Travis J. Tritten, the Stars and Stripes reporter who broke the Brian Williams bombshell Wednesday, reports today that soldiers who were in Iraq with Williams in 2003 are blasting the Nightly News anchors on-air apology Wednesday night as “misleading“:
Apologies by NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams Wednesday for his false claim of being on a helicopter forced down by Iraqi rocket fire in 2003 left out key details and made misleading claims about his proximity to the incident, according to soldiers who were there at the time. …
The wording appeared to be another example of the anchor muddling the facts or providing misleading details of the incident that he covered in the opening days of the Iraq invasion. Since the 2003 incident, he has written that he “came under fire” and implied that his Chinook was forced down due to an attack, while soldiers said it was landed amid deteriorating weather conditions during a sandstorm.
“I think it is misleading” for Williams to say his aircraft was following behind the Chinook hit by two rocket-propelled grenades and small arms fire, said David Luke, a retired soldier from Texas who was a flight engineer with a company of the helicopters under the 159th Aviation Regiment, which was known as Hercules and based out of Savannah, Ga.
The company carrying NBC and the company that was attacked typically flew sorties one hour apart to supply forward positions as the U.S. pushed toward Baghdad, though they happened to pass in the air before the incident, he said.
Read the full story here.
For 12 years Williams repeated a stolen valor lie where he claimed to have been in a Chinook helicopter that was forced to land due to enemy fire over Iraq in 2003.
After being caught in that lie, Williams recanted Wednesday night during his Nightly News broadcast.
According to some of the men who were there, though, Williams is still not telling the truth.
ADDED: Witnesses talking to Stars and Stripes contradict a CNN military witness who claims Williams was close enough to see the RPG attack.
John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC