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military. So security could easily have been controlled, as i been in the past.
As for the physical safety of our reporters, that is a questio military has raised. But we never have. Probably it is in the n of military commanders, their profession being what it is, to theater operations to be cleared of all but military people. ians, including the press, I suspect are seen as an impedin excess baggage, generally in the way, and therefore not welc Well, we place great responsibility upon our military leaders demand of them a very high level of performance in difficult cumstances. And in that light, their attitude may, to some ext be understandable. But in my view, it is still bad policy, since ¿ military operation is carried on in behalf of the American peop And if military leaders are to have, as they must have, the supp of the American people then they must know what it is they a asked to support.
There is nowhere they can learn that but from us. And the cannot learn it from us if we are not allowed to go there.
To conclude, I would like to quote Gen. Edward C. Meyer, wh retired this year from the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who said, "Soldier should not go off to war without having the Nation behind them. Thank you.
[The complete statement follows:]
Prepared Statement of David Brinkley, Senior CorresponDENT, ABC NEWS
Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee: I have been reporting news from Washington for many years. I first came to Washington in 1943 and I have covered national political affairs and public policy ever since for both print and broadcast news organizations. Through the years there have been many disputes between Government and the press regarding the right of the press to look into every corner of the Government in its search for news. The Government, no matter who is in the White House, has resisted this relentless poking about and has tried to limit journalists wherever it could. So the events of last week when the White House and Pentagon severely restricted the flow of information from Grenada is just one more unfortunate example of Government's attempts to restrict the press. My own company, ABC News, was among the first to complain about the problems of covering the operation in Grenada. Roone Arledge wrote as follows to Secretary of Defense Weinberger on October 25, last Tuesday, the day the Rangers and Marines landed: Dear Secretary Weinberger: I am seeking your assistance and approval in allowing NBC News correspondents, camerapersons, and producers to cover the military operation of well over 1,500 American combat forces on the island of Grenada.
The problems we are encountering are largely logistical. We would, of course, be willing to pay our own way, provide our own transportation by sea or air, and accept such risks we might now encounter on Grenada. I can assure you that only our most experienced broadcast journalists and technicians would be assigned to this coverage. The problem at this point is permission from the Department of Defense.
I might argue-but I won't-that the practice of journalists accompanying American military units into action is as old as our Nation and as old as the U.S. Marines-and that the Constitutional framers gave special consideration to the function of press in free society.
Suffice it to say that the U.S. troops on Grenada deserve as much coverage as the debate in Washington over their presence there.
Awaiting your reply.
Sincerely. Roone Arledge.
There have been two basic themes in the Pentagon's resistance: The first is security of the operation; the second is the safety of the journalists who are covering it. Our rationale for opposing them on the second point is outlined in the letter and I won't add to it here beyond saying that in Vietnam we took our chances in the field with the troops and 53 newsmen were killed or are missing in the course of covering that war. An unknown number were wounded. The best estimate on that score is
150 according to writer Peter Braestrup who has studied press and military operations in Vietnam very closely.
The military could and should have taken journalists ashore on Grenada shortly after the initial assault or even the next day. But so far as we can determine-and perhaps the subcommittee would like to get testimony from the Defense Department on this point-there was never any plan for dealing with journalists.
On the matter of the security of the operation: Newsmen could have been taken in with the first wave with the understanding they would not file until after the operation had commenced. This was frequently done in Vietnam and so far as I know there was never a compromise of a U.S. military operation traced to a journalist. ABC News and other news organizations have been ready, willing, and able to charter planes and boats into the island so that arguments that the military could not support newsmen logistically, are simply specious.
Going back to the parallels in Vietnam, there is no doubt that the press and the military commander in Vietnam, General William Westmoreland, have differed on many points regarding the war, but there is no record of Westmoreland ever accusing the press of compromising the security of the men he commanded.
That's a remarkable record when you consider the length of the war in Vietnam, the numbers of newsmen who covered it and the fact that they were allowed to roam freely about the country and write what they saw without censorship and with only the loosest of guidelines regarding what subjects were proscribed, e.g. future military operations, casualties, troop strengths and movements.
Finally it seems to me that in a Democratic society it is essential that the people have access to information regarding the intentions and the actions of their government. This is particularly true in the case of military operations when men and women are asked to support or at least to understand a policy that may lead to the loss of their own lives or the lives of their loved ones. Last June when he retired from the Army after a distinguished career as Chief of Staff, General Edward C. Meyer said, "Soldiers should not go off to war without having the Nation behind them." To which I would simply add, Amen General.
Mr. KASTENMEIER. Thank you, Mr. Brinkley.
Do the three distinguished representatives from the television networks believe that the print media joins you in this concern that you so eloquently reflect today, Mr. Joyce?
Mr. JOYCE. I think it is clear from editorials in newspapers across the country that this is a concern that is mediawide. The "press" we have used today is an all-inclusive phrase to include both print and broadcast.
Mr. CHANCELLOR. Mr. Chairman, the American Newspaper Publishers Association has condemned this. The American Society of Newspaper Editors has condemned this action. I think there is no question that the media, as they are called in the United States, are wholly together on this question.
Mr. KASTENMEIER. I will ask one more question and then I will yield to anyone who remains. To what extent is this action unprecedented, or is there precedent for it in American history? And to what extent does the fact that this was a unique operation, a brief operation involving an invasion of a small island in the Caribbean, make the situation so unique as to potentially justify the exclusion, at least in the early days, of journalists?
Mr. JOYCE. If I could begin a response and then share the table with my colleagues here. I asked that a call be placed to Bert Quint, a CBS news correspondent now based in Warsaw, Poland, for us. Bert covered the 1965 invasion of the Dominican Republic. We asked Bert what the circumstances were. He said that he traveled from Puerto Rico by landing craft to the helicopter carrier Boxer and was allowed ashore 2 hours after the Marines. The Navy flew his film each day to Puerto Rico.
I also talked to a CBS news producer, Sam Roberts, who says was flown into the Dominican Republic from Puerto Rico withi hours after the invasion began. That is one example.
If you go back to the example of the Second World War, in A 1944, the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force forth a governing principle for field press censorship, that the m imum amount of information will be withheld from a public c sistent with security.
If we take the example of Vietnam, where censorship was do on a voluntary basis-and my source for this is Barry Zorthia who was the chief press officer for the U.S. Government during th period of the Vietnam war-in Vietnam accreditation for journa ists was lifted for security breach only six times in over 41⁄2 year in dealing with approximately 2,000 news media representatives.
That there is often a tug of war between the military and the press is an inescapable fact. During the Civil War, General Halleck excluded reporters from one zone of conflict, but that was one zone of a larger conflict, and correspondents did cover that war.
In 1813 Thomas Jefferson wrote that the first misfortune of the Revolutionary War induced emotion to suppress the account of it. "It was," he says, "rejected with indignation," which tells you something, I think something about the history of censorship and something about the concept of the Founding Fathers of this Nation in terms of the press and the military.
Mr. KASTENMEIER. Thank you.
I yield to the gentleman from California, Mr. Moorhead.
I certainly want to welcome every one of you here this morning. We appreciate your coming and giving this testimony. But I think in view of the fact that each one of you believes that there should not be censorship, both sides should be presented on each issue. I think that there is another side to the issue, and I think it should be pressed.
Usually, we have opening statements on both sides as well in this kind of a hearing. I must admit that I find it more than a bit alarming that we are meeting this morning to discuss, in part, freedom of the press and sharing of information, and yet it was not until yesterday morning that we in the minority found out that there was going to be such a hearing stressing the Reagan administration's handling of press coverage in Grenada. And we read about it in the Washington Post. So if we had not been reading the newspaper, we might not have known about it even then.
Having said that, Mr. Chairman, I think the central issue before us today is whether or not secrecy was needed to assure the safety of American fighting men and protect the lives of the very people we were being sent to rescue. I believe that it was, or at least that a good case can be made for it.
This was a rescue mission utilizing commando tactics against an enemy that wore civilian clothes and drove civilian vehicles. There was no clear battle line. In other rescue missions in recent memory, such as the Israeli raid on Entebbe and the attempted Carter rescue mission in Iran, the need for secrecy was recognized as paramount. And the press was excluded. Yet the American
public was provided a full accounting of the events after the need for secrecy had passed.
By denying access to the press, the American commander on Grenada ensured the safety of his men and the people he was sent to rescue. We are all aware that the first amendment to the Constitution recognizes the right of free speech and the right of the press to print anything it wants. However, there seems to be some who fail to recognize that it does not guarantee access to information which would jeopardize the safety of Americans.
In the last few days we have heard correspondents broadly state that the press has covered all the Nation's wars, including World War II, the Korean war, and Vietnam. This assertion leaves out several important facts. In World War II you had a system of war correspondents who actually wore uniforms, were given the courtesy rank of an officer, and were subjected to censorship.
When the Korean war started, commanders did not impose censorship, but when reporters were denied access to the peninsula, newsmen asked that censorship be imposed.
Even Vietnam, with no censorship, was not entirely open to the press. Reporters were not along on many of the more important and daring missions. As yet another example, reporters could only cover the air war in Thailand by special permission; they were not allowed free access to the Thai bases.
We will hear testimony today from Ed Joyce that on the third day of the invasion the Pentagon began to release its own film which clearly represented what the Government wanted the public to see and hear. On this point I think it is important to note that the Pentagon was handing over its tapes unedited, which were shot by young soldiers with no political bias.
In only two instances did the Pentagon edit out small segments of the material. At the time the tapes were released, the Pentagon explained to the networks what the two pieces were. One was two soldiers exchanging a password and countersign, which no responsible media would want to divulge; the second segment contained pictures of classified communications equipment which were filmed at the Pope Air Force Base in North Carolina before the operation even began. Clearly, there was no attempt to influence the reporting of events occurring in Grenada by the Pentagon.
One final point concerns the fact that informal polls conducted by several media outlets around the country shows public support for the military decision on press access to Grenada by a margin of almost 2-to-1. For instance, yesterday in our Nation's capital, channel 9 conducted a poll asking the question of whether or not the military was correct in restricting press access. Viewers responded 68 percent in favor of the military decision and 31 percent against. I think the media needs to listen to the public on some of these issues. But I do want to congratulate you on constantly fighting to get the news and to get the facts. And I do not blame you one bit for asserting the position that you do, because I do think that it is important that the public have all the information on all kinds of issues that they possibly can get and that both sides, even the minority, be allowed to be heard.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. BRINKLEY. Mr. Moorhead, can I respond to that? You say the polls showed the public siding with the military by 2-to-1. I am a little surprised. I thought it would have been 10-to-1. We are not the leaders in the popularity contests in the U.S., and we are well aware of it-
Mr. MOORHEAD. Neither are we.
Mr. BRINKLEY [continuing]. We are well aware of it.
Mr. KASTENMEIER. We do have a vote on the floor. We have about 3 or 4 minutes to make it. You may want to comment on Mr. Moorhead's observations, eloquently presented, reflecting the administration's position, but in view of the fact there is a vote on, we will recess, for about five or 10 minutes.
The committee stands in recess.
Mr. KASTENMEIER. The committee will reconvene.
The Chair would now like to yield to the gentleman from Oklahoma, Mr. Synar.
Mr. SYNAR. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, very much.
First of all, let me welcome all four of our panelists this morning I appreciate your comments because, as a Congressman who went through the 48 hours during the invasion, not only were you all deprived of information, but the information which we were able to obtain from DOD and the briefings we had was, at best, very limited.
I have been concerned as a Representative whether or not I can accurately or informatively keep my people back in Oklahoma informed on what is going on, based upon the fact that we have had limited information coming to us as Members of Congress and almost no information coming to the press.
Let me ask you, Mr. Brinkley-and I am not old enough for this, and I am not saying that we are showing age-but am I correct that the press accompanied the bombing of Hiroshima and also accompanied the invasion during D-day and that there were no leaks on either one of those occasions?
Mr. BRINKLEY. The two great secrets of World War II were the date of the invasion of France and the dropping of the atomic bomb.
In the case of the invasion of France, the press was informed well in advance. It went ashore with the troops, was shot at, killed, along with everyone else. There was no leak.
In the case of the dropping of the atomic bomb, the second great secret of World War II, a reporter went along on the airplane that dropped the bomb, because the War Department-it was then-felt someone, when it was all over, had to explain it to the public, and they took a reporter specializing in science topics from the New York Times, took him along, and after it was all over he wrote several long articles in the Times explaining a concept that none of us had ever heard of before. It worked effectively; there were no leaks.
Mr. SYNAR. I appreciate that, and I appreciate, Mr. Chairman, these hearings today because I think they are very important. I share the concern of the chairman and the panelists this morning of the ability of the American public, which will have to support any encounter like this, to be well-informed with accurate information.