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From the Archives, but Still News
[FINAL Edition]
The Washington Post - Washington, D.C.
Subjects: Intelligence gathering; Reader response; Media coverage; Terrorism
Author: Getler, Michael
Date: Feb 20, 2005
Start Page: B.06
Section: EDITORIAL

Then on Feb. 12, the Times published another 1,200-word, front- page story disclosing further details about a memo -- dated Jan. 25, 2001, five days after President Bush took office -- from then-White House counterterrorism chief Richard A. Clarke to then-national security adviser Condoleezza Rice warning about the al Qaeda threat and outlining proposals for dealing with it.

The full contents and details had not been disclosed until the National Security Archive, a private library of declassified documents in Washington, obtained them through the Freedom of Information Act and put them on its Web site Feb. 10. Aside from the story, the Times published lengthy excerpts of the Clarke memo. The Post used a 350-word wire service story on Page A20, the back page of that A-section and a place that even hard-core newshounds can easily miss.

Here's how one reader put it: "I don't understand why The Post has turned the '[Jeff Gannon]' story into yet another piece about bloggers. The story happened to be broken by bloggers, to their credit. But the story has two serious elements that The Post should report out on its own: 1) How is it that in an era when we have to take our shoes off to get on an airplane, a guy gains access to the White House with an alias on his ID badge? I don't believe that has yet been answered; 2) To what extent was granting 'Gannon' access another form of buying or manipulating the news? These are important questions." I agree.

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