grassrootspeace.org

November 5, 2007: This website is an archive of the former website, traprockpeace.org, which was created 10 years ago by Charles Jenks. It became one of the most populace sites in the US, and an important resource on the antiwar movement, student activism, 'depleted' uranium and other topics. Jenks authored virtually all of its web pages and multimedia content (photographs, audio, video, and pdf files. As the author and registered owner of that site, his purpose here is to preserve an important slice of the history of the grassroots peace movement in the US over the past decade. He is maintaining this historical archive as a service to the greater peace movement, and to the many friends of Traprock Peace Center. Blogs have been consolidated and the calendar has been archived for security reasons; all other links remain the same, and virtually all blog content remains intact.

THIS SITE NO LONGER REFLECTS THE CURRENT AND ONGOING WORK OF TRAPROCK PEACE CENTER, which has reorganized its board and moved to Greenfield, Mass. To contact Traprock Peace Center, call 413-773-7427 or visit its site. Charles Jenks is posting new material to PeaceJournal.org, a multimedia blog and resource center.

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Hear the missing report by Nina Totenberg (mp3) or RealAudio

See NPR 'explanation', our comments and visitor comments - Add your comments in The Forum

See article - "NPR as Propaganda Macine" by Anja and Shaker;
two top NPR exec's administered US propaganda machine -
Kevin Klose President & CEO http://www.npr.org/about/people/bios/kklose.html
Ken Stern Executive Vice President http://www.npr.org/about/people/bios/kstern.html

Justice Department granted White House delay on order to preserve records in CIA exposure scandal
Nina Totenberg Oct 2nd report aired on 6 am on Morning Edition; her verbal report does not appear in the show's transcript.

On October, 2, 2003, Nina Totenberg gave the following report (thanks to Robert E. Reynolds for the following transcription, which I verified by listening to the audio of the Totenberg report.) Buzzflash.com carried the transcript of the original account, and Reynolds suggested that people go to the NPR site and download the transcript. By doing so, I discovered that NPR had stricken the following paragraph that dealt with the Justice Department granting a White House request for a delay in a directive to preserve records of communications. NPR gives explanation why the transcript does not include the segment below.. (See explanation).

The segment of Totenberg's report that is missing from the transcript:

Bob Edwards: Attorney General Ashcroft is resisting the idea of some sort of independent counsel. Do you think he'll be able to maintain that position?

NPR legal correspondent, Nina Totenberg: Well no administration ever wants an independent overseer, and there are very good career people who are in charge of this investigation, but it could get hairy. Yesterday I talked to a former justice department official who wondered to me why the White House had asked the Justice Department if they could wait a day, earlier this week, before directing the White House staff to preserve all phone and email records, and why, similarly, the Justice Department had agreed to let the White House wait that day. In the last analysis career people can't make some of the decisions that will have to be made, like whether to call a reporter before a grand jury. The Attorney General under Justice (Department) regulations is required to make that decision. A career person can't make it. And if a leaker is identified and not prosecuted it could raise problems with the CIA. Will the agency believe that a decision not to prosecute was made fairly, or will it, as one former Justice Department official put it to me, open a chasm of distrust between the two agencies. As I said no administration likes to open itself up to outside investigators. And the temperature isn't that hot yet, despite that poll you cited at the beginning, but it could get that hot, and we just can't know right now whether the temperature will get that hot for a long time and make it impossible to continue the course that the administration now has chosen to take.

Here is the story that was sent to me by NPR, without the above final paragraph:


National Public Radio

Morning Edition, National Public Radio

October 2, 2003

Analysis: Latest on investigation into White House leak of CIA agent's identity

Edition: 11:00 AM-12:00 Noon
Estimated printed pages: 4

Article Text
BOB EDWARDS, host:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Bob Edwards.

The controversy continues over whether Bush administration officials exposed an undercover CIA operative to the press. There's much debate over how that leak should be investigated. A new poll by The Washington Post and ABC News finds nearly seven in 10 Americans believe a special council should perform the investigation. Currently, the Justice Department is handling it. NPR legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg joins me now.

Good morning.

NINA TOTENBERG reporting

Morning, Bob.

EDWARDS: Leak investigations are notoriously unsuccessful in Washington. Will this one be any different?

TOTENBERG: Well, a lot of prosecutors and former Justice Department officials and FBI officials I talked to yesterday thought this one might, in fact, be different. First, this appears to be more than one solitary leak but something more akin to a campaign. The Washington Post has reported that six reporters were called with this information. Another thing that will make this investigation easier is that there's a specific federal law making it a felony to disclose the names of covert intelligence officers. Still another thing that will or could make it easier is technology. Investigators can now look at e-mail that has been preserved and e-mail that has been deleted. You can't delete anything permanently.

As for phone records, not only will the Justice Department get the phone logs from the White House and other departments like Defense and State, but once they develop a list of who they're interested in, they can get subpoenas for their home and cell phone records, too, and those records these days often include--they always include local as well as long-distance phone calls and they can include both outgoing and incoming phone calls so that you know who called whom and when.

EDWARDS: They could check out the reporters' phone records, as they tried to do to you once.

TOTENBERG: Yes, they can do that. I've learned this from experience. The Justice Department can subpoena the phone company and the reporter isn't even told. So columnist Robert Novak's phone records or reporter Andrea Mitchell's phone records can be obtained without their permission or knowledge. And according to former Justice Department officials and FBI people that I talked to yesterday, if they really want to find out who the leak is, they'll probably do that. They'll probably subpoena the reporters' phone records.

EDWARDS: OK. Other than phone records and e-mails, how else could investigators figure out who to target for inquiry?

TOTENBERG: Well, they're already, I'm told, starting to interview people at the CIA to find out who knew about Ambassador Wilson's wife, who could have told that information advertently or inadvertently to people at the White House or other agencies and who at the White House and those other agencies knew that information.

EDWARDS: And once investigators winnow down the list of suspects, there's only so much that even phone records will tell you, right?

TOTENBERG: That's probably when there will be serious interviews and perhaps polygraphs. One former high-ranking FBI official who I talked to yesterday said he wouldn't even think of doing an interview without telling the person that he's talking to that they might eventually be polygraphed. That way, he said, you've made sure you don't get jerked around.

EDWARDS: But they aren't always reliable.

TOTENBERG: No, they're not always reliable and that's why they're not allowed as evidence at trials. But the CIA and the FBI routinely use them in national security investigations and you can bet that there will be demands to use them here, too.

EDWARDS: What laws apply to this case?

TOTENBERG: The law that's most applicable I would think is called the Intelligence Identification Act. It was passed in 1982. It makes it a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison to disclose the identity of covert intelligence officers. So the first question is: Is Ambassador Wilson's wife undercover? And a number of former FBI and Justice Department officials told me yesterday that she clearly is covered by the law or the Justice Department wouldn't have opened a formal criminal investigation but that threshold must already have been met. Some people have suggested that because she's an analyst now, she isn't, you know, a sort of secret agent. But covert officers don't have to be running around in wigs. They can be analysts. They can be undercover as working for private companies or other government agencies and they sometimes come out from undercover but remain protected so that their sources are protected.

EDWARDS: Would the leaker have to know that Ambassador Wilson's wife was an undercover intelligence officer to be convicted of violating the law?

TOTENBERG: The leaker, I'm told, could be convicted even if he didn't know that he was breaking the law. But to win a conviction, a prosecutor would have to show that the leaker knew the ambassador's wife was a covert intelligence officer and that he willfully disclosed that fact, not by accident. It's a little bit like proving perjury with President Clinton. They had to prove he told a literal lie and that he knew it. That turned out to be a very hard thing to do and this may be, too.

[NOTE: NPR deleted the above quoted segment on the delay in ordering the White House to preserve records. Traprock comment.]

EDWARDS: NPR legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg.

Copyright ©2003 National Public Radio®. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to National Public Radio. This transcript may not be reproduced in whole or in part without prior written permission. For further information, please contact NPR's Permissions Coordinator at (202) 513-2000. Record Number: 200310021101


The link to the audio of the Totenberg story is found at http://www.npr.org/rundowns/rundown.php?prgId=3&prgDate=02-Oct-2003

We have recorded the original story. The audio, unlike the transcript, includes a final segment on the Justice Department granting the White House request for a delay in ordering the preservation of communication records. Hear the missing report by Nina Totenberg (mp3) or RealAudio


Received from NPR October 7, 2003 at 3:14 PM EDT

Ms. Miller,

It was nice speaking with you. As you can see from the information below, and also as I explained during our phone conversation, what you are implying on your website about Ms. Totenberg's report is inaccurate.

As I explained, Ms. Totenberg's October 2 Morning Edition report on the White House leak investigation was edited for time. The first transmission or feed of the report was done live and ran too long. Ms. Totenberg made the judgment to cut the last question and answer for the later feeds. The information that she cut -- references to the Justice Department's grant of a delay -- were in two prior reports: Ms. Totenberg's report for All Things Considered on October 1, and NPR White House correspondent Don Gonyea's on September 30.

Morning Edition and All Things Considered are updated and refed to accommodate listeners in each time zone. Because it is cost prohibitive and repetitive for NPR to provide text and audio of every feed, it is our practice to use, for archival purposes, the last and most up-to-date, feed of each program as the final text. However, you can find the original audio of this piece on our web site, www.npr.org.

I understand you are very busy, but appreciate your attention to this. I hope that we can mutually resolve the issue, by removing it from your website, because it implies something other than everyday business, or at the very least, you post our explanation to your site.

Thank you very much.
Director of Public and Media Relations
NPR
NPRComm@npr.org
[Name and email of writer removed upon request of writer.]

[Traprock Web Editor's Note: [NPR's Director of Public Relations and I discussed the NPR decision concerning the White House/Justice Department story soon after she sent the email. She had contacted us as many listeners had contacted NPR to get an explanation. I noted that I had written on line to Morning Edition for an explanation but had not received a reply (She said she believed that Morning Edition had received my inquiry.) I later received an email that contained the middle two paragraphs of her email, signed by Rodney Huey, Vice President for Communications, NPR.

She said that the decision to cut the segment was done "in the course of business." She said that "something had to be cut" because the audio segment had run too long. It is my opinion, for what it's worth, that the cut segment was the most newsworthy segment of the interview. It raises serious questions about the ability of the Justice Department to coneduct an impartial investigation. It is also a matter that has been under-reported by the media. I disagree with the decision for whatever reason. I note that I saw no disclaimer on the NPR website that transcripts may not reflect the complete audio. As for us implying something, it is a fact that the segment was cut. Whether it was cut from the replays of the interview or deleted from the transcript, it was cut, and NPR agrees to such.

Also, the cut "in the course of business" argument is weak concerining the transcript as no money is saved in terms of the written transcript. NPR's policy of using the last version of the audio as a master for the transcript, no matter the reason for the edits, ensures a weaker version of any reporter's efforts to ferret out the truth, in this writer's opinion. Certainly, one could not argue against a cut due to a genuine inaccuracy. In such a case, the audio should be cut as well. Here, no issue of inaccuracy is raised. Busniness reasons are cited. I suppose it's only coincidental that a buisness justification coincides with producing a permanent written record that does not contain the segment the would create the most consternation for the White House. And, a word to the wise. Always check NPR's transcripts against their audio. Charles Jenks]


Email sent to Noah at MoveOn (in response to his email on the topic) and Sally (a local activist who has worked with both MoveOn and Traprock)

Hi Noah and Sally - It's a convenient policy that provides for the written record to reflect the last audio feed if the last feed excludes important material that was deleted from the original.

It's true the delay had been mentioned, albeit a bit differently by Gonyea (he reported a delay from the evening of September 30 to the morning of Oct 1.) Maybe what's more interesting is her analysis (in the missing segment as quoted on our site) of why an Independent Counsel could be necessary. She points out that career people are heading the investigation, but these career people cannot make certain decisions

"In the last analysis career people can't make some of the decisions that will have to be made, like whether to call a reporter before a grand jury. The Attorney General under Justice (Department) regulations is required to make that decision. A career person can't make it."

Further, :"if a leaker is identified and not prosecuted it could raise problems with the CIA. Will the agency believe that a decision not to prosecute was made fairly, or will it, as one former Justice Department official put it to me, open a chasm of distrust between the two agencies."

This sort of analysis by NPR is out on a limb, so to speak. I think Totenberg is on the mark. I have not heard this sort of analysis elsewhere. Perhaps it is sprinkled around, but I haven't seen it. In the deleted segment, she puts it all together - coupling the grant of a delay with the limitations of authority that career people would have, thereby demonstrating how far removed this is from an independent investigation. On top of that, a non-independent investigation runs the risk of conflict between Justice and the CIA, with the potential "chasm of distrust." A brilliant analysis cut out of the transcript "in the course of business", as explained to me on the phone by Jessamyn Sarmiento (she called us and asked us to pull our story. She agreed to keeping it but printing their explanation. I have added comments at http://grassrootspeace.org/npr_totenberg_oct_02_2003.html

At the least, NPR should add a disclaimer to their transcripts page, warning people that the great portion of a story they heard in the early hours (the Totenberg piece on Oct 2 was heard, I am told, at 6 am, and we know it disappeared from later versions) may not be in the transcript they purchase later.

For me, it's time to "move on". We had a great event with Scott Ritter and I just posted the audio. And then it's off to Germany for the World Uranium Weapons Conference with many postings on depleted uranium to follow from Europe. Perhaps MoveOn could look at the DU issue more closely.

Thanks, Sally, for bringing this to MoveOn's attention, and it was nice writing to you, Noah.

Charles Jenks


Dear Jessamyn Sarmiento [Director of Public and Media Relations] :

As a long time supporter of NPR, I am quite disturbed that you would ask the Traprock Peace Center to remove a true story from their website (Justice Department granted White House delay on order to preserve records in CIA exposure scandal- Nina Totenberg, Oct. 2nd). As NPR has drifted further and further to the right, it has become more and more difficult to continue to be an NPR supporter. Last week alone, you ignored 10s of thousands of people around the globe protesting our take over of Iraq, ignored civilian causalities in Iraq, and tried to convince your listeners that $86 billion is not really a very large amount of money. Of course this pales in light of your early war reports stating that the Iraqis were dying from their own bullets raining back down on them and Juan Williams' paid political advertisements that you bill as interviews with administration officials. However, now you have crossed the line when you ask others not to report the truth about your reporting.

I now can't decide if NPR stands for National Pentagon Radio or National Petroleum Radio since I find it difficult for you to claim to be National Public Radio. I can only hope that someone within your system wants to return to balanced reporting instead of your continued cheerleading for this administration and the invasion and take over of Iraq.

Sincerely, Paul Davis

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Page created October 4, 2003 by Charlie Jenks; updated October 10.

 



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