WASHINGTON — The Pentagon disclosed today it had withheld from publication four dispatches it judged as "sensitive" that were sent by a media pool covering the escort operation in the Persian Gulf--even though their contents was widely known.
The dispatches, which were received from the pool on Monday afternoon, were released this morning.
The reports that were withheld noted that the two Kuwaiti tankers would hoist the Stars and Stripes on their fantails on Tuesday, and one of the stories noted the operation was expected to begin today. The stories also said that three Navy ships would escort the two tankers, that the cruiser Fox would lead the convoy, and that the convoy would proceed at a speed of between 14 knots and 16 knots.
That information was apparently enough for the Pentagon to withhold the reports in their entirety--even though defense sources in Washington had disclosed most of that information on Monday and it was widely broadcast that day and appeared in numerous publications on Tuesday.