Snowden’s choice was the bitter harvest of seeds sown by the Times almost a decade ago. In the fall of 2004, just ahead of the November general elections, the Times’ news leadership spiked an exclusive from Washington correspondents James Risen and Eric Lichtblau, disclosing massive warrantless domestic eavesdropping by the NSA.
White House officials had warned that the results of such a story could be catastrophic. [For who? — ed.]
The Times, in a decision led by then-Washington Bureau Chief Philip Taubman and then-Executive Editor Bill Keller, quashed the story, despite the objections of the two reporters, their editor Rebecca Corbett, and several of their colleagues.
If democracy means anything, it’s that a free press should ensure that voters lack access to pertinent information before an election as long as the government assures the public it’s for its own good.
The fact that the paper (albeit not under Keller) that rushed Judy Miller’s Iraq War “reporting” into print spiked a scoop about the NSA at the behest of the administration is certainly consistent in its own way.