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CNN calls Fox's human shield accusation ‘nuts’

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A CNN correspondent has angrily denied a Fox News report that he and other journalists were used by the Libyan government as human shields against an attack on Moammar Gadhafi's compound.

Fox News' Jennifer Griffin reported Monday that the British military had to call off a mission on the Libyan ruler's compound because journalists had been taken there on a trip to view earlier bomb damage.

"British sources confirmed that seven Storm Shadow missiles were ready to be fired from a British aircraft, but the strikes had to be curtailed due to crews from CNN, Reuters and other organizations nearby," Griffin reported. She added that Fox correspondent Steve Harrigan avoided the government-sponsored trip because of concern about being used as a shield.

CNN's Nic Robertson, who was part of the CNN crew cited in the Fox story, shot back on the air Monday night, calling the allegation "outrageous and absolutely hypocritical."

"To say it was a human shield is nuts," Robertson said on Wolf Blitzer's primetime CNN show. "This allegation is outrageous and it's absolutely hypocritical. You know, when you come to somewhere like Libya, you expect lies and deceit from the dictatorship here. You don't expect it from the other journalists."

In addition, Robertson said, Fox sent a security guard with a camera on the same trip — a detail that was omitted from the Fox report.

Fox reporter Griffin admitted later to incorrectly having written that no Fox News representatives had gone on the reporting trip, but she stood by the bulk of her story.

Responding to Griffin's claim that this was a "propaganda trip," Robertson said, "When we go on these government trips, it's for a very simple reason: because we don't want government officials to film it themselves, edit it themselves and then hand it off to us."

As for Harrigan, Fox's war correspondent in Libya, Robertson said he has rarely seen him leave his hotel room.

"I don't know who he's talking to here to pick up and find out what the story is," Robertson said. "I see him more times at breakfast than I see him out on trips with government officials here."