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June 27, 2006

The White House's war on the press

Glenn Greenwald has an excellent analysis of the manufactured outrage over the NYT SWIFT story. He argues that the uproar is just another excuse to continue the administration's long-running war on the free press.

Politicians, pundits, and even journalists are demanding jail time for the reporters who described the Treasury Department's secret program to analyze the SWIFT international financial database for evidence of terrorist financing. As Glenn explains, the article didn't actually betray any national security secrets. It has been public knowledge for many years that the US government monitors "the money trail" of terrorist organizations. Nobody has boasted more about America's ability to monitor the finances of terrorists than the president himself.

The NYT hasn't revealed any information that terrorists didn't already know. The media coverage of the NSA wiretapping program and the SWIFT surveillance are informing the American public about the way the government is choosing to fight terrorism: The President insists on the right to wage the "war on terror" in complete secrecy outside of our constitutional system of checks and balances.


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When the message is a problem, Dan Froomkin has it right: Nuke the messenger. Welcome to the Not So Great War TM. Everyone will be pressed into service in the war on the press. Here are your orders, shocked troops! . . . when faced with a potentiall... [Read More]


You're forgetting that it was a bushite WH press breifing that outed Khan as a CIA mole in the middle of the operation that would have probably stopped the London bombings from occuring, just because bush talks about something outloud, doesn't mean that it's not top secret and a risk to national security.

See also "Plamegate".

Only "liberals" can commit "treason", didn't you know?

How can we get rid of that odious Peter King from LI who wants to take the NY Times editorial board to court and charge them with treason.

I believe he, himself was involved in supporting the IRA in their "armed struggle"... OH I forgot that wasn't terrorism...

The Times can and usually is awful... but treasonous?

Hey we need a flag burning amendment to the constitution.

Here's more"

In fact, during the 1980s and 90s, the NSA and CIA collected intelligence on financial transactions between the United States and Ireland and Northern Ireland involving Irish terrorist groups supported by Peter King. The group Irish Northern Aid (NORAID) funneled money to the Irish Republican Army (IRA) that was used to buy weapons used to blow up civilians and members of the British government, military, and police. King was an active supporter of NORAID, a tax-exempt front for the IRA. Martin Galvin, King's friend and former NORAID chief, rejected the Northern Ireland Good Friday agreement and supports the agenda of the terrorist "Real IRA."

These are just more signs that the US is becoming a surveillance society. The Bush administration is secretly tapping into a global database of confidential financial transactions for nearly five years and companies like AT&T are saying they can do whatever the hell they want with customer records because it’s theirs. Read more at:

Yes, it's all very William Gibson'ish if you ask me, where all data is available if you have the right access.

Has Ann Coulter called for the poisoning of the entire NY Times staff yet, or suggested dropping daisy-cutters indiscriminately on the New York populace, and forcing all the NYC Jews to convert to Christianity? Because if not then I think conservatives might let this one slide.

I suggest burning at the stake. I've heard witch burning is coming back into fashion.

The fact that the program was secret was the reason that the NYT thought it was newsworthy.
There is a gigantic difference between telling people that we're going to follow the money and revealing exactly how it's being done.
Give it up. This lie will never fly. Really Lindsay, this is beneath you.
The new haircut looks great by the way.


Then why did Murtha, Hamilton, and Kean feel so strongly that this story should not be printed? Were they all deceived? Are they in on the "manufactured outrage" as well?

How to "get rid" of the likes of Peter King? He's a Congressman, and the entire House is up for re-election every two years. The people of his LI district could turn him out.
The reason he is talking trash about "treason" and the Espionage Act is to get the GOP right-wingers to come to the polls and re-elect him. To be sure, there are other aims; as a substiute (Marty Kaplan?) at Altercation put it today:

...if it's an election year, that means the White House has declared war on the New York Times. (The tactic worked in 2004 when Cheney tossed Times reporters off his campaign plane and Bush mocked the Times during his convention acceptance speech.) It's a three-fer; it puts the paper on notice, rallies the GOP base, and provides a convenient bogeyman for the War on Terror —it’s the media's fault. ...the GOP's exclusive focus on the Times following widespread reporting on the government's secret financial surveillance program story seems particularly phony.
The right truly has become unhinged about the Times, although I doubt the rage is authentic. `Wingers have been beating the drum for so long —and doing it so dishonestly— about how journalists are aiding the terrorists I doubt serious people pay much attention anymore.

We should tie this string of cans to the elephant's tail and demand that if they are telling the truth about NYT they move on prosecution -- or admit they're talking trash. If they were to prosecute, the media, perhaps even Murdoch, would fight back and the tsunami of public outrage might well suffice to eject Bush and Cheney before their term. Far from being hurt, NYT would be carrying the Stars and Stripes.
So the administration will not prosecute -- and loyal, NYT-hating Republicans must own the reality that they are either jive-arsed or Assuming the Position for treason. I wonder which they prefer?

Then why did Murtha, Hamilton, and Kean feel so strongly that this story should not be printed?

Should I try to guess what Murtha, Hamilton, and Kean are thinking and feeling? I don't think so. All I can do is examine the known facts of this case to see if a crime was committed. How Murtha, Hamilton, Kean, Cheney, Bush, Snow, etc. feel about it shouldn't make a lick of difference; what matters is whether or not a law was broken.

Examine the facts. Show us where a law was broken. If one was broken then prosecute the reporters, and ALSO prosecute the President and his schmucks for doing the exact same thing that the The Times did. If national security was truly compromised by this revelation then haul ALL the lawbreakers to jail, not just a few reporters.

I stumbled across your blog while I was doing some online research. I found your observations very thought provoking, though I admit that I can see both sides of this issue, which, obviously, is not as clear as we might like or there would not be anything to argue about!

At this point, the idea that Murtha asked the NYT not to publish the info in question is speculation. All the NYT will confirm is that Murtha contacted them.


The comments about Peter King trying to get the right wingers to come out to vote are imbecilic. You evidently don't know who you're speaking about.

One of the reasons for his immense popularity is the fact that he stands on principle and doesn't go the conservative/Republican party line the way all of you go lockstep on the liberal/Democrat party line.

He opposed impeachment and voted against it, hardly the action of a "right winger". He's been a strong supporter of Irish causes over the years, a cause which most Republicans could care less about.

King has that House seat as long as he wants it. Take it to the bank. And it has nothing with him "stirring up the right wingers". It has everything to do with the fact that he's one of the few honest men and free talkers in the whorehouse that is the House of Representatives.

Sorry there Godstar, but IF the average uninformed American is talking about this, no matter how ridiculous it is to me and you, who read, read, read there MUST be points discussing this from a logical point of view, and I think Lindsay SHOULD have this as a topic of discussion. Letting it go the way that bush and his cult followers desire, unchallenged, would be way more than "beneath Lindsay." (Yea, great haircut. :)

This isn't a "sellout" blogger version of some previously unknown music group hitting it big; this is reality.

Don't forget the free bonus. If Dems oppose this crap they're "soft on terrorism", the meme for bushslingers this coming election cycle. ( Bush bullshit is redundant, isn't it ? )

Excellent post on Josh Marshall's site:

"So on exporting democracy ...

1. President encourages supporters to accuse newspaper reporters of treason: check.

2. President mandates systematic use of torture: check.

3. President routinely asserts right to ignore laws passed by Congress: check.

What am I missing?

Actually, I think it's more one of those trick questions. Like, we're not exporting 'democracy' but our democracy. So, as we send it to them, we lose ours."

--"manufactured outrage"--
Saying that the outrage is not genuine. Based on what?

--"The NYT hasn't revealed any information that terrorists didn't already know."--
Bullshit. You have little to no idea what each of the terrorist organizations in the world and their supporters know.

--"war on terror"--
Quotation marks implying that there is no terror, or that there is no war, that there is no war on terror, or that there should be no war against terror.

We had discussions months ago in which it was said that the left was just as firm on the war on terror as the center to right. Posts like this on blogs like this completely destroy that argument. The US left absolutely cannot be trusted on security issues, and the American public knows this.

For the convenience of The Fathead I'll repost here something I recently posted on the other thread on this topic. By the way, the polls for a while now have been giving Bush only minority approval of his handling of the War on Terra. Luckilyit seems are many Americans who are not as stupid and easily duped as The Fathead. Herewith the repost:

Terrorism is an international law enforcement problem. The Bushclowns have worked overtime to damage our relations with the rest of the world, whih include essential cooperation in fighting terrorism. The Bushcriminals have not the slightest interest in making us safer; to them, it's all about domestic politics. The abject stupidity of their pathetic dupes, like Publius and Phantom (what utterly lame handles, by the way- quite symptomatic of their intellectual feebleness) is what makes this strategy pay off.

More good stuff from Greg Sargent on the American Prospect's "Horse's Mouth" blog, below. These BushCo felons are so utterly full of crap...


I just got off the phone with a spokesperson for the Treasury Department, and she's refusing to explain why Treasury officials didn't demand that the Wall Street Journal hold off on publishing the story about the U.S.'s secret financial surveillance program, the way they demanded it of the New York Times and the L.A. Times.

This is interesting, because Tony Snow said today that the Treasury Department's press office could explain this. But now they're clamming up.

In this story from today's Editor and Publisher, reporter Joe Strupp wrote:

When asked why the administration had not asked the Wall Street Journal to hold off publication as it had with the other two papers, Snow said he did not know, referring such inquiries to Treasury Department Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs Tony Fratto. (Emphasis added.)

So -- what the heck? -- I called the Treasury Department's public affairs office. When told that Snow explicitly said that the Treasury Department could answer these questions, Treasury spokesperson Molly Millerwise nonetheless declined. Asked why no officials had urged the Journal to hold the story, she said: "I can't speak for what Tony said...I don't want to get into the particulars of any discussions."

This is key because the administration has apparently decided to focus all of its criticism on the New York Times for publishing the story, even though it appeared in the LA Times and the Journal, too. The question is, If publishing this story was such a danger to national security, as the administration is now claiming, why didn't they urge the Journal to hold off, too? There may be a valid explanation, but for now, neither Treasury nor the White House are saying.

--Greg Sargent

"Sorry there Godstar, but IF the average uninformed American is talking about this, no matter how ridiculous it is to me and you, who read, read, read there MUST be points discussing this from a logical point of view, and I think Lindsay SHOULD have this as a topic of discussion. Letting it go the way that bush and his cult followers desire, unchallenged, would be way more than "beneath Lindsay." (Yea, great haircut. :)

This isn't a "sellout" blogger version of some previously unknown music group hitting it big; this is reality."

Well personally, I think it's just that Bush is envious of the way Putin has it in his country, able to jail anyone at anytime, and who has complete control over the why can't he? I mean they are a democratic society right? *laugh*

From Crooked Timber- a nice>example of the way BushCo chicanery is actually making useful international cooperation against terrorists more difficult, thereby making us less secure.


--"The NYT hasn't revealed any information that terrorists didn't already know."--
Bullshit. You have little to no idea what each of the terrorist organizations in the world and their supporters know.

True enough. It's impossible to know exactly what each and every terrorist organization in the world knows about our surveillance techniques. Fortunetely for the terrorists, George Bush is willing to help them learn:

April 19, 2004 (40th and 41st paragraph down) - George Bush tells the whole world (including the terrorists) about roving wire taps and delayed notification search warrants:

We couldn't use roving wire taps for terrorists. In other words, terrorists could switch phones and we couldn't follow them. The Patriot Act changed that, and now we have the essential tool. See, with court approval, we have long used roving wire taps to lock up monsters -- mobsters. Now we have a chance to lock up monsters, terrorist monsters. (Laughter and applause.)

The Patriot Act authorizes what are called delayed notification search warrants. I'm not a lawyer, either. (Laughter.) These allow law enforcement personnel, with court approval, to carry out a lawful search without tipping off suspects and giving them a chance to flee or destroy evidence. It is an important part of conducting operations against organized groups.

June 9, 2005 (25th paragraph down) - George Bush again reminds terrorists about our roving wiretaps:

One tool that has been especially important to law enforcement is called a roving wiretap. Roving wiretaps allow investigators to follow suspects who frequently change their means of communications. These wiretaps must be approved by a judge, and they have been used for years to catch drug dealers and other criminals. Yet, before the Patriot Act, agents investigating terrorists had to get a separate authorization for each phone they wanted to tap. That means terrorists could elude law enforcement by simply purchasing a new cell phone. The Patriot Act fixed the problem by allowing terrorism investigators to use the same wiretaps that were already being using against drug kingpins and mob bosses.

July 20, 2005 (46th paragraph down) - Bush tells the terrorists that we can monitor their credit card transactions and alerts them that switching cell phones won't work anymore:

Before the Patriot Act it was easier to get the credit card receipts of a tax cheat than that of an al Qaeda bank-roller. Before the Patriot Act agents could use wire taps to investigate a person committing mail fraud, but not specifically to investigate a foreign terrorist carrying deadly weapons. Before the Patriot Act, investigators could follow the calls of mobsters who switched cell phones, but not terrorists who switched cell phones. That didn't make any sense. The Patriot Act ended all these double standards.

All those links are directly to the White House home page, not some crazy "moonbat" site, so those words are straight from the jackass's mouth. Bush just can't keep his fucking mouth shout about our highly sensitive investigative techniques, can he? That's why I call Bush's response "manufactured outrage". That's also why I suggested earlier that if the New York Times reporters who wrote this story are guilty of a crime, then so is the Coward-In-Chief. Send ALL their asses to the big house. Is there something wrong with this logic, Phantom? Please point it out.

It's the right that can't be trusted with national security, Phantom. Quit calling "bullshit" until you have a sound, consistent argument.

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