With Bush Gone, NYT More Concerned With National Security Than Freedom of the Press
February 16, 2010 by Lachlan Markay
The New York Times has apparently discovered its inner patriot. The paper decided after a request from the White House to hold off publishing key information about the war effort in Afghanistan for fear of alerting the enemy to key U.S. intelligence.
Keller told WNYC radio today that two Times reporters had a story ready to go on Thursday about the capture of Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the Taliban’s top military commander in Pakistan. The paper decided to hold off on running the story until today, the date the White House requested.
The paper’s decision not to compromise such vital information is admirable, and has surely aided in the fight against the Taliban in the Af-Pak region. But where was this patriotic desire to cooperate with the nation’s war effort when the Times made public the SWIFT terrorist finance tracking program (TFTP), or a host of other highly sensitive programs designed to rout the nation’s enemies?
“The Swift story bears no resemblance to security breaches, like disclosure of troop locations, that would clearly compromise the immediate safety of specific individuals,” the Times claimed in its defense in 2006 after it came under fire for exposing the TFTP.
But making the Taliban aware of last week’s key capture would not jeopardize lives any more than the disclosure of the TFTP would have. Awareness of either would allow enemies to adjust their strategies accordingly; the Taliban would go further underground in the latter case, while al Qaeda and other terrorist groups would better mind their finances in the former.
Yet the Times agreed to hold off on last week’s story having brushed off Bush administration requests not to disclose details of the TFTP.
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