Last Updated:December 18 @ 08:11 am

State Dept. blasts CNN report on Stevens' diary

By Lynn Elber

LOS ANGELES (AP) - CNN reported on the personal journal of slain American ambassador Christopher Stevens over objections from his family, a State Department spokesman said Saturday.

The news channel, in a story posted online Saturday, said that it found a journal belonging to Stevens four days after he died in a Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Three other Americans also were killed.

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.

In a blistering statement, Reines called CNN's actions "indefensible."

The channel said in the story online that it took "newsworthy tips" from Stevens' diary and confirmed them with other sources. Citing an unidentified source "familiar with Stevens' thinking," CNN said that the ambassador was concerned about security threats in Benghazi and a "rise in Islamic extremism."

In a statement Saturday, CNN defended its use of the journal's contents and asked "why is the State Department now attacking the messenger."

"CNN did not initially report on the existence of a journal out of respect for the family, but we felt there were issues raised in the journal which required full reporting, which we did," the channel said.

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."

Stevens' family was informed within hours about the discovery of the journal, a hard-bound book that included seven handwritten pages. It was returned to them via a third party, according to CNN's online story.

An Italian official took control of the diary from CNN in Benghazi at the State Department's request, and it is en route back to Stevens' family, the department said.

"Given the truth of how this was handled, CNN patting themselves on the back is disgusting," Reines said in his statement.

"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 a phone call with the Stevens family, CNN "agreed to abide by the clear wishes of the Stevens family, and pledged not to use the diary or even allude to its existence until hearing back from the family," Reines said.

But four days later, "they just went ahead and used it," he said.

The diary was first mentioned on-air Friday by Anderson Cooper, following previous CNN reportsthat Stevens feared he was on an "al-Qaida hit list" but did not mention the journal. Cooper said that some of the information in the reports was based on Stevens' personal journal, which he said CNN came across in its reporting.

In its online story, CNN said it found the journal on the "floor of the largely unsecured consulate compound where he was fatally wounded."

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.

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5 Comments

  1. rosecoatsComment by rosecoats
    September 24, 2012 @ 11:28 am

    Where was our state department, why was the scene not secured if it was considered a “crime scene”? I guess since the scene was not secured when people were in danger, we wouldn’t expect it to be secured after the incident either. Unfortunately, if it had been the state department who found this book, the contents would never have seen the light of day. What did they expect the journalists to do with it once they found it? Cover up?
    If they really needed this journal as part of the “crime scene” then why is it being delivered to the family of Stevens (who by the way has no spouse or children and never has).
    Methinks they doth protest too much, and of course we all know the real reason.
    Clinton: “I have absolutely no information or reason to believe that there’s any basis for that,” (regarding Stevens fear that he was on al Qaida’s hit list). Amazing how blind she is, or maybe just a pathological liar. Or both.

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  2. gavinwcaComment by gavinwca
    September 24, 2012 @ 12:56 pm

    The State Department has no standing to complain about anyone. The state Department ignored the warnings of everyone in the world includeing the Ambassador. They left him unprotected hireling unarmed foreigners to protect him. They just as well put a mafia contract on him. The only reason state is irritated about the diary release is the information released, shows how ignorant our administration really is.
    Ps. The administration even sold the guns to the radical jihadis Muslims used to kill him and had no objections to the homosexual rape of the ambassador ..

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  3. BillzillaComment by Billzilla
    September 24, 2012 @ 1:02 pm

    If the diary showed that Stevens was comfortable with his security and got blindsided by the terrorist attack, the State Department would have been okay with the release of the diary. Since the diary shows the State Department, and the Administration of being blind and negligent, they’re attacking the release of it’s contents.

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  4. CharlieComment by vietnamvet
    September 24, 2012 @ 5:28 pm

    Hillary didn’t take action to protect her people.
    THAT is why the State Department objects to the revelations.

    Her neglect may have been the result of her spending too much time and effort covering her tracks as the originator of Fast & Furious.

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  5. jmccarthy1Comment by jmccarthy1
    September 24, 2012 @ 6:20 pm

    Sen. John McCain refered to Ambassador Stevens as being “Sacrificed”. Not slain, murdered or killed but “Sacrificed”. Why would McCain use that odd term to describe what happened to Stevens? The first definition of sacrifice is to “…being sacrificed to a diety or god…”! To me, McCain knows a lot more than he is letting on-as do most RINO’s! So, is this just the beginning of more “Sacrifices” on the Alter to obama?

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