NBC News anchor Brian Williams is facing backlash from military veterans for falsely claiming he was on board a helicopter hit by enemy fire 12 years ago in Iraq.
Veterans who traveled with Williams and were on nearby aircraft said Williams, who has reportedly been telling his story since the incident originally happened, was not on the helicopter in question. He was, according to many, on another aircraft as far as 30 to 45 minutes away from the one that was hit by fire.
On Feb. 4, Williams took to his show and attempted to apologize for his claims.
“On this broadcast last week in an effort to honor and thank a veteran who protected me and so many others following a ground-fire incident in the desert during the Iraq War, I made a mistake in recalling the events of 12 years ago,” Williams said. “It didn't take long to hear from some brave men and women in the air crews who were also in the desert. I want to apologize: I said I was traveling in an aircraft that was hit by RPG fire. I was instead in a following aircraft. We all landed and spent two harrowing nights in a sandstorm in the desert. This was a bungled attempt by me to thank one special veteran, and by extension: our brave military men and women — veterans everywhere — those who have served while I did not. I hope they know they have my greatest respect… and also now my apology.”
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Many veterans did not like Williams’ apology and responded online.
“Minimization and lying are the characteristics of a deviant behavior and are typically signs of guilt,” former Navy SEAL Jonathan Gilliam said.
Others who criticized Williams' apology said his false claims now put NBC's credibility in question.
“This is one of, if not the most despicable acts of lying to those who have served and the United States Citizens. He is stealing valor from those that have actually seen combat, been shot at with RPG's and small arms fire,” former Army Ranger and Benghazi attack survivor Kris Poronto said. “I can tell you from firsthand experience that you do not misremember being shot at. This lie and continual lying to cover up the first lie says a lot about Mr. Williams’ character, or lack thereof. This is a serious offense.
“What concerns me as well is how much has he and/or NBC lied about over the years? In my opinion, and that's all it is, both are fully compromised news organizations and should no longer be a credible source for news for many years to come,” Poronto continued. “Keep in mind, if military personnel would've done this, he/she would at very least be given an Article 15, busted down in rank, and possibly pay withheld until a full investigation was completed.”
Do you think Williams’ apology was enough?