A New York Times reporter has been found to have given an advance copy of a column by Maureen Dowd to a spokesperson at the CIA.
Judicial Watch, a conservative group, released a batch of files on Tuesday that it said highlighted the communications between the CIA, Department of Defense, the White House and a group of filmmakers making a movie about the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. The Obama administration has come under fire from conservative opponents who accuse it of disregarding national security in an effort to burnish its public image.
Buried in the files were emails from Mark Mazzetti, a national security writer for the Times, to a CIA spokeswoman named Marie Harf. Harf had apparently emailed Mazzetti on August 5, 2011, to inquire about a forthcoming column of Dowd's which mentioned the movie flap.
In one email, Mazzetti tells Harf that he is "going to see a version before it gets filed." In the next, he emails Harf the entire column, saying, "this didn't come from me... and please delete after you read. See, nothing to worry about!"
It is generally considered quite a breach to share someone else's work with a source without that person's permission.
UPDATE: The Times later issued a statement about the flap:
Last August, Maureen Dowd asked Mark Mazzetti to help check a fact for her column. In the course of doing so, he sent the entire column to a CIA spokeswoman shortly before her deadline. He did this without the knowledge of Ms. Dowd. This action was a mistake that is not consistent with New York Times standards.
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