COLLUSION BETWEEN THE NEW YORK TIMES AND THE CIA
** Mark Mazzetti's emails with the CIA expose the degradation of journalism that has lost the imperative to be a check to power **
August 29, 2012
The rightwing transparency group, Judicial Watch
At issue is a batch of newly released emails that reveals how Mark Mazzetti, a *New York Times* reporter who covers national security matters, colluded with CIA spokeswoman Marie Harf to manage the news that the Obama administration deliberately leaked classified information to Hollywood filmmakers about the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. -- When the CIA got wind of a columnt Maureen Dowd was writing, they connected with Mazzetti to find out more and see what he could do about it. -- Mazzetti passed on a draft of the article for the CIA, then asked Harf to be sure and "please delete after you read." -- "He then proudly told [the CIA spokeswoman] that his assurances turned out to be true: 'See, nothing to worry about,'" Greenwald noted. -- The editors of the *New York Times* act as though they believe that the paper "is some sort of an intelligence agency whose inner workings must be concealed for our own safety -- all in order to avoid any sort of public disclosure about the wrongdoing in which it got caught engaging. One notices this frequently: media figures come to identify so closely with the government officials on whom they report that they start adopting not only their way of thinking, but even their lingo." -- COMMENT: Greenwald is right. -- There's only one word to describe this sort of thing: corruption. -- And "[o]nce a corrupt practice is sufficiently perceived as commonplace, then it is transformed in people's minds from something objectionable into something acceptable." -- Thanks to Rob Crawford for sending this piece. --Mark]
It may be "inconsistent with the New York Times standards" for one of its reporters to secretly send advanced copy to the CIA and then ask that the agency delete all record that he did so: one certainly hopes it is. But it is not, unfortunately, inconsistent with the paper's behavior in general, when it comes to reporting on public officials. Serving as obedient lapdogs and message-carriers for political power, rather than adversarial watchdogs over power, is par for the course.
In addition, when New York Times learned of AWOL George Bush's illegal eavesdropping program in mid-2004 but concealed it for more than a year at the direction of the White House, until Bush was safely re-elected.
The New York Times conceal that President Obama falsely described Raymond Davis as "our diplomat in Pakistan" who was captured by Pakistan, when in fact he is "CIA officer" Raymond Davis.
And we have the New York Times censorship of the disclosure of numerous WikiLeaks releases after taking direction from the government regarding what should and should not be published.
Nixon was a DRUNK and the CIA was wiretapping the White House prior to Watergate
In addition, Kissinger bug his NSC staff (see enclosed) Did the CIA sabotage the Watergate burglars because the military was afraid Nixon was a crazy drunk. I am beginning to think so.
"Nixon drank exceptionally at night and there were many nights when you couldn't reach him at Camp David." The diary was treated as if it were the most sensitive document in the government--which it may have been. Morris recalls that it was stored in an electronically protected safe in Kissinger's office along with materials from the secret Paris negotiations with North Vietnam.
Dick Morris often listened in on Kissinger's conversations with an obviously drunk Nixon. "There were many times when a cable would come in late and Henry would say, 'There's no sense waking him up--he'd be incoherent,'" Morris recalls. The young aide was frightened by the idea of a President who was not fully competent after sundown. He often wondered what would happen if the Soviet Union attacked at night.
Morris said nothing to his outside friends about such goings-on. "It's hard to explain," he said later. "It's a constant barrage. You go around taking it for granted that Nixon's nuts. Henry and others go around wringing their hands for the President and saying Rogers is a fag. After a while, you lose your perspective. You don't feel a sense of outrage. All of the things that you think about later--the drunkenness, the wiretapping--you've become inured to while in the White House. It isn't a matter of constant moral torment when you're there."
Kissinger on more than one occasion told his personal staff about his first formal White House reception and his first meeting with Mrs. Nixon. He naturally began to praise the President lavishly, but Mrs. Nixon leaned over and interrupted him by saying, "Haven't you seen through him yet?" Morris recalls that Kissinger would tell the anecdote to the staff and joke about it, "as if to say, 'This man is not stable.'"
Another close aide to Kissinger recalls, however, that Nixon always seemed to be "off" during his many weekends at the Florida White House in Key Biscayne. On those weekends, Nixon spent an inordinate amount of time drinking martinis with two old cronies, Charles G. (Bebe) Rebozo and Robert Abplanalp. "To the extent there was a problem," the aide recalls, "it was very real in Key Biscayne." Kissinger's main concern during those Florida weekend trips, which were working weekends for the National Security Adviser and his staff, was avoiding social encounters with the Nixon entourage. "We always played hard to get for Nixon," the aide says; his job was to find a way to say no without saying no. On occasion, Nixon himself would telephone with a request, and Kissinger would go. One night in Miami, Nixon stopped an attractive woman as he left a restaurant--after having had a few drinks too many--and offered her a job in the White House. "She looks like she's built for you, Henry," the President said. The Kissinger aide learned of the encounter from a Secret Service man. "Hearing this kind of a thing made my veins hurt," the aide says. "The President of the United States, drunk in a restaurant, making crude remarks and engaging in familiarity with a strange woman in a public place--all clearly attributable to martinis ... " Nonetheless, the aide says, "I didn't think of his drinking as a real problem--although you sort of wondered what would happen if there was ever a nuclear threat." Most of the time, he says, "it was one of the things you knew about in terms of handling papers--'Oh, no, this is not the time to get him to sign these.'"
Whatever the truth, Kissinger's personal aides--who rarely saw Nixon--were convinced that they were dealing with a defective President, and Kissinger did little to reassure them.
John Ehrlichman recalls that he had refused to work on Nixon's presidential campaign in 1968 unless Nixon promised to stop drinking.
Kissinger's NSC staff mushroomed to 114 members and secretaries by fall. One addition was particularly vital to the National Security Adviser--that of Peter W. Rodman, his former student from Harvard University. From the moment of Rodman's arrival, some of Kissinger's close aides understood that his mission was to assemble and prepare the documents for Kissinger's memoirs. "He indexed everything that came in," Roger Morris recalls. Morris later became convinced that another Rodman mission was to be ready to "evacuate the personal files" within hours if Kissinger ever felt that he was on the verge of being forced out by Haldeman and Ehrlichman. Even as early as 1970, Morris says, Rodman was routinely shipping the most sensitive Kissinger files to Nelson Rockefeller's estate at Pocantico Hills, New York.
By then, the bureaucratic intrigue and personal betrayal in the National Security Council were taking their toll. "There was a dawning recognition that this was a frightening place," Larry Lynn recalls. "It was like walking into a room with a bad odor. After a while you get inured. You realized that this is not the way the government should work. I had to do a lot of things out of loyalty to Henry that I preferred not to do--the secrecy, the confinement of activities to certain agencies, the confinement of communications to certain people, the centralization of power. Henry used to kid me a lot. He used to say, 'You've got too much integrity.'"
Many of the young NSC staff members had joined Kissinger in the hope that, somehow, he and Nixon would do what Lyndon Johnson could not: reverse America's policy in Southeast Asia, as Nixon had promised in the 1968 campaign. Instead, to the dismay of the aides, the White House came perilously close in the fall of 1969 to a drastic escalation of the war. Nixon and Kissinger planned an operation--code-named Duck Hook--that would have led to the mining of Haiphong harbor and the B-52 bombing of major cities, including Hanoi and Haiphong. The offensive was canceled at the last moment by Nixon, after a huge anti-war demonstration in Washington on October 15. The young aides clung to hope even as such planning continued. Kissinger began his secret peace talks in Paris with Le Duc Tho, a member of North Vietnam's ruling politburo, and there were renewed contacts with the People's Republic of China. In late April of 1970, Nixon and Kissinger decided to invade Cambodia. Tony Lake, Roger Morris, and Bill Watts immediately resigned. Larry Lynn's resignation came later. The aides were convinced that the White House's policy of threats and escalation in Cambodia and elsewhere would not work; the war was still in the south, and had to be resolved there. Inside the White House that spring there was talk not of negotiation but of victory. Nixon and Kissinger were determined to show Hanoi's leaders--and the Soviet Union--that they were willing to risk all to bring North Vietnam to its knees.
he White House was stunned by the intensity of the outcry over the President's decision to extend the war to Cambodia. The nation was suddenly alive, once again, with protests against the war and against the men running it. The pressure grew on May 3, when Bill Beecher of the Times reported that Nixon had renewed the bombing of North Vietnam; the President had ordered the most intensive raids since the bombing-halt agreement that was negotiated by the Johnson Administration shortly before the 1968 elections. Kissinger had unsuccessfully sought to prevent the article's publication with a personal plea to Max Frankel, Washington bureau chief of the Times, and when that failed, he and Nixon turned again to wiretaps.
On the evening of May 2, shortly after Kissinger first learned of the Beecher story, Beecher's article was cited as a "serious security violation" by Al Haig in a formal request to the FBI for four more wiretaps. This time Kissinger and Nixon were going for broke, seeking to learn who inside the administration was loyal and who was not. Bob Pursley was to be wiretapped again at home and in his office, the real target clearly being Mel Laird. Richard Pedersen, a State Department counselor who was known to be close to Bill Rogers, was also to be wiretapped at home and at work; he shared two private lines on his desk with the Secretary of State. William H. Sullivan (no kin to the FBI deputy), the former ambassador to Laos who was then a deputy assistant secretary of state, was on the list. And finally, Bill Beecher, whose articles since early 1969 had been a source of grief for the White House, was to be wiretapped, Haig told the FBI, at home and at the New York Times offices. However, taps through the large switchboard at a newspaper or a government agency were not feasible, and were not installed. The FBI wiretaps on the four men stayed on until February 10, 1971.
Kissinger explained in his 1974 testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that all four men were wiretapped because they had access "to the information, to sensitive information that had leaked," and thus could logically be considered suspects. In fact, as Kissinger had to know, none of the four--not even Beecher--was aware of the real secret involved in the May 3 story: Laird had not authorized the bombing but had been bypassed.
On May 9, the White House wiretaps produced a conversation between Mort Halperin and Daniel Ellsberg, a former Pentagon official and Vietnam analyst for the Rand Corporation who had worked briefly for Kissinger early in 1969. Ellsberg was renowned inside the government as a former hawk who had turned against the war, and who now was telling all who would listen that the war could not be won. Halperin told Ellsberg, so the wiretap revealed, that he had decided after the invasion of Cambodia to sever all ties to the National Security Council. At the time, Halperin still was a consultant to the White House. Halperin also told Ellsberg, according to an FBI transcript of their talk, that "the major and most certain consequence" of the Cambodian invasion "is that a large number of Cambodian civilians will be killed and labeled Viet Cong." Two days later, J. Edgar Hoover rushed Nixon and Kissinger "Eyes Only" letters reporting Halperin's views. Earlier, Halperin had been overheard informing a caller that Mel Laird and Bill Rogers had disagreed with Nixon's decision on Cambodia. Halperin also said, as Hoover reported to the White House, that "in his opinion the President had never had the intention of getting out of Vietnam." He added, "The only effective way to oppose the present policy is to elect a Congress which will stop the war by cutting off funds."
Nixon, Kissinger, and Haig have given conflicting accounts of what happened next, but it is known that the Halperin intercepts led to a frenzy of high-level action. On May 12, the FBI was requested by Haig, who cited Kissinger's name, to wiretap two more members of the NSC staff--Tony Lake, who had announced his forthcoming resignation, and Winston Lord, a Halperin prot; who had proved his mettle in Kissinger's and Haig's eyes by not joining the others in resigning over Cambodia. Lake and Lord were wiretapped for the next nine months.
On May 13, Hoover attended a White House meeting with Nixon and Haldeman, and perhaps others, at which he was told to deal only with Haldeman on the White House wiretaps from then on. Kissinger and his office were no longer to be included on the mailing list for wiretap summaries. On that day, too, Hoover provided the White House with some of the FBI's verbatim logs of the Halperin wiretaps upon which the summaries had been made.
At this point, Kissinger had reached a new height of power and authority inside the Nixon White House, and it was inconceivable that Nixon would punish him by stripping him of direct access to the wiretap information. One obvious factor in the procedural change was Tony Lake, who was going to remain on the NSC staff for the next few months, and thus might learn of FBI reports on his own wiretap--just as he had learned of the wiretaps on others. Similarly, Winston Lord was going to be playing a far greater role in Kissinger's immediate office, something that Kissinger surely knew, and would also be exposed to the FBI records. Lake was wiretapped not for any indiscretion but because of what he knew and the White House's fear that he would begin talking--which he did not. Lord had been brought into the National Security Council by Halperin, for whom he had worked in the Pentagon, and was thus a prima facie suspect in the hysteria over Mort Halperin that persisted in the Oval Office.