Dion Nissenbaum, McClatchy newspaper group’s bureau chief in Jerusalem has explained it in a post today on his Blog: Checkpoint Jerusalem.
In Dion’s account, he explains that he complied with an order to drop his pants for a security check before the Saturday night press conference in Jerusalem of Israel’s Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney.
Dion does not seem traumatized by the scandalous security procedure. He says he is only insulted that journalists were not allowed to ask questions, after dropping their pants.
If there were any travelling press corps with Cheney, they wouldn’t have had to do this.
And journalists in Israel go through a rigorous accreditation process — they are not total unknowns. So this should never have happened.
What would have happened if they all had refused?
Dion wrote: “Security in Israel — from the airport to the Israeli parliament — is exceptionally tight, and getting into Olmert’s official residence was especially intrusive. First came the normal procedure of being pulled out of the line and questioned: How long have you lived here? Where do you live? Do you live alone? Do you have family here? Do you speak any Hebrew? Why do you travel to Jordan and Egypt? Have you been to Syria and Lebanon? Do you have friends in those countries? Etc. etc. etc… This process seemed to drag on especially long and a photographer who has lived here nearly a quarter century, has two kids and is married to an Israeli, stormed off after being held at the entrance for more than an hour. Once you make it past the first check, (if you make it through the first check) there’s the routine metal detector and x-ray machine, followed by the side trip behind the curtains for a body search. Only, this time, I was asked to drop my pants. ‘Really?’ I asked the security officer, who seemed slightly embarrassed by it all, though, since he does it all the time, I suspect he wasn’t really… The security guard said he needed to check the zipper of my jeans, though security also made other international reporters in normal pants strip before getting into the press conference. Strippin’ for Cheney might have been worth it – had we been given the chance to ask a question or two of the vice president. Instead, at the last minute, apparently, Cheney decided not to take questions … Fine. Lesson learned. That’s the last time I drop my pants for the vice president”.
Dion’s revelations were posted on 24 March on his Blog: Checkpoint Jerusalem here .
[Interesting: Dion doesn’t explain what happened to female journalists (if any)… I was told that this was a pool event, not open to the entire corps of accredited journalists]
2 thoughts on “Male journalists drop pants to attend Cheney-Olmert briefing”
my guess is
the authorities were just looking for any evidence of nonjewishness
at pool events or otherwise
i would not expect females to be required to undo their bottoms at all
for universal cavity searches
but that is different i think
So far, it is different — but it has happened at the airport and at other “crossing points”.
No, the authorities could not have been looking for evidence of
“nonjewishness”, I don’t think — they already know the journalists who are accredited here.
This is what happens, simply, when security personnel are given too much power… anything can happen, and anyone can be asked to do anything.