NYT Exec: Obama Operates Most Secretive White House She's Covered

Image: NYT Exec: Obama Operates Most Secretive White House She's Covered

Thursday, 23 Jan 2014 04:50 PM

By Cynthia Fagen

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New York Times Executive Editor Jill Abramson accused President Obama of operating "the most secretive White House" she has ever covered, according to an interview with Al Jazeera.

"I would say it is the most secretive White House that I have ever been involved in covering, and that includes — I spent 22 years of my career in Washington and covered presidents from President Reagan on up through now, and I was Washington bureau chief of the Times during George W. Bush's first term," she told Al Jazeera in an interview that airs Sunday.

Urgent: Do You Approve Or Disapprove of President Obama's Job Performance? Vote Now in Urgent Poll

"I dealt directly with the Bush White House when they had concerns that stories we were about to run put the national security under threat. But, you know, they were not pursuing criminal leak investigations. The Obama administration has had seven criminal leak investigations."

"That is more than twice the number of any previous administration in our history. It's on a scale never seen before. This is the most secretive White House that, at least as a journalist, I have ever dealt with," said Abramson, who is the first woman to hold one of the most influential positions in American journalism.

Abramson was referring to Times reporter James Risen, who the government is trying to force to reveal his CIA sources. In 2005 he and reporter Eric Lichtblau broke the story about the NSA's warrantless eavesdropping.

She also said she believes Obama is directly responsible for the White House’s secrecy. “I don’t know that,” she admitted, “but certainly enough attention has been focused on this issue that, if he departed from the policies of his government, I think we'd know at this point."

She also spoke about NSA leaker Edward Snowden, saying, "… by what he did, Edward Snowden did help The New York Times keep the public informed on what I consider to be very important matters."

A recent Times editorial called for the Obama administration to offer Snowden clemency for his actions. 

Urgent: Do You Approve Or Disapprove of President Obama's Job Performance? Vote Now in Urgent Poll

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