AMY GOODMAN: Today we spend the hour with the veteran New York Times investigative reporter James Risen, who left the paper in August to join The Intercept as senior national security correspondent. This week, he published a 15,000-word story headlined “The Biggest Secret: My Life as a New York Times Reporter in the Shadow of the War on Terror.”
In the story, Risen gives a personal account of his struggles to publish significant stories involving national security in the post-9/11 period and how both the government and his top editors at the Times suppressed his reporting on stories, including the Bush administration’s warrantless wiretapping program, for which he would ultimately win the Pulitzer Prize in 2006. Risen describes how his story would have come out right before the 2004 presidential election of President Bush over John Kerry, potentially changing the outcome of that election. But under government pressure, The New York Times refused to publish the story for more than a year, until Risen was publishing a book that would have had the revelations in it first.
In his new piece for The Intercept, James Risen also describes meetings between top Times editors and officials at the CIA and the White House. Risen was pursued by both the Bush and then the Obama administrations as part of a six-year leak investigation into his book State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration. His refusal to name a source would take him to the Supreme Court. He almost wound up in jail, until the Obama administration blinked. His answer to that saga was to write another book, Pay Any Price: Greed, Power, and Endless War. Now, in one of his first pieces for The Intercept, he describes “The Biggest Secret: My Life as a New York Times Reporter in the Shadow of the War on Terror.”
Welcome back to Democracy Now!, Jim Risen. It’s great to have you with us.