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SPJ President Kelly Hawes expresses discontent over CIA policy

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Society of Professional Journalists President G. Kelly Hawes urged CIA Director John Deutch and President Bill Clinton to completely abandon the practice of recruiting journalists as spies or allowing CIA agents to pose as journalists.

"You are placing journalists' lives in constant danger," stated Hawes in a letter to President Clinton. "I cannot express to you how imperative it is that this practice be halted immediately."

An executive order during the Carter administration was thought to have banned the practice. After a Council on Foreign Relations task force recommended that the ban be reconsidered, it was revealed that a "loophole" existed allowing the CIA director or his deputy to grant a waiver. After protests, Deutch refused to rule out the practice, saying in some cases it might be necessary.

In another letter, Hawes asked Deutch to close any loopholes in the ban, saying that it not only placed journalists in danger, but compromised the integrity of the press and confused potential news sources.

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