Solomon B. Watson IV was the top legal officer of the New York Times back in 2005 and 2006 when, notoriously, it published two stories compromising top-secret counterterrorism programs. I wrote about what the Times had done at the time in “Exposure,” as Gabriel Schoenfeld did in “Has the New York Times violated the Espionage Act?” Indeed, Schoenfeld’s forthcoming book Necessary Secrets was inspired by the recurring issues raised by the Times’s — oh, let’s say it — violations of the Espionage Act.
The Obama administration has now nominated Watson to be general counsel of the Army. This has raised some questions in the minds of Senators John McCain and Jeff Sessions about how Mr. Watson might deal with issues of leaking and secrecy in his sensitive new post. In fact, in his confirmation hearings they gave him a hot grilling. There is no one more qualified than Schoenfeld to review Watson’s responses to Senators McCain and Sessions. He analyzes them in “A secret keeper (and breaker).”
JOHN adds: Is this some kind of sick joke? How does a career spent at the New York Times qualify Solomon to be the Army’s chief legal officer? It’s one thing to make bad appointments, but, given the Times’s history, it is hard to see this one as anything other than an intentional slap in the Army’s face.
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