By Sheldon Rampton on June 18, 2001

CNN has paid an undisclosed sum of money to settle a lawsuit by former CNN producer Jack Smith, who claims that he was unfairly fired for reporting on the U.S. military's use of nerve gas in Vietnam's "Operation Tailwind." Smith's $100 million defamation suit claims that he and fellow producer April Oliver actually got the story right, only to have their reputations and careers ruined when the network caved in to CIA pressure to retract the story. The network previously settled out of court with Oliver for $1 million after a deposition by Admiral Thomas Moorer, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, "pretty much confirmed Oliver and Smith's reporting." However, the terms of the settlements are sealed. Allan Wolper observes that this "deprived the public of testimony from CNN founder Ted Turner, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, and an A-list of TV network news stars." Smith says that if CNN had not settled, he would have demanded the network make public all the source material that he and Oliver collected for their heavily critiqued June 1998 documentary.

Topics: