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Tuesday, June 27, 2006

New York Times auditioning for the part of Tokyo Rose! Film at eleven!

The Media’s War Against the War Continues
The New York Times and Los Angeles Times expose a classified anti-terrorism program.

By Andrew C. McCarthy

Yet again, the New York Times was presented with a simple choice: help protect American national security or help al Qaeda.
Yet again, it sided with al Qaeda.

Once again, members of the American intelligence community had a simple choice: remain faithful to their oath — the solemn promise the nation requires before entrusting them with the secrets on which our safety depends — or violate that oath and place themselves and their subjective notions of propriety above the law.

Once again, honor was cast aside.

For the second time in seven months, the Times has exposed classified information about a program aimed at protecting the American people against a repeat of the September 11 attacks. On this occasion, it has company in the effort: The Los Angeles Times runs a similar, sensational story. Together, the newspapers disclose the fact that the United States has covertly developed a capability to monitor the nerve center of the international financial network in order to track the movement of funds between terrorists and their facilitators.

The effort, which the government calls the “Terrorist Finance Tracking Program” (TFTP), is entirely legal. There are no conceivable constitutional violations involved. The Supreme Court held in United States v. Miller (1976) that there is no right to privacy in financial-transaction information maintained by third parties. Here, moreover, the focus is narrowed to suspected international terrorists, not Americans, and the financial transactions implicated are international, not domestic. This is not data mining, and it does not involve fishing expeditions into the financial affairs of American citizens. Indeed, few Americans even have information that is captured by the program — though there would be nothing legally offensive even if they did.

And unlike the last vital program the New York Times compromised — the National Security Agency’s Terrorist Surveillance Program, which the same reporters, James Risen and Eric Lichtblau, exposed last December — there is not even a facially plausible concern that the TFTP violates statutory law. The provisions germane here (mainly, the Right to Financial Privacy Act that Congress enacted in 1978 in reaction to Miller) do not even apply to the nerve center at issue, the Society of Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication.

That’s because SWIFT, as it is better known, is not a financial institution at all. It is a consortium, centered not in the U.S. but in Belgium, which simply — albeit importantly — oversees how funds are routed globally. It is a messenger, not a bank. Nevertheless, in an abundance of caution, the government uses administrative subpoenas — which were expressly provided for by Congress in the aforementioned Financial Privacy Act and the Patriot Act — when it seeks SWIFT information. That’s not just legal; it’s hyper-legal.

Nor is there any credible worry that the Bush administration is secretly and dictatorially running roughshod over privacy interests. Prominent members of Congress — including elected officials from both parties who serve on the House and Senate Intelligence Committees — have been briefed on the program since its inception after the 9/11 attacks.

The administration, moreover, has worked closely with SWIFT managers, who are led by the National Bank of Belgium and include such other independent financial powerhouses as the Bank of England, the European Central Bank, and the Bank of Japan, as well as the U.S. Federal Reserve. The resulting collaboration has both narrowed the information gathered and ensured that its use is limited to counterterrorism purposes — not the prosecution of ordinary crimes. As if that were not enough, the TFTP is regularly subjected to independent auditing as an additional safeguard ensuring that information is accessed only for terrorism-related purposes.

No, the most salient thing we learn from today’s compromise of the TFTP is that the program has been highly effective at keeping us safe. According to the government, it has helped identify and locate terrorists and their financial backers; it has been instrumental in charting terrorist networks; and it has been essential in starving these savage organizations of their lifeblood: funding.

The TFTP was evidently key to the capture of one of the world’s most formidable terrorists. Riduan bin Isamuddin, better known as “Hambali” — the critical link between al Qaeda and its Indonesian affiliate, Jemaah Islamiya, and thus at the center of the 2002 Bali bombing in which 202 people were slaughtered — is now in U.S. custody rather than wreaking more mayhem. He was apprehended in Thailand in 2003, thanks to the program, which identified a previously unknown financial link to him in Southeast Asia.

In another example, the TFTP led to the discovery that Uzair Paracha, in Brooklyn, might be laundering money for al Qaeda in Pakistan. Paracha was ultimately indicted. Last November, a federal jury in Manhattan convicted him for providing material support to a terrorist organization — specifically, trying to help an al Qaeda operative enter the United States to commit a terrorist act.

It was in view of the TFTP’s palpable value in protecting American lives, its obvious legal propriety, and the plain fact that it was being responsibly conducted that the administration pleaded with the newspapers not to reveal it after government officials despicably leaked it. Exposing the program would tell the public nothing about official misconduct. It would accomplish only the educating of al Qaeda — the nation’s enemy in an ongoing war; an enemy well-known to be feverishly plotting new, massive attacks — about how better to evade our defenses. About how better to kill us.

Appealing to the patriotism of these newspapers proved about as promising as appealing to the humanity of the terrorists they so insouciantly edify — the same monsters who, as we saw again only a few days ago with the torture murder of two American soldiers, continue to define depravity down.

The newspapers, of course, said no. Why? What could outweigh the need to protect a valid effort to shield Americans from additional, barbarous attacks? Bill Keller, executive editor of the New York Times, smugly decreed that the Bush administration’s “access to this vast repository of international financial data” was, in his singularly impeccable judgment, “a matter of public interest.”

And you probably thought George Bush was the imperious one. And that the public’s principal interest was in remaining alive. Wrong again.

The blunt reality here is that there is a war against the war. It is the jihad of privacy fetishists whose self-absorption knows no bounds. Pleas rooted in the well-being of our community hold no sway.

The anti-warriors know only the language of self-interest. It is the language that tells them the revelation of the nation’s secrets will result, forthwith, in the demand for the revelation of their secrets — which is to say, their sources in the intelligence community — with incarceration the price of resistance. It is the language admonishing that even journalists themselves may be prosecuted when their publication of national secrets violates the law.

Bluntly, officials who leak the classified information with which they have been entrusted can be prosecuted for theft of government property. If the information is especially sensitive, they can be prosecuted for violating the Espionage Act. In either event, the press has no legal right to protect such lawlessness.

That is our simple choice: Strong medicine we will either take or persist in declining … while resigning ourselves to more of the same.

— Andrew C. McCarthy, a former federal prosecutor, is a senior fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.

Bill Keller, the New York Times Publisher, decided to release this information after weeks of talks with the administration and other figures in Congress and the security agencies. That he is a a liberal with a political agenda that means more to him than the lives of innocent victims is obvious. That he needs to be prosecuted is where the discussion goes now.

There is no doubt in my mind that the administration needs to vigorously prosecute the leakers of classified information and if the New York Times does not cooperate, allow them to bear the brunt of the law. I am unsure if what the Times has done rises to the level of treason, although in the case of the leaker(s) I might agree to that. But we have a serious problem here. Whereas we encourage free speech and must have it in order to maintain our liberty, we also must restrain free speech in situations where it endangers the safety of citizens (such as shouting "fire" in a crowded theater).

The chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, outspoken New York Representative Peter King has already put in motion a call to have the New York Times face possible charges, and associated personnel:

Lawmaker Wants Papers Probed Over Stories
Jun 25 11:56 AM US/Eastern

Associated Press Writer


The chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee urged the Bush administration on Sunday to seek criminal charges against newspapers that reported on a secret financial-monitoring program used to trace terrorists.

Rep. Peter King cited The New York Times in particular for publishing a story last week that the Treasury Department was working with the CIA to examine messages within a massive international database of money-transfer records.

King, R-N.Y., said he would write Attorney General Alberto Gonzales urging that the nation's chief law enforcer "begin an investigation and prosecution of The New York Times _ the reporters, the editors and the publisher."

"We're at war, and for the Times to release information about secret operations and methods is treasonous," King told The Associated Press.

Read the entire story here.

Speaking of possibly traitorous acts or speech, we have the strange, sad case of John Murtha.

Murtha Is Nuts

Pittsburgh Tribune Review:

Murtha's right to speak out on any question is not the issue, but having listened to him, I think he is out of touch with reality. Does he really think the American people would be safer by disengaging our military from Iraq to the "periphery" in Okinawa? I think not! We are living in dangerous times. The war on terror is a real threat, requiring bold action. The outcome is uncertain, but a democratic Iraq is a noble goal. We must stay committed.

Murtha is not worried about commitments, honor, nobility, or morality. He is worried about a political agenda, mainly his own.

There are no easy answers and Rep. Murtha does not offer a viable alternative that measures up to the greatness of America. His vision will result in a more vulnerable America. I am sure he is a good man, but I think he is doing our country a disservice. Like Murtha, I am a Vietnam veteran, and my son is in the Marines and has served in Iraq. God bless America!

Murtha and his Democratic cohorts have dangled, even shoved his war record in front of anyone's face that dares oppose him. His service means nothing to me when he dishonors our troops by calling them blood thirsty savages, and makes up rhetoric as he goes along at the expense of our troops' integrity.


REP. John Murtha (D., Pa.) imagines himself to be the scourge of the hawks in the Bush Administration. Many journalists do, too, because they keep inviting him to appear on talk shows. So why were the targets of Mr. Murtha's wrath doubled over with laughter during his appearance last Sunday on NBC's Meet the Press? Mr. Murtha's newfound fame is a product of his call for immediate withdrawal from Iraq - or, in the dishonest way he likes to phrase it, "redeployment" from Iraq.

A hilarious concept that will only get funnier.

After noting that Mr. Murtha has called for U.S. troops to "get out of Iraq and go to another country," Mr. Rove asked: "What country would take us? What country would say after the United States cut and run from Iraq, what country in the Middle East would say 'Yeah, paint a big target on our back and then you'll cut and run from us?'●" Mr. Murtha named Kuwait, Qatar, and Bahrain, three small countries where U.S. troops were based during the march on Baghdad, but then added: "We can go to Okinawa. We can redeploy there almost instantly." Mr. Russert, mindful of the fact that Okinawa, Japan, is 4,899 miles from Baghdad, offered Mr. Murtha an escape, in case he had misspoken. "But it would be tough to have a timely response from Okinawa," he said. But Mr. Murtha dug himself in deeper. "When I say a timely response, you know, our fighters can fly from Okinawa very quickly," he said. Mr. Murtha has been recommending redeployment to Okinawa ever since his rebirth as a dove last year, so what he said on Meet the Press was no slip of the tongue.

Nice try Jack. Brilliant strategy from the "war hero."

It would take 10-12 hours - and six refuelings - for F-16s to fly from Kadena AFB on Okinawa to Baghdad (assuming China and India would grant overflight rights, a dubious assumption). Mr. Murtha may regard this as "very quickly," but the Air Force does not. As Bugs Bunny would say: "What a maroon!"

A valid description.

Another howler is Mr. Murtha's assumption that U.S. troops currently serving in Iraq would be welcome in Okinawa. For decades Okinawans have been seeking a reduction in the U.S. military presence, both because they covet the land on which U.S. military bases sit, and because of a long history of pacifism. The U.S. recently agreed to withdraw 7,000 Marines from Okinawa. "There is no way we can win (the war in Iraq) militarily," Mr. Murtha said. Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the al-Qaeda chieftain in Iraq until the Air Force liquefied his internal organs, had a different view: "Here in Iraq, time is beginning to be of service to the American forces and harmful to the resistance," al-Zarqawi wrote in a document captured after his death.

But what would Zarqawi know? He's only been one of our main enemies in the war on terror. He wouldn't know what kind of casualties his resistence had suffered would he?

If you want to know the truth about Iraq, you should listen carefully to what Jack Murtha has to say - and believe exactly the opposite. Mr. Murtha's howlers about Okinawa obscured a more revealing comment he made earlier on CNN. He cited President Clinton's abrupt withdrawal from Somalia after 19 Rangers were killed there in 1993 as an example of the policy the U.S. should follow in Iraq. Osama bin Laden gave the "change in direction" in Somalia Mr. Murtha applauds as the chief reason why he thought al-Qaeda could strike the United States with impunity. "After a few blows … [the U.S.] rushed out of Somalia in shame and disgrace, dragging the bodies of its soldiers," bin Laden told ABC's John Miller in a 1998 interview.

When added up altogether, one has to assume Murtha is completely mad. No way could a 16 term politician be this stupid.

Hat tip to Tim, and as it happens one of his commenters had the perfect rejoinder to this statement: "When added up altogether, one has to assume Murtha is completely mad. No way could a 16 term politician be this stupid."

Loboinok simply said. "Ted Kennedy." Ka-ka-kaboom!

So Lobo earns a post here just from that one remark, although it takes the discussion a different way:

ACLU Fights To Keep Communist Propaganda In School Library

The American Civil Liberties Union asked a federal judge to stop the Miami-Dade County school district from removing a series of children's books from its libraries, including a volume about Cuba which depicts smiling kids in communist uniforms.

The ACLU and the Miami-Dade County Student Government Association argued in a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Miami on Wednesday that the school board should add materials with alternate viewpoints rather than remove books that could be offensive.

Last week, the board voted 6-3 to remove "Vamos a Cuba" and its English-language version, "A Visit to Cuba" from 33 schools, stating the books were inappropriate for young readers because of inaccuracies and omissions about life in the communist nation.

The book, by Alta Schreier, targets students ages 5 to 7 and contains images of smiling children wearing uniforms of Cuba's communist youth group and a carnival celebrating the 1959 Cuban revolution. The district owns 49 copies of the book in Spanish and English.

To the ACLU it doesn't seem to matter that the books are misleading, inaccurate, and inappropriate for this age group. It doesn't matter to the ACLU that the book is pure propaganda. To the ACLU it is a book ban. It just so happens that the message portrayed in the book seems to go along with their founder's beliefs.

"I have been to Europe several times, mostly in connection with international radical activities…and have traveled in the United States to areas of conflict over workers rights to strike and organize. My chief aversion is the system of greed, private profit, privilege and violence which makes up the control of the world today, and which has brought it to the tragic crisis of unprecedented hunger and unemployment…Therefore, I am for Socialism, disarmament and ultimately, for the abolishing of the State itself…I seek the social ownership of property, the abolition of the propertied class and sole control of those who produce wealth. Communism is the goal."

~ Roger Baldwin-founder of the ACLU~

Here is another one from Mr. Baldwin.

"Do steer away from making it look like a Socialist enterprise…We want also to look like patriots in everything we do. We want to get a good lot of flags, talk a good deal about the Constitution and what our forefathers wanted to make of this country, and to show that we are really the folks that really stand for the spirit of our institutions."-Baldwin's advice in 1917 to Louis Lochner of the socialist People's Council in Minnesota.

I'm sure the ACLU's founder would be proud of the ACLU's move to protect the propaganda of his ideology. The ACLU's main point of argument is that banning one point of view is the wrong way to deal with the situation is lost when it is five year olds potentially being exposed to this crap. To the ACLU this is nothing more than a book ban, and they are asking the school to include more alternative views instead of banning unpopular ones. No one has to ask if they would fight this hard to keep a Bible in the school library, or whether their strength would be focused on getting rid of it. Take this however you want, but the ACLU has never strayed very far from its founding principles.

Lobo's post was also cross-posted at StopTheACLU, which exposes yet another organization that thinks making it easier for terrorists to kill you is a "victory"

FBI Says ACLU’s Victory Claim Disingenuous

Well, duh! Speaking of the notoriously anti-American ACLU, a friend has asked me to post this link:

Please help the Thomas More Law Center (TMLC) and other concerned groups and citizens to save the 43-foot cross that was erected atop Mount Soledad in San Diego, California 50 years ago to honor our nation’s veterans by signing the petition below! On May 3, 2006 Federal District Judge Gordon Thompson ordered San Diego officials to remove the historic Mt. Soledad Cross in accordance with an order he issued in 1991. The City must remove the cross within 90 days or face fines of $5,000 per day thereafter. However, the fight is not over.

Read the whole thing and consider signing the petition, thanks!


A Hermit said...


"Bush administration officials have been lining up to condemn The New York Times for revealing a program to track financial transactions as part of the war on terrorism. But if the Times’ revelation about a program to monitor international exchanges is so damaging, why has the administration been chattering about efforts to monitor domestic transactions for nearly five years?"

Looks like the Bush administration has been a lot more "loose-lipped" than the Times on this subject...

Anonymous said...

New York Times, August 2012 . . .

Following Fox News' revelations about the Administration's secret search and seizure progam , President Hillary Clinton and VP Murtha blasted "certain unfair and unbalanced media outlets" and a "vast right wing conspiracy" for undermining the continuing fight against terror. Meanwhile, bloggers and pundits have increasingly been calling for legal action to be brought against Fox, with some arguing that the network's actions constituted outright treason. "Why do they hate America so much? Do they want the terrorists to win?" asked Daily Kos founder Markos . . .

. . . Earlier this week Fox News had reported on the existence of an anti-terrorism initiative involving focused "no-knock" warrantless searches of people and properties suspected of having ties to terrorism. The network coverage concluded that no major abuses had been identified and that the program had helped in two terrorist-related arrests three years earlier, but that concerns existed in the legal and law-enforcement community over possible Fourth Amendment violations and privacy issues. One major area of concern was that under this program federal officials did not seek individual court-approved warrants, instead relying on Presidential war powers to provide legal backing for thousands of searches . . .

. . .White House Press Secretary Michael Moore told reported Wednesday that "there was no evidence of abuse, we briefed Congress on the program and they couldn't find anything wrong with it, and it was working to help expose and defeat terrorists. Who elected that bunch of stupid white men over at Fox to decide what the public should know?"

In a statement explaining while the network went ahead and ran the story despite requests from the White House to pull it, Fox News CEO, Chairman, and President Roger Ailes said: "Of course there's no evidence of abuse - how would we know? Who would tell us? And most members of Congress - specifically, it seems, the Republican ones* - were only briefed on the program after it became clear we were going to cover the story. And come on - members of the administration and the President herself have repeatedly spoken over the last few years about how they were going after terrorists where they live, using new powers and regulations. Does it really seem likely that the terrorists weren't already aware of such efforts?

Since the Hillary Administration has taken office, it has launched broad and secret anti-terror monitoring programs without seeking authorizing legislation and without fully briefing the Congress. Most Americans seem to support extraordinary measures in defense against this extraordinary threat, but some officials who have been involved in these programs have spoken to Fox News about their discomfort over the legality of the government's actions and over the adequacy of oversight. We believe Fox News and others in the media have served the public interest by accurately reporting on these programs so that the public can have an informed view of them.

And Michael Moore is fat."

First Husband Bill Clinton, speaking in a televised announcement, addressed Ailes and Fox News supporters, saying "I feel your pain . . . and I love it! This is even better than the time that Monica and I . .. . [whap!] . . . oh, sorry, dear . . ."

-Future Dan S.

* In our time, I'm not certain that this (inverted) is 100% the case, although it seems at first glance to look that way.

Anonymous said...

Ah, Hermit, you beat me on that aspect! But really, it's silly. I know I assumed early on that the gov't was going to be pouring over these kind of transactions, and the administration kept talking about it - announcing it on TV and everything.

I've been reading through the article trying to find some information that could tell terrorists stuff that the government didn't already tell them (or that they couldn't easily find online), and the only thing I can come up with is that [censored]. Of course, (assuming that a separate program isn't in fact [censored]), terrorists or those providing money to terrorists could take advantage of this by [censored], but that would impose a significant burden on their operations, and be susceptible to [censored].

Nice link.

Dan S.

loboinok said...

a hermit,

"Looks like the Bush administration has been a lot more "loose-lipped" than the Times on this subject..."

There are multiple reasons the government releases information, none of which include increasing their readership and improving their "bottomline".

We all know (or should) that the government releases info for the expressed purpose of informing the people and/or deceiving and misleading the enemy, both foreign and domestic.

Whereas the MSM's purpose is to inform the enemy and/or deceive and mislead the people.

Do I trust the government? No.

Do I suspect them? All the time.

I expect the government to be misleading in some cases, I do not expect the media likewise unless it is in conjuction with the gov. for that reason.

Here is a better example of Hypocrites

Anonymous said...

"We all know (or should) that the government releases info for the expressed purpose of informing the people and/or deceiving and misleading the enemy, both foreign and domestic.

This would seem to be naive. Often governments - including ours, though certainly less than some! - release info for the purpose of misleading the people. And the domestic enemy? Who are they?

"Whereas the MSM's purpose is to inform the enemy and/or deceive and mislead the people."

Do you honestly believe this? I mean, it's a cute formulation, but do you think this is actually the case. That would be so . . . odd.

Perhaps if someone could explain to me how the NY Times and LA Times [and the paper that didn't get yelled at (why?)] articles were in any meaningful way more a breach of security than Bush's little nationally televised and reported-on Rose Garden speech saying that we were going to do exactly that?

Maybe the terrorists have very short memories, like (supposedly) goldfish? Perhaps if we just overfeed them they'll die and we could flush them down the toilet?

-Dan S., wondering - wow! - where that little plastic castle came from . . .?

highboy said...

The New York and LA Times are politically motivated. Anyone that doesn't see this is blind. Its the same as leftists accusing Fox News or anyone else that reports anything they'd rather not believe.

Jake said...

The New York and LA Times are politically motivated.

The government, on the other hand, is not.

Anonymous said...

The press better be politically motivated! What good is a press unconcerned with the affairs of the polis?* You end up with one only concerned with the affairs of celebrities - one fit only for idiots!**

* "A 'polis' (πολις) — plural: poleis (πολεις) — is a city, or a city-state.
The word originates from the ancient Greek city-states, which developed during the Archaic period, the ancestor of both modern city and state . . . Derivatives of polis are common in many modern European languages . . . . Derivative words in English include policy, polity, police and politics."

** "Idiot is a word derived from the Greek ιδιωτης, idiōtēs ("layman," "person lacking professional skill," "a private citizen," "individual"), from ιδιος, idios ("private," "one's own") . . . It was originally used in ancient Greek city-states to refer to people who were overly concerned with their own self-interest and ignored the needs of the community. Declining to take part in public life, such as (semi-)democratic government of the polis (city state, e.g. Athenian democracy) was considered dishonorable."

Dan S. - hey, it's all Greek to me . . .

highboy said...

"he New York and LA Times are politically motivated.

The government, on the other hand, is not."

Are you trying to make a sarcastic point again Jake? The goverment is suppose to be motivated politically. (To a degree that is) Newspapers are suppose to report the news. Period. They are not suppose to spin their reports to support their obvious political leanings.

chancuff said...

Looking at the large number of blog posts I've placed throughout the blogsphere in the last 2 weeks, I'm sure I'm not alone in thinking they look like spam.

My apologies to all.

Some interesting things happened today. I received an email response from Bill Pasco(e) of Diana Irey's campaign against John Murtha for the 12th District of Pennsylvania seat in the House of Representatives.

In responding Mr. Pascoe's email, I found it useful to CC that response to him to Elizabeth Baier and her editor Ms. Rosenhause (Managing Editor Sun-Sentinel).

The topic of those emails was "Rovian Architecture Unplugged". If you are interested to learn more, feel free to write them.

Make "Rovian Architechure Unplugged" your subject heading so they know what your inquiry is about.

Their email addresses:

Bill Pascoe

Elizabeth Baier

Sharon Rosenhause

Cliff Hancuff
The World of Journalism Is Flat, Too