Feds STOP Journalist – They Confiscated Something!
(NewsReady.com) – On Sunday, May 22, Reuters journalist Idrees Ali was preparing to board a plane at Joint Base Andrews to travel with Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks when an official stopped him. They told him about a new rule that foreigners must not use any electronic devices while on the flight.
Ten minutes into the flight to Oslo, Norway, a Department of Defense (DOD) public affairs official asked Ali to hand over his phone and refrain from using his laptop or AirPods. POLITICO reported the official claimed the reason was that Hicks had to be ready to take a classified call at any moment. Ali wrote about the experience in a post on Twitter and showed a photo of his phone inside of a bag. The picture was apparently taken by a US citizen on the flight whose phone was not confiscated.
Yesterday on an official trip with Deputy U.S. Defense Secretary Hicks, my phone was confiscated by a DoD official, locked up and I was stopped from using electronics because of a new policy that bars non-US reporters from using devices on govt planes. (Pic taken by US citizen) pic.twitter.com/2cREYUp5Qd
— Idrees Ali (@idreesali114) May 23, 2022
The journalist, who has taken dozens of trips with US officials across three administrations, said nothing like that had ever happened to him before. By taking his phone, the Pentagon had effectively silenced the reporter. He explained on Twitter that he was unable to file any stories while in the air, meaning he couldn’t do what he was supposed to do. Ali said the Pentagon reached out to him after the flight and apologized to him, promised it wouldn’t happen again, and allegedly told him the Air Force is reviewing the policy.
In a statement to POLITICO, Air Force Spokesperson Brig. General Patrick Ryder said there was a “miscommunication” and confirmed the policy is under review. He went on to say the military branch respects “the role of a pree press” and regrets the “inconvenience” caused.
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