Patterico's Pontifications


NYT Tips off Terrorists Again?

Filed under: General,Media Bias,Morons,Terrorism — Patterico @ 11:34 pm

Big Media is more careful and responsible than a bunch of bloggers . . . right?


Michael Moss of the New York Times has outted Inshallashaheed, the al Qaeda supporting blogger who we’ve been investigating for over a year. I’ve been sitting on his true identity for months, but in one fell swoop Samir ibn Zafar Khan, who lives in Charlotte North Carolina, has been identified.

Thanks a lot to Michael Moss and the New York Times for blowing an ongoing investigation into a known al Qaeda sympathizer who lives here in the United States. I’ve known about this piece for a few weeks and wrote the NY Times to ask Moss not to run it. No reply from the Times.

While we appreciate Moss’s commitment to spreading the word about the Internet Jihad, we really wish he would have consulted with us on the matter. He has a right to out Inshallahshaheed as Samir Khan, but doing so has jeopardized an ongoing investigation into a terror ring which begins in the US and ends in Somalia.

But that’s just like the NY Times, isn’t it?

Warning terrorists? Why, yes. It is just like them.

Allah asks whether the accusation is true, and comes up with a firm: Maybe! That’s good enough to start the outrage juices flowing!

38 Responses to “NYT Tips off Terrorists Again?”

  1. NYT – Proudly undermining America since 1968.

    Perfect Sense (b6ec8c)

  2. Well truthfully, I didn’t get all the way through the very very long Jawa post, but it strikes me as just the least bit proprietary and well…pompous.

    When I first read your excerpt, I thought it must be a quote from some sort of government investigative or intelligence agency. I mean who else would rightfully complain about a journalist “blowing an ongoing investigation” …”jeopardiz[ing] an ongoing investigation,” etc. ?

    It turns out the NYT writer didn’t blow a criminal or intelligence investigation (that we know of), but one being carried out by … a blogger.

    And the proprietary “we wish he would have consulted with us”? Hellooo, you’re a blogger, not the NSA or FBI, which the writer evidently did consult.

    Just the teeniest bit self-important, are we? Him, I mean. Not us.

    Just my quick take on it.

    Itsme (7d820e)

  3. Thoughts …

    1- I agree with itsme (#2) .. perhaps the FBI asked the NYT to keep quiet, but perhaps not. In any case, it is presumptuous to equate another journalistic investigation with a law enforcement investigation, and to expect that the NYT would have deferred to his blog!

    2- I fail to see the issue here .. the wannabe terrorist knew that the jig was up. Rusty told the guy as much in his correspondence. So the NYT revealed his name .. oh well. It is nothing like the publishing of the video transcript early that revelaed to Al Queda the infiltration of their network.

    3- And what crime exactly did inshallashaheed commit? Clearly, he is a fanatic, and clearly he wrote/published/linked some nasty stuff. I don’t see treason. Only in the blogging world does writing good things and linking to other materials become “aid and comfort”. This is still America and he is still allowed to have idiotic opinions and to spew them on his own blog.

    tomjedrz (562284)

  4. This sort of connects with the post earlier about the public’s right to know and how appropriate it is for officials to ask people not to talk to the press, in that its almost a moot point.
    A blogger is investigating a person whom he considers a “terrorist”. A reporter picked up the guy also and apparently blogger asked him to hold off reporting until his investigation was done. Right. What he was really asking was for a competitor to hold off and give him the story. Dream on baby, dream on.
    Blogger guy, quit complaining, you got scooped. The journalist rival ran the story coz he wants a raise and street cred etc. etc. just like you. You want to complain, complain to capitalism and competitiveness coz that’s what blew your own private terrorist story, not the irresponsible, lefty, America hating MSM.
    Reporter guy went to the feds who are supposed to know who to write stories about and who to leave alone coz they are being used for intelligence purposes and he got the green light.
    Why whine? Blogger guy can KEEP investigating inshawhoozy asshat and if he finds that the feds were wrong he’ll have a hell of a story AND an “in your face” to reporter guy.

    EdWood (248b65)

  5. #4
    I can’t open some of the links from work. If “Reporter guy went to the feds who are supposed to know who to write stories about and who to leave alone coz they are being used for intelligence purposes and he got the green light.”

    is in fact true, you are spot on.

    Voice of Reason (10af7e)

  6. Itsme #3 and tomjedrz #4,

    The linked article contains these statements:

    But that’s just like the NY Times, isn’t it? In Moss’s defense, he seems to have asked the FBI if there was an investigation into Khan, and they declined to comment.

    And this:

    UPDATE: Just to clarify, I was specifically asked by more than one FBI agent, and on more than one occasion, not to publicly identify Inshallahshaheed as Samir Khan.

    And this:

    And it was publicly known that “inshallashaheed” was being investigated by the FBI. It was even reported in the MSM.

    I think it’s possible the government privately asked the NY Times not to publish this information. Of course, the government also asked the NY Times not to publish a story that revealed government terror financing tools but the NY Times refused and published anyway. So it’s also possible the government didn’t even bother to ask the NY Times for restraint. Why bother when you already know the answer?

    DRJ (67ced6)

  7. Yeah, I re-read it all and I completely retract what I said about whining, Mr Shackleford sounded frustrated not whiny. I also thought it was interesting that even he was undecided about whether it was good to out the jihadonut or not. The Times article certainly helped me “get it” about the cyber-jihad and would make me much more inclined to listen to people like Mr. Shackleford if they were telling me how important it is to find these guys.

    EdWood (05a328)

  8. Shackleford has all the cred he needs with the people he wants it from. You would know this if you read his material.

    Not all bloggers are publicity hungry lefty or MSM types.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  9. Moonies have all the cred they need from the people they want it from too Daley. People like Shackleford are criticizing the media for doing what the media does as if what HE does is important and not self important (I Shackleford am saving the WOOOOOORRRLD! Who are these “journalists” that pester me?). He needs as much cred as he can get so that people pay attention to what he is saying and don’t dimiss him as just another twit that tinks dey saw a tewwowist!!!!

    I had this idea that the cyber-jihad guys were a bunch of lame teenaged wannabees, living in their mothers basements, writing screeds that nobody cared about. Based on the Times article and on the Jawa post that idea has now changed, and more importantly I bet it has changed for a lot of people.

    EdWood (05a328)

  10. I am still wondering what Inshawhatever has done (or is doing) that merits investigation?

    From what I can tell, he is no more dangerous than, he is likely more legal because he isn’t floating on the campaign financing/fundraising line, and at least he is honest about his intent and point of view.

    Please, help me to see what I am missing.

    tomjedrz (562284)

  11. The Jawa Report claims he has (1) expressed a desire to engage in violent jihad, (2) provided financial assistance to jihadists, and (3) is/has been affiliated with groups that support terror.

    DRJ (67ced6)

  12. Tips off? The guy was asking to be found!

    whitd (10527e)

  13. Anyone who runs a website named “God willing, I’m going to be a martyr” (which is, to the best of my knowledge, what the Arabic works out as in English)
    should expect to be investigated by the FBI, especially given the content of the posts. The NYT article told this jihadi nothing that his own common sense (in as much as a jihadi can be construed to have common sense) would not have told him. If he was too dumb not to try to hide and protect his jihadist friends and allies before this article, he’s not that much of a security threat to the US.
    (Although he actually does come close to the image of a lame teenage wannabe posting from his mother’s basement, going by the details given in the jawa post.)
    The fact that jihadis are organized and recruiting on US soil does need to be emphasized to the public, so they don’t think of them as simply sitting in caves in Central Asia. The NYT article probably does more good in that direction than a hundred posts by Jawa. Short of some intimation from the FBI that outing this particular jihadi had a negative effect on one or more investigations, I would not criticize the NYT for this one.

    kishnevi (479f0a)

  14. DRJ #7:

    Hi DRJ.

    Well first off, all three of those quotes come from the Jawa website.

    Actually, I don’t see where Moss (the NYT writer) says anything about contacting the FBI. I could be missing it – maybe you can point it out to me? I do see where he mentions contacting the terrorism center at West Point, which was evidently happy to provide him with information on jihadist websites, including the one in question.

    I also ran a Google search for “inshallahshaheed” and “FBI” (and variants), and only came up with links to blogger sites, some of which were just reporting on the NYT article or the Jawa thing. In other words, I haven’t been able to find where the mainstream media reported there was an FBI investigation on this particular jihadist site. Maybe I’m using the wrong terms.

    As to the FBI contacting Jawa/Rusty, well again, we only have his word and his take on what they said. For all we know they asked him to find another hobby altogether.

    At any rate, I fail to see how any of this really amounts to “tipping off terrorists.”

    Itsme (026c18)

  15. Hi Itsme,

    I wasn’t talking about the NY Times’ article. When I referred to the linked article, I meant the Jawa Report’s article linked in the post above.

    As for “tipping off,” it seems to me that writing someone may be a terrorist in a NY Times’ article is far more public than writing the same thing in a blog like the Jawa Report.

    DRJ (67ced6)

  16. Hi DRJ –

    Yes, I realized you were linking to the Jawa article. Sorry I wasn’t more clear, because what I meant was this is his take on the NYT article.

    And it’s hard to see what sort of information the NYT article included, besides his name, that hasn’t been included elsewhere, including the Jawa website. And the guy’s website had been closed down numerous times. Do you think the guy wasn’t aware he was being noticed?

    Itsme (026c18)

  17. Let me be more specific. Of course the NYT article probably included a lot more biographical information about the guy, but as far as his questionable activities … I just don’t see it.

    Itsme (026c18)

  18. Ahem

    Psyberian (9a155b)

  19. Psy #19:


    Itsme (026c18)

  20. Itsme, it looks like Dim Bulb et al have their own problems. And they’re in our White House.

    Psyberian (9a155b)

  21. Ah, thanks.

    Itsme (026c18)

  22. Itsme,

    I don’t know who’s right on this issue and I doubt you or I can evaluate it based on reading these articles. But it does bother me that the authors of the Jawa Report claim it’s a problem because they have a history of monitoring this kind of thing. The NY Times also has a history of outing surveillance programs. Is either fact enough to let me decide one way or the other? No, but it is enough to raise my level of concern.

    DRJ (67ced6)

  23. DRJ – I agree with you. The NY Times has a history of exposing national security secrets because it believes the public has a right to know. I don’t think the public has a right to know everything that the NY Times has published in past cases and they has done the country a disservice. I’m not saying this case is a disclosure of national security secrets.

    Shackleford has a history of investigating terrorists. I’m not sure the NY Times knows what the word means based on their history. I give the cred to Jawa on this one. I think the automatic reflex of Itsme and EdWood to distrust any conservative source kicked in because they are unfamiliar with Jawa’s work. I can think of a lot of scenarios where publicly outing the guy in a national publication and describing how the network operates could harm ongoing investigations. Remember the NY Times makes its own judgement about whether what it prints harms national security, so why wouldn’t it make a judgement about whether something would harm an investigation.

    It’s all guesswork, by my vote is to Jawa instead of the Liberal Elitist Deciders at the Times.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  24. DRJ #23:

    I appreciate your honesty. However, this isn’t really “outing a surveillance program” and I don’t know what about this would be a national security secret for that matter.

    Itsme (ac0560)

  25. Oops, sorry DRJ, I had picked up a comment from someone else’s post. But you get the gist of my point.

    And the fact that a blogger claims it’s a problem doesn’t persuade me.

    Itsme (ac0560)

  26. Daleyrocks, you’re welcome to your opinions. I doubt I would refer to them as “automatic reflexes” though.

    Itsme (ac0560)

  27. Itsme – Just seems that way sometimes, especially when you admit you haven’t read someone’s, Jawa’s, post or aren’t familiar with their other work.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  28. I didn’t say I didn’t read his post. I said I didn’t get all the way through a very, very long post.

    (Of course I’ve gone back and looked more than once.)

    Did you get all the way through Moss’ articles and videos?

    I might not “be familiar with his other work” but he is making claims that can certainly be scrutinized on their face.

    Itsme (ac0560)

  29. By “his other work” I mean Jawa, not Moss.

    Itsme (ac0560)

  30. Itsme – Pretty Clintonian response:
    I didn’t say I didn’t read his post. I said I didn’t get all the way through a very, very long post.

    Yeah, you didn’t read it. It’s fine with me if you started it. I’ve got no idea how much you read at the time you made your comment, obviously not enough to feel that you had to make that qualification in your comment. I don’t need the cute wordsmithing. This isn’t class.

    I read Moss but did not watch the Video. I had no interest.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  31. Right, not getting through page after page after page of repetitive bad writing means “starting” something.

    I tried to assume good faith on your part in this discussion, but I won’t make that mistake again.

    Itsme (ac0560)

  32. The NYT will help and help and help the terrorists, until one of them finally takes out the entire NY City, and the NY Times too. The NYT is an evolutionary dead end. Kind of like ‘cancer cures smoking’. Viva natural selection.

    jack (f6198c)

  33. Itsme – You’re funny. I’ve seen you with your word parsing games on other threads. I have no bad faith, I just wish you’d be honest instead of treating comment sections as war. Your first comment (#2) has a clear meaning to most native English speakers and to see you try to walk back from it is unnecessary.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  34. It’s not that big a deal – You can say you won the point if that’s what you need.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  35. Shackleford has a history of investigating people whom he thinks are connected to terrorists not who ARE terrorists. If they were terrorists then they would (we hope)be on their way to a cell somewhere unless the NSA had some use for them. I can see his frustration at a journalist letting the guy know that people actually knew his name now, especially if he was working on something that might be important, but I don’t see how that translates to some paper tipping off terrorists.
    Oh and yah Daley, ya got me, I suppose I do reflexively distrust right wing sources/writing, maybe its coz so many load their writing with loaded junk comments like “liberal elitist deciders at the Times”. I distrust lefty sites that use the word “facist” a lot for the same reasons.

    EdWood (b0f242)

  36. Sure Ed – Whatever you say. When your first comment includes the sentence : You want to complain, complain to capitalism and competitiveness coz that’s what blew your own private terrorist story, not the irresponsible, lefty, America hating MSM.

    Your cred on complaining about righty bias is 100% with me buddy. You go guy!

    daleyrocks (906622)

  37. Oop, yah got me again big D! You are so clever!

    EdWood (c2268a)

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