Anderson Cooper admitted on Friday that CNN 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 CNN host 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”.
Anderson Cooper added that “the source also mentioned [Stevens] being on an al Qaeda hit list”.
Two days later, Anderson Cooper acknowledged that CNN had obtained Christopher 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,” Anderson Cooper told his viewers Friday night.
“We also reported that the ambassador specifically mentioned the rise in Islamic extremism, the growing al Qaeda presence in Libya and said he was on an al Qaeda hit list.
“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,” Anderson Cooper concluded.
Shortly after 1: 00 a.m. 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 Christopher Stevens’ journal four days after the ambassador was killed by Libyans protesting an anti-Muslim film produced by an American filmmaker.