NATIONAL INSECURITY….In a wonderful example of guerrilla op-ed writing, the New York Times went ahead and published a piece by Flynt Leverett today that the White House had tried to eviscerate on national security grounds. Will that get them in legal hot water? No. You see, they published it complete with black bars to represent the redactions the White House demanded.

This is delicious because people usually don’t get a sense of just how heavy-handed the Bush White House (and other White Houses) are in using national security as an excuse to stamp “Top Secret” on documents that are merely inconvenient or embarrassing. In this case, the redactions make clear that Leverett was simply providing some detail about post-9/11 contacts with Iran that the Bush administration is anxious to keep concealed because it undermines their “no talks with terrorists” showboating. Embarrassing, maybe, but dangerous to national security? Not a chance. In a companion piece, Leverett even provides a complete set of links to demonstrate that every word he wrote had been previously reported.

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