(JNS.org) Saudi Arabia denied a visa to Jerusalem Post reporter Michael Wilner to cover President Barack Obama’s upcoming trip to Saudi Arabia this week. According to the Jerusalem Post, Wilner, who serves as the newspaper’s Washington bureau chief and White House correspondent, “was the only journalist denied access to the president’s trip,” after a lengthy visa process in which Saudi officials held Wilner’s passport for two weeks.
Obama Administration officials, including National Security Adviser Susan Rice and deputy adviser Tony Blinken, had made strongly worded requests to Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to the U.S., Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir, for Wilner’s approval. “We are deeply disappointed that this credible journalist was denied a visa,” U.S. National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan stated. “We will continue to register our serious concerns about this unfortunate decision.”
A Saudi official told the Jerusalem Post that the decision to reject Wilner’s visa “has been made.” Wilner, an American Jew, works for the Israel-based newspaper but does not hold Israeli citizenship and has never lived in Israel.