Magazine article Investigative Reporters and Editors, Inc. The IRE Journal

Post 9/11 Security Concerns Raise Bar on National Reporting

Magazine article Investigative Reporters and Editors, Inc. The IRE Journal

Post 9/11 Security Concerns Raise Bar on National Reporting

Article excerpt

Post-9/11 concerns have not made it any easier to report on national security issues, but determined journalists can still do their jobs if they are willing to work for the sources, top journalists told an IRE audience.

"Yes it's hard, but we should raise the bar for ourselves," said The Washington Post's Bob Woodward, who sparred with New Yorker contributor Seymour Hersh and CBS national security correspondent David Martin over the new tenor of access to the government.

Woodward would not say that it's harder to report on national security issues and said he could not compare this administration with those of 20 or 30 years ago.

"It's always harder to report on national security," said Woodward, who believes journalists can still do the reporting, using multiple sources.

Hersh and Martin agreed that there are sources to be found: Both said they find military sources helpful, and Hersh added that there are unhappy people in the CIA, too.

But Hersh argued that reporting on this administration is vastly different.

"I think [the Bush administration] is the hardest group I've ever worked with," Hersh said.

"This is a government run by a very small, tight group of people and you're either with them - if you're with them you're a genius, if you're not, you're not just part of the opposition, you're a traitor," he said. "And I think this goes for the press corps, too."

Martin took a different approach, neither blaming nor excusing the administration for keeping out reporters, but saying it simply comes down to a matter of time.

"I don't see greater secrecy being a problem now," Martin said. …

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