Attorney, John Mitchell, Rosie Rosenthal discussed on American on the Line

Automatic TRANSCRIPT

Wait a minute. Wait a minute. What could you wait one more day? They have they have one more day after that. I dunno. I dunno next Nixon calls Attorney General John Mitchell. Mitchell wants to put the times on legal notice that they're violating the law by possessing publishing, the papers Nixon finally agrees as far as the concern their enemies. I think we just ought to do it in any way as rosy told me and Pentagon papers whistleblower, Daniel Ellsberg, the times was about to learn that they had the White House's full. Attention Monday stories came out and got some more attention, but the exploded when the Attorney General John Mitchell asked the times, not to publish how did he ask the it was a brief telegram in those days, and I happen to be in the room. We're all this stuff came in and teletype machine clocked. It's telex to punch Sulzberger telegram, basically, requesting ceasing publication because of national security and that was on Monday. If you go back and look at the third the one sorta ripped it off and ran happened to be there. I ran down to the foreign desk. This set off one of the fiercest debate that has probably ever happened inside a newsroom should the time. Stop or should they defy the attorney general of the United States. They needed to consult with publisher punch Sulzberger. But at that moment, he was on a plane to London all the editors went up to his office and kept the line open. And I was literally in the room because I had to hold the phone, which we're publish office on the eleventh floor at the time because they were waiting to see what he would do when you're actually there. Yeah. She's in the room and. Hearing this incredible discussion around what to do you? Remember anything is discussion. What I recall was a very intense argument. And I kept sitting there going. I can't believe I'm sitting here. I was twenty two years old. And I'm listening to listening to every day. And it was it was hot again and intense. The editors and the papers lawyers went back and forth. The attorney general's notes that they were violating the espionage act. That's serious stuff. We have the right to publish classified documents. What good is freedom of the press? We can't do this. Well, what good is freedom of the press at the FBI shuts us down. Are we going to take a financial hit? How much will it cost a fight this? What about our reputation is this worth it is the only time I've ever seen seeing that was out of the movies because they had to stop the, you know, wasn't clear what would happen. So they literally stopped the press. They did stuff. Well, they hadn't started. But they delayed them. Yeah. The paper's London bureau chief Tony Lewis was on the other end from a phone booth at the airport waiting snag the publisher as soon as he got in. And that's where one of the most important decisions in the history of journalism got made inside a phone booth at Heathrow, and they were waiting as the publisher what he wanted to do. And and he ordered. He said, that's publish the editors crowded into an elevator with Rosie to go. Tell the newsroom the times top editor with Abe Rosenthal. Who's no relation to Rosie Rosenthal. But Rosie's father who was a prominent journalism professor had actually gotten aid his first newspaper job and he's in the elevator. And he turns around and he looks at me. And he pokes me in the chest. And he goes don't ever repeat a word you heard tonight to a living person, not even your father. And and then he came down into the newsroom, and it was quite dramatic. And he put his hand up and said, we're gonna publish and there was literally a cheer. On Tuesday, Attorney General John Mitchell was done asking he went to court and got a temporary restraining order. The times was now officially banned from publishing the papers until a judge could decide on the case. The times announced they would abide by the temporary order and stopped publication. But Ellsberg now very much a wanted man wasn't done nothing in a temporary order said, another newspaper, couldn't publish the papers. So he leaked them. Again. This time to the Washington Post..

Coming up next