Discolor Online

Weblog of the sweetest person you never want to piss off.



Seriously, folks, this is not good.

Flynt Leverett is a former senior director for Middle East affairs at the National Security Council with extensive experience who writes about what the hell is going on over in places like Iran. (A list of his publications since joining the New America Foundation in June can be found here.)

Leverett recently wrote an op-ed piece with Hillary Mann on Iran for the New York Times. According to the authors, "Since leaving government service three and a half years ago, Mr. Leverett has put more than 20 articles through the C.I.A.’s prepublication review process and the Publication Review Board has never changed a word or asked the White House for permission to clear these articles." [emphasis mine]

That is until the White House got wind of this most recent piece and "intervened in the normal prepublication review process and demanded substantial deletions." Both the New York Times itself and Think Progress have been covering the story. You can also find information, and a link to a published 34-page report on the same subject ("Dealing with Tehran: Assessing US Diplomatic Options Toward Iran.") from Leverett, at The Washington Note.

The Central Intelligence Agency’s Publication Review Board admitted to the authors that the material contained no classified information but said "they had to bow to the White House." Leverett has been trying to fight the decision, citing prior public discussion of the topics by multiple government officials and widespread media reports, including multiple published articles by Leverett himself (all previously approved by the CIA, prior to White House meddling).

The New York Times has decided to publish the redacted version of the op-ed piece and has provided citations which a motivated person could use to piece together Leverett's original points. However the bigger story now, certainly, is the overt censorship from the White House. Oh, and the man leading the charge for this new era of censorship? None other than Elliott Abrams, the very guy who pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor counts of unlawfully withholding information from Congress during the Iran-Contra affair.


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