CHICAGO – NBC, aware of how potentially damaging the footage of a wounded and possibly unarmed Iraqi being shot by a U.S. Marine could be while troops were still in battle, decided of its own accord to hold off on airing the tape for two days.

“We felt we had to do our due diligence,” NBC News spokeswoman Allison Gollust said, explaining that the network spent much of Saturday, Sunday and Monday thoroughly reviewing and reporting the circumstances of the shooting. “To be responsible journalists, we had to do our jobs to put it in context.”

The footage was recorded Saturday by NBC News freelancer Kevin Sites, who is embedded with Marines in Fallujah. The footage was sent via the Internet on Monday afternoon.

“The last thing you want is these pictures running around without people knowing the facts,” said CBS News senior vice president Marcy McGinnis, who said she supported NBC’s decision to hold off on releasing the footage.

Gollust said military authorities made a request Monday evening for a delay in releasing the images, but it was too late.

“We did get a call from someone asking for more time on Monday,” she said. “We did not comply with the request.” Gollust said she did not know who requested more time; representatives of the Defense Department said they were not aware of any such request.

Sites, who maintains a Web log of his experiences as a war reporter, did not respond to e-mails. His Web site, www.kevinsites.net, was last updated Nov. 12, one day before the shooting, with photographs of Marines.



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