Two more stories Brian Williams has told over the years have recently come into focus: claims he’s made of traveling with SEAL Team 6 and being at the Brandenburg Gate on the night the Berlin Wall was brought down.
After the killing of Osama bin Laden in 2011, Williams recounted flying into Baghdad as the Iraq war broke out with the elite navy unit.
“Now, people might be hearing about SEAL Team 6,” Williams said May 3, 2011 on “The Nightly News” directly after bin Laden’s death. “I happen to have had the great honor of flying into Baghdad with them at the start of the war.”
“I flew into Baghdad, invasion plus three days, on a blackout mission at night with elements of SEAL Team 6, and I was told not to make any eye contact with them or initiate any conversation,” Williams said on Letterman in 2012. But Williams’ timing of events is muddy, as three days after the invasion was March 22, 2003; he broadcasted from Baghdad airport on April 9, 2003.
In another 2012 Letterman appearance, Williams shared a story in which he told a commando how much he admired his knife. “Darned if that knife didn’t show up at my office a couple weeks later,” Williams said. The suspended anchor had told stories of receiving other memorabilia from SEAL Team Six — including a piece of fuselage from the blown-up Black Hawk that was among the helicopters used in the bin Laden mission.
CNN reported it’s all but impossible that Williams traveled with SEAL Team Six, because the elite unit doesn’t embed journalists. And the mailing of memorabilia by members of the unit “doesn’t pass any sniff test,” according to CNN analyst Peter Bergen, who spoke to sources in the SEAL community.
Another story raising red flags dates back to 1989, during the fall of the Berlin Wall.
“I’ve been so fortunate,” Williams said during a 2008 forum at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. “I was at the Brandenburg Gate the night the wall came down.”
CBS notes there are reports surfacing that Williams arrived the day after, noting his “Nightly News” predecessor Tom Brokaw was the only journalist there to report live from the scene.
NBC News declined to comment to TheWrap regarding the new questions surrounding Williams’ past accounts.