NYT to Condi: We've "Kept Some of Your Secrets"
Earlier this week Condi Rice met with the editorial board of the New York Times and since it was an on-the-record chat, the State Department has made a transcript of the talk available for the public to read on the web.
I found the most compelling part of her chat to be when an unidentified person from the Times said the paper has not divulged some of her secrets, which seems a rather odd thing to admit to a high-ranking government official.
Of course, I would like the Times to eventually print some of those secrets, and the sooner the better, if the paper is ever going to make the secrets public.
Revealing the secrets may do much to affect change not just in the Middle East, but indeed, for America's entire approach right now to foreign politics.
From the State Department:
Interview With the New York Times Editorial Board
Secretary Condoleezza Rice
New York City
September 25, 2006
QUESTION: Hamdan is one reason you’re having this debate now, which – it sort of provides a healthy conversation. The other reason you’re having it is because a bunch of newspapers have laid some of these things out for – public discussion, the eavesdropping, the CIA detentions and so on.
At the risk of being too self-referential, I’m curious to know whether you genuinely think that those stories have, in any significant way, weakened the Administration’s ability to fight the war on terror.
SECRETARY RICE: I think that it has made other countries and, in some cases, other entities which have dealt with us, wonder about our reliability in keeping information confidential. I do. You know, it’s fine to say we ought to have an open debate about these things. You know, there are things that you keep confidential at the New York Times. There are.
QUESTION: There are?
SECRETARY RICE: Yeah, I would hope so. I would --
QUESTION: We try. (Laughter.)
SECRETARY RICE: I would assume – no, I assume so.
QUESTION: What are they? Our ability to keep a secret is considerably --
SECRETARY RICE: Yeah, but I assume in your board rooms that there are things that you keep confidential, right?
QUESTION: I don’t get to go to the board room.
SECRETARY RICE: I assume that there are – there is information that corporations keep confidential; it’s in their boardrooms. But somehow, when it’s the United States Government that is dealing with life and death, war and peace matters, allies who are putting their lives on the line, allies who have different political structures than we do and different obligations than we do, we’re not supposed to keep anything confidential. And so I --
QUESTION: Well, that’s taking it to extremes.
SECRETARY RICE: No.
QUESTION: And we – this paper has kept some of your secrets for you, too.
SECRETARY RICE: I understand that and I appreciate that. But I think that when it comes to – you know, I’m speaking to the leaks problem. I know this is a major, major issue in the journalistic community. But I can tell you from the point of view of somebody who has to (inaudible) security (inaudible), it’s a problem.
I can’t tell you how many times people will say to me, my counterparts or, you know, other counterparts, "Well, you know, I really don’t know if we should have this conversation because I don’t know when it’s going to be exposed." That’s a problem. So you asked me if it was a problem and yeah, it’s a problem.
QUESTION: But I asked you if it has tangibly diminished your ability to fight the war on terror.
SECRETARY RICE: I think it has tangibly made it harder to have full-scale cooperation and I think the jury is still not out about how willing others will be to cooperate with us on sensitive and difficult issues. I do think that the jury’s still out on that and in some cases, I think it’s made it more difficult.
You can read the full transcript by clicking here.