National Security Be Damned! Says NY And LA Times

Despite appeals from the Bush Administration as well as several current and former government officials — both Democrat and Republican — the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times decided to break a story today that could have far-reaching effects on America’s War on Terror.

The story concerns a covert intelligence program, the "Swift operation," that enables US intelligence agencies to access and examine the banking transactions of suspected terrorists.

Swift — an acronym for the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication — forms the epicenter of the global banking industry, and oversees an estimated $6 trillion of inter-bank transfers on a daily basis. The Swift operation, however, does not allow US intelligence officials to gain unfettered access to Swift’s records:

The program is limited . . . to tracing transactions of people suspected of having ties to Al Qaeda. . . . The records mostly involve wire transfers and other methods of moving money overseas and into and out of the United States. Most routine financial transactions confined to this country are not in the database.

The program was put in place shortly after the 9/11 attacks and is viewed as a vital tool for choking off terrorist financing. As the NY Times points out:

The 9/11 hijackers had helped finance their plot by moving money through banks. Nine of the hijackers, for instance, funneled money from Europe and the Middle East to SunTrust bank accounts in Florida. Some of the $130,000 they received was wired by people overseas with known links to Al Qaeda.

Though withheld from the public, knowledge of the banking program was not restricted to the Bush Administration. In fact, the 9/11 commission was apprised of the program as were several members of Congress. In terms of the program’s legality, the undersecretary at the Treasury Department, Stuart Levey, assures that no laws have been broken:

"[The program] has provided us with a unique and powerful window into the operations of terrorist networks and is, without doubt, a legal and proper use of our authorities . . ."

Levey added that multiple safeguards were in place to protect against unwarranted searches of Americans’ records.

In terms of efficacy, the Swift operation is credited for the capture of leading al-Qaeda terrorist, Riduan Isamuddin, or "Hambali." Hambali, is believed to have been the mastermind behind the 2002 Bali bombing, which claimed the lives of 202 people while injuring hundreds more.

More importantly, the Swift operation has been especially useful for identifying terrorists and terrorist cells within the United States. The program led to the capture and successful prosecution of Uzair Paracha, a Pakistani national, who laundered $200,000 for an al-Qaeda operative in his home country.

By breaking this story, the NY and LA Times have exposed a classified and effective operation that goes to the heart of America’s national security. According to government officials, the Swift operation is the largest effort yet at tracing terrorist financing, which helps to explain the Administration’s — and other officials’ — desire to keep it secret, especially from the enemy.

Bill Keller, executive editor of the NY Times, thinks differently:

"We have listened closely to the administration's arguments for withholding this information, and given them the most serious and respectful consideration. We remain convinced that the administration's extraordinary access to this vast repository of international financial data, however carefully targeted use of it may be, is a matter of public interest."

Doyle McManus, the LA Times’ Washington bureau chief, gave a similar response:

"It's a tough call; it was not a decision made lightly. The key issue here is whether the government has shown that there are adequate safeguards in these programs to give American citizens confidence that information that should remain private is being protected."

President Bush has since expressed his concern that the New York Times has once again chosen to expose a classified program at the expense of American security.

This latest, forceful declassification of an intelligence program by members of the media comes at a time when homegrown Jihadist networks have been uncovered in multiple countries. Just yesterday, a group of 7 radical black Muslims — self-described as a "black Muslim" group — were arrested in Miami for plotting to bomb the Sears Tower in Chicago and an FBI building in Miami (one of the 7 suspects was arrested in Atlanta). A similar terror network was broken up in Canada only weeks before. Indeed, programs like the Swift operation have never been more vital to our security.

Still, the Swift operation is sure to spark outrage across America and will likely be viewed as evidence of President Bush invading privacy rights. To be sure, wherever individual liberties are threatened, Americans must fight tooth and nail to preserve them. In this case, however, the only liberty that was at stake was our right to life.

All will agree that safeguards are needed to protect Americans against those people who wish to do us harm. Americans should expect that some of those safeguards will fall short of aesthetically pleasing. However, that alone does not outweigh their benefits nor does it amount to an invasion of privacy.

The NY and LA Times committed a real disservice to the American people today by reporting on this story. One can only hope that other covert operations have been effected so as to replace the now useless Swift operation.

Posted by Dr Politico at June 23, 2006 4:25 PM
Comments
Comment #161028

The MSM has demonstrated a complete lack of interest in the security of this country. Our politicians don’t have the cojones to try the MSM as traitors; however, all effort should be made to find and charge the leakers with treason in time of war. Any action that will make prosecution of the war more difficult, extend the war one day or cost one American life should be dealt with harshly.

Posted by: James Bryant at June 23, 2006 5:12 PM
Comment #161029

Personally, I don’t get this posting at all.

Just as with NSA warrentless wiretapping, nothing new has been revealed about what we can do. Obviously the feds can look at phone records, or bank records - they do all the time. What’s being discussed is the legal procedures for accessing that evidence. Does finding out that W is (again) lax in following legal procedure really help bin Laden out? how?

I’ve heard some wingers argue that all the noise about wiretapping and datamining is a security problem, because it reminds the terrorists of our capabilities. Unlikely, by me - but if you believe that, aren’t you just as guilty as the NYT by making your post? what if bin Laden is dialing up right now from his case in Packistan - “huh, wonder what Dr. Politico has to say today - darn! I must have missed that NYT article, good thing there’s a link here!”

In short - if you don’t want warrentless surveillance in the news, then WTF are you doing blogging it?

Posted by: William Cohen at June 23, 2006 5:16 PM
Comment #161031

Surely we have some loyal Americans left in the intel agencies that can leak some “false” secrets to throw off the traitors. This stuff is really beyond pathetic.

Posted by: nikkolai at June 23, 2006 5:17 PM
Comment #161032

Doc:

I can see revised headlines:

Feds announce secret spying scheme on Mafia.

Allies spy on Nazis; Break code illegally.

Mussolini sues United States over Illicit Disinformation program

Local Police Required to Alert Suspects to Surveillance

Posted by: jeobagodonuts at June 23, 2006 5:20 PM
Comment #161034

Bush suckups instinctively presume that anything Bush does in the name of “national security” must be justified and, therefore, that any effort by anybody to raise the issue must be treasonous.

Frankly, if you’re going to roll over like some spineless pussy every time Bush utters the magical “national security” phrase, you won’t spend any time at all on your feet. It’s pretty hard to see what’s coming at you when you’re lying down in the prone position.

Posted by: Homer at June 23, 2006 5:29 PM
Comment #161035

Anybody who thinks that the terrorists don’t know that we’re following the money is hopelessly out of touch. If congress were allowed to do proper oversight, perhaps leaks of this stuff wouldn’t be taking place.

Within weeks of the Sept. 11 attacks, Swift began turning over records that allowed American analysts to look for evidence of terrorist financing. Initially, there appear to have been few formal limits on the searches.

“At first, they got everything - the entire Swift database,” one person close to the operation said.

Intelligence officials paid particular attention to transfers to or from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates because most of the Sept. 11 hijackers were from those countries.

The volume of data, particularly at the outset, was often overwhelming, officials said. “We were turning on every spigot we could find and seeing what water would come out,” one former administration official said. “Sometimes there were hits, but a lot of times there weren’t.”

Officials realized the potential for abuse, and soon narrowed the program’s targets and put in more safeguards. Among them were the auditing firm, an electronic record of every search and a form documenting the intelligence that justified each data search. Mr. Levey said the program was used only to search the records of individuals or entities, not for broader data searches.

Despite the controls, Swift executives became increasingly worried about their secret involvement with the American government, the officials said. By 2003, the cooperative’s officials were discussing pulling out because of their concerns about legal and financial risks if the program were revealed, one government official said.

“How long can this go on?” a Swift executive asked, according to the official.

Even some American officials began to question the open-ended arrangement. “I thought there was a limited shelf life and that this was going to go away,” the former senior official said.

In 2003, administration officials asked Swift executives and some board members to come to Washington. They met with Mr. Greenspan, Robert S. Mueller III, the F.B.I. director, and Treasury officials, among others, in what one official described as “a full-court press.”

The executives agreed to continue supplying records after the Americans pledged to impose tighter controls. Swift representatives would be stationed alongside intelligence officials and could block any searches considered inappropriate, several officials said. The procedural change provoked some opposition at the C.I.A. because “the agency was chomping at the bit to have unfettered access to the information,” a senior counterterrorism official said. But the Treasury Department saw it as a necessary compromise, the official said, to “save the program.”

Posted by: womanmarine at June 23, 2006 5:36 PM
Comment #161037

It is high time traitors are jailed. These are the same scumbags who are going to blame the Bush administration when some murderer does succeed at a terrorist attack. These people hate this country and hate americans even more. These reporters should be in jail until they reveal the fellow traitor who is trying to get more americans killed and since Pinchy knows who it was as well, he should be sitting in the next cell. These people have to be made responsible for their actions or this seditious behavior will never change. These America haters are not going to police themselves, so give the editors a reason to act in the best interest of the american people. When someone under their control puts classified information in the news, they can both sit in jail until they reveal their fellow conspirator. the Pinchy Salzbergers of the world are not going to be happy until they get more americans killed and then they can blame Bush.

Posted by: BOB at June 23, 2006 5:37 PM
Comment #161038

Homer -

You are not only crude, but you are also ignorant. Did you not read the thread? It answers every argument you just made.

Posted by: Don at June 23, 2006 5:38 PM
Comment #161039

Both politically and socially, the media has stuck its nose in too far. If they discover a secret operation, then they should keep it a secret because it could jeopardize our security. As for socially, with the celebs, no one cares.

Posted by: stubborn conservative at June 23, 2006 5:43 PM
Comment #161045

Foreign enemies used to have to send spies or spend money to bribe officials. Now all they need to do is subscribe to the NYT and they can read all about it in the comfort and safety of their offices (or caves).

Posted by: Jack at June 23, 2006 6:02 PM
Comment #161046

The NYT and LAT are in line with all lefties. They view the United States as the enemy. Where’s their outcry about the two soldiers who were beheaded and tortured? NONE. But give them a juicy story about something the Bush administration may be doing. WOW! That’s a story!

Posted by: Don at June 23, 2006 6:06 PM
Comment #161054

If the Government could, with the right laws and proper warrants, go after the terrorists just as effectively. The question that comes up when we have this much information freely available to the government is what exists in place to keep these people from claiming one thing, and doing another with impunity.

There’s a good reason we have the fourth amendment: it keeps the law enforcement function of the government from destroying it’s commitment to maintain our freedoms.

I think the price for the government being able to keep these searches and everything secret is that they let the Average American who is suspected of no crime or involvement as such keep theirs. That is the price of secrecy in a Democracy.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at June 23, 2006 6:29 PM
Comment #161055

The number one job of the media in a free country is to act as a watchdog over the government. When the government does anything even borderline illegal, I want the media to jump all over it. When media organizations are afraid of being labelled traitors, you end up with travesties like the internment camps during WWII. If the administration believes the law is too restrictive, why didn’t they just include it in the Patriot Act? Because no one in their right mind would give the president that much power with no oversight. Plain and simple. Deciding not to follow the law because you don’t like it is not what I expect from the leader of the free world.

Posted by: David S at June 23, 2006 6:30 PM
Comment #161056

To put it more plainly, the less we have patriotic Americans confronted with distinctively unamerican invasion of civil liberties without cause, the less people will feel morally motivated to reveal these programs. The price of keeping them quiet is maintaining the rule of law, rather than the code of silence.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at June 23, 2006 6:31 PM
Comment #161057

“The NY and LA Times committed a real disservice to the American people today by reporting on this story.”

Did you say “Today”?! Just another day as business as usual for the NY “Treasonous” Times. Funny how the lefties (on this blog) are not outraged by this “leak”; if it had been Rove or Bush, they’d be all over it with their usual slander. I guess to some “Americans”, it’s hard to fight the enemy (the real enemy that is).

Posted by: rahdigly at June 23, 2006 6:32 PM
Comment #161058

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.

Posted by: JayJay Snow at June 23, 2006 6:36 PM
Comment #161060

Looney, hysterical lefties always immediately resort to bad language and name calling. It fills that great void of empty-headedness they call intellect. The cat was already out of the bag, so posting here serves its purpose: Showing how seditious the MSM really is. Then, when their name calling proves ineffective, they immediately resort to plan B: Bush bashing. When that doesn’t work, they pack up their marbles in a hough and head for home. Waaaaaaaahhhh!

Posted by: Lance-TMQ at June 23, 2006 6:40 PM
Comment #161063
Looney, hysterical lefties always immediately resort to bad language and name calling.

Lance-TMQ,

Let me get this straight, you are going to criticize others for name calling, by calling them names? OK. That doesn’t give your stance much credibility.

Posted by: JayJay Snow at June 23, 2006 6:48 PM
Comment #161064

The attitudes expressed by liberal posters on this site are unbelievable. The leakers and the people at the newspapers should spend along time in a dark hole.

True, terrorists were aware that the US was attempting to trace the movement of funds. Until now they didn’t know the specifics. I don’t usually fall back on calling actions traitorous, but in this case the term is justified.

I hope that they hang the offenders high.

Posted by: goodkingned at June 23, 2006 6:49 PM
Comment #161065

You conservatives confuse me

You want smaller government, get the government of the peoples back, and very critical of Democrates and liberals for big government and knowing whats best for you.

But when it comes to National security and social conservative moral issues. The more involved the government is the better.

Bush has only himself to blame. He may be right in what he is doing, but what is wrong is how he does it. He behaves like King George the imperial president. Since he is being so secretive and by side-stepping established procedures, he opens himself up for scrutny.

There are real issues balancing our constitutional guarentees and our national security. I recognize the war on terror is real and requires some adjustments to our civil liberties. But these deicions are not for GW to make alone with no oversight. He cannot arbitrarily decide who’s records are looked and who’s are not. Who is an enemy combatant and who is not.

We have our soliders fighting and dying to defend our democracy at home while GW erodes it.

Posted by: Stefano at June 23, 2006 6:50 PM
Comment #161067

I think that this constitutes aiding and abetting the terrorists and could be considered an act of domestic terrorism.

These people have no shame and should bear their part of the responsibility for the next al quiada attack.

Posted by: goodkingned at June 23, 2006 6:58 PM
Comment #161069

Stephano -

The real role of the federal government is to protect its people, not provide social welfare programs. So this is one legitimate role of our government and should be expanded when the people are at risk.

Posted by: Don at June 23, 2006 7:00 PM
Comment #161074

James Bryant,

That’s probably why every time I turn on CNN they are covering that whole FBI sting in Miami for the 300th time—because the MSM has no interst in Homeland Security. Well technically speaking these things ARE SUPPOSED TO BE HANDLED BY BUSH NOT THE PRESS—HELLO? And “try the “MSM” as traitors”??!!—wow pass that joint over here. That must be crazy despotical nihilist weed you’re smokin’.

Posted by: Novenge at June 23, 2006 7:09 PM
Comment #161078

On further review of the above story—it’s a ruse—The Republicans are behind its leaking.

Bush’s numbers are so far down there that this was Bush’s way of showing he’s responsible. Who’s got wagerin’ money?

If the NY Times, Bush’s right arm essentially threw this out there—they are doing it for Bush to stir up contreversy, get the Dems on the offensive and show that he does actually care about homeland security and the press is so evil. I’m tellin’ ya’ they leaked it.

See they tried this before through the NY Times with the wiretap story but the FISA thing they overlooked because they are stupid—God bless ‘em though. Now this time they found something that gives agents a process they have to go through.

This is a Bush leak if I ever smelled one!!! I don’t drink that much Kool-aid. Who’s got wagering money?!

Posted by: Novenge at June 23, 2006 7:21 PM
Comment #161081

“True, terrorists were aware that the US was attempting to trace the movement of funds. Until now they didn’t know the specifics. I don’t usually fall back on calling actions traitorous, but in this case the term is justified.”

Rah, rah. What we need hear is more public hangings of reporters, surely that would correct the MSM’s bias, and we’d have a truly free democracy.

Tell me, which specifics bothered you, specifically? that the database the feds are accessing is “vast”? that “The records mostly involve wire transfers and other methods of moving money overseas and into and out of the United States”? now that’s specific! or that “virtually every major commercial bank, as well as brokerage houses, fund managers and stock exchanges” are accessed thru the program?

Or maybe it’s specifically the breadth of what the Feds are looking at that upsets you? I’m specifically amazed that Bush bothers to collect all this specific information, given that he specifically doesn’t bother to respond to PDB’s that say “Bin Laden plans to attack inside the US”.

Sure, I could understand how information about what the Feds don’t look at (other than PDB’s) could be useful to terrorists. I don’t see that info about one program (among what is obviously many) helps much. But if it does - then yes! hang them all high, and anyone that helps those scurrilous NYT writers - starting with Dr. Politico for linking to this treasonous tripe!

Posted by: William Cohen at June 23, 2006 7:36 PM
Comment #161083

Novenge:

Can you let your hatred of Bush go for one second?

This is a real security issue. By outlining the details of the procedures America uses to track terrorist funding, these leaks have weakened our security. This is your country too. Don’t you even care if internal elements are fighting against our national interests?

Come on, try to be an American first on this issue.

Posted by: goodkingned at June 23, 2006 7:39 PM
Comment #161085

William Cohen,

“then yes! hang them all high, and anyone that helps those scurrilous NYT writers - starting with Dr. Politico for linking to this treasonous tripe!”

Your lack of tact and sense is baffling.

I don’t know that my posting on this story will have much of an effect, considering that its already been covered by the NY and LA Times, the WSJ, MSNBC, CNN, FoxNews, Washington Post, Associated Press along with the thousands of news agencies throughout the world that AP feeds to, lib/con blogs throughout the web, etc, etc, etc.

Seriously, try putting some thought into your remarks before you call for my hanging.

Posted by: Dr Politico at June 23, 2006 7:51 PM
Comment #161087

I keep hearing how conservatives roll over for anything Bush says and that we follow like sheep. Do any of you, libs, really think the NYT or the LAT care about privacy or civil liberties? They are trying to sell papers pure and simple. I went to NYT.com and my browser had to block pop-ups over and over. They preach the gospel and are a pillar in protecting the rights of the “snowed” American people.

What happens the next time any offical from our country goes to an international organization and says we need your help and we will keep it quiet? Do any of you think members of terror groups are not going to target officals from SWIFT? Times enjoy your blood money.

On a lighter note, “Godless” tops the NYT bestseller list for nonfiction. That has got to eat them up.

Posted by: lllplus2 at June 23, 2006 7:55 PM
Comment #161093

Maybe I’m just confused, but didn’t the administration announce that they were tracking terrorist bank accounts back in 2001?

And, if that is the case, what’s the big deal?

Posted by: Rocky at June 23, 2006 8:17 PM
Comment #161095

Goodkingned,

Okay first several months ago the story about the wiretaps came out @ The NY Times. Okay now they apparently sat on the story for a year or more at Bush’s behest.

Then the story came oput and it was great guns, Dems republicans bickered as there were more details the NY Times didn’t see. So it sort of lagged around like that and died out.

Now that was a big, huge national story—Now don’t you think that the US Government would be watching the NY Times like a hawk? The NSA sure would be as would everyone at Homeland security. Buuuut this story got through—how? It did the same hat trick twice at the NY Times. Riddle me that one! Second lightning strike—same spot.

If every government agency and their cross-eyed sister had their eyes peeled on the NY Times—How on God’s green did this story get through? The Government would know the leaker—right?

The story was leaked by some Bush official that’s for sure—correct? That we have established. Probably someone with a detailed knowledge of Homeland security and how it operated—correct? And all Governmental eyes are on the NY Times all the while. Hmm? So they know exactly who the leaker is.

The first wiretap story was leaked supposedly by a Bush official maybe NSA (pobably not) maybe HSA and that is more likely. So it was someone inside the system no doubt. they gave the NSA wiretap story to the NYT and they sat on it for a year before bringing it out—that’s established.

This is not only the same print agency itself but with all Governmental eyes on it. So they know who it is—simple. But the Bushies are claiming they have no idea—baloney they do and certainly would know. Why? Because it had to have been them if they don’t come up with a name soon.

Why wouldn’t the US Government and HSA know the name of the leaker after supposedly watching the NYT for a year? They know—it’s them, to pull Bush’s numbers out of the crapper on the tails of a premature terrorism sting—at the same time Mueller is doing a press tour so he can answer questions, how often does Mueller go out and do press gigs???? How often? It’s rare isn’t it? Yessireee.

So you have a premature bust/SWIFT exposure by a press agency all eyes are on/ and Mueller on a press tour. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist, this is a plant to bring up Bush’s poll ratings and consolidate his base on fear issues—that’s you.

Thank you, case solved.

Posted by: Novenge at June 23, 2006 8:19 PM
Comment #161099

“Okay first several months ago the story about the wiretaps came out @ The NY Times. Okay now they apparently sat on the story for a year or more at Bush’s behest.”

Where are you getting your info from? You’re contradicting the NY Times article itself. At least read the article before you offer conspiracy theories.

Posted by: Dr Politico at June 23, 2006 8:25 PM
Comment #161100

I’m going to accept the fact that the Right is going to beat up on the MSM with this.

Okay, now you folks have had your fun, what do you think of the idea of Democrats having this kind of power to search your lives without a warrant? After all, Bush has set these precedents. So what are you going to do, just do you utmost to keep liberals out of the White House and Congress, and hope it works?

It’s the golden rule, folks: don’t do to others what you would abhor being done to you. If you don’t want Democrats having this power over you, don’t give yourselves this power.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at June 23, 2006 8:27 PM
Comment #161101

Stephen,

I wish Clinton was doing this while he was in office. Then perhaps it would be unnecessary today.

Posted by: Dr Politico at June 23, 2006 8:30 PM
Comment #161104

Would you trust Clinton not to abuse these extraconstitutional powers?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at June 23, 2006 8:33 PM
Comment #161105

Dr. Politico,

That ios in reference to the NSA wiretaps of earlier this year. Several months ago is not in reference to SWIFT.

Posted by: Novenge at June 23, 2006 8:33 PM
Comment #161107

sure i would trust clinton. he is too busy trying to get under skirts to be using my shopping spree at target against me. what is everyone so worried about if you aren’t doing anything wrong any way? the news flash that you owe the porn club movie of the month some money?
the wife

Posted by: lllplus2 at June 23, 2006 8:44 PM
Comment #161110

sure i would trust clinton, just not around my wife or daughters.

Posted by: lllplus2 at June 23, 2006 8:50 PM
Comment #161111

What about a political candidate whose opposition, being in power, surreptitiously sends his bank statements to the local newspaper? Or worse yet, a political candidate whose allies use their connections to blackmail a strong opponent into exiting the race?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at June 23, 2006 8:50 PM
Comment #161112

Sorry about that Novenge. My mistake.

Stephen,

There’s nothing to suggest that the Swift program *was* in conflict with the Constitution. The Administration had a subpoena for all info gathered. The Times doesn’t allege any wrongdoing on the part of the Administration, but they blew the program nonetheless. What was the point?

Posted by: Dr Politico at June 23, 2006 8:51 PM
Comment #161113

IIIplus2-
Would you now. Is that what people were saying about Clinton while he was president? I remember a lot of carping about IRS audits on opponents and the like.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at June 23, 2006 8:52 PM
Comment #161114

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.

Other than my military-related stuff, none of my personal information is being accessed by the Bush Administration.

I’m guessing none of yours is, either.

Posted by: TheTraveler at June 23, 2006 8:53 PM
Comment #161115

JayJay,

I didn’t use hateful, nasty words. I used descriptive terms. There’s a difference. Own a dictionary? Use it.

Anybody want to join in and sing kumbaya while we roast some Liberals…I mean marshmallows?

Tee hee hee

Posted by: Lance-TMQ at June 23, 2006 8:54 PM
Comment #161116

UC Berkeley Prof. Wu and a few other notable exceptions aside, legal scholars are almost unanimous in their view that this theory of the inherent power of the executive branch is completely against what the framers had in mind. Seeing as how Justice Scalia, who’s strict textual and framer’s intent reasoning most high level republicans rave about needing more of, actually delivered a speech where he said that anyone who does not rely upon the framer’s intent is an “idiot”, it is funny that they are also behind this theory.

The framers were VERY interested in checking the power of the federal government (the tyranny of the British), and a common theme of the constitution is that it always requires TWO branches of government to do something as important as declaring war. It takes two branches to appoint, impeach, sign a bill into into law, enforce and interpret that law, and especially to declare war.

To say that since we declared an indefinite war on terror, that the executive is given indefinite power to usurp the other branches is to say that we no longer abide by the framer’s intent. And Stephan made a great point that this power will be able to be exploited by every president (even the Clintonian ones) to follow so long as some form of “war” is declared in some fashion.

Erwin Chemerinsky has posed this question: what of the other forgotten “wars” such as the war on drugs, or the war on poverty?

This issue goes well beyond the mess which is today’s partisan political landscape. It will be precedent for generations to come.

Posted by: Kevin23 at June 23, 2006 8:56 PM
Comment #161121

I know “liberal nation” keeps forgetting this. Was anything done illegally? No. Irresponsible reporting is what is happening. “No laws broken. Might put countless lives at stake. It’ll sale papers. Money wins, run the story.”

In a time of war even if I don’t like the guy in charge I could not agree with the constant attacks by our people to make money or further their own political goals. Right or left, doesn’t matter, you are wrong.

Posted by: lllplus2 at June 23, 2006 9:10 PM
Comment #161124

Let’s get this straight Clinton did do the same thing, remember Echelon. The only difference is that the MSM did not suffer from CDS like they do BDS.

Posted by: Keith at June 23, 2006 9:16 PM
Comment #161125

I understand that John Murtha talked to the people at the NY Times trying to get them to sit on it. Murtha must be part of the vast right wing conspiracy that is lurking around every corner.

Posted by: Keith at June 23, 2006 9:20 PM
Comment #161126

With the election season upon us, W and Rove with their terrible track record, why should any decent American beleive this datamining would not be abused for political gain? W and his ilk reap what they sow, those that would trust them with the Constitutional freedoms of this nation are the real traitors to this Country.
If this administration would include more than just their cronies in Congress in these decisions perhaps the people on the street would be more trusting.

Posted by: j2t2 at June 23, 2006 9:24 PM
Comment #161128

Politico—that’s fine I had to adjust my tinfoil to make a better hat anyway.

Dems by and large are not going to react as if SWIFT is an incursion of privacy but a few wallstreeters might find it that way while trying to send funds off to the Caymans. I personally think SWIFT is sensible and actually more in keeping with what we need to keep tabs on, these kinds of programs I see as very much a needed cog on a reallistic war on terror. This does not in anyway inhibit from use but instead inhibits the terrorists who may use it.

There is still something fishy about it all as to why the NY Times was privy to this program while supposedly under careful watch (HSA) as I’m sure they were. Hmmm.

Posted by: Novenge at June 23, 2006 9:26 PM
Comment #161133

111plus2. I would not worry about your wife and daughter,around mr clinton, The wood has been replaced By Angina Pectoris. this post was not intended to be a joke. RB.

Posted by: Rodney Brown at June 23, 2006 9:42 PM
Comment #161134

Rodney

Huh

Posted by: Keith at June 23, 2006 9:43 PM
Comment #161143
Swift and Treasury officials said they were aware of no abuses. But Mr. Levey, the Treasury official, said one person had been removed from the operation for conducting a search considered inappropriate.

That they were currently aware of. That’s the problem. Who is aware, how are they aware? That’s what oversight, and specific subpeona’s are for.

Posted by: womanmarine at June 23, 2006 10:06 PM
Comment #161146

Dr, good article, you know it’s not boring if someone calls for your hanging.

This has to be expected from both the government and the media. I believe only ignorant enemies of our country would continue to use traceable methods of communication or financial transfer after 9/11. The word is out, and yes this prevents the future tracing of those which may cause us harm. However this also cuts off the ability, in a modern world, to rapidly support a global network. No more online banking or phone calls to the US from caves in Pakistan. Civil liberties you say? These rights can be squashed during wartime. Will all these programs end after the war on terror ends? First we’ll have to see how the war on drugs plays out, that one is still going on.

BTW, if you hang all the treasonous liberal reporters, who will bring you that breaking story?

Posted by: europheus at June 23, 2006 10:14 PM
Comment #161188
I didn’t use hateful, nasty words. I used descriptive terms. There’s a difference. Own a dictionary? Use it.

Lance-TMQ,

Where exactly did I say you used hateful, nasty words? I didn’t. I said criticizing name callers by calling them Looney, hysterical lefties doesn’t do much for the credibility of your argument. Maybe you should use that dictionary yourself.

Posted by: JayJay Snow at June 24, 2006 12:33 AM
Comment #161189

You know, what is as plain as the sun at noon on a clear day is this. If Republicans were serious about national security, our borders would be secure today. They aren’t.

Look at our borders like the windows and doors of your home. If you know someone is going to try to break in, do you run out of your home looking for them to the East, leaving your home vulnerable from the North, South, and West? Of course not! You shore up the back door and the windows and give them only one way in, the front door, behind which sits you with a 12 guage shot gun.

Its not a perfect analogy, but it makes the point. If national security were a top priority for Republicans and Bush, our borders would be secure today, 5 years after 9/11, or at least well on their way to being so. The truth is, Republicans top priority has been financial security, not American citizen security. Hence, the invasion of Iraq with its oil riches, hence its legally dubious financial spying on Americans. Sure, politically they felt they had to do a few things to shore up national security like the NSA spying on American phone calls, which they screwed up by circumventing the FISA courts, but, hey, it was a token effort. No big deal.

But national security for American citizens has to begin with our open borders. Nothing else makes sense without that first step. I applaud the House Republicans for taking that important step 5 years late, but, as we now see, Republicans are undertaking measures to insure that bill never becomes law. They are delaying it, delaying it, delaying it, as if 5 years delay weren’t already 4 years too long. Republicans just aren’t serious about protecting Americans. If there NSA spying on Americans drops something in their lap, like the Florida 7, sure they will act on it, that’s cheap and easy. But protect our nation’s borders? Nah, that’s hard and expensive, and we don’t want to relinquish our tax cuts for the top 1/3 of 1% of the wealthiest in this nation. That’s where there priority is.


Posted by: David R. Remer at June 24, 2006 12:35 AM
Comment #161190
Let’s get this straight Clinton did do the same thing, remember Echelon. The only difference is that the MSM did not suffer from CDS like they do BDS.

Keith,

Actually, the difference is that Echelon was in compliance with FISA.

Posted by: JayJay Snow at June 24, 2006 12:36 AM
Comment #161203

Oversight by the Congress? Far too many in the Congress already have access to information.

It sure is ironic that both the east and west coast editions of the Al-Quida Times are so consistent with tell us “what we need to know”. That is the bigest crock I have ever heard. If they were serious about telling the public what we need to know, their is sooooooo much more information that would be published. Do you think for one second that the latest story told us anything necessary. They only titilated the readers imagination—and they succeeded. The leakers of course should be prosecuted as well as the receivers of the information that made it to the rag sheets. There are no constitutional issues here.

Now if you Bush and Rove haters/bashers are going to insist on Rove being prosecuted for the Plame/Wilson affair then be true to your beliefs and seek prosecution for the leakers and printers of this leak. BTW Rove should not be prosecuted for anything.

An item for those “if the shoe fits, wear it” folks.
Eagles may soar, but weasels don’t get sucked into jet engines.

Posted by: tomh at June 24, 2006 1:59 AM
Comment #161207

tomh, said: “Do you think for one second that the latest story told us anything necessary. They only titilated the readers imagination—and they succeeded. The leakers of course should be prosecuted as well as the receivers of the information that made it to the rag sheets.”

I could swear I read Adolph Hitler had the very same view of the press, while jailing any who would criticize him or his administration. Yes, I am sure I read that.

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 24, 2006 2:06 AM
Comment #161208


As usual, the dems are making the important statements in this discussion. The leak could have come from someone at swift but most likely it came from someone in the administration. The admin. probably didn’t want this leaked. If they had wanted it leaked, the vice president would have declassified it. What they are doing is probably illegal. They could have taken steps to make it legal but why bother when you have a rubber stamp congress that is misrepresenting the American people by not fulfilling their oversight responsibilities.

The administration is not providing the American people the security they need by allowing our borders to remain porus. The administration is a lot more interested in claiming they are keeping us save than actually doing it. The administration is not really that interested in prosecuting the war on terror effectively or their actions in Afganistan and Iraq would have been far different than they are.

I wonder what American media outlet Al Qaeda frequents the most. Could it possibly be the one that is fair and balanced?

Posted by: jlw at June 24, 2006 2:08 AM
Comment #161210

jlw, my Mama taught me one of the most important lessons of my life which I still exercise daily. “One knows people far truer by what they do, than by what they say. Their words are only as good as their actions give credit to.”

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 24, 2006 2:18 AM
Comment #161212

JayJay

In compliance according to whom.

Posted by: Keith at June 24, 2006 2:22 AM
Comment #161215

The Echelon Myth

Posted by: JayJay Snow at June 24, 2006 2:36 AM
Comment #161218

Good post, I see alot of good sense from everyone on this. Personally, I think these newspapers are wrong to reveal these programs. Several government agencies reported that the intelligence they were gathering dried up following the wiretapping story. I expect the same from this story. When doing investigations over time, one or two hits aren’t usually all that helpful. However, a pattern of hits can be. Once again, the media has put its financial interests over those of national security as was earlier stated.

In a larger view, I think Americans get overexcited by all of this. This investigation is specific to foreign bank transfers into the United States, so it isn’t affecting Americans at home. In the same way, the wiretapping was targeting foreign calls made into the United States, so unless you’re getting phone calls from someone in Afghanistan or Saudi Arabia etc, what are you worried about? Innocence is its own shield.

As far as these newspapers go, I think its a bit much that they have arrogated to themselves the role of deciding what is best for the national defense. That’s one of the specific functions of the Presidency and Congress. There was bi-partisan support from the Congress with the President to not run this story. Of course, with all of these leakers betraying thier oaths to reveal this program in the first place, perhaps the media is in a better postion to judge national security matters than I thought.

David Remer, good point about the borders. This is the benchmark of how serious we are about national security, and based on this, I have to conclude that neither party really is. If there was a socially conservative third party that was serious about border security, there wouldn’t be Republicans or Democrats out there anymore.

Posted by: 1LT B at June 24, 2006 2:49 AM
Comment #161219

I think the efforts to twist this issue around to make it a Clinton did it, or a personal liberties issue or anything other than a national security issue are shameful. Anti-Bush sentiment on the part of liberal media outlets is now justifying serious impairment of America’s efforts to track and stop terrorist activities.

Unlike the constant negative reporting of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, which lowered national and military morale and boosted the PR campaigns of our enemies, this leak actually warns and aids our enemies. I don’t accept the facile assertions by media apologists that the terrorists already everything revealed in the leak. It is not the place of the media or bloggers to decide what information is helpful to our enemies.

This ridiculous assertion that White House engineered this leak is pathetic and sickening. Our counterintelligence efforts are crippled, and the left responds with childish, unproven claims. I hope the leaker is caught and punished to the fullest extent of the law. In my opinion, this is a traitorous act. While the media may hide behind loopholes to escape prosecution, the fact that any outlet published this information revealing our tactics should disqualify these traitorous outlets from any further access to the sensitive information. Let them take the public tour if they want to see the inside of the White House again. The journalists who received and publicized this information should be immediately subpoenaed and instructed to reveal their source. If they refuse, we have plenty of jail space for traitors.

Posted by: goodkingned at June 24, 2006 3:07 AM
Comment #161221

1LT B, then you and Howard Dean have much in common. The DesMoinesRegister states:

But Howard Dean, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, said the other day that “the first thing we want is tough border control. We have to do a much better job on our borders than George Bush has done.”

This immigration issues makes for very strange bedfellows, eh?

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 24, 2006 3:46 AM
Comment #161222

goodkingned, let me ask you this. If the Bush administration had concrete intel that Americans were working for al-Queda in a number of cells around the country and they knew one of them was in DesMoines, Iowa, and they had a general description for one of them, would you go along with the Bush administration quitely rounding up every individual with that description on driver’s licenses in Iowa with a Des Moines address and interrogating them in secret and threatening to never release them if they did not sign a statement acknowledging that they would be considered enemies of the state if they ever revealed that they were ever detained and questioned in this fashion?

It would be the most efficient way to follow up on the leads as described without tipping their hand that they were aware of the DesMoines cell.

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 24, 2006 3:52 AM
Comment #161227

David Remer,

I agree with Dean! I can’t write long, I need to go and get saved, the Rapture is upon us! I guess you’re right about strange bedfellows, I’m agreeing with you. In any case, both parties have the moronic idea that border security cannot be seperated from the illegal immigration debate. While Bush, corporate whore Republicans, and the Democrats are advocating amnesty by any other name and holding up border security, nativist Republicans are holding up border security to try and make sure the mass deportations go through. Meanwhile, we’ve recently heard that there will be no bill at all this year. This strange bedfellow combination of obstructionism reminds one of Nero fiddling while Rome burned.

Posted by: 1LT B at June 24, 2006 4:22 AM
Comment #161230

David R.

If the government had info regarding potential suspects in Des Moines that only gave a profile built by analyzing data of previous criminal actions and attributes, I would support further investigation into persons matching this profile. If that info indicated that some suspects were likely to be engaged in the outlawed activity, I would support intensifying investigation and observation of those suspects. Using this process of elimination, I would certainly support detaining the winnowed bunch of potential criminals.

Your question does not accurately reflect the governments actions. They are analyzing financial data and comparing the transactions with a data base. If some transactions prove to be consistent with the profile established for criminal transactions, further investigation occurs.

One thing I certainly wouldn’t do is release a press announcement informing the citizens of Des Moines that meeting a specific set of criteria would alert the authorities to monitor and potentially apprehend persons suspected of criminal activities.

I don’t have the broad data base that the experts in the government do. If I were to usurp the law enforcement activities, I would be doing the other citizens of DM a disservice, and if some criminals escaped the net because of my warning then I would be responsible.

I don’t understand how the government can fight criminals in an electronic age without using electronic data surveillance techniques. Not allowing the government reasonable access to electronic communication and funds transfer technology, hobbles the agencies who are in place to protect us. Citizens cannot monitor worldwide monetary fund transfers. We must rely on our government to do this. If an exaggerated fear of governmental persecution prevents the investigative agencies from doing a competent job, we all suffer.

Now, I’ve answered your question. Can we drop the pretense that the opposition to this program is not fueled by the desperate hatred for Bush from the Left? This travesty of playing politics with an effective national security program and having the gaul to claim that it is being done to protect the rights of Americans turns my stomach.

Posted by: goodkingned at June 24, 2006 7:03 AM
Comment #161235

The trouble here is that we have a program on shaky legal ground that is not yet defined by law the way FISA or other secret programs are.

If you want such programs to continue and operate, people have to be assured that somebody isn’t simply able to spy on them at their whim, that their privacy and right to freedom from unreasonable search and seizure is guarded.

Ensure people’s freedoms in this day and age, and people will let you have your powers. Deny them that, and they will be rightly wary of your next move. There’s a good way and a bad way of giving our people the authority they need to fight the terrorists. This is not the good way. This is the way that gives people pause.

We are America. We cannot just throw away our rights for security. This nation is about those rights, about those freedoms. We must preserve our civil liberties, or else everything we say about America the free and America the brave is false.

As far as security goes, we should have some sort of codified laws in place guiding things. That way nobody feels so off about this that they run to the media. Additionally, though, Americans can be assured that their government isn’t wasting or misusing their authority on abuses of this power. This is no idle concern. We should be willing to die before we give up our rights.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at June 24, 2006 8:44 AM
Comment #161241

Stephan:

The concerns you raise could have been addressed without compromising our national security and marginalizing an effective tactic.

I am not appreciative of some unnamed government official deciding that he/they would be the arbiter of whether the sanctity of personal liberties outweighed the importance of national security. Too late now.

The concern that could not be addressed by handling this dispute in a more responsible manner is to bash the current administration. It is despicable to squander this valuable weapon against the terrorists to pump up support for the midterm elections.

I don’t appreciate my safety being relegated to a secondary concern to someone’s partisan desires to weaken the Bush administration. Wrapping a dishonorable action in the Constitution doesn’t elevate the wrongdoing, it just devalues the Constitution.

As for the media, if they had to publish info about this topic, they could have omitted more details to reduce the treasonous nature of this offense.

Hurray for your noble stance to die for freedoms which may or may not be lessened by this program. I’m less enthusiastic about your assertion that I should make sacrifices to assuage your concerns. I certainly feel that my rights have been lessened by this leak and I fail to see why you, not I, have the right to prioritize the issues at play, particularly since leaking sensitive information is illegal.

Posted by: goodkingned at June 24, 2006 9:37 AM
Comment #161242

MSM is ‘helping’ other countries. The help was not needed or wanted.

Posted by: Min at June 24, 2006 9:53 AM
Comment #161249

“Loose lips sink ships” was the motto during WWII. The greatest generation got it right. The “crappiest generation” (Viet Nam era radicals like Fonda, Kerry, et al) sunk us in that war, and are now trying to sabotage the war on terror. We must not allow that to happen.

Posted by: nikkolai at June 24, 2006 11:11 AM
Comment #161260
“Godless” tops the NYT bestseller list for nonfiction.
Which just goes to prove that you CAN fool some of the people all of the time. Posted by: ElliottBay at June 24, 2006 12:48 PM
Comment #161262
The “crappiest generation” (Viet Nam era radicals like Fonda, Kerry, et al) sunk us in that war, and are now trying to sabotage the war on terror. We must not allow that to happen.

nikkolai,

The war on terror? Please, that was doomed from the start. It’s kinda like the war on drugs, it just makes the problem worse. The war on terror should have been about bringing those responsible for 9/11 to justice. Instead, we go after an entire region, whether they were involved or not. What we have accomplished is that we have a lot more terrorists, even new ones here at home. All but 2 of those arrested in Miami for the plot to attack the Sears Tower were Americans. Using Neocon logic we should attack Florida.

Posted by: JayJay Snow at June 24, 2006 1:00 PM
Comment #161266

In order to fight the islamo-fascists, one must indeed engage the islamo-fascists. Seems the left is upset about Iraq being the time and place to engage. But if not there, where? If not now, when? I think I know their answers to both questions.

Posted by: nikkolai at June 24, 2006 1:37 PM
Comment #161267


1LT B: If this nation were being run by a socially conservative party, they would have no need for our Constitution. Millions of our old would be living and dying in abject poverty because of no S.S. or social safety net. Segregation would still be the law of the land. We would have a whites only immigration policy.

I take my statement about segregation and immigration back. We would still have slavery sanctioned by the state and God. We would probably still have slave ships and slave auctions in our ports. Many who fought on the side of the north in the civil war, did so to preserve the union. They were against freeing any slaves. Sorry to get of post but I thought this needed to be responded to.

Wouldn’t it be ironic if it turned out that Cheney was the one that leaked this story. If that were the case, I would be curious to know if those who think that this is a serious and treasonous violation of our security would still think so. Many will say that this is a ridicules possibility but Cheney has been involved in leaks before even if he didn’t actually do the leaking himself and he has declassified sensitive information that he thought was beneficial to the administration. We know that Cheney is doing a lot of things that the president should be doing were it not for the presidents ineptness.

Posted by: jlw at June 24, 2006 1:48 PM
Comment #161270

National Security Be Damned! Says Rick Santorum

Watch the clip. Why is Rick Santorum holding up a classified document on national television? Doesn’t he care about national security?

Posted by: JayJay Snow at June 24, 2006 2:20 PM
Comment #161271

National Security Be Damned! Says Rick Santorum

Watch the clip. Why is Rick Santorum holding up a classified document on national television? Doesn’t he care about national security?

Posted by: JayJay Snow at June 24, 2006 2:22 PM
Comment #161282

JJ

The war on terrorism was doomed from the start?
When, pray tell me, do you think the war on terrorism started? This war has been going on for a longer period of time than from 9/11. And on what facts or principles is the war on terrorism doomed. The pentagon, congress, administration, Al-Quida Times (east and west coast editions), MSM, President Fox, and so many more should know this information you possess. Prophecy is a gift that should be used oh so carefully.

Word for today:

Light travels faster than sound, which is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.

Posted by: tomh at June 24, 2006 2:53 PM
Comment #161287

Watching the liberals twist on this issue is painful. Many blows have been struck in the political sparring between the left and the right with some below the belt on both sides, but this is different. Serious damage to our war effort has been done by the leakers and the media for temporary political gain. After years of carping about how this Administration is mismanaging the war on terrorism, the liberal interests are accepting the sacrifice of America’s interest to strike one more blow at Bush.


Posted by: goodkingned at June 24, 2006 3:05 PM
Comment #161288

tomh,

Nice job twisting. I shouldn’t have assumed that we were all on the same page. Let me clarify for you: George W. Bush’s, forty-third president of the United States; former governor of Texas, declared “war on terror” and the strategy that followed.

Posted by: JayJay Snow at June 24, 2006 3:06 PM
Comment #161308

It’s the Watergate Syndrome. Every wet behind the ears cub reporter and editor out there wants to break the next Watergate story and bring down a President. Just look at the attitude of the White House press corps. If reporters had spoken to past Presidents like Kennedy, Eisenhower, Truman, Roosevelt, or Lincoln as rudely as they do today, they would have been escorted out of the briefing room. To show disrespect for the leader of the free world is a sign of strength to members of the MSM. Thank God, their days are numbered.

Posted by: Rick West at June 24, 2006 3:59 PM
Comment #161338

Does anyone have email addresses for the Wall Street Journal, and the New York and LA Times?

Thanks.

Posted by: goodkingned at June 24, 2006 5:20 PM
Comment #161376

I Had luck a few years ago. at latimes.com BTW you can Read all the LAtest news. and they did have a feedback@LATIMES.COM.

Posted by: Rodney Brown at June 24, 2006 7:08 PM
Comment #161382

Rick West, I hadn’t heard, are we bringing Hitler back to rule in America? There was a man who knew how to deal with the media.

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 24, 2006 7:18 PM
Comment #161387

Thank you goodkingned, I thought you would reply with security before freedom, liberty, and pursuit of happiness without government intervention, and without public oversight and review of police power.

Sounds all very Hitlerian to me, a well ordered society in which every person is obligated to yield their privacy, and freedom of action to the needs of the state. I assume you are not the least bit bothered by the arrests of the Florida seven on the basis of their speech alone.

Society needs police and military protection. But, it is in our founding documents that police power should be subservient to individual liberty protections of the Constitution and answerable to the people. The problem with Congressional oversight is the Attorney General’s ability to throw Congress persons in prison for leaking the the Executives notices of intent and action which are outside the law. This is what the NSA spying taught us. Democrats concerned about it were estopped from revealing the fact that the NSA spying was outside the law. So, for all intents and purposes, there is no public oversight over police power anymore.

And should our federal police violate American rights illegally, how are we to know it ever occured. You see, this is precisely the tactics of the SS and Gestapo in Hitler’s Germany. The German people were helpless to alter Hitler’s course, and any attempt could be met with disappearance, planting of evidence, and framing of individuals to appear guilty and hence, whisked away to pose no more threat to power.

I am not saying this has yet happened in America, though we have learned that a number of innocent people have been imprisoned in this country and one even put to death. But, the Bush administration has laid down the framework to protect itself or a future administration which pursues such illegal and extra-legal actions against its political opponents.

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 24, 2006 7:34 PM
Comment #161429

goodkingned-
Look, the security will be a sick joke if we lose the rights that give us our freedoms as Americans. I would not necessarily strike the means themselves that these programs use, but I would ask that congress be involved in oversight and legislation, that the courts and the warrants and all that have their place, and that these programs not simply be the province of one executive’s beliefs about what would be right for the nation (or what he might be able to persuade people to believe, were he not so honest.)

I would think the terrorists want us so afraid that we would self-inflict these kinds of wounds on our country and ourselves. I would have us deny them that, while preserving our way of life.

As for the Whistleblowers? I would hope that their concern for the law be evenly spread, and that only when the most profound conflicts of law and constitutionality emerge would we see them talking to the press like this.

We’re a proud people, an independent people, and we shouldn’t sacrifice that on account of our fear of these asshole terrorists. An America that fights terrorists without integrity is an America that has already lost the fight.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at June 24, 2006 9:21 PM
Comment #161537

Stephan:

Get real! The rights we could, potentially lose under this legal program involve large fund intercontinental transfers. Only a small number of Americans would be affected AND if an individual in America was noticed due to a legal transaction which minimally met the search criteria, further investigation would quickly reveal if there was no tie to terrorist organizations.

So what rights are being lost? Do you have many intercontinental financial transactions that would be inconvenienced?

Here in a nutshell is why the media did this and why posters on the left are so willing to support it. It is part of the continual effort to discredit this administration. This time, playing politics was too costly and someone will pay.

Posted by: goodkingned at June 25, 2006 12:29 AM
Comment #161553

I do not know how many of you right winges have read the left behind series of books. This admin. secret gathering of information in the name of fighting terroist. Reminds me of the super computer in the book where information on everybody is stored and was used against them in the rise of anti Christ. Any coments. Earl a Teddy Rosevelt REP.

Posted by: earl at June 25, 2006 1:13 AM
Comment #161664

What is so surprising about this information? I can’t believe the disingeniousness on the part of the LEFT in screaming about this so called attack on our individual freedom and the RIGHT for seeing this as a problem.
This is nothing new people and not something invented by Bush - just go back in time to 1920’s
and the 1970’s and 1990’s. Anyone who has a bank account, engages in internet banking activity, makes a purchase with a credit card or large amounts of cash ($10,000 or more) or invests in the stock market is subject to government scrutiny from the IRS to the NSA. There is nothing illegal going on - this is no precedent.
Most of us don’t have a thing to worry about -
since most of our transactions are not in the dollar range and type that would trigger an investigation.
Relax people - big brother moved in a long time ago - we just weren’t watching!

Posted by: rosydawn1081 at June 25, 2006 4:09 PM
Comment #161668

Rick West:

If reporters had spoken to past Presidents like Kennedy, Eisenhower, Truman, Roosevelt, or Lincoln as rudely as they do today, they would have been escorted out of the briefing room.

Could it be that those presidents inspired the respect they received?

Posted by: womanmarine at June 25, 2006 4:29 PM
Comment #161694

earl

At the present time and for several decades, there is a computer based facility located in Atlanta that contains a dosier on every American and more. That is why so many things happening today do not frighten me. They were forcast a long time ago and not by Nostradamus. Things are just warming up. In the next few years there will be efforts to achieve things that will coil the hair on the back of your neck. Everything that is done today is a prod or probe to see how much humanity is willing to tolerate before pushing forward toward the anti-christ, the beast and the final war over Israel. More blood will be spilt in that war than anybody could imagine. Men on horses will wade through the valley with blood up to the horses bridle. Oh, so much more.

Posted by: tomh at June 25, 2006 5:35 PM
Comment #161746

Thanks NY times for letting me now that my phone is wiretapped and that my money is being watched by BUSH, I really did not know that. No wonder they are killing my men. God that was a surprise. Do you think the CIA uses its satellites to watch my movements and my training camps? I hope not because I can watch my training camps in google earth. I hope google does not sell this technology to the CIA/NSA otherwise my terror business is doomed.

Posted by: Osama the dumb at June 25, 2006 9:09 PM
Comment #161771

Jeez, you’re acting like I want to scrap every defense we have. It’s difficult to get the sense of one’s opinion across to somebody who believes the worse of you already.

A lot of these programs were thrown up in the wake of 9/11, ad hoc. Over time, the systems might be vulnerable to abuse, or marginalization because of their shades-of-grey existence in regards to the law. They might shrivel over time, or grow like weeds

All I’d want is for these programs to be regularized and pruned of their unconstitutional/unaccountable branches. This will make it easier for Americans to tolerate the great power and authority given. It will also make for more efficient and effective work, as the irregularities of the adhoc state are smoothed out.

Counterterrorism is not the least popular thing one could push on. You just have to be careful on how you put things to gether.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at June 25, 2006 11:11 PM
Comment #161798

jlw,

So I suppose you’re going to argue that it was aethiest democrats who led the North in the Civil War? Do you have any idea how foolish you sound to anyone who’s read anything about the Civil War? Before the Democrats got taken over by radical aethiests, they were the ones who claimed God was on the side of the South and slavery. They were also the ones who wrote the Jim Crow laws. All of the oppressive figures, such as Bull Connor were democrats as well.

Ironically enough, they were also cut and run back then. They too said the war was too hard and that we could never win and we should just let the South go. If the Democrats had their way, the Confederacy and slavery would be alive and well today. Get your information straight.

Posted by: 1LT B at June 26, 2006 1:41 AM
Comment #161813

Stop whinning about Medias using their free speech.
Instead ask your representative to push an amendement to suppress this right in the Constitution.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at June 26, 2006 4:55 AM
Comment #161822

1LT B,

If the Democrats had their way, the Confederacy and slavery would be alive and well today. Get your information straight.

That’s underestimate the size of human basic rights fight which were and still are bigger than any nation borders. Do you really think that if Confederacy had actually won the US Civil War none other nation on earth will have ban slavery since!? Do you think that the international pressure on US about Gitmo has nothing to do with the current White House switch about closing the camp?!

Human values, like everything, are not impervious to the outside world forever. Others people opinions do matter in the end.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at June 26, 2006 8:17 AM
Comment #161852

Phillipe,

You may be right about outside pressure, but then again, you may not. It took Soldiers from the Arkansas National Guard to integrate the Little Rock school district in the 1950s. However, let me rephrase my disputed sentence to assume you are right:
If the Democrats had won the 1864 election, then in January of 1865, provided that Lincoln had not managed to defeat the Confederacy, Democratic President George McClellan would have called a truce and began negotiations for the United States of America to recognize the Confederate States of America. All the sacrifices of the Civil War would have been in vain, the Union would have been sundered, and slavery would have remained legal in the Confederacy for an unknowable amount of time afterwards possibly even to this day.

I’m not sure what you mean by asking whether or not any other nation would have banned slavery since. To my knowledge, Britain already had, as well as Spain. I’m not sure about France. As far as other people’s opinions mattering, you may overstate the case. I seem to recall France and several other nations didn’t think the US should invade Iraq. Also, look at the two six-nation groups currently pressuring Iran and North Korea. Have they backed down yet?

Posted by: 1LT B at June 26, 2006 11:34 AM
Comment #161861

1LT B,

I’m not sure what you mean by asking whether or not any other nation would have banned slavery since.

First, you’re right, I’m sorry for not making my point very clear. Let me try again.

To my knowledge, Britain already had, as well as Spain. I’m not sure about France.

France was late to ban slavery, and shame for being so late to do it was a factor when we finally did it.

As far as other people’s opinions mattering, you may overstate the case. I seem to recall France and several other nations didn’t think the US should invade Iraq. Also, look at the two six-nation groups currently pressuring Iran and North Korea. Have they backed down yet?

It’s too early to tell.
Maybe they’ll. Most probably they’ll not. But the 6 nations public diplomatic efforts could push some others to join them to confront Iran (or NK) if these nations still reject the diplomatic way.

Going unilateral in Iraq (aka don’t care about many nations opinions - France just happened to be the most vocal, as usual some will add ;-)) have influenced the Coallition setup and the US image worldwide since.
People’s opinions worldwide seems to matter enough that the White House in this second term is on an international public relation effort to bring US image up.
Why, if people opinions don’t matter?

Nobody but the fool are close to others opinions *forever*.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at June 26, 2006 12:29 PM
Comment #161972

First I must state that I am a rather conservative conservative. I also do not like the NYT or LAT. Though I read the NYT. I will say this I believe that the person who leaked this should be tried for leaking classified information. When someone is in a position of having access to classified information they sign a document saying they wont leak it. I do not think we should prosecute the newspapers. I do not like saying that I want to prosecute them but I do believe that freedom of the press is more important then that.

The problem here is no one actually broke the law. The government had a subpeona for the information. If someone is a whistle blower that means they are outing something illegal this is not. Now due to that they should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

Wow I also agree with Howard Dean and I think the end of time must have come. We need to secure our borders both north and south.

Posted by: Randall Jeremiah at June 26, 2006 6:00 PM
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