AP NEWS

Lawmakers press Pompeo over briefing that excluded press corps

March 19, 2019

Lawmkers on the House Foreign Affairs Committee are calling on the State Department to release details from a Monday night press briefing by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that excluded the department’s press corps and only allowed “faith-based media” to participate.

“We need more information @StateDept, let’s see the transcript and participants,” a post of the committee’s Twitter account read Tuesday.

The State Department on Monday hosted a briefing call about “international religious freedom” ahead of the secretary’s trip this week to Kuwait, Israel and Lebanon.

Among the participants of the call were Religion News Service, Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Algemeiner, World Magazine and The Leaven, the newspaper of the Catholic archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas, according to RNS. However, the participants “were not told that the call was limited to faith-based media.”

The department has maintained that it will not be releasing a transcript of the call or the list of media outlets invited, despite objection from the press corps.

Mr. Pompeo, who seldom participates in such calls, reportedly told participants during the briefing that his trip to the Middle East will be “very focused on not only the security aspects of the relationship between our countries and the economic aspect but also the challenges we face from radical Islamic terrorism in the region.”