However, internal communications verified by CNN show that the US State Department and the US Embassy in Finland have been negotiating with Aro for several months and have discussed at length the price, their travel documents, their itinerary in Washington and her biography spoke. That had been approved by eight State Department officials.
Two weeks after an official asked them to provide a list of their social media accounts, the honor was abruptly canceled and their invitation to attend the event canceled.
"This is the last step for us, then Washington will have everything it needs," an official from the Helsinki Embassy said in an e-mail dated 8 February to Aro, in which he says, "All your social media -Actions "requested.
Democrats demanded an investigation
The documents were received from Democrats in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, who have now written a letter to the Inspector General of the State Department to request an investigation of the allegations Invitation was withdrawn because of Aros criticism of Trump and called the episode as "disturbing".
"If the department revoked the award because of statements by a journalist and the exercise of their right to freedom of speech, that would mean that the department uses political loyalty to the president as an admission criterion for obtaining a government prize that is courageous," Sen said Bob Menendez, the top Democrat on the jury. "In addition, misleading the public and the congress on the true causes of the organization's actions here in the United States and around the world could harm and undermine its credibility with regard to future statements on the press podium."
In a State Department On March 7, the day of the award ceremony, Palladino was asked if Aro's criticism of the president had cost her the honor. He said he "would not be able to weigh up the merits of who was selected, if one person had more merit over the other."
"But I can say we regret the mistake and need to improve on that," he said.
Commenting on CNN on Thursday, Palladino reiterated that he "would not comment on the internal considerations behind the selection process," but acknowledged that "several mistakes were made that led to a false notification."
Palladino said he had done it, realizing that some members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee had requested an investigation into the Office of the Inspector General of the State Department.
"As always, we will be fully involved in every OIG study, and we are already taking steps to ensure this does not happen again, and we would welcome further recommendations from OIG to improve our processes," said Palladino.
The state OIG did not respond to a request for comment.
Aro told CNN on Thursday that it does not accept the State Department statement that it was a "mistake".
"For me personally, it was a most surprising event to see the television news in Finland and the Foreign Ministry spokesman to find false statements to the international press," she said in an e-mail.
"In addition, the" blunder "statement against the US diplomats is dying that had named and accepted me as an IWOC award winner and, to my knowledge, did not make any" mistakes "," she said.
Aro also suggested that the matter be investigated to see if their tweets criticizing Trump were the reason for the cancellation of the prize.
"If a DC official used these or similar expressions of my freedom of speech as the main reason for revoking my award, this unfortunately hinders the whole idea of the International Women of Courage Award, which is to be promoted, human rights, such as freedom of expression the basis for my nomination at all, "she told CNN.
Communication with embassy officials in Helsinki began in October, when an employee asked if she would accept a nomination for the award. They continued in November, followed by more than a dozen correspondence in January and February.
On February 8, one embassy official challenged all of her social media acts, a request that met Aro. A US State Department spokesman said that they had asked all attendees for their social media touches as part of their biographies.
On Twitter, Aro was always fun and Trump criticized The Kremlin does not need troll factories, as long as YOU trolls for it!
In the two weeks following the e-mail of February 8, the State Department continued to correspond with Aro and prepare their trip to the United States, according to the Senate Democrat report On February 20, the Embassy sent Aro one SMS, to arrange a meeting two days later Meanwhile, the embassy consulate confirmed with her that a visa interview would take place on February 25.
Aro said without official statement that they are not getting a prize
But at their meeting On February 22, Aro was personally informed that she would not receive the prize, the Democratic Committee said, "The message did not provide any official or documented explanation."  Aro went to the embassy on the day her visa interview was scheduled, bringing a letter from her lawyer requesting replies at the time of the retreat previously communicated and who made the decision. According to the report of the Democrats and Aro, the State Department had not yet answered the letter. Aro had canceled "several previously booked lectures in Brussels and throughout Finland, including three lectures on countering security threats by Russian trolls and false news," the report said.
The State Department had made extensive preparations for Aro According to the report of the Senate Committee to be honored on March 7 in Washington.
The US Embassy in Helsinki had provided her visa documents and flight options, and a personal travel plan was prepared for her visit to the US, including a visit to Chicago with planned visits to organizations such as the Medill Justice Project, The Association for women journalists and the Chicago Tribune. According to the document, it was planned to focus on their "specific work areas and topics of interest".
The State Department had requested an invitation – not transferable with an official letterhead – on behalf of Pompeo. "The Pleasure of Your Company in the 2019 International Women of Courage Awards."
The biography which eight State Department officials approved for her said "Aro" has been a pioneer on this issue for several years and remains a testament to that Efforts against Russian disinformation. "
It was listed on one page for" proposed winners "- all other listed women received their awards.
"This kickback to the award is in no way in the way" I have reported on my work on Russian trolling activities, techniques and effects on real people and real societies, "Aro told CNN." My work continues. "