In an interesting turn of events, American diplomats protected reporters from Sudanese security forces even though reporters rarely lift a finger to assist American diplomats.

Security forces in the Sudanese capital manhandled U.S. officials and reporters traveling with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, marring her round of meetings with leaders of the new unified government. Rice demanded an apology, and got it. ...

Reporters, whom guards reluctantly allowed into the meeting for a planned photo session, were harassed and elbowed, and guards repeatedly tried to rip a microphone away from a U.S. reporter.

Ambassador Khidir Haroun Ahmed, head of the Sudanese mission in Washington, attempted to smooth over the situation on the spot. "Please accept our apologies," he told reporters. "This is not our policy."

But there was another scuffle moments later.

The reporters were told not to ask questions, over State Department objections. When NBC diplomatic reporter Andrea Mitchell tried to ask el-Bashir about his involvement with alleged atrocities, guards grabbed her and muscled her toward the rear of the room. State Department officials shouted at the guards. "Get your hands off her!" Wilkinson demanded. But all the reporters and a camera crew were physically forced out as Rice and el-Bashir watched.

All that despite Mike Wallace and Peter Jennings' famous insistance that reporters should never sacrifice a story to help their country. Those who can, do; those who can't, report.

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