Abe Rosenthal, then the Times's managing editor, hotly and repeatedly denied that the newspaper had succumbed to administration pressure, saying this would be a violation of journalistic principles. Yes, it would. And bowing to pressure is exactly what the Times did.
Bonner has, in the three decades since then, proved his mettle time and time again in his coverage of foreign affairs far and wide, including Indonesia, the Sudan and Rwanda, where he wrote about the genocide there. He has written several books, including the one I was lucky enough to interview him about for a review I wrote in 1985—Weakness and Deceit: U.S. Policy and El Salvador
It's been known for half a decade that Bonner's phone records were obtained illegally by the FBI.
At ProPublica Thursday, he provided some details of the bureau's activities in that regard and on that basis questioned what the Obama administration is now doing in How a Telecom Helped the Government Spy on Me:
|Over the past several months, the Obama Administration has defended the government’s far-reaching data collection efforts, arguing that only criminals and terrorists need worry. The nation’s leading internet and telecommunications companies have said they are committed to the sanctity of their customers’ privacy.
I have some very personal reasons to doubt those assurances.
The story begins in 2003 when I wrote an article about the killing of two American teachers in West Papua, a remote region of Indonesia where Freeport-McMoRan operates one of the world’s largest copper and gold mines. The Indonesian government and Freeport blamed the killings on a separatist group, the Free Papua Movement, which had been fighting a low-level guerrilla war for several decades.
I opened my article with this sentence: “Bush Administration officials have determined that Indonesian soldiers carried out a deadly ambush that killed two American teachers.”
The story prompted a leak investigation. The FBI sought to obtain my phone records and those of Jane Perlez, the Times bureau chief in Indonesia and my wife. They also went after the records of the Washington Post reporters in Indonesia who had published the first reports about the Indonesian government’s involvement in the killings.
As part of its investigation, the FBI asked for help from what is described in a subsequent government report as an “on-site communications service” provider. The report, by the Department of Justice’s Inspector General, offers only the vaguest description of this key player, calling it “Company A.’’
“We do not identify the specific companies because the identities of the specific providers who were under contract with the FBI for specific services are classified,’’ the report explained.
Whoever they were, Company A had some impressive powers. Through some means—the report is silent on how—Company A obtained records of calls made on Indonesian cell phones and landlines by the Times and Post reporters. The records showed whom we called, when and for how long—what has now become famous as “metadata.” […]
Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2007—Open Thread for Night Owls:
|Unless there is a remarkable intervention from somewhere, by the end of October, with two months yet to go till year's end, 2007 will become the worst year for U.S. troop fatalities in Iraq since the war and occupation began 55 months ago. Obviously, as has been the case since the beginning, Iraqis fare much worse, as noted in this excerpt from an editorial in Friday's Los Angeles Times:
On today's Kagro in the Morning show, Greg Dworkin joins us for an extended segment diving into the Democracy Corps Gop focus group report. OMG! Then, a roundup of shutdown coverage, endgame predictions, and analysis of the fallout. CBS WH reporter Mark Knoller kicked up some dust with comments on the debt ceiling, and Armando calls in to clarify the issues. We watch in horror as Chuck Todd grills Rep. Tom Cotton (R-AR) over his spin on the blown Grassley amendment, and how it was resurrected during the shutdown fight. Even a decent effort at pushback can't undo all the nonsense and talking point regurgitation.