The U.S. military’s practice of embedding journalists with combat troops will continue under the Trump administration, Trump’s choice for secretary of defense said.
James Mattis says he plans to maintain the Pentagon’s program of embedding journalists with military units when he takes the job of secretary of defense in a Donald Trump presidency.
In a phone interview with The Seattle Times, the retired Marine Corps general said “there is never any doubt it will stay open.”
The program in its current form was launched under President George W. Bush and continued through the Obama administration, allowing journalists covering the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to spend time with troops in combat zones.
Mattis, who has yet to go through the confirmation process, would be working for a president who, as a candidate, often was hostile to the press, revoking credentials of some news outlets whose coverage he disliked. As president-elect, Trump has yet to hold a news conference, and all this has raised questions about media access to the new administration.
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Mattis had extensive experience with the embed program when journalists were attached to units under his command in Afghanistan.
In a 2011 speech in his hometown of Richland, Mattis, who then headed up U.S. Central Command, spoke of the need for transparency: “If what we’re doing right now overseas, where I’ve got 200-and-some-odd thousand young Americans serving on ships and up in the mountains and all, if what we’re doing can’t stand the light of day or can’t stand answering your questions, we ought to change it.”