NBC News anchor Brian Williams is under fire for claiming to have been under fire in Iraq in 2003 when he was not.
In his original story, Williams placed himself in a Chinook helicopter that was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade. In his apology, Williams said he was in the Chinook behind the one that took the hit. But that, according to witnesses, isn’t close to the truth either.
Stars And Stripes reports that Williams “was nowhere near that aircraft or two other Chinooks flying in the formation that took fire. Williams arrived in the area about an hour later on another helicopter after the other three had made an emergency landing, the crew members said.”
In Williams’ original account he was in the Chinook that was hit. When he apologized his recounting of the story made it sound as though the Chinook that was hit was part of his convoy, in close proximity to the “Nightly News” anchor. But it turns out he was not on the scene for an hour, long after the attack had ended.
Again, from Stars And Stripes:
Williams and his camera crew were actually aboard a Chinook in a formation that was about an hour behind the three helicopters that came under fire, according to crew member interviews.
That Chinook took no fire and landed later beside the damaged helicopter due to an impending sandstorm from the Iraqi desert, according to Sgt. 1st Class Joseph Miller, who was the flight engineer on the aircraft that carried the journalists.
“No, we never came under direct enemy fire to the aircraft,” he said Wednesday.
The helicopters, along with the NBC crew, remained on the ground at a forward operating base west of Baghdad for two or three days, where they were surrounded by an Army unit with Bradley fighting vehicles and Abrams M-1 tanks.
Miller said he never saw any direct fire on the position from Iraqi forces.
It seems Williams still has some explaining to do.