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Christian Lorentzen: Tom Cotton, 9 April 2015

... attention came when as a soldier he wrote an open letter to a pair of New York Times reporters, James Risen and Eric Lichtblau, as well as the editor, Bill Keller, after they made public a Bush administration surveillance programme directed at terror networks’ sources of finance. He said the journalists should be jailed for espionage. ‘These ...

Diary

David Bromwich: The Snowden Case, 4 July 2013

... of the possible scope of NSA operations in December 2005 when the New York Times ran a story by James Risen and Eric Lichtblau on massive warrantless surveillance: ‘Bush Lets US Spy on Callers without Courts’. The government was demanding and getting from the telecoms all the records it wanted of calls both to and from their customers. But the feed ...

Was he? Had he?

Corey Robin: In the Name of Security, 19 October 2006

The Lavender Scare: The Cold War Persecution of Gays and Lesbians in the Federal Government 
by David Johnson.
Chicago, 277 pp., £13, May 2006, 0 226 40190 1
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Terrorism and the Constitution: Sacrificing Civil Liberties in the Name of National Security 
by David Cole and James Dempsey.
New Press, 320 pp., £10.99, March 2006, 1 56584 939 6
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General Ashcroft: Attorney at War 
by Nancy Baker.
Kansas, 320 pp., £26.50, April 2006, 0 7006 1455 9
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State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration 
by James Risen.
Free Press, 240 pp., £18.99, January 2006, 0 7432 7578 0
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Lapdogs: How the Press Rolled Over for Bush 
by Eric Boehlert.
Free Press, 352 pp., $25, May 2006, 0 7432 8931 5
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... The ‘obstacles to information sharing were more bureaucratic than legal’, David Cole and James Dempsey write in Terrorism and the Constitution, and had little to do ‘with the constitutional principles of due process, accountability, or checks and balances’. But while the government rides roughshod over constitutional principles, it has done ...

The Skaters

James Lasdun, 3 January 2002

... a stubborn landscape, to settle it and make it pay, goes reeling by; the usual aching and craving risen on blasted granite and raw clay. They point their finger and they call it rape, and maybe they’re right, though from some viewpoints, folks might think them hypocritical, like how they bring their kids to the new Kiwanis ice-rink – the kids all slim and ...

Too Many Alibis

James Wood: Geoffrey Hill, 1 July 1999

Canaan 
by Geoffrey Hill.
Penguin, 76 pp., £7.99, September 1996, 0 14 058786 1
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The Truth of Love: A Poem 
by Geoffrey Hill.
Penguin, 82 pp., £8.99, January 1997, 0 14 058910 4
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... of Love. They are some of the most frustrating in the book. Here is LXVI, in full: Christ has risen yet again to their ritual supplication. It seems weird that the comedy never self-destructs. Actually it is strengthened – if attenuation is strength. (Donne said as much of gold. Come back, Donne, I forgive you; and lovely Herbert.) But what strange ...

First Puppet, Now Scapegoat

Inigo Thomas: Ass-Chewing in Washington, 30 November 2006

State of Denial: Bush at War 
by Bob Woodward.
Simon and Schuster, 560 pp., £18.99, October 2006, 0 7432 9566 8
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... furniture, and didn’t calm down until a doctor arrived and injected her with a tranquilliser. James McCord, head of the plumbers, the White House unit which broke into the DNC Watergate offices, who had been a bodyguard to the Mitchells, later said that she’d been kidnapped.In Haldeman’s diary, Martha in the summer of 1972 was as big a problem for the ...

More than a Million Names

Mattathias Schwartz: American Intelligence, 16 June 2016

Playing to the Edge: American Intelligence in the Age of Terror 
by Michael Hayden.
Penguin, 464 pp., £21.99, February 2016, 978 1 59420 656 6
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... for anomalous behaviour in the general pool of information. In one extreme case, documented by James Risen in the New York Times, the CIA and the Pentagon paid a private company millions of dollars to look for al-Qaida messages supposedly hidden in al-Jazeera TV broadcasts. It’s true several plots were thwarted, like the plan a group of British men ...

How to Get Ahead at the NSA

Daniel Soar, 24 October 2013

... until well after it had launched. Gradually the news spread and in 2004 a New York Times reporter, James Risen, started looking into it. The response was dramatic: the Times was dissuaded from publishing its story about it for nearly a year, and in the interim the NSA rushed to find new legal authorities to maintain the supply of information it had come ...

The Henry James Show

Ruth Bernard Yeazell, 7 January 1988

Henry JamesA Life 
by Leon Edel.
Collins, 740 pp., £25, July 1987, 0 00 217870 2
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The Complete Notebooks of Henry James 
edited by Leon Edel and Lyall Powers.
Oxford, 662 pp., £25, March 1987, 0 19 503782 0
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... by the case of a couple who had served as custodians of the Shakespeare house in Stratford, Henry James constructed a marvellously ironic narrative about the ‘stupid’ avidity of a public who care nothing for the artist’s work and everything for his legend, flocking to the shrine to see ‘where He hung up His hat and where He kept His boots and where ...

Did It Happen on 9 April?

Frank Kermode, 20 March 2008

The Resurrection 
by Geza Vermes.
Penguin, 168 pp., £7.99, March 2008, 978 0 14 103005 0
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... and this was his response: ‘If there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen; and if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain and your faith is also vain.’ The creeds still require the faithful to declare their belief that Jesus died, was buried, descended into hell, and on the third day ...

Elephant Tears

James Macdonald: Goldman Sachs, 3 November 2011

Money and Power: How Goldman Sachs Came to Rule the World 
by William Cohan.
Allen Lane, 658 pp., £25, 9781846144547
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... billion – an increase of more than 1400 times. In the meantime, the GDP of the United States has risen by 14 times. The reasons for the exponential growth of finance are disputed. It has been claimed that the increasing use of borrowing is an inevitable part of economic growth, and that the rise of global finance is necessary to sustain a globalised world ...

Abolish the CIA!

Chalmers Johnson: ‘A classic study of blowback’, 21 October 2004

Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan and bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to 10 September 2001 
by Steve Coll.
Penguin, 695 pp., $29.95, June 2004, 1 59420 007 6
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... on the overthrow of the Iranian government in 1953, carried out in the interests of BP. In 2000, James Risen of the New York Times explained: When the Central Intelligence Agency helped overthrow Muhammad Mossadegh as Iran’s prime minister in 1953, ensuring another 25 years of rule for Shah Muhammad Reza Pahlavi, the CIA was already figuring that its ...

Incendiary Devices

Daniel Soar: The Edward Snowden Story, 20 February 2014

The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World’s Most Wanted Man 
by Luke Harding.
Guardian Faber, 346 pp., £12.99, February 2014, 978 1 78335 035 3
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... the UK, where the level of indifference is inexplicably extreme: some blame our love affair with James Bond, others our ineradicable deference to authority figures – though perhaps that’s the same thing. Greenwald’s global hit rate stepped up in the last three months of 2013, after he left the Guardian in October, to join a new media outfit in ...

I wasn’t just a brain in a jar

Christian Lorentzen: Edward Snowden, 26 September 2019

Permanent Record 
by Edward Snowden.
Macmillan, 339 pp., £20, September 2019, 978 1 5290 3565 0
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... Snowden​ had reason to believe that those leaks might have little impact. In the summer of 2004, James Risen and Eric Lichtblau of the New York Times had been ready to publish a report on the NSA’s Bush-era surveillance programme, including an aspect of STELLARWIND, but the administration put in calls to the paper’s editor, Bill Keller, and to its ...

Best of All Worlds

James Oakes: Slavery and Class, 11 March 2010

Slavery in White and Black: Class and Race in the Southern Slaveholders’ New World Order 
by Elizabeth Fox-Genovese and Eugene Genovese.
Cambridge, 314 pp., £14.99, December 2008, 978 0 521 72181 3
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... Or the Reverend William A. Smith, who defended slavery on ‘racial grounds’. Or the Reverend James Warley Miles, who also ‘preferred racial to class grounds’. In a chapter on the political economy of the Old South the authors note that everyone who discussed the issue conceded that slave labour was less efficient than free labour. But those same ...

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