Lolita C. Baldor,Seattle Times
A White House photographer was allowed to take and widely distribute a photo
from the ceremony Tuesday for the return of the remains of 30 American troops
killed in a weekend helicopter crash in Afghanistan despite the Pentagon’s claim
that any public depiction of the scene would violate the wishes of bereaved
News media coverage of the ceremony had been banned by the Pentagon over the
objections of several news organizations.
Pentagon officials had said that because 19 of 30 of the American families of
the dead had objected to media coverage of the remains coming off a plane at
Dover Air Force Base,no images could be taken. In addition,the Pentagon rejected
media requests to take photos that showed officials at the ceremony but did not
President Barack Obama attended the ceremony,called a “dignified
transfer,”for those killed in the worst single loss of the nearly 10-year war.
An official White House photo of a saluting Obama was distributed to news media
and published widely. It also was posted on the White House website as the
“Photo of the Day.”It showed Obama and other officials in silhouette and did not
Doug Wilson,head of public affairs at the Pentagon,said the department did
not know the White House photographer was present and had no idea a photo of the
event was being released until it became public.