Calif. Republican asks Pentagon to remove embedded CNN reporters
THOMAS WATKINS / AP | October 21 2006
SAN DIEGO - The chairman of the House Armed Services Committee asked the Pentagon on Friday to remove CNN reporters embedded with U.S. combat troops, saying the network's broadcast of a video showing insurgent snipers targeting U.S. soldiers was tantamount to airing an enemy propaganda film.
The tape, which came to the network through contact with an insurgent leader, was aired Wednesday night on "Anderson Cooper 360" and repeated Thursday.
In a letter to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., wrote: "CNN has now served as the publicist for an enemy propaganda film featuring the killing of an American soldier."
The letter was also signed by San Diego-area Republican congressmen Darrell Issa and Brian Bilbray.
"This is nothing short of a terrorist snuff film," Bilbray said at a press conference held in San Diego.
CNN producer David Doss wrote in a Web log Thursday the network televised the footage in an effort to present the "unvarnished truth" about the Iraq war.
In one instance, the tape shows a uniformed member of the U.S. military milling in a public area with Iraqis. A shot rings out. CNN fades the screen to black before the result - described as a victim falling forward - is visible.
Hunter said he hasn't received a response from Rumsfeld.
A Pentagon spokesman said Friday he didn't know whether Rumsfeld had seen the letter.
"The department takes this very seriously and will look into the matter and respond accordingly to the member in due course," said Lt. Cmdr. Chito Peppler.
CNN officials defended their decision to air the footage.
"Our responsibility is to report the news," said Laurie Goldberg, a CNN spokeswoman. "As an organization we stand by our decision and respect the rights of others to disagree with it."
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