A bit more information about this suggestion by Andrea Mitchell that Christiane Amanpour was among those snooped by one of the president's warrantless NSA wiretaps.
As discussed earlier
, John Aravosis first caught the remark
on an NBC transcript.
Later, the passage in question was edited out of the transcript at the MSNBC website.
Now TVNewser has a statement of explanation
from NBC ...
Unfortunately this transcript was released prematurely. It was a topic on which we had not completed our reporting, and it was not broadcast on 'NBC Nightly News' nor on any other NBC News program. We removed that section of the transcript so that we may further continue our inquiry.
This actually sounds like what I suspected. She asked the question. But either they hadn't intended to release the question on the transcript or someone hadn't thought through the implications of doing so.
Just to refresh everyone's memory, this was the exchange from Mitchell's interview with James Risen ...
MITCHELL: Do you have any information about reporters being swept up in this net?
RISEN: No, I don't. It's not clear to me. That's one of the questions we'll have to look into the future. Were there abuses of this program or not? I don't know the answer to that
MITCHELL: You don't have any information, for instance, that a very prominent journalist, Christiane Amanpour, might have been eavesdropped upon?
RISEN: No, no I hadn't heard that.
Despite the fact that it's framed as a question, Mitchell inevitably becomes in some sense a fact witness for the underlying claim. She legitimizes the question and strongly suggests she has at least some evidence that it is true.
Okay, so someone at NBC screwed up. Mistakes happen. But the bell can't be unrung.
In their response NBC confirms
that they not only were but are in fact continuing
to investigate whether Amanpour was in fact a target of one of these 'wiretaps'.
Now, that really puts this into altogether different territory.
You wouldn't just pull this Amanpour story out of your hat (this is a family website). To be even remotely credible, a claim like that would have to come from within the government.
Wouldn't it? I know I'm speculating. But think about it: who would be able to make such a claim and have enough credibility to make a major news organization take the suggestion seriously?