Saturday, June 24, 2006


What to choose, what to choose, for your late night viewing pleasure on Friday?
Letterman had Al Gore.
Leno had Orlando Bloom.

Hmmmmmm. Do I pick the sententious and sibilant eco-puffster so I can revel in his boundless condescension and genuflect in his general direction?—yeah, that’s right, fer sh

“Who would not trade a raven for a dove?”

Once again “the paper of record” has compromised the security of the United States and the
wider world by exposing a secret government program for detecting terrorist activities to stop them before they come to fruition and apprehend the perpetrators. In the first instance, it was the NSA warrantless wiretap program, about which, admittedly, people with many more qualifications than a Times hack can creditably argue both sides of legality question—but which nevertheless was an effective anti-terrorism tool, now rendered completely inoperable due to its exposure, with no evidence that its potential for abuse had ever been exploited.

Now, fresh from their Pulitzer triumphs for dismantling that safeguard, the Times has taken the lead (with the L.A. Times, plus a couple of others picking up the wire) in exposing another, very successful secret means for choking off terrorist resources and tracking down the bad guys—it’s the Treasury Department’s Deep Throaty operation, or “Follow the [Terrorist] Money.”

Using a Belgium-based international banking clearing house ("Swift" = Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) major international transactions are followed and vetted for terrorist connections. Or rather, they were. Thanks to the New York Times, once again this program has been rendered impotent by being blabbed above the fold. This one’s different from the wiretap business, though. Everyone could imagine that it was being done, and could agree that it should be done—we just didn’t know the specifics of how it was done. Now the Times has thrown open the curtains on it, and revealed (dunt-da-da-DAH!) in its own account that:
...the program is legal. The program is helping us catch terrorists. The administration has briefed the appropriate members of Congress. The program has built-in safeguards to prevent abuse. And yet, with nothing more than a vague appeal to the "public interest" (which apparently is not outweighed in this case by the public's interest in apprehending terrorists), the NYT disregards all that and publishes intimate, classified details about the program.
Thus writes Stephen Spruiell of National Review Online (Hat-tip, Instapundit)
Reaction to the Times’ desperate quest for (a) another Pulitzer, and (b) another black eye for the President has been, as it were, swift—and resoundingly damning. This was not whistle-blowing about some possibly illegal subterfuge, some assault on civil liberties and the Constitution, some backroom game of dirty tricks. By the authors’ own admission, it was a pretty solid and internationally sanctioned process. The big puzzle is: cui bono? What’s in it for the Times?

The charitable answer is that it was a naked grab for readership—what was known, back in the days of real journalism, as a “scoop.” It is c
haritable to think them so deeply deluded that they believed the public excitement would outweigh the public opprobrium on this one. Because if this scoop was not motivated by a delusional self-interest, the only other possibility is that the Times finds it more important to help America lose the war by thwarting its anti-terrorist measures, and thereby ruin George Bush, than to consider the welfare of everyone on the planet who is or has been or may one day be the victim of terrorist violence.

Despite the John Kerry mantra about (horrors!) alienating our European allies, the truth is that even as the Chiracs and Schroeders have blustered on about our unilateralism, their governments (specifically their undercover security forces) have worked cheek by jowl with the United States ever since September 11 and have had many cooperative successes in foiling plots and arresting plotters. It was happening even before the Islamist-perpetrated bombings, murders and civil unrest that have plagued several European nations in recent times.

The beneficiaries of these successes have undoubtedly been more than just Americans and Europeans—anytime and anywhere a terrorist is tripped up, the belly-flop makes the world that little bit safer for all us “infidels” including those who live in Indonesia, India, Sudan, the Philippines, or Egypt. If the Times and its devotees are still so into hating America, they could at least pretend for a minute to care about these other, foreigner-type folks, whose lives are in much more grave and immediate danger than ours. For their sake, at least, you would think a few of these ink-stained crusaders could sacrifice that prize-winning headline and just button it.

[See Michelle Malkin for more creative updates of WWII posters.]