Saturday, December 23, 2006

Uncle Sam knows best

On Friday the CIA's Publications Review Board forced the New York Times to publish the censored version Flynt Leverett's and Hillary Mann's op-ed piece on US diplomatic relations with Iran. The authors provided quotes from the redacted passages that had already appeared in the press, proving to the CIA that the op-ed contained nothing that was not already in the public record. No dice. Here's a sample of what the Review Board has wrought:

My favorite part is this sentence:
Our experience dealing with xxxx xxxx Iranian diplomats over Afghanistan and in more recent private conversations in Europe and elsewhere convince us that Iran will not go down such a dead-end road again.
Wow, what a great fill-in-the-blank party game! What could that "redacted" (i.e., censored) adjective describing Iranian diplomats have been???? Perhaps "...determined Iranian diplomats?" How about " Iranian diplomats" or dedicated or how about exasperated? What does our government want us to think about the Iranian diplomats that it has to deal with? That they are cagey, two-faced, volatile, thuggish, or just plain EVIL. The only adjective the authors could have used that would have passed muster with the Review Board would probably have been something like #*$?//* ... a qualifier unprintable other than for reasons of State.

I have to agree with news analyst Daniel Shorr who remarked on NPR's Weekend Edition yesterday, "This is a redaction-mad administration.... I think that whenever they can, they will say you can't see this, you can't. Why can't you see it? Just because you can't see it."

Well, you know what Thomas Jefferson said:

Our liberty cannot be guarded but by the freedom of the press, nor that be limited without danger of losing it.

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