Army Official Admits Denying Embed Access Based on Past Work Reviews

By: Joe Strupp The Pentagon's review of past work by reporters seeking embed slots, which have come under scrutiny this week, were used to deny at least two reporters certain access to U.S. troops, Stars and Stripes reported Friday.

The military affairs newspaper, which first broke the story of the reviews on Monday, reported Friday that a U.S. Army official acknowledged using the reviews, at least in part, to deny embed access to two journalists.

"If a reporter has been focused on nothing but negative topics, you're not going to send him into a unit that's not your best," Maj. Patrick Seiber, spokesman for the Army's 101st Airborne Division, told Stars and Stripes in the story. "There's no win-win there for us. We're not trying to control what they report, but we are trying to put our best foot forward."

It added that "Seiber, who as a task force public affairs officer in Afghanistan in 2007-08 was responsible for deciding whether to approve requests from reporters to accompany some U.S. units as embeds, said his superior officers routinely sent the reporter profiles to him as part of the review and placement process.

"In at least two instances, Seiber said, he rejected embed requests based partly on what he read in the profiles - once because a reporter had allegedly done 'poor reporting' and once because a journalist reportedly had violated embed rules by releasing classified information. The latter allegation, if true, would have been grounds for automatic denial of an embed request even in the absence of the Rendon report."

The entire Stars and Stripes story is here.


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