Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Just who elected Bill Keller? 
Scott Johnson on the New York Times and the winners of this year's Pulitzers:

Following in the footsteps of the AP last year, New York Times reporters James Risen and Eric Lichtblau won the Pulitzer Prize today for their treasonous contribution to the undermining of the highly classified National Security Agency surveillance program of al Qaeda-related terrorists. As I argued in a column for the Standard, the Risen/Lichtblau reportage clearly violated relevant provisions of the Espionage Act -- a particularly serious crime insofar as it lends assistance to the enemy in a time of war.

Juxtapose the Times's award-winning reportage with the Times's highminded editorial condemnation of President Bush for allegedly failing to follow proper procedure in declassifying the October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate key judgments. Today the Times instructs us: "Even a president cannot wave a wand and announce that an intelligence report is declassified."

Waving a wand is apparently a prerogative reserved to Times executive editor Bill Keller, who made the decision to "declassify" the NSA surveillance program in the pages of the Times. According to Keller, the publication of the NSA story did "not expose any technical intelligence-gathering methods or capabilities that are not already on the public record." Thus Keller waved his wand, and the Times blew the NSA program. Smarter folks than I will have to reconcile the trains of thought at work among the editors of the New York Times.

What he said.

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