ORIGIN OF A LIE: April 2003 Brian Williams Essay Misled Readers About RPG Attack
Gotnews.com has discovered the print origin of Brian Williams’s lie about being shot down in Iraq.
The evidence was brought to our attention by Ron Brynaert, former editor of Raw Story.
While Williams claimed in his Facebook apology that he found his own writing about the incident in 2008 a 2003 essay Williams wrote for TelevisionWeek shows he was telling the tale as soon as he got back.
This new insight shows that Williams was absolutely lying about the episode.
The revelation of a column in TelevisionWeek shows us that this wasn’t just something Williams discussed as a tall tail but something he wrote about and was part of marketing his brand.
Here’s the typed up text.
Editor’s note: Mr. Williams, anchor and correspondent for NBC and MSNBC, along with NBC Consultant Gen. Wayne Downing (Ret.), NBC Producer Justin Balding and a camera crew, were forced down in the desert for three days after Iraqi Fedayeen soldiers fired on the helicopter in which they were flying as they covered the war. This is Mr. Williams’ personal account of what happened.
When the Army granted our request to cover a Special Operations air mission inside Iraq, we held a staff meeting to discuss the relative risk. We knew we’d be operating in Iraqi airspace, part of a four-chopper armada delivering 17,000-pound sections of a steel bridge over the Euphrates. We agreed to embargo what we shot, because at that time the operation and its location would give away the travel plans of the Third Infantry Division. I even remember someone, and it might have been me, referring to it as a “milk run.”
Had we consulted our friends in Army Intelligence (or even an up-to-date map) we perhaps would have learned what we later had to learn the hard way … that we’d be flying into a hot zone, full of armed, mobile Iraqis in pickup trucks who would, in their own small way, end up playing a huge role in this war.
When our lead Chinook twin-rotor Vietnam-era helicopter took a rocket-propelled grenade in the tail and an AK-47 round in the cockpit, we all dropped our loads and put down quickly on a patch of Iraqi desert not unlike the surface of Mars. We were immediately surrounded by an armored mechanized platoon of the 3rd Division. The Bradleys and M-1 tanks fanned out around us as infantrymen dug foxholes they would end up occupying for the next three days, as the weather had quickly closed in and made our departure impossible.
Four Iraqis were killed not far from where we slept inside the empty Chinook during the first night. The platoon lieutenant repeated the obvious: Without the protection of his unit, we’d be on our own and wouldn’t last long. It was not without its moments.
The article has since been taken down and was found by use of the WayBackMachine.
In September 2003, Williams’s tall tale was featured in Liz Smith’s Excite column.
SO THERE WERE NBC’s Brian Williams, field producer Justin Balding and an unknown guy at 21, having the biggest steaks in the house.
Turns out broadcaster Williams was paying off a promise. During the Iraqi war, there was a four-chopper armada flying over the desert. The chopper flying before that of Brian and his crew was hit, and all four helicopters went down and landed. They were told they might have to take a defensive position and soon had a sandstorm on their heads.
A soldier named Eric Nye of Sarasota, Fla., came to their rescue in a Bradley Fighting Vehicle, eventually getting supplies, repairs and spiriting them away when the sandstorm ended. Brian promised Nye “the best steak in New York, if we ever get out of this.”
That was how the newly promoted Capt. Eric Nye ended up at lunch. He was in the West Point class of ’99. And now, he has a cap that says “21” on it. The restaurant offered it, saying, “Keep your head covered.”