While I enjoyed Bill Keller’s response to the attacks the NY Times has been receiving (really, is there a more self-imporant group of people out there than the attack dogs of the blogosphere?), this information certainly makes me re-think Keller’s response:
Your charge that our efforts to convince The New York Times not to publish were “half-hearted” is incorrect and offensive. Nothing could be further from the truth. Over the past two months, Treasury has engaged in a vigorous dialogue with the Times – from the reporters writing the story to the D.C. Bureau Chief and all the way up to you. It should also be noted that the co-chairmen of the bipartisan 9-11 Commission, Governor Tom Kean and Congressman Lee Hamilton, met in person or placed calls to the very highest levels of the Times urging the paper not to publish the story. Members of Congress, senior U.S. Government officials and well-respected legal authorities from both sides of the aisle also asked the paper not to publish or supported the legality and validity of the program.
That certainly does not seem like a half-hearted attempt, and I guess it is up to you to decide if they were making full-throated attempts to squelch the story because they honestly felt it was a threat to national security or because they felt they had been caught doing something they shouldn’t. I still do not know what oversight, if any, there was for this program.
Time will tell.
*** Update ***
I suppose this is always a possibility, but a little grassy knoll for me, if you will.