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Barbara Walters Apologizes for Trying to Help Ex-Assad Aide Land a Job


"I regret that."

ABC's Barbara Walters has said she regrets offering to help a former aide of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad land a job in the United States after she helped coordinate Walters' exclusive interview with Assad in December. (Image source: ABC)

Barbara Walters has apologized for trying to help a former aide to Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad land a job in TV news in the United States.

Emails published in the the Telegraph show Walters tried to get Sheherazad Jaafari an internship on CNN's "Piers Morgan Tonight" as well as a leg-up in the admissions process at Columbia University. Jaafari, the daughter of Syrian ambassador to the United States, had been a press aide to Assad and helped coordinate Walters' interview with the Syrian president in December.

In a statement, the longtime ABC News correspondent acknowledged trying to help Jaafari after she came to the U.S. looking for a job. Jaafari did not end up at CNN or Columbia.

"I did offer to mention her to contacts at another media organization and in academia, though she didn't get a job or into school," Walters said. "In retrospect, I realize that this created a conflict and I regret that."

According to the Telegraph, Jaafari was "part of a young circle of aides who advised Mr Assad to speak to the Western media as evidence of atrocities mounted....Jaafari wrote a list of talking points advising that the 'American psyche can be easily manipulated' if he were to make a limited expression of regret."

In one email, Walters described Jaafari as "brilliant, beautiful, speaks five languages" and asked a Columbia journalism professor whether there was "anything you can do to help" speed her application through.

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