We here at PhillyClout have been at this journalism game for a while now but we can still be surprised from time to time. Take for instance today's press conference at the City Controller's Office, where the most interesting photographs and questions were strictly forbidden. No hard feelings here because it was all for a good cause. Controller Alan Butkovitz was hosting a group from Iraq's National Auditor's Office in a three hour seminar on how we watch the books here in the USA.
Like most press conferences, television and newspaper photographers arrived and started setting up their equipment. That prompted concerns for the Iraqis, since working for their government is very dangerous, especially when people know what you look like. "You know, personal security is a huge consideration," said Philip Farah of the U.S. Government Accountability Office. GAO officials are traveling the country with the Iraqi auditors, who are here for five weeks.
Butkovitz welcomed the Iraqis and noted that their office was one of the only branches of government that stayed open and operating during the 2003 U.S. invasion. Butkovitz then warned that questions about politics and the war, which the Iraqis described as the "2003 events," were off limits to reporters.
Zuhair Toma apologized for the restrictions and said his group was delighted to be in Philadelphia, learning about the Controller's Office.