NBC News anchor Brian Williams has told different versions of a story about his experience on board a helicopter in 2006 during the war between Israel and Hezbollah, adding more questions about his reporting after he admitted embellishing a tale about the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
During a 2007 video interview with a Fairfield University student, Williams recalled “the war with Hezbollah in Israel a few years back, where there were Katyusha rockets passing just underneath the helicopter I was riding in.”
However, as the Washington Post noted on Sunday, Williams described his experience differently in a 2006 blog post. During his 2006 account, he described himself as being farther away from the rockets.
In the post, he wrote that he was in a helicopter 1,500 feet above ground when the pilot reported “some shelling” that had just occurred below them. The NBC anchor then described seeing rockets launched in the distance.
“The trails of smoke and dust visible out the window are where Katyusha rockets have landed — in this case in the uninhabited Israeli countryside, and in some cases they have set fire to the surrounding brush. The missiles are unguided and random. And plentiful,” he wrote in the blog post. “Then, I noticed something out the window. From a distance of six miles, I witnessed a rocket launch. A rising trail of smoke, then a second rocket launch, an orange flash and more smoke — as a rocket heads off toward Israel.”
During a 2006 appearance on “The Daily Show,” Williams told host Jon Stewart about the same experience.
“Here’s a view of rockets I have never seen, passing underneath us, 1,500 feet beneath us. And we’ve got the gunner doors on this thing,” Williams said.
He said that he asked the general with whom he was flying, “It wouldn’t take much for them to adjust the aim and try to do a ring toss right through our open doors, would it?”
Williams also told multiple versions of a story about his flight on a helicopter over Iraq during the 2003 invasion. The newsman claimed numerous times that the chopper he was on was hit by a rocket propelled grenade, but crew members who were there have said Williams wasn’t near the RPG attack.
And since Williams admitted that his 2003 story was bogus, his accounting of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans has also been called into question.