Monday, January 09, 2006

Re: The Times' Inexplicable One Year Delay In Disclosing The Warrantless Surv...

----- Original Message -----

Sent: Friday, January 06, 2006 5:52 PM
Subject: Re: The Times' Inexplicable One Year Delay In Disclosing The Warrantless Surv...

Dear Mr. Velvel,

Having been placed on your list by some kind soul, perhaps yourself, I always read your entries with interest.

Three points about the Times story on wiretaps:

1. I am reminded that the Times knew of the Bay of Pigs invasion before it occurred but did not publish a story. Also, if I am not mistaken one of those in the Kennedy administration who knew of the impending invasion and said nothing was an historian, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. Thus the professional integrity of both journalists and historians was at issue.

2. I do think the Times folk have done a good job with follow-up stories. This has helped to keep the Bushies on the defensive.

3. I have some personal interest in Times practice regarding secrecy. As an assistant professor of American history at Yale I made a trip to Hanoi in December 1965-January 1966 with Herbert Aptheker, a member of the United States Communist Party, and Tom Hayden. The purpose of our trip was to attempt to clarify the peace terms of North Vietnam. In the interest of ensuring that the first reporting on our venture was responsible, in my naivete, and after swearing him to secrecy until our return, I described the project to a Times reporter (as best I recall his name was John Corry). He broke the story while we were en route back to the United States between Hanoi and Peking. After my return, the same reporter wrote a profile of me in the NY Times Magazine. He telephoned me to say that his editors wanted more negative comments about me, and he couldn't find anyone, so could I help him?

What seems to be happening now is that the Times, in its wiretap reporting, and the Post, in its reporting on rendition and secret prisons, are trying to make up for their inexcusable abdication in the era of Judith Miller before the invasion of Iraq.

So, keep up the good work!

Staughton Lynd

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