By Greg Hazley
Anderson Cooper aired a scolding report on July 3 on new Coast Guard rules intended to keep media 65 feet away from clean-up activity in the Gulf.
Cooper noted violators could face a $45,000 fine and Class D felony charges and said the Coast Guard tried to make the "exclusion zone" 300 feet before scaling it back.
"That doesn't sound like transparency," he said.
Admiral Thad Allen of the Coast Guard said it's not unusual to establish "safety zones" for public safety and the safety of equipment. He said the new policy came after he received complaints from unnamed "local officials" who were worried about people getting hurt.
"Keeping prying eyes out of marshes, away from booms and off the beaches is now government policy," Cooper reported. "Transparency is apparently not a high priority with Thad Allen these days."
Cooper added: "I met countless local officials desperate for pictures to be taken and stories to be written about what is happening in their communities. We are not the enemy here."