Upper Left Coast

Thoughts on politics, faith, sports and other random topics from a red state sympathizer in indigo-blue Portland, Oregon.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Hugh Hewitt 1, NYT -4

This morning on his blog, Hugh Hewitt thoroughly dismantles the arguments by New York Times Editor Bill Keller over his paper's publication of information on the government's use of banking information to track terrorists. It's fairly long, but it's good to read the whole thing in order to see the arrogance and misleading arguments that Keller uses to defend the indefensible.

As Hewitt says at one point about Keller's argument that "while it is too early to tell, the initial signs are that our article is not generating a banker backlash against the program" (emphasis mine):
He doesn't know how the financial community will react, but he can be assured that the terrorist network is working hard on figuring out new ways to transfer money now that they know with certainty and particularity how we were tracing the old transfers. Further, allies across the globe must now know that no matter how legal the level of cooperation extended us in our hunt for terrorists, there is no guarantee of secrecy because the New York Times will publish anything and everything they can discover under the standard articulated here.
It's too bad that Mr. Keller refuses to submit to an interview with Hewitt, as any claim of objectivity would be thrown out the window and he would be revealed for the biased hack he is. But then, he knows that. It's why he won't answer direct questions about it, while holding the media above the law.

Keller concludes:
I can appreciate that other conscientious people could have gone through the process I've outlined above and come to a different conclusion. But nobody should think that we made this decision casually, with any animus toward the current Administration, or without fully weighing the issues.
And Hewitt responds:
I don't believe him, and there is no reason to believe him. The paper has been waging a war on the war and on the Adminsitration for years, so it has no credibility when it comes to arguing its good intentions.

What matters though is the statement that "other conscientious people" could have reached a different decision. In fact, they did. The Congresses and the presidents of the past have passsed laws about what is classified and who can release it. They didn't include the editor of the New York Times in the group that can make national security decisions. Mr. Keller decided he would risk the national security of the United States and the lives of its citizens. He has done so before and will no doubt do so again.
Again, read the whole thing. And do it while imagining what this information does to the effort to track down the people who want to kill your neighbor's son in Iraq, or blow up the Sears Tower, or pump poisonous gas into a subway tunnel.


  • At 6/26/2006 9:31 AM, Blogger MAX Redline said…

    Actually, this is one of the rare cases in which the Times probably isn't guilty of much of anything. The SWIFT program has been common knowledge for years. Every government and every terrorist organization already knew about it; all the Times did was bring it to the forefront for the general American public.

    In no way is this a defense of The New York Times; they clearly harbor an anti-American agenda.

    It's just that in this particular case, they aren't printing material that isn't already widely known.

  • At 6/26/2006 10:21 AM, Blogger Ken said…

    But as Hugh said:
    At a minimum, terrorists now familiar with the captured colleagues who were discovered through this program will study what those terrorists did and take pains not to use the same financial systems.

    Other terrorists will simply note that what they might have thought secure is not. This is "pretty elemental stuff," I know, but Mr. Keller can either believe terrorists are smart or they are stupid, but not both when it suits him.

    If they are stupid, they now have a front page warning. If they are smart, every detail advances their ability to defense our efforts to catch them.


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