New Details Emerge in 2012 Kidnapping of NBC News’ Richard Engel and Crew

NBC News chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel has published new details about the 2012 incident in which he and five other NBC News staffers were kidnapped in Syria.

Engel and five crew members were held captive by armed gunmen for five days while covering the country’s descent into civil war in late 2012.

After they were released, Engel reported on-air and elsewhere that he believed his captors were Shiite militiamen loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The New York Times recently uncovered information indicating that the kidnappers were not Shiite but actually part of a criminal gang with shifting allegiances.

Engel said the Times’ information prompted him and several NBC News producers to re-report the story and circumstances of the kidnapping. He published the findings Wednesday evening in a lengthy post on NBC News’ website.

Questions about what happened to Engel and crew have undoubtedly taken on heightened urgency at a time when NBC News’ operations are under deep scrutiny. The Peacock is looking to recover from a series of reporting gaffes and the embarrassment of having to suspend its chief anchor, Brian Williams, for misrepresenting his own experiences during the Iraq War.

In Engel’s case, there is no suggestion that he and the others misrepresented any aspect of the incident. But new information indicates that the perpetrators went to great lengths to disguise themselves as Shiite militiamen amid the backdrop of political chaos in the nation.

Engel is a respected globe-trotting correspondent for NBC News, known for his willingness to parachute into dangerous hot spots. NBC News no doubt was eager to have Engel probe for new details to avoid any suggestion that the reporting at the time was misleading. Engel noted in his report that the rise of ISIS in Syria and the region has made it harder for them to return to the specific area where the group was abducted.

Here is a link to Engel’s report.


Popular on Variety

More TV

  • Wanda Sykes, Mike Epps to Star

    Wanda Sykes, Mike Epps to Star in Multi-Camera Comedy Series for Netflix

    Wanda Sykes and Mike Epps are headed to Netflix. The streamer has ordered a multi-camera comedy series starring the two comedians titled “The Upshaws.” The series centers on a working-class Africian American family in Indiana struggling to make it work and make it right without the blueprints to do it. Sykes will executive produce and [...]

  • Vader Streams Shuts Down

    Vader Streams Shut Down by Hollywood Studios

    A coalition of Hollywood studios and streaming companies announced on Tuesday that they have shut down Vader Streams, which was once a popular source of pirated TV content. The service went offline in early May under mysterious circumstances, leading to speculation that the operator had either absconded or been forced out of business. The Alliance [...]

  • Søren-Sveistrup

    Netflix Teams With 'The Killing' Creator for Crime Thriller 'The Chestnut Man'

    HAUGESUND, Norway  — Further expanding its Scandinavian footprint, Netflix has announced its second Danish original series, “The Chestnut Man,” a police thriller based on “The Killing” creator Søren Sveistrup’s popular novel. The streaming giant will team with Sveistrup’s SAM Productions, minority owned by Studiocanal, part of Vivendi Canal Plus Group, to deliver this noir-influenced literary [...]

  • Writers vs Agents Packaging War WGA

    ICM Blasts Writers Guild Over Withdrawal of State Lawsuit

    ICM Partners has slammed the leaders of the Writers Guild of America over its decision to withdraw from its state court lawsuit in favor of refiling the action in federal court. The agency, which was sued in April by the guild and eight WGA members over charging allegedly illegal packaging fees, issued a statement Tuesday [...]

  • succession

    'Succession' Renewed for Season 3 at HBO

    “Succession” has scored an early Season 3 renewal at HBO. The news comes as the critically-acclaimed drama series is just two episodes into its second season. Season 1 of the series was recently nominated for five Emmy Awards, including for best drama series. “We are elated that ‘Succession’ and its exploration of wealth, power and [...]

  • Kaley CuocoHilarity for Charity Sixth Annual

    Kaley Cuoco HBO Max Series 'The Flight Attendant' Sets Creative Team

    The creative team set to bring Kaley Cuoco’s dark comedy series “The Flight Attendant” to HBO Max has taken shape. The series, which tells the terrifying story of a flight attendant (Cuoco) who wakes up in the wrong hotel, in the wrong bed, with a dead man and no idea what happened, has tapped Susanna [...]

  • Mayim Bialik

    Mayim Bialik Signs Warner Bros. TV Production, Talent Holding Deal

    “The Big Bang Theory” star Mayim Bialik is expanding her relationship with the production studio behind the long-running CBS comedy. Bialik and her newly launched Sad Clown Productions banner have signed an exclusive multi-year production deal with the studio, coupled with a talent holding provision for her acting services. Bialik is bringing on former Chuck [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content