Navy Confiscates Video from ‘Inside Edition’ Crew
KEY WEST, Fla. (AP) _ Military police confiscated video from an ″Inside Edition″ television crew taping penned dolphins at a base where the mammals are trained as guards for nuclear submarines, the Navy said Wednesday.
Reporter Craig Rivera, brother of talk-show host Geraldo Rivera, two other crew members and Richard O’Barry, best known as a trainer for the ″Flipper″ television series, were detained briefly Tuesday for allegedly crossing into a restricted zone at Key West Naval Station.
″They were warned off and in fact crossed the lines anyway,″ Ensign Robin Perkins said. ″They were apprehended because they were in a restricted naval area.″
No charges were filed, but she said a report on the incident will be referred to the U.S. attorney’s office for review.
″They weren’t booked on any kind of charges. The films were confiscated and they were escorted off base,″ Perkins said.
The crew for the nationally syndicated tabloid television show and O’Barry were in a chartered boat ″about 150 yards away from the pens.
″There were no signs saying off-limits,″ O’Barry said. ″We were told to get out of there and then ordered to hand over the film. We were surrounded by 15 Navy frogmen.″
He said the same thing happened last week to a crew for ABC’s ″20/20″ newsmagazine show.
″We stand behind our investigative reporter Craig Rivera, as he was within the parameters of the law and certainly within the parameters of journalistic ethics,″ said program publicist Marcy Baron in New York. She would not say whether efforts were being made to recover the tape.
O’Barry has been arrested twice this year in protests at a Florida Keys resort where two recently captured dolphins were being held for a marine park.
A pair of Navy-trained dolphins are in pens at the Navy base as part of a ″swimmer nullification program″ training the marine mammals in Key West, San Diego and Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii.
The dolphins reportedly are fitted with nose guns and taught to kill enemy frogmen to protect submarines armed with Trident nuclear missiles.
The Navy has used dolphins, sea lions and beluga whales in classified programs since the 1960s.
The program was criticized in 1988 after several trainers charged the animals suffered physical abuse and that the program suffered from mismanagement, rapid employee turnover and pressure to expand.