The Times: Not Heroic, Simply Doing Its Job

Slate's blog on legal issues.
March 27 2008 6:02 PM

The Times: Not Heroic, Simply Doing Its Job

Eric Posner claims not to be able to discern from from Eric Lichtblau's column just why the Times changed its mind between 2004 and 2005 about publishing the story revealing the Bush Administration's unlawful wiretapping program.

What's the great mystery?

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Apparently, in 2004 Administration officials asked the Times not to publish because, among other things, they insisted that there was never any serious legal debatewithin the administration about the legality of the program; that DOJ had always signed off on itslegality; that the lawmakers who werebriefed on the program never voiced any concerns; that there were tight controls in place to guard against abuse; and that the programwould be rendered so ineffective if disclosed that it would have to beshut down immediately.

Risen and Lichtblau questioned these representations at the time, but couldn't persuade their editors that they were untrue.  What changed in 2005?  Eric P. says that Eric L. "does not really tell us."  Really? 

Continued at Balkinization


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