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CNN Acknowledges Finding, Using Ambassador Chris Stevens’ Personal Journal As Source In Report

Last night, CNN anchor Anderson Cooper commented on a growing story that kicked off earlier this week, sharing with viewers that “a source familiar” with the late Ambassador Chris Stevens‘ worries about the rise of extremism in Libya had been “thoroughly vetted” before his comments were shared on CNN. Cooper also noted that some of the information the network shared about Stevens’ concerns “was found in a personal journal of Ambassador Stevens in his handwriting:”

On Wednesday of this week, we reported that a source familiar with Ambassador Stevens’ thinking said in the months before his death, Ambassador Stevens talked about being worried about what he called the never-ending security threats in Benghazi.

We also reported that the ambassador specifically mentioned the rise in Islamic extremism, the growing Al Qaeda presence in Libya and said he was on an Al Qaeda hit list. The information for that report, like all of CNN’s reporting, was carefully vetted. Some of that information was found in a personal journal of Ambassador Stevens’ in his handwriting. We came upon the journal through our reporting and notified the family. At their request, we returned that journal to them. We reported what we found newsworthy in the Ambassador’s writings. A reporter followed up on what we found newsworthy, as I said, in the Ambassador’s writings.

The fact that some of the network’s reporting had come from Stevens’ journal had been left unmentioned in CNN’s original report about his fears and concerns. The Huffington Post reveals that the website had received a tip about the journal and contacted CNN about it on Friday afternoon. “CNN had no immediate comment,” they said, “but referred to Cooper’s comments after they aired.”

Then, earlier this morning, CNN.com published a post about the contents of the late Ambassador’s personal journal, as well as how the journal was originally discovered:

Four days after he was killed, CNN found a journal belonging to late U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens. The journal was found on the floor of the largely unsecured consulate compound where he was fatally wounded.

CNN notified Stevens’ family about the journal within hours after it was discovered and at the family’s request provided it to them via a third party.

The journal consists of just seven pages of handwriting in a hard-bound book.

For CNN, the ambassador’s writings served as tips about the situation in Libya, and in Benghazi in particular. CNN took the newsworthy tips and corroborated them with other sources.

You can have a look at Cooper’s comments about the journal below, via CNN:

h/t HuffPost

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