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.”
“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.
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.
“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.