Former New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson said that Condoleezza Rice, who served as secretary of state and national security adviser under President George W. Bush, personally asked for special press treatment — specifically, for the newspaper to kill a story.
Ms. Rice reportedly made the request while national security adviser, regarding a story from journalist James Risen on the CIA, Ms. Abramson said.
Ms. Rice was somewhat awkward during the ordeal, requesting a personal visit, Ms. Abramson said.
“She had a legal yellow notebook on her lap with lots of notes on it, and once I had taken a seat across from her, she barely looked up,” she said during a “60 Minutes” interview. “She basically read in a very stern manner from her notes on this legal pad, which were just point after point about why this story would be damaging to the national security.
“I don’t think I uttered much more than ‘hello’ and ‘I will think of what you said,’” Ms. Abramson said.
Ms. Abramson said Ms. Rice was concerned, first and foremost, “that Jim ceases all reporting on this story, which was really an extraordinary request.”
The former executive said she regretted killing Mr. Risen’s story, which revealed the CIA’s inability to stop Iran’s nuclear program and ultimately put him in hot water with the Justice Department for refusing to disclose his source.
“It seemed, in the calculus of all of the major stories we were dealing with at that point, not worth it to me and I regret that decision now,” she said.