WaPo Confirms Suspicious Timing of NY Times “U.S. Spying” Article

Paul Farhi wrote an article for today’s Washington Post that confirmed yesterday’s Drudge Report exclusive sited by NewsBusters that the New York Times failed to disclose a major story it broke surrounding U.S. spying in America was part of a soon to be released book by one of its columnists, James Risen. In addition, Farhi indicated that the timing of the release of this report might indeed have been designed to correspond with a Congressional vote to renew the Patriot Act. The antiterrorism bill was blocked last evening in the Senate with members claiming revelations in the Times article may have been the death knell.

According to the Post:

“The [Times] offered no explanation to its readers about what had changed in the past year to warrant publication. It also did not disclose that the information is included in a forthcoming book, ‘State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration,’ written by James Risen, the lead reporter on yesterday's story. The book will be published in mid-January, according to its publisher, Simon & Schuster.”

And what about the timing surrounding the renewal of the Patriot Act?

“Tom Rosenstiel, executive director of the Project for Excellence in Journalism, said it was conceivable the Times waited to publish its NSA story as the Senate took up renewal of the Patriot Act. ‘It's not unheard of to wait for a news peg,’ he said. ‘It's not unusual to discover the existence of something and not know the context of it until later.’"

Could this have impacted yesterday’s Senate vote? According to an article in today’s Times:

“Disclosure of the eavesdropping prompted immediate calls from some lawmakers for an end to the program and for Congressional and possible criminal investigations into its operations. One senator, Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York, said the new information had prompted him to support the filibuster against extending the antiterrorism law. 

“‘I went to bed undecided,’ Mr. Schumer said on the Senate floor, ‘but today's revelation that the government has listened in on thousands of phone conversations is shocking and has greatly influenced my vote.’" 

This makes one wonder how many other Senators were so influenced, and how the timing of a newspaper report that had been buried for twelve months could end up impacting America’s national security.

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.