12/09/2014 02:09 pm ET Updated Dec 09, 2014

Dick Cheney, CIA Urged New York Times Not To Run Secret Prison Story

Mark Wilson via Getty Images

NEW YORK -- In November 2002, then-Vice President Dick Cheney and senior CIA officials succeeded in urging The New York Times not to run an article disclosing the name of the country where an al Qaeda operative was held.

News of the government's request could be found in the executive summary of the Senate Intelligence Committee torture report released Tuesday.

The report described how an unnamed "media organization" learned of Abu Zubaydah's whereabouts in April 2002, prompting the CIA "to explain to the media organization the 'security implications' of revealing the information."

Later, in November 2002, "a major U.S. newspaper" found out the location, according to the report. As a result, "senior CIA officials, as well as Vice President Cheney, urged the newspaper not to publish the information."

New York Times reporter James Risen revealed Tuesday that the "U.S. newspaper" in question was his own. In December 2003, The Times reported that the country was Thailand.

Jill Abramson, who was then Washington bureau chief for the paper and later its executive editor, recently said The New York Times too readily accepted requests from the Bush administration to withhold information in the years just after the Sept. 11 attacks.

The Times famously held for 13 months a bombshell report by Risen and reporter Eric Lichtblau on the National Security Agency's warrantless wiretapping program, finally publishing the story in December 2005. Risen had planned to reveal the program in his book, State of War, the following month.

Risen is still waging a legal battle over the government trying to compel him to reveal a source for the 2006 book on a chapter about a botched CIA mission in Iran.



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