Tuesday, April 18, 2006

 

Domestic Surveillance and the Pulitzer Prize

The New York Times won a Pulitzer Prize for its reporting on the domestic surveillance story.

For a distinguished example of reporting on national affairs, in print or in print and online, Ten thousand dollars ($10,000).

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Awarded to James Risen and Eric Lichtblau of The New York Times for their carefully sourced stories on secret domestic eavesdropping that stirred a national debate on the boundary line between fighting terrorism and protecting civil liberty.

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The right-wing blogosphere quickly went on line to add their opinion about the Times and its reporters.

From the Power Line we have this post:

April 17, 2006

The Pulitzer Prize for Treason

Last year we noted that the AP had won "The Pulizer Prize for felony murder" for its spot photographic coverage in Iraq. We followed up in a series of posts featuring the analysis of former New York Times photographer D. Gorton (here and here). Mr. Gorton recapitulated his analysis in a devastating column for the Standard. Below is the photo in issue. (I wonder if Bilal Hussein was the AP stringer who has enjoyed such a fruitful collaboration with terrorists.)

Following in the footsteps of the AP last year, New York Times reporters James Risen and Eric Lichtblau won the Pulitzer Prize today for their treasonous contribution to the undermining of the highly classified National Security Agency surveillance program of al Qaeda-related terrorists. As I argued in a column for the Standard, the Risen/Lichtblau reportage clearly violated relevant provisions of the Espionage Act -- a particularly serious crime insofar as it lends assistance to the enemy in a time of war.

Juxtapose the Times's award-winning reportage with the Times's highminded editorial condemnation of President Bush for allegedly failing to follow proper procedure in declassifying the October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate key judgments. Today the Times instructs us: "Even a president cannot wave a wand and announce that an intelligence report is declassified."

Waving a wand is apparently a prerogative reserved to Times executive editor Bill Keller, who made the decision to "declassify" the NSA surveillance program in the pages of the Times. According to Keller, the publication of the NSA story did "not expose any technical intelligence-gathering methods or capabilities that are not already on the public record." Thus Keller waved his wand, and the Times blew the NSA program. Smarter folks than I will have to reconcile the trains of thought at work among the editors of the New York Times.

What about the Pulitzer Prize committee? When Walter Duranty won a Pulitzer Prize for the Times in connection with his mendacious coverage of Stalin's Soviet Union, he performed valuable public relations work for a mass murderer. He nevertheless did no direct harm to the United States. Today's Pulitzer Prize award to the Times brings a new shame to the Pulitzer Prize committee that builds on its disgrace last year via the award to the AP.

Posted by Scott at 08:32 PM


Glenn Greenwald, of Unclaimed Territory, who pointed me to the story, has more.

Yesterday, James Risen and Eric Lichtblau received well-deserved Pulitzer Prizes for "national reporting" based on their (year-long-delayed) disclosure of the President's illegal NSA eavesdropping program. That award has set off a new slew of bitter commentary from Bush supporters, including Bennett, proclaiming that Risen and Lichtblau belong in prison. On his radio show this morning, the great free press crusader [Bill] Bennett said: "I think what they did is worthy of jail."

Powerline, as always, helpfully expounds on this definitively American principle of throwing reporters in jail who publish stories which damage the political interests of the Commander-in-Chief during a Time of War. In an item entitled "Pulitzer Prize for Treason," Scott "Big Trunk" Johnson says that Risen and Lichtblau won the Pulitzer "for their treasonous contribution to the undermining of the highly classified National Security Agency surveillance program of al Qaeda-related terrorists," which -- according to Johnson, "is a particularly serious crime insofar as it lends assistance to the enemy" -- all together, now -- "in a time of war."

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