'I had assumed that all of the airframes took some damage because we all went down': Brian Williams full cringeworthy excuses are laid bare in military paper transcript 

  • Brian Williams forced to apologise after inaccurate reports were exposed 
  • NBC anchor had claimed he was in a helicopter that was shot down in Iraq
  • But his account was proved false by veterans and he was behind craft
  • In interview he said he had assumed all helicopters were shot because they all made an unscheduled landing while in Iraq in 2003, transcript reveals 
  • Doubts being raised over his other reports, including on Hurricane Katrina

The explanations given by NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams about how he came to falsely claim the helicopter he was travelling in Iraq was shot down have emerged in a full transcript.

Williams has temporarily stepped down from his position at the broadcaster after the inaccuracies of his reports from Iraq were revealed, casting doubt on his other accounts - including his reporting of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina which earned him such acclaim.

In an interview with Stars and Stripes magazine Williams said he made a mistake about being in a Chinook helicopter that was shot down in 2003 because he was scared and in a warzone for the first time. 

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NBC Nightly News Anchor Brian Williams revealed he incorrectly assumed a helicopter he was travelling in had been shot down after it was part of a convoy that made an unscheduled landing in Iraq in 2003 

NBC Nightly News Anchor Brian Williams revealed he incorrectly assumed a helicopter he was travelling in had been shot down after it was part of a convoy that made an unscheduled landing in Iraq in 2003 

He said: 'Because I knew we had all come under fire, I guess I had assumed that all of the airframes took some damage because we all went down.' 

Williams, 55, had claimed in numerous interviews that he survived the helicopter he was in being shot down by a rocket propelled grenade in 2003. 

In the most extreme version of the tale, told to David Letterman in March 2013, he said: 'Two of our four helicopters were hit by ground fire, including the one I was in, RPG and AK-47.'

In fact it was another craft entirely that had been attacked and his inaccuracies were revealed after people in the shot down helicopter challenged his account on Facebook.

Some have claimed the helicopter Williams was in was an entire hour behind the shot down craft.  

The new anchor said he had been scared and because his helicopter made an unscheduled landing he mistakenly assumed they had also suffered a hit.

He added: 'I did what a civilian, an untrained civilian, would do in that instance and it was being scared. I think anyone in my shoes would admit that. It could not have been a more foreign environment. All we knew is we had been fired upon. All we knew was we had set down and then with the arrival of the sandstorm, how do we defend our little desert bivouac area.' 

Williams is Managing Editor of the United States' most watched network news program and announced last week he would be temporarily taking himself off the program because he had become 'too much a part of the news.' 

He apologised live on air on Wednesday for his inaccurate reporting.  He said: 'I made a mistake in recalling the events of 12 years ago,' he said. 'I want to apologise. I said I was travelling in an aircraft that was hit by RPG [rocket-propelled grenade] fire. I was instead in a following aircraft.'

'Made a mistake recalling': Williams, shown above reporting from Iraq, has claimed he was on a Chinook helicopter that was hit by an RPG in 2003. He wasn't
Invention? Claims by Williams that he saw a dead body in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina have also come under suspicion

Williams reported from Iraq (left) and in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina (right) but concerns have been raised about the accuracy of his reports after it emerged some of them had been embellished 

NBC execs were reportedly divided over Nightly News anchor Brian Williams' future as names of potential replacements began to emerge on Tuesday

Brian Williams has announced he is temporarily stepping down from his job as anchor at NBC Nightly News 

He said his mind became a 'fog' while he was in the Chinook helicopter in Iraq and asked people to remember he was not a military professional dealing with the situation. 

Williams said he hoped the attention his inaccuracies have attracted did not reflect negatively on soldiers and veterans involved. He said: 'Anything that ends up not honoring the veterans is a failure on my part. This is about honoring the people I saw over there. As I've said a million times publicly, [they are] the best team we've ever fielded.' 

New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd previously claimed that news bosses were told last year his claims sometimes did not stack up, and that his tendency to exaggerate had become 'a joke' among NBC staffers. 

The scandal led to Williams cancelling an appearance on the David Letterman show last week. 

NBC has launched an official probe into Williams, lead by Richard Esposito, its top investigative journalist. Lester Holt will temporarily take over his role. 

FACT OR FICTION? THE STORIES OF BRIAN WILLIAMS THAT HAVE CAUSED MANY TO QUESTION HIS CREDIBILITY

Currently off the air after he admitted to lying about being hit by enemy fire in Iraq, a number of Williams' other seemingly outlandish claims are currently coming under increased scrutiny

Currently off the air after he admitted to lying about being hit by enemy fire in Iraq, a number of Williams' other seemingly outlandish claims are currently coming under increased scrutiny

Red Bank, New Jersey, 1970s

In a 2011 interview Brian Williams recalled his time as a teenage volunteer firefighter during which he saved a puppy. However in a 2005 Esquire interview, Williams had claimed to save not one but two puppies.

In the same Esquire interview Williams also revealed that he had been mugged at gunpoint while selling Christmas trees in the sleepy New Jersey town in which he grew up. 

A number of locals have questioned the credibility of his claim that someone ‘stuck a .38-caliber in my face.’

Iraq War, 2003

Over the years Williams has told multiple versions of a story about being in an army Chinook during the Iraq War in 2003. 

Last month he claimed his helicopter was hit by ground fire, an allegation he was later forced to admit was false after an outcry from soldiers who were present. 

Williams issued an on air apology. ‘Nobody's trying to steal anyone's valor,’ he wrote on Facebook.

Hurricane Katrina, 2005

Williams has told several stories about his experiences reporting from New Orleans. 

He has claimed to have seen a dead body float past the window of his hotel in the city's French Quarter – even though the area wasn't flooded. 

The accuracy of other Katrina claims, including that he caught dysentery drinking the floodwaters and that his hotel was ‘overrun’ with gangs, have been called into question by others who were there.

Israel, 2006

In a 2007 interview with Fairfield University Student Television, Williams recalled ‘Katyusha rockets passing just underneath the helicopter I was riding in.’ 

In fact he was nowhere near enemy fire and in a broadcast segment filmed that day he described a helicopter under fire a distance away.

Boston, 2006

A navy vet has accused Williams of lying to skip an event honoring members of the armed forces so that he could appear on Saturday Night Live. 

On the day of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society event the NBC News anchor told organizers that a 'pressing engagement' meant he wouldn't be able speak at the dinner, but later that evening he appeared in a walk-on role on SNL's Weekend Update.

 

 

 

 

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