Newsweek's Michael Isikoff (12/13/08) lays on the cloak-and-dagger prose when telling the tale of how, "in the spring of 2004," former Justice Department wiretapper Thomas M. Tamm "slipped through the parade of midday subway riders, his heart was pounding, his body trembling," to "call… the New York Times" and blow the whistle on "a highly classified National Security Agency program that seemed to be eavesdropping on U.S. citizens."
After this dramatic lede, Isikoff mentions that "18 months after he first disclosed what he knew, the Times reported that President George W. Bush had secretly authorized the NSA to intercept phone calls and e-mails of individuals inside the United States without judicial warrants."
Hmmm, wasn't there some sort of important political event that occurred in the interim? Readers are left to wonder for themselves until–if they're still reading halfway through the 47-paragraph piece–they learn of how
Tamm grew frustrated when the story did not immediately appear…. It wasn't until more than a year later that the paper's executive editor, Bill Keller, rejecting a personal appeal and warning by President Bush, gave the story a green light. (Bush had warned "there'll be blood on your hands" if another attack were to occur.) "Bush Lets U.S. Spy on Callers Without Courts," read the headline in the paper's December 16, 2005, edition. The story–which the Times said relied on "nearly a dozen current and former officials"–had immediate repercussions.
That would be "immediate repercussions" as in "immediately after" the 2004 presidential election…
Read the FAIR publication Extra! Update: "A Scoop Delayed: Times Sat on Wiretap Story for a Year" (2/06) by Jim Naureckas