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Lauren Wolfe

Lauren Wolfe is the director of Women Under Siege, a project on sexualized violence and conflict at the Women's Media Center. While CPJ's senior editor, she wrote the CPJ report, "The Silencing Crime: Sexual Violence and Journalists." Previously, she was a researcher on two New York Times books on the 9/11 attacks.

Blog   |   Colombia

In Colombia, disguises heighten press risk

A couple of weeks ago, the Colombian government admitted that during a daring hostage rescue mission--code-named Operation Check--one of its soldiers had disguised himself as a member of the Red Cross. Then last week, Juan Manuel Santos, Colombia's defense minister, divulged that two of the soldiers had taken on the mantle of journalists. One posed as a cameraman, the other as a reporter. Both purported to be from an actual Caracas-based regional network called Telesur. They had gone so far as to take acting lessons in preparation.

Santos told a July 23 press conference in Washington that the use of the Telesur logo in the July 2 rescue of Ingrid Betancourt and 14 other hostages was "an insignificant detail given the magnitude" of the operation. CPJ disagrees. While we recognize that such missions require stealth and perhaps unconventional tactics, posing as a journalist in this kind of situation is far from insignificant. As outlined in a letter to Santos yesterday, here's why:

July 30, 2008 9:54 AM ET