Peter King Calls The New York Times 'A Disgrace,' Which Is Actually Pretty Nice for Him

Peter King told Fox News that The Times is "a disgrace" that doesn't "care about American lives being lost" in the wake of the paper's pro-Snowden editorial. He said worse in 2006.

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New York Rep. Peter King told Fox News that The New York Times is "a disgrace" that doesn't "care about American lives being lost" in the wake of the newspaper's editorial supporting Edward Snowden. It's the meanest thing King's said about the paper since he asked the Attorney General to prosecute its editors for treason in 2006 — after it reported on NSA surveillance.

King gets excited about things. And he got very excited in the wake of the Times' suggestion that the NSA leaker (or, in its words, whistleblower) be given some sort of clemency deal that would allow him to come back to the United States. Politico has the video and a partial trascript:

"Their editorial today and their whole pattern over the last several years, they’ve really made themselves a blame-America-first rag as far as I’m concerned, and why we exalt The New York Times is beyond me. … They go out of their way to be apologists for terrorists and go after those in law enforcement and military who are trying to win this war."

In 2006, the paper reported that the CIA and the Treasury Department under President George W. Bush were analyzing international financial transactions for evidence of terror links. That June, the Associated Press reported King asked the attorney general to "begin an investigation and prosecution of The New York Times — the reporters, the editors and the publisher." King said, "We're at war, and for the Times to release information about secret operations and methods is treasonous."

Other papers ran the same report as the Times, but King singled it out in particular for having previously reported on rumors that the NSA was collecting information about Americans' phone calls without a warrant. That report led to the first public critique of the government's surveillance structure, and prompted later congressional revisions to the Patriot Act. In the wake of Snowden's disclosures earlier this year, the government finally admitted that the program existed.

The Times was sanguine in response to King's threats back in 2006. When it offered an endorsement in his race that October, it declined to back King, writing, "We do not support Mr. King, but not because he wants us in jail. Our decision has to do with temperament, effectiveness and differences on issues from taxes and Iraq to abortion and immigration." He doesn't get everything wrong, the paper's editors added, though this was apparently not enough of an olive branch to assuage King's anger over the long term.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.