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Is there any doubt that the public had a right to know that for 3 years since 9/11 the Bush Administration was:

  • using the NSA
  • to conduct extra-judicial surveillance,
  • of American citizens

BEFORE heading to the polls in November 2004?

Isn't "informed consent" a pre-requisite to democratic governance?

Isn't the press supposed to act on behalf of the public as a check on unbridled governmental power?

There is so much wrong with this story.  Unbelievable.

Critics Question Timing of Surveillance Story

The New York Times, which knew about the secret wiretaps for more than a year, published because of a reporter's new book, sources say.

By James Rainey, Times Staff Writer

The New York Times first debated publishing a story about secret eavesdropping on Americans as early as last fall, before the 2004 presidential election.

But the newspaper held the story for more than a year and only revealed the secret wiretaps last Friday, when it became apparent a book by one of its reporters was about to break the news, according to journalists familiar with the paper's internal discussions.


The initial Times statements did not say that the paper's internal debate began before the Nov. 2, 2004, presidential election -- in which Iraq and national security questions loomed large -- or make any reference to Risen's book, due out Jan. 16.

But two journalists, who declined to be identified, said that editors at the paper were actively considering running the story about the wiretaps before Bush's November showdown with Democratic Sen. John F. Kerry of Massachusetts.

Top editors at the paper eventually decided to hold the story. But the discussion was renewed after the election, with Risen and coauthor of the story, reporter Eric Lichtblau, joining some of the paper's editors in pushing for publication, according to the sources, who said they did not want to be identified because the Times had designated only Keller and a spokeswoman to address the matter.

"When they realized that it was going to appear in the book anyway, that is when they went ahead and agreed to publish the story," said one of the journalists. "That's not to say that was their entire consideration, but it was a very important one of them."

Originally posted to KJD on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 09:21 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Oy. (none)
    My head hurts.

    All the lives that could have been saved had the Times run that story. Sure it would have been panned for "playing politics" a la the LA Times before Ahnold's election, but they would have saved the world the tragedy of another four years of tyrannical rule.

    At least, now, we may be spared the final two.

    •  I'd like to think that...I really would...but (none)
      I think even if it were revealed, with the Osama tape coming out a few days before the election, the result might have been the same.

      Bush would have said what he always said during the election: "I will do whatever it takes to keep America safe."

      People believed him, and I think they would have forgiven his illegal activity.

      In fact, had he been elected with the knowledge that he acted in an illegal manner, it would have made his action seem legitimate, because the American people would have de facto approved of his conduct.

      Coming out now, he's more likely to be nailed for it.

      The world is made for those who are not cursed with self-awareness. -- Annie Savoy, from "Bull Durham" Yeah, and George W. Bush is living proof.

      by wmtriallawyer on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 09:35:41 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I agree. (none)
        Remember, they won over the voters who chose them by scaring them.  People wanted security.  If this story had come out before the election, it would have sent the message that W is strong and will do "whatever it takes to protect you"  and his margin of victory would have been greter (he may not have even needed to steal Ohio).

        Even now, he has a lot of support.  I think it will take months for the significance of this revelation to sink in with the general public.  More information will come out bit by bit.  I think public opinion will eventually turn against him on this, as it has with his handling of the war (and everything we knew about the war we knew before the election, and it didn't make the difference).

        The end is near for those who wait.

        by tc59 on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 10:11:33 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I knew it, but I was hoping I was wrong.... (none)
    what happens now?  Is there a legal precedent or legal basis for a civil suit against the NYT because it did NOT live up to its duties as part of the 4th estate?

    I doubt that there is, but it's something to think about.  And I could argue that it's not about stifling the press, but about them at best enabling the illegalities committed by this administration, at and worst being co-conspirators in them.

    •  What Happens Now... (none)
      ....depends very much on the cousins of Pinch Sulzberger.

      As I posted last night, the cousins are all members of the trust that controls the Times.

      There have long been concerns about the quality of Pinch's service as Publisher, so serious that he almost lost the position over the Jayson Blair fiasco.

      Jayson Blair was Pinch's blue dress. This is much, much worse, because it has broken the trust between Times readers and the so-called "Newspaper of Record." At a time when newstand sales and subscriptions are plummetting, whatever the politics of the various cousins, this is just the kind of damage that goes to the bottom line.

      Coupon-clipping trust fund babies take that sort of thing very seriously.

      Methinks Pinch is about to take a leave of absence for personal reasons.

  •  Tip Jar (4.00)
    this leaves me speechless ...

    What has our democracy come to?

  •  God, what else are they sitting on (none)
    that they haven't mentioned because it's not in a book.
  •  Unbelievable (none)
    The New York Times sat on the spying story for a year and decides to publish it NOW as what is essentially advanced publicity for the lead reporter's book, which contains this and more information on the spying, a book hitting the stores in January.


    Bastards. Fuck them all. They are never getting one goddamn red cent from me.

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