The Truth Shall [Redacted] Set You Free

Ken AshfordIranLeave a Comment

This is astounding.

The White House censored an New York Times editorial, telling the Times to redact certain portions.  The censored portions do not contain classified information.  The White House, it seemed, just didn’t like it. (The redacted version of the op-ed is here.)

It should be noted that the CIA normally does these type of things, not the White House.  And the information redacted by the White House was cleared by the CIA when the author published it elsewhere:

The op-ed is based on the longer paper I just published with The Century Foundation — which was cleared by the CIA without modifying a single word of the draft. Officials with the CIA’s Publication Review Board have told me that, in their judgment, the draft op-ed does not contain classified material, but that they must bow to the preferences of the White House.

The White House is demanding, before it will consider clearing the op-ed for publication, that I excise entire paragraphs dealing with matters that I have written about (and received clearance from the CIA to do so) in several other pieces, that have been publicly acknowledged by Secretary Rice, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, and former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, and that have been extensively covered in the media.

These matters include Iran’s dialogue and cooperation with the United States concerning Afghanistan in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks and Iran’s offer to negotiate a comprehensive "grand bargain" with the United States in the spring of 2003.

Emptywheel looks into this deeper, but I find the notion of censuring things already in the public domain to be troubling.