CNN Facing Brouhaha Over Diary of Chris Stevens

State Department charges invasion of privacy as 'indefensible'

By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff

Posted Sep 23, 2012 8:04 AM CDT

(Newser) – CNN is embroiled in controversy over a diary it found belonging to Chris Stevens, with the State Department accusing the network of “indefensible” invasion of the slain ambassador's privacy. CNN reported yesterday that it found a seven-page diary in "the largely unsecured" US consulate in Benghazi; it claims it reported the find to Stevens' family "within hours," and turned it over to them via a third party. But the network also took a good long look, and based reports that Stevens feared an al-Qaeda attack on the diary—violating its pledge to Stevens' family to not report on his writings, reports the AP.

"CNN did not initially report on the existence of a journal out of respect for the family, but we felt there were issues raised in the journal which required full reporting, which we did," the network said in a statement, hitting back at the State Department for “attacking the messenger” due to “questions about why (it) didn't do more to protect Ambassador Stevens.” State is having none of it, with a high level adviser to Hillary Clinton saying, "Whose first instinct is to remove from a crime scene the diary of a man killed serving our country, read it, transcribe it, email it around your newsroom, and only when their curiosity is fully satisfied thinks to call the family or notify the authorities?"

This undated photo shows Chris Stevens, who was among four Americans who died Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2012 in Benghazi.
This undated photo shows Chris Stevens, who was among four Americans who died Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2012 in Benghazi.   (AP Photo/Courtesy of Mary Commanday)
This undated photo shows Chris Stevens, whose journal was found by CNN in the US consulate in Benghazi.
This undated photo shows Chris Stevens, whose journal was found by CNN in the US consulate in Benghazi.   (AP Photo/Courtesy of Mary Commanday)
A Libyan man investigates inside the US Consulate after an attack that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens on Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2012.
A Libyan man investigates inside the US Consulate after an attack that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens on Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2012.   (AP Photo/Mohammad Hannon)
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