Copperheads and Know-Nothings

In response to the New York Times sorry excuses for publishing the SWIFT banking story, U.S. Treasury Secretary John Snow wrote a letter to the editor in order to reveal the extensive, non-partisan attempts that were made to dissuade
the NYT from publication:

…Your charge that our efforts to convince The New York Times not to publish were “half-hearted” is incorrect and offensive. Nothing could be further from the truth. Over the past two months, Treasury has engaged in a vigorous dialogue with the Times – from the reporters writing the story to the D.C. Bureau Chief and all the way up to you. It should also be noted that the co-chairmen of the bipartisan 9-11 Commission, Governor Tom Kean and Congressman Lee Hamilton, met in person or placed calls to the very highest levels of the Times urging the paper not to publish the story. Members of Congress, senior U.S. Government officials and well-respected legal authorities from both sides of the aisle also asked the paper not to publish or supported the legality and validity of the program.

Whole letter here.

The Times knew that appropriate members of Congress had been briefed. It was aware of the safeguards that had been put in place, and that they had been strengthened over time. Their story even acknowledged that no laws had been broken and that the program was effective against terrorism.

So, why inform the world? The Times response is, “This could, maybe be a threat to Americans’ civil liberty and the terrorists obviously already know, so what’s the big deal?”

Here’s an alternate thought: since the program was effective, it is obvious that at least some terrorists did not know. In fact, terrorists almost certainly did not know, until the Times explained it to them.

The Timesarrogation of the decision about this program’s national security importance – especially in the face of what they knew – is breathtaking. Either they truly believe they are all-knowing or they think terrorism is a lesser threat than George Bush. Possibly both.

(Note to NYT: Bush can’t run again, and you just demonstrated that you tend more toward A.D.D. than omniscience. Even than microniscience.)

If one accepts the idea that one’s civil liberties cease when one is dead, or are reduced in direct proportion to a disabling injury, then one can probably make the connection that there will be more damage to civil liberties – for both the military and civilians – because of the Times publication of secret information than there would have been without it.

Worse, from the Times point of view, it has caused more damage to their credibility than to George Bush’s.

Finally, their selective amnesia is amply demonstrated by their own words. See this PowerLine excerpt from the September 24, 2001 New York Times editorial “Finances of Terror.”

More and more that phrase is becoming defined by the act of buying a copy of the NYT.

Update: 8:53PM. A 9/11 commission co-chair laments the killing of the SWIFT program.

Update: 30-Jun, 6:33PM. Welcome to readers of Dean’s World.