It may be too soon to tell whether Donald Trump’s presidency will survive his disclosure to the Russian foreign minister of a piece of US intelligence. But it’s not too soon to celebrate the sudden outbreak in our Democratic press of concern for our national secrets.
This occurred over what The Washington Post and The New York Times suggest was President Trump’s inadvertent disclosure of highly classified intelligence from Israel in the Oval Office when Trump received Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
The disclosure, the Times quoted American officials as representing, “could expose the source of the information and the manner in which it was collected.” At one moment Wednesday, the Times had on its home page something like 18 pieces on this or related scandals.
What a contrast to, say, 2006. That’s when the Gray Lady thumbed its nose for news at President George W. Bush’s pleadings that the paper refrain from disclosing how the government, in its hunt for terrorists, was mining data of the Swift banking consortium.
The Bush administration had begged the Times not to proceed. Yet it did so. President Bush called it “disgraceful,” adding that the “fact that a newspaper disclosed it makes it harder to win this war on terror.” Treasury said it would hamper the pursuit of terrorists.
Such a hullabaloo arose from long-suffering Times readers that the paper’s executive editor, then Bill Keller, issued a 1,400-word “personal response.” In it, he suggested that if conservative bloggers were so worried they should stop calling attention to it.
Keller acknowledged that others might have come out differently than the Times did. But, he declared, “nobody should think that we made this decision casually, with any animus toward the current Administration, or without fully weighing the issues.”
Goodness. Who in the world could have imagined the Times acting out of animus to the George W. Bush administration?