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Senate votes to continue censorship

Yesterday, by a vote of 54-39, the U.S. Senate turned down amendment S.AMDT.32911 to Senate bill S.24002, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2005. This amendment would have enabled news coverage of U.S. military dead as their remains are returned to this country. As the Army Times reported [re-paragraphed]:

The Senate refused on Monday to change a Pentagon policy banning media coverage of America�s war dead as their remains arrive in flag-draped caskets. "It�s an outrage," said Sen. Frank Lautenberg, who had sponsored legislation to restore coverage of homecoming ceremonies at Dover Air Force Base, Del. The New Jersey Democrat said the Pentagon directive that requires strict censorship, "issued just as the Iraq war began,... prevents the American people from seeing the truth about what�s happening."...

The vote defeated an amendment to the authorization bill for the Defense Department that would have required the Pentagon to produce a protocol in 60 days to regulate media coverage of the returning dead. Banning press and public access to the arrival of casualties in Dover was started in the 1991 Persian Gulf War, during the term of President Bush�s father....

To my disappointment, both my Senators — Santorum and Specter — voted against the amendment, i.e. to continue the ban on press and public access. How did your Senators vote? [via the NewsDissector weblog]

1An amendment "to require a protocol on media coverage of the return to the United States of the remains of members of the Armed Forces who die overseas."

2A bill "to authorize appropriations for fiscal year 2005 for military activities of the Department of Defense, for military construction, and for defense activities of the Department of Energy, to prescribe personnel strengths for such fiscal year for the Armed Services, and for other purposes."

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