DHS' Roehrkasse defends reaction to 'CQ' questions

WASHINGTON: A Department of Homeland Security (DHS) spokesman recently gained notoriety for practicing a unique brand of media relations.

WASHINGTON: A Department of Homeland Security (DHS) spokesman recently gained notoriety for practicing a unique brand of media relations.

Tim Starks, a reporter with Congressional Quarterly Homeland Security (CQ), wrote a story claiming DHS spokesman Brian Roehrkasse responded to questions about Secretary Tom Ridge's financial ties to DHS contractors by shouting expletives and hanging up. Then, in a follow-up call, he allegedly "repeated a string of expletives."

In discussing the episode in the New York Post's Page Six gossip column, Roehrkasse emphasized, "I was very upset with them. CQ is such a rag."

Starks declined to comment for this story, but Roehrkasse defended his actions.

"[Starks] left a message with one of our career employees at about 4:30pm," he said. "When I got the message, I called at 6:15 and told him I needed some time to research the answer. He said they [would] run the story with or without comment from us."

He added, "I didn't use a string of expletives; I used one."

Roehrkasse also said his comments to the Post were supposed to be off the record.

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