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Senator John Cornyn on The New York Times

Tuesday, September 12, 2006  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt
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US Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) on The New York Times’ policy of publishing classified national security information:

I think it’s absolutely shameful. I would hope that folks at the New York Times would be patriots first, and then journalists second. But unfortunately, some people feel eminently justified in reporting anything and everything, without regard to the negative consequences on national security. And I think that’s a real, frankly, very disturbing.

I asked Senator Cornyn about the Times because of a new article out on the paper and its leadership.

New York Times’ Executive Editor Bill Keller is the subject of a fawning profile in the new New York Magazine, an article in which Keller repeats the canards he has perfected as the non-response to the serious damage the New York Times’ did to the national security when the papaer published first the story of NSA’s surveillance of al Qaeda contacting its operatives in the US, and then the story of the close monitoring of the SWIFT banking program.  Both stories may have –and some believe undoubtedly did– assisted terrorists in eluding capture.

The article reveals that Keller at first understood the risk, at least as to the NSA story, which led to his sitting on the story for awhile:

Asked recently if there was a defining piece of evidence that affected his decision to hold the story then, Keller said no, then took a deep breath and ­added, “The argument they made was that, even though it may seem obvious to us that they’re going to try to eavesdrop on terrorists’ phone calls, the behavior of terrorists suggested that it wasn’t obvious to them. Therefore, publishing the story would change their behavior.”

In a long, explanatory e-mail he sent me, Keller says the issue of the legality of the NSA program had not been the thrust of the original story

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