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
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.