‘Widespread Shock and Disbelief’ at NBC over Brian Williams Lies; Pilot Confirms Not Hit By RPG
“An NBC News spokeswoman said Thursday that the network stood by Williams’ apology and had nothing further to say.
“But others within the news division, granted anonymity to speak freely about the situation, said there was widespread shock and disbelief about Williams’ foggy-memory explanation. One correspondent called it “unreal.””
CNN also reported NBC war correspondents and producers are “particularly perturbed” with Williams and question whether he will be able to keep his position at NBC.
“”I don’t know how you manage to begin to clean up from this, or if you even can,” said one longtime employee. “He’s in for a hell of a ride.””
CNN spoke to the pilot of the helicopter NBC News star Brian Williams was riding in that Williams falsely claimed was hit by an RPG and forced down while flying over enemy territory in Iraq in the early days of the 2003 U.S. liberation of Iraq from the terrorist regime of Saddam Hussein.
The pilot confirms parts of Williams’ oft-told tale but shoots down the more outlandish claims by Williams about the incident.
The pilot, Rich Krell, told CNN his helicopter was in formation behind the chopper that was hit by an RPG. He said all three choppers were hit with small arms fire but that the temporary metal bridges they were ferrying attached below the helicopters took the brunt of the bullets.
Krell and Williams’ helicopter was not forced down by the enemy fire. Kress stated he completed his mission of delivering the bridge part and met up with the other two choppers about forty-five minutes later.
He says he’s known about William’s false telling of the story for years, but didn’t complain as he put it down to the exaggeration of “combat stories”.
An excerpt from the CNN report on their exclusive interview with Krell:
“…Williams was in the back of Krell’s aircraft along with three other NBC staffers. Krell referred to his Chinook as the “second bird” in the formation. The “first bird,” right in front of the “second bird,” was struck by the RPG.
“Due to his seat in the back, Williams was most likely unable to witness the RPG attack, Krell said.
“All three of the helicopters were hit by small arms fire, Krell said, supporting Williams’ past claims about that.
“”The bridge expansions we were hauling took most of the hits,” Krell said.
“The three Chinooks took evasive maneuvers. Krell’s helicopter dropped off its payload, then met up with the other two about 45 minutes later. That may explain why the other crew members told Stars and Stripes that Williams arrived in the area later.
“Krell said of Williams, “Yeah, he messed up some things and said some things he shouldn’t have. I [first] heard it a few years ago. … Actually one of my flight engineers said, ‘Did you hear him say that? Wasn’t he on our bird?'”
“Krell didn’t seem overly bothered by Williams’ revisionist history — he chalked it up to wartime theatrics. “After a while, with combat stories, you just go ‘Whatever,'” he said.”