NEW YORK, N.Y. – The release of U.S. journalist Peter Theo Curtis by Syrian captors has prompted “60 Minutes” to issue portions of an interview with a fellow ex-hostage that the show had edited last year to remove references to Curtis.
During an interview with photojournalist Matthew Schrier about his captivity in Syria for a story that aired last November, Schrier had talked about being kept in a cell with Curtis and how his fellow American helped him escape through a window to freedom.
Curtis’ family, however, asked CBS not to identify him for fear that it could jeopardize his chances for release, said CBS News spokesman Kevin Tedesco. The detail about how Curtis helped Schrier climb to safety, in particular, was seen as something that could anger his captors.
CBS agreed, saying on the website Wednesday that the details were omitted “in the interest of Curtis’ safety.”
Now, with Curtis released, CBS News is making outtakes of the Schrier interview where Curtis was discussed available on the “60 Minutes” website. Schrier tells correspondent Scott Pelley about how Curtis was tortured, information that also was withheld from November’s story.
During the story that aired in November, Schrier talks briefly about being put into a cell with a fellow American, but no identifying characteristics of his colleague were included.
At the time of the story, CBS reached out to families of four people who were being held captive by Syrian groups to ask whether they minded having their loved ones identified. Families of two, including Curtis, said no. But two others wanted their names and stories to get attention so they were identified, including James Foley, who was beheaded in a gruesome video released earlier this month.
Besides the online clips, CBS aired a brief story about the newly released information on “CBS This Morning.”
David Bauder can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter@dbauder. His work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/david-bauder.