U.S. Media Agreed to Cover Up Location of Saudi Drone Base

U.S. news outlets are facing criticism after it was revealed they complied with an Obama administration request to hide the location of a U.S. drone base in Saudi Arabia. The base was first used in 2011 to kill Muslim cleric and U.S. citizen Anwar al-Awlaki. The New York Times disclosed its location for the first time this week, reportedly because the base’s architect, John Brennan, a former CIA station chief in Saudi Arabia, is now nominated to head the CIA. The Washington Post admitted they were also part of "an informal arrangement among several news organizations that had been aware of the location for more than a year." Critics are questioning the papers’ silence particularly because other outlets noted the location of the base months ago. The Times of London mentioned it in July 2011, while Fox News noted the location in an online article before broadening the language to say "Arabian Peninsula" instead of "Saudi Arabia." Adrian Chen of the media website Gawker wrote: "In cooperating with the blackout, news organizations weren’t protecting a state secret: They were making the CIA’s life easier by suppressing a story that was already out there."

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