Patterico's Pontifications

6/22/2006

New York Times Publishes Classified Details of Legal and (Formerly) Effective Anti-Terrorism Program (UPDATE: So Does LAT)

Filed under: Dog Trainer,Scum,Terrorism — Patterico @ 9:31 pm

The New York Times has a lengthy article revealing classified details about an anti-terrorist program that has, among other things, caught the mastermind of the 2002 Bali nightclub bombing. The publication of the article may spell the end of the program. (H/t Allah.)

Stephen Spruiell has the postcard version. Jeff Goldstein has further thoughts.

I am biting down on my rage right now. I’ll resist the temptation to say Ann Coulter was right about where Timothy McVeigh should have gone with his truck bomb. I’ll say only this: it’s becoming increasingly clear to me that the people at the New York Times are not just biased media folks whose antics can be laughed off. They are actually dangerous.

[UPDATE: I have learned (again from Allah) that the L.A. Times has published basically the exact same article. See UPDATE below.]

More details in the extended entry.

The article says:

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 [named Swift] 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.

Until Eric Lichtblau, James Risen, and Bill Keller decided, in their infinite wisdom, that the program was too much of a concern to allow to continue, it had some extraordinary successes:

Among the [program’s] 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.

In the United States, the program has provided financial data in investigations into possible domestic terrorist cells as well as inquiries of Islamic charities with suspected of having links to extremists, the officials said.

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.

The obvious critical importance of the program doesn’t appear to have weighed very heavily in the balance, despite entreaties from numerous government officials. As the article itself explains:

The Bush administration has made no secret of its campaign to disrupt terrorist financing, and President Bush, Treasury officials and others have spoken publicly about those efforts. Administration officials, however, asked The New York Times not to publish this article, saying that disclosure of the Swift program could jeopardize its effectiveness. They also enlisted several current and former officials, both Democrat and Republican, to vouch for its value.

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.”

The article is likely to do far more than “jeopardize [the program’s] effectiveness.” It’s clear to me that the publication of the article will shut it down entirely. The article says that, in 2003, officials of the banking cooperative “were discussing pulling out because of their concerns about legal and financial risks if the program were revealed, one government official said.” But our top officials did a “full-court press” and promised to institute even tighter controls, which had apparently been quite successful.

Now that the program has been splashed all over the pages of the New York Times, I think that Swift’s era of cooperation with the U.S. Government is over.

What exactly is in the public interest about revealing classified information that has been successful in tracking and apprehending murderous terrorists?

Is it that the program is illegal? Well, nobody really says that. To the contrary, Treasury officials “said they considered the government’s authority to subpoena the Swift records to be clear.” There was initially a debate about the program’s legality, but Treasury and Justice Department lawyers ultimately concluded that it was legal.

So what’s the problem? Well, despite the program’s apparent legality, it apparently made a few people . . . uncomfortable!

The article says that the program “stirred concerns inside the administration about legal and privacy issues.” Some officials interviewed by the Times “expressed reservations about the program” because it had not been authorized by Congress. A banking privacy expert says that, at a minimum, the program seems “inappropriate.” And:

Several people familiar with the Swift program said they believed they were exploiting a “gray area” in the law and that a case could be made for restricting the government’s access to the records on Fourth Amendment and statutory grounds. They also worried about the impact on Swift if the program were disclosed.

“There was always concern about this program,” a former official said.

So: there were concerns. Some people expressed reservations. Others thought it was inappropriate. Others thought that they were exploiting a gray area.

(And, don’t forget, we have no idea how many of these people are Mary McCarthy-style Democrat partisans whose main “concern” might be voting Republicans out of office.)

And this is justification for revealing (and probably killing) a classified program that has caught mass murderers?

Stephen Spruiell says it best:

Keller and his team really do believe they are above the law. When it comes to national security, it isn’t the government that should decide when secrecy is essential to a program’s effectiveness. It is the New York Times.

National security be damned. There are Pulitzers to be won.

As I said, these people are dangerous. I think it’s time to open an investigation into these leaks. Our war on terror is being eviscerated by the New York Times, in cooperation with shadowy figures inside the government with mysterious agendas that lead them to disclose highly sensitive information regarding legal programs that have proven critical to our efforts to stop the killing of innocents.

Heads need to roll over this.

UPDATE: Allah informs me that the L.A. Times has also published an article about the same program. Dean Baquet’s statement sounds a lot like Bill Keller’s:

Bush administration officials asked the Times not to publish information about the program, contending that disclosure could damage its effectiveness and that sufficient safeguards are in place to protect the public.

Dean Baquet, the editor of the Times, said: “We weighed the government’s arguments carefully, but in the end we determined that it was in the public interest to publish information about the extraordinary reach of this program. It is part of the continuing national debate over the aggressive measures employed by the government.”

So Spruiell is wrong to say:

When it comes to national security, it isn’t the government that should decide when secrecy is essential to a program’s effectiveness. It is the New York Times.

He forgot: and/or the Los Angeles Times.

These people are in a race to undermine our national security.

Absolutely unbelievable.

Get an independent prosecutor. Now.

UPDATE x2: Bryan Preston weighs in, as does Michelle Malkin.

UPDATE x3: A commenter says the WSJ also ran with the story today. It’s subscription only so I can’t link it, but it’s described here. This link also has a quote from L.A. Times Washington Bureau chief Doyle McManus on how desperate the government was to keep the program secret:

“It’s a tough call; it was not a decision made lightly,” said Doyle McManus, the Los Angeles Times’ Washington bureau chief. “The key issue here is whether the government has shown that there are adequate safeguards in these programs to give American citizens confidence that information that should remain private is being protected.”

Treasury Department officials spent 90 minutes Thursday meeting with the newspaper’s reporters, stressing the legality of the program and urging the paper to not publish a story on the program, McManus said in a telephone interview.

“They were quite vigorous, they were quite energetic. They made a very strong case,” he said.

But not strong enough for Emperors McManus and Baquet. They did all the weighing necessary, and made the determination that you need to know. More on the outrageous nature of all of this here.

87 Responses to “New York Times Publishes Classified Details of Legal and (Formerly) Effective Anti-Terrorism Program (UPDATE: So Does LAT)”

  1. […] Update: Goldstein wonders what instructions the Moonbat Signal (formerly known by the code-name “Townhouse”) carried in the wake of the NYT story. Patterico rages against the Times. […]

    Hot Air » Blog Archive » Whose side are they on? (d4224a)

  2. Just keep telling yourself: It's because they care about YOUR CIVIL LIBERTIES!…

    I can't put it better than Stephen Spruiell at NRO's Media Blog, so I'm just going to quote and highlight a few key passages, then maybe add some brief closing thoughts:The duo of Eric Lichtblau and James Risen have published the details…

    protein wisdom (c0db44)

  3. […] More at: Michelle Malkin Hot Air Patterico Jeff Goldstein Journaljizzm, Useless Swine Posted by Emperor Darth Misha I @ 11:02 pm | […]

    Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler » Blog Archive » The Fourth Estate Fifth Column Does it Again (71823e)

  4. If the NYT’s had known about the Miami investigation the Sears tower would have hit the ground. Time for the U.S. attorney general to file treason charges against the NYT and if required send the editor and publisher to Gitmo for a life sentence. Bet they will identify the traitors who are leaking information that will eventually kill hundreds of thousands. It the AG won’t do it then when another attack that could have been prevented happens, ‘the people’ should feel free to storm the NYT and have a good old time lynching of everyone in the building except the janitor. I look for both the attack and the lynchings to take place any time.

    Scrapiron (9f37aa)

  5. It seems strange that Bush can be accused of going to war over oil, sacrificing American lives to line his pockets, and there are nods of heads and murmurs of assent all around.

    But suggest that the NYT might cost American lives by trying to make a quick buck on a “scoop,” and whoa, it’s all about the 1st Amendment, “right to know,” yada yada yada.

    Steve (8db3ee)

  6. It’s time for a mass protest at the LA Times and the NY Times.

    I will personally drive from San Diego to Los Angeles.

    Lets set a date, can we?

    Charlie (22cc32)

  7. It’s time for a mass protest at the LA Times and the NY Times.

    “Times told; U.S. sold”

    ?

    Anwyn (01a5cc)

  8. It is time to notify the major advertisers in the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times that if they do not pull their advertising from the papers we will boycott their products.

    It is time to bankrupt these papers

    Not a Yank (566830)

  9. Here’s the little missive I sent:

    You disgusting, despicable, self-absorbed little pricks. I wouldn’t piss on any of you if you were on fire. I hope that when the 7th-century animals pull off the next attack that’s successful because of the effective, legal programs you assholes have exposed and rendered useless, the NYT building is the first place hit. Ann Coulter was right, McVeigh should have parked his truck in front of the Times building.

    PIGS. FUCKING TREASONOUS PIGS.

    CraigC (9cd021)

  10. I understand the emotion, believe me. I didn’t quite go the “Ann Coulter was right” route, but (as I said in the post) I understand the temptation. I, like you, am totally enraged.

    I want to see an independent prosecutor looking into both the NYT and LAT stories.

    Patterico (50c3cd)

  11. Why an independent prosecutor? Why can’t the U.S. Attorney for Manhattan open the case?

    I know one answer is that the IC will hurt more, and make these peoples’ lives as miserable as Fitzgerald has made Karl Rove’s. Difficult for them to do do more damage when they’re digging up travel receipts from 1997.

    See-Dubya (f2a87c)

  12. I tend to think an independent prosecutor is better when we’re talking about internal leaks. Who knows if they came from Justice? But it’s possible that I could be persuaded otherwise.

    Patterico (50c3cd)

  13. roflmao@jingoistic morons here. the newspapers didn’t disclose intelligence ops previously unknown to the terrorists, the newspapers disclosed intelligence ops well known to the terrorists (and many other casual observers), just unknown to you. #6 “i will personally drive from san diego to los angeles.” i recommend that you spend the night in the la brea tarpits.

    assistant devil's advocate (375260)

  14. At what point did these particular operations become well-known to the terrorists? Please fill us in, oh all-knowing one.

    Patterico (50c3cd)

  15. “society for worldwide interbank financial telecommunication” hah, the illuminati, quasi-illuminati, al-quasi-illuminati and just plain supermarket tabloid readers have long known that every bank transaction, even atm withdrawals, gets into the master secret banking database by which the overlords of this tier surveil their skinware fleshbots as they go about trying to find love and food.

    assistant devil's advocate (375260)

  16. Papers Out Classified Financial Surveillance Program…

    The U.S. government is going after the financial foundation of her Islamist terrorist enemies. This isn’t news since the Bush……

    The American Mind (dc94e7)

  17. The “Bush Spied Privacy Died” Hysterics At The NYT Are Back…

    It is transparent that these two newspapers are out on the loose, motivated only by a combination of greed and Bush hatred, reaching dizzying new heights in journalistic and civic contempt, for the traditions of our nation and their once proud heritage…

    All Things Beautiful (72c8fd)

  18. …still waiting on proof that the terrorists knew about the inner workings of the system ADA.

    ..Or, was the point of your post to show how intelligent you are because you can use words like ‘jingoistic’, and ‘illuminati’.

    How absolutely pathetic, you little child. You have no point, so you make up a bullshit statement and post it here. And an un-intelligent one at that.

    The least you could do is post a trackback to Kos if you are going to fling shit all over the comments. Its sad really, you couldn’t even come up with a plausible lie to post here.

    Something needs to be done about the quality of trolls here. I actually feel sorry for this guy.

    …But I’m still waiting for that link, just in case you stumble onto it.

    V

    Veritas (15f590)

  19. Why the public interest?…

    However, Bombtruck over at ABP has posed a question so I figured I’d offer an answer.

    Can anyone tell me why this program is a matter of public interest?

    He asks this of the revelations in the NYT this morning that we are sifting through internation…

    Two Babes and a Brain (72c8fd)

  20. This is the recent indictment of the defense department employee and the two AIPAC members he gave classified information to. If the AIPAC members can be indicted I do not see how the New York Times employees who conspired with the leakers to obtain the classified information cannot also be indicted.

    nk (5a2f98)

  21. P.S. I wonder if the below sentence from the article is admissible as a confession made by the two named reporters:

    “Nearly 20 current and former government officials and industry executives discussed aspects of the Swift operation with The New York Times on condition of anonymity because the program remains classified.”

    nk (5a2f98)

  22. Problem with journalists is that, just like Hugh, they think the terrorists aren’t real and neither is the threat they pose to Americans in particular and Western Civilization in general. I’m sure they felt the same way about the Soviet Union, even after its fall when we discovered how serious they were about “burying” us.

    Question: So, what did idiotic leftist ostriches call those who recognize barbaric threats BEFORE the Nazis (you know, those Socialists)?

    sharon (fecb65)

  23. Hugh,
    Your post is very iluminating. It shows just how ignorant the left is. I don’t mean that as an insult. Just an observation. Let’s take a closer look at what you’ve posted shall we?

    “I love the New York Times for many reasons. One, of course, is that it makes the nutiest(by the way, this has 2 t’s if you wish to spell it right) of you nutty righties turn yourselves inside out and spew the bile and hatred inside you.”
    What you’re reading isn’t what most sane people would consider “nutty”. It’s a love of country that those, such as yourself, will never understand. We support our country. Our government, although flawed, is still OUR government. It is not the government of the counter-American left.

    “It shows how hopeless your cause is. How bankrupt you are while you hide behind the wall of “patriotism” and shout your xenophobic and racist rants.”
    I know you wish our cause was hopeless, but let me point out, it is the left that’s losing elections. It is the left that has turned away from this country and all WE stand for. We are not just winning, we are winning very quickly, and will continue to put the spotlight on people like you which are just clueless, living under a self induced illusion of intelligence. We see you Hugh, and it is a sad sight to behold. I see you’ve used one of the lefts favorite words, racist. Please point to which “rant” is racist Hugh? Maybe you don’t know the definition. Perhaps you should look it up. Oh, and here’s another little tidbit of information for you Hugh. We’re not hiding behind “the wall of patriotism”, we really are patriots. We still believe in the U.S. of A.

    It’s very telling that you find all of this so amusing Hugh. Do they let you out much?

    Alex (72ff4b)

  24. Prosecute them. Convict them. Jail them. They’re trying to get us all blown up. I guess after I’m scattered all over a sidewalk somewhere, my pieces will have ample civil liberties to be cleaned up. Fellow Americans: Whether you are pro-WOT or anti-WOT, if you think this does not endanger all of us, you’re nuts.

    R (0b223e)

  25. What do you consider dissent Hugh? You are able to dissent upon the acts of our government to take action against our enemies all you’d like. It’s because of patriots that you have this ability Hugh. Take a look in the mirror Hugh. You like the word spew. You may wish to wipe your chin. Patriotism isn’t a card, and freedom isn’t a game.

    Alex (72ff4b)

  26. Oh, and I do hope that “Gos” blesses the ACLU, whoever Gos is.

    Alex (72ff4b)

  27. Hugh. Read what you wrote. Read what I wrote. You claim you’ve joined the military, and this proves your patriotism. This claim of yours does not make you patriotic Hugh. It makes what you’ve written even more insane than I first thought. I’m sorry, was that racist?

    Alex (72ff4b)

  28. NY Times Reports About Secret Program…

    An important tool in fighting terrorist organizations is doing something against their funding. Organizations like Al Qaeda receive millions of dollars every year from domestic and foreign supporters. If we (the West) want to fight them effectively, we…

    Liberty and Justice (a5b264)

  29. NY Times Reports About Secret Program…

    The New York Times published a ten-page article regardin……

    The Moderate Voice (fa8fba)

  30. Hugh, Your 3 posts are illustrative of something I have long observed about left-wing political commentary, both in the MSM and in the blogosphere — it is typically long on conclusory statements and characterization, but very short on facts, analysis, and argument. You’ve now posted 3 times, and I’ve yet to see you discuss any facts or make an argument. If you have an argument to make, go ahead and do so. If you don’t, please shut up.

    Tim K (7e41e8)

  31. Hugh,

    And I’m currently serving in the US Army, and I say you’re a douchebag. There, I win.

    To Patterico:

    critical to our efforts to stop the killing of innocents.

    Heads need to roll over this.

    Maybe not the best choice of words given the context. Just sayin’

    Army Lawyer (0de2e7)

  32. […] Patterico won’t, but I will say it: Ann Coulter was right about where Timothy McVeigh should have gone with his truck bomb. […]

    Reality and Sanity » Blog Archive » Blabbermouth Press Splashes Another Anti-terrorism Tool All Over Its Pages (31ebc6)

  33. Uh, Hugh…

    MM still has the WMD story. Attention to detail buddy.

    Rick (fe8155)

  34. Hugh, the subject of this set of comments is the New York Times breaking the law by publishing classified information that many of us believe is detrimental to the national security of the United States. You haven’t made any argument about that. If the point of your posts was limited to objecting to the hyperbolic (and I believe unserious) suggestions of a couple of commenters that someone should blow up the New York Times building, fine, I’ve got no problem with that, but that was not clear from your posts.

    Tim K (7e41e8)

  35. The news rooms are the safe houses of the domestic enemy just as mosques are safe houses for the Jihadi enemy.

    The domestic enemy realizes they can always win by pushing the matter to the point where the only possible way left to respond to them is violence. They realize we won’t be willing to call their hand.

    True Thurts (d21251)

  36. I can’t believe that terrorists would be dumb enough to think that monetary transfers going through mainstream financial institutions wouldn’t draw attention–especially if they involve wire transfers across national borders. KYC policies in banks and other such places were really amped up even prior to 9/11.

    The NSA story really bothered me, but this is not really worth the ink or bandwidth it’s been getting.

    Geek, Esq. (825962)

  37. So then, why did the gummint ask them not to publish the story?

    CraigC (9cd021)

  38. I imagine that they’re extra, super-duper careful with stuff like this.

    But, the KYC policies of most banks drove most terrorist funding underground long before 9/11. It’s not like tracking terrorist and drug lord funds was a new concern on 9/12/01.

    Geek, Esq. (825962)

  39. […] This is covered like a blanket at Michelle Malkin, Hot Air, NRO’s Media Blog, Ankle Biting Pundits, Patterico, Iowa Voice, Sister Toldjah, Protein Wisdom, and others too numerous to mention. ____________________________ […]

    BizzyBlog.com » They Think Know They’re Above the Law, and Above the Mere Mortals Responsible for National Security (475ea5)

  40. […] Patterico has a great post that includes this question: What exactly is in the public interest about revealing classified information that has been successful in tracking and apprehending murderous terrorists? […]

    The Real Ugly American.com » Blog Archive » People need to be Prosecuted (4e8dcb)

  41. Bill Keller: No, I’m The Decider…

    Despite requests from the Bush administration not to publish the story, The New York Times has taken it upon itself to declassify yet another classified anti-terror program. Commenting on the story, NYT editor Bill Keller said that after “seriou…

    Outside The Beltway | OTB (30d6b6)

  42. Patterico:

    From all the links, I’d say you’re the eye of a blog storm.

    nk (956ea1)

  43. And where has the NY Times been for the last 30 years as the IRS used these administrative subpoenas to fish through bank and credit card records looking for tax cheats?

    Or is funding the War on Poverty more important than fighting the War on Terror?

    Kevin Murphy (0b2493)

  44. Patterico–

    Why an “independant prosecutor”? Why not just an especially nasty regular one?

    Kevin Murphy (0b2493)

  45. For whatever it’s worth, I chimed in too: “If two members of AIPAC can be indicted for conspiring with a government official to obtain classified information so can the reporters and editors of The New York Times for doing the same thing, in my view, for far less noble motives. Follow Patterico’s links for the story in case you don’t already know it.”
    http://krites.blogspot.com/2006/06/we-did-it-once-and-we-can-do-it-again.html

    nk (956ea1)

  46. […] Patterico has excellent commentary, as does Protein Wisdom who reminds us that, hey, the press is on YOUR side, little guy! […]

    The Anchoress » NY Times pushing to be charged? (1b383c)

  47. For those who are interested in two legal analyses that concluded that the New York Times’ earlier disclosure of the NSA Intercept program violated criminal law, and was not protected by the First Amendment, here are links:

    Gabriel Schoefeld, Has the New York Times Violated the Espionage Act?

    Scott Johnson, Did the New York Times break the law with its wire-tapping story?

    Tim K (7e41e8)

  48. Just a side note, why hasn’t anyone mentioned that the Wall Street Journal is also running with this story?

    Halcyon (883f60)

  49. I can’t believe that terrorists would be dumb enough to think that monetary transfers going through mainstream financial institutions wouldn’t draw attention–especially if they involve wire transfers across national borders. KYC policies in banks and other such places were really amped up even prior to 9/11.

    The NSA story really bothered me, but this is not really worth the ink or bandwidth it’s been getting.

    So did the officials lie to the NYT about the program’s successes?

    The thing that really enrages me about this is that officials are pointing to more than one tangible result from this program, and still it’s being torpedoed by the newspapers.

    Patterico (50c3cd)

  50. This Time, Maybe It Is Treason — NYT & LAT Divulge Classified Program, AGAIN…

    If this isn’t deserving of Okie’s Head Up The Ol’ Wazzoo Award, I don’t know what would be!

    In today’s Los Angeles Times and the New York Times the top story reveals the details of yet another secret U.S. anti-terror program — the use of vast …

    OKIE on the LAM - In LA (e2cef7)

  51. Is the Bush Admin really that unhappy about these leaks?…

    Could it be, that despite their claims to the contrary, the Bush Administration actually ‘enjoys’ news like this coming out? It makes them look proactive in the war on terror….

    ThoughtsOnline (b5aa23)

  52. Just a side note, why hasn’t anyone mentioned that the Wall Street Journal is also running with this story?

    Halcyon,

    I don’t subscribe and I didn’t know. Do they have a full-fledged article about it?

    Interesting that three separate papers are running stories about this on the same day. They must have known about each other’s stories.

    Patterico (50c3cd)

  53. “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.” — Bill Keller

    The only argument the Administration need to have used is:

    “Unauthorized dissemination of classified information is a crime and we will haul your respectfully considered posteriors off to the slammer if you publish this stuff. Does that convince you?”

    Why didn’t they do this?

    SB (be8064)

  54. The Los Angeles Times also reported on the issue Thursday night on its Web site, against the Bush administration’s wishes. The Wall Street Journal said it received no request to hold its report of the surveillance.

    That’s for the WSJ question. The quote is from this story via Michelle Malkin. I’m guessing that by the time the NYT and LAT broke it, it didn’t matter one way or the other whether the WSJ jumped on the bandwagon? Or else the admin didn’t know the WSJ had it too?

    Anwyn (164e26)

  55. Yes the Journal has a full story on this running in their paper as well. Obviously I can’t post the entire thing here but it’s on 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.

    The information comes from a Belgian firm known by its acronym, Swift, which manages much of the world’s financial-message traffic. Under the program, U.S. counter-terrorism analysts query Swift’s vast database of billions of financial transactions for information on activity by suspected terrorists. The program operates under a series of broad U.S. subpoenas.

    U.S. officials say the Terrorist Finance Tracking Program has been highly successful both in leading to the apprehension of terrorism suspects and in thwarting terrorist operations. People familiar with the program said, for example, that it yielded useful information on the bombings last July 7 in London. The program “has helped to disrupt terrorist cells and operations and has helped save lives,” Treasury said in a statement to The Wall Street Journal.

    Still, disclosure of its existence may be controversial in Europe and other parts of the world and within the global banking industry, which has long worried about the privacy of transactions. U.S. officials said few American citizens would have financial data that fall under the program, because they are unlikely to engage in international money transfers.

    I assume you can see my E-mail and if you mail me yours I’ll E-mail the whole article to you if you like.

    Halcyon (883f60)

  56. Look, the WaPo has a story too, but it’s clearly playing catch-up based on last night’s online reports. The editors obviously read them, and had someone phone up a Treasury official for a quick interview, so they wouldn’t be caught *completely* with their pants down.

    Is the WSJ article like that? Or is it really a third independent investigation?

    Patterico (50c3cd)

  57. […] The Washington Post has a Page A01 story on the Swift (former?) anti-terror program today, and commenter Halcyon says the Wall Street Journal is also running with the story. […]

    Patterico’s Pontifications » More on the (Former) Anti-Terror Program (421107)

  58. Look, the WaPo has a story too, but it’s clearly playing catch-up based on last night’s online reports. The editors obviously read them, and had someone phone up a Treasury official for a quick interview, so they wouldn’t be caught *completely* with their pants down.

    Is the WSJ article like that? Or is it really a third independent investigation?

    It reads like it’s their own investigation into this and since as Anwyn pointed out they were mentioned as a source but one that wasn’t asked to not release it it would still sound like something they were running with at about the same time.

    Halcyon (883f60)

  59. Is the WSJ article like that? Or is it really a third independent investigation?

    Speaking of red flags, that question raises a number of others for me. Did the NYT and LAT get their stories from separate leakers? Seems unlikely. Did the same leakers go to both papers? Seems unlikely. Did all three papers each get a tip by amused leakers waiting to see which paper got to them first? Less unlikely, but still weird. The phrase “independent investigation” suggests more work than I suspect any of these papers actually had to do. Can you say “silver platter,” anyone? It all stinks however you look at it, but my questions go to “How many people blew the lid off this?” And if there were enough to get all three papers started “independently,” some gov’t department needs to do some serious housecleaning and throw the trash into a secure facility.

    Anwyn (164e26)

  60. Anwyn, Comment #60. You got me thinking. “Nearly 20 current and former government officials … .” Do Senators, Congressmen and their staffers count as “government officials”? Why does it have to be members of the Executive Department? Were any Democrats in the Congress briefed about this program? Can we say Leahy, Shumer, Pelosi, Murtha … ?

    nk (50d578)

  61. So are you going to call for the prosecution of The Wall Street Journal too for reporting on this?

    blogenfreude (de375b)

  62. Blogenfreude, Comment #62: I seriously question whether the First Amendment allows prosecution for reporting it. Prosecution would be for conspiring to ACQUIRE the classified information.

    nk (50d578)

  63. It’s not Monday yet, but here come the quarterback…

    Dear Osama,
    It’s been a few weeks since we chatted about that NSA program, but there’s some news we though you had the right to know. The CIA has a secret program to track your financial dealings here in America. So you might wanna change how you’r…

    reverse_vampyr (59ce3a)

  64. Re #36. “They realize we won’t be willing to call their hand.”

    Speak for yourself. I’m willing to call their hand. If it was up to me, I’d invoke the war powers act or some other plausible pretext, and close them down.

    Send in the feds, put all those preening parrots in hand cuffs and frog march em to the paddy wagons. I’d take every computer hard drive, phone record, and rotary file in the place, padlock the doors, and then freeze every single personal financial account and credit card. Then I’d beat the living stuffing out of every one the dirty SOBs and then send them all to Gitmo, every last one. That’s only for starters.

    So, it’s a good thing I’m not calling the shots, because I’d do it, and damn quick.

    Black Jack (d8da01)

  65. […] I don’t know the answer for sure. When I call for an independent prosecutor (as I did in a previous post), I am seeking to find the people in the government who leaked this information. To find those people, we are going to have to demand that the reporters tell us who they are. Consequently, I want subpoenas issued to Eric Lichtblau, James Risen, and Bill Keller of the New York Times, and to Josh Meyer, Greg Miller, Doyle McManus, and Dean Baquet of the Los Angeles Times. If the reporters won’t disclose their sources, I want them thrown in the pokey, Judy Miller-style, until they do. This is far more important than the Valerie Plame case and I want to see it treated as such. […]

    Patterico’s Pontifications » Can Journalists Be Prosecuted for Publishing Classified Information? Should They Be? (421107)

  66. […] Patterico, who admitted that he was venting his anger, wrote: I am biting down on my rage right now. I’ll resist the temptation to say Ann Coulter was right about where Timothy McVeigh should have gone with his truck bomb. I’ll say only this: it’s becoming increasingly clear to me that the people at the New York Times are not just biased media folks whose antics can be laughed off. They are actually dangerous. […]

    Common Sense Political Thought » Blog Archives » On whose side are they? (819604)

  67. No Bias here just move along…

    In the never ending story of trying to get at the Bush White House, the MSM published reports on the adminstrations use of tracking finacial transactions to find out where people are giving money ot terrorists. What ever happened to…

    Stix Blog (72c8fd)

  68. […] Update: Others as frustrated and angry about this as I am. Or even more so. Patterico, Bull Moose, Michelle Malkin, Hot Air, Prairie Pundit, Pundit Guy, Confederate Yankee, Strata-Sphere, Liberty and Justice, The Emperor, Outside The Beltway, Anchoress, Orin Kerr, Influence Peddler, The American Thinker, Squiggler, […]

    Blue Crab Boulevard » Blog Archive » Personal Thanks (a177fd)

  69. Quiz time:

    If a terrorist attack succeeded because the NY Times helped them evade our now-public intelligence programs, what do you suppose would be the Times’ reaction? Think they’d take any responsibility for that, or would they tear Bush a new one for not detecting the terrorists in time to stop them?

    Paul in NJ (723a18)

  70. […] Finally, as I told you before, the paper does not give a full picture of the successes of the program. The New York Times and Washington Post managed to find officials who would disclose specific successes of the program, including confirming the identity of a major Iraqi terror facilitator, and the capture of the mastermind of the 2002 Bali bombing, which killed 202 people. Yet the Los Angeles Times says: Current and former U.S. officials familiar with the SWIFT program described it as one of the most valuable weapons in the financial war on terrorism, but declined to provide even anecdotal evidence of its successes. […]

    Patterico’s Pontifications » L.A. Times Distorts Crucial Details of Anti-Terror Program (421107)

  71. The Line Must Be Drawn…

    There is a line that must be drawn, one that our enemies cannot cross without suffering the consequences of their actions. That goes for actions domestically as well as overseas….

    A Blog For All (59ce3a)

  72. i hope you realize you are stupid and this is a prank post.

    g (ef1482)

  73. Al Qaeda in New York, d/b/a The New York Times, should be shut down. Al Qaeda in New York intelligence operatives Eric Lichtblau, James Risen, and Bill Keller should be arrested, interrogated, convicted, and executed for treason and espionage in a time of war.

    Warmongering Lunatic (57c7b9)

  74. […] Professor Bainbridge nails it. If these criminals inside and outside the government are not prosecuted, we might as well just come out and admit we are a government by the New York Times, of the New York Times and for the New York Times. Patterico has much much much much more. […]

    damnum absque injuria » Bill Keller Is Not My President (38c04c)

  75. […] Stephen Spruill explains things to a partisan stooge: Oliver Willis thinks I object to the publication of the banking-data story because I object to the publication of any story that reflects badly on the Bush administration. The only problem with his theory is that the story doesn’t reflect badly on the Bush administration. If anything, it helps Bush politically by explaining an innovative and successful method the administration has used to track terrorists. Oh wait… make that used to use to track terrorists, now that its exposure has probably rendered it ineffective. […]

    Cold Fury » Blog Archive » Krypto-gram for stupid (6f4592)

  76. Bu$hCo’s Bank Surveillance Program™…

    So now the Dear Leader is checking out some bank transactions along with email, phone calls, and maybe even your tire pressure. Can we say whether it’s legal? No. Can we say for sure whether it’s made us safer? No…

    AGITPROP: Version 3.0, Featuring Blogenfreude (72c8fd)

  77. i have seen no convincing argument that disclosure of the banking-data monitoring has made the monitoring less effective, and i for one am glad to be reassured that the administration is doing at least one smart thing in its so-called “war against terror,” not that it comes close to balancing out the dumb things, the invasion of iraq being the dumbest.

    david coder (71bdf2)

  78. This story was published almost simultaneously by The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and the Wall Street Journal.

    Interesting, isn’t it, in the attempt to ‘Dan Rather” the NYT and the LAT, the Bush administration’s official outlet of the Ministry of Propaganda escapes all vilification and outrage.

    Who do you think you’re fooling? And is there any limit to the amount of privacy you are willing to give up, in virtually every aspect of your life, all because 19 loons with box cutters hit us once in 230 years of our nation’s history?

    Appropriate, isn’t it, that your Supreme Court (the one that placed Il Duce in office) has now ruled that police can bust into your home without permission, without knocking, without a warrant.

    Does that mean you can exercise your Second Amendment right and shoot one of them dead, not knowing who these non-uniformed assault members are that are invading your home without a word, endangering your family while killing your family dog?

    No warrant, no oversight, no constitutional laws that can’t be ignored. The suspension of Habeas Corpus which is a concept older than our nation itself. Welcome to Bush America.

    Will look forward to the Brownshirts marching in front of the Times building. Just let us know when Krystalnight II is coming, so we can stay in that evening.

    filmex (e33f7b)

  79. OK. Does anyone have a listing of all the top sponsors and advertisers that do business with New York Times?

    I can’t do much but offer my opinion and vote with my wallet. If we ALL did this, the NY Times would fold like the house of cards that it is.

    We are in this war for the survival of this country and the God-fearing people that champion the cause of the US Constitution. Remember folks, all our military personnel swear (to God) to support and defend the Constitution against ALL enemies.

    Let’s defend the defenders by being responsible citizens who do not use our RIGHTS (some God-given and inalienble) to undercut those who may give the ultimate sacrifice for us. Let’s use our RIGHTS to support and aid them in any way that we can. THE CHOICE IS OURS — NO ONE ELSE’S.

    D. Reiner

    Drew Reiner (cba20f)

  80. Real-world consequences…

    I’ve always thought of it as self-evident that the actions we take have consequences for those around us. These consequences can be great or small; they can affect those close to us or even people far away whom we’ve never…

    Public Secrets: from the files of the Irishspy (72c8fd)

  81. […] That being the said, I think it’s a bit harsh to call for the heads of reporters, as some have done. Let’s leave that kind of thing to Middle Eastern terrorists. Why can’t we have a good old-fashioned blacklist instead? Do those hard-line conservatives today think they’re better than Joseph McCarthy? If a blacklist was good enough for Tailgunner Joe, then it should be good enough for the bloggers. See, Joe didn’t have access to the kind of anonymous death threats you kids take for granted today. He had to make due with scaring everyone senseless by waving around sheets of paper. Now there’s some guts and creativity. I’m not impressed by these Joseph-come-latelys, they’re all bile and threats until you take them away from their computer, and then suddenly it’s like “New York Times who? Treason what?” […]

    Aunt Elinor Fights Crime » Blog Archive » When newspapers start covering the news, that’s when we have a real problem on our hands. (07f25e)

  82. Blinded by the (Sun-)Light…

    I’ve had to to there with “sunshine” laws in general, and their pollyannish names in particular. Society has long outgrown its fetish with real sunshine, too little of which can be problematic but too much of which causes everything f…

    damnum absque injuria (38c04c)

  83. Cool Site! kabababrubarta

    kabababrubarta (0df4a0)

  84. i am curious. who and what is patterico. it is truly a democratic internet way of being although occasionally borders on the anarchic which is a good thing. unfortunately the us of hay is rapidly deteriorating into a 2 dimensional psychotic (not sicko michael moore style) electronic brain washed robotic schizoid consuming culture. humans are analog and not digital creatures and it appears there is only one cure for the great american green buck pavlovian conditioned disease. dont love it or leave it thats not good enough. . hopefully the next president as commander in chief will offer grants to all americans for free travel to any other culture for deprogramming. six months should be enough to return as an unamerican truly democratic revolutionary. hopefully the first recipients will be bush and cheney. dr adam rosenblatt

    rosenblattadam9 (4f0ea2)

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  86. […] Try and find that, here at home. […]

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