- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 25, 2012

SEOUL — Journalists traveling with President Obama were barred by South Korean security officials temporarily Sunday from gaining access to the grounds of the presidential house where Mr. Obama was meeting with Korean President Lee Myung-bak.

The “travel pool,” a group of about 15 newspaper reporters, photographers and broadcast crew members who are assigned to cover Mr. Obama’s every move on the road, was prevented by security personnel from entering the Blue House, Mr. Lee’s residence, as the Korean government held an official arrival ceremony for Mr. Obama.

When the journalists were turned away, White House officials who were escorting them led the group into a building with security screening equipment. Because the group already had undergone a security check, White House officials tried to bypass the additional security measures, prompting a Korean official to lock the door to the presidential house hastily.

The group then tried another entrance to the grounds, only to be met by baton-toting South Korean police who blocked their access. The dust-up lasted for about 45 minutes before the group was allowed into the presidential house.

White House press secretary Jay Carney told the journalists in an email that he was looking into the episode.

“We made clear to our hosts that it was essential that our press be allowed in, and we’re glad that eventually you were,” Mr. Carney said.

Other U.S. journalists had been given clearance to events inside the Blue House prior to the security snafu.