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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  October 8, 2014 1:59am-4:01am EDT

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snyder and democrat mark shauer. campaign 214. coming up on cspan 3, programs about journal oichl. we'll begin with new york reporter james risen fog about freedom of the press, then bob woodward of the "washington post" moderates a discussion on journalism and national security. later the national association of black journalists hosts an event on government and the media. after that association of black journalists mark rogers. "new york times" reporter james risen was subpoenaed in 2008 to testify at the trial of a former
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cia officer accused of leaking information on iran's nuclear program. in august, mr. risen spoke about freedom of the press at an event hosted by the institute for public accuracy. you'll also hear from former talk show host phil donahue, this is about an hour and 10 minutes. >> good afternoon. i'm myron belkheim, president of the national press club, i would like to welcome you on a day that is important to our -- where journalists are once again at the front line, courageously trying to cover news developments in the most difficult of circumstances. late last night, the national press club issued a statement expressing its deep concern about reports that at least two reporters from "the washington post" and t"the huffington post who were covering the unrest in
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ferguson were man handled and detained by police officers there before being released. other reports backed up by video taken during the disturbances show that some television grews were hampered by authorities from doing their professional duties. this is all unacceptable. and we call for the police to let the journalists carry out their professional mission to report the news in an unfettered matter, otherwise it's a violation of the freedom of the press enshrined in the first amendment of our bill of rights. also unacceptable. very much unacceptable is the threat of prison to james risen. this morning a petition signed by more than 100,000 persons was delivered to the department of justice declaring, quote, we support james risen because we support a free press, unquote.
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those petitioners, significantly include 20 pulitzer prize winners -- bungled cia operation in iran that appeared in his 2006 book state of war. we are pleased and honored that james risen who's still under threat of prison could be with us today. the national press club presented mr. risen its domestic freedom of the press award in 2012 for a career of reporting material the government would prefer to keep from public view, from warrantless surveillance to the botched program to give iran flawed nuclear weapons designs and he was also -- for getting them to reveal his confidential sources. i'm proud under the leadership of john donnelly has continued
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to support mr. risen as well as today's petition. i would like to introduce norman soloman, co-founder of brooks and executive director of the institute for public accuracy, is author of a dozen books on media and public policy and is a recipient of the annual ruben salazar journalism award as well as the george or well award. >> thank you. thanks. here we are in the -- and i think it's very fitting because it was 60 years ago that in perhaps his most well known and well remembered tv broadcast edward r. morrow said we cannot
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defeat -- he said that at a time when it was essential for journalists to step forward to lance a boil of fear and intimidation that had gripped official washington for years, and the entire country as well. that was 1954. here we are in 2014. and the events today are part of, i think, a very strongly accelerating effort across this country to lance a boil of fear and intimidation. we don't talk anymore so much about a chilling effect, we talk about a freezing effect, we talk about ice cubes that congeal, we talk quite properly and accurately about an obama administration that seems
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determined to gut the meaning of the first amendment. as the petition that we presented this morning to the department of justice spells out, it's really the functionality of the first amendment that matters. it's a brief petition that i would like to read the entire brief text to you. to president obama and attorney general holder. your effort to compel "new york times" reporter james risen to reveal his sources is an assault on freedom of the press, without confidentiality, journalism would be reduced to official stories, the situation antithetical to the first amendment. we urge you in the strongest terms to halt all legal action against mr. risen and to safe guard the freedom of journalists to maintain the confidentiality of their sources.
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well, as myron mentioned and it was 14 on monday, statements released on that day by pulitzer prize winners, since then there have been six more who have approached us to add their individual statements, all of them are posted at roots where people can also find a way to sign on to petition, which is ongoing and let me briefly emphasize that the names on the petition we dropped off and that are on screen, they're not just names, they're an activist network. we know how to reach them, we do reach them, we have everybody's e-mail addresses, and we're just getting started here. it's all about organizing at in point, in terms of mobilizing the kind of social understanding and a political pressure that's to be necessary to turn around what is truly a deteriorating, dreadful situation.
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the many organizations involved are only part represented here and folks that we're going to hear from today are speaking for just one of the or a few of the many groups that are involved. and i want to emphasize really that we're embarked now on something that might be unprecedented, a collision between an administration that talks good and does bad, and a mobilized citizenry that increasingly understands what's at take. today really marks the culmination of one phase of that effort and the initiation of the next. so we're going to move ahead now with the news conference, another part of this effort to lance that boil of fear and
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intimidation that's been doing so much damage to journalism and to democracy in our country. i would like to now introduce greg leslie. he is legal defense at the reporters committee for freedom of the press. he's been an attorney with reporters committee since 1994 and served as a legal defense director since 2000. he vfrzs the jounchism hot line services, he served a lot of positions, i'll just mention a couple. member of the american bar association's fair trail and free press task force and many other positions. before and during law school he worked as a journalist and research director for a washington business magazine and here he is, greg leslie.
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>> well, thank you, and i'm happy to be here to support -- at the reporters committee, we have been actively involved in the case from the start and we have been working with the department on reform of its own guidelines regarding media subpoenas, and while that certainly can feel like a huge task, it nonetheless is critical to engage the government on these issues, even incremental progress is something, but -- must be addressed by enactment of a meaningful shield law that recognizes that reporters need to be independent of the judicial system. not because they're above the law, or because they want to avoid the burden of participating in the legal system. but because journalists need that independence to truly help hold the government accountable to the people.
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the reporters committee was founded in 1970 over this very issue, the threats to reporters from subpoenas that led to the brandsberg b. hastes case and the need for a federal law. there were over 100 journalist shield bills -- after the valerie plame incident in which "new york times" reporter judith miller spent 85 days in jail for refusing to disclose her confidential sources. it takes a while to get these things through congress. in 2007, the house overwhelmingly approved a shield bill. and when that didn't pass through the senate in 2009, a similar bill passed on a voice vote under a suspension of the rules, meaning it was so noncontroversial that a role call vote wasn't even needed.
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the senate hasn't passed such a bill yet, but in 2009, the commission did send a bill to the floor and failed to win a place on the calendar as debate on something called obama care suddenly teak ov lly took over that kind of sidetracked things for a while. but the shield bill came under disclosure after a massive subpoena of the associated press's phone records to track down the leak about a cia operation in yemen and the revelation that the department of justice had successfully obtained a search warrant of a fox news reporter's g mail account by telling the court in order to get the search war rangt that he was involved in the crime, either as an aider, abetter, and or co-kcon conspiratornd quote, a reporter asking a government employee for information was guilty of
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aiding, abetting, or conspiring within an espionage charge. so when the action against ap and fox news came to light, president obama ordered holder to review policies of subpoenas of journalist's work. while the media representatives involved in that process fought for provisions that would make such efforts more difficult for prosecutors and at least lead to greater notifications to journalists before their third party records were subpoenaed. we knew at the same time that of course the department of justice was saying that it fully intended to subpoena reporters in the future if they really needed the evidence to prosecute a leaker. the ap and fox news -- and a bill was approved by the senate judicial area committee last september, so almost a year ago now. although it still awaits senate floor action.
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the house hasn't taken up the legislation at all yet this year and of course the current makeup of the house is not quite the same as it was in 2009, so we don't know what will happen there. but the fight over the right to keep journalist's sources confidential is really older than the public. a -- refused to disclose the authors of a tax against the colonial governor of new york in 1734 and thus was himself charged with libel. a century later in 1848, news of the treaty of guadalupe hidalgo ending the mexican-american war was first told of the still secret terms. nugent spent a month basically under house arrest in the capitol. 50 years after that in 1896, john morris a "baltimore sun"
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reporter reported that a number of elected officials were taking payouts from gaming sources. the significance of this case is that this jailing prompted baltimore journalists to push for the then unheard of legislation that would protect them from having to reveal sources identities in court, a reporter's privilege, much like the spousal privilege or the doctor-patient privilege. the statute has been amended a few times but the state has never felt the need to resichbd the protection. we now see 38 states and the district of columbia enact such shield laws, it is those state shield laws that provide the real protections to journalists as right at the federal level is weaker than ever. thanks to the state efforts, we know that shield laus work, now more than ever it is time to demand that congress pass a
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meaningful shield law. congress must act now and acknowledge that the government's accountability to the people comes primarily through independent watch dogs, including not just journalists but whistle blowers as well. one of the greatest things elected officials can do is limit their own powers. and congress can take that bold step now. thank you. >> next speaker is ahmed kapour, he's professor at uc hastings law where he directs the liberty and technology clinic, his case work includes constitutional usuals that result in espionage achkd counter terrorism prosecutions. ahmed was lead counsel in the first criminal case to challenge bulk metal data collection after the snowden disclosures and he
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currently represents journalist barrett brown. formerly he taught at the university of texas school of law and he was a staff attorney at -- where he represents -- ahmed kapour. >> good afternoon. it's really an honor to be here today, not only because i admire mr. risen's journalism but because what brings us together transcends mr. risen, it transsends the freedom of the press foundation, it trans -- it brings us together today is is first amendment of the united states constitution and specifically the portion of that amendment guaranteeing the freedom of the press without persecution or unnecessary prosecution. it was thomas jefferson that once claimed that a democracy cannot be both ignorant and free
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and the framers of the constitution said if that u.s. citizens take great care to share information completely among themselves they would be worse off than they had been as subjects of the british monarchy. in that sense the -- in order for a democratic form of government to function and continue to exist, the people must be informed. a simple mantra for a great nation and indeed the development of our free society is the result of the public debate and disclosure that journalists like james risen provide and the core of our free society is the press. and forgotten amidst a particular reporter's public persona is the crux of their profession, and that is news gathering. at the haefrt of our freedoms and the freedom to publish the news is the freedom to gather the news. and as justice sutherland wrote in 1926, this country it is safe
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to say has shed achkd continues to shed more light on -- and since informed public opinion is the most potent of all restraints upon this government, the suppression or abridgement of the publicity afforded by a free press cannot be regarded other than wise without grave concern. so it is with grave concern that we gather today to confront a real threat to our nation's security. for who are we if we are not secure in our ability to hold the government accountable? now of course these freedoms are not without limitation, but to be clear, mr. risen broke no law gathering the news. he broke no law in proliferating the news and publishing his articles and books. nor can the justice department make such claims. indpeed there is no law that mandates a press to obtain government approval about lawfully acquired information. there is no dispute that such a law would be unconstitutional on
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its face as a prior restraint of speech and would transform this great country from being a democracy to being a totalitarian state. yet mr. risen delayed publication for years out of an abundance of caution until it was clear to him that the government's desire to sensor him was not a matter of national security, rather it was a matter of national embarrassment. to be clear, the government does not seek to compel information from mr. risen to put an end to an existing threat to stop a terrorist attack or even an existing crime, an ongoing crime. the government seeks information ordered to investigate an alleged leak that occurred years ago by someone else. and quite frankly, i am puzzled as to why the doj needs to use mr. risen to make their case for them. you would think with all the resources expended on federal law enforcement, the fate of our nation would not rise and fall at the feet of a 59-year-old
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reporter revealing his sources. and i'm sorry to give away your age. by initiating and executing investigations that monitor e-mails, phone calls and even credit reports of journalists, the government has made it clear that it does not fear the chilling effects to our free press and does not value the dogged investigative reporting that has contribute not only to our great democracy, but to the history of mankind. either way you look at it, mr. risen and indeed all journalists are faced with a choice, either to practice a form of journalism consistent with the first amendment and risk prison or potentially bankruptcy, or practice a form of journalism that the executive wants them to. to release of information that the executive permits them to and to tell people only those facts with the executive deems fit for public consumption. mr. risen as chosen the past
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consistent with the first amendment and it's not likely that many will follow in his footsteps. in the end, it's the american people that have paid and will continue to pay the price. thank you. >> our next speaker is joycelyn raddick who's -- government accountability project which we also known as gap which is the nation's leading whistle blower organization, it focuses specifically on secrecy sky, surveillance, torture and discrimination. she's been defending against the government's unprecedented war on whistle blowers which of course has also hit journalists very hard. among her clients, she represents seven national security and intelligence community employees who have been investigated, charged or prosecuted under the espionage act for allegedly mishanding
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classified information including edward snowden thomas drake and she served on the legal ethics committee and worked at the u.s. justice department for seven years, first as a trial attorney and later as a legal ethics advisors. josh lyn raddick. >> good afternoon. anyone who doubts that the war on whistle blowers is a backdoor war on journalists should study the case of jim risen. threats to reporters are the undercurrent in the obama administration's record setting espionage act prosecution of so-called leakers. one example where the press's implicated is when the justice department subpoenaed associated
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reporters phone records impacting over 100 different journalists. in the case of another whistle blower, steven kim, the justice department got a search warrant on the reporter, jim rosen, by claiming that he was a, quote, co-conspirator, in the case of my client edward snowden, the administration has made noises about reporter glen greenawald being an aider and abetter. considering the obama administration's use of the espionage act to kill speech, it should be no surprise that threats against risen also come from an espionage act prosecution of another whistle blower, jeff sterling and ridse on's honorable commitment to protect a source on the disaster government operation gone wrong.
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whistle blowers need the press. there are no safe and effective internal channels for most national security and intelligence whistle blowers. channels that do exist often turn whistle blowers into targets of retaliation and rarely correct the underlying wrong doing, especially when the wrong doing is perpetrated by senior levels of the u.s. government. the press, i would submit also needs whistle blowers. without whistle blowers, journalists would struggle to unpack government and corporate sin without differing perspectives or in many cases document temporary evidence. as a whistle blower attorney, there are a small but essential handful of reporters i feel
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confident will accurately record information and protect their sources. jim risen is one of them. and if he is jailed, or forced to pay harsh daily fines, the pool of reporters who know whistle blowers are essential for accurate reporting will become even smaller. the threats to jim risen, are an attack on the entire first amendment. most prominently, the right to a free press, but also the right to speak and associate with whistle blowers and reporters. government surveillance of reporters, subpoenaing of reporters to testify geagainst their own sources and threatening them with contempt of court create a freezing atmosphere where neither whistle blowers nor reporters are safe to hold the government accountable and keep the public informed. committing journalism is not it a crime.
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the notion that it is is a dangerous trend we should deprive of oxygen. it demands that the government withdraw the subpoena of reporter jim risen immediately. thank you. >> our next speaker court any ragg is a journalist, researcher achkd free expression advocate and speaks often on the media and technology and human rights with an emphasis on the middle east. she's leading the right to report in the digital age campaign aimed at ending surveillance and harassment of journalists. she was at unesco are she created the freedom of expression strategy in the arab
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region. dr. ragg also previously managed the global freedom of expression campaign at freedom house. and she's also worked for al arabiya, courtney ragg. >> thank you. the committee to protect journalists is seriously concerned about the actions taken by the department of justice and the ongoing efforts to subpoena jim which could have an affect on the u.s. media and journalists if it has not indeed already has that impact. cpj was founded in 1981 by a group of u.s. correspondents who realized they could not ignore the plight of colleagues abro b whose reporting put them at risk on a daily basis. since then cpj has defended the rights of journalists to report the news without fear of repr e reprisal. last year we decided that the crackdown on leak investigations
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and revelations about the extent of surveillance in a post-9/11 world necessitated us to look inward and weigh in on the repressed press freedom here in the united states. as a former colleague of jim's at the "new york times," i'm also personally happy to be here in solidarity with his efforts to protect his confidential sources and the integrity of the journalistic practice. the obama has reviewed eight cases of leakers under the es pea kblon naj act, that's less than the total number of such prosecutions than any other administration all combined and the subpoena requiring jim's testimony as part of the broader crackdown on leaks and whistle blowers as you have heard, a cpj report publiced last october concluded that the obama administration's -- revelations
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about broad surveillance programs and moves to stem the routine disclosure of information to the press shows that the president has fallen far short of his campaign promise to head the most open government in u.s. history. several journalists interviewed for the report told cpj that leak investigations and surveillance revelations had made government sources fearful to talk about sensitive information and prosecutions such as those of jim have had a profoundly dellmental impact on the practice of journalism and as you have heard -- publicly speculating about bringing charges of espionage of journalists for doing their job serves to intimidate not only the individual journalist, but journalistsmore broadly. and has a serious chilling effect on the press. this is likely to be even stronger among journalists who do not have the backing and
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protection of a major media organization with legal resources, charges about surveillance and hacking of journalists at media outlets is also problematic. and having read jim's affidavit explaining why he cannot testify and detailing the extent of government harassment and surveillance of his electronic communications, it is clear that if he is forced to testify, he would likely put to risk the confidenti confidentiality of his source. these prosecutions send a dangerous signal to governments elsewhere that would seek to use national security and anti-state charges as a cover for clamping down on journalists and press freedom. according to cpj research, nearly 60% of imprisoned journalists world wide are imprisoned on anti-state charges, such as subversion or terrorism. that is far higher than any other type of charge such as defamation or insult, and it is
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a favorite of repressive regimes who see little value in a free press. furthermore, under mining the principle of source protection and the idea that journalists like doctors and others have the right to keep sources confidential have implications for the robust practice of journalism. indeed in 2012, the justice department argued that reporters privilege should not apply in national security cases and compared journalists to someone receiving drugs from a dealer. preventing journalists from being able to promise confidentiality to their sources undermines the key aspect of journalism that is essential to so many -- central to issues like national security and anity terrorism and are central to holding government accountable to the democratic process. the u.s. government's ongoing legal pursuit of jim sends a terrifying message to the 124
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journalists jailed worldwide on anity state charges and attracts moral power abroad. i don't think that the united states wants to join cuba in becoming the only other country in the western hemisphere to have an imprisoned journalist. and that's what's at risk here. it is harder for the u.s. to be taken seriously when it advocates for press freedom and journalistic rights abroad when they are abridged at home. governments have many obligations, to enforce the law, to protect citizens, to preevent attacks, but they also have an obligation toup hold the skongs and to uphold democratic principles upon which this society is built and to ensure the functioning of the democratic process in which the press plays a central role. the committee to protect journalists calls on the united states department of justice to withdraw a subpoena seeking to force journalists james risen to
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give testimony that would reveal a confidential source. >> our next speaker has worked as the director of the washington office for reporters without borders since 2011. she runs the u.s. activities for the organization and advocates for journalist, bloggers and media rights worldwide. acting as reporters without borders here in the u.s. she regularly appears in american and overskaes media and she lectures at colleges and universities at freedom of the press issues. and she's work it as an economic correspondent for a range of french media focusing mainly on macroeconomic issues. delphine algon.
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>> thank you, norman, thank you for all the work that you did to assist this mobilization coming together and thank you for all of you for being here today. i will be short as a lot has already been said and i'm as looking forward as you are to hearing jim risen. so the united states is ranked in the -- the word press freedom index that reporters without borders has published every year since 2002 measure the level of freedom of information in 1180 countries, it reflects the degree of freedom that journalists, news organizations and bloggers enjoy in each country.
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one explanation for the united states to be ranked at the 46th position, the whistle blower is the enemy. eight alleged whistle blowers have been prosecuted under the espionage act, which is the highest number under any administration combined. there is no true freedom of information, no true freedom of the press without protection of journalist sources. leaks are the life blood of investigative journalists, given that nearly all information related to national security is classified in this country. it is then safe to say that this crackdown against whistle blowers is designed to restrict all but officially approved version of events. this outlines the need for federal shield laws in the u.s.
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which will protect journalists at the -- supported by the obama administration. 2013 will remain the year of the associated press scandal, which came to light when the department of justice alleged that it has seized a news agency phone records. 2013, will be remembered as the year where whistle blower manning was condemned to 35 years in prison. 2013 will also be remembered for the revelation of edward snowden who exposed the nsa surveillance -- and know in 2014, will be remembered as the year when jim was sentenced to jail for doing his job? i hope not afbtd we hope not. reporters without borders is deeply worried about the continues efforts taking by the department of justice to force
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james risen to testify gps his confidential source, and reporters without border calls on the agency to -- reporters without borders is the largest press freedom organization in the world. we have almost 30 years of experience, thanks to us unique global network of 150 continues investigated in 130 countries, 12 national offices and a status at the u.n., reporters without borders is able to have a global impact by gathering and providing on the ground intelligence and defending and assisting news providers all around the world. and today we are here to defend james risen, to defend the first amendment, because freedom of the press is the most important freedom. this is the freedom that all of us to verify the existence of all other freedom. thank you.
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>> i should mention that this news conference is being hosted by roots and co-hosted by the institute for public accuracy. there are more than a dozen organizations which logos on the petition that's online and i hope you'll take a look at that constellation of groups and get in touch with them and again look at that petition at roots our next speaker pioneered the audience participation talk format on television as host of the donahue show for 29 years, fill donahue has 20 emmy awards, nine as host and another for the show as well as the peabody award as well as the president's award from the national women's media caucus and the person of the year award from the gay and lesbian alliance. he's done a lot over the decades
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ground breaking interviews with world leaders and nudewsmakers. there's so much to say and i will be very brief. but i personally vividly remember as millions of people do, when in 1985 he introduced the space bridge telecast between the united states and the soviet union in the midst of the very cold part of the cold war and brought hid talks to russia for a week of television broadcasts, donahue was the first one to visit chernobyl after the accident there. phil co-directed the documentary, body of war, the very powerful journalistic cinematic focus on one young iraq war veteran left in a wheelchair by enemy fire and the
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parallel process of match nations on capitol hill. phil donahue. >> thank you, norman and congratulations for assembling this very important event. i was a journalist, i was a journalist first for wabj in adrian, michigan, the proverbial 250 watt radio station. and i wondered what ever happened to wabj, so i googled, wabj and there it was, the washington association of black journalists. wabj is gone now, but it's a place where i learned a lot about journalism. i was 21 years old, i must have looked 12. i had a tape recorder with literally vacuum tubes. and i could stop the mayor in his tracks. i covered city hall, i covered my first murder. i played ball with the cops, do
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i would cultivate my sources and i began to understand what a noble, noble pursuit journalism is. and now here i am at the press club with a lot of the people who are really, if they were all men, they would be the sons my mother wanted to have. >> i am very flattered to have norman ask me to make an introduction of james and i have monitored my talk show meter now, where he's saying, all right now, get off now, get off. but i asked the patients of the good people at the press club for this just one observation. every major metropolitan newspaper in this country supported the invasion of iraq. mcclatchey's warren stroebl and
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jonathan landday are exceptions but many of their own papers didn't publish their work. they were saying, wait a minute. where's the evidence? wmd, where? this is what you get with corporate media. when i was a reporter in adrian, michigan, i didn't have to take a test. i just said i was a reporter. and i was. i didn't have to pea in a bottle. all you had to do was get out there. that's the way we want it. that way you have more people getting the news. that way it's more likely that somewhere in the collective middle of this large crowd will be found the truth. today that collective middle is occupied by five multinational companies, much more interested in the price of their stock than they are in funding investigative journalists, who by the way are not necessarily cost effective, as we know.
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investigative journalism can lead you down a rabbit hole with nothing to publish when you finish. that's what makes what james risen has done all the more important. at a time when main stream media has a lot on its mind and a lot to be ashamed of. the president said during the iraq buildup, you can't take pictures of the coffin, and the whole media establishment said, okay. we aren't biting back. and if we ever needed to bite back, it's now, with the bill of rights being eroded, a fundamental values of our founders. we have no habeas, we have people in cages 15 years, no nothing, no phone calls, red cross, miranda schiranda don't
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make me laugh. and the american people are standing mute. and how much bite and bark have we heard from our media as the bill of rights and the fundamentals of this nation are eroding before our very eyes. into this vifrenvironment comes james risen. we think we should put him on a pedestal and eric holder and apparently the president believes he should be put in jail. what's wrong with this picture? and it's for that reason that we assemble here today, hoping that the 20 pulitzer prize winners who have lent their names to this will be joined by thousands and thousands of other americans who agree that we have sent thousands and thousands of people to die for the privilege of a first amendment and the right of a free press and james risen is one of the people who took advantage of that right,
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who doesn't want it to die, as we stand here mute as people in power don't want to be embarrassed and begin to listen on your phone and mine. now is the time for more of the kind of journalism that james risen is doing. and it's for that reason that i have this once in a lifetime opportunity to present to you a great american, a patriot, james risen. >> wow. i don't know if i can live up to that. i have to think about that for a minute. i just came here really today to thank everybody involved with this. i was not involved with this petition drive at all and anybody who knows me knows i couldn't organize a one-car
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funeral. the fact that this has happened just leaves me speechless. the main thing that gets to me is i realize i don't deserve all this. but i also know that it's really not about me, it's about some basic issues that affect all journalists and all americans. you know, when the -- my daughtlawyers always tell me never to talk about my case, but there's a couple things i can say. one is that the jugs department and the obama administration are the ones who turned this really into a fundamental fight over press freedom in their appeal to the fourth circuit, they said that this case, the central
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issue of this case was not some details or specifics or anything, but the fundamental thing that this case was about was that there was no such thing as a reporter's privilege. if you read the government's brief in the fourth circuit appeal, that's what they say. there is no such thing as a reporter's privilege. and so they turn this case into a showdown over the first amendment and over the freedom of the press in the united states. and so i am happy to carry on that fight, but it wasn't me who really started it. i think what, you know, this has been a long case, i got subpoenaed in 2008 first. but what i can say now is with all of these people showing their support, i'm willing to
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keep fighting. because now i know that i have just an enormous group of people supporting me. and one of the things that i would like to say is that the real reason i'm doing this is for the future of journalism. my oldest son, tom, standing right there is a journalist and i want to make sure that the same protections that i have had in my career are therefore the future reporters in america because there is no way we could do our jobs if we don't have the ability to have aggressive investigative reporting in america and to have the ability to maintain confidential sources. there's just no way to conduct
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aggressive investigative reporting without a reporter's privilege of some kind. without confidential sources. and i don't believe that you can have a democracy without aggressive investigative reporting and without freedom of the press. so i just wanted to come here beginning and say thank you to everyone. it's just really amazing. thanks. >> how does it affect your ability to do your job? >> i didn't really want to answer questions. it's obviously had an affect, but i'm trying to keep working. so i'm just trying to do what i can. thanks. >> we have a bit of time for q &
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a and because this is being streamed live, i would like to ask people go to the mike there which is live. and if there are any questions, please keep them very brief, identify yourself and your news organization. and i think i see little bit of movement in this direction. are there any questions? the mic is over to my left. >> i'll ask one more question. elysea craigman. this is to james -- hey, we're here defending press freedom, right? or anybody else who is familiar with the case that can answer it. i know that attorney holder said that while he's in the position no reporter is quote going to jail for doing his job. can you speak to sort of the specifics of, you know, how the case is going to play out from now on? it's my understanding you have no other options to appeal, so timing et cetera whatever specifics you can share on that.
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>> just a brief answer. i do a lot of criminal cases. mr. holder has said that on his watch no reporter will go to prison for doing his job. however, the alternate evil is actually just as bad or worse for the first amendment. and i'm talking to a room full of reporters. if i told you that doing your job is going to result in bankruptcy, would you continue doing your job? it's that simple. thank you. >> go ahead. >> sure. steven nelson from u.s. news. president obama just gave press statements less than an hour ago, i think, about the missouri protests. and he said that police there should not be bullying or arresting reporters who are
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doing their jobs. and i would like the panel's opinion on, you know, whether you welcome this and whether you think that the president may maybe should take his own advice here for everyone. >> i would like to just say i wanted to express -- >> do you mind? >> one thing i meant to say is i wanted to express my support for the reporters who were arrested or detained in ferguson. and i think that with the central question that we're all facing now is how does first amendment and the freedom of the press survive in a post-9/11 age? it's all part of the same issue, i think. >> leeann dra bernstein. i would like to ask of someone on the panel -- i know that you mentioned the trend away from
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democracy and towards an aauthoritarian form of government. other speakers brought up cases where the administration, whoever is sitting in the executive office basically gets to determine the narrative of truth and whoever brings up a counter narrative is either slandered, not published or other things happen. so, if you and perhaps somebody else on the panel could just address this trend also that it is happening more and more under president barack obama. bush was criticized so much from the left. now it's happening under liberal -- democrat as a president. so where is this trend going? >> go ahead. >> why don't you go first.
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>> okay. >> so i think what this case illustrates in the broader trends that we were talking about are some threats to press freedom, but i think it's fortunate put that into a global context. and there are many countries, including russia, that have far worse press freedom records and where journalists are imprisoned, journalists are killed and their murders are never investigated. indeed, in most cases of journalist murders, nine out of ten are never investigated. several outstanding in russia as well. we have to keep this in perspective. i mean, there are threats certainly to the free practice of journalism. luckily we live in a country that has rule of law and due process. in many countries those things are missing. let's not let this become an excuse for say authoritarian governments to use in their crackdown on press freedom. >> just in the same light, nor should we let the fact that
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aauthoritarian regimes exist give us an excuse to brow beat journalists that are doing their jor jobs. the core of the issue is the expansive national security state. and so one can make an argument that, you know, in the name of national security you can do x, y or z. you can censer speech by classifying certain information and so on. the problem is, though, that the number of classified documents has increased exponentially since 9/11 and actually turned into something where information that is embarrassing to the government becomes classified. i know this in my experience as an attorney representing guantanamo detain's and later were representing criminal suspects in the united states. and never had you asked me five, seven years ago if i thought that my expertise in national
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security or in guantanamo would make me suitable or would be the value add to joining a case where i represent a journalist, i mean, just think about that. i mean, i get calls from journalists that want me to represent them because i represented guantanamo prisoners. so that's perspective. >> so i had another question for james. i know you don't want to take anymore questions. could you talk about the harassment you faced under the bush administration for your national security reporting? and also the fact that this subpoena was dropped by the bush administration and has been renewed under the obama administration. >> you're going to get me in trouble with my lawyers. now, first of all, the subpoena
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wasn't dropped by the bush administration. it expired. the first one expired in 2009. so it was after the bush administration left and then it was renewed by the obama administration and a whole series of subpoenas. yeah. in my affidavit, one of my affidavits in the case, i think i filed several of them actually -- i talk about the harassment that i got during the bush administration. so that's on -- it's public in the court documents where i describe the -- all of the efforts both public and some private efforts by the administration to, in my view, to harass me and to try to, you know, try and have a chilling
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effect on reporting that i was doing. it was -- if you remember what -- if you were around in 2005 or 2006, there was a lot in the press about that. so, it was a fairly concerted effort against both me and eric lishbla, my colleague at "the new york times." so, yeah, it got pretty intense. thanks. >> hello. i'm wondering how hopeful are you that this collective effort will make a dent? i remember that you said that this is just the beginning and what would follow? and a sideline question is, is this an opportunity to push again with the federal shield law? thanks whoever really. thanks. >> well, i'll address the first part of that.
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you know, as a 2008 obama delegate to the democratic national convention, i can say that the democratic party has given hope a bad name in the last few years. so, your question about how hopeful i am, i have some trepidation to directly answer. but i do think that this is inherently a political case that is being pursued by this administration. you'll notice -- again, if you go to, you'll see where you can read all the statements and also at the freedom of the press foundation website, all of the statements issued -- now 20 this week by pull itser prize winners. one of those journalists flat out says something that i certainly think is true based on the evidence, this is a vin debt ta. this is a vendetta against james risen. and if you read john rizzo 's
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book, former head legal department of cia that came out this year, company man, he makes clear that there has been a lot of hostility towards james risen at the cia for quite a while. matter of fact, he's the most named, vilified journalist in the entire book of memoirs of 30 years. so, that to me indicates the political nature of this entire effort by the justice department. and the hope that i think we genuinely have is to continued momentum of what we've seen in recent weeks to bring this issue to public spotlight and to create more and more of a ground swell of public pressure. anybody have comments on the other aspect question? >> you know, one thing that i see from these kinds of actions is that -- well, first of all, if you look at it, there's a political washington and then
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there's a career washington. and it's really career washington, the fbi, the nsa people and all those who do these investigations and want to stop leaks in the first place. and post 9/11, they've had more and more power to track that information. and so my point is, you know, not to give the obama administration any breaks here, but it's going to get worse no matter who is in charge politically. and so the best and maybe the only antidote to that is a ground swell of public support that says we're not going to stand for this anymore. and that's why i think petitions like this are so important. and that is also hopefully going to lead to a federal shield law because congress doesn't act in the abstract. it needs to see, unfortunately, somebody going to jail or threatened with jail to really get going and act. and that's in the states that's often how we see shield laws enacted, when there is a state
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controversy and on the federal level it's happened the same way, first with valley plain and then with other incidents. this is the kind of thing that will prompt action and i hope it is enough along with the popular outpouring in favor of it to get something done in congress. >> i had a followup for you, mr. leslie. you're talking about the shield laws currently being discussed in the senate and the house, would those apply to national security issues like the ones that james risen has covered? >> it's all in the wording, obviously. that's always what it comes down to. but we think it's finessed enough to say that the exemption for national security cases is really going to come into play when there's an on going threat to national security, not when there's just an effort to examine something in the past. as long as we maintain that and, you know, obviously the wording can change day to day as it goes through every step of congress, but that's a critical thing.
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the government will always want the ability to investigate incidents where there truly is a current, real, meaningful threat to the national security. and, you know, we're never going to win that one. you know, it makes sense that if there's literally a bomb that's going to go off, they're going to want to investigate everything they can. so, as long as there's that limit in there and we can keep that, i think it can be meani meaningful and i think it can help in cases like this. >> i'm not a journalist. but i have a followup question. i'm a lawyer and stanford student at stanford and ph.d. there. i'm just curious if you could talk a little bit more about how the shield bill would actually as its written protect journalists like mr. risen. i know he spoke at the sources and secrets conference a couple months ago and indicated he didn't think he would be protected under the bill as its kushtly written. i think the language that might be relevant that you're pointing
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to in the senate version there's language about preventing or mitigating future attacks and the idea of preventing or mitigates doesn't seem to have a future tense to it. the idea of mitigating an attack seems like we could be focussed on any sort of on-going terrorist activities. so anything could be covered under the exception. so, i ask you this because i wonder if you could help me see the bill the way you see it because the way i read it everyone is going to fall through the loophole and so the way it's written now it actually might do more harm than good. that said, aside from the shield bill, are there other solutions that you might be able to put forward that might be equally useful to help address the kind of situation that we're seeing here? thanks. >> well, i think the thing i would point out is that everything we hope for is an inkre mental change. there's no golden ticket that's going to solve everything. you know, you can't ask the government to solve everything. they won't do it. you know, it has to be by
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reporters continuing to do great work and having the public stand up for that. so, you know, with that in mind, you know, we've never felt that the shield law was perfect. we feel it's an inkre mental change. we've never felt that the national security exception should be as broad as the senate wants it to be, but you fight over every little word and hope to get something that will put the brakes on most investigations. and, you know, mitigating harm from a terrorist attack, if that's the only exception, that's going to allow -- that's going to stop a lot of the subpoenas that we've talked about, a lot of the whistle blower investigations that we've talked about in -- you know, even today or when we name all the ones that the obama administration is looking into. so, yeah, it's not a cure-all. there's no perfect way to get all this done. but every little thing helps. getting the department of justice to have a better policy about what it will do before it
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issues a subpoena is a big step. you know, assistant u.s. attorney out there who now knows he has to jump through a lot of hoops and ask for permission from washington and from directly from the attorney general will hesitate much more often than an ausa who can just subpoena anybody or get any records. so, it all helps and none of it is perfect in a sense the best i can say. you know, we've never felt the shield law was perfect. i would argue for an absolute privilege in the courts if only the courts would agree with me. >> i think congress is your problem. >> i think we have time for one more question. >> i have a question to james risen. it's not about your work but it's about the effect of the last six years on your sources. are they still motivated or maybe even more motivated and
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what new guarantees do they ask? what has changed in their way of coming out with the informations especially in the sector of national security? >> you don't really think i'm going to answer that, do you? i'm not going to answer it. thanks. >> i'll give you an answer. at least as someone who is representing the sources in a lot of this. i mentioned that there are literally are -- i can count on two hands the number of journalists that i actually feel safe taking a whistle blower to in this country because of the climate. and one of them is jim risen. and it's a very strict test to ask someone if they would be willing to go to jail to protect
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a source, but whistle blowers have to face that question everyday now. are you willing to go to jail to blow the whistle and to tell the truth and to reveal fraud, waste, abuse and ill le galty, are you willing to be the one put in jail or even worse, exiled from your country and rendered stateless? it's a huge price to pay that both whistle blowers and journalists are taking to get this information out to the public interest, out to the public, and we need your support in congress on whistle blower protection bills, on surveillance reform bills and on reporter shield bills. i know in the whistle blower protection legislation the national security exemption loophole swallows just about everything because i could probably link this glass of water to national security if you gave me five minutes. so i hope that helps answer. >> can i make two quick points? go ahead. i'm sorry.
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>> i just want to add to that, i mean, the community to protect journalists put out a report last year that includes dozens of interviews with journalists about the impact of those issues on their reporting. and it's on the website but essentially the broad overview was it has had an impact on sources going -- i mean, not only whistle blowers, but just sources in general. and the society of professional journalists recently sent a letter about new rules that have come out from the administration and from various departments of the government prohibiting, you know, basic contact with journalists, the insider threat program and other things like this that cpj and other organizations here have signed on to in opposition. so we see across the board from whistle blowers on to just general function nars and subject experts this is having an impact on reporters being able to speak to their sources. >> on that note, i want to
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mention that as we adjourn the news conference, we do have this room for another hour or so for one on one interviews and discussions, so you don't have to rush off. but i want to thank everybody for being here. [ applause ]. >> i just wanted to add before everyone leaves, i'm bernie luns wick, president of the newspaper guild and we did award the herb block freedom award to james risen yesterday, which we hope he'll receive in october. and it's not enough to commit journalism, you have to act to protect it and that's why we honor james risen. and it was the night ritle bureau in the leadup to iraq, then it became -- >> thank you. [ applause ].
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on the next washington journal, a look at the congressional races to watch in this mid-term election. josh kraushaar of the national journal explains the odds of a gop controlled senate and bigger majority in the u.s. house. then our series on the big ten conference and higher education continues in new brunswick, new jersey. where we speak to rutgers university president dr. robert barchi. washington journal is live every morning at 7:00 a.m. eastern on c-span. you can join the conversation on facebook and twitter. here are just a few of the comments we've recently received from our viewers. >> you don't have to be an einstein to know the only way to keep e bow la from coming into the united states is have presidents step in and demand that no one from africa be allowed to come into this country for at least the next ten years or more until this
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ebola is completely eradicated. i can't comprehend how people are so non-sha lant about this b-ebola getting into the united states. i hope all the people who feel as i do will call in and state their outrage as to how this vip problem is being handled and demand the president to take the action i have suggested. >> caller: what did these people expect about this ebola outbreak? they said it would never reach the united states -- ever. now look. look what's happened. and then they put 3,000 othver there. are you kidding me? we're falling for what these doctors are giving us, they're smiling up there. we have this under control. it will never spread. blah blah blah. it wasn't supposed to get over here either, blah blah blah. >> they have a wonderful discussion going on right now,
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panel discussion on the ebola c virus. it has been revealed over the news this morning that president left liberia and came from west africa over here. he got out, went to his folks in northeast dallas. his family members contracted the ebola virus from him. it could be construed that there was a reckless disregard to the americans when this guy was allowed to leave or place this plague with the ebola virus without somebody having checked him out before he boarded the plane or then after boarding the plane he come over here and nobody checks him out and he goes right on into the dallas community and now as a result of that, there are people in
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quarantine or he's in the hospital and they wonder whether he's going to die. and i haven't checked the news -- the local news yet, because i still have it on c-span right now to see whether he's going to live or die. and continue to let us know what you think about the programs you're watching. call us at 202-626-3400. e-mail at comments at or send us a tweet @cspan, #comments. now, "the washington post"s bob woodward moderates national security. it was part of the annual sources and secrets conference from earlier this year. this is about 50 minutes.
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>> do we get a cold start here or -- i'm bob woodward "the washington post." let me introduce the panel. we've got a great group. first jane mayer who i've known for -- >> forever. >> it seems. worked at "the wall street journal," the new yorker now for almost 20 years. it's astonishing. many journalism honors, especially for your 2008 book "the dark side." "how the war on terrorism turned into the war on american ideals." so that's one of those titles where you know where you're coming from. [ laughter ]. >> we have bob deitz in the middle here. the distinguished professor at george maison of public policy. he's been the con cig lee yarry
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to the intelligence community. did you work for allen dulles or not. the first cia director. >> no. >> bob was general counsel to the nsa for eight years. is that correct? amazing. he then was the counselor to the cia director general haden for three years. has worked in defense department, state department and was unbelievably a law clerk to justice william o douglas, one of the great civil libertarians. so we'll get to the question of what douglas would think of your career path. [ laughter ]. >> mark mazzetti of the new york times worked u.s. news, l.a. times, shared in a pull itser prize for great reporting on
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afghanistan, pakistan and i think i'm going to say this from the point of view of the washington post, covers the particularly the senate intelligence committee better than anyone. and next to him at the end is peter maass, senior writer for "new look" media. >> first look. >> "first look." i'm sorry. done a number of books including the book "love the neighbor on bosnia" the war in bosnia. want to make this a conversation, not presentations. and do not hesitate to interrupt. i'll do the same, if that's okay. and our topic is the pearls of covering national security. and i think we'll start with jane and go around. what is the -- what are the
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perils of covering national security now? >> well, i think it's become harder in that i think that our sources are under more pressure than they used to be. and so i've had a source in particular during the bush years who was under investigation by the justice department for violating national security and for having spoken to me. my phone number appeared on his cell phone apparently. and it ruined his life for quite a while. it was very expensive for him to get legal counsel. >> do we know who this is? >> i don't think i should identify him but he was falsely accused and eventually cleared. but the point was, that during that period, you know, the cliche about what happens to the press in such situations is that it has a chilling effect. it wasn't just chilling, it was frozen. he couldn't speak. i couldn't speak to him. i was toxic to others who wouldn't want to get drawn into
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this snare -- >> this was the bush administration. >> this was during the bush years. and i don't think it's probably loosened up a lot since, but it has -- when there are more legal risks for sources, there's not a clear dividing line between the sources and the journalism that comes from them. it becomes an issue for the reporters as well. we get people in trouble by interviewing them when we don't mean to. and -- >> when we don't need to? >> when we don't mean to. right. we get them in trouble. we put them at legal risk. we can't guarantee that we are not going to put them at legal ric risk. it is hard to tell the truth. holding them accountable is basically what we're trying to do. >> so is it tougher now. >> yeah. i think it is tougher now, for sure. >> bob deitz.
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>> inevitably in conferences like this there's a lot of talk about the risks that reporters undertake, editors undertake in reporting the news and, of course, the first amendment makes it clear that news is important to the american people. the trouble i have is that while that goal, that role, is very important, the government also has an important goal and that is to keep the american people safe. you know, what we're talking about here, national security leaks, we're not talking about leaks from the fda or the department of agriculture, we're talking about leaks that may, in some circumstances, imperil the safety of the united states. between those two issues, i think that the safety of the american people wins. now, i understand the importance of the press -- the important role the press plays, but by hypothesis, stuff that's highly
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classified, provided to people who swear that they will not violate the confidentiality that's been provided them, and then go ahead and leak it and the press publishes it, to me they imperil the safety -- >> bob, do you think there's been examples of things that have been published that really have endangered the american people? >> yes, i do. >> example. >> if i could just tell the principle first and then give the example. >> okay. >> the prings spl that in the intelligence area the leak ends up being the harm. you know, in other words, if something is leaked about some new military capability, yeah, that's serious, but the bad guys still have to figure out how to counter that new weapons system or new defense, whatever. in the intelligence area if you leak information about how information was acquired, the bad guys immediately know stop using that means of communication or that -- yeah, that means of communication.
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and that's i think very risky. >> so do you have an example? >> yeah. i think that the -- i think that the leak involving that special nsa program during the bush years was very damaging. >> in what way? you were there at the nsa at the time. >> yes. yes. i was told -- and i think i was told responsibly -- that you would get a stream of data and then all of a sudden it would stop and you would see a corelation. it wasn't like anybody said, oh, wow, nsa is on to us and we must stop using this. you would get intercepts and then they would stop and you would see the correlation between the leak and the stopping of the communication. >> okay. >> mark, what do you think is the main peril of covering national security. >> i agree with a lot of what
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james said about the difficulty these days. i don't think it's ever been harder to do this kind of reporting. it's not only the -- there's a crackdown that has taken place on leakers and the number of investigations that create this climate that jane talked about. you also in the wake of the revelations over the last year about surveillance has created this, you know, perception among people that the surveillance is everywhere, right? and that everything is being watched. and so a similar experience to jane, you have people who you have developed relationships with over the years who won't talk anymore because they're concerned. people who otherwise may have been, you know, on the fence who have never dealt with reporters who might be inclined to do it, you know, i think maybe second guess it and they start to think, what's in it for me to do this? you have phone calls with people -- you know, used to be sort of ironically talking on the phone and they say, so if anyone is listening to this call, i'm not revealing anything. now actually people without any
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irony will say on the phone, whoever is listening to this call, i am not revealing classified -- just like it's accepted that somebody is listening to this phone call, which is -- >> do you think they are? >> i mean, possibly. i think over the last -- again, over the last year, whether it's people listening to my calls or my sources, you know, they're trying to get the source. i think increasingly we certainly have to be under suspicion more and more than -- >> you're still able to function and work? >> you have to function differently. you have to be more careful certainly about electronic communication, about phone calls. it's less efficient, i suppose, and especially the daily paper that can be hard. >> so how do you communicate? do you move the flower pot? >> you meet in parking garages. it's -- you know, you try to have more first-person meetings.
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there's also -- you know there's -- >> but to set those up. >> it's hard. you have to somehow set them up in some means by some means. and, you know, people are going to encrypt eed communications n. i think that -- if you do that, both sides have to be doing it, right? so i think that -- you know, the concern is about when you're a reporter and you want to get someone to be comfortable and to talk to you and you've never met this person, the first thing you say is, hi, i'm -- i want to talk to you and you've got to use this phone because otherwise you're going to go to jail. you know, who is going to want to talk? again -- >> so do you use encrypted communication? >> i don't know how much i should say. yes, i do. >> well, you decide. >> but it's more recent. i didn't use to. >> and that's got to be -- you are talking to somebody for the first time or for the 20th time and say, let's go encrypted. aren't they smart enough to realize that automatically that
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is an admission that there's some sort of transaction going on -- >> people surveilling the situation -- >> no. if they find out x, y and z have established encrypted communications with the intelligence reporter for the new york times, that's semiincriminating, right, mr. deitz? >> yes. >> so how do you -- >> i think we can all agree on that. >> right. >> maybe we were just talking about sports. >> okay. but look, peter, that's the main peril here. >> well, first off, to kind of respectfully disagree with what bob said here about leaks being the harm. i think in many cases the lack of leaks is the harm. if there had been more leaks for example in 2002/2003 upon the decision to invade iraq was made, our national security would have been better rather than harmed. that's just kind of basic point we can talk more about that
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perhaps. but, you know, it is more difficult for everybody up here, for people in the audience, for people who are watching. you know, one example i'll give is couple of -- a number of months ago somebody, if you're asking how this works and how it doesn't work, a number of months ago somebody contacted me through a friend and had something that this person wanted to kind of talk about and provide to me that related to iraq and it wasn't monumental but it was interesting. and i stied this person, okay. and we were talking not through phones that could be traced to me, at least. don't send it to me via e-mail. print it out and here is the address, send it to me over the mail because at this moment in time, i think mail is more secure than e-mail for certain things. and this was a work-around, which did not work because i never received this material, either it was intercepted or wasn't sent. i believe it wasn't sent. and so having to set up that kind of security operation obviously affected the fact that
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this person did not provide the material. and that is a cost, a tax in a way on this new era that we're in. yes, sources will not come forward. but i would say that on the other hand -- and this is why i don't like necessarily the framing of this in such a dur ridge-like way. we as journalists are presented now with this incredible dhajing, exciting story. kind of the story of our lives. i feel like i've had several of these stories of our lives and it's hard -- >> and what is that story? just define it. >> in my view, challenges to the fourth and first amendment of the united states constitution, which involves a crackdown on journalists ourselves and our sources and i think that we have this incredible role to play to expose what is going on to try to prevent it from continuing to go on. and this is -- you know, i covered -- in most of my life overseas conflicts, you know, made my name, i guess n a way in
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bosnia first. and, boy, there was a people a-a, that people didn't care very much and it was difficult to cover because it was hard to make people here understand why it would affect this country, america, and their lives and i couldn't make a very persuasive argument about that. but, boy, when you're talking about challenges to the first and fourth amendments of the constitution, you are talking about how life is lived, how our democracy exists what the future of your children is as members of a free society. that's a much easier argument to make and much more important than some slaughter of people. and i find myself as passionate about this story as i did about genocide. >> okay. >> jane -- go ahead. >> i was going to say, to bob was that i think what's hard from one of the things that's difficult from a standpoint of the press is the way that the national security community sometimes -- and you in this
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case, define what's protecting the american public. it's not as if the press is trying to harm the american public. >> i accept that. >> we just define it as a stronger country when there's a free flow of ideas, when there's consent of the governed because they understand what the programs are that you are implementing in their name and we feel that even bad news sometimes strengthens the country because the rest of the world gets to see that our transparency and our accountable system. and so, it's a larger framing of what national security is, but because of the panel before defined it, because of the way the executive branch has kind of a monopoly on defining what national security is, you get to put your own parameters on it and define us as outside of it sometimes. but we're not trying to harm the country by writing these stories. in fact, i think most reporters feel that they are really
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helping by getting this information out to the voters. >> i accept most of what you said. i mean, i, too, agree that reporters are not out to undermine the country. but i also am very clear in my mind that reporters often do not understand why something can be harmful or why certain kinds of things would be guarded. now, one of the arguments that's always dragged out in these kinds of meetings is the overclassification of materials. and i accept that. i'm sure they are. this is not, i think, caused generally by evil intentions. i think it's that when people are writing reports, you know, there are three different classification levels. most people just put the default, top secret. now, there ought to be a way of addressing that, for sure. >> okay. but reporters are not helpless in this? bob deitz, you're saying, oh, look, reporters don't understand
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the implications of publishing some of this stuff, but, i mean, as i'm sure mark and peter and jane can testify to, when you find out something, you go to the government. >> uh-huh. >> and you engage in -- let's be honest -- a negotiation of sorts -- >> yep. >> -- and a listening like one of hilalary clinton's listening tours, you go listen and you say what is the argument that this is going to cause harm. and if you look at the snowden case in my own newspaper, "the washington post," we have been extremely careful about what we have published. >> agreed. >> always going with the government. and the government making their case. and i think ering on the side, okay, the government says this. let's listen. does it make sense. and so there is a lot left out. so i'm not sure -- i mean, you
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kind of are suggesting that the reporters are a bunch of people rushing in to it and just kind of publishing willy nilly. that's not the way it works. is that right, mark? >> sure. on any beat you cover, right, you'll be calling for comment, you'll be going to the agency you're writing about. it's happening far more used to than it used to where the government pushes back to try to get you to not publish. we i think keep pretty high standards for what we would not publish and there are different standards that if the government is making a case that this does specific harm to specific individuals, this story i'm talking about, that's one thing. and we listen to it really seriously. if the argument, as was the case in many -- many of the wikileaks arguments, this is going to be really embarrassing for us, the government. it will hurt -- that is a lower standard and usually that's not
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a reason not to publish. >> and when you go to the government, you learn all kinds of things. first of all, you get a second or third source, if you can get them to validate what you have, which makes sleep much easier at night. and often in those -- it's not just a matter of calling and saying, i want your one-sentence comment. it's meeting with people. it's having serious discussions. sometimes weeks or months go by before some of these stories are published. >> i think we're finally beginning to learn what bob woodward does. >> well -- >> the inside story. >> well, but -- it makes sense. and i've been in the oval office and the seventh floor of the cia and other places where people have said if you publish this, you know, recently somebody said -- if you publish this, we could lose a war. well, that gets your attention
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and you listen very, very carefully. >> no, i agree. pretty much everything that i wrote in the book, "the dark side" i ran by the authorities at the cia just to check it, make sure it was correct, which is incredibly important, and see basically if it was going to cause some kind of undue harm. and, you know, we didn't always agree, but at least i was able to weigh their arguments and see what -- whether i thought they make sense. >> mark, go ahead. >> classification. i don't think it's just a question of whether something is overclassified because we all agree that generally things are. it's really that i don't think there's a period in the country's history where the basic -- the entire war is conducted in a classified manner, right? it is a secret war. there's been the wars of iraq and afghanistan but so much of it is intelligence wars and wars
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carried out clan december tently and they're still secretly even when they shouldn't be by the drone strikes. >> they're not secret but they're technically still classified. >> the government will -- there are people in the government who will officially validate and discuss those. >> but they still won't cut -- after a strike come up and stand up and say this is what happened. some people really would like that in the government would like that to happen because they think they would be able to explain it better, but it's -- and so i just think that it's therefore -- it's never more important because this is the conduct of the war, it's all a secret that national security reporters tell people what's going on. >> peter, what do you think of that? or going to the government and saying here is what i understand happened or is going on? what do you say? >> well, i would say that's a useful and generally necessary step. you know, we have a story out this morning that i co-authored,
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the intercepter. about some nsa documents that were leaked to us by snowden. top-secret. >> summarize the story. >> the nsa is hacking into computers who control pewter systems that the nsa wants to infiltrate. so these are innocent people who are targeted by the nsa as they have the keys to the kingdom as one of the documents said. in this case, we went to the nsa and said, look, is there any harm in us involved in us publishing this. the answer was no. there was no harm involved. we have gone to them and asked. i would say, however, in terms of the usefulness talking to officials, yes, yes, of course. right now, i trust documents more than i trust officials. these documents say a lot more and tell me a lot more -- >> and they are a potent tool when you go to the government and say, i have this document and it is the following --
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>> i don't, my personal feeling is i'm not using these as tools. i'm publishing them or we're publishing them. the greatest tools are instruments. and i think that these documents are operate best not as instruments in terms of leverage with government officials but instruments in terms of informing the public. >> i'm not saying only as a tool but, you know, yes, publish them but it is -- when you go in to see somebody in the government and say, i have this document or i have these notes of this meeting and i understand the following is occurring, that gets their attention. >> it gets their attention but it doesn't necessarily get much truth out of them. >> sometimes it does. sometimes -- don't you find that to be the case, jane? >> sometimes. i mean -- >> don't you learn things? >> what i was going to say is i think the government -- the national security part of the government, any way, has a credibility problem at this point. when you look at cases like the case of tom drake and -- who was
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an nsa official former who was prosecuted under the espionage act was facing potentially 35 years in prison, he is 57 or 8 years old, whatever he was at the time, the rest of his life in prison, and the case -- >> but what -- >> fell apart. the reason it was complete overkill. the judge himself eventually threw most of it out. >> and even general hayden said publicly that it was a case of prosecutorial overreach. >> i mean, as the previous panel quoted the judge saying, it was unconsciousable what happened to his life during that period. there were five documents he was charged with taking that were unauthorized that were classified. three of them had to do with some kind of complaint he had made to an inspector general and he said he had been told to take the documents home. the other two, one was classified as just plain, you
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know, office items basically. and the other was declassified three months after he was prosecuted for having it. and eventually the case ended up with him pleading to a misdemeanor. but the idea that that could have been portrayed as a huge national security case under the espionage act and that man could have faced potentially life in prison suggests that there's a judgment issue sometimes on these calls about what national security entails. >> bob deitz, how come that wasn't stopped earlier? >> i don't know. >> okay. >> i don't know the case. i know drake. i know some of the people he's dealt with, but i don't know the facts of that case. facts matter. >> of course. let me ask this general question, which i think is important and the earlier panel said quite directly that the
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obama administration is anti--press and that actually it was said earlier that the prosecution or the effort to get jim risen from the new york times to testify is a persecution. do you think the obama administration is anti-press, peter? >> i wish you could have started with somebody else here. >> okay. >> anti-press is a very broad phrase, so i would like to get away from that maybe and just the specifics are, you know, how many people have been prosecuted leakers under the obama administration versus previous administrations. as the previous panel, i believe went over and as we all know, it's more than any other previous administration by several factors. that's rather concerning to me. and one of the -- when i was listening to the previous panel, one of the people said, well, but there's the jim risen case but really that's kind of it in terms of actual journalists who
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are now facing incarceration if the supreme court rules against them. yes, and you don't need more than one case to make your message. that's the point of that case. the impact is the same in terms of -- >> mark, you think the obama administration is anti-press? >> like peter, i'm going to punt that direct term. but, no. i'll answer your question. we've had trouble sort of digging into what are the origins of this incredibly large number of investigations. some of it is -- >> they're not just investigations, they're prosecutions. >> the tools available to the investigators are far better than they used to be, so prosecutors want to prosecute and they want to make cases so they can make cases better than they used to be able to make cases. so there's part of that. at the very least, you certainly see, you know, supervise herbs can tell investigators not to go
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in certain directions and that is not happening. and so at the very least, the aggressive prosecutors trying to make their cases against leakers aren't being stopped. yes, some of these cases are holdovers from the bush administration, but at the very least, you know, there is -- they are conscious decisions being made not to stop them and that is, i think, where you see the continuity between bush and obama. >> but just bureaucratically, being realistic about the way the justice department works, people at the lower level start a case and they get very aggressive and it's just like one of your editors at "the new york times" would hesitate to tell you, don't pursue that story because it might appear as if they're stopping you from a legitimate inquiry. so i think up the chain if you talk to some of these people there's a lot of reluctance to stop it. the difficulty is they're not setting the policy at the very
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top and saying, you know, just from my point of view, i think they are harming themselves by either declaring or appearing to declare a war on the press. >> but, you know, what frustrates me a little bit about the way this discussion is categorized, by hypothesis, all these cases involved somebody who committed a felony. >> maybe. >> i said by hypothesis. prime fascia case and just like the police investigate robberies and white colar crime and so forth, it's very hard for me to understand the argument that says, well, this felony shouldn't be investigated. and if you are trying to put together a case -- well, archie cox, you know the watergate prosecutor until he was bounced -- in one of his briefs starts out saying something like
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the grand jury's entitled to every man's evidence. he was quoting some british jurorist. how is it that you put a line around this felony and say, don't worry about it but we're going to pursue other felonies. to me that's crazy. sorry. >> no, that's good. every time a white house official gives some comment about a classified drone strike, isn't that a felony, too? should you go down -- you could really broaden it to every one talking about classified information. >> i agree with your point and every time i've been involved in these discussions i point out how official leaks make the administration lose the high ground. absolutely sure. it's so hard to explain rationally why a senior official can leak and yet when it happens to the gs-15 level, then the world is about to end. i agree with you. >> that's a really big problem. >> it's a huge problem.
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>> the earlier panel, i mean, you can't talk with people about national security issues and not discuss classified information. i mean, that is just the reality. >> yep. >> you know that yourself. >> i agree with you. >> and so the idea that these few cases where they seem to have evidence and they pursue them with this zeal and these tools that they have, somebody at the top needs to -- i think this is a common sense solution to kind of
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tendency to make people want to hold on to power. and leaks particularly of unflattering information are not welcomed by people in power. so, i mean, i think the problem with the prosecutions is there's a sense that they're arbitrary because there are authorized leaks that come -- that are favorable and push one particular line and then there are some that unfavorable and they're prosecuted. >> i agree. >> and so the question is, who should -- who gets to define and decide what the american public should hear about what the intelligence community is doing? should the intelligence community get to decide only? or should the press get to decide also? and should there be -- what do you do with disdense within your
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ranks who are critics who feel that maybe what they're seeing has krosed some line and is wrong and they want to speak out about it. such an american, you know, sort of act to speak up in decent. >> and don't you think -- most people, not everyone, but -- i mean, to use the legal term, bob deitz admission against interest. you can find people if you can talk to them for a long time, they may say something that's against their interest that's true. just in the last ten or so minutes, i mean, what's the remedy for the press in terms of how we operate? is it to go encrypt it? i mean, snowden told you, peter, he said, you know, it's -- an amazing quote. unencrypted journalists, source communication is unforgive bli
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reckless. >> when enkripgs is required. not every communication i have with a source requires enkripgs. not every relationship requires it. when it's required and you don't do it, it is unforgive bli reckless. you get your sources into trouble. >> what do you use as a reporter mark in this environment then? what kind of frame of mind do you go into? are you kind of, hey, look, now i have an excuse i can tell my editors i talked to six people and they all hung up on me? >> that sounds good actually. you know, you have to -- as i said, a lot of it is more -- less efficient. you have to -- i think you have to be conscious of the security of your sources. i mean, you're entering into a trust. you know, i think when you're dealing with people who have been involved in government
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their sources, you're inclined to think they know -- they know how to keep themselves secure. i mean, they knew -- know better than i do the state of surveillance, right? but, i don't think that gets you off the hook. and i think have to be very careful, increasingly careful that, you know, it's not because of something you've done, you get your source in trouble. >> go ahead. >> i want to say, this isn't a big mystery to me. there's this thing that we all carry around, well, sometimes you don't carry it around. that's the new important measure of protection. it actually is very easy to take. and you don't use this thing. at certain times. for a very long time, reporters managed to do very well without these devices. >> i remember the first time when i talked to somebody in a very important position in the intelligence world and he got out his blackberry and took out the battery. and i thought, what the hell are you doing? and he said, you know, then they can't listen.
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>> but this is something that's been going on -- i remember in 1999 when i was still covered the balkans, during the mi milosevic era. you would not only take out the battery of your phone, but you would put it on the phone, the phone and the battery. the other person knew you weren't recording the call with your cell phone. that was back in 1999. it's not so new in some ways. >> go ahead. >> the question you asked a minute or so ago about what -- kind of what's the solution. well, the solution is the american people. the american people through their representatives have decided that there are some things that are deficiently
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important, that they ought not to be discussed in the open press. now, there are plenty of ways addressing that. you know, you've got the american people to agree to a shield law. that's not happened. i think -- i would be surprised if it ever happens. >> i mean, sometimes the representatives of the people get it wrong. >> of course they do. >> and, you know, we're on the outside. and so i don't buy that. i mean, i think part of the remedy is to be more aggressive, frankly. >> as a reporter. >> as a reporter, and that you have to work harder. i remember working on the fourth bush book that i did, and there was a general who would not talk. e-mails, you know, phone messages, intermediaries, nothing. so i found out where he lived. it was in the washington area. and what's the best time to visit a four-star general. >> dinner? >> without an appointment. 8:15 on a tuesday.
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because they will have eaten, not gone to bed. it's not monday. and it's not getting close to friday. and so i knocked on the door. and he opened the door and he looked at me and he said, are you still doing this -- and he meant it. and he looked at me, and then just got a disappointed look on his face. disappointed in himself. he said, come on in. and sat for two hours, answered most of the questions. why? because i showed up. we don't show up enough. and it is incredible the drop-in visit, if you're worried about surveillance and security and so forth. and i think if we ever get -- you know, the obama administration, i've done two books on them, you know, tried to understand. and i think there's a lot of ambivalence about the press, as
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there always is. and you can deal with them. and if you just show up and persist, you can say, we can do our job. the tragedy of this would be like if we just packed up and said, oh, it's too hard. the snowden era, and the prosecution era has created a new world for us. and i think it's really kind of the old world. i started in this in the nixon era, and it was -- you know, they -- it wasn't that you were on their christmas card list. and it always is tough. and we should remember that. and so if you work eight hours a day, you're maybe going to have to work 10 or 12. >> i've sat on cul-de-sacs and curbs waiting for people to come home, not so long ago really. it wasn't the grand life that i thought the "new yorker" was going to be. i thought it would be cocktails
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at the roundtable, you know. >> if you're honest with yourself, you probably don't sit on the curb enough. >> oh, i'm sure not enough. but at the same time, i'll say one thing from your standpoint, at least what i would imagine would be your standpoint, i think the press needs also to make sure that when we do push really hard, and make our calls, if something's important enough to publish when the national security community is saying, don't, it really should be something important enough to publish. i think we should try to keep thinking about something that serves public interest. not every secret is equal. you know? just because you find it out doesn't mean you need to put it in the newspaper or the magazine. it has to -- i feel, anyway, there should be an important public purpose when you take that on. >> i would just say one thing following up on your point
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further about sitting on curbs. it depends whose curb you're sitting. generals have told you some very useful things, and that has been helpful for everybody. i personally have found in covering iraq, afghanistan, being with generals, being with colonels, being with lance corporals, that actually the people's whose doorsteps, quote unquote, that i sit on are lower level. i remember one time i had an off-the-record talk with petraeus. and are it was great. i look at my notes afterwards and there's really nothing in there whatsoever. one of the geniuses. >> he's very good, absolutely. >> so is mike hayden, by the way. same way. >> and that happened again and again with the senior officers that i would talk with, whereas when i was talking with and hanging out with, you know, the specialists, the lance corporals, the captains, i was
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finding out a heck of a lot more about what was really going on. >> but then you move up the food chain. i agree with you that sometimes the best sources are names we never hear about. and no one else knows. but then you have to -- if you're ultimately trying to write about decision-making, you need to get to the generals and the people in the white house, or the pentagon, who are making some of these decisions, or the cia. >> i don't have the bob woodward special sauce to get that access. >> but what gets people to respond is information. if you have the document, or the notes, or the details, if you go in and say, i understand you're launching operation pink starling tomorrow, you know, and pink starling is a protected code word, people will say, okay, we better deal with this. >> the higher level people probably don't


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