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How The New York Times was intimidated into not informing the public about wiretapping of Americans

Published: January 16, 2018
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Source: SF Cronicle

When two New York Times reporters learned in 2004 that the George W. Bush administration was secretly wiretapping Americans, and collecting their phone and email records, the reporters’ attempt to publish their findings were thwarted by the administration’s intense and successful lobbying of their editors.

In that effort, the Republican president had an unlikely ally: Rep. Jane Harman of Los Angeles, the senior Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee. Harman, now the president of a research organization in Washington, D.C., asked recently about her intervention, expressed no regrets.

...

The story on the program known as Stellar Wind was ready for publication before the November 2004 election, when Bush was on the ballot, but NSA Director Michael Hayden and other administration officials told Times editors, in phone calls and face-to-face meetings, that publication would damage national security and endanger lives, Risen said.

He said the officials were joined in that effort by Harman, one of a handful of congressional leaders who had been briefed on the program and were enlisted by the White House to contact the Times.

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