In an interview with Al Jazeera America, New York Times Executive Editor Jill Abramson said the Obama White House is “the most secretive White House” she’s ever covered.
“It’s on a scale never seen before,” she said in the interview, which will be televised Sunday at 7 p.m. ET. “This is the most secretive White House that, at least as a journalist, I have ever dealt with.”
Abramson tied her remarks directly to Times reporter James Risen, who the U.S. government is attempting to force to reveal his sources for reports he has written on the CIA.
“I dealt directly with the Bush White House when they had concerns that stories we were about to run put the national security under threat,” Abramson said. “But, you know, they were not pursuing criminal leak investigations. The Obama administration has had seven criminal leak investigations. That is more than twice the number of any previous administration in our history. It’s on a scale never seen before. This is the most secretive White House that, at least as a journalist, I have ever dealt with.”
She also said she believes President Obama is personally responsible for the White House’s secrecy. “I don’t know that,” she admitted, “but certainly enough attention has been focused on this issue that, if he departed from the policies of his government, I think we’d know that at this point.”