Conservatives should fall down on their knees every morning and thank their white patriarchal Christian god for the existence of the New York Times. The paper that helped sell the Iraq war via Judy Miller’s sterling reportage may also be the paper that helped ensure the re-election of George W. Bush — by sitting on the fact that he was busy committing impeachable offenses until a year after the election.
The New York Times first debated publishing a story about secret eavesdropping on Americans as early as last fall, before the 2004 presidential election.
But the newspaper held the story for more than a year and only revealed the secret wiretaps last Friday, when it became apparent a book by one of its reporters was about to break the news, according to journalists familiar with the paper’s internal discussions.
And then there’s this:
Dec. 19, 2005 – Finally we have a Washington scandal that goes beyond sex, corruption and political intrigue to big issues like security versus liberty and the reasonable bounds of presidential power. President Bush came out swinging on Snoopgateâ€”he made it seem as if those who didnâ€™t agree with him wanted to leave us vulnerable to Al Qaedaâ€”but it will not work. Weâ€™re seeing clearly now that Bush thought 9/11 gave him license to act like a dictator, or in his own mind, no doubt, like Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War.
No wonder Bush was so desperate that The New York Times not publish its story on the National Security Agency eavesdropping on American citizens without a warrant, in what lawyers outside the administration say is a clear violation of the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. I learned this week that on December 6, Bush summoned Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger and executive editor Bill Keller to the Oval Office in a futile attempt to talk them out of running the story. The Times will not comment on the meeting, but one can only imagine the presidentâ€™s desperation.
Keller and Sulzberger had a meeting with Bush in the Oval Office — and the Times did not bother to mention the fact.