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CIA ban must be absolute to be effective says SPJ

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After a hearing on the issue, the Society of Professional Journalists continues to support its stand that the ban on Central Intelligence Agency agents posing as journalists should be absolute.

"Members of our profession put their lives on the line in foreign countries every day," said G. Kelly Hawes, SPJ president. "There's already too much danger out there - too much confusion. This policy only adds to that, and it's long past time to put an end to it."

In response to statements of Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., and Terry Anderson, former Associated Press chief Middle East correspondent, that they are "uncomfortable" with public debate on the issue, Hawes said he believed any debate on the matter should remain in the public eye.

"I don't care if Senator Kerry or even others in our own profession are uncomfortable with discussing this issue," said Hawes. "While the debate may cause some short-term discomfort, we won't let this discussion go away. SPJ will continue to put its weight behind the issue as long as there's no absolute ban. We have a responsibility to our members and the profession to fight for their safety and to the public to maintain their trust."

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