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controlling security for the Government when we were just laying cables across the Atlantic for telephone calls and cablegrams. But today, with ground stations and satellites and instant communication all over the world, I think we have to think censorship out all over again and see if the press and the Government can behave responsibly toward one another in this.
And so, I would welcome anything that the Congress could do, and I would welcome, more than that, an agreement in some form-I don't know if it could be legal-in some form between the national press and the U.S. Government on how these things ought to be arranged because if we can't do that with fairness to both sides we are going to have this kind of trouble again.
Mr. MORRISON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. KASTENMEIER. Yes. Actually, Mr. Morrison raised the question that I would have raised. I suspected the answer would be that there would be no particular recommendation, and I agree with you that it would be extraordinarily difficult to formulate a legislative solution.
We have devoted a great deal of time to the question of newsmen's privilege nationally. In the final analysis, the journalism societies and the publishers said do nothing because it would require a definition of who is a reporter. And rather than federally start putting all those things into some law which would discriminate against some and qualify others, it was decided that legislation was not the answer.
I suspect it is the case here. The vigilance will have to come from people who believe in the first amendment, who believe in sticking up for the press, to make a public issue of it; but I sense that there is no easy legislative resolution for it.
However, if anyone sees a course of action that does involve one, we would very much like to know what it is.
Mr. Abrams, perhaps you might comment further.
Mr. ABRAMS. Congressman Kastenmeier, I think what you are doing today is the best thing you could do. I think the idea of having hearings, the idea of talking about these things, and trying to get people to focus on them on one side or another is about the best beginning.
I don't see any legislative resolution of this at all. I think, in part, it is a matter of mindset, and that can be changed by persuasion. I don't think this administration was doing this to get the press. Russell Baker had an amusing column, suggesting that the Grenada invasion was an effort to teach the press a lesson, but he was at least four-fifths kidding about it.
I think that all we can start with is talking about it and exchanging views and hoping that in the end people of any administration will understand and will accommodate the first amendment needs, not just of the press, but of the public.
Mr. KASTENMEIER. Are there further questions?
The gentleman from California, Mr. Moorhead.
Mr. MOORHEAD. I think that what we are up against is a question of judgment, from your answers, and I think, Mr. Brinkley, you had an outstanding answer that I certainly agree with, when you say that you can't just judge by size. It depends upon all the cir
cumstances that surround a situation, and any administration has to make a judgment.
The more people you let in on a decision or a surprise attack, the more chances there are of leaks, and I don't think the press is any more suspect than any other element in our society, including members of Congress. But the more people involved, the more chances there are of leaks.
The administration made a judgment to protect their soldiers and their sailors, and I think it is our right to now examine that decision. Maybe they didn't let the press in soon enough or maybe they let it in just at exactly the right time.
But I don't think that we as Americans should consider any one group, regardless of where they come down on that kind of a judgment, as wanting to cut back on the democracy in this country or the freedom of information for the American people because I, as a member of the minority, would fight for that sooner than almost anyone.
We survive because the press is free and can print the positions of both the Government and those that are not in control. So it is most important.
I just think in this case the administration came down on a position. They felt that it was in the best interest of those soldiers and marines that were going over there, and that is why they took the position they did.
I think that it is fine for you to say that the press should have been allowed in sooner, and in these discussions we can best find the right answers for the next time this type of event comes around.
I would like your comments on that.
Mr. BRINKLEY. Well, I would not disagree, Congressman. My view is that we should have been allowed to go into Grenada much sooner. It was more than 1 week.
During that week there was a proliferation of rumors and stories coming from all sorts of places because we were in no position to verify any of them.
I will give you a specific example. About 1 week ago, I had a guest on television named Caldwell Taylor, who was the last Ambassador of Grenada to the United Nations, and I said to him, "We hear there are all sorts of weapons and heavy rockets and this and that being found in your country. Why were they there? What did you have in mind doing with them?"
He denied they were there. He said it was lies by the American military, which, of course, I do not accept and did not believe, but was in no position to argue because we had no one there. All we knew was what we had heard secondhanded from the Defense Department and again I don't accuse them of lying. I would not do that.
But we had no independent information of our own with which we could refute Taylor's-I am sure it was a lie he was telling. But in any case, he said he didn't believe they were there, and if so they had been brought in by the marines and planted, and so on.
Stories like that, which are very disruptive, spread rapidly when there is no source for verification, as in this case.
Mr. JOYCE. Congressman Moorhead, first of all expressing gratitude for your gracious and openminded examination on this subject, let me submit that it appears that this invasion was not a secret to the Soviets, not a secret to the Cubans, who knew that it was on its way. It was a secret to the American people.
But even accepting the premise that initial secrecy was a good idea, was required, there was obviously some threshold that got crossed very early on in which we move from military to political censorship, and I think that is something that is worthy of discussion and, with total respect, worthy of some concern on all our part.
Mr. MOORHEAD. You know, there is no question that there was a leak in Guyana in which the press did report the possibility of an invasion because they had been in on the little group of countries down there that had been talking about what was going to happen. But obviously, it wasn't taken seriously by the Cubans because all of the secret papers and everything else were found intact in Grenada.
The commanders hadn't gotten to their troops. They weren't organized, and there was secrecy regardless of the fact that this story had been printed in obscure newspapers of this little country a day or two before.
So really, there was secrecy even though there had been a leak, and I think that is an important point.
Mr. JOYCE. Sir, but would you agree that within hours of that invasion the secrecy justification had evaporated?
Mr. MOORHEAD. I really don't know enough detailed facts to give you an answer to that question.
Mr. CHANCELLOR. Congressman, may I just interject here that I don't think probably any of us in this room know all those detailed facts, and I certainly don't think we should get into a debate on the Grenada situation until we have learned a little more about it.
I think personally that the press was held far too long, but let me suggest to you, sir, that what we are talking about is the future. If the American Government can do this to the American people through its press in Grenada, maybe another administration, a Democratic administration, can come along and do the same thing again in another part of the world.
What I think we all have to address ourselves to is some plan under which we can have a small pool of, say, 20 people from the press, camera people, and reporters, that is all, that can be secretly transported to the scene of a major involvement by the American military, and be there with them taking the risks, as we always have done.
It seems to me this Republic could stand something like that. Mr. MOORHEAD. Well, I certainly wouldn't object to that program. I think this operation came up so fast that there wasn't time to do that.
Mr. KASTENMEIER. The time of the gentleman has expired.
I would hope we wouldn't need that pool very often, although one doesn't know.
Is the gentleman from Ohio seeking recognition?
It seems to me that our testimony today, gentlemen, has brou out how tough these decisions are, that they are factual decisio that they vary from case to case, and I very much appreciate y input and your testimony here.
It just seems to me that, as I stated before, what we are deal with is a very tough balancing decision between access and safety of either hostages or the safety of American troops who going in. These decisions, I think, have to be made on a casecase basis, and I think our discussion today has been illuminati and I think it will help those decisions that are made in the futu I do have one question, and I don't think this has been broug out. We have been talking about when you had access, and the has been some statements about 5 days, 6 days, a week.
I have some figures, and I just want your comments to see if the are, at least in your understanding, correct as far as when th media had access.
It is my understanding that on the third day there were 15 jou nalists in a pool who were in for a brief period of time. The fourt day there were 27. The fifth day, 47. The sixth day, 172. And th seventh day, 197.
Now, I don't expect you to respond that those are accurate or in accurate, but is that roughly correct? Is that a fair representation of your access to the island?
Mr. JOYCE. Yes, sir, it is my understanding that that is generally
If I may point out, that as you describe that third day, what hap pened was that three network correspondents were allowed on the island with a pool crew.
It needs to be pointed out, however, that their tour, if I might call that it was, indeed, a guided tour of a limited part of the island-did not represent the sort of access that in other battlefield conditions reporters have had in the past.
Mr. DEWINE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. SAWYER. Mr. Chairman?
Mr. KASTENMEIER. The gentleman from Michigan.
Mr. SAWYER. Yes. Just further reference to that third day, it was my understanding that that group representing the three networks were supposed to act as a pool and share the information with other media, and then they didn't do it.
Mr. JOYCE. That is not my understanding, sir.
Mr. BRINKLEY. Not to my knowledge. Does anyone know more about that than I do?
Mr. CHANCELLOR. There was a report, Congressman, that I am not sure it involved people from television. I do not say that defensively. I think it involved some of the people who were from the newspapers or the wire services, who came back and in conditions of absolute chaos, back in Barbados, as far as communications were concerned, either did not fully brief or did not at all brief their colleagues.
The problem was that when the people were actually brought back from Grenada to Barbados, there being no facilities made for press communication on Grenada, they found only a dozen telephones installed, and when the reporters came back they found all connections out of the island, Barbados, were jammed for hours.
The communications, frankly, has been a disgrace, and it is one thing to take in a small pool of reporters into a combat situation, but if they come back and nobody can file because there aren't enough telephones, and the military-any political campaign will tell you how to put in telephones-if those telephones aren't installed and you have got a terrible jam-up at the press center, then that in itself delays and impedes the free flow of information.
Mr. SAWYER. Just one other observation. Mr. Brinkley made the statement that no one was in there for a week. That is somewhat of an exaggeration. Only the first 2 days were there no press there, and then this pool came in on the third day, and then by the time a week was up, there were 197 journalists on the island, with the amount growing.
So, you know, it is a pretty good story without making it better. Mr. BRINKLEY. Well, if I said no one was in there for a week, obviously I was not correct.
It was about a week before anyone was allowed to go in and circulate freely and do whatever he thought he should do.
Mr. SAWYER. Well, on the fifth day there were 47, on the sixth day 172.
Were they all just shepherded?
Mr. BRINKLEY. Essentially, those are guided tours, Congressman, taking them to limited places for limited times, and then flown back to Barbados.
Mr. SAWYER. Thank you. I yield back, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. KASTENMEIER. If there are no further questions-the gentlewoman from Colorado.
Mrs. SCHROEDER. Mr. Chairman, I wanted to ask a couple more questions trying to hit on the reasons for why this was supposed to have happened.
Are any of you aware of any time that the press ever revealed this type of information if they had it ahead of time?
In other words, part of the reason for not letting you in was supposedly to maintain the secrecy.
Has there ever been documented a case where the press was in on something and it was revealed?
Mr. CHANCELLOR. In a book recently published by Colonel Harry-written by an officer named Col. Harry Summers, who teaches at the Army War College, there was not a single incident of a tactical operation in the course of the Vietnam war where security was broken by the American press. That is a book that came out, I think, just last year.
I will give one example of the ability of the press to keep secrets, and that is that before the American hostages were released in Iran, before the American hostages there were released a number of us in the press knew that some Americans had escaped early in that ordeal and were being sheltered in a Western embassy in Tehran. We knew that, and not a word of it appeared in the American press or on American television or radio.
It was a very well-kept secret for a very obvious reason. It would have endangered lives. It was a very good and dramatic and interesting story, and we later learned about it when they were released by the Canadian Embassy. But that was known by the major news