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Paper of Record: New York Times Reports on First-Degree Murders of Babies Without Ever Mentioning "Babies" | Main | What?
May 13, 2013

Government Obtains Phone Records of 20 AP Phone Lines, Affecting Up to 100 Reporters, and Refuses to Say Why

Via AP:

This may be part of an investigation into the leak of details of a terrorist bombing plot in Yemen in May, 2012. Testifying about the matter this past February, CIA Director John Brennan said that the FBI had asked him if he he himself was the source of the leak. (He said he wasn't.) Among the numbers whose calls were logged were those of five reporters and an editor who'd worked on the Yemen story.

The AP has objected to the "intrusion" as "unprecedented."

Now, here's where it gets a little bit worse. Up until now, one can say that the Administration was simply looking to find an illegal leaker who compromised national security.

But was this about national security -- or was it about political embarrassment? Did the Administration take extraordinary steps to protect national security secrets, or to cover up yet another Benghazi-like massaging of talking points?

The May 7, 2012, AP story that disclosed details of the CIA operation in Yemen to stop an airliner bomb plot occurred around the one-year anniversary of the May 2, 2011, killing of Osama bin Laden.

The plot was significant because the White House had told the public it had "no credible information that terrorist organizations, including al-Qaida, are plotting attacks in the U.S. to coincide with the (May 2) anniversary of bin Laden's death."

The AP delayed reporting the story at the request of government officials who said it would jeopardize national security. Once government officials said those concerns were allayed, the AP disclosed the plot because officials said it no longer endangered national security. The Obama administration, however, continued to request that the story be held until the administration could make an official announcement.

Note that the Obama Administration no longer had national security concerns, but continued to insist the story be held until they could get out in front of it with their own announcement.

However, for arguments that the anger was actually about the leak of national security details (as well as embarrassing the US by also leaking MI-6's involvement), see this old story from May 11, 2012. (I can't quote enough of it to deny a leak.)

By the way, Obama's insistence that the media not cover this story a few months before an election seems to have paid off in spades -- I don't remember this "New and Improved Underwear Bomber" story at all. Now that my memory's refreshed, I have a recollection of it, but it wasn't exactly front-page news.

It was an inconvenient story for an administration determined to claim that Al Qaeda was beaten and on the run. The press was pressured into not reporting it.

We saw this again after Benghazi.


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posted by Ace at 05:25 PM

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