A curious ‘State’ of affairs

New York Times celebrates Risen's 'War'

After years of entanglement with Judith Miller, the New York Times can celebrate a true journalistic hero in James Risen, the reporter who uncovered the NSA eavesdropping story.

But the Gray Lady’s silence on Risen’s new book could be a sign of how problematic the new hero could be for the paper.

Risen’s “State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration” arrived in stores Jan. 3.

His former employer, the Los Angeles Times, published a lengthy excerpt the following day. But the New York Times has yet to mention the book, just as it has refused to explain why it held Risen’s eavesdropping story for more than a year, publishing it just weeks before it would have lost the scoop to Risen’s book.

The book also indicates Iraq had abandoned its nuclear weapons program shortly after the first Gulf War, but that information was ignored by the neocons selling an invasion of Iraq. Those on the selling end of the equation had the ear of Miller, whose W.M.D. stories got most of the headlines when it mattered.

Risen told NPR the revelations on eavesdropping were leaked to him by administration officials “deeply concerned with the topic.”

Now the Bush Administration wants to know who those officials are, which threatens to put Risen in the same position Miller was in if he decides to protect his sources.

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