I'm happy that so many of you agree with me that this was brilliant television. What a story! Knowing that the shoe was going to fall, I still felt a knot in my stomach the whole hour, feeling so bad for those people, all but one of whom were doing their best to get to the truth. Sorkin isn't perfect, but he's brilliant.
The Atlantic ( http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2013/08/the-news-vs-i-the-newsroom-i-was-there-a-real-genoa-report-yes-in-1998/278795/
) posted an internet article entitled The News vs. The Newsroom: Was There a Real 'Genoa' Report? Yes—in 1998
"As other news sources have pointed out this summer, the Operation Genoa storyline borrows heavily from a 1998 CNN report called "The Valley of Death." CNN accused American soldiers of having used sarin gas in Laos in an extraction nicknamed Operation Tailwind during the Vietnam War, then later retracted the story on the grounds that it was untrue.
Like the ACN News Night team, CNN had a seemingly credible cast of sources when they aired the segment. According to independent attorney Floyd Abrams's report on his after-the-fact investigation of CNN's "Valley of Death" story:
There were three highly placed confidential sources that were understood to have confirmed both the use of sarin gas and that defectors were targeted in Operation Tailwind. One, particularly knowledgeable about chemical weaponry, was intimately familiar with nerve agents. Another was a senior intelligence source with access to records of Operation Tailwind. A third was a former high ranking officer intimately familiar with SOG. All were said to have validated the conclusions of the broadcast. Two of the three, news management was told, had reviewed the text of the broadcast before it was shown and approved it."