Bill Keller was on Face the Nation this morning. Expose the Left has the video, and you have to see it to believe it.
You know the utter arrogance you have seen in this man’s written defenses of his exposure of classified information? It comes across triple-strength on video.
He says the White House has reacted strongly because it’s an election year, and it’s “red meat” to beat up on the New York Times. Also, the White House is just embarrassed that they can’t hold onto their secrets. Also, this wasn’t a secret anyway, because the terrorists knew about it. (He shows no sign of understanding the contradiction.)
The idea that this might actually have been an effective program that the paper should not have exposed is dismissed as political grandstanding.
Also — and I was astounded enough at this part to transcribe it verbatim — he says:
I don’t think the threshold test of whether you write about how the government is waging the war on terror is whether they’ve done something that’s blatantly illegal or outrageous. I think you probably would like to know what they’re doing that’s successful as well.
Or, that was successful, until you came along.
So as I understand the standard, you write about it if it’s blatantly illegal or outrageous, because the public has a right to know. And you write about it if it’s not blatantly illegal or outrageous, and it is successful — because that’s interesting. (Translation: it might get us a Pulitzer.) Gee, it doesn’t sound like you decide not to publish too often. Keller continues:
The question we start with is, why would you not publish? And sometimes, there’s good reason. When lives are clearly at risk, we often hold back information.
So when lives are clearly at risk, sometimes you publish anyway?
Keller tells us that, hey, the terrorists knew anyway:
But this was a case where, clearly the terrorists, or the people who finance terrorism, know quite well, because the Treasury Department and the White House have talked openly about it, that they monitor international banking transactions. It’s not news to the terrorists.
Keller, you’re a smart guy, and I know you know better than this. There is a difference between publishing a story saying “Government Monitors International Banking Transactions,” which, without detail, would be greeted by a big yawn — and publishing the story that you did publish, which exposed the classified details of how the government does this. As See Dubya has already observed, you can’t have it both ways. Either ths story revealed nothing secret and sensitive, in which case it didn’t deserve front-page coverage and the agonizing that you and Dean Baquet and Doyle McManus say you went through — or it did, in which case you can’t credibly argue that the terrorists were told nothing useful.
Watch the whole thing and see if you can avoid getting extremely angry.
UPDATE: The sharp-eyed Cori Dauber notices that the Hewitt/Lichtblau clip (at 7:08) flashes at the bottom: “GOP vs. N.Y. Times.” In other words, it’s a purely partisan issue — as the program further evidences by putting three journalists against a partisan (Hewitt) who is introduced as the author of “Painting the Map Red.” There is no mention of the fact that Americans overwhelmingly agree with Hewitt, 60% to 27%, that the publication of the story helped the terrorists more than the public. Nope, it’s just the GOP vs. those responsible newspapers. I think we know where Howie Kurtz and CNN come down on this.