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NY Times ADMITS Scrubbing 9-09 Warning
Bob Fertik
Updated 2-21-02

On Feb 14, Democrats.com revealed that the NY Times "scrubbed" from its Web site a crucial warning about Osama Bin Laden that it published on 9-9-01 - just 2 days before Bin Laden's attack on the U.S.

In response to our expose, the NY Times has admitted that it scrubbed the article (which was actually posted on 9-8-01) because the article was never published in the PRINT newspaper.

This led us to ask: why was John Burns' prescient warning deemed NOT "fit to print"?

Read our exchange and draw your own conclusion. We stick to ours:

We believe it demonstrates the gross negligence of the CIA, NSA, Justice Department, and the White House in the events leading to 9-11. These agencies had MANY warnings, but the people at the top IGNORED them, at a cost of over 3,000 lives and billions of dollars. All of these screwups remain in their jobs! We demand a Blue Ribbon Commission on 9-11 and a thorough housecleaning - not a Congressional Coverup!

From: Christine Mohan
Date: Wed, 20 Feb 2002

Bob, here are the details about that article -- your publish dates are a bit off.

The John Burns article was posted on the Web site on Saturday, Sept. 8 inadvertently, before it was approved for publishing in the newspaper. It was removed from the site a few hours later when its run in the paper was cancelled, in keeping with our policy that NYTimes.com runs only those news articles that have also run in print.

John Burns updated the article to incorporate the events of September 11, and this article was published on the Web site and in print on September 12.

Any other questions, please let me know.

Christine Mohan
spokesperson, New York Times Digital

From: Bob Fertik
Date: Wed, 20 Feb 2002

Hi Christine,

Thanks for the clarification :)

If this article did not appear in print on 9/8 or 9/9, would the Times care to comment on why it was not published then? Was an editorial judgment made? The information in it was so prescient, it seems hard to understand why it was not printed.

Bob Fertik

From: Christine Mohan
Date: Wed, 20 Feb 2002

Articles for The New York Times are held every day for a number of reasons, including space constraints, breaking news, etc.


From: Bob Fertik
Date: Wed, 20 Feb 2002

Hi Christine,

Thanks again for your prompt reply.

Unfortunately, I'm afraid the substance of your reply is quite insufficient.

The article in question could have been published on 9-9, 9-10, or 9-11 (which was printed long before the actual attack), so space limitations surely cannot explain the failure to print this important article.

As for "breaking news," I cannot recall any major stories those 3 days. Unfortunately, I cannot figure out how to retrieve archives of front page images - perhaps you could add that feature to your site.

Surely there must be an editor who is willing to provide a more specific and responsive explanation as to why John Burns' article was not published before (or on) 9-11?


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