The NY Times' ice breaker with President Bush

A light moment did not go over well when President Bush convened a high-level meeting in 2005 to quash a New York Times story

"President came in. Mr. Sulzberger tried to break the ice. No ice was broken."

That's how General Michael Hayden recalls a tense meeting in late 2005 in the Oval Office. President George W. Bush had asked New York Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger, Jr. to the White House in order to pressure the paper not to publish an article about the government's secret "warrantless wiretapping" program.

Hayden, then head of the National Security Agency, and the Times Executive Editor Bill Keller both recall that Sulzberger tried to break the ice with a bit of wit. As you'll hear in this clip, the president was not in the mood to laugh.

The Bush administration and the Times had been down this road before, as Lesley Stahl reports in her 60 Minutes story "The War on Leaks." The previous year, the president's advisors had convinced The Times that the story would be a threat to national security, and the piece wasn't published.

This time around, however, the Times had more confidence in its story, and the article went to press on December 16, 2005.

Two years earlier, a different New York Times piece had brought Jill Abramson, then Washington, D.C. bureau chief, to the White House. "We were summoned," Abramson tells Stahl, to discuss the newspaper's investigation of a covert CIA operation in Iran called "Merlin."

Abramson recalls that her 2003 one-on-one meeting with National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice was, at times, "surreal," with Rice reading, from her notes, the multiple dangers the story could pose to national security.

In the end, and for a "variety of factors," Abramson says, the Times didn't run the Merlin story. Risen included it in his 2006 book "State of War," and as a result, he has been subpoenaed to reveal his sources, as Stahl reports in "The War on Leaks."

Editor's notes: "State of War" is published by Simon & Schuster, which is owned by CBS.

Photo of Bill Keller courtesy the New York Times.