Today we found out that The New York Times, The Washington Post and apparently a number of other news organizations cooperated in keeping secret a CIA drone base in Saudi Arabia.
New York Times — The first strike in Yemen ordered by the Obama administration, in December 2009, was by all accounts a disaster. American cruise missiles carrying cluster munitions killed dozens of civilians, including many women and children. Another strike, six months later, killed a popular deputy governor, inciting angry demonstrations and an attack that shut down a critical oil pipeline.
Not long afterward, the C.I.A. began quietly building a drone base in Saudi Arabia to carry out strikes in Yemen. American officials said that the first time the C.I.A. used the Saudi base was to kill Mr. Awlaki in September 2011.
But should the United States be in the business of targeted killing by drone strike? With our news organizations complicit in keeping a lid on the details of the CIA drone program, are we to just trust that our leaders know best?
And while I think all news organizations have serious credibility issues with the American public, I would be remiss if I didn’t point out the huge gap of integrity between Fox News and MSNBC. For example, Fox News was never interested in digging deep into national security issues when George W. Bush was president. The same cannot be said of MSNBC, which has never been complicit with the Obama administration when it comes to drone strikes and targeted killings.
Washington Post — The Post learned Tuesday night that another news organization was planning to reveal the location of the base, effectively ending an informal arrangement among several news organizations that had been aware of the location for more than a year.
The white paper, which was first reported by NBC News, concludes that the United States can lawfully kill one of its own citizens overseas if it determines that the person is a “senior, operational leader” of al-Qaeda or one of its affiliates and poses an imminent threat.
There’s been no shortage of criticism from MSNBC and liberals when it comes to the nomination of John Brennan to head the CIA. Let’s not forget he withdrew his name from consideration for Director of CIA in Obama’s first administration because of his support of torture during George W. Bush’s tenure.
I think The New York Times and The Washington Post showed us today why news is broken. They also showed us the need for independent journalism. WikiLeaks anyone?