In the face of much incoming fire, Brian Williams couldn’t muster up the admission to his bosses that he lied about being shot down by RPG fire in an Iraqi helicopter, Vanity Fair reported.

“He couldn’t explain what had happened. [He said,] ‘Did something happen to [my] head? Maybe I had a brain tumor, or something in my head?” the magazine reports Williams said right before he made what critics called a half-hearted apology on air.

Williams had aparently also gone rogue on NBC News’ PR department, who thought he would be talking to Stars and Stripes–the military outlet that broke the Iraqi helicopter story–off the record to see what they’d be writing: instead, he went on the record to admit he had been stretching the truth for years.

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