Friday, June 23, 2006

Tell Me Why the NY Times Should Open Tomorrow

I grew up during World War II, and remember not only that it consumed our thoughts and our energies, but that it was them or us. Today we are again at war with an enemy more widespread and barbarous than even Hitler's SS or Tojo's Bataan-march officers could ever have imagined, and we have faced before the terrors of suicide bombers (we called them Kamikazes). One big difference I see is the continual exposing of our nation's secrets by the New York Times - fed by liberal holdover leakers in the administration who think they know better than the President we elected and who is the only one we entrust with our destiny and our safety. I do not understand why we do not arrest the Times' decision-makers, close down the operation, and sell the assets like we do with drug traffickers. I understand that a free nation needs a free press, but in time of war, a free press must exercise some responsibility. Can one of my liberal friends tell me why we should allow such behavior? I am very sure that if a US newspaper had thought revealing the German Enigma or the Japanese JN25 code to be a smart-alecky thing to do, they would have been under FBI arrest within hours.

From The National Review:

"The effort, which the government calls the “Terrorist Finance Tracking Program” (TFTP), is entirely legal. There are no conceivable constitutional violations involved. The Supreme Court held in United States v. Miller (1976) that there is no right to privacy in financial-transaction information maintained by third parties. Here, moreover, the focus is narrowed to suspected international terrorists, not Americans, and the financial transactions implicated are international, not domestic. This is not data mining, and it does not involve fishing expeditions into the financial affairs of American citizens. Indeed, few Americans even have information that is captured by the program — though there would be nothing legally offensive even if they did.

And unlike the last vital program the New York Times compromised — the National Security Agency’s Terrorist Surveillance Program, which the same reporters, James Risen and Eric Lichtblau, exposed last December — there is not even a facially plausible concern that the TFTP violates statutory law. The provisions germane here (mainly, the Right to Financial Privacy Act that Congress enacted in 1978 in reaction to Miller) do not even apply to the nerve center at issue, the Society of Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication.

That’s because SWIFT, as it is better known, is not a financial institution at all. It is a consortium, centered not in the U.S. but in Belgium, which simply — albeit importantly — oversees how funds are routed globally. It is a messenger, not a bank. Nevertheless, in an abundance of caution, the government uses administrative subpoenas — which were expressly provided for by Congress in the aforementioned Financial Privacy Act and the Patriot Act — when it seeks SWIFT information. That’s not just legal; it’s hyper-legal." National Review Online

AddThis Social Bookmark Button


Post a Comment

<< Home