Sunday, September 17, 2006
NYT Gives Advice On How To Reveal State Secrets and Thwart the Federal Government
In the last few years, we've witnessed the ongoing battle between newspapers like the New York Times and the federal government and the "right" of newspapers to hold their sources confidential. The audacity of the Times to release classified secret or top secret information because of the industry's classic "the people have a right to know" argument was highlighted by NYT executive editor Bill Keller's decision to release info about the National Security Agency’s efforts to monitor phone calls without court-approved warrants.
The Times had held back on the story for over a year, but now, President Bush had stepped in to personally plead the government's case to continue to hold back on the story to Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr., Keller, and Washington bureau chief Philip Taubman. To emphasize the devastation that the release of this information might cause on the NSA operation if the paper revealed the secret program to the public and there was another terrorist attack on American soil, the President warned the three that they would be implicated. As Keller later noted, "The basic message was 'You'll have blood on your hands.'"
So what did "The Paper of Record" do? They released the information anyway. Why? Jill Abramson, managing editor at the Times, likened the story to another infamous leak of classified government information decades earlier, claiming that the NSA story "may very well turn out to be this generation's Pentagon Papers." New York Metro..........................
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