Thursday, January 05, 2006

Spying on Journalists

Like, we're surprised?

Andrea Mitchell asked NYT reporter James Risen, the guy who broke the NSA spying story in the Times, if he knew of any spying on CNN International reporter Christiane Amanpour. He said he didn't. Afterwards, NBC expunged that part of the interview from the transcript, then said that they removed it because they were still investigating the claim. More analyis in the links below:

Carpetbagger Report
America Blog
Talking Points Memo

Now, the question for me is - why did Mitchell say this? That the White House would spy on journalists is a no-brainer as far as I'm concerned, particularly on journalists with ties to the Democratic party (Amanpour's husband is Jamie Rubin, foreign policy advisor to many Dem bigwigs) and who has been consistently and publicly critical of the administration's imperial adventures. I would be more surprised to learn they had not tried to spy.

So, what is Mitchell's angle? She's married to Bush ass-kisser Alan Greenspan. She has consistently shown that she will lie her ass off to protect the White House. She is a long-time Nixon partisan. So, I doubt she's doing this out of any feelings of civic obligation, nor any outrage over the Preznit spying on political enemies. A few possibilities occur to me:
  1. She is outraged that her clan is being spied on. This is different than caring if unwashed schmoes like me get spied on, mind you. She sees herself as belonging to the special Kewl Kidz insider group, along with Woodward and Judy Miller, and doesn't like being snooped. After all, doesn't the Preznit know she's loyal?
  2. She's outraged that her personal buddy, Christiane, may have been snooped. Again, this doesn't mean that she opposes illegal spying on ordinary people, just not on her friends. In the end, this perspective probably represents the majority view of the nation - spying on other people is OK, but not on me or my buds.
  3. She is just stupid enough to spill the beans on a scoop NBC is working on. Probably mixed with arrogance.
  4. She wants to spill the beans in a way that will make friends inside the White House back away from a sting.
  5. She is part of a White House sting trying to get reporters to take the bait, the way they did with the almost-but-not-quite-real TANG memos.
  6. She is part of a White House intimidation operation to let reporters know they'd better "watch what you say, watch what you do," by demonstrating that they are being spied on.
  7. She's pissed at whomever has this story and is trying to ruin someone's scoop by exposing things before the story is complete.
It may be some combination of the above. Until I see honesty from a reporter with that many close ties to the White House and a track record of being a willing tool of the Cheney adminsitration, I will assume the worst.

Again, the story is not that a journalist is being spied upon. The story is that an insider toady of the White House let the cat out of the bag.


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