Brian Williams reported in 2011 about being embedded with the famed SEAL Team 6, the ultra-secretive group tasked with many high-profile missions including killing Osama bin Laden, but in the wake of Williams’ Iraq reporting scandal, this too has come into question.
In 2011, shortly after the raid in Pakistan that killed bin Laden, Brian Williams remarked that he actually spent time with the team during the Iraq War.
“Now, people might be hearing about SEAL Team 6. I happen to have the great honor of flying into Baghdad with them at the start of the war,” Williams reported.
But a military spokesman is now questioning that claim.
“We do not embed journalists with that unit or any other unit that conducts counterterrorism missions. Bottom line — no,” said Special Operations Command spokesman Ken McGraw told CNN.
A SEAL officer also noted that Williams couldn’t have simply traveled with the group, as they were only moving from mission to mission and would not be able to bring journalists along.
Brian Willams has been suspended from his post as anchor of NBC Nightly News after it was revealed that he embellished a claim that his helicopter was shot down during the Iraq War. Williams apologized for the incident, painting it as a mistake in memory from a highly intense incident.
So far, executives at NBC have stood by Williams, with NBC Universal CEO Steve Burke saying he deserves a “second chance.”
“This has been a painful period for all concerned and we appreciate your patience while we gathered the available facts,” Burke said in a statement.
“By his actions, Brian has jeopardized the trust millions of Americans place in NBC News. His actions are inexcusable and this suspension is severe and appropriate. Brian’s life’s work is delivering the news. I know Brian loves his country, NBC News and his colleagues. He deserves a second chance and we are rooting for him. Brian has shared his deep remorse with me and he is committed to winning back everyone’s trust.”
But despite the support, the question remains — Did Brian Williams really embed with SEAL Team 6? Some military experts say it’s unlikely there would ever be a direct answer, as the group is so secretive that it likely wouldn’t confirm or deny if Williams was there with them.