TODAY

TODAY   |  March 11, 2013

State Dept. cancels award for Egyptian activist

At a high-profile event last Friday, Michelle Obama honored nine women instead of ten after incendiary tweets written by an Egyptian honoree were discovered. NBC’s Andrea Mitchell reports.

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>>> here at home the state department is facing new embarrassment this morning after a woman who was set to receive a courage award was abruptly sent home. here's nbc chief foreign affairs correspondent andrea mitchell .

>> reporter: it was michelle obama 's first high profile event friday, supposedly honoring ten international women of courage.

>> when these women witnessed horrific crimes or the disregard for basic human rights , they spoke up, risking everything they had to see that justice was done.

>> reporter: but at the very last minute only nine women were honored. the tenth, samira ibrahim, a young woman fighting for sexual abuse she and others suffered was sent home over the weekend, exposed for writing anti-semitic messages on twitter. she wrote a quote "i have discovered with the passage of days that no act contrary to morality, no crime against society, takes place, except with the jews having a hand in it." in another, even him called saudi arabia 's ruling family "more dirty than the jews." her hate messages were first exposed by the u.s. holocaust museum days before the ceremony. at first she claimed she had been hacked but a state department investigation quickly confirmed the tweets were hers.

>> we didn't consider some of the public statements she made appropriate, they didn't comport with our values.

>> reporter: the state department is wondering why they didn't do a better job vetting her.

>> upon the review we have concluded we will not give her this award.

>> reporter: a big embarrassment for the state department grapple grappling with president morsi. ibrahim is back in egypt where many view her as an icon for her courage in fighting for women's rights. she's commented on twitter, "i refuse to apologize to the zionist lobby in america regarding my previous anti-zionist statements under pressure from american government , therefore they withdrew the award." her round trip ticket paid for by american taxpayers. for "today," andrea mitchell , nbc news, washington.