She didn’t quite put it in those words, but it’s essentially what she’s saying: that the U.S. government would contact the New York Times and tell them that publishing this, that or the other story would ‘help the terrorists’. And that the New York Times would take those threats seriously and bring the story to a halt (even if they did eventually work out that the U.S. government’s intentions may not always have been entirely honourable).
Here’s a quote from an interview Abramson recently gave to Cosmopolitan:
‘Sometimes the CIA or the director of national intelligence or the NSA or the White House will call about a story . . . You hit the brakes, you hear the arguments, and it’s always a balancing act: the importance of the information to the public versus the claim of harming national security . . . Over time, the government too reflexively said to the Times, ‘you’re going to have blood on your hands if you publish X’ and because of the frequency of that, the government lost a little credibility . . . But you do listen and seriously worry . . . Editors are Americans too . . . We don’t want to help terrorists’.
Interesting, as well, that Abramson seems to be suggesting that being ‘against terrorists’ – or at least, people who the U.S. government claim are terrorists – is somehow an inherent part of being an American, like it’s a national religion or something.
Which for the political and media classes, I suppose it is – except when it comes to the terrorism of the U.S. government and its allies, in which case being ‘against terrorism’ is blasphemous.