For more on this topic, listen to Fri. Feb. 28, 2020 edition of The Sharyl Attkisson Podcast on iTunes or your favorite distributor.
It was twelve years after the fact when Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton got caught embellishing the danger she’d faced on a trip to Bosnia.
I happened to have accompanied her on the trip and didn’t remember being shot at, as Clinton described. The videotape of the actual visit proved Clinton’s memory wrong–not just once but twice.
After my first report on CBS News in 2008 exposed the truth, Clinton doubled down and dug in, providing a second reason to question her memory of events.
Clinton never fully explained how she could have made the mistake as saying she had ducked sniper fire when there hadn’t been a sniper in sight. Initially, she stated “I was sleep deprived and I misspoke.”
But as my 2008 report below (“Clinton Doubles Down”) shows, Clinton told varieties of the same embellishment over a long period of time, not just when she was sleep deprived.
Had Clinton somehow convinced herself that it had all really happened? Or did she knowingly advance a false story?
“So I made a mistake,” Clinton also stated at one point. “It proves I’m human, which you know, for some people, is a revelation.”
Watch and read my 2008 CBS News reports on this topic by clicking the links below:
Clinton’s Embellishment Video March 24, 2008
Video Contradicts Clinton’s Story Written report March 24, 2008
Clinton Doubles Down, But Video Contradicts–Again Video March 25, 2008
Clinton Doubles Down, But Video Contradicts–Again Written report March 25, 2008
Original 1996 Clinton in Bosnia CBS News Report Video
Media Research Center’s Brent Bozell on Clinton Embellishment
Excerpt on the Clinton Sniper Fire story from my New York Time bestseller “Stonewalled“:
I prefer not to cover political campaigns. They’re no-win assignments. You follow a candidate around the country: if you expose their flaws, you’re viewed as being politically biased against them and it jeopardizes your access. If they have a good day and you report it as such, you risk critics accusing you of being their cheerleader. And if your observations from the front lines aren’t in synch with what the news managers back in New York see on cable news or read on the wire services or hear on the competition, you may find yourself eternally second-guessing and getting second-guessed. Nonetheless, a campaign story occasionally falls into my lap and draws me into the fray. That happened in 2008 when I returned from a trip overseas to be greeted with a strange question from my husband.
“When you went to Bosnia with Hillary Clinton in 1996, were you guys shot at?” he asks.
“No,” I reply. “Why?”
“Are you sure?” he presses.
“Of course. I’d know if we’d been shot at,” I say.
It seems that Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has been publicly saying that we took sniper fire on that trip to Bosnia twelve years before when she was first lady. Some observers theorize that Clinton is saying this now because she believes that getting shot at in a war zone would help voters view her as being qualified to serve as commander in chief. More so than a young senator from Illinois named Barack Obama with no such experience.
“She must be speaking of a different trip,” I postulate.
Nothing else makes sense. I do a little research and discover Clinton is referring to the trip on which I accompanied her. She’s claiming that, as our military plane landed in Bosnia, we took sniper fire. She even says she had to duck and run for cover to escape the flying bullets.
The idea is ludicrous. Yes, we flew into a recent war zone and were told it could be dangerous. We were prepared for the possibility of hostile fire. But it never materialized. And the fact is, had hostile forces fired upon our aircraft, our military pilot wouldn’t have just flown right into them and landed. Especially considering that accompanying us on the trip were the president’s daughter, Chelsea, and two entertainers who came along to perform for the troops: comedian Sinbad, and singer Sheryl Crow. If there had been any threat of our plane being shot at, we simply would’ve flown to an alternate, safe destination.
I rarely hang on to story materials for very long, but in this case, I go to my office in Washington, dig through some boxes of records, and discover I still have notes, photographs, and videotape from that trip in 1996. The video clearly disproves candidate Clinton’s story. It shows Clinton and Chelsea disembarking from the plane on the tar- mac in Bosnia, leisurely smiling for photographs and greeting a local schoolgirl on the runway. No sniper fire. No ducking and running.