Tea party favorite Rep.-elect Allen West, R-Fort Lauderdale, is back-peddling on comments he made regarding the WikiLeaks controversy last week on a right-wing Internet radio program, in which the incoming lawmaker called for “censoring the American news agencies which enabled [WikiLeaks] to do this.”
One day after ThinkProgress picked up the story and placed audio from the show online, West took to his Facebook page in an attempt to spin his comments, asserting that he was actually calling for “censuring” the media:
I am heard on the African-American Conservative Radio Show saying the media should be censured- meaning “harshly criticized.” In no way would I ever ask to “censor” anyone or any organization. Of course, very few news organizations are even printing this reply so here it is for you so you understand my intention and my vision as a leader:
“It has never been my intent to quiet or censor the press or anyone for that matter utilizing their right of freedom of speech granted to them under this country’s great American Constitution. The confusion comes with the word censor…when I meant censure- in context that the media should be harshly criticized for printing the damaging documents Assange has released which so clearly puts our soldiers and country at risk.”
ThinkProgress also notes that a number of prominent Republicans have thrown their support behind the whistleblower website:
Not all members of Congress agree with West’s belief in censorship. Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA) has praised WikiLeaks, arguing recently that the American people have a “right to know what’s going on.” Similarly, Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) and Rep. Connie Mack (R-FL) have opposed efforts to criminalize WikiLeaks and other whistleblower organizations.
Listen to the audio of West’s interview: