Needless to say, this was surprise. I doubt not this was pursued with journalistic integrity. It is most likely a sign that The Times feels that they need to cover it. Perhaps, they know that this connection is going to be widely exposed by conservative groups and that it will create a stir. Ceding the issue to conservatives allows them to define and control the debate. This looks like an attempt co-opt some of their thunder and snuff out the story before it becomes too hot.
I personally believe that making this election a referendum on Obama and his paper thin accomplishments and radical ties is one of McCain’s strongest strategies for winning.