Interior Department Spokesperson Calls CNN Reporter “Fu**ing Idiot”

Interior Department spokesperson used vulgar language for a CNN reporter after she asked her about Ryan Zinke’s travel expenses.



Interior Department press secretary and deputy director of communications for the Department of the Interior exchanged emails in 2017, where one of the officials used vulgar language against a CNN reporter.

CNN reporter, René Marsh was addressed as a “fu**ing idiot” in an email written by Interior Department press secretary Heather Swift, after the reporter asked questions relating to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s travel expense.

The emails were released as a part of public records request related to Zinke's travel.

Deputy Director of communications for the Department of the Interior, Russell Newell, emailed Swift.

"I was about to send this to Rene [Marsh] but I'll send it to you instead and maybe it will make me feel better," Newell wrote on Oct. 6, 2017 in an email. "Just had to get it off my chest. The double standard is nauseating." 

He then asked if Marsh had asked about the travel histories of former Obama Interior secretaries, such as Ken Salazar or Sally Jewell, while they were in office. 

"Have you ever bothered to learn about their travel to try to provide some context or do you care?" he wrote. 

Swift replied to the email the very next day. “Rene is a fu**ing idiot,” she wrote.

“She sounds like one," Newell replied later that day. 

Both the Interior Department officials casually belittled the reporter who was just trying to do her job. According to Marsh, on Oct.3, 2017 she repeatedly asked the agency’s press team several follow-up questions about Zinke’s trip to Las Vegas in June 2017.

According to Politico, Zinke along with several staffers chartered an oil company plane for a flight from Las Vegas to Montana, costing taxpayers $12, 375 on June 26, 2017.

Marsh followed up, asking for a response, but Swift didn’t answer telling the reporter to follow up again on Oct. 5. Swift said she was working on getting her the responses but apparently the person who handled Zinke’s travel was out of the office, and that was the reason for the delay in answers.

"We are asking questions that the public has every right to know as these are their tax dollars and for interior not answer any of the below questions is really hard to understand. Is the DOI issuing a no comment on all of the below questions?”Marsh wrote on Oct. 6. 

Many of Zinke’s chartered flights are now being investigated by the Interior Department’s Office of the Inspector General.

Thumbnail / Banner : Reuters, Eric Thayer

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