CNN host Anderson Cooper admitted on Friday that the network had come across the late Ambassador Christopher Stevens’ personal journal and used parts of it in its reporting without disclosing the source.
On Wednesday on his show Anderson Cooper 360, the journalist told Senator John McCain that ‘a source familiar with Ambassador Stevens’ thinking told us that in the months before his death he talked about being worried about the never-ending security threats that he was facing in Benghazi, and specifically about the rise in Islamist extremism and growing al Qaeda presence.’
Cooper added that ‘the source also mentioned [Stevens] being on an al Qaeda hit list.’
Two days later, Cooper acknowledged that the network had obtained Stevens’ journal, and that some of the information regarding the late ambassador’s thought process in the months leading to the deadly September 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi was drawn from his entries.
‘On Wednesday of this week, we reported that a source familiar with Ambassador Stevens’ thinking said in the months before his death, Ambassador Stevens talked about being worried about what he called the never-ending security threats in Benghazi,’ Cooper told his viewers Friday night.
‘The information for that report, like all of CNN’s reporting, was carefully vetted. Some of that information was found in a personal journal of Ambassador Stevens in his handwriting.
‘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. A reporter followed up on what we found newsworthy, as I said, in the ambassador’s writings,’ Cooper concluded.
The Daily Mail reached out to CNN for comment, but did not receive an immediate response.
Shortly after 1am on Saturday, CNN published a story without a by-line on its website explaining how the journal came into its possession, and how the information it contains was used in the network’s reporting.
According to the article, CNN found Stevens’ journal four days after the ambassador was killed by Libyans protesting an anti-Muslim film produced by an American filmmaker.
The journal consisting of seven handwritten pages in a hard-bound book was found on the floor of the ravaged consulate compound where Stevens was fatally wounded.
The network notified Stevens’ family about the journal within hours of its discovery and handed it over to the slain envoy’s relatives at their request via a third party.
The network stated that it used Stevens’ entries as tips shedding light on the situation in Libya and in Benghazi in particular.