A U.N. official told the Washington Post that U.S. authorities had accused Alawi of "spying for the Iraqi government." Alawi denied the charges.
On February 14, Alawi told CPJ that the Iraqi Information Ministry planned to retaliate by expelling the Fox News team from Iraq. According to press reports, the entire Fox News team in Iraq was ordered to leave the country later that day. After negotiations between Fox News and Iraqi officials, however, correspondent Greg Palkot was ordered to leave, while three Fox News technicians were allowed to remain. Palkot is currently reporting from Amman, Jordan.
"We are deeply concerned that journalists have become pawns in this escalating conflict," said CPJ acting director Joel Simon. "With tensions rising, it is imperative that information circulate as freely as possible."