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Not the real thing

James Taranto raised a question Tuesday in his blog on WSJ.com about whether Richard Engel had overlooked a story in Sidon, Lebanon.

According to Taranto, one of his readers noticed what looked like uncut sheets of U.S. $100 bills on the ground in Richard's report that aired Monday on Nightly News. Taranto wondered if Engel had stumbled across a Hezbollah counterfeiting operation that had been blown to bits.

Richard explained over the phone from Tyre, Lebanon, Wednesday that the bills shown were not real bills but photocopies. He said the bills were not on currency quality paper and were too small to be passed off as real currency.

He also explained that, often times when people are dealing with a lot of cash, as they would be at a bank, they photocopy the currency as a form of record keeping and to check out that the serial numbers are correct -– to make sure that the dollars they got were real dollars.

You can watch Richard's report from Monday for yourself here.