The Story Behind The Story

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Listen to this 'Talk of the Nation' topic ran an excerpt last month of Eric Lichtblau's new book, Bush's Law: The Remaking of American Justice. It gave a fascinating behind the scenes look at how the exclusive story of the NSA's warrantless wiretap program made it to the front page of the New York Times over the strong objections of the White House. To run the story, the administration argued, would be to seriously damage national security. In the end, the Times held the story for more than a year before running with it on December 16, 2005. Why did they run it? Why did they hold it? And how did the relationship between government and the press change in the months after 9/11? We'll ask Eric Lichtblau about it. And tell us what you think... send us your comments.



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Eric, except in the context of this story, I have never heard a presidential election referred to as a distraction. Further, I would like to hear more about how you could think that this story would not have a measurable impact on the outcome on that election.


Sent by Cary Birdsall | 2:58 PM | 4-16-2008

I could not believe my ears when I heard the comments by the last caller before Eric Lichtblau signed off. Why do the American people need to know the illegal and immoral actions the U.S. government is taking in our name? Why do we need to be concerned about domestic spying done in the name of our "national security"? Why do the American people need to know the truth about the rendition program, in which the United States takes prisoners, so-called "enemy combatants", to foreign countries to be interrogated by torture? Why does the press need to be free to report on everything that our government undertakes in our name? Because we will not have a democratic republic to defend if the government is allowed to do whatever it wants when it wants in our name. That's what happens in oppressive dictatorships, as my mother, who grew up in World War II Germany, could tell you from all-too-personal experience. As Supreme Court Justice Brandeis famously said, "Sunshine is the best disinfectant", and without a free press, we have no sunshine to disinfect the dark and dangerous halls of government secrecy.

Sent by Ann Woods | 3:32 PM | 4-16-2008