NBC News backtracks on story of death of French terror suspect

nbc news french terror

Early Wednesday evening, NBC News reported that one of the suspects involved in the Charlie Hebdo office attack in Paris was killed.

The network wasn't right, and later on Wednesday it backtracked from the story -- an embarrassing about-face for the news division.

On Thursday's "NBC Nightly News," anchor Brian Williams reiterated that Wednesday's report was wrong.

The information was initially passed along on Wednesday's "Nightly News," based on information gathered by the network's justice correspondent Pete Williams. His sources said that one suspect in the Paris attack had been killed while two others were in custody.

The reports cited senior U.S. officials. They were repeated on MSNBC's "Hardball with Chris Matthews" and "All In with Chris Hayes."

During the 8 p.m. hour, however, Pete Williams walked back the report, saying, "We just don't know what the situation is in France tonight."

"We were told earlier this evening from two U.S. counterterrorism officials that one person was dead and two have been arrested," Williams said on that broadcast. "Other U.S. officials," he added, "say they haven't been told that."

The network, in a statement to CNN, said the erroneous report was based on intelligence from "two consistently reliable U.S. counterterrorism officials in different government agencies."

"As soon as it became evident that our sources doubted their information, we immediately updated our reporting across all platforms and continue to do so as this fast-moving story unfolds," an NBC News spokesperson said.

On Thursday evening, Brian Williams said the following: "While these sources had been reliable in our previous reporting, the intel they passed along to us last night turned out not to be correct."

CNNMoney reports: What is Charlie Hebdo?


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