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June 28, 2006

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» Harsh Assessment from Blue Crab Boulevard
All the desperate spinning of the media and the left will not undo the damage that the New York Times has done to the US effort to collect data that tracks terrorists financial transfers. Thats not the vast right wing conspiracy tal... [Read More]

Comments

richard mcenroe

If it's not that much of a secret, why was it a front-page story?

Tom Maguire

If it's not that much of a secret, why was it a front-page story?

Why did everyone react as if it was news?

Why did the Times wait until the next week to remind us of the UN Security Council reports (in an editorial, IIRC)?

Pisistratus

1. Is it true that the WSJ ran the same story re: SWIFT on its own front page on the same day that the NYT did? Hint: Yes.

2. Why doesn't anyone castigate the WSJ? Hint: Well, I'd rather you explain it.

Barney Frank

TM,
If the value of the program is in forcing AQ to use other means of transacting finance then its disclosure doesn't harm that aspect of it does it?(so long as the program continues of course)
This seems to go down a bit of a rabbit trail, implicitly giving the appearance of illegally leaking classified info that does no harm a free pass. The point is the press has no idea which leak is harmful and which isn't, and that is why the law should simply be enforced on any illegal leaks.

BumperStickerist

There's also the 'Hey, you terrorist morons, that's an elephant!' aspect to the Times's reportage.

The individual aspects of surveillance might have been 'known' but the combination of programs or the nature of the information flow would be sensitive.

For example, paraphrasing the story about the blind men trying to describe an elephant, should a western reporter jump in and 'splaining to the blind terrorists that the thing is not a wall, or a tree, or a rope - that it's an elephant, that information would be of enormous benefit to said terrorists. Despite the fact that all the other pieces of information were public.

Put another way, If a bunch of terror-minded fellows are considering their options, having an outside consulting agency hand you a white paper with analysis and details for $2- would be pretty sweet.

If I were a terrorist I'd be a subscriber to TimesSelect. I'd want to know my options. Maybe a data mining on TimesSelect membership is in order.

One benefit is that, besides having a high probability of unearthing potential evil-doers, analyzing the TimesSelect membership wouldn't take that long.

.

lurker

Has to do with the way it was written to make it look like Bush is a criminal by violating the US Constitution?

clarice

My understanding is that the WSJ used only publicly available information and gave far less detail.
In any event the NYT is now a serial offender..twice re the Holyland, the NSA program and now this.

Pisistratus

So the WSJ gets the benefit of being a crappy paper eh Clarice? Ok. Thanks for your reply.

JJ

MSNBC is calling the story a "rehash" of Bush's numerous chasing-the-money remarks.

Also, that Swift published some details of the program in their magazine, which has been public for a while. (Haven't seen it yet.)

Plus, AQ-ists are probably smart enough to know about Swift and money trails.

All of which beg the question, as TM points out.

If you knock a resource out, you knock out a resource.

The terrorists surely spend time studying money flow. They surely read Swift's mag. They surely heard GW say we're after your gun money.

If I were a money-sending bad guy and could again begin using the financial superhighway by having the Europeans shut Swift down, I'd start doing my laundry one more time.

However, my pet thesis is that this is another round of will-of-the-people Congressional control must win over executive authority...

Tom Maguire

From pis:

2. Why doesn't anyone castigate the WSJ? Hint: Well, I'd rather you explain it.

CLUE - Howie Kurtz did explain it, and I linked to it (at the end of another post).

My guess is that if you cared, you'd know the answer; my further guess is that you really ought to research your talking points, or let them lie down for a rest.

Let's cover the LA Times, too - here is Kurtz:

Doyle McManus, Washington bureau chief of the Los Angeles Times, said his paper had the story nailed down last Wednesday but did not reach a final decision on running it "because, among other things, we hadn't sat down yet with people at Treasury to give them a full chance to tell us why we should or shouldn't do it." At the same time, he said, "we were leaning toward publishing."

At about 7 p.m. Thursday, McManus was meeting with Treasury Undersecretary Stuart Levey when another department staffer handed Levey a BlackBerry and he announced: "Well, the New York Times has posted its story" on its Web site.

While a Treasury official did tell him that it would be nice if the Los Angeles paper decided not to run the story as a "symbolic gesture," the discussion was rendered moot, McManus said. Levey then went on the record to defend the program, as he did with other newspapers, including The Post, which began playing catch-up that evening.

And the WSJ:

The Wall Street Journal had been working on the banking story for a long period of time but did not reach the point of having enough information to publish until Thursday afternoon, according to a staffer who declined to be identified because the newspaper is making no public comment. The Journal does not know why Treasury officials made no appeal against publication in that paper, but editors assume that by then the officials were resigned to the fact that the details were coming out, the staffer said.

Too complicated? It may be that either or both would have published anyway, but the Times took the play out of their hands. hence, the laser-like castigation.

And the Times had the NSA story, so their history is a bit worse (or better, from an Al Qaeda perspective, and others).

Tom Maguire

As a sidebar, one way to judge whether a leak "ought" to be published would be for the Times to run the story past ranking Congressfolks of the other party.

Obviously, that is a bit awkward, since Rockefeller, Harman et al don't want to formally double as press ombudsman, and don't want to be fingered as OK'ing leaks, but at least there would be a bipartisan push to kill a story. About the only Dem on baord with deterring the Times was the 9/11 co-chair, which to the Times is like no one at all.

On the off chance that the Times will listen to Dems, the Admin ought to enlist them in their quashing efforts.

Wilson's a liar

Am I stupid?

Why would the Times blare a front page above-the-fold headling about a "SECRET" program that wasn't a secret? Are the Times' defenders suggesting that the Newspaper of Record is sexing up headlines and stories now? Because that's the only logical conclusion one can reach from what they are trying to sell us now. Not much of a defense if you ask me. I think they need s new set of talking points.

Charlie (Colorado)

2. Why doesn't anyone castigate the WSJ? Hint: Well, I'd rather you explain it.

No, actually you wouldn't, because then someone would point out that the WSJ only ran the story after being briefed following the Times' refusal to spike it. Patterico went through this at some length:

3. Finally, the minimizers insist that this is all a cover for an attack on the liberal press. Why no anger against the Wall Street Journal?! they demand to know.

I address that claim here. It is not at all clear that the Journal was investigating the story for weeks, but let’s assume for the sake of argument that it was. Nevertheless, the government did not ask the Wall Street Journal not to publish. It did make that impassioned request of the New York Times and L.A. Times.

Further, editors of the West Coast Timeses have issued numerous public statements making it very clear that they had done an independent balancing of what they perceived as the competing interests — and the balance, in their (flawed and necessarily uninformed) judgment, weighed in favor of publication. The editors of the Wall Street Journal have issued no such statement.

For these reasons, the Wall Street Journal stands in a very different position — not because of the makeup of its editorial board, but because of its behavior, which was not provably irresponsible, as was that of the New York Times and Los Angeles Times.

clarice

Pis:
"Based on my reading of the relevant articles, the responsible parties here are only the New York Times and the L.A. Times. The Wall Street Journal simply printed a story using on-the-record interviews with named government officials who knew the East and West Coast Timeses were going to print the story anyway.

The key questions are: 1) which papers were conducting an investigation by speaking with anonymous officials about classified information? and 2) which papers were asked by the government not to print the stories? The answer to both questions, based upon reading the stories, is: the New York Times and the L.A. Times — not the Wall Street Journal." http://patterico.com/2006/06/25/4774/direct-your-anger-at-the-nyt-and-lat-not-the-wsj-for-leaking-classified-information-about-a-successful-anti-terror-program/> LAT and NYT

Now, let's get the NYT--I say we spread a rumor they were working with Negroponte who knows AQ will be doing an operational check and will be hitting on every website that describes SWIFT and that we are locking in on everyone who clicks on them.

maryrose

Pisastratus:
WSJ: did not break the story the NYT did in direct contradiction to the recommendation of the the Treasury Dept. With friends like the NYT; who needs enemies. Their comeuppance is coming. J.D. Hayworth has asked that the congressional delegations pull the the press access passes of the NYT for deliberate acts against the security of the country. No explanation from Keller and reporters will cut the mustard here. This borders on treason for the second time.The whole organization should be ostracized.

Gary Maxwell

I know this will be a shock to Pisi et al and the same ilk, but the WSJ is a very liberal paper. Now its editorial page is quite conservatives, but the newsies are flaming liberals just like at the NYT. There was a survey awhile back that put the WSJ as one of the most liberal papers in the country. If you are talking about opinions, not but news yes very very liberal. So look for another explanation pisi, that dog wont hunt a lick.

lurker

"The Wall Street Journal had been working on the banking story for a long period of time..."

Seems like an odd statement to someone like Pis, Jerry, Pete that claim this story is old news.

So if this story is old news, then why would WSJ be working on this banking story for a long time?

craig mclaughlin

"Why would the Times blare a front page above-the-fold headling about a "SECRET" program that wasn't a secret? Are the Times' defenders suggesting that the Newspaper of Record is sexing up headlines and stories now? Because that's the only logical conclusion one can reach from what they are trying to sell us now. Not much of a defense if you ask me. I think they need s new set of talking points."

Yeah, everybody knew about it-- but Congress.

lurker

Anyone read over at NRO that someone called up Murtha to confirm Keller's statement about being one of the 3 people outside the WH adm that talked to him? Murtha says, "No comment."

John Fund wrote an article over at WSJ about Murtha's murky past.

skinnydog

It is quite remarkable that some are so quick to say that oh well, the disclosure is no big deal because AQ and the other terrorists knew all about the program anyway. Where is the slightest shred of proof that AQ knew how extensive it was and how much cooperation the US had from Europe. Do terrorists generally suspect that banking transactions can be traced? Absolutely. But is it a lot easier to send money electronically than stuff cash into bags and send out curriers? Undoubtedly. Did terrorists think they could dream up sophisticated transaction schemes that would escape detection, especially if they thought they were avoiding US detection efforts? Almost certainly.

Finally, would anyone have been surprised if the story had been that the US had sought widespread access to European banking transactions and the Europeans has said no?

lurker

The SWIFT program did help capture a few terrorists. And this forces the terrorists to seek other alternate routes. Which makes it easier to find them.

Now that the SWIFT program is dead, the terrorists and their financiers will go back to using SWIFT to their hearts' desire.

lurker

Patterico says no, not all of the terrorists knew about the SWIFT program.

Carol Herman

Yup. Terrorists adapt to the world of laptops. Etc. As a matter of fact, as the IDF entered gaza, hundreds of sites, mainly Israeli, were hacked. By 6 "hackees" from Morocco. They attack were you'd least expect it.

At least if you were rational. And, recognized a war going on outside your window.

On the other hand, while was the NY Times did was WRONG; it was also a mistake.

Let me explain. In business parlance, a "mistake" is thinking an Edsel will sell. And, there are plenty of yes-men managers sitting around, spending lots of time in meetings and memo writing, agreeing with you.

Meanwhile, from where I sit, the call made by the NY Times to have a special prosecutor for disclosing Plame was a pussy for the CIA; has backfired.

Of course, if you want to measure it against how many places a leftist can get into; why stop at Ambassador Munchausen? The left's given us the Madonna of Crawford, too. And, they're not even religious. But there ya go. Search the ditch, and ya find cindy.

Yes, it matters!

But while people are wondering if this was a great career move for Bill Keller, I think not.

I think that at the NY Times, (where I used to love their FOOD section; and people who wrote for them became heroes of mine); alas, now, all they can do is a primer on cannibalism. Gather up a few Aspen leaves that have fallen. Wet your newspaper. And, ignite. If the flesh is not done, does it matter?

It's almost every day, now, you can point to headlines of people who STAR(red) only to be discarded. And, you can pick your headline. Are you sure Star Jones burnt her own bridge? Or Barbara Wa-Wa wasn't really watching the ex-fat girl's back.

Judith Miller was a hero-ette at the Times. As long as she cooled in jail. But that disappeared in a hurry. Even though, when Judith got out of jail, pinch drove up in his limo to give her a ride. (And, her walking papers.)

I'm not sure most Americans are paying attention. At least not enough to start a whole new code for journalists; forbidding them to publish stuff. Because if you leave it to the devils in congress, by the time the law is finished being written, all "forbidding stuff" will be designed to stop bloggers.

And, that's about as far as I can throw them, all.

While I think Bill Keller will most likely get fired. Because he broke the cardinal rule. He makes pinch look worse than an idiot; he makes him look like a treasonous nitwit. That can really cost ya, ya job ya know?

MayBee

The Treasury department would have been able to monitor, by SWIFT activity, whether terrorists had caught on to the monitoring of them. Unless we're going to imagine the Treasury Department begging the NYTs not to print was some way to set up a slam on them when they inevitably did (Rovian!), the smart thing to assume is that they believed terrorists hadn't yet heard of it. Which makes it secret enough.

This whole argument (they knew we were tracking them!) makes no sense to me anyway. We've said we would go after them by any means necessary. So that seems to provide cover for just about anything the NYTs wants to print. They could print which groups CIA agents have infiltrated (without warrants, I'm sure) and explain that the terrorists surely knew we were trying to infiltrate their organization.

Carol Herman

Talking about the European Bank-sters, it's worth mentioning that a dip in the Euro was a costly miscalculation for those holding that currency. For those holding anything there, but gold.

I don't think the Europeans are our friends. And, since the fires started, when Renaults stopped at traffic lights; all over france ... there's been a disconnect between the subjects and their rulers.

Plus, everybody knows if money talks, in the European aristocracy it practically S-H-O-U-T-S out loud. Jiminy cricket.

I'd also venture to guess that if you put detectives on the trail, you'd find the spill to the NY Times quite late in all the transactions. Because there are bank managers who call the Saudis if there's the slightest pressure on the dollar. They get first class treatment 24/7. It's not news to them to share this among the banking elite.

On the other hand, once blown by the NY Times; where new-new things will go into effect ... You're still talking about the benefits of Kosher. Versus dirty. All dirty money has a middle-man operation attached to it; where the top is skimmed.

In france? Ah, there Chirac himself has had his tailor cut him special pockets in his pairs of pants. (Sandy Berg(l)er used the same tailor. You can even stuff your sox and underwear with paper, too. And,it doesn't register when you walk. No "ka-ching."

Anyway, the cat's out of the bag.

And, from the looks of things there's not much of a rallying around the flag, boys, for the NY Times. The story's also being kicked around.

I'd bet if the NY Times was named the Titanic, by now you'd know the ship was listing.

SteveMG

I recall reading that one of the terrorists who was involved in the first WTC bombing in the 1990s actually returned to the truck rental company in an attempt to get the deposit back on the truck used in the bombing.

Not so, er, swift.

Okay, anecdotal evidence.

But it does seem to me that the terrorists (using that term loosely) are, like any organization, comprised of some very smart and some very dumb folks. And that much of our success emanates from catching the dumb ones who then lead us to the smart ones.

And that this revelation will just make it harder for us to catch those dumb ones.

Meaning the smart ones will be able to continue with their plans.

SMG

Twok

When will American's finally realize that there is an active fifth column in America, that is on the terrorist's side?

The NYT has proven this.

Joe P.

"'We were surprised it took them so long,' said one senior intelligence official.'

Exactly: how does anyone know what the terrorists know and don't know? According to the Zarqawi document, the terrorists thought we needed assistance in seeing Iran as a threat. That's why you protect everything. The NYT exists within a fantasy bubble. 'No telling what they are going to do next.

The NYT has established itself as a reliable source for terrorists. "Rove" is probably thinking about this fact. And Counter-Intelligence, Homeland, and Nat. security, et al, probably are, too. It'd perhaps be nice to see someone put the sting on the NYT by means of a fake Islamofascist. The NYT can easily be seen as collaborating with the enemy. Let's see what they do with the fake Islamofascist. Just a pleasant thought.

topsecretk9

Sorry can't resist...

The theme, as articulated by Dan Froomkin, the Boston Globe, Glenn Greenwald, the MahaBlog, MimiKatz of The Next Hurrah, and Jon Henke of QandO

You mean TownHouse???

Anonymous Liberal

If I'm following it correctly, Farrell's argument is essentially this:

-Although terrorists and European governments were likely aware of what was going on, the European population was largely ignorant.

-Now that the program has been spot-lighted, it will piss of the Europeans and create political pressure to stop the program.

-if this political pressure results in termination of the program, our ability to track terrorists will be diminished.

If Farrell is right and this is indeed how events play themselves out, I can see a reasonable case for being critical of the Times (and other publications).

But merely highlighting information that is already in the public domain is hardly "treasonous" and Times-bashers need to chill.

deagle

Creeps...for want of a better (profane) word. I am enraged by the NY Time, LA Times, WS Journel's outing of this information. Obviously, the first attack will be from our liberal so-sophisticated liberals in Europe. Now we have lawsuits starting because of this... Just how dense do we have to be anyway.

Pisistratus

Well alrighty then. I stand corrected.

Neo

Violated the law, which law.

When the French spy on Apple Computer salesmen, whose law are they breaking ? What about in France ?

The whole point of spying is that you don't go by the rules of your adversary.

Is it legal when a CIA operation violates no US laws but does violate a foreign law ?

For the the CIA, the goal is just not to do it any more excessively than necessary.

JM Hanes

I think it's worth revisting Secretary Snow here:

You have defended your decision to compromise this program by asserting that "terror financiers know" our methods for tracking their funds and have already moved to other methods to send money. The fact that your editors believe themselves to be qualified to assess how terrorists are moving money betrays a breathtaking arrogance and a deep misunderstanding of this program and how it works.
Bill Keller is not the only one this blast describes.

topsecretk9

-But merely highlighting information that is already in the public domain is hardly "treasonous" and Times-bashers need to chill.--

Sorry to belabor this point, but...


NYT's in October and December of 2003:

A New York Times editorial in October called the revelation of Ms. Plame's identity "an egregious abuse of power" tantamount to "the disclosure of troop movements in wartime."On New Year's Eve 2003, another Times editorial cheered the Justice Department's decision to appoint Patrick Fitzgerald as special prosecutor: "The Right Thing, at Last," read the headline."

the NYT's today:

resemblance to security breaches, like disclosure of troop locations, that would clearly compromise the immediate safety of specific individuals.


Now, bashing aside...but sorry if I and others are not solid on the NYT's reasoning powers...that is not to compare apples to oranges...but a real question emerges here...

how is the NYT's able to divine the Plame leak tantamount to disclosures of troop locations in wartime PRIOR to a Special Prosecutor being appointed and NO consultation with the ones with knowledge of real damage (including the ultimate SP) YET with clear consultation and appeal from the Administration and congress they just don't get what all the fuss is about because it IS THEIR ***BELIEF*** it doesn't...


Lying then? or Now?...or excuse me if I see this retarded pretzel reasoning always leading to the same ENDS.

JM Hanes

Jiminy Cricket! Alrighty then. :)

jerry

WHERE IS KIM? I JUST DID A JUSTONEMINUTE SEARCH AND HIS LAST POST WAS ON JUNE 6, 10AM:

"now new nukes"

talking about wind farms and alternative energy sources, quite interesting actually, he sounded like a scientist.

TM, any news or insight?

topsecretk9

Kim has me posting with vigor and regularity at Larry C. Johnson's place....

boris

merely highlighting information that is already in the public domain

Suppose I disclose that a national secret is printed on a book somewhere in that public library.

Now suppose I point out which book, which page and "highlight" the paragraph.

topsecretk9

--has been = has me---

topsecretk9

---Now suppose I point out which book, which page and "highlight" the paragraph.---


Boris, I hate to say this ...but it is equal to Who's Who...sans the damage though ::grin::

topsecretk9

KM said it, and you'll find it Here... link fix...thank me later KM...::wink::

Wilson's a liar

So, European government don't know about this program, but terrorists living in caves and tents in Pakistan do?

What's wrong with this picture??

danking70

"I would be thilled to read..."

THILLED???

You got Clarice over there ghost writing???

LOL!

Damn! And right up there too in the bright lights of Instapundit...

http://instapundit.com/archives/031153.php

Now I'm just a little disappointed because I was pretty sure that without your rightful mockery of the NY Times position that they would have written that editorial.

I'd say 70/30.

Alas, who knows what the odds are now?

clarice

*thwack* danking--spell check wrecks the creative flow......And Tom did have a great riff going there.

topsecretk9

Excellent point...shall I???

So, European government don't know about this program, but terrorists living in caves and tents in Pakistan do?

What's wrong with this picture??

and I'll add the European public is totally in the dark but terrorists in caves know about this!!! What nuanced message are we sending the Europeans? That they are dumb? Call Kerry.

TC@LeatherPenguin

I'm sorry, but when I hear the NYT defenders use the "it was publcly available info, anyway" excuse I just gotta shake my head, because it proves how clueless these people are about how "good guys vs. bad guys" works in real life.

Look at the cops going after the mob. All the top capos take it as given their phones are tapped, but some dumb no-necked foot soldier always seems to get caught saying something that gets the Feds a lead that hooks the bigger fish. Some similar low level Achmed type cell leader could screw up, make the alarms go off, and lead to his money mullah.

Now that option's been blown to hell.

Mike's America

Privacy International has already filed complaints in 33 companies against what they call this "illegal" SWIFT program.

http://www.privacyinternational.org/article.shtml?cmd[347]=x-347-538985

So now, the damage done by the NY Times will be compounded perhaps by additional roadblocks to intelligence sharing based on privacy concerns.

Thanks NY Times!

danking70

I'm just teasing. And yes, a good riff. I didn't notice the mistake until I saw it framed at Instapundit.

I can now see TM's next post:

"Spellcheck's for ....."


lurker

Is this a human rights organization?

Boy, this is going to get really expensive. Now Europe will have nothing to do with us.

Carol Herman

Actually, data mining is so good, there's probably no privacy left if you own a credit card. Or write checks.

The world's also a changed place since the days of the Old Silk Road; though you wouldn't be able to tell this was so if you visited some of those far off places.

Today, Drudge has a headline about Google. They're getting so business efficient they've got everybody's credit card number; and home addresses.

Again, we only think we have privacy.

As to how the Europeans "feel" about terrorists, oddly enough many of them feel used and abused. Surprised, too, for instance, when their cities experience local grown terror. Horror was the last expected occurence. But shi'ite happens.

Yes, I'm truly sorry that the NY Times pooped like it did. Seems there's no one inside the building to help explain "fall out."

But it's not the same old left that set the tunes. Heck, some of them think it's possible to go back to the 60's. Yet Paul McCartney is now 64. Then, he just sung a song unable to contemple growing old.

Lileks, (Glenn Reynolds over at InstaPundit), has a whole riff going. Comparing how the NY Times would die before releasing the secret recipe of what's inside a can of coke. There's enough something wrong with their priorities, that you really can make fun of them.

Was this the anticipated result of publishing the SWIFT story on page one, above the fold? Ya know, Bill Keller raced out'a town. He wasn't hanging around for the compliments.

Dan RaTHer may actually cast a ghost of a figure in New York's eateries ... Because Bill Keller wasn't clueless to take off. Cutting and running means a lot to those on the left. An outgrowth of wearing Nike's, I guess? Even as work shoes.

As to the turds hidden in the mountains of stinky stans and desserts, there's something about LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION that will also cut into their strides. Hardly likely (except for the electronic toys and generators), that they're going to reach a subsistance level in our 21st Century culture.

Not sure, either, if desperate terrorists, who've been facing pay cuts, are all that worried about financial oversight. Soon the poppies will be in bloom. And, to market, to market, will go the persian carpeteers.

One way or another the money, printed in DC, comes home. Eventually. There's gotta be another way to deal with terrorists. (Who tend to visit mosques, a lot.) So it's not as if you don't know what rock you can pick up to find a few under, now is there? That. And, cab drivers in New York.

lurker

House Resolution and Hugh ain't happy. Check Mac Ranger's site.

lurker

"Today, Drudge has a headline about Google. They're getting so business efficient they've got everybody's credit card number; and home addresses."

So...where's the decry over Google? Will NYT publish a story about Google????

Jim Treacher
1. Is it true that the WSJ ran the same story re: SWIFT on its own front page on the same day that the NYT did? Hint: Yes.

2. Why doesn't anyone castigate the WSJ? Hint: Well, I'd rather you explain it.

3. A story can only be broken once, Pis.

Anonymous Liberal

and I'll add the European public is totally in the dark but terrorists in caves know about this!!!

This is a nuanced point, so try to stay with me. Terrorists don't care about the specifics of any program or the legalities of it. They already know that Western governments are trying to find them by following money trails, and that's all they care about. So this revelation likely will not affect their behavior.

The U.S. and European public also know that their governments are tracking money trails in search of terrorists (Bush himself has said so on countless occasions).

But what the European public did not know, despite the fact that it was basically an open secret, was that these programs potentially violate European law. They find that disturbing for the same reason many Americans find the NSA program disturbing, because they believe in the importance of the rule of law.

As a result, while the story like will not affect terrorist behavior, it might cause a public outcry in Europe, leading to political pressure to either stop the program or change the law to make it legal (the same debate we're having here regarding the NSA program). Got that.

It's not about terrorists and the general public having a different base knowledge. It's about them caring about different things.

danking70

Great idea AL! Let's have an open debate on exactly how we're going to get the terrorists.

They won't have a clue...

Will you draw the map or Geraldo?

topsecretk9

Speculation, unconfirmed but...

GAZA (Reuters) - A spokesman for gunmen in the Gaza Strip said they had fired a rocket tipped with a chemical warhead at Israel early on Thursday.

The Israeli army had no immediate comment on the claim by the spokesman from the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, an armed wing of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah movement.

The group had recently claimed to possess about 20 biological warheads for the makeshift rockets commonly fired from Gaza at Israeli towns. This was the first time the group had claimed firing such a rocket.

"The al-Aqsa Brigades have fired one rocket with a chemical warhead" at southern Israel, Abu Qusai, a spokesman for the group, said in Gaza.


An Israeli military spokeswoman said the army had not detected that any such rocket was fired, nor was there any report of such a weapon hitting Israel.

the left --- there is NO terrorist problem, there is no GWAOT

bastards....

clarice

First draft proposed Constitutional Amendment:

There shall be established a Fourth Branch of the Federal Government, hereinafter known as The Press Lords, chosen by an election of the People of the various states. The Press Lords shall be made the managing editors of the New York Times, Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times and provided with munificent salaries and perquisites suitable to their high office (though not to exceed by more than 10% the benefits paid to the Chairman of the NYT , a position selected as we all know through the merit system which his paper favors.)
The powers of The Press Lords shall be unlimited and exceed all the other three branches of government put together. In particular, they shall have the sole power to establish what constitutes the public interest , to classify and declassify material, to determine which elected officials are fit to serve and which may be delegitimized and ignored, as well as which wars may be fought and how. This enumeration of powers is not meant to be exclusive. They are free to expand their powers as they choose.However vast their powers are, they nevertheless remain free or all liability for any errors of judgement they may make.
No appeal from the decisions of the Press Lords shall be permitted. They shall be the last word on everything.
Press Lords shall serve lifetime appointments and may not be removed, impeached, tried for crimes or otherwise subject to the laws of God,man or common sense.

topsecretk9

just curious...but how did small time Hamas get WMD but there WAS NO WAY for a Dictator of an entire country -- who sent money to support suicide bombers of the same group--- to have it????


Inquiring minds want to know...

clarice

Well, ts, I do believe some Iraqi WMDs were sent to Syria and some of those were buried in the Bekka Valley, but I think tonight's claim was a fantasy.

Syl

This is a great post, TM. So many are totally missing the point.

I think we're also missing the point when we use the generic term 'terrorist' and talk about those 'living in caves'.

As if the workerbees are the only ones transferring money.

Institutional transfers here, not individual. Think organizations, charities, mosques, ngo's, consortiums of various sorts, front companies, etc., who still thought money was being laundered by going from point A to point Q through a dozen entities and several countries.

Entities that we weren't 'arresting' or otherwise cluing in to the fact that yes, we were following them.

Because we wanted to watch the flow--not dry it up. In fact the 9/11 commission said the very same thing. It's not especially in our interest to dry up the entire flow of moneys. We want some moving through the system so we can keep an eye on who's who and what the networks are.

AFAIC, this is a disaster the New York Times has wrought on our intelligence capabilities.

It has little to do with achmed sending his spare cash to another jihadi so using the excuse that achmed already knew is POINTLESS.

tom scott

Perhaps I'm not giving this the minute-to-minute attention that I should but I find the following difficult to reconcile.

Well, if Times Executive Editor Bill Keller is reliable, the Administration gave only a "half-hearted" push to the notion that publication by the Times would prompt the terrorists to change tactics.
And this from the LAT.
Department officials spent 90 minutes Thursday meeting with the newspaper’s reporters, stressing the legality of the program and urging the paper to not publish a story on the program, McManus said in a telephone interview.
“They were quite vigorous, they were quite energetic. They made a very strong case,” he said.

Why would the attempts to dissuade the NYT be "half-hearted" while the attempts to dissuade the LAT would be "vigorous and energetic?

Syl

tom scott

Are you seriously asking or are you being sarcastic?

Bill Keller believes that terrorists already know so it doesn't matter. The main concern with blowing this program is not that the terrorists will change tactics, but that the program will have to end, thus drying up any knowledge we gain about terrorist front organizations.

Do you think a representative of the govt. is going to actually tell Keller, who would probably print it, that now the terrorists can go back to using the international banking system just like before?

topsecretk9

Syl...

stop. I knew they said "freeze" the money on 9=12 what it meant...this was the same day that Nation editor almost puked because her daughter asked if she could put an American Flag in the window because she felt patriot


NYT's? How many times have you or your reporters been to Walter Reed?

Syl

Keller hasn't a clue what's going on and won't listen. His mind was made up and that was that.

Again, the portion of Snow's letter that JMHanes posted above:

You have defended your decision to compromise this program by asserting that "terror financiers know" our methods for tracking their funds and have already moved to other methods to send money. The fact that your editors believe themselves to be qualified to assess how terrorists are moving money betrays a breathtaking arrogance and a deep misunderstanding of this program and how it works.

Europeans and others, not just Americans, are going to die because Keller is a stupid jerk with an agenda who decided terrorists already know so no problem. He refused to think through the fallout from the disclosure.

And the rights groups are already filing lawsuits!

topsecretk9

--Why would the attempts to dissuade the NYT be "half-hearted" while the attempts to dissuade the LAT would be "vigorous and energetic?---

And yet none worked...Robert Novak must be snickering in Patrick Fitzgeralds face right about now, no?

danking70

Man TS9, that's a great point to compare and contrast.

I'm sure Harlow was "vigorous and energetic" with Novak.

Syl

AL

I detect a bit of, well it's really okay to have revealed this information because, well, terrorists knew it anyway, but, well, if the program has to stop that wouldn't be good, but well, we were breaking European law so, well, it's okay for the NY Times to expose that even though we weren't breaking American law.

LET THE EUROPEANS EXPOSE THE DAMN PROGRAM THEMSELVES THEN, not the New York Times.

topsecretk9

You have defended your decision to compromise this program by asserting that "terror financiers know" our methods for tracking their funds and have already moved to other methods to send money.

I keep hanging on Plame...but I could give a rats ass about Plame

It is the NYT's bankrupt reasoning...they can't claim to know shit ...not about Plame disclosure being tantamount to troop movement to justifying this or NSA does not rise to that...THEY DON'T KNOW and since they struck the pose in PLAME as being tantamount to ***treason*** ...they DON'T GET TO change the playing field...sorry Howie...Homie don't play that way...

If the reasoning sucked once...it does again...

Syl

Amen

topsecretk9

Dank


Wilson and Corn and Josh Marshall and Jeff and who am I leaving out? called repeatedly Novak (Wilson specifically...) a "Douche Bag" an animal...for not heeding the CIA's dissuasion...dissuasion that amounted to a CALL BACK with a probably "shouldn't use her name"


Tsntamount to troop movements....who the crap was lying to the left?


danking70

So Harlow spent how many minutes trying to convince Novak not to disclose Plame's name?

This is becoming beyond farcical.

I'm telling you TM. The NY Times would have printed that editorial.

Soylent Red

Syl nails it. The degree of how bad the NYT screwed us almost boggles the imagination. If people really understood what exactly has been wrought, there'd be crowds with torches and pitchforks descending on Keller's house.

These aren't bank accounts for Abdul Q. Carbomber. These are series of wire transfers connecting dots. The first dot and the last dot are the most important, but all the dots in between are pretty important too.

Think along the lines of: diamonds being sold in Antwerp, resulting cash going through Switzerland to Sudan, subsequently donated to an Islamic relief organization who funds Waziri madrassas, who purchase humanitarian supplies (or RPGs, whatever) which are shipped from Ukraine by an Iranian import/export company and transported overland from port by a Paki charter truck company.

All those money transactions go into and out of banks, often big multinational banks (MNBs), who do an ungodly amount of lending for IMF/World Bank development work, right in the places where terrorists come from. So there is either a local branch or end user somewhere in proximity to deep indian country. The key here is, most MNBs are American or European (there's some in Asia). Tapping the European system gives us access to a good portion of that which isn't handled through U.S. institutions.

Now it's all balls up.

We've progressed past tar and feathers. At what point can we resort to ropes and trees?

danking70

Abdul Q. Carbomber... (snicker)

Gonna have to steal that one.

tom scott

Syl: No, I wasn't being sarcastic. I have difficulty reconciling why the administration would send negotiators to the NYT and LAT with two different approaches. I was attempting to say, without calling Keller a liar, that I'd bet the people he talked to were just as adamant as were the LAT negotiators. Keller was downplaying their arguments in order to justify his unjustifiable decision.

Soylent Red

Oh. And while we're on the subject of MNBs and European law...

Ever wonder why places like Switzerland, Leichtenstein, and Monaco are so popular for covert bank accounts?

Because EU and country specific laws in Europe don't completely protect privacy of transactions. Particularly when accounts are tagged as part of a criminal conspiracy. So there are laws in place that dictate how and why bank transactions can be monitored. Interpol has been doing it to fight child pornography, and IIRC, we did it in the 1970s to combat heroin smuggling.

So Privacy Watch can bitch all they want. They'll never win.

clarice

tom, Keller was hearing it as he chose to.

I really hope that the outrage we feel is shared by enough people who like me will contact advertisers and stockholders to put more pressure on the NYTs. I hope the paper is losing lots of subscribers. I hope they finally get the low reputation they have for too long deserved but escaped.

topsecretk9

-- These are series of wire transfers connecting dots. ---


The dots..zI am loathe to think of the preening 9-11 commission..

---Syl: No, I wasn't being sarcastic. I have difficulty reconciling why the administration would send negotiators to the NYT and LAT with two different approaches.--

I am so sick of brothahs disingenuous on the way it went down...they both got the warning and now like bravado's they are both blaming each other r for HAVING to GTP.

topsecretk9

-- These are series of wire transfers connecting dots. ---


The dots..zI am loathe to think of the preening 9-11 commission..

---Syl: No, I wasn't being sarcastic. I have difficulty reconciling why the administration would send negotiators to the NYT and LAT with two different approaches.--

I am so sick of brothahs disingenuous on the way it went down...they both got the warning and now like bravado's they are both blaming each other r for HAVING to GTP.

Soylent Red

Clarice:

Keller heard it correctly, IMO. This is post facto CYA. What exactly would have been a compelling argument? The correct answer is "The President really wants you to publish this..."

As for outrage, as I said, I don't think most people get it. They focus on "Oh golly! The government is watching bank accounts." As if we really care about balances and amounts.

What this really was was following the bouncing ball. The only thing that mattered was where it hit and where it eventually stopped. But that's not how people will see it. They'll worry that Bushitler knows they're overdrawn.

All is not lost though. Nefarious money has been moved around for a long time via lots of routes. Knowing now what they probably didn't two weeks ago, that's what the terrorists will have to resort to if we can keep the Euros on board (and I think we can). Those less high tech methods are slower and draw the attention of garden variety law enforcement, which increases the odds of being caught.

I'm still all wound up for a good lynching though.

David Walser

I hate to start with an apology, but I read something today that was directly on point but I can't find the link! Sorry. In summary, a blogger/reporter wondered what damage could have been done if the terrorists already knew we were up to something, just not exactly what. So, the reporter called Tom Kean, the co-chair of the 911 Commission to ask what Kean had been told that convinced him the story should be spiked. Kean said that he was told that very few people inside the banking industry knew about SWIFT. Even fewer outside the banking industry would have even heard of SWIFT or have any idea what it did. Without that knowledge, it would be difficult to engage in large financial transactions outside the US without having those transactions processed -- at some point -- through SWIFT. (Transactions processed inside the US do not go through SWIFT.) With the information provided by the NYT, it will be fairly easy for the terrorists to engage in such transactions without going through SWIFT. That, in essence, is what convinced Kean the program should be protected. He knew he'd never heard of SWIFT and could readily believe few people who were not directly involved in processing such transactions would be aware of the organization, either. Wish I could find the link because the argument was presented much better than memory allows. Maybe one of you can find it.

Anyway, despite what AL, et al, want to believe, the experts in the field believe that the NYT has done material damage to this program -- in addition to the collateral damage done to our ability to work with other nations. Even if that were not the case, it would still have been wrong for Keller to do what he did. Suppose Keller honestly believes a local municipality is being too slow in issuing business licenses. Would it be okay for him to print up some licenses and issue them himself? Of course not. Not even if Keller were right that the city was being too slow with its licenses. He would be usurping authority that does not belong to him. Same here. He made a decision that rightly belongs to our elected representatives. The fact he may disagree with their decision does not entitle him to assume their proper authority.

MayBee

I wonder if Keller asked any of the European governments if he should publish it.

So am I hearing people properly? They are claiming the terrorists knew this, basically everyone knew about this program- but Congress didn't?

clarice

Soyleny, I cannot express how much I want the paper and Keller to suffer.

MayBee

David Walser- was that Byron York at NRO?

The AL argument doesn't make sense at heart anyway. Afterall, the terrorists know we are coming after them with everything we've got. Does that mean they know all of our intelligence programs?

ps. I want Keller to suffer. What a self-smug prick he seems to be. His explanatory letter even lost Jay Rosen.

David Walser

One more thing: If Bill Keller is going to substitute his judgment for that of the intelligence professionals he disagrees with, isn't it fair that we examine his record to determine just how good he is at making decisions? Not as an editor. I'm sure he know how to un-split an infinitive if need be. I'm asking about his record in making decisions about national security matters. Sure, he's never worked outside the news industry, so he doesn't have a real record to examine. But, he must have spouted off on related topics. What was the NYT's position on the invasion of Afghanistan? Weren't they among those who were sure we could not overcome the Brutal Afghan Winter? Didn't they claim that war would displace millions and cause hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths? How long after the invasion of Iraq was it before the NYT joined the chorus of those who said we were hopelessly bogged down and that it would take months and thousands of lives to take Bagdad? In short, on just about every major point, IIRC, wasn't the NYT wrong? So, what makes them think we should trust that they got it right this time? Maybe someone should come up with a score card that compares the NYT's (or Keller's) positions with those of the Bush Administration.

MayBee

I would be thilled to read a Times editorial explaining that, until they intervened, Bush was trampling European privacy laws merely to protect American lives.

You know, that was a particularly embarassing passage in Keller's smug explanation- that the editors especially realized the risk they were taking because they were in Washington and New York.

As if those were the only two cities on earth that have been terrorised. Indeed the program caught terrorists that had attacked and killed in other countries.

Yet he probably thinks *other* people can't think globally.

David Walser

No, MayBee, the article I read was not by Byron York at NRO. I came across the article by clicking on a link in some comment thread somewhere today. I'm not using the same computer so I can't check my history and my google search came up empty. Frustrating.

Joe P.

Right, Anonymous Liberal, you old nuancing nuancer, you: the terrorists know we are after them, therefore they know we know where they are. Thus they will and even must surrender, and without us even having to have meetings with the French - to obtain their nuancedly nuanced nuancing nuancing nuancing in nuanced nuancing aid in nuancing. I'm surprised Kerry hasn't thought of this, while Pelosi has, with her no plan plan, which is certainly nuanced, and doesn't even require that we surrender!

clarice

David W, I just read that article about an hour ago but can't recall where either. Maybe checking memeorandum will trigger your memory.
I've been checking Keller's other works but they are hidden behind Times Select. Since the World Socialists loved this piece, I assume it's paydirt.

Correspondent; The 40-Year War

Aaron

Uh, if SWIFT is the money transfer system and not the spy program, I think that in most countries a lot of people know about it. When I have to send my bank details to a foreign customer, I have to include a SWIFT address. (I work in Taiwan.)

So just about anyone who is in import/export knows that the SWIFT system is a way to send money.

I don't know if every terrorist knows it though.

David Walser

Right, Aaron, you knew that SWIFT is the way to send money. Did you know how long SWIFT maintains records of transactions and what information those records contain? Before the NYT's report, did you know that the US had access to those records? If you did, did you know there was a substantial time delay between when a transaction was completed and the US was given access to the record of the transaction? After the Times' disclosure, it should be relatively simple to design transactions that do not leave useful finger prints.

Or, to use a historical example, during WWII, the Japanese knew we were trying to listen to their radio transmissions. That's why they encrypted their messages. What they didn't know, shortly before the battle of Midway, we had broken their code -- which contributed in large part to the outcome of the battle. Now, would it have been okay for the press to have reported that we had broken the Japanese code, after all, they knew we were trying to listen to their radio broadcasts?

Another example, later in the war, a single Japanese radio operator broke radio silence to pass the word that Admiral Yamamoto was coming on an inspection tour. This single mistake cost Yamamoto his life. If, a day or two before, the American press had trumpeted our successes in gaining information from Japanese radio transmissions, do you think the Japanese radio operator would have been so careless? Even if the terrorists had the information about our program, the NYT's article will make them less likely to make a mistake that will lead to their capture. Either way, the NYT's actions have harmed us.

clarice

David W, This is the only online thing I've found about Kean and Swift.
http://www.americanthinker.com/articles.php?article_id=5616

Niters

David Walser

Found it!

ABC's Jack Tapper wrote the article. Here's the url (some day I'll learn how do a proper link):

http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/

Here's the money quote:

"I was told that very few financial houses in this country knew about it; it was not well known even by people in banking," Kean said. "The terrorists didn't know the financial transactions went through this one group. Treasury told me, this was a method of financial tracking that people didn't understand, that nobody knew this was how things were done. Top-notch people in the US didn't even know."

"The second thing is that it took a long time to get this program set up. SWIFT is not US-controlled; we had to persuade them to cooperate, convince them that this was so important to the war on terrorism. It was a great coup when all these other countries agreed to go along."

So for even those terrorists who might know of SWIFT, "the idea of the U.S. and CIA having a tap into it is something people would find impossible to believe."

Now, until AL and the others who claim there was no harm done can come up with something concrete to refute Kean's statements, let's give that argument a rest.

Patton

The left believes there is one and only one National security secret in Washington, and that was the job of Valerie Plame...that is the one and only secret that had to be protected in this war, no matter how many people her husband told.

Kate

Patton-it's amazing how the left keeps throwing out the triffling Plame case to counter the New York Time's treasonous behavior. Chris Matthews keeps making Val more and more secret with each passing day. And more and more important to our National Security, what a gal, Val.

Bob

David Wasler wrote:

"Or, to use a historical example, during WWII, the Japanese knew we were trying to listen to their radio transmissions. That's why they encrypted their messages. What they didn't know, shortly before the battle of Midway, we had broken their code -- which contributed in large part to the outcome of the battle. Now, would it have been okay for the press to have reported that we had broken the Japanese code, after all, they knew we were trying to listen to their radio broadcasts?"

Checkmate!

Brilliant analogy DW

I guess the only thing that the liberals can do now, is find a way to blame Bush for this.

TC@LeatherPenguin

tom scott:"I was attempting to say, without calling Keller a liar, that I'd bet the people he talked to were just as adamant as were the LAT negotiators. Keller was downplaying their arguments in order to justify his unjustifiable decision."

No, go ahead and call him a liar, because in an interview with Howie Kurtz from yesterday's WaPo:

“The main argument they made to me, extensively and at length, besides that the program is valuable and legitimate, was that there are a lot of banks that are very sensitive to public opinion, and if this sees the light of day, they may stop cooperating,” Keller said.

Dwilkers

Times-bashers need to chill.

Liberals need to stop defending the indefensible.

It, you know, reinforces what people already think, which is that you guys aren't serious about national security. Best to just shut up and let the Times defend themselves.

A good political strategy would be for Dems and Liberals to come out and scream to high heaven about what the Times just did. Instead, brilliantly, you guys are talking about nuance.

Then again...maybe Rove really does have a mind-ray.

TM Lutas

The mob is a special threat because the mob is too big to be taken down all at once. There is always a section you've missed that grows and replaces the portions that have been killed/jailed. Al Queda is the same way. So long as they believe that working in Iraq provides them a net benefit, they will send a replacement to reorganize AQ in Iraq.

Getting rid of Al Queda *is* a lot like getting rid of the mob. You get rid of organized crime by taking out their leadership and establishing a cycle where the new leadership is taken out before they get to the competence/effectiveness level of the old leadership. Repeat the cycle until the leadership is always so new, so inexperienced, that they can no longer command the loyalty of their subordinates and the organization breaks apart into digestible smaller organizations that can be nabbed all at once, leaving no method of organized replacement.

Bill Keller provided an educational primer so that the patient work of creating an AQ leadership so uneducated, stupid, and ineffective that nobody will follow them has been set back. Thanks Bill!

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