Reality and Sanity

June 24, 2006

The NY Times Responds to Outraged Citizens

Filed under: Bias? What bias? — Paul @ 9:08 am

***Scroll for updates*****

The Slimes defends its aiding and abetting the enemy by exposing terrorist-tracking techniques: Following the Money, and the Rules.

When government agencies are involved in continuing investigations that might infringe on Americans' privacy, it is important that some outside entity is keeping track of what is going on. That principle is particularly true now, when the United States is trying to learn how to live in a perpetual war on terror.Investigators will probably need to monitor the flow of money to and from suspected terrorists and listen in on their phone conversations for decades to come. No one wants that to stop, but if America is going to continue to be America, these efforts need to be done under a clear and coherent set of rules, with the oversight of Congress and the courts.

So the Slimes is more interested in oversight than in preventing say, the Sears Tower from a sudden unplanned implosion?

How many more people have to die horribly on American soil for the Slimes to realize this is a war? Will a US city end up a smoking crater because of their concern for "oversight?"

Scott Johnson at Powerline refutes the entire editorial in a single paragraph:

In its editorial on the subject today, the New York Times offers no shred of an argument concerning the possible illegality or overbreadth of the program. It cites no instance of abuse. Rather, the Times argues "these efforts need to be done under a clear and coherent set of rules, with the oversight of Congress and the courts." The Times purports to invoke the rule of law where no law has been broken, and where the Times itself has both broken the law and damaged American national security.

Update: Forgot to add the link to Powerline in the original post. All fixed!

Update II: Charles at LGF has reaction from Investor's Business Daily on the NY Times story: Eyes on the Prize.

Once again, major newspapers, led by The New York Times, have spilled secrets that will make Americans less safe and the war on terror harder to win. No doubt, Pulitzers are in order. We hope they're proud.

The decision by The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal to print details of the government's secret program to monitor terrorists' finances couldn't come at a worse time.

The same day that program was revealed, seven men were arrested in Florida, part of a plot to create a terrorist "Islamic Army" and blow up Chicago's 110-story Sears Tower. The group hoped to hook up with al-Qaida, and even swore oaths to it.

Scary. If nothing else, this underscores the threat we're under — and why those who aid and abet our enemies must be watched.

Which is exactly what the program to watch terrorists' bank accounts did. It looked at bank transfers in the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, or SWIFT, system to track the financial activities of terrorists and their friends.

It is a key part of our effort to dismantle the global terrorist threat and to render al-Qaida and its allies financially impotent. It worked — so well, in fact, that both Republicans and Democrats asked newspapers not to print the story.

The money paragraphs:

We're left to wonder: Is this criminal behavior? The newspapers will claim they have the right under the First Amendment to publish government secrets if they see fit. But that's rubbish. Since World War II, Congress and a series of legal decisions have made it clear the media aren't exempt from the Espionage Act — which forbids giving secrets to the enemy.

While the legality of printing secrets may be debatable, it's clear there's a crisis among media elites that have allowed hatred of the president and his party to taint their reporting. In the process, they've destroyed whatever claims to objectivity and fairness they might have once had. Far worse, they've given aid and comfort to the enemy in a time of war — and that is simply inexcusable.

Update III: The Washinton Times has weighed in: The Right Not to Know.

Once more the spoiler. Despite the earnest persuasion of the White House to preserve a useful weapon in the war against the terrorists, the New York Times has revealed the workings of a covert surveillance program, indisputably within the law, to use administrative subpoenas to examine, through a Belgian financial consortium known by the acronym SWIFT, the financing of international terrorism.

Once the story was out, the Los Angeles Times and Wall Street Journal covered it as well. Now the program is damaged, perhaps severely so, and the financing of terror is harder to track. This is another unnecessary leak, six months after the New York Times revealed a secret National Security Agency terrorist surveillance program.
In its earlier scoop, the New York Times could reasonably argue legal uncertainty. Not this time.

The Supreme Court ruled in United States v. Miller in 1976 that no right to privacy attaches to the type of third-party financial-transaction information SWIFT has provided to the Treasury Department. The Right to Financial Privacy Act, enacted by Congress in 1978 in the wake of United States v. Miller, allows just the administrative subpoenas Treasury has been using. So does the Patriot Act.

The SWIFT transactions that Treasury has been examining are international in nature. The searches are specifically targeted at suspected or known terrorists, a "sharp harpoon aimed at the heart of terrorist activity," as Treasury Secretary John Snow puts it.

The claim that the rights of American citizens are infringed is irrational, unduly partisan, or both.

Read it all…

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