Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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June 28, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

WHOLESALE TREASON....The New York Times story that exposed the Treasury Department's terrorist finance tracking program says it relied on "nearly 20" former and current government officials. The LA Times story on the same subject relied on "more than a dozen" sources.

Isn't that an awful lot of traitors in our midst? Why were so many people willing to talk about this? Was it because (a) revealing the program's existence didn't really endanger anything, or (b) they were concerned about its legality? Or both?

Kevin Drum 1:44 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (167)

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The correct answer is (c) these people will do anything if they think it will harm the Bush administration.

Unfortuately, the CIA and State Department and the Treasury are full of people who are at war with GW Bush. They are willing to leak classified information if they perceive doing so will damage President Bush.

Posted by: Frequency Kenneth on June 28, 2006 at 1:48 AM | PERMALINK

or (c) - traitors, all of them.

Posted by: publius on June 28, 2006 at 1:49 AM | PERMALINK

treasonous traitors, that is

Posted by: publius on June 28, 2006 at 1:50 AM | PERMALINK

I hope the New York Times reporters are brought before a grand jury, and asked to reveal the scoundrels who leaked classified info.

And if the reporters don't reveal their sources, they go to jail.

Posted by: Down goes Frazier on June 28, 2006 at 1:50 AM | PERMALINK

Agree with both Frequency Kenneth, publius, and Down goes Frazier. Look at the numerous communists McCarthy found in the American government. 20 liberal Democratic traitors in the government is not surprising. Probably a lot more traitors still there who need to be exposed, fired, and imprisoned for their treason.

Posted by: Al on June 28, 2006 at 1:52 AM | PERMALINK

Gosh, Kevin, that's an awfully high ratio of trolls to sensible comments; was that the plan?

Posted by: Linkmeister on June 28, 2006 at 1:54 AM | PERMALINK

I have here in my hand a list of nearly 20 people that are known to the Republican Party as haters of America...

Repeat as necessary.

Posted by: felix on June 28, 2006 at 1:56 AM | PERMALINK

Was it because (a) revealing the program's existence didn't really endanger anything, or (b) they were concerned about its legality? Or both?

You're forgetting (c) they hate America. And puppies!

Posted by: Stefan on June 28, 2006 at 1:57 AM | PERMALINK

Agree with both Frequency Kenneth, publius, and Down goes Frazier.

Well sure, since they're all written by the same person.

Posted by: Stefan on June 28, 2006 at 1:58 AM | PERMALINK

What exactly has been the punishment meted out by the Bush administration for all the treason that's been committed by the media these past few years? Besides fingerwagging, that is?

I guess when it comes right down to it, they're just soft on crime, and soft on terrorism. Democrats, I hope you're taking notes.

Posted by: Irony Man on June 28, 2006 at 2:00 AM | PERMALINK

Or, perhaps, they weren't aware it was ranked as a top-secret program, just as federal enquiries into all money transfers of $10,000 or more are de jure. No secret there.

And if SWIFT came up at all, it would have taken a minimal amount of research to find out the information passed on any transfer.

Hell! I'm about to help the terrorists. They could surely be self-financing in the USA. If they did it right, it wouldn't take them a month to get a fistfull of credit cards.

There surely haven't been so many inappropriate accusations since McCarthy. Has there ever been any administration that has so tried to cover their own incompetence, lies and corruption by making so many accusations of other people and institutions?

It's all smoke. Or, I guess, in politics, mud.

Posted by: notthere on June 28, 2006 at 2:05 AM | PERMALINK

That's a lot of people willing to talk, and if they're talking on the phone, the NSA knows who they are. What a country...

Posted by: JJF on June 28, 2006 at 2:08 AM | PERMALINK

Let the republicans bring the motion of condemning the New York Times to the floor so that we can have a debate, call hearing and have some government officials testify so that this can all blow up in their face.

This is another stupid move. The president and the vice-president are way wrong on this and the more the public learns about this and how it relates to other things such as signing statements the more of a problem they will have on their hands.

Gosh Karl is like 0-3 in terms of trying to dig his party out of the shit. Seems like Rove should give up now instead of handing Dems more amunition. Bush has decided to go after social security again. Guess the old nose candy is makin him feel all manly again.

The bottom line is that republicans are unfit to govern and they are intent on showing that as much as possible as clearly as possible to everyone. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.

Do they think that things will get better for them when they lose control of both houses this fall?

How much will Bush and Cheney owe the rest of the republican elite when they end worse than Nixon? They took a credibility surplus and turned into a deficit. They took what was becoming a one party system and set the stage for a permanent majority against themselves. Cheney should have done the country a favor and shot himself in the face, it would have been less painful for all of us than this utter bullshit that they are trying to pull now. I can't stop wiping the tears from my eyes I am laughing so hard. And please New York Times take the time to show the president and the vice president what a serious opposition news paper can look like. Take all those stories you been a holdin and start running them. Do yourselves a favor at the Times and show them what its like when the press doesn't bend over.

Please Republicans don't throw me into that thar briar patch. Gosh knows that the MAJORITY of insiders are ready to lynch y'all given a public hearing. But you can all pretend that things are just great and your angwee bluster means somthin.

Posted by: patience on June 28, 2006 at 2:09 AM | PERMALINK

felix --
you beat me to it. Exactly.

Posted by: notthere on June 28, 2006 at 2:10 AM | PERMALINK

The terrorists ( paranoid delusions, mostly ) must be really shaken by the idea that sensible techniques to find them out are to be used : in contrast with the comedy of hi-tech errors that cover for commercial espionage ( whoops, state secret ! ) and the nerve of the press to doubt the Glorious Leader ( well, in some whacked-out delusion ).
Is the war over yet ? Hard to tell, since Congress never explicitly declared one, let alone two, and all the drama is on 24 Hours.

Posted by: opit on June 28, 2006 at 2:13 AM | PERMALINK

Unfortuately, the CIA and State Department and the Treasury are full of people who are at war with GW Bush. They are willing to leak classified information if they perceive doing so will damage President Bush.
Posted by: Frequency Kenneth

Even if that were the case ... wouldn't you WANT to be on the side of the CIA, State Dept, etc ... I mean, these are the ones with actual field experience and direct intelligence.

... or you can place your faith in coke-sniffing deserters who like playing dress up.

Posted by: Nads on June 28, 2006 at 2:15 AM | PERMALINK

This illustrates the contempt Republicans have for the average American, including their own supporters.

1. The article says the Bush administration is watching international financial transactions. Duh. You'd have to be a stroke victim (or a Republican) not to assume that's been the case since 9/11.

Besides, the Bush administration itself has said as much in public:

The Bush administration has made no secret of its campaign to disrupt terrorist financing, and President Bush, Treasury officials and others have spoken publicly about those efforts.

2. The article reflects well on the administration: it shows an aggressive, competent, and presumably legal effort WITH SAFEGUARDS AND OVERSIGHT to go after terrorists. But apparently Republicans are either illiterate or entirely incapable of forming an independent opinion and instead rely on spoon-fed talking points, even when those talking points contradict reality. (Cf. comments about stroke victims)

3. This is false GOP outrage, much like when Republicans flipped over Dean's comments that they were a party that represented white Christians. Um, we're a nation of white Christians - so that statement is also true of the Democrats.

So why the false outrage? First, when aren't the Republicans peddling false outrage? Second, false outrage over this story helps to draw more attention to THIS STORY. The administration is happy to have everyone hear that they are doing a good job fighting terror. The false outrage also helps keep this story alive longer.

Second, it helps stir up false outrage at liberals/Democrats as well as help to perpetuate the "liberal media" myth. Win, win, win, win, win.

Oh, why even bother. If you haven't figured this out for yourself by now, go see your doctor. You've had a stroke.

Posted by: Snarkster on June 28, 2006 at 2:21 AM | PERMALINK

I think it's worth summarizing:

1) the republican majorities of the house and senate have deferred on their obligation to people they represent to proper oversight of the administration in terms of the course of the war and in infringing the laws of the nation.

2) the administration has only briefed Congress on a broader basis once they realized the message was going to get out, both in the case of the NSA/telephone monitoring and with SWIFT.

3) when a telephone company refused to cooperate with out warrant or court order, it was so vital to the national interests the administration just let it slide.

4) their were no safeguards on the SWIFT information until SWIFT got worried about their liabilities and decided to cover their arse. Until then the government was willing to take all it could get with no independent monitoring. Because the administration compromised I presume SWIFT had a case. And is there yet for telephone monitoring?

You know, unless you're a professional at this, this administration attacks our rights on so many fronts I guess they figure they'll just snow us little people under.

Thank you representatives and senators for being so visible in standing up!

Posted by: notthere on June 28, 2006 at 2:26 AM | PERMALINK

Plenty of people knew about MAGIC code-breaking during WWII - no traitors back then though.

Posted by: John on June 28, 2006 at 2:30 AM | PERMALINK

Plenty of people knew about MAGIC code-breaking during WWII - no traitors back then though.

Posted by: John on June 28, 2006 at 2:30 AM | PERMALINK

A couple of days ago I heard that some paper did print an article about MAGIC in 1942, Chicago, I think, but the Japanese never picked it up. I guess nor did the Germans to pass it on and maybe reassess their own transmissions security.

However, then the administration not only pursued a three-and-a-half year World War on two fronts to a ruthlessly successful conclusion (with Allies including the USSR), but planned the peace also. UN, IMF, Marshall Plan, etc.

Of course, they weren't a bozo bunch of like-thinking idealogues looking out only for themselves.

Posted by: notthere on June 28, 2006 at 2:40 AM | PERMALINK

Yes John. And WW II was a fight for survival against superior forces. Sheesh.

Posted by: opit on June 28, 2006 at 2:41 AM | PERMALINK

The number is probably exagerrated (in terms of providing meaningful information), but I think the only logical conclusion is that it was people trying to hurt Bush. Choice (b) is pretty much out because even the news reports did not even claim that it was illegal. Choice (a) is out because if disclosure of the program would not be a danger, that facdt would not be a motivation to talk about it, UNLESS they were motivated by a desire to get Bush.

I think it is becoming obvious that if the newspapers and leakers were motivated by a desire to jurt Bush (and I think that has to be at least partially true), they miscalculated. Bush is clearly going to win this argument.

It also should become clear that Bush will go after the leakers, not the papers, but the papers will be dragged into court to reveal their sources. Fair chance that pompous and arrogant NYTimes folks will either squeal or go to jail. Then that silly Punch or Pinch fellow can apologize not for a society that goes to war, but for a society that puts him in jail and lets the value of NYT stock drop by 50% in two years. I wonder if Pinch was smart enough not to let anyone tell him who the leakers are. I'm not sure that will keep him out of jail, but it might.

Posted by: brian on June 28, 2006 at 2:41 AM | PERMALINK

Sounds like a fine analogy to me. You're saying anybody who printed that the Americans were listening to German transmissions and trying to break their code - without mentioning anything about who was involved, exactly, what techniques they were using, or whether or not they'd succeeded in breaking any codes as yet - would be revealing top-secret information that the Germans could never have figured out on their own.

Sounds logical to me!

Posted by: Viserys on June 28, 2006 at 2:44 AM | PERMALINK

notthere,

Could that be because the U.S. is not fighting an all-out war in Iraq? Imagine how difficult it would have been for FDR & Truman to hunt down the Emperor of Japan had he decided to go into hiding in 1945.

Posted by: John on June 28, 2006 at 2:48 AM | PERMALINK

...It also should become clear that Bush will go after the leakers, not the papers, but the papers will be dragged into court to reveal their sources....

Posted by: brian on June 28, 2006 at 2:41 AM | PERMALINK

Oh, yeah! Just Like Plame. Thank you George for keeping your own valueless word.

I would hope he couldn't without reopening that debate.

Posted by: notthere on June 28, 2006 at 2:51 AM | PERMALINK

I'm sorry, what was the question again?

Posted by: craigie on June 28, 2006 at 2:51 AM | PERMALINK

Could that be because the U.S. is not fighting an all-out war in Iraq? Imagine how difficult it would have been for FDR & Truman to hunt down the Emperor of Japan had he decided to go into hiding in 1945.
Posted by: John

like mnay other jackasses, you're confusing osama in hiding with the war in iraq. ... as much as you shitheads would like to repeat that meme, it remains a lie.

Posted by: Nads on June 28, 2006 at 2:51 AM | PERMALINK

My god, there are traitors and double agents everywhere.

Help!

Posted by: craigie on June 28, 2006 at 2:54 AM | PERMALINK

Uh oh, someone mentioned Plame. Now you've done it. Pay attention:

When the White House leaks classified info, it's a great day for freedom and stopping gay mexican flag-burners.

But when a newspaper publishes information that is fundamentally the same as was published 5 years before, why, that's treason!

Case closed.

Posted by: craigie on June 28, 2006 at 2:56 AM | PERMALINK

Nads,

I believe it was notthere who attempted to make the distinction between the FDR / Truman Administrations who "not only pursued a three-and-a-half year World War on two fronts to a ruthlessly successful conclusion (with Allies including the USSR), but planned the peace also. UN, IMF, Marshall Plan, etc. Of course, they weren't a bozo bunch of like-thinking idealogues looking out only for themselves."

For everyone else on this topic of wholesale treason, MAGIC was actually a quite tactically limited window into Japanese planning and policy because of the peculiar nature of Japanese policy making prior to the War. Early on, a better tactical window was the Japanese Fleet Code (an encoded cypher actually), called JN-25 by U.S. Navy cryptographers. Breaking into the version in use in the months after December 7, 1941 provided enough information to lead to U.S. naval victories in the battles of the Coral Sea and Midway, eliminating most of air power of the Japanese fleet at the latter and stopping the Japanese advance south with a 'draw' at the former. Later, broken JN-25 traffic also provided the schedule and routing of the plane Admiral Yamamoto Isoroku would be flying in during an inspection tour in the SW Pacific, giving U.S. Army Air Corps pilots a chance to assassinate the officer who had devised the Pearl Harbor attack plan. And still later, access to Japanese Army messages from decrypts of Army communications traffic assisted in planning the island hopping campaign to the Philippines and beyond.

Public notice had indeed been served that Japanese cryptography was dangerously inadequate by the Chicago Tribune, which published a series of stories just after Midway in 1942 directly claiming correctly, of course that the victory was due in large part to U.S. breaks into Japanese crypto systems (in this case, the JN-25 cypher, though which system(s) had been broken was not mentioned in the newspaper stories). Fortunately, neither the Japanese nor anyone who might have told them seem to have noticed either the Tribune coverage, or the stories based on the Tribune account published in other U.S. papers. Nor did they notice announcements made on the floor of the US Congress to the same effect. There were no changes in Japanese cryptography which could, then or now, be connected with those newspaper accounts or Congressional disclosures. Thank God - I doubt we will be as lucky this time with al Qaeda.

Posted by: John on June 28, 2006 at 2:59 AM | PERMALINK

John --
the war in Iraq never was part of the "war on terror".

but these bozos committed the US Forces and lives to their own agenda with no planning for any contingency beyond Iraqi US-flag waving.

I may be an armchair general but I certifiably know more than our commander-in-thief.

Posted by: notthere on June 28, 2006 at 2:59 AM | PERMALINK

craigie,

Help! Mom! There are Liberal Traitors and Double Agents Everywhere.

Posted by: John on June 28, 2006 at 3:01 AM | PERMALINK

How many amendments can this government destroy in the next 2 1/2 years? I'm thinking 4 or 5.

Of course they're trying to replace them so I guess we shouldn't complain.

Posted by: Mike S on June 28, 2006 at 3:03 AM | PERMALINK

Nads,
I believe it was notthere who attempted to make the distinction between the FDR / Truman Administrations who "not only pursued a three-and-a-half year World War on two fronts to a ruthlessly successful conclusion ...
Posted by: John

Yes ... but YOU'RE the jackass that equated bush's inability to find osama with iraq. ... and as we all know, iraq does not equal osama ...

except to racist chickenshits like yourself who just need some brown people to kill, while sitting back comfortably on your little chickenhawk asses thinking you are somehow qualified to define treason.

Posted by: Nads on June 28, 2006 at 3:04 AM | PERMALINK

Count on Kevin Drum to defend the indefensible! I imagine when Drum has the time he will get around to defending Mad Man Murtha's latest comments condemning the U.S. as a worse threat to world peace than Iran and North Korea!

And Democrats wonder why they keep losing elections?

heh

Posted by: Brad on June 28, 2006 at 3:11 AM | PERMALINK

Does this mean that Cheney will be shooting bankers?

Posted by: Matt on June 28, 2006 at 3:14 AM | PERMALINK

As any US supremacist/hegenomist would confirm, the US holds the cards.

Ergo: neither Iran or N. Korea are a threat to world peace. It's up to the USA to make the mistakes.

And this administration? Mighty fine job . . . .

Posted by: notthere on June 28, 2006 at 3:16 AM | PERMALINK

Glenn Greenwald has a great post where he quotes from Victor Comraes's Counterterrorism blog :

But reports on US monitoring of SWIFT transactions have been out there for some time. The information was fairly well known by terrorism financing experts back in 2002. The UN Al Qaeda and Taliban Monitoring Group , on which I served as the terrorism financing expert, learned of the practice during the course of our monitoring inquiries.

The information was incorporated in our report to the UN Security Council in December 2002. That report is still available on the UN Website. Paragraph 31 of the report states:


"The settlement of international transactions is usually handled through correspondent banking relationships or large-value message and payment systems, such as the SWIFT, Fedwire or CHIPS systems in the United States of America. Such international clearance centres are critical to processing international banking transactions and are rich with payment information. The United States has begun to apply new monitoring techniques to spot and verify suspicious transactions. The Group recommends the adoption of similar mechanisms by other countries."

Kevin - after reading the whole Greenwald post I have to pick choice (a) at a minimum while reserving the right to upgrade to both.

Posted by: MattR on June 28, 2006 at 3:20 AM | PERMALINK

Wellllllll, you never expect the Spanish inquisition.

Posted by: nutty little nut nut on June 28, 2006 at 3:21 AM | PERMALINK

Given that the Bushistas will vote for the GOP even if he rapes their mothers in the town square in broad daylight in front of a thousand people, the answer to the question posed by Kevin is irrelevant.

Really it will come down to the best advice being to keep low so you are not caught up in one of the many domestic spying nets.

Posted by: nut on June 28, 2006 at 3:28 AM | PERMALINK

It's not treason when the people rise up in such numbers.
It's a revolution!

Posted by: neil on June 28, 2006 at 3:33 AM | PERMALINK

I continue to wonder why I still have a box of little nails, labeled "brads", on a shelf in a cupboard in my garage.

Posted by: bad Jim on June 28, 2006 at 4:11 AM | PERMALINK

"Unfortuately, the CIA and State Department and the Treasury are full of people who are at war with GW Bush."

My, my, all those traitors absolutely everywhere. Poor widdle Geowgie Bush, suwwounded on aw sides.

If he only had more power, no one would stand against him. At least he has brave souls like Al and Freaky Kenneth to stand by his side. Just ine thing, fellas: No blowjobs in the Oval Office, okay?

Posted by: Kenji on June 28, 2006 at 6:26 AM | PERMALINK

It's a matter of principle. Uncharacteristic as it may have been, the Times committed a flagrant act of journalism.

This cannot be allowed if we are to avoid the slippery slope which would inevitably lead to a "government of the people, by the people and for the people."

Posted by: BroD on June 28, 2006 at 7:02 AM | PERMALINK

get around to defending Mad Man Murtha's latest comments condemning the U.S. as a worse threat to world peace than Iran and North Korea!

of course, Murtha didn't actually say that, you lying piece of excrement.

Posted by: cleek on June 28, 2006 at 7:16 AM | PERMALINK

If this be treason, make the most of it!

And may George the Third profit from it's example.

Posted by: bad Jim on June 28, 2006 at 7:26 AM | PERMALINK

They question. They question. Treason! Treason! Off with their heads! Now! Now! Now!

Posted by: Commander Codpiece Really Makes My Gristle Throb on June 28, 2006 at 7:32 AM | PERMALINK

I think that BroD has finally "nailed it."

The Times is guilty of making independent news decisions. It printed a story the administration didn't want it to print. In fact it has printed two stories the administration didn't want printed. A free press. Who would have imagined. After all those years of Judy Miller pliancy, Bush, Cheney and company must feel absolutely betrayed.

The story itself, while well documented and well written, is not earth shattering. Only a fool would not have realized the administration was trying to track Al Quada financial transactions. For any knowledgible person obtaining cooperation from SWIFT was the way to track those financial transactions.

As BroD said, the Times, the LA Times and the Journal all committed flagrant acts of journalism. Journalism is something brand new for this administration. It will take them a couple of weeks to adjust.

Posted by: Ron Byers on June 28, 2006 at 7:36 AM | PERMALINK

The correct answer is (c) these people will do anything if they think it will harm the Bush administration Posted by: Frequency Kenneth on June 28, 2006 at 1:48 The correct question is "Why will these people do anything to harm the Bush administration?" Is the answer (a) He is bankrupting our country and selling out to special interest groups (b) Leading the quagmire in Iraq which is killing Americans and innocent Iraqis or (c) He is the uniter and this is his way of uniting all these people against him.

Posted by: neil on June 28, 2006 at 7:45 AM | PERMALINK

Patience and others, KARL doesn't have to "dig them out of the shit"...he just needs to keep putting up these straw dogs for the idiots (witness troll posts here) to froth over...never mind that flag burning and gay marriage amendments and the other recent business of our Congress have all gone down...just fine with them they didn't really care as long as they have a finger to point at Democrats saying..."SEE THEY WERE AGAINST THIS"...then throw in, "It's what GOD WANTS!"...and "Those who oppose us are UNPATRIOTIC"...and they have the little kool-aid drinkers right where they want them. Now they have the NY Times to blame if we are hit again - and we will be...so it must be because the terrorists were just too stupid to figure out that their transactions would be being tracked (despite the fact that the administration THEMSELVES have so announced on numerous occasions - see the transcripts/tapes) You know this plan to DUMB DOWN AMERICA is working just fine for Repugs...the fewer brain cells you have operative the easier to pour in the crap!

Posted by: Dancer on June 28, 2006 at 7:48 AM | PERMALINK

They need no rhyme, they need no reason
to call it crime, to call it treason.
You're clearly not of the clan.
and not working to our plan
and dare talk of rights of the common man.

When it comes to push and shove
and the might of Bush and Rove.
You are but a pawn.
Your duty? To fawn.

Posted by: a struggling (with reason!) lyricist on June 28, 2006 at 7:53 AM | PERMALINK

Republican anger at public disclosure of secret monitoring of international financial transactions should be viewed in the light of past failures to legislate solutions to money laundering.

The references below are interesting commentary. The first is a June, 2000 letter from Lawrence H. Summers of the Treasury Department in support of H.R. 3886. The second is a Public Citizen article on measures taken to defeat the bill. The list of participants include some well known Texans. Check it out.

This letter shows strong support of the Clinton Administration for H.R. 3886, an anti-money-laundering bill.
--http://www.ustreas.gov/cc/ccletterjun07.pdf

Also:

"These bills featured strong know-your-customer rules that would have required banks to confirm a depositor's identity and determine the source of his or her money. H.R. 3886 enjoyed strong bipartisan support in the Republican-led House Banking Committee and it passed the committee by a 31-1 vote on July 11, 2000. "We felt we would win any time there was a vote," said one former Treasury Department official. "Nobody was going to vote against an anti-money-laundering bill."

The hard part was getting the legislation to another vote. Between late June and late September 2000, Stanford [R. Allen Stanford, the CEO of Stanford Financial Group of Houston] contributed another $188,000 in soft money to Republican and Democratic party committees, with $75,000 of that almost evenly divided between the GOP and Democratic fundraising committees for the Senate, where the money-laundering legislation was soon dealt a crippling blow.

Senate Banking Committee Chairman Phil Gramm (R-Texas) refused to take up the Senate companion bill of H.R. 3886 in his committee, where it was referred on July 27, 2000. Indeed, Gramm later publicly boasted to a group of bankers that, "I killed the administration's anti-money-laundering legislation."

Neither Republican nor Democratic senators publicly protested Gramm's inaction. Advocates considered pushing the bill to a vote in the full House as a way of pressuring Gramm, but were stymied by GOP House Majority Leader Dick Armey and House Majority Whip Tom DeLay. "They were the ones who killed it," former Deputy Secretary of Treasury Stuart Eizenstat told Public Citizen. "It's not coincidental that Gramm, Armey and DeLay are all from Texas."

Texas bankers were said to be the harshest critics of the proposal "because of their proximity to the Mexican border, (they) finance many cross-border projects, and are believed to be a favorite repository for Mexican fortunes whose owners sometimes don't welcome scrutiny."
--http://www.citizen.org/congress/campaign/issues/nonprofit/articles.cfm?ID=7188

Posted by: deejaays on June 28, 2006 at 7:53 AM | PERMALINK

The correct answer is (c) these people will do anything if they think it will harm the Bush administration.

Frequency Kenneth unintentionally and revealingly deviates from the Bush Cultists' script -- the article in question is damaging not to US national security, but to the Bush Administration. (Of course, to the Bush Cultists, the two concepts are inseparable.)

Given that Bush himself has boasted that we were tracking terrorists' finances, the fascinating presumption is that yet another revelation that the Bush Administration is conducting surveillance without oversight could be damaging to the Bush Administration. It's beyond obvious that the article did no damage at all to national security, and I'm unaware of any convincing explanation of how it even could have done so.

Cheney is on record as abhoring the restrictions placed on Executive power in the wake of the Watergate scandals (which also involved abuses of Executive surveillance and espionage powers). How ironic that his overreach will, hopefully, result in Congress and the Courts asserting their power once again, and more forecfully. The alternative is tyranny by the Executive, and only the Bush Cultists want that (a Republican executive, of course -- Democrats are not entitled to the powers the Bush Cultists insist the President should have).

Posted by: Gregory on June 28, 2006 at 8:14 AM | PERMALINK

The SWIFT international payment system is not something that is new. It has been around for a while and any international terrorist, pre- or post-9/11, who thought their international wire transfers were secure, probably weren't much of a real threat anyway. Terrorists, the ones we should worry about anyway [not the Miami 8], are much more sophisticated and use things like blood diamonds, drugs, other forms of barter with other criminals to move money and to acquire weapons and training. There are also shadowy money bazaars in some Middle Eastern countries. Anyone who thinks that the NYT, by bringing this story to light, jeopardized national security, simply doesn't understand the facts or isn't thinking clearly.

Posted by: Stephen Kriz on June 28, 2006 at 8:27 AM | PERMALINK

I guess we now, officially have the Liberal Media Agenda. After the Gay Agenda, the Mexican Agenda, now the Liberal Media Agenda, trying to swift boat the Bush administration.

Any other agenda in the works, fellas ?!

Posted by: eo on June 28, 2006 at 8:31 AM | PERMALINK

They're making shit up, as usual. They can either name who the sources are so we can verify the story, or they can admit that they found one disgruntled employee who told a half-truth and started spinning from there, a la jason leopold.

Posted by: American Hawk on June 28, 2006 at 9:02 AM | PERMALINK

The most damaging fact to the idea that this isn't a secret program that jeopardizes our chances of finding terrorists is that 3 major newspapers thought it was important enough to put it on the front page. In that way, the GOP has the papers over a barrel. If it wasn't secret enough, then it really wasn't front-page newsworthy. Bill Keller's defense of the article, claiming that the article was printed without animus towards the current Administration, doesn't really hold water.

Posted by: Quinn on June 28, 2006 at 9:02 AM | PERMALINK

Thomas Kean, Chairman of the 9/11 Commission, is fuming. "A good program is over."

Check out CaptainsQuartersBlog.

Posted by: Frequency Kenneth on June 28, 2006 at 9:07 AM | PERMALINK

If it wasn't secret enough, then it really wasn't front-page newsworthy

NYT front page today: Israeli Strike on Gaza, Flag Amendment, Anglican Church, etc..

is any of that "secret" ?

Posted by: cleek on June 28, 2006 at 9:11 AM | PERMALINK

[the media] will do anything if they think it will harm the Bush administration

Sigh....if only that were true.

Posted by: Irony Man on June 28, 2006 at 9:14 AM | PERMALINK

mmmm... troll bait. tasty.

Posted by: fat smelly birkel on June 28, 2006 at 9:18 AM | PERMALINK

Someone please explain to me how this SWIFT program was "Top Secret."

The Treasury and Justice Depts. would serve subpoenas to SWIFT. Subpoenas signed by judges in a non-FISA court.

Based on what's known, the subpoena process makes the program sensitive but uncleassifed at best. In other words, if you're going to court, especially a non-FISA court, to get a subpoena, the program isn't classified.

Where are these bloviating wingnuts getting "Top Secret" from? Talking points?

Posted by: Hank Scorpio on June 28, 2006 at 9:23 AM | PERMALINK

NYT front page today: Israeli Strike on Gaza, Flag Amendment, Anglican Church, etc..

is any of that "secret" ?

No, those are public events or happenings that have occurred within the past 24 hours. This was a program that's been going on for about 5 years. We've known that they were tracking terrorists through financial transactions for some time. But what was so important about revealing the specifics of said program? Something prompted Keller to run this on the front page.

Posted by: Quinn on June 28, 2006 at 9:28 AM | PERMALINK

Read through the posts in this thread by lefties, and it becomes clear why the Democrat Party can not be trusted to defend this country.

See you in November, Dems!

Posted by: Paddy Whack on June 28, 2006 at 9:30 AM | PERMALINK

No, those are public events

SWIFT is public knowledge. Bush himself has bragged about the program for years.

But what was so important about revealing the specifics of said program?

what's so important about releaving the specifics of the inner-workings of the Anglican Church ?

Posted by: cleek on June 28, 2006 at 9:31 AM | PERMALINK

See you in November, Dems

so, you're leaving?
sweet.

Posted by: cleek on June 28, 2006 at 9:32 AM | PERMALINK

People still read the NYT? Biased, self important, incompetent journalists who essentially just waste trees in an futile effort to drive their agenda. That NYT?

Posted by: Jay on June 28, 2006 at 9:33 AM | PERMALINK

P.S. Just in case any of you lefties don't realize it, you've just been paddy whacked.

Posted by: Paddy Whack on June 28, 2006 at 9:34 AM | PERMALINK

"Unfortuately, the CIA and State Department and the Treasury are full of people who are at war with GW Bush. They are willing to leak classified information if they perceive doing so will damage President Bush."

Cool!

Don't forget the CBO, the DMV and the ASPCA.

Posted by: HeavyJ on June 28, 2006 at 9:43 AM | PERMALINK

Hey, hey, I'm Jay, Jay, Jay!!!
Answer me, it'll make my day.
I don't have too much to say.
And I find that thoughts get in the way
But I can feebly snort and then I pray
that you'll notice that my name is Jay!

Oh no my mommy's calling now,
"Jay go outside and play."

Posted by: Jay on June 28, 2006 at 9:44 AM | PERMALINK

Enough of this, "The government has to act in secrecy to save us" nonsense; that MAY be true during periods of emergency, but the amorphous, never-to-end War on Terror is specifically designed that the "emergency" may continue in perpetuity.

Republican are pissed because the NYT dares to challenge the administration's claim that it may do whatever it wishes, in utter secrecy, as it deems necessary.

To a Republican, checks and balances themselves undermine our national security.

Posted by: bgno64 on June 28, 2006 at 9:49 AM | PERMALINK

what's so important about releaving the specifics of the inner-workings of the Anglican Church ?

What does the Anglican Church have to do with the War on Terror? I understand your point, but the article was dealing with an anti-terrorism program. Sure, it was one that was most likely declining in usefulness, however the argument can be made that if it can be used to catch one more terrorist, then it is serving its purpose. Now I don't think the Bush administration can legally prove harm by the NYT article, but they can prove it to voters. IOW, the NYT article really serves no other purpose than to give the GOP a platform for a week or two to harangue them and rally a few more votes. I think Keller, Rubin, and Lichtblau did sense that they were on to some super-secret program that would anger people just like the wiretapping program story did, and I think to a large extent it's only served to backfire on the Times.

Posted by: Quinn on June 28, 2006 at 9:51 AM | PERMALINK

monarchists, all. you'd think they would have learned from the other king george, but that's their pre-1776 mindset.

Posted by: benjoya on June 28, 2006 at 9:52 AM | PERMALINK

I agree Quinn. Have you noticed the drop in NYT stock lately? This was mostly a publicity stunt to stem the tide of readership / advertising loss. It will backfire:

"House Republican leaders are expected to introduce a resolution today condemning The New York Times for publishing a story last week that exposed government monitoring of banking records.

The resolution is expected to condemn the leak and publication of classified documents, said one Republican aide with knowledge of the impending legislation.

The resolution comes as Republicans from the president on down condemn media organizations for reporting on the secret government program that tracked financial records overseas through the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications (SWIFT), an international banking cooperative.

Rep. J.D. Hayworth (R-Ariz.), working independently from his leadership, began circulating a letter to House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) during a late series of votes yesterday asking his leaders to revoke the Timess congressional press credentials."

http://www.thehill.com/thehill/export/TheHill/News/Frontpage/062806/nytimes.html

Posted by: John on June 28, 2006 at 9:59 AM | PERMALINK

The SWIFT international payment system is not something that is new.

Neither new nor secret:

BOSTON GLOBE ``There have been public references to SWIFT before," said Roger Cressey, a senior White House counterterrorism official until 2003. ``The White House is overreaching when they say [The New York Times committed] a crime against the war on terror. It has been in the public domain before."(

Victor D. Comras , a former US diplomat who oversaw efforts at the United Nations to improve international measures to combat terror financing, said it was common knowledge that worldwide financial transactions were being closely monitored for links to terrorists. ``A lot of people were aware that this was going on," said Comras, one of a half-dozen financial experts UN Secretary General Kofi Annan recruited for the task.

``Unless they were pretty dumb, they had to assume" their transactions were being monitored, Comras said of terrorist groups. ``We have spent the last four years bragging how effective we have been in tracking terrorist financing."

Indeed, a report that Comras co-authored in 2002 for the UN Security Council specifically mentioned SWIFT as a source of financial information that the United States had tapped into.

Posted by: trex on June 28, 2006 at 10:02 AM | PERMALINK

Could that be because the U.S. is not fighting an all-out war in Iraq? Imagine how difficult it would have been for FDR & Truman to hunt down the Emperor of Japan had he decided to go into hiding in 1945.

(a) Osama bin Laden isn't hiding in Iraq, you loon.

(b) Probably about as difficult as it was to find Hermann Goering and Heinrich Himmler in 1945 Germany, both of whom were promptly found and captured.

Posted by: Stefan on June 28, 2006 at 10:03 AM | PERMALINK

Don't forget who killed the anti-money-laundering bill specifically aimed at terrorism in 2000. Also, Enron had over a thousand offshore banking entities. I bet they didn't want banking laws interfering with their business. Remember, Sen Gramm's wife was on the board of directors of Enron. Ex-Senator Gramm and his wife are not in the public eye anymore, are they. Coincidence?

"Senate Banking Committee Chairman Phil Gramm (R-Texas) refused to take up the Senate companion bill of H.R. 3886 in his committee, where it was referred on July 27, 2000. Indeed, Gramm later publicly boasted to a group of bankers that, "I killed the administration's anti-money-laundering legislation."

Neither Republican nor Democratic senators publicly protested Gramm's inaction. Advocates considered pushing the bill to a vote in the full House as a way of pressuring Gramm, but were stymied by GOP House Majority Leader Dick Armey and House Majority Whip Tom DeLay. "They were the ones who killed it," former Deputy Secretary of Treasury Stuart Eizenstat told Public Citizen. "It's not coincidental that Gramm, Armey and DeLay are all from Texas." --http://www.citizen.org/congress/campaign/issues/nonprofit/articles.cfm?ID=7188

Posted by: deejaays on June 28, 2006 at 10:03 AM | PERMALINK

Unfortuately, the CIA and State Department and the Treasury are full of people who are at war with GW Bush.

Ever stop to wonder why that is Freq? Ever wonder why Bush has so many people opposing him? Ever wonder why Bush has such dismal approval? Could it be because he's...Satan?

Posted by: ckelly on June 28, 2006 at 10:04 AM | PERMALINK

the argument can be made that if it can be used to catch one more terrorist, then it is serving its purpose

it can still do that. the program has not been dismantled.

Now I don't think the Bush administration can legally prove harm by the NYT article, but they can prove it to voters

because voters are ignorant rubes who will just take Bush's word for it? are we talking about the same Bush who more than half the country thinks is dishonest?

, and I think to a large extent it's only served to backfire on the Times.

that's because you're buying the wingnut spin. come out of the bubble. breathe the clean, fresh air of reality.

Posted by: cleek on June 28, 2006 at 10:07 AM | PERMALINK

I'm not the loon equating the President of the United States with the anti-Christ. The only "spittle-flecked" loons I see here are on your side of the aisle.

Posted by: John on June 28, 2006 at 10:08 AM | PERMALINK

"I think it is becoming obvious that if the newspapers and leakers were motivated by a desire to jurt Bush (and I think that has to be at least partially true), they miscalculated. Bush is clearly going to win this argument.

It also should become clear that Bush will go after the leakers, not the papers, but the papers will be dragged into court to reveal their sources."

Not a chance...because odds are that it was the Bushies themselves who leaked this. Because - as you point out above - it helps them. Just typical election season leaking from them.

Posted by: chaboard on June 28, 2006 at 10:12 AM | PERMALINK

I'm not the loon equating the President of the United States with the anti-Christ.

irony:bush supporter :: general theory of relativity:squirrel

Posted by: benjoya on June 28, 2006 at 10:15 AM | PERMALINK

Was it because (a) revealing the program's existence didn't really endanger anything, or (b) they were concerned about its legality? Or both?

Don't forget (c) it was already public, just obscure.
.

Posted by: Grand Moff Texan on June 28, 2006 at 10:16 AM | PERMALINK

The only "spittle-flecked" loons I see here are on your side of the aisle.

Takes one to know one. Nyahhhh!

Posted by: Irony Man on June 28, 2006 at 10:16 AM | PERMALINK

Exactly, John.

These creepy libs don't see that the NY Times just handed away an intelligence program whose chief success has been the capture of Hambali, the mastermind of the Bali bombing.

The best part -- the NY and LA Times will have blood on their hands in the future, and there will be no way to prove it.

So much for the Loyal Opposition.

Now they're just traitors.

Posted by: Angry Indep. on June 28, 2006 at 10:17 AM | PERMALINK

Read through the posts in this thread by lefties, and it becomes clear why the Democrat [sic] Party can not be trusted to defend this country.

Yeah, really.

You really are dumb enough to be a Republican, aren't you?
.

Posted by: Grand Moff Texan on June 28, 2006 at 10:18 AM | PERMALINK

Takes one to know one. Nyahhhh!

That doesn't even pass as debate in the first grade, Irony Man. I will let my posts speak for themselves. These are what YOU have to overcome this election -- calls for impeachment are the LEAST of your problems:

"Cheney should have done the country a favor and shot himself in the face, it would have been less painful for all of us than this utter bullshit that they are trying to pull now. I can't stop wiping the tears from my eyes . . ."

Posted by: patience on June 28, 2006 at 2:09 AM

"Count on Kevin Drum to defend the indefensible! I imagine when Drum has the time he will get around to defending Mad Man Murtha's latest comments condemning the U.S. as a worse threat to world peace than Iran and North Korea!"

Posted by: Brad on June 28, 2006 at 3:11 AM

"Wellllllll, you never expect the Spanish inquisition."

Posted by: nutty little nut nut on June 28, 2006 at 3:21 AM

"Given that the Bushistas will vote for the GOP even if he rapes their mothers in the town square in broad daylight in front of a thousand people, the answer to the question posed by Kevin is irrelevant.

Really it will come down to the best advice being to keep low so you are not caught up in one of the many domestic spying nets."

Posted by: nut on June 28, 2006 at 3:28 AM

(These species of "loons" usually come out late at night).

Posted by: John on June 28, 2006 at 10:20 AM | PERMALINK

because voters are ignorant rubes who will just take Bush's word for it? are we talking about the same Bush who more than half the country thinks is dishonest?

....

that's because you're buying the wingnut spin. come out of the bubble. breathe the clean, fresh air of reality.

I'm not buying the spin, but I'm concerned with how it plays out politically. You can go on about ignorant rubes and how half the country thinks Bush is dishonest, but I'd rather figure out ways to prevent a continued GOP hold over our government. Calling people ignorant rubes isn't helpful, IMO.

Posted by: Quinn on June 28, 2006 at 10:20 AM | PERMALINK

Indeed, Gramm later publicly boasted to a group of bankers that, "I killed the administration's anti-money-laundering legislation.

Republicans are soft on terror.
.

Posted by: Grand Moff Texan on June 28, 2006 at 10:20 AM | PERMALINK

So the NYT took an already public program, cloaked it in secrecy in an attempt to "reveal" the suspicious activity of the this administrations fight against jihadism and the possible correlation to the NSA program all in the hopes of further angering the electorate?

That's even worse. Thanks for pointing that out.

Posted by: Jay on June 28, 2006 at 10:21 AM | PERMALINK

Calling people ignorant rubes isn't helpful, IMO.

Yeah, like, namecalling never helped the right, 'n stuff ....
.

Posted by: Grand Moff Texan on June 28, 2006 at 10:22 AM | PERMALINK

Now they're just traitors.

And the punishment for treason? Getting your press credential revoked! Oooooooooh!

I think the Captain needs to step out of his quarters for a bit - sounds like some serious oxygen deprivation going on in there.

Posted by: Irony Man on June 28, 2006 at 10:23 AM | PERMALINK

So the NYT took an already public program, cloaked it in secrecy in an ...

No.

All clear now?
.

Posted by: Grand Moff Texan on June 28, 2006 at 10:24 AM | PERMALINK

John -

"the loon equating the President of the United States with the anti-Christ?"

Oh! Oh! Pick me ... I know!
The answer is "Pope John Paul II".

What did I win?

Posted by: kenga on June 28, 2006 at 10:25 AM | PERMALINK

Well there have been several stories yesterday and today in which people familiar with the program have stated the program has suffered irreperable damage due to this story being published (folks like the 9/11 commission folks who asked the Times not to publish it). And the news today tells us that the Europeans, thanks to the public awareness raised by the Times' story, are now looking to reduce U.S. access to SWIFT which is obviously a big negative impact. So I don't think we can assume that "revealing the program's existence didn't really endanger anything." Nor has anything come out to indicate that anyone is seriously "concerned about its legality," so I don't think that can be assumed as the reason.

I do think that there are people who would leak this information because they disagree with the administration. Specifically, because they believe the administration has a history of expanding its power too much (in their opinion) and they see this program as an example of it. As motives go, this seems the most reasonable.

As for the numbers of folks, well I think you have misinterpreted it, Kevin. You only need one or two folks to leak the initial information. The remaining folks are people the papers probably spoke with to get more information based on the initial leak. They could have provided additional information but wanted to remain anonymous. So I don't think the Times had 20 people leaking the story to them, I think they had one or two and then got another 18 or so to elaborate on the story.

Posted by: Hacksaw on June 28, 2006 at 10:25 AM | PERMALINK

Yeah, like, namecalling never helped the right, 'n stuff ....

Well, given that it's up to the Democratic party to take those votes away from the GOP, yeah, I'd say pissing off people who are probably going to be in battleground states isn't helpful.

Posted by: Quinn on June 28, 2006 at 10:25 AM | PERMALINK

And the punishment for treason? Getting your press credential revoked! Oooooooooh!

Exactly. If they had a case, they'd bring it. They don't, so they posture in Congress.

As with flagburning, they know their voters are stupid enough to fall for it. Again.
.

Posted by: Grand Moff Texan on June 28, 2006 at 10:27 AM | PERMALINK

That doesn't even pass as debate in the first grade, Irony Man.

Oh, were we debating something, John? I didn't notice. All I see here is caterwauling and name-calling. If my grade-school taunt didn't make it abundantly clear what level this "debate" is being conducted on, hopefully this post will.

Posted by: Irony Man on June 28, 2006 at 10:27 AM | PERMALINK

I'm not the loon equating the President of the United States with the anti-Christ. The only "spittle-flecked" loons I see here are on your side of the aisle.

John, John, John. Calm down. A tetch sensitive, aren't you? You'll do yourself an injury huffing and puffing like that.

Posted by: Stefan on June 28, 2006 at 10:28 AM | PERMALINK

I'd say pissing off people who are probably going to be in battleground states isn't helpful.

I prefer to think of it as voter-suppression.
.

Posted by: Grand Moff Texan on June 28, 2006 at 10:29 AM | PERMALINK

Once again the wingnut commentators shout treason and Bush hatred is the cause of these accounts.

Of course, they have no rational explanation on why all of sudden this should be the case. What is the cause of all of this unprecedented patisan activitity?

The speed at which they breathlessly leap to the conclusion that so many people would risk their careers just to score political points has no basis in reality - none.

How do these wingnuts puport to know the motives of those who disclose information about what are arguable illegal activities? They seem to confuse badly what they see as politically convenient to argue with having an actual basis in reality.

Posted by: Catch22 on June 28, 2006 at 10:30 AM | PERMALINK

Quinn: What does the Anglican Church have to do with the War on Terror?

Now who's being naive? You just don't get the threat to this country from Anglicofascism, do you?

Posted by: Stefan on June 28, 2006 at 10:30 AM | PERMALINK

"Anglicofascism"

C'mon now, everyone knows Episcopalians are going to burn in hell unless they take a long walk on the beach with Billy Graham and are reborn. Sheesh!

Posted by: Quinn on June 28, 2006 at 10:36 AM | PERMALINK

I'm going with two possibilities. (d)The exposure is a White House decision to rally the base for the November elections. Little was exposed that hadn't been exposed before. The White House could encourage some appointees to talk off the record about the operation, feign outrage over the publication of the stories, and send out surrogates to discuss trying the NYT (a conservative bete noir second only to Dan Rather) for treason. There's no qustion that they have their talking points in order this time. It beats having the cable news shows talk about Iraq all summer and immigration was in danger of fizzling as an issue. The alternative is (e)the extenet of this program and its implementation are such that it is clearly illegal and those that are talking to the media are beyond troubled by it.

Posted by: rk on June 28, 2006 at 10:36 AM | PERMALINK

I like Quinn's "concern troll" act. Really, he's not a right-wing troll -- he's just here to help! Listen to him, folks, stop attacking Republicans and retreat into your holes, and soon we'll be on the way to victory!

Posted by: Stefan on June 28, 2006 at 10:36 AM | PERMALINK

John has a point vis-a-vis the NYT seeking to slow it's hemorrhaging readership. He just has it almost exactly wrong.
Given that it's been traditionally considered a liberal publication, they're trying to reconcile with their core readership - aka "liberals" in common parlance.

This is really a problem for them - subscriptions aren't a money maker, but the volume of readers it suggests is, as that is what allows them to set the rates for advertising, which is what actually makes them money.
If they can convince their core readership to return, they won't have to lower the ad rates, which obviously would have a deleterious effect on revenue and attendant impact on stock price.

By tricking the right into a chorus of outrages yelps and public displays of twisted knickers (metaphorically - ewwww ...) they may hope to elicit increased activity on their website and nesstands.
Pretty clever actually.

Posted by: kenga on June 28, 2006 at 10:36 AM | PERMALINK

I like Quinn's "concern troll" act. Really, he's not a right-wing troll -- he's just here to help! Listen to him, folks, stop attacking Republicans and retreat into your holes, and soon we'll be on the way to victory!

Oooo-kay. So anyone here who has a different perspective is a troll? Seriously?

Posted by: Quinn on June 28, 2006 at 10:38 AM | PERMALINK

LOL Quinn -- you are now a wingnut for simply posting the obvious truth: "Bill Keller's defense of the article, claiming that the article was printed without animus towards the current Administration, doesn't really hold water." Good luck with that.

Posted by: John on June 28, 2006 at 10:39 AM | PERMALINK

And after the credentials are revoked, then...it's onto the soft cushions and the COMFY CHAIR!

I tell you, I think Karl has lost his touch. Sure, the true believers huff and puff right on cue, but they just don't have the resonance they once did. It just seems hollow and forced.

Besides, the way I see it, if this whole tempest in a teacup sets the NYT in more clear opposition to the Bush gang, then it would be not a moment too soon. We've still got way too much media suck-up to these goons as it is.

Posted by: Irony Man on June 28, 2006 at 10:40 AM | PERMALINK

Oooo-kay. So anyone here who has a different perspective is a troll? Seriously?

OK, I'll bite. How would you "prevent a continued GOP hold over our government"? Let's hear the substantive prescription.

Posted by: Stefan on June 28, 2006 at 10:41 AM | PERMALINK

So, kenga, I can't tell from your post: you think I'm "right" or "wrong" that this was mostly a publicity stunt by the NYT to boost sagging readership / advertising / stock price?

Posted by: John on June 28, 2006 at 10:43 AM | PERMALINK

So kenga, that's what the previously "most prestigious bastion of journalism" the NYT has been reduced to? Pandering to their minority reader base in an effort to keep ad prices up? Isn't that what the National Enquirer does?

The funny thing is that you are exactly right. The NYT has become a joke.

Posted by: Jay on June 28, 2006 at 10:43 AM | PERMALINK

Where have all the riots gone as the country's motto gets pulverized. "What's in love is now in debt" on your birth certificate. So strike the fucking match to light this fuse. The president is an extortionist and he doesn't even know that you exist. Standing still when its do or die, you better run for your fucking life....

Posted by: American Idiot on June 28, 2006 at 10:48 AM | PERMALINK

And there is your drama queen of the day. The award goes to American Idiot, well done.

Posted by: Jay on June 28, 2006 at 10:51 AM | PERMALINK

It is intuitively obvious to the meanest intelligence of the most casual oberver that this Administration and the mjority are where the treason lies in this country. This Administration, a pack of effluent perfidy, has not been right on a single issue to date, and the only reason they are upset is that their incompetence, illegality, and complete disregard for the law, are out there for the world to see.

Posted by: Leo Belldaere on June 28, 2006 at 10:53 AM | PERMALINK

and the patriot of the day award goes to....jay "defender of freedom"

Posted by: American Idiot on June 28, 2006 at 10:55 AM | PERMALINK

Calling people ignorant rubes isn't helpful, IMO.

that's why i didn't do it.

Posted by: cleek on June 28, 2006 at 10:57 AM | PERMALINK

Psst, hope y'all vote for me for the Most Moronic Troll of the Year Award.

(i, Jay, self-appointed gatekeeper, I)

Posted by: Jay on June 28, 2006 at 10:57 AM | PERMALINK

The problem with this site is that the troll/counter troll debate leads some to characterize any contrary comment as trolling. It seems to me that as little thought goes into the counter trolling posts as goes into the real trolling posts, which is none.

Stefan, in order to understand a position it is often helpful to look at it from all points of view. In order to make an effective argument you have to know your opponent's position better than your opponent. Just because a thought is contra to yours doesn't mean it is illegitmate. Failure to listen to opposing points of view is one of the reasons liberals have had such a difficult time accepting election defeats, and have had an even more difficult time reorganizing and reloading for success.

I am getting to the point that I don't read after about the 20th post. After that point real discussion seems to drop away, replaced by the eternal name calling that is troll/counter troll.

Posted by: Ron Byers on June 28, 2006 at 10:59 AM | PERMALINK

Where have all the riots gone as the country's motto gets pulverized. "What's in love is now in debt" on your birth certificate. So strike the fucking match to light this fuse. The president is an extortionist and he doesn't even know that you exist. Standing still when its do or die, you better run for your fucking life....

As I noted, they USUALLY come out late at night.

Posted by: John on June 28, 2006 at 11:02 AM | PERMALINK

Al: Agree with both Frequency Kenneth, publius, and Down goes Frazier.

Freudian slip Al? Referring to THREE people as BOTH? Al secretly knows that those three handles are only two people (one of them being himself).

Posted by: tripoley on June 28, 2006 at 11:05 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin,

Why do you try to apply logic to the motives of people animated by so much hate? The leakers did not make raional decisions. They saw an opportunity to strike back at the Bush administration and were emboldened by each other to put some action behind their hate.

This totally irrational group decision occurs both on the right and the left when hatred is the primary motive for action.

It does not make sense to try to apply logic to people blinded by their hate.

Posted by: John Hansen on June 28, 2006 at 11:06 AM | PERMALINK

John -
Wrong that it will backfire. You seem to have forgotten who it is they've relied on to read their publication. Or do you really think they use the RNC's mailing lists during subscription drives?

Jay -
Is the NYT a business or not? I don't think Mr Sulzberger regards it as a public service ...
So it should be no surprise that they'd seek to entice their once core readership to pick up the paper again. And if it takes honest journalism to do it, well, I guess they'll do what they have to.

Posted by: kenga on June 28, 2006 at 11:07 AM | PERMALINK

I'm sorry that my comments seemed rather strange, I really am a normal working class family man who has a song stuck in my head which I took the liberty of plagerizing/rewriting to express my thoughts. Overdramatic....yes, guilty as charged.

Posted by: American Idiot on June 28, 2006 at 11:10 AM | PERMALINK

OK, I'll bite. How would you "prevent a continued GOP hold over our government"? Let's hear the substantive prescription.

Find more leadership and prospective candidates outside of the current Senate names (Clinton, Kerry, Biden) to run in '08. I'd really like to see a governor like Richardson or Warner get the nomination.

I think coordinating our message on Iraq would be immensely helpful. I don't know of anywhere else on Earth where a timetable isn't seen as a good thing. Everything has milestones, markers for success. But why did Democrats have to propose two seperate amendments? Propose one bill that sets a timeline for draw downs each year and say that any plan that doesn't have a timeline is doomed to failure. It's not cut and run, it's plain common sense.

I think environmental conservation will get a lot more play in the next few years, and can engender broad support. I also think it's a topic of strength for Democrats, and they should be talking it up with sportsmen crowd. But in return, they should play down gun control, and undercut Republicans on that issue.

There's more but I think that's a pretty good start.

Posted by: Quinn on June 28, 2006 at 11:11 AM | PERMALINK

Your point is sound Kevin, but you also have to figure that some of these unnamed sources must be on orders from the White House, once the White House catches wind of the story, to "balance" the substance of the story should it come out.

So, the White House will try to stifle the story, and, at the same time, in the worst-case scenario that the story comes out, have some unidentified sources of their own in the story spinning their side of it and "balancing" it.

One can imagine that most of those taking the real risks in terms of being unidentified sources are critical about whatever it is they are exposing, and I'll give writers some credit for ferrying out "balancing" unidentified sources, but one would have to imagine that most of these "balancing" unidentified sources are themselves managing to contact the writer, and why would they do so if not already knowing that a story was brewing, and on who's orders take those risks?

Posted by: Jimm on June 28, 2006 at 11:12 AM | PERMALINK


jay: Biased, self important, incompetent....


quoting from jeff gannon's resume?

Posted by: thisspaceavailable on June 28, 2006 at 11:23 AM | PERMALINK

Just because a thought is contra to yours doesn't mean it is illegitmate.

Heresy! Heresy!

Seriously, though, I think you have a good point, but I hardly think it's the case that "Failure to listen to opposing points of view is one of the reasons liberals have had such a difficult time accepting election defeats, and have had an even more difficult time reorganizing and reloading for success."

For one thing, "failure to listen to opposing points of view" is hardly a hallmark of liberalism -- quite the opposite, in fact. The popular perception of liberals is that they're too inclined to listen to every point of view, to waste their time considering every possible angle to the problem.

For another, "failure to listen to opposing points of view" doesn't seem to have hurt conservatives any. They organize away and mobilize their troops, all the while not only failing to listen to opposing points of view, but also branding those opposing points of view as traitorous.

Posted by: Stefan on June 28, 2006 at 11:34 AM | PERMALINK

Hmmmm...The American Prospect has found an interesting angle on this:

I just got off the phone with a spokesperson for the Treasury Department, and she's refusing to explain why Treasury officials didn't demand that the Wall Street Journal hold off on publishing the story about the U.S.'s secret financial surveillance program, the way they demanded it of the New York Times and the L.A. Times.

This is interesting, because Tony Snow said today that the Treasury Department's press office could explain this. But now they're clamming up.

In this story from today's Editor and Publisher, reporter Joe Strupp wrote:

'When asked why the administration had not asked the Wall Street Journal to hold off publication as it had with the other two papers, Snow said he did not know, referring such inquiries to Treasury Department Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs Tony Fratto. (Emphasis added.)
So -- what the heck? -- I called the Treasury Department's public affairs office. When told that Snow explicitly said that the Treasury Department could answer these questions, Treasury spokesperson Molly Millerwise nonetheless declined. Asked why no officials had urged the Journal to hold the story, she said: "I can't speak for what Tony said...I don't want to get into the particulars of any discussions."'

This is key because the administration has apparently decided to focus all of its criticism on the New York Times for publishing the story, even though it appeared in the LA Times and the Journal, too. The question is, If publishing this story was such a danger to national security, as the administration is now claiming, why didn't they urge the Journal to hold off, too? There may be a valid explanation, but for now, neither Treasury nor the White House are saying.

http://www.prospect.org/horsesmouth/2006/06/post_167.html#002977

Posted by: Stefan on June 28, 2006 at 11:37 AM | PERMALINK

Bush is the Treasoner!!

Posted by: Styve on June 28, 2006 at 11:39 AM | PERMALINK

From a Kurtz WaPo story on the subject

Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas, chairman of the Intelligence
Committee, yesterday asked John Negroponte, the national intelligence director, for a damage assessment following the Times story.

Hmmm...That's strange. I don't recall the distinguished gentleman from Kansas requesting a damage assessment when a CIA agent working on non-proliferation efforts was outed? Why is everyone so afraid of the big bad WH? Stand up for yourselves.

Why are Democrats so unimaginative, unresponsive, poll-watching, and unprincipled? Do they stand for anything? Yesterday, you have a bunch of them trying to throw the first amendment down the toilet with a ridiculous amendent to the Constitution, and today we are in the midst of a full court assault on the freedom of the press. This is a perfect opportunity to show the hypocrisy of Republicans and their assault on the bill of rights. But no, they are keeping their powder dry.

Independents see this and say to themselves, "we have two bonehead parties".

From the same article...

For many people, Dalglish said, publishing secret information about a program that appears to be legal is "a risk they're not willing to take." But the "ugly" nature of the debate, she said, is exasperating: "I don't know how much more hate mail and vicious phone calls I can take."

Oh...the horror. What was it that Deborah Howell and Jim Brady, as well as others, said about those unhinged emailers with all of the vitriol?

My message to the press..."You Reap What You Sow"

And the worse part, they will be right back to being stenographers because they don't want it the same assault happen to them.

Where are the journalists who take pride in the Constitution and are not intimidated by these bullies? They are certainly hard to find.

Posted by: justmy2 on June 28, 2006 at 11:42 AM | PERMALINK

Interesting note, Stefan. I think John Hansen's explanation adequately covers the reason for the administration's focus on the NYT, while blithely ignoring the WSJ's publication of the same info:

"Why do you try to apply logic to the motives of people animated by so much hate?"

Posted by: Irony Man on June 28, 2006 at 11:42 AM | PERMALINK

Quinn: There's more but I think that's a pretty good start.

That's just...stunningly reasonable.

Posted by: Stefan on June 28, 2006 at 11:46 AM | PERMALINK

Has anyone stopped to wonder if Bush administration officials leaked this information to encourage terrorists to transfer money using other methods? Methods that the terrorits believe will be safer but which, in fact, are secretly compromised?

This could be a classic disinformation campaign. Can't you see through it?

Posted by: Holdie Lewie on June 28, 2006 at 11:48 AM | PERMALINK

How long until Amy comments on Barack Obama's Democrats are mean to religious people foolishness?

Look, there is a subtle point to be made along those lines--elected Democrats are often too timid in bucking many of their interest groups. These interest groups, while not hostile to religion, act as a counterweight to some of the things Obama is talking about, and that can be fairly unpopular.

But that's not the point Obama is making, he's making the cheap short cut others (like Amy) make all the time. All they do is reinforce right-wing distortions.

Posted by: KevStar on June 28, 2006 at 11:52 AM | PERMALINK

Stalin and Hitler had a lot of enemies inside their own governments too. Rampant paranoia and obsession with secrecy were the natural results. Funny, that.

Posted by: Red on June 28, 2006 at 11:54 AM | PERMALINK
Unfortuately, the CIA and State Department and the Treasury are full of people who are at war with GW Bush.

I don't think its unfortunate that the CIA and State Department are full of people who take their constitutional oath seriously; it is unfortunate that that makes them enemies of the current President.

If only Congress were full of similar people, though, this problem would be corrected rather swiftly.

Posted by: cmdicely on June 28, 2006 at 11:58 AM | PERMALINK

Has EVERY SINGLE ONE of these right-wing Bush-mouthpiece trolls conveniently forgotten that Bush and numerous other members of his administration have been openly talking about this financial-monitoring program literally for years now? If you're going to eviscerate the NYT for blowing the cover on this supposedly super-double-top-secret program, then guess what, you're going to have to save some energy to lambast the Weather Channel for daring to reveal that the sky is blue.

Seriously, is there anything too overblown and non-critical for the right-wing Bush sycophants to immediately launch into a frothing, pants-shitting righteous fury over it? What's next, demanding that all of the "Dirty Harry" movies be banned from TV because the main character, Harry Callahan, has the word "allah" in his name?

Posted by: Doug on June 28, 2006 at 12:11 PM | PERMALINK

Gosh, Kevin, that's an awfully high ratio of trolls to sensible comments; was that the plan?

Trolls, like rust, never sleep.

Posted by: Disputo on June 28, 2006 at 12:16 PM | PERMALINK

Note to Bush-sycophants:

The Founders hoped and expected that a free press would protect democracy by informing the public of gov't malfeasance.

You are busy defending the most egregious clowns ever to occupy the executive branch.

Posted by: obscure on June 28, 2006 at 12:19 PM | PERMALINK

If only Congress were full of similar people, though, this problem would be corrected rather swiftly.

Congress is way too busy with the much more important problem of recapturing their power that has been usurped by the courts....

Posted by: Disputo on June 28, 2006 at 12:19 PM | PERMALINK
Congress is way too busy with the much more important problem of recapturing their power that has been usurped by the courts

Oh, bull; Congress shows little interest in "recapturing" any power, whether from the courts or the executive, spending far more effort—both in terms of the individual actions of members and the collective actions of the two houses—engaging in hollow, mostly or entirely symbolic gestures, to create the illusion of "doing something" than substantively pursuing any of its duties and responsibilities.

Posted by: cmdicely on June 28, 2006 at 12:28 PM | PERMALINK

Department's terrorist finance tracking program says it relied on "nearly 20" former and current government officials


The Bush admin leaked some more info and blamed it on the liberals. I guess now AL or ChickenHawk are gonna tell us all these government officials are all liberals.
There is no secret to data-mining. This SWIFT thing, to me, is but the TIA [Total Information Awareness] split up in pieces and renamed. Big secret? sifting data? nope.

Menwith Hill has been in existence for some time.
www.fas.org/irp/facility/menwith/index.html

And then there is this;

Posted on 03/23/2002 3:55:50 PM PST by Pokey78

RECORDS of Osama Bin Ladens calls from his satellite phone reveal Britain was at the heart of the terrorists planning for his worldwide campaign of murder and destruction.

Bin Laden and his most senior lieutenants made more than 260 calls from their base in Afghanistan to 27 numbers in Britain. They included suspected terrorist agents, sympathisers and companies. Some were prearranged calls to contacts using public pay phones.

The records, obtained by The Sunday Times, show that the terrorist leader made more calls to Britain than any other country in the two years that he used the phone.

He stopped using it two months after members of his Al-Qaeda terror network bombed two American embassies in east Africa in August 1998. He believed that the Americans were tracking his movements through the phone.
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/section/0,,176,00.html

2002

Posted by: Bob Santa on June 28, 2006 at 12:29 PM | PERMALINK

Obscure. Count on these trolls to defend the indefensible -- and to pretend that everyone is with them. Don't they realize they are now completely surrounded by "traitors"?

Posted by: Kenji on June 28, 2006 at 12:30 PM | PERMALINK

justmy2,
I have been asking myself similar questions. This is a classic case of sanctioning the press. The only reason Americans treat this kind of bullying so casually, when they are not active apologists for silencing the press, is a relatively placid political life, unmarred by coup dtat, juntas, and subversive political parties.

A defining feature of democratic liberal society is that the press is not molested or gerrymandered by the political party in power. Is there any precedent in American history where a news organization was targeted and defamed in such a way?

We can only guess as to why the noise machine has been turned on the Times. Certainly it is to make them an example and to deter others from reporting on activities of those in power- may of which are blatantly illegal, most of which are unseemly, paranoid power-grabs by people who are entirely innocent of any notion of liberal government.

The issue is the bank records. If the King of England had the power to rifle through the financial records of his American subjects in say 1770 do you think Thomas Jefferson or Thomas Paine would have embraced this as a right of the sovereign in times of danger?

No, these are wholesale challenges to the liberal tradition. They have more in common with arguments of sovereign power made in Germany in the 1920s (you will be shocked to know how similar, just read the jurist Carl Schmitt), than with the ideas expounded in Philadelphia in Age of Enlightenment.

Posted by: bellumregio on June 28, 2006 at 12:32 PM | PERMALINK

"Wholesale"...ha

Posted by: Alexander Wolfe on June 28, 2006 at 12:38 PM | PERMALINK

How can Republicans control all three branches of government, gloat over the "by any means necessary" way they got and hold power, have a largely ignorant and compliant base, and still crumple into a ball and wail about the hostile environment (the liberal press! traitorous, powerless minority party! Bush bashers!)?

It's confusing. One moment they are triumphalist, then next they are crying like spoiled 3-year-olds. I don't get it.

Posted by: Gaia on June 28, 2006 at 12:40 PM | PERMALINK

At his press conference, Bush was asked about reports that the National Security Agency had conducted electronic surveillance of American citizens without the required court permission. Bush replied: Let me give you an example about my concerns about letting the enemy know what may or may not be happening. In the late 1990s, our government was following Osama bin Laden because he was using a certain type of telephone. And the fact that we were following Osama bin Laden because he was using a certain type of telephone made it into the press as the result of a leak. And guess what happened? Saddam Osama bin Laden changed his behavior. He began to change how he communicated.

This is where I first heard of the "Secret" leak. Duhbya hisself =)

Glenn Kessler wrote three articles for the Washington Post directly after the press conference (on Dec. 20, Dec. 22 and Dec. 23). Kessler recounted the true story of Bin Laden and the case of the missing satellite phone: As it turned out, it had been widely reported as early as 1996 that Bin Laden communicated via a satellite phone; Bin Laden himself admitted as much to a CNN correspondent in 1997.

Thus, according to Kessler, Bushs claim that it was a 1998 news story that caused Bin Laden to turn off his phone was, unequivocally, wrong.

Oh Boy, now the Bush trolls can attack the Washington Post, Bush himself and The Sunday Times!!

wha

Posted by: Bob Santa on June 28, 2006 at 12:43 PM | PERMALINK

Yes John. And WW II was a fight for survival against superior forces. Sheesh.

You ARE in a fight for survival today. You're just too stupid to realize it. You will though, eventually. Hopefully it won't be too late.

Posted by: sportsfan79 on June 28, 2006 at 2:17 PM | PERMALINK

Note to cmd: A trailing elipses is often used to connote irony.

I was specifically referring to Hatch's comments about the flag amendment where he insisted that it was important precisely because Congress had to jealously guard its power lest the courts take it away.

Now there is some irony for ya!

Posted by: Disputo on June 28, 2006 at 2:35 PM | PERMALINK

To all the people posting from the right part of the political spectrum:

The Wall Street Journal, not exactly a liberal publication, also published this same story. Is the WSJ also a traitor? And did the fact that they published the article threaten our security as well?

Posted by: Wolfdaughter on June 28, 2006 at 3:27 PM | PERMALINK

you should all check out www.swift.com which will tell you all you need to know about the program...especially this page http://www.swift.com/index.cfm?item_id=6149

Obviously a clandestine program would need its own website...here's the article from froomkin that points this out...i was able to learn all about swift, without even reading in the new york times or wall street journal...you can too!

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/blog/2006/06/28/BL2006062801268.html

Posted by: ram3 on June 28, 2006 at 3:47 PM | PERMALINK

The prevailing CW on the Right is that the New York Times is a repeat offender, while the WSJ isn't. It's ridiculous, but that's their story and they seem to be sticking with it. It's pretty comical, since the WSJ is taking on no criticism at all.

Posted by: Jimm on June 28, 2006 at 4:22 PM | PERMALINK

Ignore "John"--it's just Charlie. Guess that "vacation" didn't work out too well.

Jimm: The prevailing CW on the Right is that the New York Times is a repeat offender, while the WSJ isn't. It's ridiculous, but that's their story and they seem to be sticking with it. It's pretty comical, since the WSJ is taking on no criticism at all.

That's pretty funny. What, are they still bringing up the Pentagon Papers?

Posted by: shortstop on June 28, 2006 at 4:33 PM | PERMALINK

If we've learned anything in the last three years it's that Joe and Valerie and the rest of the CIA's smart set have the same mentality as that of any Ivy League faculty lounge. Read anything written by Michael Scheuer and tell me you don't get the feeling your looking at the man over there behind the curtain, not the Great Oz you were hoping for.

Posted by: minion of rove on June 28, 2006 at 5:21 PM | PERMALINK

The prevailing CW on the Right is that the New York Times is a repeat offender, while the WSJ isn't.

Wisdom. Heh.

Anyway, funny how they make an exception for a "first-time" traitor. IOKIYAR.

Posted by: Irony Man on June 28, 2006 at 7:50 PM | PERMALINK

There's no exception for "first time" traitors. If the Wall Street Journal had been the entity to commit treason, I would call for their heads too. But, once the New York Times committed the treason, how can the the L.A. Times or the Wall Street Journal be tried for any of the same overt acts (unless there's some evidence of a conspiracy among 2 or 3 of them)? That's like putting someone on trial for murder of a dead body. And, this is not like the Pentagon Papers which "carries a heavy burden of showing justification for the imposition of such a [prior] restraint." If the acts were treason, plain and simple under Article III, section 3 of the U.S. Constitution, it can now be tried as such.

Posted by: Doug on June 28, 2006 at 8:42 PM | PERMALINK

could be that these whistleblowers are as worried as I am about the constant incursions on our privacy in the futile quest for "turrists". We didn't give up our liberties fighting the Nazis, and no one, no one is going to convince me a disorganized group of malcontents are as dangerous as the Nazis.

Bush has managed to snow a lot of people with this idea that terrorism is worse than anything else. But I think we're coming back to sanity.

Posted by: paper on June 28, 2006 at 9:00 PM | PERMALINK

paper:

Plenty of Japanese-Americans gave up their liberties during that particular fight. You would be correct, however, that Bush has not gone that far (yet).

Posted by: Doug on June 28, 2006 at 9:15 PM | PERMALINK

Some still suspect FDR's own Vice President Henry Wallace of being a Soviet spy.

Posted by: Doug on June 28, 2006 at 10:41 PM | PERMALINK

There's no exception for "first time" traitors.

Apparently there is - your wild contortions in trying to forgive WSJ for doing the same thing that the NYT did is strong evidence of that.

Unless of course, what the NYT did doesn't actually amount to treason. Hmmmmmm.

Posted by: Irony Man on June 29, 2006 at 9:32 AM | PERMALINK

Speaking as someone of the Senior persuasion, the years have brought me the wisdom that the Press sometimes does embellish, distort, politicize, fib, misrepresent, deceive, leak, smear, mislead, pander ........Oh my! Please excuse my Senior moment, I forgot who I was writing about, the Press or our political leaders!

Posted by: AluminumKen on June 29, 2006 at 2:06 PM | PERMALINK

There frigging source on this could just have well been Google and the Whitehouse.gov web site.

Try suring to:

http://www.swift.com/

It is right there for all to see!

Dumb asses spouting traitor accustions over this false issue.

The President announced our intention to pursue financial markets and source years ago, it is published on the Whitehouse web site and coutless new stories for years, and the orgnaization "revealed" in the NYT story has a public web site.

Get over it!

Posted by: Spunky on June 29, 2006 at 4:45 PM | PERMALINK

You ARE in a fight for survival today.

That's right! And that's why, in your daily fight for survival, the President has asked all of us to fulfill our duties as good citizens like they did in WWII and KEEP SHOPPING!

I mean, that's what they do in all wars, right?

Posted by: Irony Man on June 29, 2006 at 5:00 PM | PERMALINK

Spunky:

The CIA has a public Web site too -- you don't think it was O.K. to out Valerie Plame, do you?

Posted by: Doug on June 29, 2006 at 7:31 PM | PERMALINK

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Posted by: hi on July 1, 2006 at 1:54 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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