CREW requested records from the State Department related to the removal of any National Public Radio (NPR) reporter from the pool of reporters allowed to travel with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
On January 24, 2020, NPR correspondent Mary Louise Kelly conducted a contentious interview with Pompeo. Following the interview, the State Department notified another NPR reporter, Michele Keleman, that Keleman would be removed from the list of reporters scheduled to fly with Pompeo on a trip to Eastern Europe. The removal drew swift condemnation from the press and the State Department Correspondents’ Association, which observed that, given the timing of the decision, “[w]e can only conclude that the State Department is retaliating against [NPR] as a result of” the contentious exchange between Secretary Pompeo and Kelly.
The requested records would shed light on whether the State Department or Pompeo did, in fact, retaliate against NPR as a result of the contentious January 24, 2020 interview. The public has a compelling interest in the release of such records, since they could reveal efforts to undermine the free press by excluding a major media outlet for improper or arbitrary reasons.