How Does a Paper Personal Journal Survive a Fire?

Michael Calderone catches CNN not disclosing that their reporting purportedly based on “a source familiar with Ambassador Stevens’ thinking” was actually working off his personal journal which they had obtained and not disclosed to the FBI team investigating his killing.

On Wednesday on his show, “Anderson Cooper 360,” Cooper told Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) that “a source familiar with Ambassador Stevens’ thinking told us that in the months before his death he talked about being worried about the never-ending security threats that he was facing in Benghazi and specifically about the rise in Islamic extremism and growing al Qaeda presence.” The source, Cooper continued, “also mentioned [Stevens] being on an al Qaeda hit list.”

But what Cooper didn’t reveal at the time was that CNN’s sourcing was tied, at least partially, to Stevens’ thinking as written in his personal journal.

In one version of their explanation CNN said they “came upon” the journal (Calderone has the transcription).

We came upon the journal through our reporting and notified the family.

In another, they describe it consisting of seven pages in a hard-bound book.

The journal consists of just seven pages of handwriting in a hard-bound book.

Several things stink about this story. First of all, consider that the attack was in Benghazi, not Tripoli, where Stevens was stationed and where he presumably kept his personal affects. So for CNN to have “come upon” it in Benghazi, it presumably would have been on Stevens’ person when he was attacked. If that’s the case, how did it survive the fire [correction, smoke] that killed Stevens?

And consider the role of this picture. CNN included in its spread of pictures of the trashed Consulate. While it clearly shows that some papers did survive, the picture immediately following shows just ashes survived the flames. Also, this image shows the papers having been ransacked; we know that the attackers got sensitive papers. How likely is it that the attackers wouldn’t have taken the Ambassador’s personal journal, even while taking everything else of interest?

That suggests two possibilities. That the journal was on Stevens’ person when he was brought to the hospital, and the person who brought him (or someone in the hospital) gave it to CNN. Or, that the attackers got the journal and one of them got it to CNN (which might explain why CNN’s language here is so sketchy).

There is, of course, one other possibility: that the journal always remained in Tripoli, at the Embassy or the Ambassador’s residence, and one of the staffers shared it with CNN.

In any case, I suspect the reason CNN didn’t reveal they had the journal at first has to do with how they found it. But that may mean they have other relevant information about the attack.

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Reddit0Share on Facebook0Google+1Email to someone

15 Responses to How Does a Paper Personal Journal Survive a Fire?

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
  • 11
  • 12
  • 13
  • 14
  • 15
Emptywheel Twitterverse
emptywheel @charles_gaba Then USG will be forced to do something bc those almost-single-payer will be able to extort. @armandodkos @princessmom122
1mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @charles_gaba I think what will happen is markets will continue to get more concentrated @armandodkos @princessmom122
2mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @charles_gaba Plus, you BK the US and keep it uncompetitive on jobs. @armandodkos @princessmom122
4mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @charles_gaba Perhaps, perhaps not. But if you do it by expanding insurance all the others become less possible @armandodkos @princessmom122
4mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @charles_gaba Single time I ever met Bill C I noted his hopes climate would drive new jobs depended on more affordable healthcare than ACA
5mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @charles_gaba Plus, we're going to have expanded the industry that relies on ACA for profits. Harder to change @armandodkos @princessmom122
6mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @charles_gaba Right. Bc we're not going to have oppty to pass law on reconciliation w/60 to cover again @armandodkos @princessmom122
7mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz RT @ryanlcooper: @bmaz right. as in other areas, Bernie a bit over his skis and HRC isn't even on the field
9mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @charles_gaba Yup. But we're talking about where to go from here. @armandodkos @princessmom122
9mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @ryanlcooper Yep. Excellent way to describe it.
9mreplyretweetfavorite
JimWhiteGNV RT @Cirincione: No, we are not "giving Iran $150 Billion." They will only get back about $50B of their frozen funds. https://t.co/mtb08gG91
9mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @JarekFA @chrislhayes But its logistically impossible to fulfill Sanders promise in one term, Could start walking carceral state back though
9mreplyretweetfavorite
September 2012
S M T W T F S
« Aug   Oct »
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
30