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Correspondence and collusion between the New York Times and the CIA

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It is true that Mazzetti's emails with the CIA do not shock or surprise in the slightest. But that's the point. With some noble journalistic exceptions (at the NYT and elsewhere), these emails reflect the standard full-scale cooperation -- a virtual merger -- between our the government and the establishment media outlets that claim to act as "watchdogs" over them.

From "All the news that's fit to print" to "please delete after you read" and cannot "go into detail because it is an intelligence matter": that's the gap between the New York Times' marketed brand and its reality.

* * * * *

UPDATE: The Times' Public Editor weighed in on this matter today, noting his clear disapproval for what Mazzetti did: 

"Whatever Mr. Mazzetti's motivation, it is a clear boundary violation to disclose a potentially sensitive article pre-publication under such circumstances. This goes well beyond the normal give-and-take that characterizes the handling of sources and suggests the absence of an arm's-length relationship between a reporter and those he is dealing with."

While Mazzetti himself expresses regret for his behavior -- "It was definitely a mistake to do. I have never done it before and I will never do it again" -- both he and Executive Editor Jill Abramson insist that he had no bad intent, but was simply trying to help out a colleague (Dowd) by having her claims fact-checked. Like Baquet, Abramson invokes secrecy to conceal the key facts: "I can't provide further detail on why the entire column was sent."

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The question raised by these excuses is obvious: if Mazzetti were acting with such pure and benign motives, why did he ask the CIA to delete the email he sent? This appears to be a classic case of expressing sorrow not over what one did, but over having been caught.

On a different note, Politico's Byers, in response to my inquiry, advises me that Baquet did indeed say what Byers attributed to him -- "he could not go into detail on the issue because it was an intelligence matter" -- and that his exact quote was: it "has to with intel."

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For the past 10 years, I was a litigator in NYC specializing in First Amendment challenges, civil rights cases, and corporate and securities fraud matters. I am the author of the New York Times Best-Selling book, How Would A Patriot (more...)

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The sorry fact is that this cozy behavior shows th... by Paul Repstock on Thursday, Aug 30, 2012 at 2:00:03 PM
are becoming inured to so many lethal wrongs these... by j dial on Thursday, Aug 30, 2012 at 4:54:47 PM
" media figures come to identify so closely with... by Josh Mitteldorf on Friday, Aug 31, 2012 at 6:43:59 AM
"The Central Intelligence Agency owns everyone of ... by Truth Will Prevail on Friday, Aug 31, 2012 at 8:24:47 AM
just a few short years ago. I'm still reeling over... by Daniel Geery on Friday, Aug 31, 2012 at 9:39:18 AM
According to Dr. Manning, Obama (born in 1961) en... by Deborah Dills on Friday, Aug 31, 2012 at 4:05:49 PM
The CIA, as well as the FBI, has access to all the... by Marika on Friday, Aug 31, 2012 at 11:09:23 AM
While I am not a Ron Paul supporter, much of what ... by Deborah Dills on Friday, Aug 31, 2012 at 11:23:17 AM
JFK wanted to abolish the CIA and looks like they ... by Anuel Jackson on Friday, Aug 31, 2012 at 2:46:40 PM
Yes, and JFK also tried to rid us of the Federal R... by Deborah Dills on Friday, Aug 31, 2012 at 3:47:40 PM