A U.S. State Department spokesman says CNN reported on the personal journal of slain American ambassador Christopher Stevens over objections from his family.

Caskets are placed into a hearse during the Transfer of Remains Ceremony for the return of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Libyan embassy employees. (Molly Riley-Pool/Getty Images)

The news channel posted in a story online Saturday that it found a journal belonging to Stevens four days after he died in a Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

State Department spokesman Philippe Reines says CNN broke a pledge to the late ambassador's family that it wouldn't report on the diary. Reines is a senior adviser to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

He called CNN's actions "indefensible." The channel said in the story online that it took "newsworthy tips" from Stevens' diary and confirmed them with other sources.

In a statement Saturday, CNN defended its use of the journal's contents and asked "why is the State Department now attacking the messenger."

The channel said "CNN did not initially report on the existence of a journal out of respect for the family, but we felt there were issues raised in the journal which required full reporting, which we did."

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