This morning, Jack published an interview he conducted yesterday with New York Times Executive Editor Dean Baquet about the paper's decision the other day to publish the names of three covert CIA officers.
Latest in Secrecy: Press Behavior
Interview With Dean Baquet, Executive Editor of New York Times, on Publication Decisions About Intelligence Secrets, and More
On April 25, two days after President Obama announced that a U.S. drone strike accidentally killed two innocent hostages, Mark Mazzetti and Matt Apuzzo published a story in the New York Times about congressional and White House support for the CIA’s “targeted killing program.” A major point in the story was that some of the CIA officers who built the CIA’s drone program also led the CIA’s detention and interrogation program.
Director of National Intelligence General Counsel Bob Litt says the NYT “disgraced itself” by “publishing an article in which it purported to name three covert CIA officers.” The article in question identified the “chief of operations during the birth of the agency’s detention and interrogation program [who] then, as head of the C.I.A.
Over the weekend, the New York Times published an article on congressional support for the C.I.A.'s drone program. In describing the program's leadership, the Times saw fit to reveal the identity of three people it claims are covert C.I.A. operatives.
It's getting hard to keep track of the U.S. intelligence community leakers without a scorecard. So here's my attempt:
In our new book, Whistleblowers, Leaks and the Media, my co-editors and I talk at some length about what we characterize as the "fundamental tension" that lies at the heart of news reporting today involving national security matters. The tension -- between transparency and secrecy -- is fundamental for two distinct reasons: First, because at bottom it involves two exceedingly important values -- government efficacy in protecting the body politic and citizen control of government
Those readers who do not spend a lot of time on Twitter may have missed the beating Ben has been taking there for this post last week suggesting that the folks at The Intercept may be overestimating their security capabilities relative to the offensive capabilities of nation state intelligence services.
David Sanger and Martin Fackler write in the NYT that the NSA “drilled into the Chinese networks that connect North Korea to the outside world, picked through connections in Malaysia favored by North Korean hackers and penetrated directly into the North with the help of South Korea and other American allies,” and also placed malware in North Korean
I think I am unusual among former government officials in arguing that the publication of national security secrets can promote democracy and good government. Such publications are often costly, sometimes very costly, to national security – more so than is generally realized. But as I wrote in Power and Constraint, “it does not follow that the media’s pursuit of government secrets is bad for American society, or even for national security, all things co