NY Times increases newsroom security in wake of anonymous op-ed

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The New York Times has reportedly increased security around its newsroom following its decision to publish a controversial op-ed from an anonymous senior Trump administration official.

The expanded security measures come due to “the heightened nature of the attention we are receiving right now,” the Times wrote in an internal memo obtained by CNN. CNN notes that the Times has seen “a substantial uptick in incoming calls,” a number of which have been shared on Twitter by Times reporters and staff. 

{mosads}According to CNN, the memo directed staffers not to answer an incoming call if they do not recognize the number. 

The increase in calls followed a tweet from White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders in which she slammed the Times for creating a “wild obsession with the identity” of the anonymous author and directed people to “call the opinion desk of the failing NYT” alongside the Times’s general phone number.

Times reporters said they received a few angry phone calls, but wrote on Twitter that a number of the calls were complimentary in nature.

The added security comes just two days after the Times published an anonymous op-ed in which a top Trump administration official blasted the president’s “amorality” and described an internal “resistance” to undermine Trump’s presidency. 

“The root of the problem is the president’s amorality. Anyone who works with him knows he is not moored to any discernible first principles that guide his decision making,” the official wrote.

The author continued that while officials “want the administration to succeed,” they have had to work from within against Trump’s “misguided impulses” and parts of his agenda.

The piece accumulated more than 12 million page views by Friday, CNN reported, and led to a swift rebuke from President Trump and the White House. 

Trump deemed the author “gutless,” while his press secretary called on the anonymous official to resign. 

Trump has repeatedly wondered if the official who wrote the essay committed treason. 

“You look at this horrible thing that took place, is it subversion, is it treason?” Trump said during a rally in Billings, Mont., on Thursday.

“It is really terrible,” Trump continued, ripping the author of the piece as “an anonymous, gutless coward.”

Trump escalated his attack against the newspaper on Friday, saying that the Department of Justice should investigate the identity of the anonymous writer. 

“We’re confident that the Department of Justice understands that the First Amendment protects all American citizens and that it would not participate in such a blatant abuse of government power,” The New York Times responded in a statement. “The president’s threats both underscore why we must safeguard the identity of the writer of this Op-Ed and serve as a reminder of the importance of a free and independent press to American democracy.”

The Times’s op-ed editor Jim Dao said earlier this week that there is a “very small number of people within the Times who know this person’s identity.” He also said the newspaper has “taken a number of special precautions to protect the person’s identity.” 

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