Friday, December 22, 2006

Redacted Iran op-ed shows Bush administration insanity

As an undergraduate, I read Victor Marchetti and John Marks' book, The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence. Marchetti, a former CIA officer, was forced to redact large portions of the book, and the publisher decided to print the book with a bunch of blank spaces to show where the redactions occurred. This led to a fun game of trying to fill in the blanks. (The only section I tried to fill in--successfully, as this was years after the book was published--was about CIA-operated air transportation companies operating out of Pinal Air Park in Arizona near Marana.)

Now the New York Times has printed an op-ed by Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann about Iran using the same strategy--it's filled with black marks indicating the CIA-demanded redactions. This op-ed actually contained no classified information, but the Bush administration applied pressure to the CIA to get them to demand redactions. Leverett and Mann write, in an explanatory preface:
Agency officials told us that they had concluded on their own that the original draft included no classified material, but that they had to bow to the White House.

Indeed, the deleted portions of the original draft reveal no classified material. These passages go into aspects of American-Iranian relations during the Bush administration’s first term that have been publicly discussed by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice; former Secretary of State Colin Powell; former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage; a former State Department policy planning director, Richard Haass; and a former special envoy to Afghanistan, James Dobbins.

These aspects have been extensively reported in the news media, and one of us, Mr. Leverett, has written about them in The Times and other publications with the explicit permission of the review board.

Leverett and Mann provide citations to other published material which describes the redacted sections, allowing the blanks to be filled in.

The Bush administration's behavior here is simply insane.

UPDATE: The Onion addressed this issue back in 2005.

1 comment:

webshadows said...

Truly incredible... well done to the New York Times for effectively revealing this seedy behaviour.