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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

Phantom, my last comment wasn't addressed to you. I guess we can add 'narcissism' to the lengthy list of your redeeming qualities.

I don't have the power to sentence anyone to anything so stop being silly Kvetch.
If you have evidence that some other news outfit published the story first, lets see it otherwise your harping is pointless.
I'm just stating the facts as I've read them in the news media and acknowledging that I may not have the whole story yet but you seem to think that I need to be held to some stratospherically high standard of proof while people who have asserted that there has been absolutely no harm to national security and have offered no evidence to back up their claims are not challenged to show any proof at all.
Why the double standard Kvetch?
Here's what we know:
A secret anti terror program that worked and which has been acknowleged by the a newspaper (un-named so as not to upset anyone)to be completely legal, which has civil liberties safeguards in place and which has been a subject of congressional briefing was leaked by someone to someone and was published in the news media. I'm not going to say who published it because I know that upsets some people but lets just say that "somebody" published the story
That is a serious crime. The perpatrators should be punished in my opinion. I don't know if their crime fits the legal definition of treason but feels like treason to me.
That's my opinion and that's what people do here, they throw around their opinions.
Try and get your mind around that. I can't put it any more simply for you.

Steve
Please go away. Child. Have fun on summer vacation.

Uncle Kvetch
When you're this magnificent, you have every reason to be narcissistic.

Another guy who simply resorts to namecalling when he can't answer arguments. Isn't our right wing charming?

I don't have the power to sentence anyone to anything so stop being silly Kvetch.

You're right. I was being silly, thinking that calling someone a "traitor" was a serious matter. I forgot that over on your side of the tracks, it comes as easily as breathing, and it requires no supporting facts or evidence whatsoever. My bad.

Yes indeed, the "Rethugs" are name-calling.

Indeed they are- it's the only way they know how to do politics. (When they're not busy buying Viagra in the Dominican, that is.)

Call me crazy but I do think that people who give classified information to the enemy either directly or through the front page of a newspaper are traitors.
I wasn't even aware that such a statement could be considered controversial. Blunt maybe, but not controversial.
Go back and read my post again. There are a few facts cited, none of which have been disputed by you and the facts seem to indicate that somebody (I'm not gonna say who because I don't know) committed espionage. An individual who commits espionage against his (or her) own country is commonly considered a traitor. I hope that connects the dots for you.

You clearly have no idea whatsover what the word "treason" means (not to mention anything about the process for classifying information and the way it's routinely abused to shield officials from political embarrassment), but then it's just become an all-purpose curse word for the loony right so I suppose you wouldn't. P.S. You're crazy. (You did ask.)

--Call me crazy but I do think that people who give classified information to the enemy either directly or through the front page of a newspaper are traitors.--

That's not craziness, it's the truth. Some "can't handle the truth"

If this is not treason, then what is the definition of the term ( please no Valerie Plame or Iraq War stories, just a definition ) ?

Should treason even be a crime? If so, what should the penalty be?

I want the liberal perspective on this. Maybe we should legalize treason. Lets see what the pack has to say here.


We're not in any actual declared war with "the terrorists" for one thing; who are "the terrorists"?- such a vague appellation does not even define "an enemy" for another. ("Whoever the president says they are" is not a tenable legal definition of "enemies" nor are we legally in a state of war nor is the NYT trying to bring us into war with any enemy. Treason applies to actual identified enemies, primarily in time of war or leading up to war. Tell me, is it possible to commit treason in the "war on drugs"?) The Times report gave no material aid or comfort to anyone (except defenders of our civil liberties), for a third. Your assertion that the Times did anything whatever wrong rests on your naive belief in the good faith of officials who "classify" stuff, for a fourth.

But hey, I'm all for BushCo filing those treason charges. Bring it on.

trea·son ( P ) Pronunciation Key (trzn)
n.
Violation of allegiance toward one's country or sovereign, especially the betrayal of one's country by waging war against it or by consciously and purposely acting to aid its enemies.
A betrayal of trust or confidence.

That's just the definition from dictionary.com not any statute but speaking as a layman, I'd say this case fits the definition pretty well.

"Violation of allegiance toward one's country".
Check.
"the betrayal of one's country by... consciously and purposely acting to aid its enemies".
Arguably check.
"A betrayal of trust or confidence"
For the leaker, a big check.

There may be a more legally correct definition that excludes this case but I'm only speaking as a layman.

What's your definition Steve? Do you have a liberal dictionary that says something else?

As I've said before, from the facts as we know them it's logical to deduce that a serious crime has been committed and that the individual(s) responsible could reasonably be considered traitors.

The process of classifying information is abused but it does not appear to have been in this case. It's a silly point to make anyway. Does the fact that some mid level official may have once classified his baseball cards mean that it's OK to reveal a secret intelligence operation during a war?
And who should decide? You? Me? Does some reporter or editor get to appoint himself as the "official declassifier" and to hell with what our elected representatives think?

You may be right that in other contexts "treason" has been used as an all purpose cuss word, I don't know about that
In this case it seems to be a pretty good fit.

I've already explained why your position is compeltely ludicrous and reflects a simple inability to understand the meaning of ordinary English words. Now you're digging yourself an even deeper hole by trying to conflate treason with the far different and very much lesser offense of revealing classified information. (And actually it's the leaker who will be on the hook for that one if charges are ever filed, not the paper.) You're just babbling. But hey, once again, if they're dumb enough to file treason charges- bring it on, baby. But they're not nearly as stupid as their dupes (like you), alas.

Oh, and when did Congress declare war? And what country or countries are the enemy in this war? I must have missed that. Free clue- the "war on terrorism" is no more an actual war than is the "war on drugs". Both are contemptible and un-American political hyperbole for law enforcement problems. We WERE at war with Iraq, but that war is over an we are now occupying (with tragic lack of success) a defeated country. That's also not a state of war. Not that the Times story had anything to do with it.
But go ahead, just keep throwing crap agaisnt the wall- I'm sure you'll never lose hope that something will stick.

Now Steve, it sounds like you are just making up your own definitions. In your dimension the US may not be at war but in the dimension that the rest of us inhabit we most certainly are at war.
As for treason, this case may or may not fall under "giving aid and comfort to the enemy". Maybe you can't think of a specific enemy. I can. How about Al Queada? In this reality we are at war with them and the Times story aids them by revealing our methods.
In your reality there is no war, Bush is the enemy and anything is justified if it hurts Bush politically.
A crime doesn't have to rise to the level of treason as defined in the constitution be considered a punishable and there are other statutes on the books to cover this particular instance.
But I never made an argument that anyone has committed treason as defined in the constitution. I just expressed my feeling towards the leakers and publishers of the story.

Here's another definition

trai·tor ( P ) Pronunciation Key (trtr)
n.
One who betrays one's country, a cause, or a trust, especially one who commits treason.

Did the NYT and the leaker betray their country?
Check.
A cause, namely the inartfully named war on terror?
Check.
Or a trust?
In the case of the leaker, another big check.

Legal definitions aside, it looks like we have another match.

Tell the American people that they are not at war with Al Queda. Go ahead, tell them.

( I intentionally carve out Iraq from the request, in the vain hope you can answer it, without trickery. )

"Legal definitions aside"? Treason is A CRIME. Legal definitions are of the essence here. And you're full of it. There is no war and no enemy in any sense that could conceivably trigger the treason statute. It's not even a close call. But feel free to hold yur breath until you turn blue if that reality doesn't suit you. Reality has a well-known liberal bias, after all.

Your last comment provides all the proof anyone should need that the "treason"-slinging is pure politics. I love the way you guys make my points for me. Arguing with you is like shooting fish in a barrel. Only fish are smarter.

Go back and read the Authorization for Use of Military Force dated September 18, 2001.
We are at war. If you can't wrap your walnut sized brain around that fact because this war doesn't follow the template of previous wars (and most of America's wars were not accompanied by a formal declaration of war by the way)than my first impression of you really was right. You are too stupid to bother with.
But thank you for tipping your hand. There is no war. George Bush is the enemy. This is just a law enforcement problem.

Publius

The kid's an idiot. He's not listening. But this thread does give a sad insight into the thought process of the moveon.org/Deanie left.

Security is not even on the radar screen as an issue for them, and it wasn't much of an issue for many of them in the months after 9/11.

By the way, I love being called a kid. I'm almost 51, so it makes my day. Thanks. Now feel free to bullshit amongst yourselves.

Ok, as part of the American people, I believe we are not at war with al'queda. They are a wanted organization, therefore are considered criminals, not soliders. So therefore police actions cannot be considered warfare.

Also, by your own definition, giving away classified information that could knowingly harm your country, Bush and Cheney are both traitors to the American people. Notice this doesn't apply to actually dispersing classified information, but being the one who had the legal right to protect it in the first place. The press has no such requirement - nor should they - though the editor is ulitimately the one who decides to run the story, not the reporters.

Again to use an old analogy:

Don't shoot the Dog for seeing the Fox kill the Chicken.

If you scroll up you will see that I said that although this case may not fit the legal definition of treason, it feels like treason to me.
We are not in a court of law, I am not a lawyer, I have never argued that this case fits the legal definition of treason, and I don't have to argue that in order to tell you how I "feel" about the case (as opposed to what I "think" about the case).
It's not my job to figure out what crime to charge these people with. What I think is that I want them prosecuted to the fullest extent that the law allows.
You are creating straw man arguments around legal definitions that you are in no way qualified to pronounce on in order to shoot them down. Essentially you are arguing with yourself so in that sense I agree that you are arguing with an idiot.
You may consider it "treason slinging" and "pure politics" but so what?
What the NYT did was disgraceful and if the label "traitor" just happens to stick to them and their defenders, it will be well deserved.

Hey Phantom:
It's telling that we both took Steve to be some callow 18 year old nitwit.
Cheer up, I don't believe that America will ever trust our safety and security to these people no matter how badly the republicans screw up.
I gotta sign off now but you have a good night.

You can't ask that people should be tried and possibly executed, based off a "gut feeling" foregoing the legal definitions to boot. The problem is that people are so partisian that they tend to attack anything that they consider "the enemy", whether they are al'queda or another political affiliation. Whenever looking at arguments I tend to look at the 3 sided argument - the two sides and the side the is the resultant effect of that arguement. If one is just going to convict one side of an argument based on their own opinions and feelings, foregoing that of the otherside, and those effected by it, then that side is lacking the tools proper tools for functioning in a successful resolution.

So to recap:

Side A, the Republicans:
1.) "Feels" acts are treasonous but has no basis in fact.
2.) Sees the law should prosecute those of the media who
disclose and not necessarily perpetuate the story.
3.) Feels that, even though information was released prior
by the administation prior to the said story, though
not in detail, is criminal, though both refer in the
end to the same thing, financial record information
gathering.
4.) Fails to acknowledge the presses right and duty
to disclose information that could be a serious
violation of Constitutinal and civil rights.

Side B, the Democrats:
1.) Feels media outlet is completly unaccountable for
classified information.
2.) Does not consider edjucational, law inforcement
or military actions as war, as supposedly war is
something only Congress can wage as per the
Constitution. Supposedy the war on illiteracy
can only be waged by Congress, not the DoE.

Side C, how it affects everyone:
1.) Government has once again trampled American
civil rights and has now not only acquired phone
transaction records, but also bank transactions
of Americans who are not suspected of a crime,
and without their knowledge.
2.) Directly attacking the press goes to increasing
Executive power, though threatening to do so doesn't.
Could be a 1st ammendment conflict if, however,
it was prosecuted.
3.) Possible endangerment to tracking terrorists.
4.) Side A and Side B continue to hate each other even more
than they already do.

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