The New York Times Accidentally Exposes a High-Level Intelligence Leak

By Rubin, Michael | Examiner (Washington, D.C.), The, September 24, 2019 | Go to article overview

The New York Times Accidentally Exposes a High-Level Intelligence Leak


Rubin, Michael, Examiner (Washington, D.C.), The


New York Times Publisher Arthur G. Sulzberger has an opinion piece in Wednesday's edition lamenting the growing attacks on press freedom worldwide. Sulzberger is, of course, correct. Independent journalism has always been a risky endeavor in China, Russia, Iran, Iraqi Kurdistan, and across most Arab states, for example, but it is now becoming increasingly dangerous in places like Turkey, Poland, and Hungary.

It is about Egypt, however, that his article suggests a serious breach of intelligence by a rogue American official. Sulzberger explains:

Two years ago, we got a call from a United States government official warning us of the imminent arrest of a New York Times reporter based in Egypt named Declan Walsh. Though the news was alarming, the call was actually fairly standard. Over the years, we’ve received countless such warnings from American diplomats, military leaders and national security officials.But this particular call took a surprising and distressing turn. We learned the official was passing along this warning without the knowledge or permission of the Trump administration. Rather than trying to stop the Egyptian government or assist the reporter, the official believed, the Trump administration intended to sit on the information and let the arrest be carried out. The official feared being punished for even alerting us to the danger.

Sulzberger’s animus toward President Trump may be burying the lede. For an American official to know in advance that Egyptian security officials planned to arrest Walsh would require one of two things: either a human intelligence source inside the Egyptian General Intelligence Directorate or an intercept of communications within the General Intelligence Directorate.

While tipping off Walsh, without telling him the reason, might be have been both wise and humane, for a rogue employee to call Sulzberger (and on an open line at that) basically signaled to Egypt’s government either that they were penetrated or otherwise compromised. …

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