I was previously a constitutional law and civil rights litigator and am now a journalist. I am the author of three New York Times bestselling books -- "How Would a Patriot Act" (a critique of Bush executive power theories), "Tragic Legacy" (documenting the Bush legacy), and With Liberty and Justice for Some (critiquing America's two-tiered justice system and the collapse of the rule of law for its political and financial elites). My fifth book - No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA and the US Surveillance State - will be released on April 29, 2014 by Holt/Metropolitan.

Monday, May 12, 2008

2nd email from Larry Di Rita - 5/11/2008

...i just reviewed your blog and a few other things come to mind: you have something in there that you say is from me that says something to the effect that "we don't want to make the list too small."
if anything, that seems to validate my recollection -- we were not looking for a small, selective group. there were people who did not agree with everything or even a lot of what we were doing. but at the heart of col cowen's statement is that he was somehow cut-off for not agreeing with us. i simply don't have any recollection of trying to restrict him or others from exposure to what was going on. if you have any emails that suggest we did, i would be pleased to review.
there are plenty of examples to the contrary--reaching out to people who specifically disagreed with us. one example I recall is Joe Galloway -- a persistent critic and apparently popular with military readers. He came in and met with Secretary Rumsfeld and we had other interactions. Others -- Barry McCaffrey for instance -- got what i think was very good access in theater, and he was a quite vocal critic. i don't recall anyone cutting him off.

the intent as i have described it was to ensure that these experts, whom the networks and other news organizations employed because of their expertise/backgrounds, had the most current information available. as i told barstow and kurtz, our interest in these individuals was because news organizations had interest in them. these analysts were regularly provided media platforms to provide their expertise and analysis, and i think we had an obligation to ensure they had the most complete information we could provide. by the way, and i also told this to kurtz and barstow, that was the same way we felt with reporters who regularly covered the war. that's why we encouraged embedding, regular interaction with senior military commanders, etc..

btw, i also -- and often -- would reach out to reporters, analysts, etc., when i though the coverage with unfair, inaccurate, etc. there may indeed be emails to that effect. i discussed it with barstow. it's what i did, and i saw it part of my job to do so. i often weighed in with individual reporters/analysts if i thought they blew it.

finally, there were certainly those third parties -- military and others -- who were quite supportive. i acknowledge that and did so with kurtz and barstow, too. if you have emails from me or anyone else in which that is recognized, it just reaffirms the obvious as far as i can tell.