Thursday Update: I was on this story first, but now Margaret Sullivan, the fine NYT public editor, really slams the paper in new blog post over this, right down (or up) to its headline.
Tuesday update: McClatchy hits back at Times in this report. For example: "McClatchy Washington Bureau Chief James Asher said: 'We believe that if the Yemenis knew that the United States had intercepted conversations between two al Qaida honchos, Americans should as well.'”
See my piece at The Nation.
Earlier: Top story at NYT site now is on U.S. analysts feeling that early August leak to media of how al-Qaeda communications has done more to harm our anti-terrorism effort than anything revealed by Edward Snowden. And the Times quickly recounts how it refused to publish the names that were key in the information, at the request of the government, and only did so after given clearance--after McClatchy went with it.
The communication intercepts between Mr. Zawahri and Mr. Wuhayshi revealed what American intelligence officials and lawmakers have described as one of the most serious plots against American and other Western interests since the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. It prompted the closing of 19 United States Embassies and consulates for a week, when the authorities ultimately concluded that the plot focused on the embassy in Yemen.
McClatchy Newspapers first reported on the conversations between Mr. Zawahri and Mr. Wuhayshi on Aug. 4. Two days before that, The New York Times agreed to withhold the identities of the Qaeda leaders after senior American intelligence officials said the information could jeopardize their operations. After the government became aware of the McClatchy article, it dropped its objections to The Times’s publishing the same information, and the newspaper did so on Aug. 5.