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Conservative White House reporter using pseudonym gains access to Presidential press briefing and classified documents

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Photo of the White House.Credit: dcJohn

A lack of thorough and consistent measures to pick the White House press corps members has led many to question the reason a little-known conservative reporter had access to sensitive documents and the President of the United States.

Jeff Gannon, whose real name is James Guckert, has been operating under an assumed name while attending White House press briefings. Gannon/Guckert was a reporter for the news service Talon News, a website believed by some to be a branch of the GOPUSA, up until his recent resignation due to the incidents surrounding him.

The spotlight was originally cast on Guckert when called upon in a January 26 news conference. He asked President George W. Bush how he could work with Democratic congressional leaders "who seem to have divorced themselves from reality." Bloggers, seeing this as a "softball" question almost immediately began to question Guckert’s credentials and motives.

Guckert supposedly had access to classified documents that named Valerie Plame as a CIA operative as well, which adds more fuel to the fire of the Justice Department’s investigation of the release of her name.

Bloggers revealed James Guckert's real name, and that he was the registered owner of JeffGannon.com, Hotmilitarystud.com, Militaryescorts.com, and Militaryescortsm4m.com.

The accusations that Guckert has no degree in journalism, reports through a small organiztion funded by a larger conservative news outlet, operated under an assumed name, and is directly linked with pornographic domain names, have many questioning how exactly he received a press pass in the first place.

White House press secretary Scott McClellan, when questioned about this event, stated that Guckert did not have a regular White House press pass but was cleared on a day-by-day basis to attend briefings and used his real name. McClellan defended Guckert’s clearance saying that, "He, like anyone else, showed that he was representing a news organization that published regularly and so he was cleared two years ago to receive daily passes just like many others are."

Sources