James LaPorta, 35, was terminated after a brief investigation, people at the news organization confirmed to The Washington Post.
The Nov. 15 explosion in Przewodow, a Polish village near the border with Ukraine, killed two people and triggered global anxieties. Hours later, the Associated Press issued a news alert stating that an unnamed “senior U.S. intelligence official says Russian missiles crossed into NATO member Poland, killing two people.”
That information was apparently incorrect. Officials in Poland and the European Union later said they believed a single missile fired by Ukrainian forces had gone off course and landed over the border in Poland.
But the initial AP alert, sent to thousands of news outlets around the world, suggested a dire new escalation of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Poland is a NATO member, and a Russian attack on its territory might have invoked a western military response under the treaty organization’s mutual self-defense provisions. Other news organizations quickly passed along the news.