Democrats & Liberals Archives

Treasonous Accusations of Treason

Right-wing pundits are falling over themselves to denounce the New York times for treasonously revealing details of (yet another) legally dubious surveillance program. As it turns out, the NYT article was publicity more than it was news - the SWIFT program was was known to terrorism financing experts back in 2002, and detailed in publically available reports.

And as Glenn Greenwald notes, W himself has discussed monetary surveillance. So why was this old news on the front page? Perhaps the news value of the story was primarily its discussion of the legality of the program, or lack thereof - or maybe it was a slow news day. It was certainly news for some of us.

But if rightwingers are so worried about the extra publicity tipping off the terrorists - why the feeding frenzy? without the hysterical "hang all the journalists" outcry, surely this would have just slipped away, mostly unnoticed, like all those other front-page stories of incompetence and lawbreaking by the administration. So, Team Red, if you think publicity for the SWIFT program is treasonous, what should we call your publicity about the publicity?

Posted by William Cohen at June 27, 2006 2:36 PM
Comments
Comment #162329

That would be called anger.

Posted by: Yankee Dawg at June 27, 2006 3:20 PM
Comment #162357

William-
Your top Link is broken, so I will publish it here in the comments until you edit it back in:

Top Link

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at June 27, 2006 4:09 PM
Comment #162359

Well, having read it, it’s a choice piece of work! Good job.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at June 27, 2006 4:12 PM
Comment #162379

Curious question.

If the program was ‘well known’ and ‘everyone knows that this is SOP’ why are these stories front page news items?

Posted by: Rhinehold at June 27, 2006 4:32 PM
Comment #162381

Why is this front page news? I suspect, prehaps, that it was something OTHER than ‘a slow news day’ and more likely written in such a way as to try to convince readers that something ‘obviously illegal’ was underway.

But to those that think that we shouldn’t be using these methods even know we know that they know we are likely to use them, should we stop police stake-outs and other survellience of suspected illegal behavior? For example, most mob bosses are going to assume they are being watched, yet we still watch them, don’t we? And if someone tipped off that survellience either to the suspect or through public means, wouldn’t they be subject to being an accessory such as aiding and abetting statutes??

I just don’t see the point, perhaps someone could explain it to me…

Posted by: Rhinehold at June 27, 2006 4:40 PM
Comment #162386

Rhinehold, American financial transactions are being spied on, not the old news terrorist transactions. That’s what made it newsworthy.

Here are some more quotes from the White House in 2001 announcing (though not by name) the SWIFT monitoring of terrorist transactions.

Oct 29, 2001:

The Attorney General and the Director of Central Intelligence shall ensure, to the maximum extent permitted by law, that the Task Force has access to all available information necessary to perform its mission, and they shall request information from State and local governments, where appropriate.

With the concurrence of the Attorney General and the Director of Central Intelligence, foreign liaison officers from cooperating countries shall be invited to serve as liaisons to the Task Force, where appropriate, to expedite investigation and data sharing.

Does this not indicate that international tracking of funds will be part of the strategy? It does to me.

“We will starve terrorists of funding, turn them against each other, rout them out of their safe hiding places, and bring them to justice.”

President George W. Bush, - September 24, 2001

Now how was the President going to starve terrorists of their funding if he couldn’t track their funding?

Sept 24, 2001 - State Department news release: The President has directed the first strike on the global terror network today by issuing an Executive Order to starve terrorists of their support funds.

The Order expands the Treasury Department’s power to target the support structure of terrorist organizations, freeze the U.S. assets and block the U.S. transactions of terrorists and those that support them, and increases our ability to block U.S. assets of, and deny access to U.S. markets to, foreign banks who refuse to cooperate with U.S. authorities to identify and freeze terrorist assets abroad.

As you can see, the White House telegraphed this E-funds tracking to terrorists in its own news releases shortly after 9/11. This Republican attack on the NY Times was pure politics and deception and lying on the part of the White House - YET AGAIN.

By all means Repubbies, take the Times to Court. Throw another few hundred million of tax payers hard earned money away. You will lose for one simple reason. You can’t make your strategy known in press releases and then accuse others of leaking secret information. This was no secret as evidenced above. Declaring it was classified after being made public sounds like a Rovian trap for the NT Times that is doomed to failure whether it was or not.

The NY Times did the right thing in defying the administration to execute this trap. It will be the Administration who finds itself entrapped by its own telegraphing of its methods to our enemies direct from the White House Press Room.

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 27, 2006 4:44 PM
Comment #162396

William Cohen—I have heard an seen articles on financial statements and Phone taps, the Bin Laden cell tracing to name one. These stories have been in all the media off an on for a long time, Why now do do you think The President is making such a stink now? Do you suppose he is up too another one of his infamous Tricks.

Posted by: DAVID at June 27, 2006 5:06 PM
Comment #162399

Surely you jest. Yes the White House said that we would be monitoring their transactions. However, the NYT reported not only that it was being done, but also the methods. They also named countries that were assisting us, thereby placing targets on them.

No one with more than a working brainstem believes that the NYT cares about America’s success in the war on terror. It is blatantly obvious that the Times will run any story on the front page if they feel it will hurt the Bush administration, regardless of the consequences to our allies, or soldiers, or our country.

Posted by: Political Sniper at June 27, 2006 5:07 PM
Comment #162402

Another example of electioneering. Attack the press so that when they continue to report bad news from Iraq some people will not believe it.This was an etirely predictable effort. I would not be surprised to see bogus stories planted and then refuted in outrage alla Dan Rather coupled with increased censorship and psyops pieces from Iraq. The beast is wounded and more dangerious than ever.

Posted by: BillS at June 27, 2006 5:10 PM
Comment #162413

—One further point is that during the days of J. Edgar Hoover, heading the FBI, an had known taps on many people including Congressmen and Senators! Our protests may already be to late!

Posted by: DAVID at June 27, 2006 5:23 PM
Comment #162414

Political Sniper, if you research this topic a bit more you will learn that our Intel community has already come to the conclusion that the cat has been out of the bag for some time, and the terrorists have taken to using human couriers. Swift is no longer effective. That is one of many reasons the NYTimes felt it was OK to run with the story since many Americans did not know their own financial transactions were being monitored.

Terrorist leaders surely pay closer attention to White House press releases than American voters do. They believe they have more to gain and lose from those Press releases I quoted above. They are wrong, of course, but, don’t tell the “just tell me what to think” American voters that.

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 27, 2006 5:24 PM
Comment #162420

Political Sniper- spin it, because even a nit-wit, seeing any thing about wire taps of any type, would give then pause, Bin Laden was smart smart enough to stay off his cell phone after Gov. nit wits. released a statement about tracking him. At that time I thought someone was trying to warm him.

Posted by: DAVID at June 27, 2006 5:33 PM
Comment #162448

Now that Karl Rove is out of legal danger, it’s nice to see that he’s once again raised the tenor of political debate in this country.

Posted by: ElliottBay at June 27, 2006 6:20 PM
Comment #162467

William,

Great article and great links. What amazes me is that we are fighting over these issues and in many cases losing the battle for public opinion. The Bush Regime and its apologists basically tell, tell, and retell a fascist style “big lie”, in the case that: 1.) the NYT is leaking useful information, 2.) that there is no reason to question, oversee, or restrain the Regime, 3.) that the only reason to oppose surveillance programs is if you personally have something to hide, and 4.)that there is no danger that these powers will be used to undermine and subvert legitimate Constitutional authority by Congress and the Courts. They tell these fascist style “big lies” over and over, and many people believe them and we lose the battle for public opinion. How can we lose? This is blatantly obvious. Jack should be on our side on this. But he is not and we are fighting over things that we should be able to take for granted - and astoundingly - we are losing. How can that be? Now… I like slipping from parallel universe to parallel universe, but I have obviously taken the wrong drug and I am in the wrong one here, because this place is a festering scab on the ass of the universe - it is like “Alice in Wonderland.” Maybe it was that little purple piece of paper that I ate in the 70s… We are actually waisting electronic ink on a debate about whether it was appropriate for a news organisation to tell the American people that the executive branch of their government is spying on them without clear legal jurisdiction… We have to debate that? We have to debate that. Our country is lost in the darkness and I just want to click my heals and go home.

Posted by: Ray Guest at June 27, 2006 7:02 PM
Comment #162544

This whole attack on the NYT is such empty posturing — it’s sickening. But, what else is new?

As for what the administration is doing, I feel I must quote what JayJay Snow wrote the other day in the Rose Colored column:

Can we all just assume that all, our personal records are being accessed by the Bush administration? Just let me know when they discover something that is not being accessed.

I think he summed it up pretty well there. At this point, it’s probably safe to say that everything is being accessed unconstitutionally and illegally by the Neocons. The “War On Terror” has been and is, an extremely convienient excuse to abuse power, and do away with checks and balances.

Posted by: Adrienne at June 27, 2006 10:31 PM
Comment #162596

Someone above asked why this story now if it is old news.

This story is the second example in less than two weeks of the ROVE machine recycling old stories.

Last week SANTORUM “announced” the discovery of WMD in Iraq. The stories never said they were found over a year ago or that the sarin on the delapidated warhead shells was less toxic at this point than material commonly found under your kitchen sink.

This week they are screaming about the exposure of a government spying program that was publicly announced back in 2002. Again, old news.

The common thread is both the stories were generated as part of the White House charm offensive to resell the Iraq War to the American people.

The former is another attempt to use WMD to mislead the American people about Iraq. The latter is yet another attempt to silence critics.

This is merely a replay of ROVE tactics used during the 2004 election cycle.

walja

Posted by: walja at June 28, 2006 1:15 AM
Comment #162636

“It is blatantly obvious that the Times will run any story on the front page if they feel it will hurt the Bush administration, regardless of the consequences to our allies, or soldiers, or our country.”

I don’t believe that’s true, but if it is, then GOD BLESS THE NY TIMES because the benefits to our allies, our soldiers and our country by getting bush removed from office at the soonest possible instance will vastly outweigh any consequences.

But like I said, I don’t believe that’s true. Here’s what I think IS true. I think the NY Times will do anything LEGAL to sell newspapers, even if it means generating controversy with the administration.

And I no more buy that the publication of previously disclosed facts is ILLEGAL, just because some dimwitted republicans say so, any more than I buy that the warrantless tapping of American citizens’ phones is LEGAL just because some dimwitted republican said so.

Has the monitoring of banks REALLY been a successful enterprise, saving American lives? Says who? Ah yes, more dimwitted republicans.

Posted by: Thom Houts at June 28, 2006 5:46 AM
Comment #162644

I’m just wondering when they are going to prosecute the Wall Street Journal, as well.

Posted by: gergle at June 28, 2006 7:39 AM
Comment #162661

Thom,

Yes… but blind faith in God is not enough. You must have blind faith in Diebold voting machines and “dimwitted republicans.”

Posted by: Ray Guest at June 28, 2006 9:01 AM
Comment #162683


If I recall correctly, wasn’t it once big news when the administration seized the financial records and shut down several international charities that were associated with Arabs and or Muslems and whom the administration claimed were funneling money to terrorists organizations. The administration bragged about shutting down these charities with the help of international banks and other financial institutions.

Weave a big lie around a small truth and sell it to the American People.

If after Afganistan, the American people had been asked who they thought should be the next target of the U.S. in the war on terror, I believe the overwhelming response would have been Saudi Arabia. That is where most of the 911 attackers came from and where most of the terrorist financing came from and the American People knew it.

Posted by: jlw at June 28, 2006 10:31 AM
Comment #162696

I see that Ragshaft’s insulting comment to Ray was deleted but I just thought he might want to know:
Not many counties used Diebold computerized voting machines in the Ohio 2004 election, but both DIEBOLD and ES&S OPTICAL SCANNERS counted the majority of Ohio’s PAPER BALLOTS which were then fed into easily hackable (in about a minute) centralized tabulators.

Posted by: Adrienne at June 28, 2006 11:24 AM
Comment #162708
It is blatantly obvious that the Times will run any story on the front page if they feel it will hurt the Bush administration, regardless of the consequences to our allies, or soldiers, or our country.
Sure, Sniper! That explains why they witheld the story on illegal wiretapping by the Bushies until after the 2004 elections. They waited a whole year to print that story because the White House asked them to do so.

The media is not “liberal,” just occasionally accurate in their reporting. Is the WSJ “liberal,” and negative of George W. Bush? Not at all. They just report the news. And their editorials are conservative.

It wouldn’t surprise me if we find out eventually that this whole imbroglio was orchestrated by Karl Rove, including the printing of the old news itself. The only question is whether the establishment media are willing collaborators or merely being used by Rove and his political brethren as they have been since the Reagan years.

Posted by: gerry at June 28, 2006 12:00 PM
Comment #162716

I find it odd that no one has come right out and asked the most pertainent questions. David R. got closest. If this information was effectively published in 2001, and we know that the enemy has changed thier patterns and the research is not providing as much strategic benefit, why the Times article? If the treasury department has exhausted the use of SWIFT as a tool to fight terrorism, and they still use it, they wouldn’t be tracking the enemy, so what are their new objectives?

Posted by: DOC at June 28, 2006 12:15 PM
Comment #162756

David Remer:

Swift is no longer effective.

Both the editors of the NY and LA Times think that Swift probably IS effective. Look at what Los Angeles Times editor Dean Baquet said : “he felt that the legitimate public interest in this program outweighed the potential cost to counterterrorism efforts.” If SWIFT was no longer effective, there would be no potential cost to counterterrorism efforts, would there? So Baquet goes in the column that says SWIFT might be effective (certainly not in the column that says SWIFT is not effective.

Bill Keller, executive editor of The Times goes much further than Baquet. According to Keller, “we cited considerable evidence that the program helps catch and prosecute financers of terror, and we have not identified any serious abuses of privacy so far. A reasonable person, informed about this program, might well decide to applaud it.”

Whether you agree with the Times decision to publish this story, I’m not seeing how you have concluded that SWIFT is not effective, when both editors concluded differently.

Posted by: joebagodonuts at June 28, 2006 1:59 PM
Comment #162757
If this information was effectively published in 2001, and we know that the enemy has changed thier patterns and the research is not providing as much strategic benefit, why the Times article?
The NTY article gave few specifics on the program, but did discuss the legalities. The (il)legalities are much more relevant to voters now, now after the NSA warrentless wiretaps than it was in 2002, and they are news.
If the treasury department has exhausted the use of SWIFT as a tool to fight terrorism, and they still use it, they wouldn’t be tracking the enemy, so what are their new objectives?

It’s not exhausted - even if it doesn’t actually catch terrorists, it might force terrorists to use less efficient monetary means, which hurts them.

Posted by: William Cohen at June 28, 2006 2:00 PM
Comment #162769

Who should decide what is Top Secret U.S. information?Should it be The Commander in Cheif or should the American media?Maybe the Liberal Bloggers know more about our National Security Than The President,The Secretary of Defense,Secretary of State and the Members of the Senate and Congress.This goes beyond the Left or the Right now Bloggers think they have all the answers to all the problems of the world.It is plain to see this truly is a Great country And I for one am proud to be an American and i am proud of The President and the People who love this Country.

Posted by: justwondering at June 28, 2006 2:22 PM
Comment #162804

I think the GOP’s rationale for all this anger toward the NYT is that it wasn’t reported in the National Review of Human Events!

Posted by: leftwingcaniac at June 28, 2006 2:55 PM
Comment #162818

justwondering - To answer your question, IMO the only one in the executive branch that has still proven trustworthy is the Secretary of State. If you personally feel that it is counterproductive to question authority and debate ideas, then you have accidentally worked your way into the wrong forum. I’ve never read any post, here, claiming knowledge or ability superior to our govenment. I do, however, suspect that it exists, here.

Posted by: DOC at June 28, 2006 3:16 PM
Comment #162831

DOC There are Two kind of people in this world Winners And Losers Your Side seems to be on the losing side over and over again.That does not mean you are wrong all the time Just 99.9% of the time.Wake Up and smell the Coffee!

Posted by: justwondering at June 28, 2006 3:37 PM
Comment #162834

justwondering - Ah, I answer your question, and then you change the subject with exaggerated or basesless criticisms. Yeah. Okay. Now I get it. Republican. Well, my apologies and good luck, there is alot of that here as well.

Posted by: DOC at June 28, 2006 3:47 PM
Comment #162995

justwondering,

Apparently you think winners are almost always correct and losers are almost always wrong - logic befitting a lemming - they always think the majority are correct and thet follow each other off of a cliff. So you go ahead and follow George Bush off of the right wing extremist cliff - then come back and tell me how correct you were.

Adrienne,

I got insulted and missed it - OH darn.

Posted by: Ray Guest at June 28, 2006 9:04 PM
Comment #163115

Ray:
“I got insulted and missed it - OH darn.”

Called you a liar. But he was wrong, because he obviously didn’t know that it was Diebold scanners that counted a huge portion of Ohio’s vote in that election. I was going to give him a bit of a lashing-by-proxy on your behalf — but then the comment dissappeared, so I instantly transformed my reply into something much more lady-like and demure! ;^x

Posted by: Adrienne at June 29, 2006 12:46 AM
Comment #163127

This whole thing is nothing but right wing noise. There was nothing secret about the SWIFT program. Keith Olbermann did a piece on it, and points out that SWIFT has their own website and magazine exposing the program themselves!! These clowns running this country are a joke.

Posted by: JayJay Snow at June 29, 2006 1:40 AM
Comment #163142

Whats so bad is that these clowns that are running our country,are running it into the ground, and the republicans are like sheep that beleive everything they say, and will follow them right off a cliff, because thats what sheep do! Thank God for The New york Times or any other group of people that will stand up for our country, because the republicans that follow bush sure don’t stand up for justice.They go along with whatever he says no matter what the recourse will be.

Posted by: cherry at June 29, 2006 4:06 AM
Comment #163148

—I hope by now most every one can see the Republican spin machine at it’s best. We have about four months left before the election. We have lost one week almost, debating yet another lie, or at least a very large smoke screen from the agitators from hell. The big question should be, how can the web. get the Democrats off their arss and vote in November?

Posted by: DAVID at June 29, 2006 5:32 AM
Comment #163220

David there is a sure shot way of getting the democrats off their asses in November to Vote tell them they will destroy their Country if they Vote Democrat Beleive me they will get up hang over and all to Vote.

Posted by: BUMBBUSTER at June 29, 2006 12:45 PM
Comment #163281

Adrienne:

“…so I instantly transformed my reply into something much more lady-like and demure! ;^x”

If you start getting demure on me, what’s going to happen when we storm the barricades, eh?:-)

By the way—call me a liar. I don’t seem to have offended anyone in weeks.:-(

Posted by: Tim Crow at June 29, 2006 3:18 PM
Comment #163440

Plainand simple -

It is treasonous to IGNORE or advocate to IGNORE this program.

The NYT is not guilty of treason. Making more people AWARE of this NECESSARY to preservation of American democracy and rule of law.

Sweeping this kind of stuff under the carpet presents a clear and present DANGER to the Constituion and to all of us as Americans.

The NYT should be CREDITED with calling this to light by enough people to do something about it.

Posted by: RGF at June 29, 2006 9:55 PM
Comment #163580

Tim Crow:
“If you start getting demure on me, what’s going to happen when we storm the barricades, eh?:-)”

Don’t worry Tim, I’m one who can adapt my actions to any given situtation. But hey, who ever said a lady has to become like a man in order to storm the barricades? The way I see it, women can be fierce, lovely and smell exactly like a flower garden, all at the same time!

“By the way—call me a liar. I don’t seem to have offended anyone in weeks.:-(“

Aww. You might try making some concise, confidently liberal statements over in the Red Column — seems like it’s so much easier to rile them up over there. ;^)

Posted by: Adrienne at June 30, 2006 12:44 PM
Comment #163583

RGF,
Of course you’re right. This empty posturing is merely a scapegoat for an administration who has once again overstepped their authority.

Posted by: Adrienne at June 30, 2006 12:54 PM
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