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Second Thoughts On Spilling Secrets

Even ombudsmen make mistakes. New York Times Public Editor Byron Calame told readers yesterday that he has had a change of heart regarding the paper's publication of the government's financial surveillance program. While he had originally supported publication of the story, he thinks differently now. You can read Calame's full column but here's the mea culpa:
My July 2 column strongly supported The Times's decision to publish its June 23 article on a once-secret banking-data surveillance program. After pondering for several months, I have decided I was off base. There were reasons to publish the controversial article, but they were slightly outweighed by two factors to which I gave too little emphasis. While it's a close call now, as it was then, I don't think the article should have been published.

Those two factors are really what bring me to this corrective commentary: the apparent legality of the program in the United States, and the absence of any evidence that anyone's private data had actually been misused.

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