President Obama canceled a scheduled event in Virginia today and, “assuming the grimmest role of his job,” as the Associated Press has it, flew to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware “to privately honor the remains of the fallen returning home from war, this time the troops killed in a helicopter attack that claimed more American lives [30] than any other incident of the Afghanistan war.”

The president’s trip to Delaware, the AP reports, “was kept secret to ensure the security of his helicopter flight” and “members of the media covering the trip agreed in advance not to report on it until he had landed.” Upon landing, press coverage was also restricted. In 2009, the Pentagon lifted an 18-year ban on press coverage of the return of deceased soldiers at Dover and left it to families of the fallen to permit or deny media coverage. Today, however, per the AP:

Reporters won’t see what Obama does.

The Pentagon ruled there will be no media coverage at the Dover base because the badly damaged remains from the horrific crash are mingled and still being identified.

Reporters traveling with the president, McClatchy reports, “were ushered into a small auditorium to wait.”

Here is a photo, by Steve Ruark, that accompanied the AP’s report:


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Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.