Sunday, December 18, 2005

Walk It Back, Unsuccessfully

I really don't get the outrage directed towards James Risen, the New York Times journalist who broke the news that President Bush signed secret orders three years ago allowing the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on U.S. citizens and foreign nationals, despite previous legal prohibitions against such domestic spying. I do understand, though, the outcry of American citizens on this revelation, which is possibly Nixonian.

But the right-wing machine is in full spin mode, even before the President said defiantly the move was made for national security yesterday morning. Despite this, Joshua Micah Marshall has been helping to unravel the spin, in posts starting here (and continuing here: #2, #3 and #4), calling it "disingenuous". Adding this piece of news (NBC revealed that the Pentagon has created a secret database on American peace activists) and the Times story, I'm starting to think the media has pulled at a thread that will unravel something larger, perhaps something akin to Nixon's "enemies list".
But here comes the pushback.

To wit: Matt Drudge gave one tidbit an all-caps headline, stating that "now comes word James Risen's article is only one of many "explosive newsbreaking" stories that can be found -- in his upcoming book -- which he turned in 3 months ago! The paper failed to reveal the urgent story was tied to a book release and sale."

I'm really failing to see the revelation here (is this the best Drudge has?), and I'm willing to bet the forthcoming publication of Risen's book actually helped get this into print after a year of the Times holding this one back. Other than a swing-and-miss attempted smear against Risen, the reporting and sourcing that went into this article is top-notch and tight.

Watch for a lot of claims made as to why this was done, and the debunking soon after...but thank Risen for getting this out there.


Karol said...

Yeah, I too am completely fine with the NY Times leaking things that hurt our national security. I mean, who really cares about whether or not this provides information to terrorists or undermines our efforts in fighting Al Qaeda? I don't. It embarrassed Chimpy McHalliburton and that's enough reason to print it. Personally, I'm going to go for the light blue Taliban-style burka but I imagine other women will go for classic black.

Chris said...

If you can show me how this has harmed national security at all, I'd love to hear it. All it's done has put Bush in a defensive crouch, really, for his illegal move here.