Barbara Walters said she regrets having tried to help an aide to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad land a job at CNN and entrance into an Ivy League university.
Jaafari, 22, was a “close adviser to Mr. Assad and was at his side as Syrian troops stepped up their campaign of killing and repression,” reported the Daily Telegraph, adding that Walters has known her father, Bashar Jaafar, for about seven years.
Jaafari helped Walters snag the first Western sit-down with Assad, in December.
In late January, Jaafari approached Walters about landing a gig at ABC News, the paper reported.
“In the aftermath [of the Assad interview], Ms. Jaafari returned to the U.S. and contacted me looking for a job. I told her that was a serious conflict of interest and that we would not hire her,” Walters said in a statement to the paper.
Walters, however, did contact Jonathan Wald, executive producer of CNN’s “Piers Morgan Tonight,” about Jaafari. She also reached out to Wald’s father, a lecturer at Columbia University, to ask whether he could help Jaafari gain admittance to that institution.
“I did offer to mention her to contacts at another media organization and in academia, though she didn’t get a job or into school. In retrospect, I realize that this created a conflict and I regret that,” Walters said in the statement.