On a snowy December 5, 2005, Arthur Sulzberger, the publisher of the New York Times, sat in the Oval Office listening to what he calls a "stunningly unconvincing" argument that the newspaper shouldn't publish a story about a secret government program that allowed domestic eavesdropping without warrants. General Michael Hayden, then the deputy director for national intelligence, said the program helped stop a terrorist plot to take down the Brooklyn Bridge using blowtorches.
As Hayden spoke, Sulzberger thought he detected a smirk on the face of President George W. Bush, who had been mostly silent throughout the meeting. Apparently thinking the President also was incredulous, Sulzberger also began to smile. Hayden turned to him and snapped, "It's not funny!"