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June 26, 2006



I mean Portfolio's first edition isn't set until April 2007, almost a year from now..


--Guess FOX didn't get the memo on Cooper since today's intro was --

Was he on Fox today?


>According to your liberal friend there was no downside (in Bill Keller's mind) against publishing.


Now you are putting words in his mouth. Why? I couldn't quite figure out what the rest of your point was. Sorry.

Other Tom

"Hey, if nothing else the Times story seems to have forced the administration to brief congress on the program. Oh wait, didn't they claim they'd been doing that all along?" Actually, no--they didn't. They said they had briefed certain members from both parties. They weren't required to brief anyone.

I suppose we're now going to get the stale hue-and-cry about the full panel not getting the briefings, along with the usual disdain for OPSEC or the need to keep secret programs, y'know, secret.

Yeah, no sense cluing in the ranking member of the committee for the other party.


Our daily newspaper editorial today: Sign of the (NY) Times.

The Times presumes it is safe — accountable to no one but itself. It is wrong. It is accountable in the court of public opinion, to approbation by other newspapers, to the scorn of its readers, to the recoil from its advertisers, and to dumping by its stockholders. Better than prosecution is for the press around the country to editorially castigate the Times for its misjudgment, for the public to register its dissatisfaction through letters, and for others to respond as they see fit.

Carol Herman

Well, not so fast there disclaiming benefits to the war on drugs. It's got its up-side, as well as its down-side.

Societies, (which in Common Sense, by Thomas Paine), is described as "ALL GOOD." Paine then says that governments are actuall all bad. Because they're given the unpleasant job of ruling against people's natures.

As to what's in Bill Keller's mind, the truth is I do not know. Nor do people who say they speak for liberals truly know what possessed him to publish. But I'd guess he was unaware of a downside.

And, it's possible that this could be the thing that gets him fired from his job? Since that would be the insiders feeding on each other.

It does seem as if the donks are in trouble. And, it does seem, just as Joe Lieberman is reaching towards an independent life-rope; to see that IF there's dissention in the ranks at the NY Times, then, maybe Keller's footing is not on solid ground? Why else would he volunteer to vacation? If everyone was rallying round you tend not to race away from your troops. But I can only guess. Since what's in other people's minds is open to interpretation; including mind-readers. Of which I am not.

Everyone's welcome to watch what they think will unfold. I'm guessing against action from the White House. (Because Karl Rove and the President are much too nice to disturb the credentialing arrangements now in play.) It's not their style.

As to congress-critters, who would come out LOUD for prosecution, here; I think they don't see the public all that upset. And, what Conservatives want doesn't move congress-critters at all.

Maybe, that's what Bill keller was weighing when he green lighted the story?

I also doubt that the banking program was much of a secret. Since, internally, at any bank shoving papers towards the Feds would learn; there'd be a big Christmas Bonus from the Suadis, if they were clued into overseeing problems. Calls like this are made all the time. (It didn't happen only once, to Martha Stewart. IT HAPPENS ALL OF THE TIME!) Never making splashing headlines.

As to the War on Terror, we haven't yet come to the point of no return; where Americans get angry enough to take the laws into their own hands.

Let me help you out in drawing a picture to what I just said. Vigilante groups have been known to prosper during periods of turmoil, when the sheriffs in town sided with the bad guys. Right now, that's what may be happening in Iraq? At least that's where I saw this approach, explained.

Do arabs get feedback, here?

If I didn't see one small business having to shut its doors, I wouldn't know a thing. But I did watch an arab family suffer from lack of business. And, it wasn't the merchandise in the store that caused the short-fall in sales. People and their pocketbooks speak loudly.

Which is why Clarice's comment; that she'd just like to be at an internal board meeting at the NY Times, to watch the faces around the table discovering their own problems with their image. No. I don't expect the NY Times to take advantage of our curiosity by spilling the beans.

And, as Dan RaTHer got his exit. And, Matt Cooper just got his exit. It seems a lot of stuff still happens under the radar.

As to the war on drugs, at least there's something there that stops the worst elements of society from getting a free ride.

Better solutions? You're kidding me, right? Because, hands off, is not a better solution!

Other Tom

"Classified? Says who?" Says me. The fact that an activity has been proposed in the past (as indeed it was--by the New York Times in 2001) is utterly irrelevant to the question whether the activity, once undertaken, is classified. The fact that Richard Armitage told Bob Woodward that Valerie Plame worked at the CIA didn't change her "classified" status, did it? Fitzgerald doesn't seem to think so. It appears that Davebo is entirely ignorant of the classification of information.

The Unbeliever

Yeah, no sense cluing in the ranking member of the committee for the other party.

Especially since they're terminally incapable of being clued in.

Fine, fine, that was a cheap (though deserved) shot. The real answer is, not cluing in a single member is not the same as failing to brief Congress. Briefings were demonstrably occurring, contrary to what you claimed.


Isn't it amazing the number of inconsequential people who are concerned abot their international telephone calls and financial dealings being monitored? Unless they are trafficking in used Birkenstocks how does this affect them.
There is much shroud waving concerning the loss of rights which,for most people,will never be exercised,so on the behalf of whom are these people outraged,who is winding up the peasants to revolt over such a capitalist privilege?



Gonna answer the question or not? You made the claim that TM's record includes lying and not telling the truth. Care to specifically back that up?


"Classified? Says who?" Says me. The fact that an activity has been proposed in the past (as indeed it was--by the New York Times in 2001) is utterly irrelevant to the question whether the activity, once undertaken, is classified. The fact that Richard Armitage told Bob Woodward that Valerie Plame worked at the CIA didn't change her "classified" status, did it? Fitzgerald doesn't seem to think so. It appears that Davebo is entirely ignorant of the classification of information."

Another scenario would be that the general information, such as reported in 2001, may be unclassified but the details are classified.

Wilson's a liar

The answer lies in a careful reading of the Times' bookend editorials in September 2001 and June 2006 concerning tracking of terrorists' financing. It's obvious that the Times' concern is not with the intent of the program, of which it approved in 2001, or even with the results, which it freely noted in its recent article; but simply that the program was not specifically authorized by Congress or blessed by a court. Therefore, in its view, we are at the mercy of a suspect Administration's declaration to a small number of Congressmen that the program is legal and being properly administered. And therefore, in Timesworld, the press has every right to make a presumption that the program is NOT legal, and therefore it is their duty to inform the American people about it.

This is quite a flawed view of both the necessities of war and of the ability of the courts and Congress to effectively oversee the conduct of war and "protect" us against an Executive that might abuse its power. It is also a very flawed view of the existing powers of government in intelligence gathering, particularly in the electronic age. In a perfect world, it would be wonderful to be able to have an open debate about the merits and details of a program to track terrorist funds around the world, and a specific law approved by Congress that says "go do this." But this is not a perfect world.

As I said earllier, it would be to the Times' advantage to just come clean and state its views about the proper roles of the three branches of government and its standards for judging whether a clandestine program deserved to be revealed. Instead we get pusillanimous crap about "the public interest" which just fans the fires on the right. Bill Keller dug this hole all by himself and jumped into it, ironically by being just as obtuse about his own motives and biases as he so often accuses the President of being. He has turned himself into a new dictator, it's hardly surprising that the peasants are staging a revolt!!!

Paul Zrimsek
Classified? Says who?

Says the New York Times:

Nearly 20 current and former government officials and industry executives discussed aspects of the Swift operation with The New York Times on condition of anonymity because the program remains classified.



Response to Dean Baquet's open letter

So now NYT, LATimes, and probably WAPO are having to defend their publications. So far, to date, they have been woefully unsuccessful in their defense.

Good thing that many of these bloggers, such as Patterico, will not let them get away with it this time.


"Bill Keller dug this hole all by himself and jumped into it, ironically by being just as obtuse about his own motives and biases as he so often accuses the President of being. He has turned himself into a new dictator, it's hardly surprising that the peasants are staging a revolt!!!"

We're focusing too much on Bill Keller AND forgetting about the others. Let's make sure that Eric Lichtblau, Risen, Cooper (soon to be gone but well-deserved), Doyle McManus, Baquet, Pinch, and others are in the same hole with Bill Keller.


I think several posters mentioned Eastman and here is his recent testimony

"Eastman contended that the First Amendment's Freedom of Press clause does not provide the institutional media a special exemption from the Espionage Act and other laws, and that enforcement of those laws is particularly important in the present assymetrical war against international terrorist organizations. A copy of his prepared testimony is available here."


Note that the Eastman testimony was on May 26, 2006 and NYT covered it.

Wilson's a liar

Keller makes the decision to publish, not his reporters. They may be the ones suborning espionage by the leakers, but I couldn't care less if anyone leaks as long as nobody publishes it! This is all on the editors IMO. The reporters are just doing their jobs. Baquet is especially vulnerable because he didn't even tell his reporters to try to get some information about actual terrorists caught using information gathered through this program. At least the NYT reporters did that.

Both Baquet's and Keller's weak responses smack of guys who can dish it out but can't take it. Pretty thin stuff for the supposed leaders of two of the most important papers in the world.



Where exactly did I claim that Tom lied about anything?

Or do you equate "faux outrage" with lying?



Given the well documented mendacity of TM, I've gotta go with faux outrage.

But he's certainly welcome to make a case for ignorance.

"mendacity" - look it up. It means lying or not telling the truth.

Carol Herman

And, in other news ...

Star Jones just got fired from her show on ABC.

And, in Gaza, a bridge was blown up. And, Israel's moved back into the city. Sometimes "talk" just doesn't work.


I want to know where Jay Rockefellor fits into all this.

brenda taylor


Other Tom

"Yeah, no sense cluing in the ranking member of the committee for the other party." Where is it written that anyone in congress is entitled to be clued in? You want to get in the loop, try winning an election for a change.


Guess the New York Times, since it has such great powers to reveal the Nations secrets needs to be SCRUTINIZED the same as any political canidate.

So someone in government should LEAK all the Times corporate and all Times employees TAX RETURNS. Just like they would want any candidate for office to do.

And of course the government should disclose all investigations of Times owners and employees, any survelance, wiretaps, any sealed court documents, divorces, testimonies, etc. etc. just as the NYT would want from any candidate who asked for such great trust to be placed in them.


Or do they want to just make their decisions in smoke filled back rooms in secret meetings away from public scrutiny?


Not a bad idea Patton. But let's extend it to perpetual audits of the owners, editors, and reporters. Every single year a major audit. Now that would be worth a few extra bucks to the IRS.


The leakers should be indicted for providing the classified information to
Al Queda naming the New York Times as an UNINDICTED CO-CONSPIRATOR

JM Hanes


Your comment Keller discounting the chilling effect of publicity on European cooperation:

"The notion of secure relationships should be a simple matter for a newspaper that gives confidentiality to sources who might otherwise be uncooperative, so the editors of the Times are either stupid or lying...."

This point deserves to be highlighted in red! When set in the context of the Times' own categorical defense of anonymity -- which includes allowing their own reporters to be jailed -- Keller's demurrer is not just disingenuous, it is corrupt.

JM Hanes



The most secretive administration in history? The NYTimes editorial board....

Tom Maguire

Geez, Daveboyo, don't lie about suggesting I was a liar - it sort of diminishes your claim to the moral high ground.

Anyway, Daveboyo, who got so tangled in his own snark that he forgot what "mendacity" meant until he provided an example, makes an interesting point (bracketed by several examples of his bad manners and stupidity).

The good point - he does provide a link to an article telling us that this program was old news to those in the know.

Too bad about the stupidity though. First, he thinks that because it is old news it is appropriate to ask "Classified? Says who?"

Let's do some vocabulary boosting for Daveboyo and exhort him to distinguish between "classified" and "secret".

Second dumb point - he wonders whether we (righties, and me specifically) are generating faux outrage or were truly ignorant of this program.

(I assume he knows that "faux" means "false" - is that a fair guess, Daveboyo?)

Well - if this program was so well known that an accusation of faux outrage made any sense at all, why didn't the Times cite these presentations in their original story, or in Bill Keller's letter? Or does Daveboyo think that the typical JOM reader (and author) are consistently better informed than the Times reporters on the stories chosen by the Times? Flattering, but unlikely.

For myself, I plead ignorance - I check the front page of the Times just about every day of the year; back issues of reports to the UN Security Council, not so much. My shameful secret is out.

Nice try, Daveboyo - you almost made a useful contribution. Too bad your default settings took over.

Feel free to provide a few examples of my mendacity, after you figure out what that word means and find a few. Thanks.



You people need to question everything your government tells you, and not just accept it on faith. The Times (and the Wall Street Journal, BTW) did us a favor.

No blind faith in government, and no blind faith in Times employees. How's that?

Barney Frank

I wouldn't mind the left so much if they really meant we should question the government, but they only question it when it is doing something constitutional and legitimate like defending the country or spying on our enemies.
When the IRS is prying people's lives open or the Federal government is confiscating one citizen's income to give to another we should all just button up and let them do their job.

Carol Herman

The NY Times is a public company. By law they're forced to divulge in their SEC filings, and their annual report, ALL outstanding lawsuits. And, stuff like that.

Since this news is buried in the small print. And, it's usually printed on tissue paper; most people only pay attention to the stock's price. And, if it's UP or DOWN for them.

HOWEVER, here's a tip. you can always request to get an annual report. You call up the company and ask for the INVESTMENT department. Even in companies that make it hard to reach people, this one line is usually open. And, easy to get. And, then you request to receive their latest SEC filing; and other information they have.

When this arrives, read it backwards. In other words, IF your an investor, and you're voting you'll see the things the board of director recommends you vote "against." But you can vote "for" or "abstain." (The trick, of course, is in the numbers, and no self-respecting CEO goes into this without first counting ALL his votes; knowing the stuff passes ...

But I've digressed. It happens that if you own ONE SHARE you can raise issues that appear on the ballot.

And, you can also search for this stuff, as it's buried in the paperwork. You just have to know how. (Like a teacher marking a batch of papers, after a while they get so good they just hone in on the errors.)

Starting at the back you'll see the lawsuits the company is fighting. And, the causes some stock holders want others to vote FOR.

So to say the NY Times is "secretive," is a misnomer.

To say that owning Class B shares, which is all that's available, publicky, gives you a voice in the company's affairs, is where you'd get to learn that you can't. Not even the big investors can vote on Class B shares.

Again, the whole idea of the stock market is to make money. And, to avoid losing same.

The other thing to notice is that there are bodies piling up on the left, now. With major players being cut from rosters.

I don't know why people automatically assume Bill Keller's job is safe. I rather doubt it. But you won't read about an opening in his position in the NY Times, UNTIL AFTER SOMEONE ELSE COMES ALONG AND FILLS IT.

Meanwhile, Fitzmas past was a bust.

And, Christmas future doesn't look full of bonus checks, either.

As to Jay Rockefeller needing to be clued in on banking details, I'd like to remind ya all, the Rockefellers ARE the Chase Manhattan Bank! And, at one time that was the central office for the GOP.

Candidates couldn't get elected without Rockefeller approval. Nixon went on his hands and knees to Nelson's house, way back in 1960. And, then, again, in 1968.

Though Barry Goldwater littered the landscape with Rockefeller's strangle hold on the GOP, back in 1964. Since then? If ya wonder why there are congress critters who don't seem to "get with the program" when it's stated clearly by members of the grass roots; it's that the Rockefellers are the closest thing to royalty this country has. Maybe, Mitt Romney will come along and make a dent?


Or going through the security gates at the airports.

Amazing how many still consider that the NSA warrantless terrorist surveillance program is illegal when it's legal.

Time to replace IRS with Fair Tax!

Tony Snow said this evening that they will not yank the press credentials from NYT and LAT. But Rick Moran points out that

"It’s an interesting idea. I believe that the Administration froze out Helen Thomas in the immediate aftermath of the invasion – not for publishing secrets but because she was so rabid in her criticism. They didn’t yank her press pass but both the press secretary and the President refused to acknowledge her at press conferences and briefings. Since Thomas is the “Dean” of the Washington press corp, this was a slight that did not go unnoticed."

They may do just that....ignore NYT, LAT, and WSJ.

Other than that, WH and Tony Snow may have something else up their sleeves.

Patterico, McCarthy, Lowry, et al, do not think prosecuting the newspapers is a good idea but to subponea them to out their sources of these leaks, then go after the leakers. Same as what many posters here have been saying.


How Exposure Destroys National Security

Lots of technical gobblygook to many people but there are key points there, such as

"First off, you will never see classified systems shared with commercial users of the same functions."

"For example, when NASA has a mission running and their are people at Johnson in Texas and Kennedy in Florida and Goddard iin Maryland all working together, they have to communicate securely through private circuits owned by companies like AT&T which connect up to circuits that are run at each of the centers to the actual offices and computers and phones “on-line”. The new secure paradigm, without going into too much detail, are things like virtual private networks which run unseen over public open network assets."

"They could be equipment used to separate llegitimate government traffic through security systems which also audit and trace all data. The Federal government obsesses about auditing and recording information. The military is an enormous user of bandwidth, especially in times of war."

"What we have is this: a media story which made allegations which were all wrong (the end around FISA turned out to be using FISA for the first time to track down leads in the US from military surveillance of targets overseas) ending up in a court case exposing key information (like were all the nerve centers of internet traffic exist - thanks for painting a target on my community’s back). This is exposed by an ‘expert’ pontificating on how the systems really resemble something else, therefore it must be an espionage game. And that is how the damage is done."

Hard to follow but alot of what AJStrata says is correct.


lurker- you remind me in many ways of our dear larwyn.


Behold unbold!


Thanks! And I apologize for the boldness. I meant to bold the following 2 statements:

"they have to communicate securely through private circuits owned by companies like AT&T"

"The Federal government obsesses about auditing and recording information. The military is an enormous user of bandwidth, especially in times of war."

My apologies.


Davebo wants us to brief the ranking minority members of our intelligence committees who insist on leaking classified information to the NYT. {cue the Rocky music,who since his back surgery is unusually quiet,probobly because an indictment will be coming down shortly from Gonzales's office. } Davebo : tell your liberal dem friends to stop leaking-when that occurs maybe we will let them get in the loop.


A human rights group in London Tries to Block Program Giving Data to U.S.

brenda taylor



worried about an "MSM firestorm" if DOJ prosecutes the NYT??

what a laugh! W & Co have no eyebrows or body hair from the flamethrowers in the MSM whom have engaged in a 24/7 campaign of childish revenge since Kerry was soundly whupped

screw em...........


Barney Frank,
You are correct. The government knowing all of our financial data via the IRS or medical data via medicare/proposed single-payer healthcare bothers them not one whit.
Apparently those haven't slipped into the ever-amorphous "violating civil rights" category.

Bill Keller will keep his sources secret. He won't reveal what "agonized" him about his decision. He doesn't discuss how he will know he made the wrong choice, what it would take for him to believe he did, or what he will do about it if he did. He won't reveal his motives for publishing beyond the idea that he did it for the people.
Which is what the government says. Trusting him while not trusting the government seems to me that one is simply replacing one master with another. One accountable, elected master with a completely unaccountable, unelected one.

But hey, I've been saying for a while now that the left is not so enamored of democracy these days. That's why they love the civil rights argument so much.
If something is a civil right, it is right no matter what the majority believes. It all works together so beautifully.

JM Hanes


"I don't know why people automatically assume Bill Keller's job is safe."

Probably because they listened to Sulzberger's commencement address!


If this is the standard perhaps we should elect editors.


A translation for you. When Davebo says "well documented", it means "Something I just made up".

Carol Herman

I see. And, if they didn't listen to pinch's commencement address, they could always check the tea leaves in one of his empty cups.

Let me say this, again. There are left bodies coming loose from the mother ship. Matt Cooper lost his job at TIME; even though he's a famous witness for Fitzgerald (so his name gets to come up inside the courtroom, if the case against Libby gets to court). The judge has already said "Matt Cooper's own written statements rebuts his assertions. And, they're mutually exclusive. AND, HE LOSES HIS JOB!

Did pinch cover this in his commencement address? Or did he say when you've got an employer like him; no need to worry. You're secure for life.

Unless, you've just spent 85 days in "confinement" ... the hooze-gow, or whatever else you want to call JAIL. And, in a rush to show her support, Judith Miller got attacked by Maureen Dowd. AND, Jill Abramson. Some neat band of brothers over there, huh? Now Miller is also known as Ms. Run Amok.

What a friendly atmosphere must be bred on 42nd street. Or is it really whores in stilletos?

I really don't care.

But the headlines of the NY Times being roasted on page one will be gone, now that the Israelis are getting tough.

News comes. ANd, it goes in a pfft.

However, I think Bill Keller did something strange for an editor that green-lighted a story that seems to have caused concern, enough. He goes out of town? This covers the backs of the reporters whose names are on the byline? (Okay. Those names are for in-house, and resume use, only, I guess. They're not exactly famous people, yet.)

And, Bill Keller may have chosen to leave the office because he knows it's a snake pit. You don't think he could hide from phone calls while at work? He doesn't have a key to a bathroom where he goes in and locks the door? He scoots out-da-town, instead?

Meanwhile, nobody knows if pinch is running around with his moose head; dropping it off at desks, here and there.

And, if you think firings are noisy; how come Dan RaTHer departed C-BS without much commotion? And, Star Jones just got bumped off her show at ABC. I won't mention Connie Chung. Connie made a "splash" heading off her cancelled show. Not bad for a 60 year old. ANd, she's thinner than Mae West.

Thanks for the memories, indeed. Why could this be a donks' theme song?

What happens if in the connecticutt primary, Lieberman is cut loose and Lamont wins it?

What does it all mean when the normal people leave the theater.

I said Bill Keller could be fired.

He could also quit.

What would he be thinking about on this vacation of his, anyway? Nothin?


Het...since they asked DNI for a damage assessment...instead of prosecuting just sue the living daylights out of the NYT's instead for damages instead?

I know...


instead...did I say that? ::grin::


When the NYT and others jump up and down for the CIA Plame referral to be given it's due, I remember saying that the press should be careful what it wishes for, cause they might get it.

Now, the Plame precedent is about to repeat.

June 27, 2006 The Honorable John D. Negroponte Director of National Intelligence Washington, D.C. 20511

Dear Mr. Director:

Unauthorized disclosures of classified information continue to threaten our national security – exposing our sensitive intelligence sources and methods to our enemies. Numerous, recent unauthorized disclosures of sensitive intelligence programs have directly threatened important efforts in the war against terrorism. Whether the President’s Terrorist Surveillance Program or the Department of Treasury’s effort to track terrorist financing, we have been unable to persuade the media to act responsibly and protect the means by which we protect this nation.

To gain a better understanding of the damage caused by unauthorized disclosures of this type, I ask that you perform an assessment of the damage caused by the unauthorized disclosure of some of our most sensitive intelligence programs. While your assessment may range beyond the President’s Terrorist Surveillance Program and Treasury’s Terrorist Finance Tracking Program, I am particularly interested in the damage attributable to these two unauthorized disclosures.

Pat Roberts

Roberts simply wants the DNI to declare what damage has been done and then start a DOJ action (much the way the Plame referral was executed). Plame never had a "formal" damage assessment, but there pretty much had to be an informal assessment to complete the referral.


The letter is the weakest thing Roberts could do. He should call a hearing of the intel committee, send subpoenas to Keller, Risen et al. Bring Gonzales before the Committee and see if he is instituting a formal investigation and if not, why not.

If the government is reluctant to institute criminal proceedings against the paper, it can at least institute them against the leakers.

And if Gonzales indicates he feels the present laws are inadequate, a new law ought to be proposed.

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