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June 26, 2006

Snow: "NYT has undermined Americans' right to live"

The President and his administration are furious at the New York Times and other media outlets for revealing details of the Treasury Department's secret program to monitor financial transactions.

Here's what Press Secretary Tony Snow had to say:

[T]he New York Times and other news organizations ought to think long and hard about whether a public’s right to know in some cases might override somebody’s right to live, and whether in fact the publications of these could place in jeopardy the safety of fellow Americans.

Asked whether the White House attacks on the New York Times represented an effort “to create a chilling effect on media outlets,” Snow responded, “I don’t think so.” [ThinkProgress]

Watch the video of Snow's attack at ThinkProgress.

In other news, China may impose fines on journalists who report on disasters without permission.

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Comments

I can see how revealing the financial monitoring could have hurt surveillance of potential terrorists, but it's not even close to the damage caused when the Washington Times revealed that the NSA was monitoring Bin Laden's satellite phone. That's not an excuse, but given that nobody from the Washington Times has gone to prison it seems a bit much to be calling for the NYT journalists to be prosecuted.

and whether in fact the publications of these could place in jeopardy the safety of fellow Americans

Who is still dumb enough to believe this? The New York Times reveals that the Bush Administration is overstepping its legal authority to monitor bank information and this somehow makes us less safe?

The people we're fighting in the War on Terror already assume that. They're paranoid. That's why they become terrorists in the first place, because they assume that America is watching their every move. It's terrifying to know that for some people, Tony Snow will never be able to underestimate their intelligence.

Well, the Bushies try to justify everything they do by saying that those who oppose them are trying to make us less safe.

They really are after unlimited power, and attack everyone who attempts to check their power. This is a very dangerous administration.

Asked whether the White House attacks on the New York Times represented an effort “to create a chilling effect on media outlets,” Snow responded, “I don’t think so.

At which point a million monkeys flew out of his ass.

A press secretary who doesn't seem to grasp the spirit of the first amendment. Interesting.

A press secretary who doesn't seem to grasp the spirit of the first amendment. Interesting.

"Americans should watch what they say, watch what they do"

~Ari Fleischer.

Who would have thought when we read Brave New World in high school back several decades that we would be living in the world in our lifetime???

Don't forget--

Eric Blair.

[T]he New York Times and other news organizations ought to think long and hard about whether a public’s right to know in some cases might override somebody’s right to live, and whether in fact the publications of these could place in jeopardy the safety of fellow Americans.

Even if this assertion is true, so what? "Live Free or Die" isn't just a license plate slogan.

Snow is entirely correct. The "spirit of the First Amendment" does not mandate revealing details of a confidential program to track terrorists. The editors were asked not to write about this, and blew off the request.

It was their choice to let Al Queda and other terrorists become aware that this program existed. No other parties benefit by the publication of this information.

Shame on the New York Times, and on any reporter, editor, or snitch from a government agency who had anything to do with this.

If the Al Qaieda folks are such dim bulbs that they haven't figured out that someone might be watching wire transactions, they can't really be much of a threat.
I'm much more worried about a government that assumes it has no one to answer to and it’s no one's business what they do. In America money decides who wins elections, period. The temptation for the party in power to watch the current of money to and from the party out of power will be irresistible if the party in power cannot be watched. Think about it. If you’re a Republican do you want Hillary Clinton to have this power? Don’t be stupid.

I posted this at Greenwald's place, but anybody who does much in the way of international money transfers knows about the SWIFT database, and they'd assume that anyone watching money move would watch it. I've done business with a lot of swarthy middle-eastern types who understood international money transfers pretty darn well, and I have to assume that the swarthy middle-eastern types populating the fever-dreams of authoritarians like The Phantom can't be congenitally dumber than the ordinary controllers of ordinary companies in the ME.

The Phantom, much like the "bart" troll at Greenwald's shop needs to decide whether the evil terrorists are all stupid enough not to know the basics about how the world works (in which case they're not much of a threat, now are they?), or they're evil super-geniuses (in which case the NYT story would have told them something they'd already assumed).

The evil terrorists can't be both moronically incompetent and civilization-threatening.

It's not "authoritarian" to want the CIA and Treasury Dept to track financial transactions linked to terrorists, nor is it "authoritarian" to hope that a newspaper who comes upon this information won't print it.

Criminals, including those of the terrorist specie, make mistakes all the time. Mafia guys who might know better talk on the phone. Bin Laden was believed to use a satellite phone before he was tipped off by the Moonies ( hat tip, togolosh ). Mohamad A Salamah tried to get his deposit money back from Ryder in 1993.

Here, the agents of the CIA and the Treasury Dept were trying to keep you alive, especially any of you who ride the subways and walk the streets of New York as I do. Thanks to the NY Times, that effort has been compromised. Shame on the NY Times, and shame on any who make excuses for what they did.

Here I was thinking the journalists and the editors of the NY Times walked the streets and rode the subways of New York too, just like us normal people. But that's crazy--I'm sure they've been issued invisible helicopters by their demonic overlords over at the UN.

There's some overreaction on both sides of this issue, I think. Of course we have Phantom, standing up for the Bushista minority, who thinks that Bush can do no wrong, regardless of all facts to the contrary.

On the other hand, from my admittedly meager reading of the law, there's nothing illegal in the government obtaining bank records (even records held here in the US) with a subpeona, which if I understand correctly is what was done in this case.

As far as the NYT is concerned, considering that this administration has pretty much made it a habit of ignoring the law whenever it's convenient, as one of the owners of this government I appreciate the NYT letting me know what my employees are doing, since it's obvious that those employees a) won't tell me the truth about what they're doing and b) don't really know what they're doing.

Yeah, and Rep. Murtha must think Bush can do no wrong either, since he tried to dissuade the NY Times from printing this.

"No other parties benefit by the publication of this information"

Except for American citizens who might think they have a right to know how much surveillance their government has them under.

Update:

Not just Rep. Murtha, but also Governor Tom Kean and Rep. Lee Hamilton, co-chairmen of the 9-11 Commission all approached the NY Times and asked them not to print this story.

The fools must love their country more than they hate President Bush.

This story is just beginning.


togolosh: The story about bin Laden stopping his use of his cell phone immediately after a newspaper revealed the NSA was tracking him with it, is apparently a myth.

Georgie-boy is faking blowing a gasket over the revealing of this "secret" - this anybody could figure it out "secret"?
Wait a minute!
Back up the bus!
So where's the outrage over the outing of CIA officer Valerie Plame Wilson while she was working on proliferation of nuclear weapons material into Iran in July 2003? Is Bob Novak going to be on trial for treason? How 'bout those senior administration officials who exposed Plame? Have they lost their jobs? Are they rotting in Gitmo?

"Asked whether the White House attacks on the New York Times represented an effort “to create a chilling effect on media outlets,” Snow responded, 'I don’t think so.'"
I don't either, not in the first place. They didn't denounce Wall Street Journal or L.A. Times, but NYT, because it's a bugbear for the angry white men they are afraid won't come to the polls to re-elect a Republican Congress in November.
The official track of the campaign is Bush saying "disgraceful" and Cheney saying "disgrace" -- something they know about firsthand, and may yet know more of -- while the parallel unofficial track is the GOP pundits saying "treason" or urging prosecution of NYT under the Espianoge Act: it's hot air and hotter. Were the administration dare to prosecute, it would be their undoing. So we should ask the fetid "treason" panters of the Right, if NYT ought to be prosecuted, how can they support a president too cowardly to do it?

Note to the tinfoil hat crowd: The New York Times has not accused the Bush administration of doing anything illegal in this case so settle down.
They published the story to make money, putting profits ahead of public safety. That should make liberals mad as heck.
The public does not have the right to know everything that the government is doing because what the public knows the enemy knows as well. That should be obvious to anyone whose patriotism hasn't been consumed by Bush hatred.
I believe that the folks at the Times are traitors and should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law but as I understand it, no newspaper has ever been prosecuted for revealing classified information during wartime so that idea is probably a non starter.
However, the government employee(s) who leaked the story deserve to spend the rest of their lives in jail. There's plenty of precedent for that.
Actually enemy spies (and that's what they are) deserve to be hanged but I'd be willing to settle for life without possibility of parole as long as they cooperate.
I'm a Bush supporter and a campaign volunteer but I have to admit that I will think less of him if these acts of espionage are allowed to go unpunished. We're at war and if we're really serious about winning we need to treat this with the proper gravity.
For starters, a grand jury should be convened, the relevant reporters and editors subpoenaed and uncooperative witnesses need to be thrown in jail until they reveal their sources.

Right, it would never ever have occurred to teh terra-ists that their bank transactions might be looked at, if the NYT hadn't spilled the beans. How stupid do you Rethug tools think the rest of us are? Go stick your phony "patriotissm" and your phony outrage where the sun don't shine. You don't deserve to live in a free country.

As for the "treason" charges, bring it on, b*tches. Bring it on.

Steve
You shouldn't make fun of what you think is supposed to be a Southern or Texas accent. You boys are supposed to have a fifty state strategy now, remember?

Again, as stated, terrorists and other criminals do get sloppy and do make mistakes and that is why programs like this are very valuable. This program has led to arrests of terror suspects.

If anyone has any doubt that liberals/leftists do not take security seriously, just look at this blog. You hate Bush more than you love your fellow citizens. Fact.


Yeah, you Rethugs take "security" so seriously. That's why you've drastically decreased our national security for years to come with your little adventurte in Iraq. Kiss my azz, bedwetting pseudopatriot.

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