Dana Priest’s Cheap Shot (Video)

On this morning’s Meet The Press, Washington Post reporter Dana Priest got downright nasty during a discussion of leaking and press responsibility. Guest host Andrea Mitchell quoted Bill Bennett (also on the panel) who said on his radio program that the reporters whom won Pulitzer’s for their leak-related stories (which Priest did) were not “worthy of an award” but rather “worthy of jail” because the stories endangered national security. Instead of simply responding to Bennett’s comments directly, Priest couldn’t restrain herself from getting personal and alluded to Bennett’s history with gambling by ludicrously comparing Bennett’s belief that revealing classified government anti-terror programs is wrong to the belief that some hold that gambling is wrong. You know, because both situations are so similar.

Way to take the high road, Dana.

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Greg Tinti
About Greg Tinti
Greg started the blog The Political Pit Bull in August 2005. He was OTB's Breaking News Editor from June through August 2006 before deciding to return to his own blog. His blogging career eventually ended altogether. He has a B.A. in Anthropology from The George Washington University,


  1. Tom says:

    Priest actually fancies herself as an expert on warfare. The poor fool wouldn’t know warfare from her own ass. She’s a run-of-the-mill leftist dupe, conduit and useful idiot. Is there a functioning brain cell on the planet that is surprised that militant leftist federal bureaucrats like Mary McCarthy speak to Priest anonymously, and then Priest dutifully “reports” the anonymous claims of idiots like McCarthy?

  2. Eneils Bailey says:

    The last time I checked gambling is legal in some states. Leaking classified security secrets is illegal everywhere in the US.
    Note to Dana:
    Being stupid is not illegal in the 50 states and the District of Columbia. So, you are off the hook.
    And some wonder why we can’t trust the judgment and reporting in the MSM.

  3. Matt says:

    Being stupid is not illegal in the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

    And that is as it should be. How else would we be able to enjoy reality television and/or congress?

  4. Brendan says:

    Note to Bailey: Dana Priest doesn’t say leaking classified information isn’t a crime. She says publishing certain kinds of classified information is not a crime. Check the clip.

  5. Eric M says:

    Did anyone else hear the comment by William Safire concerning WHO decides what to de-classify and what not to?

    (Paraphrase) “Who decided what to declassify or not declassify? WHY, the Founding Fathers!”

    Does this not seem a little ignorant for a man who has been with the New York Times for the last 40 years?

    Eric M
    Vancouver, Washington

  6. I don’t know why anyone is shocked. Standard issue from these folks. And they wonder why some, like I did about two years ago, start laughing when they are called to answer a poll.

  7. gingersnapp says:

    It would seem that Mr. Bennett had to take a little bit of his own medicine this morning. To Dana: “you go girl.”

  8. Bithead says:

    There IS no high road for her position.

    Therefore, her reaction is predictable.

  9. don surber says:

    Bennett started it, she finished him off. Hey, rocks, glass houses

  10. t says:

    Can’t stand the heat? Stay out of the kitchen. If Bill Bennett wants to say that journalists should be jailed for doing something that’s not illegal, he should be a man and accept what the journalists have to say in response.

  11. anjin-san says:

    So its cool for Bushites to call question the patriotism of anyone who questions Bush, but if someone gets personal with a member of the GOP its “the low road”?

    How about the ad on OTB referring to John Kerry, a decorated combat vet, as “Cut & Run Kerry”?

    People in glass houses…

  12. Greg Tinti says:

    Bennett can stand the heat and he showed that by his reaction to Priest’s crap. It’s utterly childish for her to go personal for no reason other than to be nasty. She could have easily defended her position and her rationale without lobbing a personal attack at Bennett. And to compare Bennett’s reaction to stories he views as harmful to our national security (as I do) to Priest’s verbal bomb-throwing about his personal life is ridiculous. Bennett showed incredible restraint that few would have been able to if put in a similar situation.

  13. Wyatt Wingfoot says:

    “Moral equivalency” Tres chic.

    The oh so last century “you go girl” should be replaced with the more appropriate “drop dead, bitch.”

  14. mrbill says:

    She is exposed to much to her Marxist husband. Bill Goodfellow…

    Goodfellow has been described by his wife as a human rights activist. Yet, that is hardly an accurate or complete job description. For the past 30 years, William Goodfellow has pushed radical causes in a string of inter-related far-left think tanks.

    In 1974, he wrote a widely circulated op-ed for the New York Times that served to excuse the genocidal Pol Potâ??s forced evacuation of the Cambodian people from the cities. The piece was so influential that it is still quoted by Noam Chomsky and his followers to this day. According to Goodfellow, the urban population of Phnom Penh was force marched to the killing fields because the Khmer Rouge believed that more food was available in rural areasâ??ignoring the evidence that the communist group was engaging in the systematic slaughter of the innocent, in order to create a communist society.

    Goodfellowâ??s CIP was created with the assistance of the Marxist Chilean diplomat and suspected Cuban spy Orlando Letelier, who was assassinated in Washington, D.C. Even after the truth about Letelierâ??s Cuban Communist connections emerged in materials found after his death, Goodfellow continued to honor him.

    While Goodfellow has remained with CIP since the seventies, he has also maintained a relationship with the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS, a notorious Marxist-oriented think tank). Throughout its history CIP has lobbied for the weakening of the U.S. military through unilateral nuclear disarmament measures and opposition to vital weapons systems, constraining U.S. intelligence gathering capabilities, and appeasement of Marxist regimes around the globe.

    Sounds like a fun fellow.

  15. Eneils Bailey says:

    “You go girl”
    I love when the feminists get angry, they are so cute.
    Goodfellow is not a Goodman.

  16. Pug says:

    If anybody in America deserves a good cheap shot now and then it is fat-ass, self-righteous William Bennett, who has been dishing them out for decades.

    The “Virutes Czar” with a gambling problem; the cigarette smoking “Drug Czar”. What’s next, Chairman of the President’s Council on Physical Fitness?

    This guy embarrasses bloviating pontificators everywhere.

  17. Christopher says:

    Someone should ask Dana:

    Would you rather die from
    a)Burning alive in a jet-fueled fire?
    b)Jumping to your death from 70 stories up? or
    c)Being beheaded while conscious by a terrorist using only his hands and a dull saw

    Maybe that would give her some perspective!

  18. Pug says:

    The assumption, Christopher, is that all the above are going to happen because the New York Times publishes an article on the tracing of wire transfers? Ridiculous.

  19. Eneils Bailey says:

    Sounds like that backyard cookout over at the Bennett’s last weekend did not go well for you.
    I agree with you, smoking, gambling, overweight, maybe we should try him for treason.
    Can’t say that publishing that article will cause another attack. But, behavior such as DP’s and the NYT and WaPo’s does nothing to help curtail it.

  20. Mac says:

    It’s a good thing that homely, catty and stupid isn’t a crime or she would be serving a life sentence

  21. Italo Zanzi says:

    As we prepare to celebrate Independence Day, I can’t help but think about what our founders would say if they were told that freedom of the press had been twisted to mean the right to publish classified secrets in the middle of a war.

    The New York Times deserves the strongest rebuke possible for this act of treachery. I call upon all members of Congress, and especially my opponent. Rep. Tim Bishop, to repudiate the New York Times’ actions.

    Unfortunately, it looks like the media and the Democratic Party are circling their wagons. They defend one of their own if the story hurts the Bush administration and the War on Terror. To them, publishing an article of dubious value is of greater importance than a successful outcome in the War on Terror.

    Dana Priest’s ad hominem argument at Bill Bennett is just further proof that the media and the Left have no real ammunition. The best they can do is snipe at Americans who want to see us win this war.

    Let’s support the troops by not giving terrorists the information they need.

  22. AST says:

    (Whistle!) Tom, referring to a blonde woman’s “ass” is obvious sexual harassment. You’re not allowed to criticize her in such terms, even if she uses similar tactics against Bennett.

  23. AST says:

    (Whistle!) Foul!

    Tom, referring to a blonde woman’s “ass” is obvious sexual harassment. You’re not allowed to criticize her in such terms, even if she uses similar tactics against Bennett. She gets two free cheap shots.

  24. K. Peters says:

    Bennett is a big boy and handled it well. The fact that Dana resorted to a Fox news style personal attack shows the weakness of her position. She couldn’t defend herself with the facts so she tried to drag the discussion into the personal. She reached for the cheap shot because that is all she had. KP

  25. Len says:

    Thanks, Greg. That was priceless!

    The right really has a problem with intelligent, articulate women. Why can’t these bitches stay at home, in the kitchen, barefoot and pregnant like they’re supposed to?

    Damn them.

  26. Mark says:

    Does anyone know if she is correct? That what the NY Times et. al. did in publishing the story was not illegal?

  27. Erin says:

    OMG! the trolls have come up from the depths and are here to defend head troll Dana, grand mistress of the Godless religion of Liberalism. Bill Bennett has nothing to fear from this group his God is light and theirs is dark he will be fine. 2006 elections will come and Republicans will win and the trolls will be banished back to their dark hole. Amen!!!!

  28. Joe says:

    Bennett is a gambling addict? Here I thought he was a drug addict like Rush. Silly me.

  29. Joe says:

    Of course she’s correct, Mark. Bennett did not challenge her.

    I miss the USSR. It was less disturbing to read about the jailing of reporters, censorship, unitary executives (read: dictator), domestic spying, rampant corruption and staggering govt. incompetence when you were reading about some other country

  30. Paul Revile says:

    Ms. Priest is incorrect. Treason is illegal even when committed by newspaper reporters. It is, however, a difficult charge to prove in the criminal law sense of “beyond a reasonable doubt” before a jury. Reasonable people won’t adhere to that standard in passing judgement as to her culpability though.

  31. mike says:

    Dear Sirs,

    I can’t wait to get to Vegas as I know how to “speak truth to power”. Is this broad(priest) a big dope or what? We are at WAR! What is it that you don’t get! Is it a hatred to the American way of life that pissed of you ying-yangs? You MSM/lib’s are lucky to live in this country. I saw the NY Times Reporter about the SWIFT @ CNN W/ Howard kurtz. That poor boy looked like a deer facing the headlights…He looked like he should be in the touch with his lawyer.

  32. davod says:

    Those of you who subscribe to the notion that no one will be killed because this only about financing are living in the twilight zone.

  33. Anderson says:

    Good lord, you people are nuts.

    For sitting next to somebody who’d called for her to be put in jail, I thought Priest did pretty damn well.

  34. Eneils Bailey says:

    For sitting next to someone who has a good chance of being served a subpoena concerning the subject they were discussing, I thought Bennett did damn well. I would have been laughing my ass off.

  35. Skeptic says:

    Paul Revile and all others throwing around charges of treason.

    Treason requires intent. Someone must act with the purpose to levy war or adhere to the enemy. No reasonable person believes that the NYT, or the reporters, wrote the article with the intent of levying war or adhereing to the enemy. Simply publishing “classified” information by itself will not support a charge of treason. The WSJ published a very similar article. Did its editors and reporters commit treason?

    Was the information truly classified when it was published? The Treasury Department provided the same information to the WSJ. Didn’t this effectively “declassify” the information? Either its in the public domain or its not. Anyone here read both stories and find information in the NYT article that was not in the WSJ article that would endanger national security?

    On the July 4th weekend, maybe we shoud be celebrating the the nation, the Constitution, and what our country stands for, instead of bashing them.

  36. redwretch says:

    Freedom of the press isn’t dead just because you wish it were so. Dana Priest is right – publishing classified information that shows government overeach or wrongdoing isn’t treason, but quite the opposite.

    She’s staring down the ruling party of the Superpower because SECRET PRISONS ARE WRONG, and should be discussed by the people before the government chooses such an extreme, totalitarian path.

    The overwhelming number of commentators should read ‘How Would A Patriot Act’ by Greenwald, which explains easily how the US works.

  37. Eneils Bailey says:

    Read Greenwald’s book, no thanks, I will leave that to you. I prefer the Constitution.
    The Constitution ensures “freedom of the press,” not giving to the press the right to act as a constitutional “check and balance” to our government as Bill Keller stated on Sunday.
    Freedom of speech, freedom of the press, etc, are not absolute rights that gives any organization or individual the right to break the law, based on personal and political viewpoints, because we think the government has exceeded its bounds.
    There are legal avenues to take if you think the President or Government has overstepped its authority. Those are laid out in the Constitution, not the NYT employee handbook.

  38. Jon Hendry says:

    Italo writes: “As we prepare to celebrate Independence Day, I can�t help but think about what our founders would say if they were told that freedom of the press had been twisted to mean the right to publish classified secrets in the middle of a war.”

    What would the founders think if they knew the Republicans wanted to throw out principles held sacred since the Magna Carta, and if they knew that the administration engages in torture?

    They’d think “Why did we bother with a revolution just to end up with an unjust tyrant named George?”

    Freedom and liberty are meaningless to the likes of you, cheap trinkets you willingly throw away in the name of political advantage and a false sense of security in your race towards an authoritarian dictatorship.

    The Republicans are a disgrace.

  39. Michael says:

    I’m not going to comment on Ms Priest’s smack-down of Mr Bennett. (So much for ‘civil discourse’ one way or the other.) But I do think her larger argument — the role of the Free Press — is worth listening to and discussing.

    I would point folks to Glenn Greenwald’s recent notes on the matter.

  40. reliapundit says:

    JFK (via POWERLINE who has excerpts of the audio):

    Every newspaper now asks itself, with respect to every story: “Is it news?” All I suggest is that you add the question: “Is it in the interest of the national security?”

    JFK continued:

    I want to talk about our common responsibilities in the face of a common danger. The events of recent weeks may have helped to illuminate that challenge for some; but the dimensions of its threat have loomed large on the horizon for many years. Whatever our hopes may be for the future–for reducing this threat or living with it–there is no escaping either the gravity or the totality of its challenge to our survival and to our security–a challenge that confronts us in unaccustomed ways in every sphere of human activity.

    This deadly challenge imposes upon our society two requirements of direct concern both to the press and to the President–two requirements that may seem almost contradictory in tone, but which must be reconciled and fulfilled if we are to meet this national peril. I refer, first, to the need for far greater public information; and, second, to the need for far greater official secrecy.

    In time of war, the government and the press have customarily joined in an effort, based largely on self-discipline, to prevent unauthorized disclosures to the enemy. In time of “clear and present danger,” the courts have held that even the privileged rights of the First Amendment must yield to the public’s need for national security.

    …For the facts of the matter are that this nation’s foes have openly boasted of acquiring through our newspapers information they would otherwise hire agents to acquire through theft, bribery or espionage; that details of this nation’s covert preparations to counter the enemy’s covert operations have been available to every newspaper reader, friend and foe alike; that the size, the strength, the location and the nature of our forces and weapons, and our plans and strategy for their use, have all been pinpointed in the press and other news media to a degree sufficient to satisfy any foreign power; and that, in at least one case, the publication of details concerning a secret mechanism whereby satellites were followed required its alteration at the expense of considerable time and money.

    newspapers have constantly said-that these are times that appeal to every citizen’s sense of sacrifice and self-discipline. They call out to every citizen to weigh his rights and comforts against his obligations to the common good. I cannot now believe that those citizens who serve in the newspaper business consider themselves exempt from that appeal.”

    JFk would be on Bennett’s and GWB’s side and opposed to the leakers and their enablers – folks like the hyper-partisan Dana Priest, Bill Keller.

    There’s a war on and these pieces of cr*p act like the ONLY important thing is bringing down the president.

    To most of us morons out here it smells like treason.

  41. Paul Revile says:

    In response to Skeptic’s juvenile and disingenuous argument; here is the actual text of the federal definition of the crime of treason.

    Title 18, Section 2381. Treason

    Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason and shall suffer death, or shall be imprisoned not less than five years and fined under this title but not less than $10,000; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.

    The legal question of guilt in this case would indeed hinge on proof of intent. Did Ms. Priest “adhere” to the enemies of the US by deliberate provision of aid to them? Or rather, was her deliberate provision of aid motivated by some other purpose?

    “Skeptic” didn’t cite the entirety of the statute, but chose to cite only up to the “adhering to the enemy” portion. Why? Because this phrase is confusing legal jargon. Gee whiz, Ms. Priest didn’t even shake hands with any terrorists, let alone “adhere to them”!

    But she sure as Hades gave the enemy aid and comfort.

    The only reason she isn’t under indictment right now is that there are enough addlepated judges on the bench to whom “bringing possible doubt or disrepute upon the conduct of the executive branch by dissemination of classified information obtained from a source in breach of his sworn duties” would constitute a motive distinct from “giving aid to the enemy”.

    “You see, Ms. Priest’s actual purpose was to give aid to the Democrats. The fact that she may have incidentally aided the terrorists is immaterial as matter of law.”

    This is the point I was making in my original post; the NYT and Ms. Priest won’t be indicted or convicted before the bar. But I sincerely hope that the body politic damns them for the villainous turncoats they most certainly are.