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“I would not have written a post if someone had told me that there was a reasonable or even remote suspicion that anything specific would happen if I wrote the post,” Cook wrote.

He also noted that China’s Xinhua News Agency and the Breitbart website had also reported on Engel’s disappearance. Breitbart’s John Nolte attached a note to his report saying that he wasn’t even aware of any news embargo until after hearing that Engel had been released.

The news was also tweeted by a small number of journalists, apparently unaware of the embargo request.

Whether a disappearance has become widely known could influence a decision by AP on whether to withhold the news, Daniszewski said. In this case, it wasn’t clear that it had been widely circulated, he said.