10/15/2013 09:02 am ET Updated Dec 15, 2013

Finally, An Editor Sticking Up For The NSA!


Editors of newspapers usually pay some lip service to the notion that they have to be skeptical about, well, pretty much everything. It's no accident that "if your mother says she loves you, check it out" is such a journalism cliché. Journalists are supposed to be super-questioning about everything, right? And that's especially true when we're talking about issues of national security and intelligence, where governments are known to stretch the truth from time to time.

So, at the very least, Chris Blackhurst, the former editor of the Independent newspaper in Britain, should get points for honesty for this forthright admission: "If MI5 warns that this is not in the public interest who am I to disbelieve them?"

Blackhurst adds, "If the security services insist something is contrary to the public interest, and might harm their operations, who am I (despite my grounding from Watergate onwards) to disbelieve them?"

And he wonders "what it is, exactly, that the NSA and GCHQ, are doing that is so profoundly terrible?"

It's the rare editor who will so openly fight the good fight on behalf of his country's top spying agencies. Even though governments always, always say that the revelations of more secrets will harm national security, and even though skepticism about national security claims is sort of the foundation of all modern investigative journalism, the beleaguered MI5 and NSA will surely be happy for Blackhurst's support.


The Snowden Saga