Elisabeth Bumiller, Pentagon correspondent with The New York Times, spoke recently at Brigham Young University and seemed to blame Wikileaks for the lack of transparency at her workplace. This is a curious defence of reporters who simply can’t get information without it being passed by compliant officials. It’s not as if the Pentagon was this wonderfully transparent organisation before Wikileaks and how much have the corporate media allowed that to fester, wanting to foster close ties to officials for sanctioned leaks?
DU: Working with the Pentagon, how much information do they willingly give you?
EB: Not a lot. It’s changed a lot. Because of WikiLeaks, [Defense Secretary Robert] Gates, who is former CIA director — and a big believer in secrets — has really clamped down on information. The Obama administration has been pretty tough about leakers. There’s been a chilling effect, so it’s hard. [Covering] Egypt was very tough. Gates [was] on the phone fairly often with counterparts in Egypt, and we had absolutely no light on what was being said. So it’s a problem. The WikiLeaks really shook them up at the Pentagon.