Times Reporter Accused of Tipping Off Terrorists


The Justice Department has charged that a veteran New York Times foreign correspondent warned an alleged terror-funding Islamic charity that the FBI was about to raid its office — potentially endangering the lives of federal agents. The stunning accusation was disclosed yesterday in legal papers related to a lawsuit the Times filed in Manhattan federal court. The suit seeks to block subpoenas from the Justice Department for phone records of two of its Middle Eastern reporters — Philip Shenon and Judith Miller — as part of a probe to track down the leak. The Times last night flatly denied the allegation.

U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald of Chicago charged in court papers that Shenon blew the cover on the Dec. 14, 2001, raid of the Global Relief Foundation — the first charges of their kind under broad new investigatory powers given to the feds under the Patriot Act. “It has been conclusively established that Global Relief Foundation learned of the search from reporter Philip Shenon of The New York Times,” Fitzgerald said in an Aug. 7, 2002, letter to the Times’ legal department. He said he understood journalists’ concerns about protecting the identities of their sources, but national security and preventing leaks that thwart probes into “terrorist fund-raising” trump such confidentiality. “I would posit that the circumstances here — the decision by the reporter to provide a tip to the subject of a terrorist fund-raising inquiry which seriously compromised the integrity of the investigation and potentially endangered the safety of federal law-enforcement personnel — warrant such cooperation in full,” Fitzgerald said.

Times lawyer George Freeman told The Post that Fitzgerald “wrongly” suggested that Shenon alerted the Islamic charity to the raid. “We deny he tipped anyone off,” Freeman said.

One would hope this is some sort of misunderstanding. If Shenon knowingly tipped off the “charity” of a pending raid, he should go to jail for a long, long time.

(via Memeorandum)

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Bithead says:

    Jail? Not enough.

    Here’s an interesting concept;
    What do you call the act of providing aid to a declared enemy?

    And let’s consider this;
    We have CBS trying to throw an election, and the NYT trying to throw a war.

    And guess which Presidential candidate each grop has been pushing for?

  2. Dave Schuler says:

    Or as He Who Must Not Be Named says, “They’re on the other side”.