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Sen. Alan Simpson (R-Wyo.) last week accused CNN reporter Peter Arnett of being an Iraqi “sympathizer,” a comment that prompted an angry reply from CNN exec v.p., news Ed Turner.

Simpson made his comments before a Capitol Hill luncheon with reporters.

As reported by The Washington Post, Simpson had called Arnett’s reports from Baghdad “repulsive. My question is, why is he the only [reporter] there? Here’s a man who is reporting from a country with which we are at war, the same people who are trying to kill our young men and women.”

Arnett, according to Simpson, is “what we used to call a ‘sympathizer.'”

In response, CNN’s Turner told VARIETY that the web is “fortunate to have on site, in the most difficult circumstances, a seasoned combat correspondent, Peter Arnett, who has been tested by time and in so practicing his craft received the highest honors journalism can bestow. Arnett and CNN are there so all our viewers can be there – as imperfect, restricted and dangerous as the conditions are.”