I covered the US House International Relations Committee Hearings on September, 1995, when the head of the GAO arrived at the session to report PLO finances, as the House considered further allocations. The GAO official came with a briefcase overflowing with documents concerning the billions of dollars of assets of the PLO, yet explained to the thirty US House members that he has been advised by the US Administration, while en route to the hearing, that the documents in his briefcase were to be declared classified.

      When a congresswoman asked why, he said that the reason was classified. Laughter burst out in the room. Except that it was not funny. A nice news story, no?

      At least twenty reporters were in the hearing room. However, their bureaus were "visited" that day by State Department people who "advised" them not to publicize anything about the hearing, which also featured twelve video clips from Arafat's American-funded Palestine Broadcasting Corporation, in which Arafat called for a continuing Jihad/holy war on the people and state of Israel.

      With the exception of the Washington Jewish Week, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency and a few other Jewish papers who were not present, not one reporter who covered the session reported the hearing. And, under pressure from the State Department, the House has never released the transcript of that hearing.

David S. Bedein, MSW
Media Research Analyst
Executive Director
Beit Agron International Press Center
Jerusalem, Israel
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Friday, April 30, 1998




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