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White House Forces Censorship of New York Times

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the beating-on-the-grey-lady dept.

Censorship 356

VE3OGG writes "It would seem that scientists are not the only ones facing censorship from the White House. According to several news sources the New York Times originally had intended to run an article co-authored by a former employee of the National Security Council, critical of the current administration's policies toward Iran. The article had passed the CIA's publication review board, but was later redacted on orders from the White House. Article authors Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann were former advisers to the White House, and thus all of their publications are scrutinized by a board before they can be published. Of the numerous documents this pair has published since leaving their positions, they say this was the first that was actively censored.

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356 comments

Nothing unusual or unconstitutional here (5, Insightful)

Salvance (1014001) | more than 7 years ago | (#17348936)

I would have been really surprised if the government would have allowed a critical article co-written by a government official to be published. There is nothing sinister going on here ... if the NYT is upset, they should have just interviewed the National Security Council employee instead of using that individual as a co-author.

Co-authoring any article with a government employee (or even a corporate employee) is always a risk. While the NYT is free to publish almost anything they want, the co-author (by nature of his/her employment) is not, which was the problem in this situation.

Re:Nothing unusual or unconstitutional here (4, Insightful)

The Living Fractal (162153) | more than 7 years ago | (#17348956)

"Co-authoring any article with a government employee (or even a corporate employee) is always a risk. While the NYT is free to publish almost anything they want, the co-author (by nature of his/her employment) is not, which was the problem in this situation."


The co-author is a former employee. I fail to see the reasoning behind the censorship, given the circumstances. Perhaps, if it were some issue of national security, I could see the relevance. However, I do not believe it is. More like current administration security.

TLF

Re:Nothing unusual or unconstitutional here (3, Insightful)

rblancarte (213492) | more than 7 years ago | (#17348968)

Because the guys have government secrets that can be passed. I am sure they wouldn't, but you never know.

RonB

Re:Nothing unusual or unconstitutional here (2, Insightful)

scotch (102596) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349002)

The idea of the review is to determine if classified information is revealed by the article. Presumably, in this case it is. Or maybe not.

Re:Nothing unusual or unconstitutional here (5, Insightful)

IdleTime (561841) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349062)

* sigh *

It said the article had passed the review board so it could not have included anything secret.

USA has become a 1st world economy with a 3rd world society.

Re:Nothing unusual or unconstitutional here (5, Insightful)

Anonymous McCartneyf (1037584) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349110)

There were two review boards, though only one appears to be formal. The one run by the CIA said there was nothing there that couldn't be printed. The less formal board from the White House claimed that there was classified info that had to be redacted. I would think that the CIA would be a better judge of this, but oh well...

Re:Nothing unusual or unconstitutional here (2, Insightful)

Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349170)

A system with proper checks and balances would allow the article to be published if either review board approved it, rather than both.

Anyway, this sort of crap is exactly why I refuse to work on anything that requires a security clearance.

Re:Nothing unusual or unconstitutional here (4, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349508)

A system with proper checks and balances would allow the article to be published if either review board approved it, rather than both.
If you add up enough un-classified details, you can end up with a "big picture" that would be considered classified information.

Don't forget, between unclassified & secret, there's a "confidential" designation. The CIA may have said "fine, there is no classified information" while the White House may have said "hold on, this isn't secret, but we think it should remain confidential."

Re:Nothing unusual or unconstitutional here (4, Insightful)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349138)

USA has become a 1st world economy with a 3rd world society.

      No, in a 3rd world society the article would have been published. But the author would be found shot dead in his car a few months later.

Re:Nothing unusual or unconstitutional here (1)

Amouth (879122) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349164)

a few months later.. nahh we are faster than that.. i bet they could have gotten the paper and the pictures of the guy dead in the same days paper..

Re:Nothing unusual or unconstitutional here (5, Interesting)

pla (258480) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349448)

But the author would be found shot dead in his car a few months later.

You mean kinda like Cliff Baxter [wsws.org], the Enron guy who agreed to talk not only about Lay and Skilling, but also about the private "consultations" between Enron and Dick Cheney?

Funny how someone can commit "suicide" by shooting themself in the head from "two to three feet away". That takes some serious talent.


But hey, we've forgotten all about that little blemish. Why squabble over illegal manipulation of the energy market when we have a WAR on TERRORISM to fight, in a completely unrelated country formerly run by a secular semi-democratically-elected leader, that coincidentally happens to contain the second largest oil reserves on the planet.

Re:Nothing unusual or unconstitutional here (0, Flamebait)

lionheart1327 (841404) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349530)

Thank you.

The only people stupid enough to compare the USA to a third-world country are those who have never lived in a third-world country.

Re:Nothing unusual or unconstitutional here (4, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349572)

No, in a 3rd world society the article would have been published. But the author would be found shot dead in his car a few months later.

In the US, your wife ends up on YouTube dancing naked and drunk with another man.
     

Re:Nothing unusual or unconstitutional here (1)

arth1 (260657) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349054)

Because the guys have government secrets that can be passed. I am sure they wouldn't, but you never know.

That the white house is led by incompetents is hardly a government secret.

secrets (1)

commodoresloat (172735) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349386)

That the white house is led by incompetents is hardly a government secret.
True, but many in the White House believe it is. This is just one of many instances where they holler about "national security" but what they are really protecting is their own asses from embarrassment. John Dean's book Worse than Watergate documented this a couple years before the current crisis; this is just one more incident in a long string of attacks on openness in government. I

Re:Nothing unusual or unconstitutional here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17349336)

The co-author is a former employee. I fail to see the reasoning behind the censorship, given the circumstances. Perhaps, if it were some issue of national security, I could see the relevance. However, I do not believe it is. More like current administration security.


Now look. You have to decide if you're with us, or against us. But talking about this anti-censorship nonsense is like providing weapons to terrorists. The world has changed since 9/11. We no longer can have this "free speech" stuff. We need to give up some freedoms to protect us and our children from the terrorists (AlQaeda, muslims in general, Chinese, communists and democrats). It's for our best to have a comprehensive monitoring of citizens and controlled media so that we won't be leaking crucial information to our rivals and enemies. You either need to join us, or face the coincidences. I say, censorship is free speech, constant surveillance is privacy and war is peace. Eventually, we will have to destroy our enemies at any cost, and with any cost I mean we need to use all the power we have in our possession. Only when there's only our friends left standing, will we be totally free.

Your God,
George W. Bush

Re:Nothing unusual or unconstitutional here (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17349352)

I saw this guy talk about the issue on C-SPAN. As far as I know all of the following are true:

1. He does *NOT* work for the government anymore.

2. All information in his article is public knowledge combined from a variety of sources who have made public statements to the same effect.

3. The CIA reviewed the document and declared that it contained no sensitive information.

4. This isn't this characters first time doing this.. He's cleared some 30 different articles with the CIA and has not once including and until now had any issues.

Re:Nothing unusual or unconstitutional here (2, Informative)

Charcharodon (611187) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349512)

Doesn't matter if they are former or current. If the article is about anything doing with their job past or present the boss get's a say. That's how it goes when you work for the DOD or other security branches of government. That is also how it is in many civilian jobs in the tech industry as well. The moment you sign a non-disclosure or non-competition aggrement you pretty much are giving up your rights within the framework of the agreement. It's as simple as that.

Re:Nothing unusual or unconstitutional here (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349628)

Workplace rules are trumped by the Constitution.

Are you defending a rule (uncited) that lets a White House squash the free speech/press of the authors and the NYT, even though the article contains no secrets, as proven by the CIA review clearance? In what is deductively certain to be a purely political move by Bush/Cheney, not to have public info endorsed in the NYT by a credible authority?

Rights cannot be surrendered. People can waive protections of them, but the rights to free speech and the press are inalienable.

former employee of the NSC .. (1, Insightful)

rs232 (849320) | more than 7 years ago | (#17348978)

"I would have been really surprised if the government would have allowed a critical article co-written by a government official to be published .. While the NYT is free to publish almost anything they want, the co-author (by nature of his/her employment) is not, which was the problem in this situation"

Wrong and wrong again. He was a former adviser to the White House employed by the NSC. It just is what it looks like, the Bush regime trying to silence legimite criticism in the media.

was Re:Nothing unusual or unconstitutional here (Score:3, Republican)

Re:former employee of the NSC .. (3, Insightful)

troll -1 (956834) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349212)

It just is what it looks like, the Bush regime trying to silence legimite criticism in the media.

Er, no. It looks like a bunch of blank lines. This article is only mildly critical compared to the thousands of others out there that are downright scathing. You think Bush came along and blanked out a few lines just because the authors criticized him?

Re:former employee of the NSC .. (2, Funny)

yoder (178161) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349320)

"You think Bush came along and blanked out a few lines just because the authors criticized him?"

Um, let me think long and hard about this.......yes.

Re:former employee of the NSC .. (0, Troll)

Overly Critical Guy (663429) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349590)

Well, you use the liberal talking point "Bush regime," so I'm not sure how objective you are on this (I suspect you're a Democrat). It's not unusual for an administration to censor an article critical of itself from one of its own employees--Clinton bought people off all the time, and even blackmailed a group of women who were going to come forward in 1992 with regards to his womanizing. So don't even try to turn this into a Democrat/Republican thing.

Every political group is a bunch of cronies protecting their own asses. Hell, Nancy Pelosi won't even allow C-SPAN cameras into Congress to cover proceedings. So much for the "most open and ethical Congress in history."

This story isn't as out-of-the-ordinary as Slashdot is framing it, and the White House isn't censoring the New York Times at all (and no doubt the Times will mention something about it) but instead a government official, but foaming-at-the-mouth Bush-haters will act like it's a Republican-only thing. Frankly, I'm highly alarmed at how often Democrats give themselves a pass for things they criticize Republicans for. Just look at the Foley scandal and how evil Republicans were...and then weeks later a gay Democrat who actually slept with an underage page is celebrated by the Democrats. Nobody in the mainstream media pointed out the double-standard (because they were rooting for Democrats to win in November).

The problem isn't Leverett's employment (4, Informative)

Infonaut (96956) | more than 7 years ago | (#17348988)

While the NYT is free to publish almost anything they want, the co-author (by nature of his/her employment) is not, which was the problem in this situation.

Leverett is now at the New America Foundation, and left the CIA some time ago. Since he *used to* work at the CIA, the article had to be reviewed by the CIA. The CIA approved it. What is disconcerting in this instance is that the White House injected itself into the secrets review process. This raises flags because if the White House an override the CIA during the secrets review process, it could easily manipulate that ability for domestic political ends. Want to keep the discussion on Iran policy from going in a certain direction? Want to blunt an attack by a knowledgeable ex-CIA agent? Control the secrets review process.

FROM Spacetimecurves Blog: Flynt Leverett Talks (4, Informative)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349072)

Flynt Leverett Talks


He basically tells C-Span what Dear Leader didn't want published in the New York Times.

Apparently the CIA had okayed it, but Bu$hCo didn't want that sucker out.

This boils down to

  1. the previous reports of Iran offering to negotiate a comprehensive deal for peace in the Middle East, and,
  2. The dialog that Iran had with the USA right after 9-11 and the lead up to Afghanistan.
Remember, the Iranians are Shiite, the Taliban are Wahhabi Sunni. Basically the Iranians don't like them, either.

The conclusions of the Op-Ed were that we're being lied to in order for Dear Leader and Big Time Dick to get this war on again with Iran.

On You Tube here [youtube.com]. [Thanks to Uncle $cam [moonofalabama.org]]

Billmon suggests the Cheneyburton Corporation wants Total War [billmon.org] in Iraq. Read what Bernhard's barflies think about that here [moonofalabama.org]. This is doubtless the reason the Joint Chiefs are pissed [blogspot.com]: when you go to War, you need an objective endpoint, and a pogrom is not an endpoint.


9:07 PM [blogspot.com]

Mod parent up! (It's a video) (4, Insightful)

khasim (1285) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349254)

YouTube is the new defender of Freedom in the USofA.

Re:Nothing unusual or unconstitutional here (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17349220)

Don't they mean the JEW York Times?
Who would have believed it? The jews that run the Whitehouse are censoring everybody who tells the truth about their grip on America... And their desire to kill every non-jew in the Middle East...

Re:Nothing unusual or unconstitutional here (1)

FinMacCool (969097) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349262)

I would have been really surprised if the government would have allowed a critical article co-written by a government official to be published.
WHAT? Isn't there a freedom of speech thingamajig in that US Constitution-a-calit? I know it wasn't in the original but I thought we made an amendment to make sure people and the press could speak out against the government.
Why are we only surprised if we don't get censored? Is it opposite day or something?

Next time, RTFA (5, Insightful)

ArcSecond (534786) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349286)

Because if you *had* RTFA, you would know that every single redaction consisted of information already publicized, in several cases by members of the White House administration. The discussion of the article even links to citations where that VERY SAME INFORMATION is available, non-redact-stylee.

So really, what is the end effect of this censorship? To draw attention to both the attitude of Bush & Co., while simultaneously providing the curious with the information that they weren't supposed to know.

This administration must have lead in their water. I have never seen such ham-handed, short-sighted, and just plain dumb policy. Kind of like a class of Special Ed students who have read Machiavelli and think they know how to run the world.

Re:Nothing unusual or unconstitutional here (1)

hjf (703092) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349338)

The saddest part of this, is the attitude of people like you. "Oh, so they censored a little, for the sake of national security, that should be fine." All dictatorships start like this, with government taking and people giving a little of their rights. So little that you don't notice, but looking back you see how much you lost and can't get back. It's a shame that "in the land of the free", it's normal, and perfectly acceptable to have a censor. And you know why? Because american society as a whole is so ignorant that they let the government do the thinking. That's what taxpayer dollars are for, right?. You know what Fidel Castro said to Barbara Walters? "Ignorant people are not ready to be free".

Re:Nothing unusual or unconstitutional here (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349466)

Nothing unconstitutional about the government infringing the freedom of the press of the NYT, or the speech of the two authors? With even the usual BS "national security" excuse obviously bogus, after the CIA released them?

What kind of "Constitution" do you have, that doesn't have a First Amendment? You praying for some kind of corporate anarchy?

Hmmm (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17348940)

How shocking! Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely. Film at 11!

In other news: Four legs good, two legs bad. And FP!

Re:Hmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17349412)

from the thin end of the slippery slope department.

Re:Hmmm (1)

Khabok (940349) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349478)

"Four legs good, two legs bad. And FP!"

Ok, in my experience, FP means "Furry Porn." Couldja help me out here?

WTF (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17348944)

Ok I understand if they signed NDAs but if they didn't or this information doesn't fall under any NDA, WHAT THE FUCK.

2 things (0, Troll)

brouski (827510) | more than 7 years ago | (#17348948)

First, the Huffington Post link is the only one with any meat to the story, so if you can be bothered to RTFA, save your time and just go to that one.

Second, not that I argue the validity of the info, but are we at the point yet where blogs are considered "news sources"?

Re:2 things (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17349004)

No, but too many people think so.

The funniest ones are when bloggers post a damning article of someone, and they then site themselves as the source. IE I write an article that Bill Clinton is an alien based on scientific proof, later I write an article that says that Hillary is actually a scientist that helped Create Bill Clinton, and I site the proof that Clinton is an alien from my previous article. What is better, I later write an article that says that they are just the spearhead of a larger alien invasion, which I link to my previous article as proof which links to yet a previous article I wrote as proof.

In many of the Blogs I have seen they are even more clever about this. They will cite other articles with which they cut and pasted which originally started out as something written by Anne Coulter or Michelle Malkin, who in turn cite things the blog authors have wrote supporting that position but those blog authors were just giving opinion articles.

A recent one I read accused Liberals of hating free speech, support terrorism, and are anti israel because some students at a college rioted.

So No, BLOGS are not news sources.

Re:2 things (4, Insightful)

arth1 (260657) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349122)

So No, BLOGS are not news sources.

These days, neither are US newspapers, since they're subject to censorship from many directions. For trustworthy news, we now have to go to foreign news media (and even then double-check that they didn't get their news from censored sources), which I find rather sad.

Re:2 things (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349548)

For trustworthy news, we now have to go to foreign news media (and even then double-check that they didn't get their news from censored sources), which I find rather sad.
There is one catch: the US Gov't is not prohibited from injecting propaganda (aka lies) into foreign news sources.

They were doing this heavily pre & post Iraq invasion, but got pulled up short when their actions were reviewed. Basically, the review process showed that the propaganda was filtering back into US media outlets. This forced the Pentagon & Co. to both curtail and change the way they pushed out their propaganda.

Re:2 things (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17349126)

...are we at the point yet where blogs are considered "news sources"?

At that point, and long past it, my friend. You were probably looking at the distant scenery like the tour guide said to do on the bus's P.A. when we all rolled past that point. It happened a little after war correspondents in Iraq were made "embedded", and thus dependent for their lives on the goodwill of the US Military, who could put any of them in any degree of harms' way at any time.

For all their limitations, blogs have become the only independent news sources for nearly all of the domestic and foreign conflicts that the Bush Administration has stirred up. Yeah, you have to work a little harder to separate the wheat from the chaff, but that's currently part of the price of being informed.

WTF? (4, Insightful)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 7 years ago | (#17348950)

Article authors Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann were former advisers to the White House, and thus all of their publications are scrutinized by a board before they can be published
I can understand if current government employees have to go through this, or if they sign an agreement that they will allow this to happen for the rest of their lives, but come on! They are bound by law not to disclose classified information, so if they violate it, they can prosecute them, but noone should censor them! Especially when the administration doesn't understand the difference between "classified information" and "information we don't like".

Re:WTF? (1)

i kan reed (749298) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349024)

Sure they do. Classified information is information that they don't like that they decided they don't like ahead of time.
We're a few years away from "instantaneous classification". Watch for it about 2 presidents from now.

Re:WTF? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17349048)

They are bound by law not to disclose classified information, so if they violate it, they can prosecute them, but noone should censor them!

But what are you asking of us? You want us to give up the entire basis of the War on Terror. The punishment before the sentence, and the sentence before the crime.

Especially when the administration doesn't understand the difference between "classified information" and "information we don't like".

There is no difference, good citizen. Now, get back to work, we've got quota to meet!

Re:WTF? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17349078)

I can understand if current government employees have to go through this, or if they sign an agreement that they will allow this to happen for the rest of their lives,


It is impossible for you to waive/sign away your constitutionally-protected rights.

Tell that to the US Military.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17349192)

By signing up, you pretty much lose your right to free speach during your term of service. Those in uniform are not allowed to criticize the President. When Clinton was President, he made a big deal at one point about how nobody in the military was saying anything negative about the Paula Jones/Monica Lewinsky news, when in fact, if they would have, they would have ended up in big trouble.

Re:WTF? (1)

Anonymous McCartneyf (1037584) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349080)

Doesn't anyone remember the Pentagon Papers anymore?
Never mind if the source is supposed to supply classified info. The government shouldn't be able to prosecute the media for it. I mean, if printing classified info is outright illegal, why is Robert Novak walking the streets?
Of course, I understand why the NY Times is cautious these days. It wants to protect its source, and the White House probably won't allow that. (Remember Judith Miller?) We know the Times doesn't like this redaction: it did include the black bars, and it did print how to get to the redacted sections. Better than just running the redacted editorial without any hints, I guess.
One more thing: if the CIA didn't think that this editorial had classified info, why were they overruled by the White House? Is Condi still with the NSA?

Re:WTF? (1)

SlamMan (221834) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349140)

pre-publication review. Its part of most security clearances for a long, long time after you're not longer in the position you became cleared for.

Re:WTF? (1)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349416)

They are bound by law not to disclose classified information, so if they violate it, they can prosecute them, but noone should censor them!

That's just silly. If, say, someone had access to the Witness Protection Program files and decided to publish a list of names and addresses (from memory), we should just let them and slap him on the wrist later?

Free speech is not unlimited, nor should it be.

It is 1984... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17348962)

Let the book burnings begin...

another misstep (4, Interesting)

nanojath (265940) | more than 7 years ago | (#17348986)

It seems like the Bush admin. has really lost their mojo... This is so badly played. If this article had been allowed to run without obstruction, how many people would really have noticed it? Another dry opinion piece promulgating one aspect of one of the five dominant Opinions on What Ought We to Do with Iraq. Instead, with the NYT's unusual decision to run it redacted with an explanation, the spotlight is on every piece of information they wanted to keep out of the press, and it is making headlines in places it never would have (it certainly never would have shown up on Slashdot just as the story it was).

For the first time in a while I'm looking forward to the next year's politics... Not because "my team" is winning (my team doesn't seem to exist and if they did they wouldn't get on any ballot), but because it's just going to be such a clusterfuck... Watching that three ring circus known as the Democratic party try to joust its razor thin margin against this newly politically tonedeaf lame duck administration, while the GOP try to figure out how to put solid distance between themselves and the ever less popular Bush&Co while holding onto all those endearing litte traits that keep the various "bases" happy...

Re:another misstep (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17349010)

What will be particularly interesting is watching the Republicans competing against themselves as their distance from Bush is shrunk by the Democrats' video replay of the previous 8 years.

let it run, then prosecute the offender (3, Interesting)

davidwr (791652) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349016)

What should have happened:
1) NY Times runs the article
2) Attorney General investigates to see if any laws or contracts were broken.
3) Attorney General prosecutes or sues co-author for breaking law or breaking contract. Use FISA or other closed-court hearings if necessary to protect state secrets.
4) Message is sent to others: Don't do what he did.
5) Citizens see article and see the author is being sued or prosecuted, and make up their own mind at the polls in '08.
6) Next president considers Presidential Pardon.

Re:let it run, then prosecute the offender (1)

Anonymous McCartneyf (1037584) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349154)

Problems:
(a) Your step 1 only just happened; the others can still happen.
(b) The CIA cleared this article already.
(c) You might be giving the current administration ideas.

Step 1 did not happen (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349182)

The New York Times did not print the article, they printed a portion of the article.

Re:another misstep (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349516)

It seems like the Bush admin. has really lost their mojo... This is so badly played. If this article had been allowed to run without obstruction, how many people would really have noticed it?

It is remeniscent of the Plame scandle [wikipedia.org] whereby their stubburn determination to punish critics or get their way makes for poor risk-to-reward assessments. This behavior is on-going, not due to lost mojo. These people are repeat General Custer's.

The real problem (1)

gadzook33 (740455) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349008)

The problem here is not that the White House censored something. The problem is that they censored something that the CIA didn't. Typically it's the other way around with the CIA having to explain to other organizations (often the White House) that something needs to be censored (don't worry about why, we'll explain later) and frankly, they're usually right. If the CIA lets something go by, barring a massive screw up on their part (yeah, I know, I know), it means it doesn't contain anything that's going to cause harm to national security. So, is this politics? Uh, yeah.

Re:The real problem (1)

sycodon (149926) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349066)

The Real Problem is that the New York Times insists on publishing again and again secrets that ultimately end up damaging the U.S.

You may argue that they are just publishing what the public has the "right to know", but they are actually censoring some opinions in favor of their own. So they are publishing what the New York Times wants the public to know.

Discussion and arguments of policy is fine and it should be discussed in a fair, open, and rational way.

I submit that when the New York Times, or most other media outlets, publish information, the discussion they present is anything but fair and rational, and since they often give only token space to opposing viewpoints, it is not very open either.

One thing these people need to understand is that their right to publish these things is guaranteed by the U.S Government. Not the U.N. not by the UE, or anyone else. When they publish information that causes harm to the U.S. in their zeal in pursing their partisan agenda, they are actually weakening the very institution that guarantees their rights.

Re:The real problem (4, Insightful)

gadzook33 (740455) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349168)

I won't argue that damage isn't sometimes done by organizations like the New York Times. However, you need to understand that we pay a price for these freedoms. It is not always the case that just because some degree of damage is done, it implies the Times were wrong to publish! Take it from someone who has worked in the domain of federal government his entire life: Usually the damage is not as grave as the government would make it out to be. More often than not I say air on the side of caution with respect to civil liberties. It is insufficient to say that this or that is damaging to national security. The second you start censoring certain things, rest assured someone will abuse that. It goes without saying. Do I think ex-employees of areas like the White House need to have their publications reviewed? Eh, I suppose so. But ultimately, if the government is doing something wrong and the only way the public finds out about it is through a newspaper, I say power to that newspaper.

Re:The real problem (1, Flamebait)

prandal (87280) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349318)

Get real!!!!

The NYT doesn't have to say a thing, the current bogus Bush regime is damaging the USA all by itself.

Re:The real problem (4, Insightful)

jahudabudy (714731) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349176)

The Real Problem is that the New York Times insists on publishing again and again secrets that ultimately end up damaging the U.S.

And the point is that there is a large difference between damaging the U.S., and politically damaging the current administration. If revealing to the public what the administration is doing (note, not what the military or CIA or FBI etc, but the White House administration) is somehow damaging to the US, then maybe the fault doesn't lie with the people that revealed the actions, but the actions themselves. There should be only a few specific areas that the public can not know what the government is doing in their name.

Discussion and arguments of policy is fine and it should be discussed in a fair, open, and rational way.
I submit that when the New York Times, or most other media outlets, publish information, the discussion they present is anything but fair and rational, and since they often give only token space to opposing viewpoints, it is not very open either.


And this provides a rationale for preventing them from presenting their view?

One thing these people need to understand is that their right to publish these things is guaranteed by the U.S Government. Not the U.N. not by the UE, or anyone else. When they publish information that causes harm to the U.S. in their zeal in pursing their partisan agenda, they are actually weakening the very institution that guarantees their rights.

Again, it is very debatable whether the NYT publishes information that harms the U.S., or whether it merely causes political harm to the current administration. There is not much question that when representatives of the US government seek to deny these rights "guaranteed by the U.S. government", they are actually weakening the very institution they swore to uphold. I definitely know which one I find more troubling.

Re:The real problem (1)

Pink Tinkletini (978889) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349246)

Sorry, I fail to see that advocating policy change, when current policy has so clearly failed to protect American interests and American security, is in any way damaging to the nation.

Personally, I'm grateful that the Times is pushing for an approach to foreign policy that would actually make America safer and more secure.

Re:The real problem (1)

Anonymous McCartneyf (1037584) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349258)

"One thing these people need to understand is that their right to publish these things is guaranteed by the U.S Government."
How are those people to understand that if the US government doesn't let them publish these things? The government guarantees the right to publish such things, except when it objects to their being published? What sort of right is that?

Re:The real problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17349366)

I submit that when the New York Times, or most other media outlets, publish information, the discussion they present is anything but fair and rational, ...
You are completely correct. It always amazes me when people scream in righteous indignation about censorship of this nature, when in reality there is a much more insidious censorship that is routinely practiced and roundly ignored. By being allowed to publish the redacted version of the article the Times achieves their "objectives" (whatever those might be) and then some. I fact, if their goal was to embarrass the Bush Administration, they more than achieved their goal.

I, on the other hand, want to know what articles they choose not to run (on their own, or at the behest of some powerful interest with which they align politically). You need look no further than today's Boston Globe (the Globe is owned by the NYTimes) for an example of what I am talking about. Actually, and more to the point, you unfortunately won't find it in the Globe because they apparently didn't deem it "newsworthy". But you will find it in the much smaller Boston Herald. A well-connected fundraiser for the incoming governor was arrested for DWI. She failed 4 breathalizers and every other field sobriety test she was given. She was abusive and uncooperative to the police. Later, as she was leaving the jail after making bail she continued her abuse of the arresting officer, even saying disparaging things about his kids. Amazingly, charges were dropped. Even more amazingly, no story, not even a small sidebar buried in the middle of the paper could be found in the Globe. Did the governor elect intervene on her behalf? Did the Globe not dare to antagonize the incoming goevernor before his term even began? Isn't this censorship? Where is the outrage?

Darn it. (2, Funny)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349026)

They *really* redacted the comments. I was hoping to find the juicy tidbits after looking at the page source. But unfortunately I found:

          <"span style="color:black;background:black;">xxx xxx xx xxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxx xxxxxx xxxxxxx x</span"&>"

On the other hand, looking at the source is always fun.

          <!--Kim was here:
          {} -->

Re:Darn it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17349172)

Note you can see the word length... that means this is not real redaction -- it should just be a black line... you should *not* be able to count word lenght!!!

Re:Darn it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17349204)

xxx xxx xx xxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxx xxxxxx xxxxxxx x

Assuming the x's represent letters and the spaces are where they should be, I'm sure there's some AI-ish statistical algorithm somewhere that can guess what that used to say..

Who is Kim? (1)

mysticgoat (582871) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349208)

<!--Kim was here:
{} -->

I noticed the Kim comment, too. So who is this person? Somebody at NYT, or with Bush&Co, or a CIA agent??

There is a story within a story here, and I for one would like to hear it!

Freedom of Expression (4, Insightful)

iOsiris (944032) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349044)

Ever notice how new and emerging democracies have freer and more open press while the modern democracies are slowly retracting this fundamental right.

Re:Freedom of Expression (1)

RealGrouchy (943109) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349614)

Ever notice how new and emerging democracies have freer and more open press while the modern democracies are slowly retracting this fundamental right.

Sorry, you misspelled "established oligarchies".

- RG>

Stupid Bush (-1, Troll)

MorseKode (223376) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349070)

I heard Bush speech this week, and my opinion is still the same.
He's the most stupid president ever, he coudn't even REPLY DECENTLY any question from the press.

When they asked about what's next no Iraq...
He more or less answered "We will see what's the best", clearly no idea, he ended the question with "if i didn't think we were gonna win, I wouldn't have sent our troops there"....... sooo ?... what a great answer to all our doubts

When they asked about any changes in equal right for homosexual couples marriages and stuff...
He ended talking about the baby of the vice-president.........
How can he just ignore all the questions like that??????

Finally when they asked about Iran...
He just said, "I would like to tell the people of iran, that they president could do best"...
"We are going to isolate Iran until the cease all nuclear activity"...

WON'T HE AND HIS FRIENDS FOR ONE USE THEIR REPUBLICANS-ULTRA-CONSERVATIVE-STUPID-BRAINS, and just come out with a plan for iran to let them use their nuclear program for peacefull purposes, like ENERGY for their country???

Wouldn't that put and end to this problem? They just wan't ENERGY, the problem is that Bush and his fellows doesn't care a shit, the only words his sub-developed inteligence lead him to say is "STOP ALL NUCLEAR ACTIVITY" without even considering an option.

In my opinion this politic of "no nuclear energy unless we AMERICA are ok with it" is just another demostration of the ignorance of your leader.

PD: Bush, idiot, AMERICA IS A CONTINENT, not your country, you have Latin America, Central America and North America, all them together form AMERICA, i'm just sick of hearing it.

Re:Stupid Bush (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349096)

Bush, idiot, AMERICA IS A CONTINENT

      The "Americans" can't help it, since their country doesn't have a real name - they have to steal it from somewhere else. "The Republic of the United States of America" turns out to be too much of a mouthful.

Re:Stupid Bush (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17349260)

Especially since that's not the name for 'The United States of America'!

you must be one o them retard furrners I hear so much about!

xxx xxx xxxxxxx xxxxxxx xx ?! (3, Interesting)

Joebert (946227) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349086)

I wonder if they were smart enough to at least alter the structure of the censored words.

But Tehran was profoundly disappointed with the United States response. After the 9/11 attacks, xxx xxx xx xxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxx xxxxxx xxxxxxx xx set the stage for a

The last censored word in that strip could very well be "to", as in "to set the stage".

By the way, my title is "Are you fucking kidding me ?!"

Who shot who in the what now? (1, Offtopic)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349092)

Why is this under "Your Rights Online"? It has nothing to do with my rights, nor does it have anything to do with anything online.

CmdrTaco should make a new category called "Somebody's Rights Somewhere", just for this sort of article.

Re:Who shot who in the what now? (1)

Anonymous McCartneyf (1037584) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349322)

First, the NY Times has an online edition.
Second, if you ever choose to print a high-profile expose from a former government agent, or create one, then it might be good to know in advance that it could be redacted without notice.

The New America (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17349102)

All hail the American Police State!!

YRO? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17349144)

What exactly does this have to with *MY* rights? I'm not in the CIA so I'm not subject to this review board.

And what is the "online" element here?

Talk about american values (3, Insightful)

unity100 (970058) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349152)

Well, american instutitions are much enthusiastic about advertising american values about free speech, transparent government, democracy, freedom and such to the world.

We listen to those, then we visit to slashdot and see that the u.s. government is actively censoring what it does not like, and than, to add insult to injury, we are seeing people here that can actually support such a blatant blashpemy of values.

I dont know which is worse.

Re:Talk about american values (1)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349474)

we are seeing people here that can actually support such a blatant blashpemy of values.
You seem to be under the assumption that the people who post here are true americans who support the american values.

It has to be concluded that slashdot is full of Al-Quaeda operatives, chinese government officials and iraqi terrorists, therefor the Bush administration feels morally justified in dumping 500 tons of nerve gas on the internets users. No true american hates freedom, so they must be terrgrorist, after all freedom is about paying lip service to that abstract ideal, while doing the contrary what they said they think when it comes to actions.

I see it only took you about 4 years... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17349586)

...to come up with that witty, not-at-all-played-out, totally original gem of extraordinarily clever satire. Seriously, there have got to be at least five posts exactly like this for every post-9/11, Bush-administration-related forum thread on the internet. Quit wasting everyone's bandwidth.

Re:Talk about american values (2, Interesting)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349554)

Well, american instutitions are much enthusiastic about advertising american values about free speech, transparent government, democracy, freedom and such to the world.....and [now] see that the u.s. government is actively censoring what it does not like, and than, to add insult to injury, we are seeing people here that can actually support such a blatant blashpemy of values.

There is a culture war in the US that is actually a microcosm of the al-quida-versus-civalization battle. Religious fanatics beleive that the ends justify the means: that is, lying, cheating, and dirty-play is "okay" if it acheives "God's goals". The far right in the US is becomming like the Taliban, just with a different brand of diety. Thus, they are slowly starting to use similar tactics.

Actually, it is all a three-way war between world-wide moderates, Christian fanatics, and Muslim fanatics. The moderates are the only group that puts principle over results.
             

Re:Talk about american values (2, Informative)

Overly Critical Guy (663429) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349610)

No offense, but if you come to Slashdot for accurate news coverage to form an opinion from, you're already going to get a skewed image. This place has political leanings and is well-known for its sensationalist news coverage. Despite all that, we're still the most free place on Earth, or else we wouldn't even be allowed to post sensationalist coverage of this story and talk about it and the so-called "Bush regime."

Security Policy (2, Insightful)

aaron_ds (711489) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349156)

Sounds like the government's policy is security through obscurity. We all know the end result of that mantra.

That's how it works (-1, Flamebait)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349222)

When you get a Top Secret clearance that is high enough to get you into real work on national security, you agree to submit anything you say about your job to government scrutiny and they, and their superiors, have veto authority. Period.

And get this... the first amendment doesn't cover classified information. You have no constitutional right to publish state secrets, and the US Constitution does not recognize "people power" no matter what some might like to think. It is fully legal for them to tell the NYT that if they know what's good for them, they'll censor a report that contains redacted information.

Oh and before anyone bitches, not just any information can be classified. You can get information legally declassified against the President's wishes if you can prove that it is not germane to national security. The law only allows classification of information related to national security, and that's not something the President is legally above reproach on.

Re:That's how it works (3, Insightful)

NineNine (235196) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349354)

The law only allows classification of information related to national security, and that's not something the President is legally above reproach on.

That's complete and utter horse shit. The Administration has added countless things to the list of "top secret" documents that have absolutely NOTHING to do with national security. I don't have time to document right now, but feel free to look. These days, EVERYTHING that the government does is related to "National Security"

Re:That's how it works (1)

PixelScuba (686633) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349532)

The National Energy Policy Development Group would spring to mind, the 2001 Energy Task Force headed by Dick Cheney which has refused to reveal the information of their policy and meetings despite being ordered to do so by courts. The Executive Branch has hid behind the "National Security" moniker to ensure that information is not released. A small ammount of information was released to the public, but nothing of any significance or importance.

figuring out the original text (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17349244)

If you select the redacted text of the NY Times article [nytimes.com], you see that it has rows of xxxxxxs - of varying length! Making the logical assumption that "xxxx" stands for a four letter word etc, it becomes possible to make educated guesses as to what the original text has said. For example, the last redacted sentence is:
"Our experience dealing with [b]xxxx xxxx[/b] Iranian diplomats over Afghanistan and in more recent private conversations in Europe and elsewhere convince us that Iran will not go down such a dead-end road again."
Best guess for "xxxx xxxx": "high rank".
Why would the white house not want the public to know that these were high rank diplomats?

Why no major coverage? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17349266)

This story is a few days old and this is the first I've heard of it. I haven't seen any mention of it on any of the major news stations. They have instead been preoccupied with the actions of Miss USA and the feud between Donald Trump and Rose O'Donnell's. Why has this not been seen as a major story in the mainstream media?

Re:Why no major coverage? (1)

Todamont (1034534) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349580)

Americans are apparently no longer interested in freedom, just give us a slutty Ms America and a Trump to keep us entertained... I bet they took out the sentence that read: "... and then the Iranian diplomat asked why we had built so many secret prisons all across America..."

NYT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17349582)

The NYT has been good about being willing to publish things the govt. doesn't want out--sometimes things that are important, like the wiretapping program. I applaud them for that. But then, sometimes they also go in for the fear-mongering tactics so common in today's media, and do so in grossly irresponsible ways--like suggesting highly vulnerable terrorist targets.

One kind of action looks out for the rights of the American People. The other looks out for their pocketbook at the expense of the American people.

Here's a Decensored Version (4, Insightful)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349600)

Raw Story has published its analysis of the probable original version [rawstory.com] of the redacted op-ed:
RAW STORY has examined these sources and has attempted to connect the previously published materials to the redacted paragraphs in the op-ed. What the information reveals is a series of events in which US-Iran dialogue broke down. In the aftermath of 9/11, the cooperative spirit around the world sparked by America's victimhood encouraged Iran to collaborate with the United States in its effort to topple the Taliban in Afghanistan. But the goodwill that might have been sustained by those early negotiations was undermined by a series of disputes between the US and Iran.

[...]

On the other hand, Zyprexa... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17349612)

Eli Lilly's motion to suppress the evidence has been denied by an inter-galactic court of appeals. Justice will be served over HTTP.

As we speak, the slick marketing plans drawn up by the smartest boys in the drug dealing business are propagating across the Internet. Bittorrents have been internationally seeded; p2p networks like morpheus, kaaza, gnutella, and limewire are already trading vigorously; photos laced with the data have been posted to public photo sharing sites like flickr; movies containing slideshows are circulating on video sharing sites like YouTube; Usenet isn't obsolete yet, and yes, backups have been uploaded to freenet (freenetproject.org), the virtual data haven;

Information wants to be free. Look for a file named ZyprexaKills, or any of its l33t variants.

For those of you without easy access to these services we have temporarily posted these files in this convenient location:

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Please be careful when obtaining them - we are up against some of the most greedy and powerful elites in the world.You may want to consider using the tor program (tor.eff.org) to preserve your anonymity. If its difficult for you to install this program, try www.torify.com, a web based surfing solution.

Send this message to as many friends and mailing lists that you can think of, especially the technically saavy and the media connected.

Please tag all netroots activity and distributed research relating to this campaign with the tag 'zyprexakills'.

This message is also available at:

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zyprexakills.pbwiki.com

----------
Agent Fred
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