Former New York Times Executive Editor Jill Abramson told 60 Minutes that she had a meeting with then Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice who appealed to her to censor Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist James Risen from finishing an article concerning a CIA effort to disrupt Iran’s nuclear capabilities.
Abramson called the meeting “surreal” and said that Rice never looked up, but read from a yellow legal notebook of reasons Risen’s story was a threat to national security.
“Her bottom line … was to make sure that Jim cease all reporting on this story, which was really an extraordinary request,” said Abramson.
“I regret it now, but I think that I leaned towards not publishing. It seemed, in the calculus of all of the major stories we were dealing with at that point, not worth it to me and I regret that decision now. I regret that I did not back a great reporter, Jim Risen, who I’ve worked with and who then worked for me and whose work I knew was solid as a rock,” she continued.
The New York Times killed the story.
Watch Abramson’s interview here.
Government intimidation is not stopping journalist James Risen from speaking out though. Risen’s new book, State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration may send him to jail.
Risen is being threatened to reveal his sources, identifying who told him about the National Security Agency’s domestic spying program.
And, Risen isn’t talking.
“Never, no. Basically, the choice the government’s given me is: give up everything I believe or go to jail. So, I’m not going to talk,” he said to 60 Minutes’ Lesley Stahl on Sunday.
What Risen learned from those sources were the shadowy dealings of the NSA, which under the guise of listening to al Qaeda in the United States, listened and recorded anyone and everyone without warrants.
“What they were supposed to do was spy on foreigners, electronic eavesdropping of foreign people overseas. Basically, what I found out about it was, they had suddenly turned this giant eavesdropping operation at the NSA onto the American people, in secret. And that’s what the story was,” he explained.
Watch the entire interview here.