With Glenn Greenwald's bombshell scoop in The Guardian that the NSA collects phone data from millions of Verizon customers, the New York Times continued in its wave of criticism with an editorial saying the Obama "administration has now lost all credibility." See update below.
The Times became one of the more influential voices to chide the Obama administration for attacking press freedom following reports last month that the Justice Department secretly monitored the Associated Press and Fox News.
Earlier this week, executive editor Jill Abramson appeared on CBS News' "Face the Nation" and said the Times feared "news gathering is being criminalized." She added, "The reporters who work for the Times in Washington have told me many of their sources are petrified even to return calls" in light of the Justice Department's agressive investigations into leaks.
Late Thursday afternoon, The Times published another scathing editorial about the sweeping court order that allowed the NSA to collect Verizon customers' phone data. The board wrote:
Mr. Obama is proving the truism that the executive will use any power it is given and very likely abuse it. That is one reason we have long argued that the Patriot Act, enacted in the heat of fear after the 9/11 attacks by members of Congress who mostly had not even read it, was reckless in its assignment of unnecessary and overbroad surveillance powers.
The board added that it was not objecting to the legality of the court order but argued against using the Patriot Act for this purpose.
This stunning use of the act shows, once again, why it needs to be sharply curtailed if not repealed.
Click over to The New York Times to read the editorial in its entirety.
UPDATE -- 8:30 p.m.:
The Times appears to have updated its editorial, adding to its statement, "The administration has now lost all credibility." Journalist Adam Henry of WAFF-TV noticed that the line now reads, "The administration has now lost all credibility on this issue."