bullets in their guns. The ambassador’s security was left to local people. No wonder Hillary Clinton is mad. It shows her in a very unfavorable light. After having valid, credible intelligence from one of her ambassadors, she ignored it.

  2. CNN has been taking a lot of heat over this and they should be getting nominated for awards. This is what good journalism is all about. Digging and finding out the truth about why a terrible incident like this happens; so we can all prevent this from happening in the future. And they were very responsible in how they handled it with the family. The Obama administration is just shocked that the press would allow anything negative about them during the campaign season.

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