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Will blabbermouth New York Times learn its national security lesson?

By Michelle Malkin  •  June 22, 2009 11:14 AM

I am glad New York Times reporter David Rohde is safe.

But I have questions.

Is the safety of journalists more important than the safety of our military? The safety of our homeland?

From September 11, 2001 to the present, the terror-tipping blabbermouths of the New York Times have repeatedly undermined national security by disclosing sensitive/classified information about many key counterrorism programs. The paper has gone to court to force the government to release such information. The paper has shown reckless disregard for the consequences of disclosure.

And yet, it enlisted the aid of other media outlets in suppressing the news of Rohde’s seven-month captivity — and even convinced al Jazeera to keep quiet:

Deciding not to report initially on reporter David Rohde’s capture by the Taliban for seven months was “an agonizing position that we revisited over and over again,” New York Times executive editor Bill Keller said Sunday.

“All along, we were told by people that probably the wisest course for David’s safety was to keep it quiet,” Keller said in an interview on CNN.

The Times reported Saturday that Rohde escaped from seven months in captivity in Afghanistan and Pakistan by climbing over a wall on Friday.

Rohde was abducted Nov. 10 along with an Afghan reporter and a driver south of the Afghan capital of Kabul. The Times kept the kidnapping quiet out of concern for the men’s safety, and other media outlets, including The Associated Press, followed suit at the Times’ request.

“It was an agonizing position that we revisited over and over again,” Keller said in the CNN interview with Washington Post media critic Howard Kurtz. “But I also have a responsibility for the people who work for me. I send a lot of people out into dangerous places and their security is also part of my job.”

It was part of George W. Bush’s job, too.

Too bad the Bush-haters at the Times never accepted that.

Keller said Arab satellite TV station Al-Jazeera was planning a story on Rohde but agreed to hold it at the Times’ request.

Keller has told the Times that the newspaper had been advised by Rohde’s family, experts in kidnapping cases and others that publicizing the abduction “could increase the danger to David and the other hostages. The kidnappers initially said as much.”

We already know the Times suppresses inconvenient information. Now, we know that other media outlets will suppress info on their behalf in a conspiracy of silence for national security purposes.

Just imagine if the newspapers were, say, banks cooperating in secrecy with intelligence/counterterrorism officials to help track jihadists.

Why, it would be a front-page national scandal.


Related: Ed Morrissey writes about his small role in the Rohde story.

More: Marc Danziger at Winds of Change and Ed make very good points on the willigness of the NYTimes to blab about other jihadi kidnapping victims.

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