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Military Opens McChrystal Retirement Ceremony to Media After Complaints

The Defense Department has decided to open the retirement ceremony for Gen. Stanley McChrystal to all media after members of the press corps complained that only three reporters had been cleared to attend. 

Fox News reported on Wednesday that the ceremony full of military VIPs was being closed to all but Greg Jaffe from the Washington Post, Julian Barnes from the Wall Street Journal and Gordon Lubold from Politico. McChrystal is the former top commander in Afghanistan who was removed from that post last month for disparaging comments he and his aides made about the Obama administration. 

It's no surprise that McChrystal would want to keep the media at arms length after the controversy, but it's highly unusual for the military to make such a high-profile event exclusive to only hand-picked journalists. 

Two military officials, who wished not to be named, said the Army made its case to McChrystal that if one journalist is invited, the ceremony should be open to all press. These officials said McChrystal and his staff were unyielding in their stance and had no interest in opening the event to others. 

Gen. George Casey, chief of staff of the Army, will host the retirement ceremony at 6 p.m. Friday at Fort McNair in Washington, D.C. Defense Secretary Robert Gates will also be there and is scheduled to deliver remarks. 

Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman initially told Fox News that despite the fact that Gates is involved, it's McChrystal's event and he has the right to invite who he wants. "It's not a public event and we respect General McChrystal's decision to have a private ceremony," Whitman said. 

Earlier this month, Gates came under intense scrutiny from the news media after he signed a two-page memo directing all media interviews within the military of "national or international significance" to be approved through his public affairs office. 

He defended his decision saying it wasn't a problem with the media, but rather an internal issue, in which not all the people speaking to the press had the right facts. The memo was signed soon after the McChrystal fiasco. 

Fox News' Justin Fishel contributed to this report.