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NYT: Sitting on a story that might have changed the world
Nov 12th, 2013 by Warren Swil

Courageous public discussion

explains much, excuses little

The revelations of uber-leaker Edward Snowden prompted some soul searching at The New York Times.

IN A COURAGEOUS – if overdue – explanation of one of the most enduring mysteries at The New York Times, the public editor on Sunday examined why the paper delayed publishing a vital story that might have influenced the outcome of the 2004 presidential election.
It’s an eight-year old topic arisen anew to the front page: illegal government spying.
The story by James Risen and Eric Lichtblau ­(based on information from a source later revealed as a phone company employee) disclosed the massive (and then illegal) surveillance operation mounted by the Bush/Cheney administration in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks.
It was held by The Times for 13 months, until, as the column explains, there “were a couple of guns held to its head.”


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