There's serious new trouble for NBC News anchor Brian Williams. The New York Times reports today that the network's investigation has zeroed in on six times when he "is thought to have fabricated, misrepresented or embellished his accounts."
Williams has been off the air since January when the newspaper Stars and Stripes reported that he repeatedly mistold a story about coming under fire in a military helicopter in 2003. It was actually the helicopter ahead of Williams' which took fire.
Many of the embellishments came when Williams would repeat the stories on late-night television shows, including David Letterman and Jon Stewart's "The Daily Show."
The two people with knowledge of the investigation, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe internal discussions, said the episodes under review included details of the incident in Iraq in 2003; statements Mr. Williams made about a missile attack while he was traveling in another helicopter over northern Israel in 2006; and the circumstances under which he received a fragment of a helicopter that crashed during the mission to kill Osama bin Laden in 2011.
In an appearance that month with Jon Stewart on “The Daily Show,” Mr. Williams described his reporting from the square. Speaking of clashes between protesters seeking the overthrow of the Egyptian government, and a pro-government group on horses and camels, he said he had “actually made eye contact with the man on the lead horse.” Mr. Stewart then referred to reports that the pro-government group had used whips. “Yeah,” Mr. Williams replied, “he went around the corner after I saw him, they pulled out whips and started beating human beings on the way.”
The NBC News report on the clash between the protesters that day did not show Mr. Williams in Tahrir Square during the protest. Subsequent reports said that Mr. Williams was reporting “from a balcony overlooking Tahrir Square,” rather than from inside the square itself, a description that matches footage that was broadcast, and that he repeated in an interview with The New York Times last year.
A decision on whether Williams will be allowed to return to the newscast still does not seem close.