Saturday, June 24, 2006

War Subscription Expired?

The New York Times defends their shameful exposure of another intelligence operation that has worked to protect us since 9/11:

In the heightened state of emergency after 9/11, the government began examining the Swift records with the help of general administrative subpoenas, which are basically permission from one part of the executive branch to another. Now it is nearly five years later, and nothing has changed. Investigators have examined the international money transfers of thousands of Americans, apparently without ever trying to get a court order or warrant to do the searches. And Congress, as usual, has never exercised any oversight.

A few members were briefed on the program, and a few more told about it once it became clear that newspapers were preparing an article. But the briefings tend to become a trap in which those who are informed about what is going on are required under security rules not to talk about what they know even after it becomes public. Armed with some knowledge, they become more impotent than when they were completely in the dark.

Five years and nothing has changed. Yes, we are at war. And if you believe we are at war, you'd have to say that we still need measures to wage that war. But the Times disagrees with that simplistic assumption. It's been five whole years and we still try to find the Islamist thugs who plot to kill us. Five years! That's long enough, apparently, according to the Times.

And the idea that members of Congress who find their briefings alarming are bound by a code of silence seems to ignore the fact that somebody in the government leaked the information to them. Had members of Congress been briefed on an illegal or intrusive spying operation, I dare say somebody would have leaked.

But instead of acting like an American newspaper, the Times and their two fellow papers, the Wall Street Journal and LA Times, decided they essentially have the power to declare a war over. The arrogance of power is astounding.

I guess I missed the provision in the Constitution that states that our leading newspapers get to determine how long we may wage a war.

Somebody needs to be prosecuted and do some jail time in a serious prison over this disclosure. We've told our enemies too much already. Enough is enough.

It would have been nice of Bill Keller to at least notify us of the end of our war subscription so we could have renewed it.

UPDATE: Scrappleface gives the Times the treatment:

A secret New York Times program for fighting ‘the war on the war on terror’ represents a “radical expansion of executive editor authority” according to a legal analyst who studied the parameters of the “intel sifting and sharing program” that the Times uses to disseminate U.S. national security information to international terror groups.

Unhindered by the courts or the Congress, Times Executive Editor Bill Keller continues his campaign for greater personal power to unilaterally prosecute the anti-anti-terror battle, according to the unnamed analyst.

“It’s unprecedented that a single man should have so much control over the lives of millions of Americans with no Constitutional checks and balances,” the source added. “Bill Keller does as he pleases, providing crucial intel to al Qaeda, which for all intents and purposes, is his own private militia.”

A spokesman for Mr. Keller insisted that he needs broad executive editor powers in order to “protect our loved ones from those who would threaten them by sifting their banks records, listening to their overseas phone calls, or interfering with their
religious obligations.”

I assume no jihadi worth their salt fails to sign up for NYT email news alerts or pay for Times Select to make sure they get all the up-to-date intelligence on our war efforts.

SECOND UPDATE: I seriously want somebody prosecuted and jailed over this, as I noted here.

Strategypage has a long post on this issue that you simply must read in full. The basics:

Because the war on terror is fought in a peacetime atmosphere, treason can be presented as dissent, and you can get away with it. Case in point is the energetic pursuit, and publication, of U.S. intelligence gathering techniques, by the American media. The latest one was the reporting of how the U.S. has been analyzing international bank wire transfers. This apparently led to the capture of several prominent terrorists, especially in Southeast Asia. But to opponents of the war, this is an assault on civil liberties, attacks they consider more dangerous than potential terrorist violence. Earlier scoops revealed to terrorists how the traffic analysis was being used to track terrorist activity. ...

These traitors will continue to get away with it. Unless their activities are shown to assist terrorists in a particularly direct and obvious way, scary stories about potential perils will continue to protect those attacking the counter-terrorism effort. By blurring the line between legitimate dissent and active assistance to the enemy, political opportunism has sunk to new lows.

These are just the first and last paragraphs. Read it all.

Some of our press are clearly providing aid and comfort to our enemies. We simply must treat them accordingly.

THIRD, INCREASINGLY AGITATED, UPDATE: Read Austin Bay, too. The press has seriously moved beyond lawful dissent to actually aid our enemies in killing us. Our government cannot let this stand as the last word in press freedom to actually fight our country. But Bay does not think our government will prosecute the leakers, though he thinks it should. This is a different matter than prosecuting the papers. But both should be done.