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The New York Times Publishes Classified National Security Secrets Once Again

Updated

The dynamic duo of Eric Lichtblau and James Risen are at it again with their exposure of a classified program used to track the banking practices of people associated with al Qaeda.

Under a secret Bush administration program initiated weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks, counterterrorism officials have gained access to financial records from a vast international database and examined banking transactions involving thousands of Americans and others in the United States, according to government and industry officials.

Well, it's not secret anymore.

The program is limited, government officials say, to tracing transactions of people suspected of ties to Al Qaeda by reviewing records from the nerve center of the global banking industry, a Belgian cooperative that routes about $6 trillion daily between banks, brokerages, stock exchanges and other institutions. The records mostly involve wire transfers and other methods of moving money overseas or into and out of the United States. Most routine financial transactions confined to this country are not in the database.

So, what's the problem? Why is the New York Times publishing this information if virtually all the banking transactions that are being traced are overseas with no real effect to Americans? This question becomes even more important when we learn that the White House asked the New York Times to refrain from publishing this article because it could make the program less effective. Here's the Times' editor's response:

Bill Keller, the newspaper's executive editor, said: "We have listened closely to the administration's arguments for withholding this information, and given them the most serious and respectful consideration. We remain convinced that the administration's extraordinary access to this vast repository of international financial data, however carefully targeted use of it may be, is a matter of public interest."

Which public interest is Mr. Keller looking out for? The American public at large isn't affected. Besides, the American public has expressed support over and over again for programs like this one that track the activities of would-be terrorists intent on harming us. The only public affected is the terrorist kind. Would be terrorits are the direct beneficiaries of this kind of article.

Take a look at the terror suspects this formerly secret program has netted:

Among the successes was the capture of a Qaeda operative, Riduan Isamuddin, better known as Hambali, believed to be the mastermind of the 2002 bombing of a Bali resort, several officials said. The Swift data identified a previously unknown figure in Southeast Asia who had financial dealings with a person suspected of being a member of Al Qaeda; that link helped locate Hambali in Thailand in 2003, they said.

[snip]

The data also helped identify a Brooklyn man who was convicted on terrorism-related charges last year, the officials said. The man, Uzair Paracha, who worked at a New York import business, aided a Qaeda operative in Pakistan by agreeing to launder $200,000 through a Karachi bank, prosecutors said.

Because the New York Times published the details of the US government's effective terrorist tracking program, al Qaeda operatives now have more opportunity to avoid being caught.

Michelle Malkin is similarly disgusted with the games the NY Times is playing with our national security.

Hugh Hewitt:

How odd that most Americans think sleeper cells and buried WMDs in Iraq present more of a threat than the Administration's surveillance of the banking activities of terrorists.

Alexandra Von Maltzan at Newsbusters:

What exactly constitutes "Government secrets" nowadays. Absolutely everything is out in the open, I have no idea how any covert operations or classified programs can be carried out anymore. With the likes of the NYT and the L.A. Times revealing to all and sundry classified information, the terrorists don't need any help from their own, when they are getting plenty directly from us.

Expose the Left:

Tracking the finances of terrorist organizations is one of THE best tools we have to cut at the roots of terror. The NY Times doesn't care. After specifically being asked not to release this information by our government because it might jeapordize its effectiveness. The NY Times doesn't care how it effects National Security, they are leaking it to the public. Classified information? What's that? We are in a transparent nation.

AJ Strata:

Keller has it out for the Bush administration and wants to salvage his sinking revenues. There is no reason to expose this because very few Americans have international bank dealings. And if they did, I am sure they would not mind someone scrutinizing the overseas entity.

The LA Times is also jumping on the destroy-America's-national-security-capability bandwagon:

The U.S. government, without the knowledge of many banks and their customers, has engaged for years in a secret effort to track terrorist financing by accessing a vast database of confidential information on transfers of money between banks worldwide.


The program, run by the Treasury Department, is considered a potent weapon in the war on terrorism because of its ability to clandestinely monitor financial transactions and map terrorist webs.

Update: Let's flashback to Gabriel Schoenfeld's important piece from the March edition of Commentary Magazine in which he argued that the New York Times was violating the Espionage Act with its article that exposed the NSA's terrorist surveillance program. This is what Mr. Schoenfeld said about the New York Times' publication of the NSA program:

The Justice Department has already initiated a criminal investigation into the leak of the NSA program, focusing on which government employees may have broken the law. But the government is contending with hundreds of national-security leaks, and progress is uncertain at best. The real question that an intrepid prosecutor in the Justice Department should be asking is whether, in the aftermath of September 11, we as a nation can afford to permit the reporters and editors of a great newspaper to become the unelected authority that determines for all of us what is a legitimate secret and what is not. Like the Constitution itself, the First Amendment's protections of freedom of the press are not a suicide pact. The laws governing what the Times has done are perfectly clear; will they be enforced?

Good question. Will they be enforced with the Times' and the other media outlets' exposure of this classified national security program?

Update II: The American Thinker notes that The New York Sun has quoted Mr. Schoenfeld on the possibility that the Times could be looking for trouble from the Attorney General:

A conservative magazine editor who is one of the leading advocates of prosecuting the Times for its December story, Gabriel Schoenfeld, told The New York Sun last night that the newspaper's latest move could increase their legal jeopardy.


"They're courting prosecution. ... They're increasingly behaving like if we were in the middle of World War II and they learned of plans to invade Normandy. Because they decided it's a matter of public interest, they'd publish it," Mr. Schoenfeld said. "I think this is reckless and likely to encourage Attorney General Gonzales to prosecute them, if not for this story, for some of the other things they've done."

Read the rest of the Sun's article.

Update III: Ed Morrissey is spot on with this:

Did no one read that and understand that the US has an extensive surveillance system on financial transactions around the world? Perhaps Keller, Lichtblau, and Risen need facts spelled out for them using crayon and words of two syllables and less, but the thinking world already understood that American intelligence had thoroughly penetrated global finance -- exactly like we said we would do in the wake of 9/11.


This story is only good for one thing, and that is an attempt to blow the program and stop our ability to follow the money. The New York Times apparently wants to stage itself as a publication written by traitors for an audience of idiots.

Others blogging:

Iowa Voice
Sister Toldjah
Hot Air
Stop the
Jeff Goldstein
All Things Beautiful
Larry Kudlow


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Comments (63)

Front page of the Wall Stre... (Below threshold)
Regret:

Front page of the Wall Street Journal carries the story too (subscription required):

Treasury Tracks Financial Data In Secret Program
Since 9/11, U.S. Has Used Subpoenas to Access Records From Fund-Transfer System
By GLENN R. SIMPSON
June 23, 2006; Page A1

Since shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the U.S. Treasury Department has been secretly tracking suspected terrorist financing through a far-reaching program that gives it access to records from the network that handles nearly all international financial transfers....

honestly, is anyone surpris... (Below threshold)
sean nyc/aa:

honestly, is anyone surprised by this?

hell, they even got a named source, this Levey guy, to comment on it. That's a bigger surprise to me.

the terrorists know that all international electronic communications are being monitored. I know it, you know it, they know it. this is just confirmation of that, which should come as news to no one.

When are they going to "fro... (Below threshold)

When are they going to "frog march" Pinch Sulzberger out of the NYT offices and into Federal Prison?

The media will continue to ... (Below threshold)
Bob Jones:

The media will continue to publish "leaks" that damage our national security and endanger American citizens. One day, people will die and it will be traced to the publishing of a "leak" and the lawsuits will fly. I hope the families of the people killed due to the negligence of the media sue the New York Times, LA Times, and all the other seditious media outlets into oblivion (along with their associated senior editors and reporters).

The U.S. government, ... (Below threshold)
stan25:

The U.S. government, without the knowledge of many banks and their customers, has engaged for years in a secret effort to track terrorist financing by accessing a vast database of confidential information on transfers of money between banks worldwide.

The United States government should file treason charges against the editor and the reporters who published this story. The DOJ should also find the CIA leaker and prosecute him/her on the same charges

It's time to hurt the Times... (Below threshold)
Bob Jones:

It's time to hurt the Times where it counts. Circulation continues to spiral downward, so all that's left is advertising revenue.

Time to contact those companies to advertise in this seditious rag and let them know how you feel about their money supporting a traitorous media outlet. I need a list of those advertisers and I won't be purchasing their products so long as they continue to advertise with NYT.

T H E N E W Y O R... (Below threshold)
ted:

T H E N E W Y O R K T I M E S H A S C R O S S E D T H E L I N E T H I S T I M E !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

honestly, is anyone surp... (Below threshold)

honestly, is anyone surprised by this?

Surprised that the NYT is blabbing about anti-terrorist strategy and tactics? Why would we be surprised about that?

I think it's interesting th... (Below threshold)

I think it's interesting that the NYT can dig up information on all these secret programs, yet some folks still believe in 9/11 conspiracy theories that would require thousands of people to keep their mouths shut.

Bob Jones, you're absolutel... (Below threshold)
ted:

Bob Jones, you're absolutely right. As American citizens we can't take this anymore. We should DEMAND THAT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TAKE IMMEDIATE LEGAL ACTION AGAINST THE NEW YORK TIMES.

The NYT is simply costing us toooo much in terms of jeopardizing our security, to say nothing of the millions and millions of taxpayer dollars spent on developing national security which is going out the window because of the Times!!!

It is costing us tooo much. Where is the Justice department on this? This is Treason. Actually, this is treason at an unprecedented level and scope in our history.

the problem is Postmodernis... (Below threshold)
JP:

the problem is Postmodernism/relatvism, which is the religion these idiots live by...they think we are no better than terrorist if not worse and so on, therefore to them with their upside down view of the world doing treasonous things like this is justified. Frankly, we need leaders all over the country to step up and destroy the religion of postmodern relativism, its a pretty simple thing to do actually.

Who reads that trash any... (Below threshold)
914:

Who reads that trash anyways? nonrelevant phonies.

JP, all we need is for the ... (Below threshold)
ted:

JP, all we need is for the Justice Department to take action against the NYT. There's no excuse for waiting any more. This is treason.

The terrorist read it, that... (Below threshold)
JP:

The terrorist read it, thats who and why it matters.

oh I agree they need to do ... (Below threshold)
jp:

oh I agree they need to do something, I'm talking about the root cause that produces this.

I think there is probably political problems with jailing them, it would be a huge media story if they went after them and would give the left a talking point that bush is hitler, jailing reporters, free speech, blah, blah....unfortunately these fools probably get away with alot they shouldn't do soley to political cover

jp, yes but the "politics" ... (Below threshold)
ted:

jp, yes but the "politics" are probably NOW in favor of taking action -- and I think would play out favorably, to say nothing of the obligation of the Federal Government to protect this nation.

Let the MSM complain about this. I say, bring it on!

I concur.. JP I thought abo... (Below threshold)
914:

I concur.. JP I thought about that right after I typed it.. thanks for pointing it out.

Don't waste your time email... (Below threshold)
Yogurt:

Don't waste your time emailing the Slimes, Call your Representative/Senators instead and demand prosecution. Treason is still a crime, isn't it?

Back during WW II some news... (Below threshold)
moseby:

Back during WW II some newspaper reporter for a midwest newspaper (Chicago Tribune?) found out that we had broken the Japanese Naval code. He quickly sent his story from Hawaii on to his editor. Luckily, it was intercepted enroute, and FDR called the paper and "convinced" them not to run the story. Could you imagine Bush doing today what FDR did in '42?

All of this whining about t... (Below threshold)
Lee:

All of this whining about this publication effecting security - but no one has shown how that's true.

"Because the New York Times published the details of the US government's effective terrorist tracking program, al Qaeda operatives now have more opportunity to avoid being caught."

Bullsh*t. How is that true. Explain, and use more words than "because they did it"....

Making a statement like that with NOTHING to back it up is irresponsible. Whine, whine whine all you want, but no one has explained how this publication compromises the tracking program.

This blog hasn't shown a connection, the articles quoted didn't show a conection, and apparently when the White House explained it to the New York Times, there wasn't enough of a connection there either to convince them either. The fact that the White House wants to operate in secrecy in one thing, but no one has shown how the words published in the New York Times compromises anything.

Besides, the American public has a right to know that their bank records are being perused by the White House. So does the rest of the world.

You all should stop subscri... (Below threshold)
Lint:

You all should stop subscribing to the NYT. All 50 of you withholding your $.50 from the NYT Cos is definitely going to shrink its market cap from $3.5 Billion to like 12 cents in a week or so.

Yeah, count me in too. I'm going to wear blinders from now on when I am in public, because, you know, I might just accidentally glance at the NYT in public.

Is it OK to protest Dow Jones Co too? The WSJ covered the story too. I'm really not sure about when to protest and who to direct my ire at. the NYT is an obvious target -- being they are librul and want to turn this country into an Islamic theocracy.

But what are the guidelines for protesting the WSJ? Should I stop watching Fox News because they cover the story the NYT covered thereby providing cover to terrorists who may be using ATM machines in Afgnahistan to wire money to other terrorists in Iraq who may be using credit cards to buy porn on the internet?

"If given the choice betwee... (Below threshold)
jp2:

"If given the choice between a government without newspapers or newspapers without government, I would choose the latter." -TJ

Ahh, silly founding fathers. They should listen to Wizbang.

ted at June 23, 2006 11:... (Below threshold)
wave_man:

ted at June 23, 2006 11:45 AM

T H E N E W Y O R K T I M E S H A S C R O S S E D T H E L I N E T H I S T I M E !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

[delete]T H I S T I M E

[insert]A G A I N

Nothing new for 'The Newspaper of Record'

>>Ahh, silly founding fathe... (Below threshold)
Lint:

>>Ahh, silly founding fathers. They should listen to Wizbang.

Yes indeed. TJ, GW and FDR should be blown off of Rushmore and replaced by Rummy, GWB and Karl Rove.

Yes indeed. TJ, GW and <... (Below threshold)
sean nyc/aa:

Yes indeed. TJ, GW and FDR should be blown off of Rushmore Lint

It's Teddy R. little difference it we blow him up though.

Eric L. and James R. should... (Below threshold)
jhow66:

Eric L. and James R. should be thrown in jail until they reveal their leak source. Then the leaker should be shot as a traitor.

Hey Lee and Lint, OK, ANSWE... (Below threshold)
ted:

Hey Lee and Lint, OK, ANSWER THIS (I bet you can't):

Why does the NYT etc. get to keep its government informers identity secret BUT the Government does not get to keep its own national security measures secret????

Huh??????

Beccause THIS government's ... (Below threshold)
Lee:

Beccause THIS government's security measures extend further and deeper in to the privacy of innocent American citizens then it needs to.

Lee, "more than it needs to... (Below threshold)
ted:

Lee, "more than it needs to", says who?, you?

On what basis do you say this?

Moreover, the IRS gets and can get all this stuff and more.

Lee, anyway, you haven't an... (Below threshold)
ted:

Lee, anyway, you haven't answered why the NYT still gets to keep its government informer source secret?

Personally, I'm angry that ... (Below threshold)
Martin A. Knight:

Personally, I'm angry that the White House actually bothered to ask the New York Times to not report the story. Did these guys doubt for even a second that the editors of the New York Times give a damn about the United States' national security if it would hurt a sitting GOP President?

My personal belief? The White House should cut off all official and non-official contact with the New York Times. Cancel the White House subscription to the paper. No more press passes, invitations to White House events or trips on Air Force One for their reporters. No more returning of any of their phone calls, e-mails or requests for meetings or interviews.

Simply cut them off in every possible way from the White House. As the Baltimore Sun found out (from the Courts) after a campaign of lies against Bob Erlich, the First Amendment doesn't just apply to the Press. They have the right to publish whatever they want - they do not have the right to force anyone to talk to them.

...innocent American cit... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

...innocent American citizens...

Oh, like the newly crowned 'Miami 7'. Or, the terrorist cell in Lodi, CA. Or Iyman Ferris' plot to blow up the Brooklyn Bridge. Or Abdullah al Muhajir's (aka: Jose Padilla) 'dirty bomb' plot. Or the Canadian terrorists who had connections all over the world, including the U.S. And just for giggles and to be fair, how about the white supermascist plots of William Krar and the two NJ skinheads.

All just innocent Americans, I suppose. My ass.

Lee, since you won't or can... (Below threshold)
ted:

Lee, since you won't or can't answer the above question, how about at least confirming this:

You (like the NYT) would rather have the USA do poorly in Iraq if that would mean an end to GOP dominance in American government.

Be honest.

Damn those liberals for pri... (Below threshold)
faboofour:

Damn those liberals for printing the truth! A pox on truth!! If the truth is told, we can't scare the rubes to keep us chickenhawks in power!!

Gosh, even though we've been freezing the assets of suspected terrorist organizations for almost half a decade, maybe there's a group out in the hinterlands as stupid as we are and wouldn't know enough to destroy the paper trails without first reading in the Times!

Damn those liberals. They're the villians! We're the victims! We're so victimized! Woe is us! They victimized us again! Damn them!

(Gee, when the NeoCons aren't lying, they're whining. How pathetic is that?)

all of you seem to be getti... (Below threshold)
sean nyc/aa:

all of you seem to be getting all hot and bothered by this apparent "revelation" of national security.

however, some of us realized a long time ago we are living in a surveillance state. the gov't is doing everything you can imagine and probably more to gather foreign intelligence. the extent of domestic surveillance is more uncertain, but who would really be that surprised if they were spying on us too? I know I wouldn't.

and you all apparently seem to be ok with it anyway (this is ok in my book too, just for the record), so stop pretending this is such a big deal that it has been confirmed. (and really, tracking international bank transactions was talked about in the 9/11 report; remember the big deal that UAE transferred some of the funds for 9/11? so we actually already knew, or at least should have known they were doing this)

personally, I think if they're doing this anyway I hope they turn the tools on big business and somehow can cut down on the funneling of money to off-shore accounts. same type of thing as illegal aliens sending money out of the country. why put up barriers for yourself? clearly, some laws thus far have not posed any.

Did these guy... (Below threshold)
Lee:

Did these guys doubt for even a second that the editors of the New York Times give a damn about the United States' national security if it would hurt a sitting GOP President?

How does this hurt the President? I don't see where the President is hurt by revealing this program.

Well, Lee ... Let's see ...... (Below threshold)
Martin A. Knight:

Well, Lee ... Let's see ...

You've been suggesting in the thread above this one that the President must be abusing this program and violating American's privacy ...

The New York Times story certainly reads that way ... especially when you look at the excerpts you posted in the thread above.

Do I really need to spell it out for you how this hurts the President?

thanks for the update which... (Below threshold)
sean nyc/aa:

thanks for the update which confirms exactly what I said 5 hours ago.

Martin:... (Below threshold)
Lee:

Martin:

Well, Lee ... Let's see ...

You've been suggesting in the thread above this one that the President must be abusing this program and violating American's privacy...

I went back through the thread above and couldn't find anyplace where I said the President must be abusing this program, sorry.

Beisdes, what difference does it make what some anonymous yokum like me says in a blog comment somehwere. My comments don't sway anyone's opinion. Get real!

What's relevant, and the point of the question I asked, is whether the NYT's actions hurt the President.

What you said was:

Did these guys doubt for even a second that the editors of the New York Times give a damn about the United States' national security if it would hurt a sitting GOP President?

You are, it appears to me at least, ascribing a motive to the NYT's publication of this story; the motive being to hurt the president, but I don't think you've shown how the president is hurt by the NYT's actions.

If that isn't what you were saying, please correct me.

Do I really need to spell it out for you how this hurts the President?

Yes, that's what I asked anyway. You've made that claim as a motive for the publication - that the president would be hurt by the actions of the NYT, and that they chose to disregard national security in order to hurt the President . To make that claim legitimate, you at least need to show how the President is hurt by the actions of the NYT.

If there is no harm to the President, then there is no foul.

Does anyone but me think ol... (Below threshold)
jhow66:

Does anyone but me think old pucker puss (lee lee) is dumber than dirt?

Heh heh heh ...<i... (Below threshold)
Martin A. Knight:

Heh heh heh ...

    I went back through the thread above and couldn't find anyplace where I said the President must be abusing this program, sorry.

Really ...?

Who wrote this ...?

    What was revealed by the NYTs and others was the extent to which innocent, ordinary citizens worldwide are being subjected to the same scrutiny, in secret.

Let me help you out; you.

Is this not "suggesting in the thread above this one that the President must be abusing this program and violating Americans' privacy"?

Getting really desperate, aren't we?

Oh dear Lord ...Wi... (Below threshold)
Martin A. Knight:

Oh dear Lord ...

Witness Lee, Lint and sean above ...

You Leftist folks really do lack imagination ... Too bad terrorists don't have share your limitations.

They probably wouldn't have thought of converting passenger aircraft into missiles.

What was revealed... (Below threshold)
Lee:
What was revealed by the NYTs and others was the extent to which innocent, ordinary citizens worldwide are being subjected to the same scrutiny, in secret.

Yes, that's what I said. It's called a "fact' Martin, so that's why you are struggling with it. You obviously aren't used to discussing "facts".

It does not support your contention that I stated an opinion that the President was abusing the program. Whether the program is being abused is an unknown at this point. Yes, it exists. Yes, ordinary citizens are being subjected to the same scrutiny as AQ operatives, but that says nothing about the President and abuses.

If you aren't able to understand something as simple as that, there really is no reason to discuss things with you. I thought there might have been hope for you, but you're no match, and really no better than the other howling dogs.

For those of you who don't ... (Below threshold)
Just John:

For those of you who don't seem to mind if the federal government is collecting you telephone and banking records, rember the same federal government hasbeen having difficulting keeping personal information of veterans and sailors secure.

Not to mention tracking ins... (Below threshold)
914:

Not to mention tracking insurgents coming across our southern border? well if they dont collect all the data on every living soul, then how are they expected to create a one world government? certainly not by us generously volunteering our personal info I assume..

You Leftist folks really... (Below threshold)
sean nyc/aa:

You Leftist folks really do lack imagination
martin a knight

Martin, apparently you overlook what I say just because of the position I have.

I was not surprised when I heard about this. I have no big objection to it. Everyone else here is throwing a hissy-fit for "damaging national security" when most people should have known this was going on. Now you can get mad that the papers published for the belief that they only did it to punish Bush. That's a more valid argument, but the WSJ, certainly no liberal rag, published it too, so that argument is pretty weak too. But just to be clear, you're not convincing anyone of the fact that somehow the fact that gov't is monitoring international bank transactions was some huge secret. Afterall, gov't officials came out today and spoke about proudly. And rightly so, countries in Europe have been attacked as well and we're working with them on this.

Please try to debate the merit of my statements if you're going to accuse me of being a "leftist" who "lacks imagination".

Why not call for a boycott ... (Below threshold)
drjohn:

Why not call for a boycott of the NY Slimes?

Yeah, and don't forget that... (Below threshold)
Publicus:

Yeah, and don't forget that left-wing rag, The Wall Street Journal, revealing our very important national security secrets at Abu Ghraib.

Seeing as how the MILITARY ... (Below threshold)

Seeing as how the MILITARY revealed Abu Gharib long before the press did...

Why not call for a boyco... (Below threshold)
Lee:

Why not call for a boycott of the NY Slimes?

...because it will show just how inneffective and insignificant you barking dogs really are, much like the right-wing campaign to reduce sales of the Dixie Chicks new album has instead helped it stay #1 from the very first week of its release -- or the way that the barking wingnut loonies' attack on Connie Chung's tongue in cheek rendition of "Thanks for the Memories" has resulted in enough pubicity to possibly keep the show from being cancelled.

Despite the noise generated by barking dogs, you guys really don't have much bite. Your boycotts and attacks show the effect to be quite the opposite from the desired goal.

Besides, most of you don't read newspapers, and probably can't afford to buy a subscription to the NY Times on your service-industry jobs, so what's your point? Call for the boycott of a newspaper none of you read? That'll be effective...

Who most benefits in both t... (Below threshold)
F15C:

Who most benefits in both the immediate and long term, from the NYT/LAT/WSJ exposure of an effective, legal program to catch terrorists and their supporters? Follow the money and the hubris.

The above newspapers think they make money by attracting readers and attention. The reporters and editors gain an ego boost by 'sticking it to Bush' yet again (regardless of whom else gets 'stuck' in the process).

Those who transfer money for purposes of supporting terrorism benefit by learning about specific intelligence gathering efforts in SWIFT which was presumed to be safe for such activities due to its secrecy rules. As with any side in a war, they will take any and all information about the secret operations of their enemy (us) and use it to their best advantage.

People should understand intuitively that intelligence gathering is a delicate process that is easily undermined. This exposure by a small handful of known partisan editors and reporters with agendas that put making money and attacking the president over national security damages the SWIFT intelligence gathering effort - most likely rendering it useless immediately.

Worse, as a direct and easily predictable result of this articles, SWIFT will most likely choose or be forced to stop cooperating with the US to seek out terrorists and their supporters. This means that soon SWIFT will be completely safe for terrorists to use for funds transfer.

Lee: "All of this whinin... (Below threshold)
F15C:

Lee: "All of this whining about this publication effecting security - but no one has shown how that's true."

The burden of proof lies with the editors and reporters of these newspapers (and those who support them) to ensure their efforts do not harm national security. With freedom comes responsiblity. As there is no value to the public in exposing this legal and heavily safe-guarded program, It would seem clear then that they allowed their desire to make money and attack Bush led them to publish material that can and probably will harm national security efforts.

Certainly no one is arguing that these disclousures help find terrorists and their supporters. Not even the editors of the newspapers in question.

Regarding burden of proof, tell us what it is that convinces you that the NYT's telling terrorists and their supporters that SWIFT is being monitored does not provide those terrorists with information that is useful to their efforts?

Again, a direct and easily predictable result of this article will be that SWIFT stops its cooperation with the US and becomes effectively safe for terrorists to use for funds transfers. Tell us how that is 'in the public interest'?

Also, I'll take barking dogs over the sophomoric whining rats any day.

because it will show jus... (Below threshold)
MikeSC:

because it will show just how inneffective and insignificant you barking dogs really are, much like the right-wing campaign to reduce sales of the Dixie Chicks new album has instead helped it stay #1 from the very first week of its release

Shame they can't put asses in the seats for concerts in the US. And that is with insanely fawning media attention.

-- or the way that the barking wingnut loonies' attack on Connie Chung's tongue in cheek rendition of "Thanks for the Memories" has resulted in enough pubicity to possibly keep the show from being cancelled.

Care to reveal these "attacks"?

Despite the noise generated by barking dogs, you guys really don't have much bite. Your boycotts and attacks show the effect to be quite the opposite from the desired goal.

Well, considering that NY Times stock has been amongst the worst performing stocks for a few years now --- we couldn't really hurt them MORE.

Besides, most of you don't read newspapers, and probably can't afford to buy a subscription to the NY Times on your service-industry jobs, so what's your point? Call for the boycott of a newspaper none of you read? That'll be effective...

Hmm, elitism too? I guess being wrong on science isn't enough for you.

Judging by their STOCK performance --- the NY Times doesn't HAVE much of a "base" anymore.
-=Mike
...so, how is that TimesSelect thing working out? The fact that you don't know clearly shows that it's tanking.

The NY Times has gone far b... (Below threshold)
Joe Cooper:

The NY Times has gone far beyond irresponsibility and illegality this time. Some call it TREASON, myself included.

They deserve the contempt of all Americans, all possible economic sanctions, and the swift prosecution that ordinary citizens would receive.

If everyoen knew it was goi... (Below threshold)
jergallegos:

If everyoen knew it was going on, pray tell, why did the NYT believe it to be a feature story? Next thing you know they'll probably assign their top reporters to produce a story telling the world that Hollywood produces movies, or some such closely guarded secret.

The interesting thing is th... (Below threshold)
kevin sharpe:

The interesting thing is that the SWIFT organisation is not a "secret" organisation but has been opening collecting information for many years and is widely used by intelligence and law enforcement agencies to track transactions. If you ever do a wire transfer you'll have to provide the SWIFT number to do it. As a Brit I am mildly bemused that it has just dawned on the American public that the government collects information on financial transactions. The UK government monitors ALL transactions of five thousand pounds or more, common knowledge everywhere else in the world but not here apparently, lol. It's a non story really. So what is it about? Reps bashing Dems and vica versa as usual I would say. Cheers. Kev. PS keep it up, most amusing

Why is everyone so surprise... (Below threshold)

Why is everyone so surprised at the idiocy of the media? Of course the Times were out of line and treasonous. They should be made to pay restitution for the damage they caused, if any damage can be determined from a fiscal standpoint. But what bothers me is not the media's total disregard for reporting the truth - - it is the fact that the American People falls for their lies daily, hook - line and sinker.

Doug. You are missing the p... (Below threshold)
kevin sharpe:

Doug. You are missing the point. No secrets, no lies, no story, its a non issue. Just another way of rallying republicans. Do try and get an international perspective. Cheers. Kev.

Well, here is one American ... (Below threshold)
Billy Bob:

Well, here is one American who is against such activity. I would never support such programs. Besides what's going to happen, 'terrorists' all of a sudden stop using banks. What they are going to fedex cash in a box to their counterparts? Get real.

Since Americans don't have enough balls to step up I hope the EU does. Maybe, they will put pressure on theis 'bank co-op' to make it stop.

Thanks Bush for everything I'm selling my SS# and birth certificate and getting the hell out of here. Soon enough the rest of you will have an RFID chip in your skull.

So just to confirm, it's OK... (Below threshold)

So just to confirm, it's OK with everyone if the American pResident spies on non-US citizens, regardless of whether it violates our rights? Ok then, so it's therefore alright if I hack in to his bank accounts. I don't see why the government should be allowed to read my bank statement just because they say they want to. I can't read their bank statement just because I want to (really I can't, they don't have accurate accounts). As for the claim that a panel of accountants checked to see it was only used to track terrorists, that's moronic. As if a bunch of Ba. Acc. and MBAs are going to know the difference between terrorists and drug smuglers, even assuming there is one.

My mom used to read the NY ... (Below threshold)
Patti Hankey:

My mom used to read the NY Times funny papers to me when I was three. I have enjoyed the NY Times ever since then. Now I will not be buying and/or reading it anymore.

Did the New York Times ever see the World War II poster that said ,"Loose lips sink ships"? Either they haven't or they don't care, even if it means the killing of thousands of Americans right here in or own country.

In my opinion they are as bad as saboteurs! They have lost my money, and I hope many other people will responds in the same manner.

I new we were tracking the ... (Below threshold)
Dave:

I new we were tracking the finances since Bush said so on 9/24. This would have realy freaked me out if it said we were not!

Great news!!!Is it t... (Below threshold)
Zuzi:

Great news!!!
Is it true that The New York Times is making cutbacks because of record low sales? Americans have spoken. It has become an embarrasment to be seen with that particular paper in your hands.




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