The conference call last Monday with journalists was arranged to discuss religious freedom ahead of Pompeo’s trip to the Mideast. One journalist was pointedly disinvited from the briefing apparently because the reporter was not from what the State Department considered a “faith-based” media outlet.
The State Department refused media requests to provide details of the press briefing by a federal official conducting official business, including who participated as well as a transcription of what was discussed.
The State Department has “also refused to answer questions about whether a range of faiths was represented” by those invited to participate, CREW noted in its FOIA letter.
“There is immense public interest in whether the State Department is cutting off access to the media based on religion, especially when they are supposedly briefing the press about religious freedom in the Middle East, in advance of a diplomatic trip,” CREW said in a statement.
The State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.