Patterico's Pontifications

7/2/2006

Keller on Face the Nation

Filed under: Media Bias,Scum,Terrorism — Patterico @ 11:20 am



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.

Often?

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.

Also, according to Power Line, Reliable Sources had Hewitt v. Lichtblau. Oh, man. I hope Expose the Left gets the video of that! UPDATE: Here it is.

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.

51 Responses to “Keller on Face the Nation”

  1. […] Patterico watched the clip and sounds like he’s ready to start issuing subpoenas. […]

    Hot Air » Blog Archive » Video: Keller’s Independence Day message to America (d4224a)

  2. Or, that was successful, until you came along.

    I’d like to hear more about how its not successful. Please feel free to use classified information in talking about this, you know, because its in the public interest that we know.

    actus (6234ee)

  3. and publishing the story that you did publish, which exposed the classified details of how the government does this.

    Wait, so they were classified when exposed? Or not?

    actus (6234ee)

  4. It’s increasingly clear with these interviews that they did run with information still classified even after the limited set of talking points was declassified.

    Patterico (2586cd)

  5. It’s increasingly clear with these interviews that they did run with information still classified even after the limited set of talking points was declassified.

    It would be interesting to sort out exactly what was declassified. Is the talking point that it was successfull declassified?

    actus (6234ee)

  6. Is the talking point that it was successfull declassified?

    Do you hold that it was classified?

    Gantry (7e2f86)

  7. Next the Times will reveal that Ahmed, the Al Qaeda money courier, residing at 123 Gassbaggen Strasse, Munich, Germany is in fact an operative working for the CIA. It meets the SWIFT editorial criteria in that 1) Al Qaeda KNOWS that the US is trying to track the flow of money in terrorist circles, and 2) EVERYONE knows that terrorists are moving to unconventional methods of transferring funds. What’s the beef with providing specifics?

    Unless terrorism conducts ALL transactions with methods that leave no trace, there is some value in being able to track SOME of the transfers. It’s possible that Hambali transferred money by other means, but was only tripped up by the small percent passing through SWIFT. You don’t have to track every last nickel.

    Greg Miller (3660a8)

  8. What “classified details” did they expose, precisely?

    It was a fairly broad overview. The little operational detail they had was conceivably fed by Treasury at the end of the two-month give-and-take.

    “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.” – Patterico

    Excellent point.

    There are not inconsiderable types who argue “the terrorists were told nothing useful.” I suspect if we ever hear from Hamilton or Kean, they will say that. And then reinforce what the rest of us believe – that the NYT was marginally more deluded than dangerous.

    Is all this worth our holiday time?

    steve (7aa64f)

  9. Past time for a hangin’…

    Keller on Face the NationPatterico 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…

    Old War Dogs (72c8fd)

  10. Back in the days before the web, and when it had an entirely different meaning, we called guys like Keller “flamers” because they were flaming
    @#$%^s. He is the biggest flamer I’ve seen this year, and there was lots of competition for the title.

    Mike Myers (290636)

  11. “So when lives are clearly at risk, sometimes you publish anyway?”

    I assume this must be a rhetorical question but, yes, they do. Remember when CNN released the names of undercover operatives in South America, then acted astonished that many were killed?

    “It would be interesting to sort out exactly what was declassified. Is the talking point that it was successfull declassified?”

    What is the point, Actus? And why are you working so hard to defend the NYT in this case?

    sharon (fecb65)

  12. Remember when CNN released the names of undercover operatives in South America, then acted astonished that many were killed? – Sharon

    No, but I’m confident you have a link to help us remember. Should be easy to find.

    steve (db6ba8)

  13. What is the point, Actus? And why are you working so hard to defend the NYT in this case?

    Defend? I’d say figuring out what is classified or not helps the offense, not the defense.

    actus (6234ee)

  14. I still haven’t seen anyone on the left explain how they differ from our avowed enemies in ANY meaningful way. Goes double for Keller and his ilk.

    I don’t know if Republicans need the “red meat” of the treason of the NYT, but we’ll take it. Keep it up, anti-Americans, you’ll win elections for the Republicans without our having to make much effort.

    Peg C. (5907f4)

  15. Who makes the decision on whether to indict? Can a citizen swear a complaint? A police officer? A DA? Some Federal Prosecutor?

    Where are all the tough couageous conservative lawyers? Why can’t conservatives find one Ronnie Earle?

    Because our ‘leaders’ cannot lead and are gutless wonders. We deserve to get kicked regularly.

    Republicans are going to get killed in the upcoming elections, and deserve to.

    Fred Z (83acf5)

  16. I still haven’t seen anyone on the left explain how they differ from our avowed enemies in ANY meaningful way

    How about, they don’t think people should be beheaded. But maybe some bloggers think that.

    actus (6234ee)

  17. I think you probably would like to know what they’re doing that’s successful as well.

    I can’t remember the last time NYT published any stories about our successes in Iraq.

    Denny Lee (69e269)

  18. My question to Keller would be why is it “red meat” to beat up on the NY Times? that statement sounds as if it is a liberal arm of the Democratic party in that the President is using it to gain advantage in an election year. I believe the President would only beat up on a political foe. no?

    Erin Bizon (ce6f06)

  19. Poor Actus. Left differentiating the left from terrorists as “they want beheading.” Well, that’s just a step below the usual cries for assassination, etc. one can find on KOS. So, I guess there isn’t a whole helluva lot of difference.

    “Defend? I’d say figuring out what is classified or not helps the offense, not the defense.”

    Only someone trying to DEFEND what the NYT did would use this excuse.

    sharon (fecb65)

  20. If you thought the framing of the issue being “GOP vs. NYT” was bad on CNN, you should have seen today’s Chris Matthews show with Nora O’Donnell, Clarence Page, and crew amping that claim up even more. It was truly annoying.

    Zach (c6289e)

  21. Only someone trying to DEFEND what the NYT did would use this excuse.

    Aren’t you interested in knowing what they printed was classified? Or do you not care and you’ve already made up your mind? even before this happened?

    actus (6234ee)

  22. “Aren’t you interested in knowing what they printed was classified?”

    Does it make a difference to you whether all of it or some of it was classified? And, in any event, it seems like this specific area of this topic has already been discussed, hasn’t it? Or do you need to know exactly which specific sentence was declassified as a result of the NYT decision to run with this story in spite of its effect?

    “Or do you not care and you’ve already made up your mind? even before this happened?”

    As someone who worked in the field, I did, indeed, make up my mind about this and other “gotcha” stories. 10 yrs in the business taught me that mostly the reporters & editors only care about making our govt look bad and wanting to create more hostility among the public. Judging from your comments, it’s working.

    sharon (fecb65)

  23. Does it make a difference to you whether all of it or some of it was classified?

    I’d like to know what the government declassified. Was it “talking points” or something of substance or what?

    10 yrs in the business taught me that mostly the reporters & editors only care about making our govt look bad and wanting to create more hostility among the public.

    I know. Why can’t they print more stories about pretty ponies and flowers?

    actus (6234ee)

  24. I know. Why can’t they print more stories about pretty ponies and flowers?

    You mean like Michael Moore’s depiction of Saddam’s Iraq?

    Dave (5977b0)

  25. “I’d like to know what the government declassified. Was it “talking points” or something of substance or what?”

    For what purpose? Does it change anything of substance?

    “I know. Why can’t they print more stories about pretty ponies and flowers?”

    They would probably get better readership if they did.

    sharon (fecb65)

  26. For what purpose? Does it change anything of substance?

    For the purpose of knowing how the government is approaching this.

    They would probably get better readership if they did.

    I know. Its sick junk that makes money these days.

    actus (6234ee)

  27. Remember when CNN released the names of undercover operatives in South America, then acted astonished that many were killed? – Sharon

    No, I don’t.

    A link please, Sharon.

    steve (db6ba8)

  28. I’m a long time conservative, but everytime I listen to this guy Hewitt, I seriously reconsider my position. What a pompus moron.

    Bill B (298d1d)

  29. “Keller, you’re a smart guy,”

    I have seen no evidence whatsoever in support of this contention. Quite the contrary. He doesn’t even seem to quite grasp the implications of statements that he makes on national television. Either he is talking off the top of his head (which means he lacks the intelligence to prepare his statements in advance of going on national TV), or he really is an idiot prepared to openly admit that he sometimes knowingly puts lives in danger in the name of personal profit.

    Either way, he shows no glimmer of intelligence or decency.

    Federal Dog (9afd6c)

  30. I am brought to wonder,
    If the NYT is really a fair minded org. Then when are they going to screw over an Al-Qieda operation? I mean fair is fair, can’t they print some of the secrets of the Al-Qeida? And if they can’t? Why not? And if they won’t, why aren’t they being prosecuted?

    paul from fl (464e99)

  31. Please don’t feed the troll. Actus was a pest at Protein Wisdom until people there started ignoring its little rat droppings. If you notice these threads where it participates, it adds nothing to the discussion and often hijacks the thread.

    Patterico, I suggest you show somewhat less forbearance than Jeff did.

    moneyrunner (0f8378)

  32. Either ths story revealed nothing secret and sensitive, in which case it didnt deserve front-page coverage and the agonizing that you and Dean Baquet and Doyle McManus say you went through

    Todays washington post front page is about 1.3 billion dollars in farm subsidies going to people who don’t farm. Nothing secret or sensitive about that. Yet quite the front page material.

    [Did the headline say the subsidies were secret? — P]

    actus (6234ee)

  33. If the administration didn’t want this information out there, they shouldn’t talk about it so much

    http://mediamatters.org/items/200606280010#20060629

    * In a September 24, 2001, speech, Bush announced the establishment of a “foreign terrorist asset tracking center at the Department of the Treasury to identify and investigate the financial infrastructure of the international terrorist networks.” He added, “It will bring together representatives of the intelligence, law enforcement and financial regulatory agencies to accomplish two goals: to follow the money as a trail to the terrorists, to follow their money so we can find out where they are; and to freeze the money to disrupt their actions.”
    * In a September 24, 2001, letter to Congress, Bush noted, “Terrorists and terrorist networks operate across international borders and derive their financing from sources in many nations. Often, terrorist property and financial assets lie outside the jurisdiction of the United States.” He affirmed his commitment to working with international agencies such as the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) “to build momentum and practical cooperation in the fight to stop the flow of resources to support terrorism.”
    * A White House fact sheet published on September 24, 2001, noted the launch of the Treasury Department’s Foreign Terrorist Asset Tracking Center (FTAT): “The FTAT is a multi-agency task force that will identify the network of terrorist funding and freeze assets before new acts of terrorism take place.”
    * In a September 26, 2001, statement, Bush said, “We’re fighting them on a financial front. We’re choking off their money. We’re seizing their assets. We will be relentless as we pursue their sources of financing. And I want to thank the Secretary of Treasury for leading that effort.”
    * On October 10, 2001, Bush stated that the “nations of NATO are sharing intelligence, coordinating law enforcement and cracking down on the financing of terrorist organizations.”
    * During remarks at FTAT, then-Treasury Seceretary Paul O’Neill said, “[W]e have begun to act – to block assets, to seize books, records and evidence, and to follow audit trails to track terrorist cells poised to do violence to our common interests. ” O’Neill added, “We have built an international coalition to deny terrorists access to the world financial system.”
    * A December 2001 report on the steps the administration had taken to combat terrorism noted that the FATF “– a 29-nation group promoting policies to combat money laundering — adopted strict new standards to deny terrorist access to the world financial system.”
    * A September 10, 2004, Treasury Department statement read: “The targeting of terrorist financing continues to play an important role in the war on terror. Freezing assets, terminating cash flows, and following money trails to previously unknown terrorist cells are some of the many weapons used against terrorist networks.”

    Moreover, SWIFT’s cooperation in international efforts to monitor terrorists’ banking activities was a matter of public knowledge long before the Times detailed the Treasury Department program. As former Bush administration counterterrorism official Roger Cressey noted in the June 28 Globe article, “There have been public references to SWIFT before. … It has been in the public domain before.” Indeed, in his June 28 column, WashingtonPost.com columnist Dan Froomkin noted that according to SWIFT’s website, the consortium has a “history of cooperating in good faith with authorities such as central banks, treasury departments, law enforcement agencies and appropriate international organisations, such as the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), in their efforts to combat abuse of the financial system for illegal activities.” And as former State Department official Victor Comras noted in a June 23 Counterterrorism Blog post, the United Nations Al Qaeda and Taliban Monitoring Group learned of the SWIFT program years ago — a fact the group incorporated into its December 2002 report to the U.N. Security Council:

    The settlement of international transactions is usually handled through correspondent banking relationships or large-value message and payment systems, such as the SWIFT, Fedwire or CHIPS systems in the United States of America. Such international clearance centres are critical to processing international banking transactions and are rich with payment information. The United States has begun to apply new monitoring techniques to spot and verify suspicious transactions. The Group recommends the adoption of similar mechanisms by other countries.

    moleboy (159528)

  34. Way to read from the talking points, moleboy. If all this was soooo not secret,then why did the NYT feel compelled to write about it? Maybe the standards of journalism have changed, but it used to be that we didn’t put OLD news on the front page above the fold.

    sharon (03e82c)

  35. Fine it wasn’t classified, then Lichtbau will have no compunction about delivering up his sources.

    Fire them all.

    I’m furious with the NYT – but more than anything I want the traitors out of our government who tipped off the Treason Times. Looks like Treasury needs a fumigation.

    Kathy (c02b80)

  36. Way to read from the talking points, moleboy.

    Actually, it’ not. The proper way to read from the talking points is to spew the same nonsense he/she/it spewed, but try and pass it off as an original thought. Throwing in a link to iamadirtystinkingliar.org tends to give the game away.

    Xrlq (924f21)

  37. Fine it wasn’t classified, then Lichtbau will have no compunction about delivering up his sources.

    Why?

    Fire them all.

    Sounds like a good reason to not give up the sources.

    actus (ebc508)

  38. Did the headline say the subsidies were secret? — P

    No. But there’s plenty of things that deserve front page coverage but aren’t secret. Like I said, I did wish they weren’t backtracking on this, because it shows them to be weak appeasers.

    actus (ebc508)

  39. You deliberately miss the point actus – there would be no grounds for dismissal had the information been de-classified.

    Do try to keep up.

    Kathy (c02b80)

  40. I have a question that I haven’t seen addressed: Keller says, “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.”

    Well, it seems to me that the NYT has made the case that Congress wasn’t duly notified, and that the American public has “a right to know”. I’m assuming that the NYT didn’t know any details until the leaker called them.

    So, isn’t the logical conclusion that the NYT, Congress and the American public didn’t know any details about this? Yet Keller says the terrorists did.

    Just exactly how does one draw that conclusion from the facts included in the article and this interview?

    Putting these comments together shows what a BS artist Keller really is (aside from all his other BDS-caused ranting)!

    StuBlu

    StuBlu (82f39a)

  41. Arrogance — Thy Name Is Bill Keller…

    I don’t think it put any lives at risk.

    Beating up on the New York Times is red meat for the Conservative Base.

    If You’re Under The Impression That The Press Is Neutral, That Couldn’t Be More Wrong.

    I’ve just finished viewing yesterday m…

    OKIE on the LAM (e2cef7)

  42. The clincher: “When lives are clearly at risk, we often hold back information.” [3:50]. Often? How about, “Whenever lives may be at risk, we always hold back information.”? Nope, that’s too much to ask.

    Jeremayakovka (a64939)

  43. What many may be missing in this discussion is one of the fundamental tenents of intelligence operations. That is simply that you neither tell the enemy what you are doing nor what you are not doing. You don’t give them an iota of information that you do not want them to have. The enemy is paranoid and will suspect everything, but hopefully know nothing – if you are allowed to do your job correctly.

    Yes, Al Qaeda knew/knows that we are looking into financial records. Duh. But there is a world of difference in knowing that generalized idea and knowing specifically which of the many thousands of financial messaging processes we are working with.

    You do not want your enemy to know specifically where you are putting your covert, limited resources. The enemy knows that even the US has limited resources and if they know that some are working on SWIFT, they can then more easily deduce where they may not be working.

    Also, I’m sure the NYT knew there was a very high probability that due to the exposure of the Treasury/Swift operation, political pressure in Europe would shut the program down. I’m sure they also knew that if the program is shut down, then SWIFT is then known safe for use by terrorists and their supporters.

    Dr. Deano (7f152b)

  44. But there is a world of difference in knowing that generalized idea and knowing specifically which of the many thousands of financial messaging processes we are working with.

    I thought the idea of swift was it was a central clearinghouse. Are there thousands of those?

    actus (6234ee)

  45. Does it make a difference if there are?

    sharon (fecb65)

  46. Does it make a difference if there are?

    Sure it does. It affects how easily avoidable Swift is. If there are no other places like it, it also makes the monitoring easier — you only have to tap into the flow in one place.

    actus (6234ee)

  47. actus, there are thousands of ways to transfer money. There are a large handful of services like SWIFT. CHIPS is an American-based firm I believe and there are others whose names don’t come to mind right now. The appealing thing about a SWIFT-like service to terrorists is its relative (and former) ambiguity. In addition, the sheer volume of transactions (6 trillion dollars a day in the case of SWIFT) makes hiding in plain site, easier. Sifting through 6 trillion dollars worth of data transactions every day is a daunting task – especially since terrorists and their supporters don’t tend to make their transactions easy to pick out and there was a lot of legal process involved as well.

    Dr. Deano (7f152b)

  48. “Sure it does. It affects how easily avoidable Swift is. If there are no other places like it, it also makes the monitoring easier — you only have to tap into the flow in one place.”

    So, if there were others, this would vindicate the publishing of a legal, effective program that had Congressional oversight?

    sharon (fecb65)

  49. So, if there were others, this would vindicate the publishing of a legal, effective program that had Congressional oversight?

    Not necessarily. But it does make a difference.

    actus (6234ee)


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