The State Department today refused to allow a reporter for the Washington Free Beacon to attend a press briefing given by lead negotiator Wendy Sherman and threatened to call security to have him removed. The Free Beacon reported:
Two State Department officials booted the Free Beacon from a room where Wendy Sherman, the undersecretary of state for political affairs, was talking to reporters, despite the Free Beacon’s being credentialed by the Austrian government for the ongoing Iranian nuclear talks. …
Melissa Turley, a State Department official, approached a Free Beacon reporter and demanded that he leave the room. …
“You have a press pass from the [European Union], not from me,” Turley said, after being informed that the Free Beacon was officially credentialed to cover the event.
Both Turley and a second State Department colleague threatened to call “security” to remove the reporter.
The Free Beacon cited Western observers at the talks who attributed the State Department’s behavior “to jitters over media coverage revealing a still growing list of concessions being made to Iran by the Obama administration.” Such concessions include the administration’s reported willingness to allow Iran to limit inspections of military sites, which many experts consider a necessary element of verifying that Iran’s nuclear program is strictly civilian.
[Photo: UNVIE U.S. Mission to International Organizations in Vienna / Flickr ]