MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A Wisconsin freelance reporter who says he lost his embed status with the U.S. Army for reporting on an argument that turned deadly at an Afghanistan military base is asking the Supreme Court to take up his case.
Wayne Anderson, now 60, says U.S. military officials sent him home in 2010, after he published an article in The Washington Times about the shooting during a training exercise that stemmed from an argument between an Afghan soldier and a U.S. contractor.
Two American contractors and two Afghans were killed, according to the article, which was posted on the newspaper’s website alongside video Anderson took showing the wounded Americans being unloaded from an ambulance.
Anderson says U.S. commanders attempted to interfere with his reporting, telling him he was “chasing a non-story.”
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“They were flipped out and they just terminated my embed right then and there,” Anderson said.
Anderson’s article includes two differing explanations about how the shooting occurred. According to the Afghan Army base’s media officer, a U.S. soldier shot the Afghan man after he reached for his fallen weapon, prompting further shooting from an Afghan recruit and other trainees. According to an anonymous eyewitness and the official Afghan army report, the Afghan man shot the U.S. trainer first before being killed.
Anderson is seeking reversal of the memorandum terminating his embed status and reinstatement of his credentials.
The U.S. Department of Justice didn’t immediately respond to a message seeking comment. The Supreme Court only hears about 1 percent of the thousands of petitions it receives each term.
According to the petition, Army officials told Anderson he had violated the media ground rules by posting video of wounded personnel. Anderson says the footage didn’t reveal the identities of the personnel, so no violation of the rules ever occurred.
Upon his return, Anderson filed a lawsuit against Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter and other officials. A circuit court and the D.C. Court of Appeals dismissed his case for lack of jurisdiction. Anderson filed the petition Wednesday with the U.S. Supreme Court.
Anderson said he hopes the court will take up his case and tell the appeals court it must hear the merits of the case and his First Amendment arguments.
“The American people have a right to know what is going on in their wars,” Anderson said. “We’re paying for it, not only with our money, our tax dollars, but our children.”
Follow Bryna Godar on Twitter at https://twitter.com/bgodar