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U.S. Protests Saudi Denial of Visa to Jerusalem Post Reporter

The U.S. is protesting Saudi Arabia’s denial of a visa to a Jerusalem Post journalist who wants to cover President Barack Obama’s visit there this week.

A journalist’s employer shouldn’t “count against their ability to do their job,” Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes said at a briefing today. He said the U.S. reached out through “multiple channels” to protest the denial.

Michael Wilner, White House correspondent for the Jerusalem Post, was the only member of the White House press corps traveling with Obama this week to be denied a visa by Saudi Arabia, the White House Correspondents Association said today in an e-mailed statement.

Wilner planned to cover only the Saudi Arabia part of Obama’s six-day trip, which also includes stops in the Netherlands, Belgium and the Vatican, the group said. In Saudi Arabia, Obama plans to discuss Syria, Iran and the Mideast peace talks.

“The denial is an affront not only to this journalist, but to the entire White House press corps and to the principle of freedom of the press that we hold so dear,” Steve Thomma, the group’s president, said in the statement.

Wilner is a U.S. citizen and is Jewish, according to an article in the Jerusalem Post online today.

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