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18 October 2013

New York Times Planning NSA Papers

The James Risen interview of Snowden appears to foretell an NSA Papers series, harking to the glory days of Ellsberg and Pentagon Papers, to advance NYT profitability, credibility and popular appeal tainted by withholding the ATT-NSA interception story and by press scandalized Brit CEO Mark Thompson. A joint effort with Pierre Omidyar would satisfy release and financial conditions by Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras and Jeremy Scahill.

Snowden reportedly avoided the Times due to its suppressing the ATT-NSA interception program. Publication by the Times of the promises to Snowden and his heretofor exclusive, if cowed, outlets would be an admirable first part of the Papers.

Hand-off by The Guardian to the Times of the Snowden collection fits this prospect for redeeming the Times and Thompson, presuming Snowden's initial aversion to the Times has been eased.

The Times initiation of the International New York Times would provide a global in-your-face to ubiquitious governmental control of media, defying Obama and US-creatures dependent upon USG armaments, law, technology, spying.

Second would be to deposit the Snowden papers in a publicly accessible library for a credible assessment not limited to economically driven outlets. This could diminish criticism that the Times is engaging in the same complicity with global government spying rightly accused of corporations, consultants, academics, NGOs and individuals to maximally monetize leaks under thin disguise of public service.

If the Times maintains exclusive control of the papers and dribbles them out over weeks or months -- or years like the Guardian -- and refuses to allow more competent evaluation, then that indicates it continues its long-standing and lucrative co-operation with governments, the USG principally, which Snowden dreamed of avoiding, that dream slowly dying as his favored outlets succumb to the allures of power and glory irresistably offered by concentrated wealth.

Ellsberg has said even now all of the Pentagon Papers was not released due to his judgment of potential harm to national security, echoing those who are withholding Snowden's material. What he does not say is what he was threatened with for full disclosure, what arrangements were negotiated with the USG by him and the Times for their protection against prosecution, and what has become of the full collection of the truncated, branded and lucratively marketed Pentagon Papers.

Moreover, it has become commonplace for reporting on national security affairs to articulate withholding of material, a cant now recognizable indicator of arrangements to benefit outlets at the cost of full public access. From the Church Committee hearings and All the President's Men through four decades of the rise of prestigous national security journalism, there has been increasing claims by reporters to play the withholding game, as if responsibility to keepers of government secrecy justifies irresponsibility to public democracy.

The Times NSA Papers could reverse those decades of commercial complicity in national security spying by reporting on the rise of the joint information control enterprise and its role in loss of public trust of media.