NYT, Washington Post, NBC News issue corrections to Giuliani stories

The outlets inaccurately reported FBI agents warned Giuliani he was target of Russian disinformation campaign

Published May 2, 2021 12:00PM (EDT)

Rudy Giuliani (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Rudy Giuliani (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

A trio of national news outlets issued major corrections Saturday evening to previous stories alleging the FBI had warned Rudy Giuliani that he was the target of Russian agents looking to spread disinformation — with all noting that such a meeting had apparently never taken place.

Critically, all three outlets stood by the veracity of their reports that the FBI believed Giuliani was the target of a Russian operation, noting simply that the briefing in which the agency planned to warn him of the campaign never happened.

The corrections, made by The New York Times, The Washington Post and NBC News, came in the wake of reports that Giuliani's home and office were raided by federal agents last Wednesday, the culmination of a long-running investigation into his dealings in Ukraine. Giuliani, also a personal attorney for President Donald Trump, spent the last election cycle dealing with a wide cast of characters in the country while searching for dirt on the Biden family.

The Gray Lady appended its correction to an April 29 story about the role Giuliani played in the firing of then-U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, writing, "An earlier version of this article misstated whether Rudolph W. Giuliani received a formal warning from the F.B.I. about Russian disinformation. Mr. Giuliani did not receive such a so-called defensive briefing."

The Washington Post, which first reported the news, also published a similar statement at the beginning of a story it published Saturday, titled, "FBI was aware prominent Americans, including Giuliani, were targeted by Russian influence operation."

"An earlier version of this story, published Thursday, incorrectly reported that One America News was warned by the FBI that it was the target of a Russian influence operation. That version also said the FBI had provided a similar warning to Rudolph W. Giuliani, which he has since disputed. This version has been corrected to remove assertions that OAN and Giuliani received the warnings," the paper wrote.

In its statement NBC News opened the hood on its reporting process, writing that they had relied on a single anonymous source for the information, which was later disputed by a second anonymous source. 

"An earlier version of this article included an incorrect report that Rudolph Giuliani had received a defensive briefing from the FBI in 2019 warning him that he was being targeted by a Russian influence operation. The report was based on a source familiar with the matter, but a second source now says the briefing was only prepared for Giuliani and not delivered to him, in part over concerns it might complicate the criminal investigation of Giuliani. As a result, the premise and headline of the article below have been changed to reflect the corrected information."

The longtime GOP firebrand blasted the news outlets on Twitter following the news, writing, "Where did the original false information come from? @MSNBC@CNN@nytimes I couldn't quite hear your apology?"

"The Washington Post and NYTNYT must reveal their sources who lied and targeted an American Citizen. #msnbc , #cnn forgot to mention the corrections today. #fakenews #badpeople," Giuliani added.

By Brett Bachman

Brett Bachman was the Nights/Weekend Editor at Salon.

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Brief Nbc News New York Times Newspapers Politics Rudy Giuliani Washington Post