NBC suspends Brian Williams for 6 months without pay

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NBC suspends Brian Williams for 6 months without pay
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 06: (Exclusive Coverage) Dorothea Bon Jovi, Brian Williams, Jane Williams and Jon Bon Jovi attend the after party for 'Hamilton' Broadway opening night at Pier 60 on August 6, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 04: Brian Williams attends the Boston Bruins vs New York Rangers game at Madison Square Garden on February 4, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by James Devaney/GC Images)
Journalist Brian Williams hosts onstage at The Lincoln Awards: A Concert For Veterans & The Military Family presented by The Friars Foundation at John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on January 7, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images for The Friars Club)
NBC NEWS -- Pictured: (l-r) General Wayne A. Downing and Anchor and Managing Editor, Brian Williams of 'NBC Nightly News' during a report from Camp Liberty in Baghdad, Iraq on March 8, 2007 (Photo by Jeff Riggins/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
Actress Allison Williams, center, poses with her parents NBC News anchor Brian Williams and Jane Williams at HBO's "Girls" fourth season premiere party at The American Museum of Natural History on Monday, Jan. 5, 2015, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 07: Journalist Brian Williams hosts onstage at The Lincoln Awards: A Concert For Veterans & The Military Family presented by The Friars Foundation at John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on January 7, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Paul Morigi/Getty Images for The Friars Club)
NBC NEWS -- Pictured: (l-r) Lieutenant General Raymond T. Odierno, Anchor and Managing Editor, Brian Williams of 'NBC Nightly News' and General Wayne A. Downing in Baghdad, Iraq on March 8, 2007 (Photo by Jeff Riggins/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
NBC NEWS -- Pictured: (third from left) Anchor and Managing Editor, Brian Williams of 'NBC Nightly News' with American military reports from Camp Liberty in Baghdad, Iraq on March 8, 2007 (Photo by Jeff Riggins/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
NBC NEWS -- Pictured: (c) Anchor and Managing Editor, Brian Williams of 'NBC Nightly News' with American military reports from Camp Liberty in Baghdad, Iraq on March 8, 2007 (Photo by Jeff Riggins/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
NBC NEWS -- Pictured: (c) Anchor and Managing Editor, Brian Williams of 'NBC Nightly News' with American military reports from Camp Liberty in Baghdad, Iraq on March 8, 2007 (Photo by Jeff Riggins/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
FILE - In this Nov. 5, 2014 file photo, Brian Williams speaks at the 8th Annual Stand Up For Heroes, presented by New York Comedy Festival and The Bob Woodruff Foundation in New York. Williams has admitted he spread a false story about being on a helicopter that came under enemy fire while he was reporting in Iraq in 2003. Williams said he was in a helicopter following other aircraft, one of which was hit by ground fire. His helicopter was not hit. NBC News was not commenting Thursday about whether its top on-air personality would face disciplinary action. (Photo by Brad Barket/Invision/AP, File)
THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JIMMY FALLON -- Episode 0196 -- Pictured: (l-r) Journalist Brian Williams during an interview with host Jimmy Fallon on January 16, 2015 -- (Photo by: Douglas Gorenstein/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
LATE NIGHT WITH SETH MEYERS -- Episode 065 -- Pictured: (l-r) NBC News' Brian Williams during an interview with host Seth Meyers on July 7, 2014 -- (Photo by: Lloyd Bishop/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
Ron Meyer (L), president & COO of Universal Studios and Brian Williams, NBC network news anchorman, attend the world premiere of 'Neighbors,' April 28, 2014 at the Regency Village Theater in Los Angeles, California. Man at right in unidentified. AFP PHOTO / ROBYN BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
NBC NEWS-EVENTS -- Education Nation: New York Summit, Day 3 -- Pictured: Brian Williams at NBC News' Education Nation Summit at the New York Public Library in New York on Tuesday, September 25, 2012 -- (Photo by: Charles Sykes/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
NBC NEWS-EVENTS -- Education Nation: New York Summit, Day 3 -- Pictured: Brian Williams and Governor Mitt Romney at NBC News' Education Nation Summit at the New York Public Library in New York on Tuesday, September 25, 2012 -- (Photo by: Charles Sykes/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Matt Lauer and Brian Williams appear on NBC News' 'Today' show (Photo by Peter Kramer/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 23: NBC News anchor Brian Williams and his wife, Jane Stoddard Williams attend the Tribeca Talks Directors Series with Robert De Niro and Brian Williams during the 10th annual Tribeca Film Festival at BMCC Tribeca PAC on April 23, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Bobby Bank/WireImage)
NBC NIGHTLY NEWS WITH BRIAN WILLIAMS -- Pictured: Brian Williams -- As protesters converged on the heart of Cairo in droves on Tuesday, NBC News' Brian Williams was there to speak with those who responded to the call for Egyptians to unite in the largest protest yet in a week of unceasing demands for President Hosni Mubarak to leave (Photo by Subrata De/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
Brian Williams, anchor and managing editor of NBC Nightly News, speaks at the Women's Conference Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2010, in Long Beach, Calif. (AP Photo/Matt Sayles)
Event co-hosts Brian Williams, left, and Katie Couric at the "Stand Up To Cancer" television event at Sony Studios in Culver City, Calif., on Friday, Sept. 10, 2010. The fundraising event aimed to raise funds for cancer research was simulcast live on several network and cable television stations. (AP Photo/Matt Sayles)
NBC News Anchor Brian Williams attends the premiere screening of 'Faces of America With Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr.' at Jazz at Lincoln Center on Monday, Feb. 1, 2010 in New York. (AP Photo/Evan Agostini)
** FILE ** In this May 28, 2008 file photo, CBS "Evening News" anchor Katie Couric, center, NBC "Nightly News" anchor Brian Williams, left, and ABC "World News" anchor Charles Gibson, right, are interviewed on the NBC 'Today' show in New York. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, file)
NBC commentator Brian Williams talks to the crowd who assembled to hear the first Democratic presidential primary debate of the 2008 election hosted by South Carolina State University in Orangeburg, S.C., Thursday, April 26, 2007. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Brian Williams, with the NBC Nightly News, reports from the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg, Va., on Monday, April 16, 2007. A gunman killed 32 people at Virginia Tech in the deadliest shooting rampage in modern U.S. history Monday. (AP Photo/The Roanoke Times, Stephanie Klein-Davis)
Brian Williams, left, anchor of "NBC Nightly News," talks about the program along with Steve Capus, president of NBC News, at the Summer Television Critics Association press tour Friday, July 21, 2006, in Pasadena, Calif. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)
Photo by: Jackson Lee/starmaxinc.com �2005 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED Telephone/Fax: (212) 995-1196 11/16/05 Brian Williams and wife at an American Museum of Natural History Benefit. (NYC) (Star Max via AP Images)
NBC's Brian Williams smiles during a news conference Tuesday, May 28, 2002, in New York. Williams will succeed Tom Brokaw as anchorman of NBC's "Nightly News" in 2004, as NBC becomes the first of the three networks to announce a succession plan for their chief anchors. (AP Photo/ Diane Bondareff)
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NEW YORK (AP) -- NBC announced Tuesday that it is suspending Brian Williams as "Nightly News" anchor and managing editor for six months without pay for misleading the public about his experiences covering the Iraq War.

NBC chief executive Steve Burke said Williams' actions were inexcusable and jeopardized the trust he has built up with viewers during his decade as the network's lead anchor. But he said Williams deserved a second chance.

Williams apologized last week for saying he was in a helicopter that was hit by a grenade while covering the Iraq War in 2003. Instead, he was in a group of helicopters and another was hit, and some veterans involved in the mission called him out on it.

"Brian misrepresented events which occurred while he was covering the Iraq War in 2003," NBC News President Deborah Turness said in a memo. "It then became clear that on other occasions Brian had done the same while telling that story in other venues. This was wrong and completely inappropriate for someone in Brian's position."

Turness said Lester Hold would continue to substitute for Williams as anchor.

She also said the network's probe into Williams' statements is continuing.

Shortly after it happened during a reporting trip to Iraq in 2003, Williams explained on NBC that one of a group of helicopters he had been flying with had been hit by a rocket-propelled grenade. When he appeared with Letterman a decade later, the story changed to where his helicopter had been hit, which Williams now admits is false. It wasn't until he told the same story on "Nightly News" last month and veterans who had been there complained that the embellishment emerged.

In Israel in 2006, Williams explained to his news viewers that he'd been on an Israeli helicopter and saw a trail of smoke and dust where Hezbollah rockets had landed in the Israeli countryside, and described seeing rockets being launched six miles from his location.

The story became more dramatic when he appeared on "The Daily Show" a month later.

"Here's a view of rockets I have never seen, passing underneath us, 1,500 feet beneath us," Williams said. "And we've got the gunner doors on this thing, and I'm saying to the general, some four-star, `It wouldn't take much for them to adjust the aim and try to do a ring toss right through our open doors, would it?'"

(An Israeli army official who traveled with Williams that day, Jacob Dallal, on Tuesday called the anchor's account "generally reasonable." He said it was fair to assume rockets flew beneath their helicopter).

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