Cable Network News anchor Anderson Cooper admitted on Friday to viewers that the news agency had taken a journal belonging to slain U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Steven after the attack on the consulate in Benghazi.
Cooper confirmed that the journal, a seven-page document, was found four days after Steven and three other US citizens were murdered in a violent protest at the US Consulate in Libya.
The US State Department is blasting CNN for reporting on the diary of the deceased ambassador even after promising not to do so, but the news agency maintains they only used tips from the diary.
CNN says they sought out sources to corroborate certain tips they gleaned from the journal. They later contacted the family of the deceased and returned the journal to them.
Phillipe Reines, senior adviser to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and State Department Spokesman calls the move by CNN “disgusting”, saying their “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?”
Removing evidence from a crime scene without proper authorization is a punishable offense in the United States and the U.S. is likely to deal with CNN in some legal manner for the offense.
The family of the late Chris Stevens are also upset with CNN for not keeping their promise to keep the details of the diary private.