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Government Accused of Censorship

The National Security Council has blocked publication of an article critical of the Bush administration’s Iran policy, claiming that it contains classified information. The piece was written by two former government Mideast experts, who have accused the NSC of playing politics: “They don’t want us to say how many opportunities this administration has missed to put relations with Iran on a better track.”


New York Times:

Officials said they still believed that it would be possible to reach an agreement with the authors, Flynt L. Leverett and Hillary Mann, on a publishable version of the article. They are career Mideast analysts who say they left the government after becoming disenchanted with administration policies.

They married in 2003.

Mr. Leverett, who had worked at the Central Intelligence Agency and the N.S.C. until 2003, and Ms. Mann, who worked at the State Department and the security council until 2004, said they were sure that political considerations were involved.

“There is no plausible claim that this is confidential stuff,” Mr. Leverett said in an interview. “There’s no detail in these paragraphs that has not already been written about by me and other officials.”

They said the draft article called for a new diplomatic approach to relations with Iran and pointed out that the United States had worked fruitfully with Iran after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and in the Afghanistan conflict in 2002.

The authors said the administration did not want that history emphasized when it is resisting pressure to renew contacts with Iran.

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