NBC News anchor Brian Williams this week retracted his story of 12 years that he was in a helicopter hit and forced down by RPG fire in Iraq. A man claiming to be the pilot of the helicopter Williams was on in 2003 stood up in the newsman's defense on Thursday, but on Friday, said he had begun "questioning" his memories.
Rich Krell originally told CNN's Brian Stelter that while the helicopter he was flying was not hit by an RPG, it did take enemy fire, which could seemingly excuse Williams' confusion on the matter.
But shortly thereafter, former Army pilot Chris Simeone challenged Krell's claim in the New York Post, saying he was actually the “pilot in command of the flight that carried Brian Williams into Iraq in March 2003,” and “all that hit us was dust.”
A New York Times report also questioned Krell's claim. The newspaper identified one of Williams’ pilots as Simeone and reporter Ravi Somaiya later tweeted that four soldiers “completely dispute” Krell’s claim he was the pilot.
On Friday morning, Stelter said he got a text message from Krell reading: "Good morning. The information I gave you was true based on my memories, but at this point I am questioning my memories that I may have forgotten or left something out."
"For the past 12 years I have been trying to forget everything that happened in Iraq and Afghanistan; now that I let it back, the nightmares come back with it, so I want to forget again," Krell continued. "The men in that article deserve respect. Please understand."
Stelter wrote that based on Krell's revised account of what happened, he is revising his own opinion of what happened in Iraq in 2003.
"What initially looked like an account that supported some of Brian Williams' war story -- that he came 'under fire' that day -- no longer appears to be true," he concluded.
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