Back when esnl was a young reporter, there was one cardinal rule: Never show a source you finished story.
But that was especially the case if another source might be significantly injured by your reporting.
But that’s exactly what happened when a New York Times reporter handed over a full chapter of a book he was writing to the subject of his story, the Central Intelligence Agency,
Never mind that his source had been criminally convicted for leaking CIA documents the reporter had used in his stories.
New York Times reporter David Sanger worked extensively with former deputy CIA director Michael Morell during the reporting of his book Confront and Conceal: Obama’s Secret Wars and Surprising Use of American Power—even arranging to provide Morell with access to an entire unpublished chapter for his review—according to documents obtained by Gizmodo.
The records, consisting of internal emails from the CIA press office, show that Sanger met with Morell on more than one occasion in 2012 to discuss his then-forthcoming book, promising to bring with him a full chapter for Morell to read in case “he has issues” with the reporting. The emails, which we received under the Freedom of Information Act, are redacted in a manner suggesting that Morell and Sanger discussed sensitive national security information, and show that on at least one occasion, a CIA public affairs officer sent Sanger an encrypted message via email.
While the notion of a national security reporter meeting with a senior CIA official is obviously not unusual—such transactions are in the reporter’s job description, and Sanger’s book acknowledges that he withheld information at the request of government officials—the extent of Sanger’s collaboration with Morell and the fact that the men apparently discussed sensitive information is noteworthy in light of the Obama administration’s unprecedented campaign against government leakers.
It’s another shameful story about America’s sadly compromised Fourth Estate.
Perhaps the New York Times should change it’s motto: All the News That’s Fit to Print — If The CIA Approves.