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Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Reporters' Committee for Freedom of the Press Condemns Senate Democrats for Closed Session

The Reporters' Committee for Freedom of the Press is blasting Senate Democrats for forcing a closed session yesterday on Plamegate. Lucy Dalglish, RFCP's Executive Director, wasted no time in getting this statement out yesterday and I commend her for doing so.

I am also querying the American Society of Newspaper Editors and other professional journalism organizations to get their statements and if they haven't said anything to ask why. The Sacremento Bee's Rick Rodriquez is ASNE's president but he is travelling, so I am seeking answers from others at the organization.

Here's the RCFP statement:

"The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press condemns the actions of the U.S. Senate Democrats who this afternoon closed the chamber for the first time in 25 years, apparently for heated chastisement of Senate Republicans they say have reneged on promises to examine Bush administration claims about prewar intelligence in the run-up to the war in Iraq.
"In a speech on the Senate floor, Sen. Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) moved for the
Senate to go into closed session and Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) seconded the motion. The public was ordered out of the chamber; lights were dimmed, and the doors were closed.
"Senate Rule 21 allows the Senate to close its doors on a motion and second 'on the discussion of any business which may, in the opinion of a Senator, require secrecy.' No vote is necessary for closure.
"Democratic members of the Senate met with news media to explain the closed session, which they said is necessary to discuss a 'derelict' Senate Intelligence Committee's review of the prewar issues. Senator Durbin noted that it is within the power of the majority to 'close down the closed session' by majority vote.
"'While we appreciate Senator Reid's concern that too little information about the war in Iraq has been forthcoming, the best way to combat secrecy and obfuscation is not more secrecy,' said Reporters Committee Executive Director Lucy A. Dalglish. 'We would rather see more democracy and less secrecy.'"


Exactly the point. And exactly why there ought to be a deafening chorus of outraged protests among journalists in response to the closed Senate session. I am not, however, holding my breath in anticipation of those protests.