Senators charged with vetting former New York Times Chief Legal Officer Solomon B. Watson IV for the position of general counsel for the army expressed concern yesterday that he might leak sensitive information to the media. Their reason for concern: a couple of Times stories published during his tenure that … revealed classified information.
The articles that Senator John McCain and others were worried about were the Pulitzer Prize – winning Times report on the Bush administration’s legal maneuverings concerning National Security Administration wiretaps and another story about a Belgian bank providing transaction data to U.S. counterterrorism officials.
Watson refuted the attacks, saying he would not condone leaks of classified information: “I certainly wouldn’t be a leaker.” Plus, he said, the Times stories weren’t his call to make, and in any case, it was legal to publish them. But asked by McCain whether he would’ve done the same thing were it his call, he said no.