The New York Times continues its proud legacy of printing classified information helpful to the terrorist enemy, with this story detailing a secret U.S. plan to sharply reduce our military presence in Iraq by the end of 2007.
The top American commander in Iraq has drafted a plan that projects sharp reductions in the United States military presence there by the end of 2007, with the first cuts coming this September, American officials say.
According to a classified briefing at the Pentagon this week by the commander, Gen. George W. Casey Jr., the number of American combat brigades in Iraq is projected to decrease to 5 or 6 from the current level of 14 by December 2007.
. . . .
General Casey’s briefing has remained a closely held secret, and it was described by American officials who agreed to discuss the details only on condition of anonymity.
I guess it’s not a “closely held secret” any more!
Got that, Al Qaeda? Just hold out another year and a half or so, and you’re home free! No, don’t thank me. Thank your pals at the New York Times.
Every time I think I can’t get angrier, I look at the New York Times web site — and I get angrier. These people are addicted to printing classified information that harms our country’s vital national security interests. What do we have to do to make them stop?
FLASHBACK: From the July 7, 2005 New York Times:
Responsible journalists recognize that press freedoms are not absolute and must be exercised responsibly. This newspaper will not, for example, print the details of American troop movements in advance of a battle, because publication would endanger lives and national security.
The linked story doesn’t provide “the details of American troop movements in advance of a battle,” but it does provide details about anticipated troop levels in the middle of a war. There is no question that Al Qaeda takes comfort in knowing that there are official plans to slash troop levels in Iraq by the end of 2007. The folks at the New York Times think they’re staying on the right side of the line, but in reality, they have crossed it.
There has to be some sort of consequence for this pattern of behavior.
UPDATE: Ed Morrissey appears to suspect that this may have been a deliberate leak by the Pentagon. If the President authorized the declassification of the information, then obviously there is no issue of releasing classified information — but then the story is inaccurate, because it terms the information “classified.” If the information was indeed classified, as the story says, then I don’t care whether the leaker’s motive was to help Bush or harm him. Nor does the law.
P.S. If Bush declassified information for a crassly political purpose, the voters have a remedy: they can vote for Democrats next time around. But if the information was properly classified, and was published by a newspaper without authorization, the voters have no recourse. This is why classification is left up to the government and not the newspapers.