Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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June 29, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

THE NYT AND NATIONAL SECURITY....ANOTHER VIEW....Here's another take on whether the New York Times damaged national security by exposing the Treasury Department's terror finance tracking program. In The One Percent Doctrine, Ron Suskind spends a lot of time describing the way U.S. intelligence tracked global money flows after 9/11, including accounts of the cooperation they got from Western Union (wire transfers), First Data Corporation (credit card records), and the takeover of a "money store" in Pakistan. He doesn't mention the SWIFT program specifically, but he makes it clear that U.S. teams had their fingers in a lot of financial pies and had a considerable amount of success with it.

But only for a while:

In the closing months of 2003...the carefully constructed global network of sigint and what can be called finint, or financial intelligence, started to go quiet.

In short, al Qaeda, and its affiliates and imitators, stopped leaving electronic footprints. It started slowly, but then became distinct and clear, a definable trend. They were going underground.

...."We were surprised it took them so long," said one senior intelligence official. "But the lesson here is that with an adaptable, patient enemy, a victory sometimes creates the next set of challenges. In this case, we did some things that worked very well, and they started to evolve."

Or devolve. The al Qaeda playbook, employed by what was left of the network, its affiliates and imitators, started to stress the necessity of using couriers to carry cash and hand-delivered letters. This slowed the pace of operations, if not their scale, and that was, indeed, a victory.

By the beginning of 2004, Suskind says, the finint operation was in a "state of increasing obsolescence." The money store had closed down, the Palestinians had gotten wise to Western Union, and the "matrix," as he calls the overall finint operation, was becoming less and less effective.

Take this for what it's worth. But if Suskind is right, the SWIFT program probably hasn't been producing much actionable intelligence for over two years. NYT editor Bill Keller claims that government efforts to prevent exposure of the program were "half hearted," and if he's right, maybe this is the reason. Maybe it had outlived its usefulness long before the Times discovered it.

Kevin Drum 1:06 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (124)

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Comments

"NYT editor Bill Keller claims that government efforts to prevent publication of the story were "half hearted," and if he's right, maybe this is the reason. Maybe the program had outlived its usefulness long before the Times even discovered it."

And now the Bush Adminstration and all their knee-jerk cronies (think Rich Lowry) have this huge issue to get all uppity about. I was wondering if they have given any evidence or made any claims to actual numbers of suspected terrorists who have been stopped/captured/killed/imprisoned because of information found in the SWIFT program.

Posted by: Lamonte on June 29, 2006 at 1:12 PM | PERMALINK

Thank God there isn't a 1% chance that "Global Warming" will cause any death or suffering!

Posted by: Freedom Phukher on June 29, 2006 at 1:12 PM | PERMALINK

But if Suskind is right, the SWIFT program probably hasn't been producing much actionable intelligence for over two years.

You're wrong Kevin. As George W Bush said

Link

"It's tough enough to fight the terrorists -- we shouldn't have to worry about news organizations revealing important information that makes it more important."

""There can be no excuse for anyone entrusted with vital intelligence to leak it, and no excuse for any newspaper to print it."

Unlike you and liberal reporter Ron Suskind, Bush has first hand knowledge of the benefits of SWIFT and says terrorists are detected over and over again using SWIFT. Why should we believe your and Suskind's words over the words of our Commander-in-Chief in the War on Terrorism?

Posted by: Al on June 29, 2006 at 1:14 PM | PERMALINK

This lends much credence to the theory that this was a deliberate leak designed to create exactly the kind of anti-liberal press hysteria that the Bushistas wanted in an election year.

Posted by: nut on June 29, 2006 at 1:16 PM | PERMALINK

Again, we have one fuzzy recollection of the request being "half-hearted" on the other side we know the SecTreasury, Co-chairs of the 911 commission, etc, etc, etc, begged them not to endulge their urge to be naughty at the expense of American security. C'mon Kevin, I can tell you know this was wrong but you're unwilling to violate the party line by admitting it. I think you'd have a lot more credibility if you would just admit that Keller screwed the pooch on this one.

Posted by: minion of rove on June 29, 2006 at 1:17 PM | PERMALINK

Look, let's clarify the issues here. There are several separate ones:

1) Was the SWIFT surveillance program effective at tracking financiall flows that were related to the bad guys? Maybe so, maybe not.

2) Was the SWIFT program legal?

3) Was the SWIFT program a classified intelligence operation?

4) Did the NYT, as well as the LA Times and the WSJ, blow the lid on a classified program, legal or not, effective or not?

My worry is that by defending the Times over this issue, we liberals may end up lowering ourselves to the level of the traitors who blew Plame's cover.

Posted by: Wonderin on June 29, 2006 at 1:17 PM | PERMALINK

the WH was probably pleased that Keller ran the story. Gives them ammo and takes the message away from Iraq and back to liberal pinkos and the war on terra

Posted by: andy on June 29, 2006 at 1:17 PM | PERMALINK

note to self: kill Ron Suskind in addition to Bill Keller. Let G-d sort 'em out!

Posted by: scott on June 29, 2006 at 1:19 PM | PERMALINK

wonderin
probably legal in the US. SWIFT cooperation probably illegal in Europe. And why on earth has Tony Snow never heard of SWIFT?

Posted by: andy on June 29, 2006 at 1:20 PM | PERMALINK

This lends much credence to the theory that this was a deliberate leak designed to create exactly the kind of anti-liberal press hysteria that the Bushistas wanted in an election year.

Don't forget to put on your tin-foil hat, or else the martians can read your brain waves...

Posted by: sportsfan79 on June 29, 2006 at 1:25 PM | PERMALINK

In addition to those mentioned by wonderin, there's another issue in play, to wit:

5) What's the character of the NYT like? Are they willing to sacrifice national security...(...to get the story, to harm Bush, etc.)

Even if the program had become ineffectual, we'd have to know whether the NYT knew that in order to answer this question. If they *thought* it was important but released the story anyway, that's one thing, if they knew it was no longer effective when they released the story, that's another.

I admit this issue is rather less important than the others, but this is the issue the folks on the right seem most interested in.

Posted by: Winston Smith on June 29, 2006 at 1:27 PM | PERMALINK

Last week it was the North Koreans blowin us up with their vast nukulear arsenal.

This week it was the librul NYT committing treason.

Tune in next week, same batty time, same batty channel

Posted by: Pierre Asciutto on June 29, 2006 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

With any luck, al Quaeda will be able to come back above-ground now. I only hope that the next time they destroy a building, it has more reporters and writers and fewer investment bankers in it.

Posted by: sean on June 29, 2006 at 1:30 PM | PERMALINK

Good points, Wonderin and Winston Smith. Is there ANY treason the NYT will "not" commit?

Posted by: Doug on June 29, 2006 at 1:35 PM | PERMALINK

This is just another case of yelling thief when you get caught with your hand in someone else's pocket

Posted by: nutty little nut nut on June 29, 2006 at 1:35 PM | PERMALINK

Al asks:
"Why should we believe your and Suskind's words over the words of our Commander-in-Chief in the War on Terrorism?"

Because your Master and Commander's a liar, that's why.

Posted by: Needles on June 29, 2006 at 1:36 PM | PERMALINK

"I only hope that the next time they destroy a building, it has more reporters and writers and fewer investment bankers in it."

"note to self: kill Ron Suskind in addition to Bill Keller. Let G-d sort 'em out!"

Just as long as they get to kill someone the blind followers are just giddy.

Posted by: nutty little nut nut on June 29, 2006 at 1:39 PM | PERMALINK

Let's see, Dear Leader openly ignores laws in violation of the Constitution, check.

Torturing detainees who haven't been charged, check

Threatening to jail reporters and newspaper editors, check.

Boy I am so glad we are fighting the war on terror to make our country like the ones we are supposedly fighting against.

Posted by: Black Jeter on June 29, 2006 at 1:41 PM | PERMALINK

the WH was probably pleased that Keller ran the story. Gives them ammo and takes the message away from Iraq and back to liberal pinkos and the war on terra

And they're completely insulated from defending the country now. If, God forbid, there's another terrorist attack, the White House and its slavering lapdogs will have someone to blame: The New York Times.

Posted by: Boots Day on June 29, 2006 at 1:44 PM | PERMALINK

As usual, the NYT gets singled out by the normal right wing losers and the WSJ and LA Times? They ran the same damn story, but nary a peep from the red faced blowhards. Imagine that. No calls to jail the editors of WSJ? Shocked, I tell you!

You can tell the administration has nothing left in their bag when they start yelling about the NYT and how much less safe they have made us.

If anyone has made us less safe, it's Bush and his team for ignoring the 9/11 panels recommendations. but we all know they don't make mistakes ever and if they do, it's Howard Deans or Pelosi or Hillary's fault.

What bizarre projection.

Posted by: Black Jeter on June 29, 2006 at 1:46 PM | PERMALINK

A basic, undergraduate-type text about money laundering is Money Laundering: A Guide for Criminal Investigators , by Madinger and Zalopany.

It mentions SWIFT as a money laundering tool.

It doesn't take a whole lot of brains to figure out that NSA probably has the capability to monitor SWIFT as well as other electronic forms of money laundering.

Therefore, if you are going to engage in the sort of activity that would provoke NSA monitoring, you would be well advised to other money laundering methods. ( By analogy, the NSA would have difficulty tracking carrier pigeons. )

Such methods do exist. In South and Central Asia, for over a thousand years, a form of money transfer known as hawala or hundi has been practiced. It relies upon informal, tightly knit social networks. Money launders do use this. Gold, diamonds, and other precious items also can be used.

Posted by: Thinker on June 29, 2006 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK

This reminds me of a minor point in some old Heinlein science fiction story, the government tries to outlaw cash so it can track all financial transactions. The Supreme Court finally rules that cash is legal because there might be legal purchases made on the black market. For some reason, I was not satisfied with that logic.

Posted by: charlie don't surf on June 29, 2006 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

The book quotation would not be a suggestion the program is or was ineffective, it would suggest the program became effective in interdicting the easiest and most cost-effective means of transfering money.

While intelligence value doubtless fell off, continued interdiction is hardly an ineffective or even trivial thing.

It does emphasize that the wailing on about this from both sides is entirely in the realm of cheap political theatrics.

Posted by: The Lounsbury on June 29, 2006 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

Good points, Wonderin and Winston Smith. Is there ANY treason the NYT will "not" commit?
Posted by: Doug on June 29, 2006 at 1:35 PM

Crawl back under your rock, Doug. A corollary of my point is that the right wing is chock full of people like you who see no problem with treason (e.g., outing an undercover CIA agent), as long as it's your guys who do the deed...

Posted by: Wonderin on June 29, 2006 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

How interesting. Death threats from the usual right-wing nutjobs toward reporters and the NYT, but nary a word about finding out who in the government even leaked this info to the Times in the first place. Apparently that's irrelevant, as long as they get to take potshots at their usual bugaboo.

Is it any wonder I can't take this issue seriously? It has all the earmarks of a typical GOP election-year ploy to whip up their base into a spittle-flecked frenzy, all over nothing.

Posted by: Irony Man on June 29, 2006 at 1:57 PM | PERMALINK

I hear the NY Times is going to run a story on how the Bush administration is looking out for people carrying weapons at airports. Those bastards! Why do they hate America?

Posted by: nutty little nut nut on June 29, 2006 at 1:57 PM | PERMALINK

(Don't read comments a lot - is this Al person a real troll or a fake troll?)

Al, honey, if you believe something just because George Bush says it, you have a far worse problem than terrorism to deal with.

Posted by: Betagirl on June 29, 2006 at 1:58 PM | PERMALINK

Al, honey, if you believe something just because George Bush says it, you have a far worse problem than terrorism to deal with.

Betagirl, honey, if you DISbelieve something just because George Bush says it, you have a far worse problem than terrorism to deal with.

Posted by: sportsfan79 on June 29, 2006 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

Wow, so nice to meet you too, Wonderin. Can't take a compliment very well, can you? For the record, ANY treason (regardless of party affiliation) should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. I "thought" that's where you were headed.

Posted by: Doug on June 29, 2006 at 2:09 PM | PERMALINK

Lounsbury:

agreeing with what you stated -- but doesn't this raise the issue (which I've stated before) that the specific exposure of the use of SWIFT raises the risk of EU entities shutting down this program...thus causing potential future harm?

(agreed that interdiction of large-scale funding is the positive that every asshole demanding names of terrorists captured through Swift is missing -- even though al-quaeda undoubtedly now uses other means of transferring funds, those means are also less effective and much smaller-scale)

Posted by: Nathan on June 29, 2006 at 2:11 PM | PERMALINK

Talk about your imaginary crisis. As Glenn Greenwald has been documenting, there is no there there. From the Boston Globe:

But a search of public records -- government documents posted on the Internet, congressional testimony, guidelines for bank examiners, and even an executive order President Bush signed in September 2001 -- describe how US authorities have openly sought new tools to track terrorist financing since 2001. That includes getting access to information about terrorist-linked wire transfers and other transactions, including those that travel through SWIFT.

"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."

Indeed, a report that [former State Department official Victor] 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.

You can't "leak" information that was already public knowledge and easily available to anybody, and given that this information has been publicly available online for years, I don't see why people (specificually you, Kevin) keep discussing the GOP version of the story as if it were based on facts.

Posted by: rickenharp on June 29, 2006 at 2:12 PM | PERMALINK

How disingenuous of you, Doug. Read your sentence again:

"Is there ANY treason the NYT will "not" commit?"

Why not describe precisely what you meant by that?

Posted by: Wonderin on June 29, 2006 at 2:15 PM | PERMALINK

rickenharp:

I commented on the 2002 UN Security Council Report in the comments section here before that Greenwald guy documented everything (here's a little hint: Comras writes for the counterterrorism blog (which no one here would ever read because the commentary there doesn't relate to politics and doesn't correspond easily with either of the standard right or left narratives) and mentioned it himself the day the Times Story came out).

The distinction between that report and the Times story was in the level of detail -- put it this way, no one in Europe was in an uproar back then...and people here that have legal concerns weren't raising them before the Times story...so maybe that information wasn't as readily available as you pretend.

Posted by: Nathan on June 29, 2006 at 2:18 PM | PERMALINK

"Bush has first hand knowledge..."

Since when?
They keep Ol' Numbnuts outta the loop so he doesn't give things away mid-ramble.

sportsfan79 - What problem?

Doug - No Treason here, move along nothing to see.

Posted by: Pierre Asciutto on June 29, 2006 at 2:19 PM | PERMALINK

People can try to make excuses all day long for the New York Times. But they stepped way off the cliff with this one.

Posted by: wapo on June 29, 2006 at 2:22 PM | PERMALINK

wapo wrote:
People can try to make excuses all day long for the New York Times. But they stepped way off the cliff with this one.

Don't know what your politics are, but that was a sensible post.

Posted by: sportsfan79 on June 29, 2006 at 2:25 PM | PERMALINK

Nathan

You don't have to take my word for it. Read the quote from the Globe article. Even Roger Cressey, who was Senior White House counterterrorism official when the White House originally leaked this information says there's no substance to these allegations, specifically: "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."

Hell, if the White House and the GOP really believed the line they were selling they would have gone after the Wall Street Journal and the LA Times the same way they did after the NY Times. The fact that they didn't tells me this is all politics and no substance.

Posted by: rickenharp on June 29, 2006 at 2:26 PM | PERMALINK

... if you DISbelieve something just because George Bush says it, you have a far worse problem than terrorism to deal with.

There is a perfectly rational and mathematically sound basis for discounting the veracity of the statements by a person whose assertions have been proven to be false in the past.

Conversely, it is foolish to believe such a person.

Posted by: nut on June 29, 2006 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK

Don't know what your politics are, but that was a sensible post.
Posted by: sportsfan79

Why don't you trolls answer the question. If this story was so damaging to national security, why is NYT being scapegoated? Why not the LA Times? Why not the Wall St. Journal???

Posted by: MeLoseBrain? on June 29, 2006 at 2:32 PM | PERMALINK

SWIFT has a web page (www.swift.com) that clearly states that SWIFT cooperates with international law enforcement.

I wonder if this offends Dick Cheney or Dubya ?

Posted by: Stephen on June 29, 2006 at 2:35 PM | PERMALINK

Re Nathan's comment:

but doesn't this raise the issue (which I've stated before) that the specific exposure of the use of SWIFT raises the risk of EU entities shutting down this program...thus causing potential future harm?

It does. I believe I mentioned this earlier in the other thread, and made some comment at my Lounsbury whanking on bloggy thing along those lines.

The EU and Belgian authorities reaction, while comical in that Claude Raine-esque manner of "I'm shocked," might result in some restriction on the matter.

I suspect not. EU commissions will study, and we'll all get back down to doing business in a few weeks.

Posted by: The Lounsbury on June 29, 2006 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

melosebrain and rickenharp:

um, they have? GW and others in the administration have attacked "newspapers"....
general attention has been focussed on the NY Times because its story was far more detailed than the others (and those stories may not have ran if the NY Times story wasn't running -- remember when USA Today didn't run its Rather memos story until CBS had ran its...because USA Today wasn't sure of their veracity?)

Posted by: Nathan on June 29, 2006 at 2:42 PM | PERMALINK

Dan Froomkin documents just how shadowy and underground an operation SWIFT was:

When asked to back up the White House accusation that a recent New York Times story put American lives at risk by disclosing vital secrets to terrorists, the best press secretary Tony Snow could do yesterday was this: "I am absolutely sure they didn't know about SWIFT."

SWIFT, the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, is the international banking cooperative that quietly allowed the Treasury Department and the CIA to examine hundreds of thousands of private banking records from around the world.

But the existence of SWIFT itself has not exactly been a secret. Certainly not to anyone who had an Internet connection.

SWIFT has a Web site, at swift.com.

It's a very informative Web site. For instance, this page describes how "SWIFT has a history of cooperating in good faith with authorities such as central banks, treasury departments, law enforcement agencies and appropriate international organisations, such as the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), in their efforts to combat abuse of the financial system for illegal activities."

(And yes, FATF has its own Web site, too.)

An e-mail from White House Briefing reader Tim O'Keefe tipped me off to just how nutty it is to suggest that SWIFT keeps a low profile. Among other things, he explained, "SWIFT also happens to put on the largest financial services trade show in the world every year," he wrote. "Swift also puts out a lovely magazine."

Furthermore, as I noted in Monday's column , it has been my personal experience that your garden-variety wire-transfer form mentions SWIFT. Mine warned: "With respect to payment orders executed through SWIFT, the SWIFT operating rules shall govern the payment orders."

.....

The question came up again in yesterday's press briefing , and Snow -- as he did on Friday -- cited SWIFT as Exhibit A. There was no Exhibit B.

....

Q: Let me ask a follow up. Are you saying that the financial experts in the terrorist ranks would not know about an organization that works for 7,800 different financial institutions in 200 countries?

MR. SNOW: I'm saying, yes. I think that a lot of people didn't know about the existence of Swift.

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

And there's your comedy for the day, folks....

Posted by: Stefan on June 29, 2006 at 2:42 PM | PERMALINK

Al teabagged me . . . uh, I mean, nailed me! I mean it! Nailed it!

Posted by: American Hawk on June 29, 2006 at 2:43 PM | PERMALINK

"You're wrong Kevin. As George W Bush said ..."

How to get someone to stop reading.

If George W. Bush says something, the safe bet is that he's LYING.

Posted by: Cal Gal on June 29, 2006 at 2:45 PM | PERMALINK

Lounsberry:

that's my point and I hope you're right.

Stefan: yes or no, were you aware of SWIFT and what it did and what information it might have before the story broke?

oh, and btw, read the original NY Times story, it indicates that no one in the CIA was aware of the extent of SWIFT's data collection...

methinks Snow might have been correct...

Posted by: Nathan on June 29, 2006 at 2:46 PM | PERMALINK

Sportsfan79,

You can't even come up with an original thought to post? You are pathetic.

Posted by: Betagirl on June 29, 2006 at 2:47 PM | PERMALINK

oh, and its nice that SWIFT has a website...uh...duh.

now how would you know to check out SWIFT's website if you uh didn't already know what SWIFT was and what it does?

Posted by: Nathan on June 29, 2006 at 2:47 PM | PERMALINK

Further to this question, by Nathan:
The distinction between that report and the Times story was in the level of detail -- put it this way, no one in Europe was in an uproar back then...and people here that have legal concerns weren't raising them before the Times story...so maybe that information wasn't as readily available as you pretend.

The level of detial in the NYT report isn't terribly profound for anyone with even a modicum of international transactions exposure, the issue is purely political theater.

Now, political theater is important. The issue of EU reaction is important - not that the information was not available, but rather the information became part of the political theater of the moment. It has become a "problem" and ergo it is a problem.

Does that mean the NYT should not have published? Well, if one says yes, then one has a bit of an issue with liberal (I mean in the classical sense not US Left sense) society.

Posted by: The Lounsbury on June 29, 2006 at 2:47 PM | PERMALINK

1) Was the SWIFT surveillance program effective at tracking financiall flows that were related to the bad guys? Maybe so, maybe not.

It was probably effective at tracking some, but not all, financial information.

2) Was the SWIFT program legal?

Probably legal under US law, probably illegal under EU law, yes or no depending on the individual data privacy laws of the individual European nations effected.

3) Was the SWIFT program a classified intelligence operation?

No. If Bush regime officials are giving speeches bragging about it then it's no longer classified, if it had ever been.

4) Did the NYT, as well as the LA Times and the WSJ, blow the lid on a classified program, legal or not, effective or not?

Since it wasn't classified, no.

Posted by: Stefan on June 29, 2006 at 2:48 PM | PERMALINK

Nathan

I don't see any GOP bills to investigate the LA Times or Wall Street Journal, or, for that matter, calling for the "gas chamber" or imprisonment for anybody NOT at the NYT over this story.

Throw in Tony Snow's Dumb & Dumber impersonation (as documented by Stefan above), and this has all the hallmarks of political farce.

Posted by: rickenharp on June 29, 2006 at 2:51 PM | PERMALINK

By the way, the comment by Victor Comras at the Counter Terrorism Blog is easily the best and most useful with respect to a brief overview comment on the actual particulars. His comment re the quality of information collected goes to the heart of the actual utility.

Posted by: The Lounsbury on June 29, 2006 at 2:52 PM | PERMALINK

Stefan: yes or no, were you aware of SWIFT and what it did and what information it might have before the story broke?

I'm a corporate transactional lawyer who's lived and worked in Europe and who advises financial institutions on cross-border transactions that routinely involve the transfer of multiple millions of dollars. Gosh, you think I've heard of SWIFT?

Posted by: Stefan on June 29, 2006 at 2:52 PM | PERMALINK

"The level of detial in the NYT report isn't terribly profound for anyone with even a modicum of international transactions exposure"

I don't dispute that...though that universe is smaller than one might suppose...I live in Manhattan, know plenty of people in the finance industry and have worked in litigation relating to international finance myself...and I wasn't specifically aware of SWIFT...

but I wonder how many financier types in al-quaeda are left? and even leaving the pros aside...as we saw with 7/7, amateurs can do a lot of damage...

"Does that mean the NYT should not have published? Well, if one says yes, then one has a bit of an issue with liberal (I mean in the classical sense not US Left sense) society."

I don't see this. One has an issue if one is calling for government restraint of the press. if one is calling simply for the NY Times to voluntarily exercise good citizenship...I don't see the problem.

Posted by: Nathan on June 29, 2006 at 2:53 PM | PERMALINK

Stefan:
fair enough...you would know (my work comes from when you guys fuck up ;)). you're not exactly most people, even otherwise informed people.

as for classification -- details of the program were almost certainly classified...and prior public disclosure of SWIFT's cooperation hardly means that specific information in the Times article may not have been classified.

Posted by: Nathan on June 29, 2006 at 2:57 PM | PERMALINK

Nathan: oh, and its nice that SWIFT has a website...uh...duh.

now how would you know to check out SWIFT's website if you uh didn't already know what SWIFT was and what it does?

Well, I dunno, maybe because you've made a wire transfer before and it mentions SWIFT on the form? Or perhaps you seen the magazine they put out titled Dialogue?


    Furthermore, as I noted in Monday's column , it has been my personal experience that your garden-variety wire-transfer form mentions SWIFT. Mine warned: "With respect to payment orders executed through SWIFT, the SWIFT operating rules shall govern the payment orders."

When Lounsbury said above, "even a modicum of international transactions exposure", he really wasn't kidding.


    Posted by: cyntax on June 29, 2006 at 2:57 PM | PERMALINK

    This is getting to be quite funny.

    Now they are claiming that the damage done by NYT amounted to the revelation of a public fact (existence of SWIFT) of which not everyone was aware.

    I say hang Bill Keller for this treacherous transgression.

    Posted by: nut on June 29, 2006 at 2:58 PM | PERMALINK

    cyntax:

    do you really google every name on every written instrument that you run across? does anyone? I call bullshit.

    Posted by: Nathan on June 29, 2006 at 2:58 PM | PERMALINK

    now how would you know to check out SWIFT's website if you uh didn't already know what SWIFT was and what it does?

    If you were a money launderer used to working with wire transfers and had the slightest modicum of financial expertise beyond the level of a grade schooler, how on earth could you not know of SWIFT?

    That's like claiming that there are Colombian drug traffickers who don't know what the DEA is, or that there are Al Qaeda men who've never heard of the CIA (though, considering how effective the CIA has been, that may not be the best example....)

    Posted by: Stefan on June 29, 2006 at 3:00 PM | PERMALINK

    And finally:
    tefan: yes or no, were you aware of SWIFT and what it did and what information it might have before the story broke?

    .....

    methinks Snow might have been correct...

    You think wrong then. In the US it seems likely many are not aware of SWIFT simply because wires are less commonly used there, relatively speaking, although certainly in immigrant communities they are.

    No one who has had the slightest exposure to international transfers, either as an end user or in the industry would be the least bit surprised. The immense official push by US authorities to have more stringent "Know Your Customer" (bank collection of information on the orderer/client) rules and application rather made it clear they want to extract more data.

    The idea that this was beyond the ken of al-Qaeda money launderers or others is pure American provincialism.

    Posted by: The Lounsbury on June 29, 2006 at 3:03 PM | PERMALINK

    now how would you know to check out SWIFT's website if you uh didn't already know what SWIFT was and what it does?

    Yeah, and the bloody NYT treasonous traitors exposed the secret SWIFT program without even referring to SWIFT's public website and its description of how they cooperate with international law enforcement! It was a non-secret secret until the NYT exposed it, after which it became a secret secret.

    Hmm, maybe we should give Keller a Congressional Medal of Freedom for managing to classify the SWIFT observation program in spite of its previous public status?

    I

    Posted by: dbostrom on June 29, 2006 at 3:04 PM | PERMALINK

    cyntax:

    do you really google every name on every written instrument that you run across? does anyone? I call bullshit.

    Call bullshit all you want. The info has been out there and just because you were unaware of it doesn't change the public nature of the information.

    Posted by: cyntax on June 29, 2006 at 3:04 PM | PERMALINK

    The Central Intelligence Agency has a Web site too - someone call Scooter Libby's defense team!

    Posted by: Doug on June 29, 2006 at 3:05 PM | PERMALINK

    fair enough...you would know (my work comes from when you guys fuck up ;)).

    Except I've never fucked up.

    you're not exactly most people, even otherwise informed people.

    Yeah, so besides me and the millions of other people in hundreds of countries who work in the financial industry, SWIFT is an impenetrable secret.

    Besides, neither are money launderers for international terrorist organizations and criminal cartels "most people." Are we really meant to believe that people who make their living moving money around the globe undetected have never heard of SWIFT? People who, if they make a mistake, can expect to be killed rather unpleasantly by their clients? Really? Is this even supposed to pass the laugh test?


    Posted by: Stefan on June 29, 2006 at 3:06 PM | PERMALINK

    The fact that Plame worked at CIA was out there too - just because you were unaware of it doesn't change the public nature of the information - someone call Scooter Libby's defense team!

    Posted by: Doug on June 29, 2006 at 3:07 PM | PERMALINK

    Ahem

    do you really google every name on every written instrument that you run across? does anyone? I call bullshit.

    Don't be a motherfucking drooling idiot of a stupid provincial git, and let me say again, anyone with a modicum of expsore to international transfers, as client or in sector, knows SWIFT: one has to provide proper SWIFT codes for your receiptient, one has to respond to certain basic international KYC rules in all GAFC compliant jurisdictions - it's fucking bloody basic you whinging git.

    Bloody hell, one can reasonably question whether the article may not have an impact on the bloody program due to political blow back, but whanking on in provincial ignorance trying to convince yourself that your staggeringly incompetent Treasury Secretary has made something even vaguely approaching a reasonable comment is pure idiocy.

    Wires are part and parcel of the immigrant communities in Europe (where, e.g. the 11 Sep hijackers had some exposure, in Hamburg) - as are attendant KYC rules and the like.

    Posted by: The Lounsbury on June 29, 2006 at 3:08 PM | PERMALINK

    Doug: The fact that Plame worked at CIA was out there too - just because you were unaware of it doesn't change the public nature of the information - someone call Scooter Libby's defense team!

    Look the Clenis!

    Posted by: cyntax on June 29, 2006 at 3:09 PM | PERMALINK

    Dick Cheney also "carefully weighed the Administrations arguments for withholding the information" about Plame and gave them "the most serious and respectful consideration" - someone call Scooter Libby's defense team - seriously, you guys should demand a retainer from them.

    Posted by: Doug on June 29, 2006 at 3:13 PM | PERMALINK

    Really, cyntax - if Valerie Plame's indentity was less important viz. national security, why do you think pointing out the hypocrisy would be unwarranted. As for the government's "half-hearted" attempts to prevent the publication of SWIFT info, see this story By JUSTIN BACHMAN, AP Business Writer

    ". . . Administration officials were concerned that news reports of the program would diminish its effectiveness and could harm overall national security.

    Its a tough call; it was not a decision made lightly, said Doyle McManus, the Los Angeles Times Washington bureau chief. The key issue here is whether the government has shown that there are adequate safeguards in these programs to give American citizens confidence that information that should remain private is being protected.

    Treasury Department officials spent 90 minutes Thursday meeting with the newspapers reporters, stressing the legality of the program and urging the paper to not publish a story on the program, McManus said in a telephone interview.

    They were quite vigorous, they were quite energetic. They made a very strong case, he said."

    Posted by: Doug on June 29, 2006 at 3:19 PM | PERMALINK

    Lounsberry:

    oops, I thought he was quoting the other Snow (not the Tres. Sec.!)

    Posted by: Nathan on June 29, 2006 at 3:20 PM | PERMALINK

    If George W. Bush says something, the safe bet is that he's LYING.

    Or mispronouncing it.

    Posted by: Irony Man on June 29, 2006 at 3:22 PM | PERMALINK

    "Besides, neither are money launderers for international terrorist organizations and criminal cartels "most people." Are we really meant to believe that people who make their living moving money around the globe undetected have never heard of SWIFT? People who, if they make a mistake, can expect to be killed rather unpleasantly by their clients? Really? Is this even supposed to pass the laugh test?"

    no. I would expect them to know. but like I said, what about the amateurs..the 7/7 types?
    they can make mistakes that the pros weren't after 2002 or so.

    Posted by: Nathan on June 29, 2006 at 3:22 PM | PERMALINK

    OT

    Look what Condi said today:
    The problem is you have a terrorist insurgent population that is wreaking havoc on a hapless Iraqi civilian population.."

    And here I thought things were getting better & better in Iraq.
    Condi must be reading the Librul media again.
    Either that or she hates America.

    Posted by: Pierre Asciutto on June 29, 2006 at 3:25 PM | PERMALINK

    "That's like claiming that there are Colombian drug traffickers who don't know what the DEA is, or that there are Al Qaeda men who've never heard of the CIA (though, considering how effective the CIA has been, that may not be the best example....)"

    for an international money launderer..sure.
    but my point was that I didn't understand what the existence of SWIFT's website was supposed to prove....

    Posted by: Nathan on June 29, 2006 at 3:26 PM | PERMALINK

    no. I would expect them to know. but like I said, what about the amateurs..the 7/7 types?
    they can make mistakes that the pros weren't after 2002 or so.

    I'll simply repost The Lounsbury:

    Wires are part and parcel of the immigrant communities in Europe (where, e.g. the 11 Sep hijackers had some exposure, in Hamburg) - as are attendant KYC rules and the like.

    Posted by: Stefan on June 29, 2006 at 3:27 PM | PERMALINK

    How disingenuous of you, Doug.

    Disingenuousness is Doug/John/Cheney/Charlie's stock in trade.

    Posted by: Gregory on June 29, 2006 at 3:28 PM | PERMALINK

    Really, cyntax - if Valerie Plame's indentity was less important viz. national security, why do you think pointing out the hypocrisy would be unwarranted.

    Doug, are you conceding that knowledge of SWIFT was in the public domain and was readily accessible to anyone who might have an interest in knowing about it prior to the NYT article?

    Posted by: cyntax on June 29, 2006 at 3:30 PM | PERMALINK

    "With any luck, al Quaeda will be able to come back above-ground now."

    Sean, this doesn't follow, unless the program is discontinued (as Nathan mentions). As long as it's in operation, they have to stay underground (in this respect, at least). Hopefully our gov't will do everything (within reason) to make sure that we can keep it this way. If it can't (or won't), might that suggest something about the nature of the program?

    As for the second part of your comment, on your preference for dead reporters and writers over dead investment bankers - my hunch is that you're not from/ do not live/ were not in (that day) New York. Am I correct?

    Al: "Why should we believe your and Suskind's words over the words of our Commander-in-Chief in the War on Terrorism?"

    Because having more capital letters does not automatically translate into greater credibility?

    Let me ask you (or anybody) - why should we believe Pres. Bush's words - on the grounds that he's the President, since that's all that's mentioned in your statement - over the words of Drum and Suskind?

    Posted by: Dan S. on June 29, 2006 at 3:33 PM | PERMALINK

    Kevin, I assume you have already seen this, but currious if you agree that Adam White intentionaly distorted your comments (and NYT) about the SWIFT program or whether it was just due to negligence.

    http://www.intel-dump.com/posts/1151470978.shtml

    Posted by: Catch22 on June 29, 2006 at 3:34 PM | PERMALINK

    Sorry, Wonderin -- I missed your question (I'll skip over the personal attack):

    Why not describe precisely what you meant by "Is there ANY treason the NYT will "not" commit?"

    Sure -- here's one example -- as cyntax admitted on another thread on this topic, if the NYT had actually published the NAMES of suspected terrorists the government was searching for using SWIFT, that would be "treason" to him. OTOH, I don't think the NYT would care if it could damage Bush. Where (if at all) Keller would draw the line, was my question. Get it?

    Posted by: Doug on June 29, 2006 at 3:35 PM | PERMALINK

    ok, fair enough, immigrant communities in Europe are intimately familiar with wire transfers...I lived in Europe as an expat..but that was a rather different experience.
    does this go for 2nd gen. types like the 7/7 guys? and if it does, does it necessarily follow that amateurs would necessarily be up on the type of flags that might come up when they made transfers? i.e. just cause the older al-quaeda generation knows better doesn't mean that the new one won't make a lot of rookie mistakes..like making wire transfers....unless its trumpeted on the front page of the paper!

    Posted by: Nathan on June 29, 2006 at 3:43 PM | PERMALINK

    cyntax:

    Well, of course the existence and general purpose of an entity by the acronym "SWIFT" was public knowledge -- same goes for an entity by the acronym "CIA" -- divulging classified information about either is still a crime.

    Dan S.:

    If foreign governments are now pressured to stop SWIFT cooperation with the U.S., and terrorists get money through said loosened channels, their next victims' blood will be on your hands.

    Posted by: Doug on June 29, 2006 at 3:45 PM | PERMALINK

    um, they have?

    um, they didn't? Ask the administration why they asked the NYT and LA Times to withhold the story, but did not ask WSJ? I'm sorry Nathan, but referring to LAT and WSJ as "other newspapers" reenforces the idea that they were out to create a boogeyman in the NYT. It is irreposnsible for members of the administration and GOP at large to repeatedly accuse the NYT by name, and others by generalization.

    Why did the treasury ask NYT and LAT to not run the story, but did not ask the same of WSJ?

    Posted by: MeLoseBrain? on June 29, 2006 at 3:53 PM | PERMALINK

    i.e. just cause the older al-quaeda generation knows better doesn't mean that the new one won't make a lot of rookie mistakes..like making wire transfers....unless its trumpeted on the front page of the paper!

    OK, I agree: we've hampered our ability to monitor the stupid, amateur, non-professional terrorists, who aren't connected to Al Qaeda, who have no familiarity with the worldwide network of immigrant Muslims, and who make a lot of rookie mistakes. In other words, complete and utter morons. We are now in grave danger from the complete moron subset of amateur unskilled terrorists who can't even buy boots for themselves. I fairly tremble in fear....

    Posted by: Stefan on June 29, 2006 at 3:53 PM | PERMALINK

    Well, of course the existence and general purpose of an entity by the acronym "SWIFT" was public knowledge -- same goes for an entity by the acronym "CIA" -- divulging classified information about either is still a crime.

    Doug, you're welcome to try and make the case for equivalency between the Plame case and the NYT article. But that seems a long uphill climb.

    I tell you what though, I'll bet $100 that we don't get a Grand Jury Indictment out of the NYT article.

    Posted by: cyntax on June 29, 2006 at 3:56 PM | PERMALINK

    now how would you know to check out SWIFT's website if you uh didn't already know what SWIFT was and what it does?

    Because SWIFT is mentioned on the forms used to
    wire funds. Because anybody curious about how secure wiring money is might research the process and quickly come across the SWIFT webpage. Because terrorists may not be as stupid as you appear to be.

    If SWIFT's involvement in law enforcement was classified, why do you think it appears on
    their web site ?

    Posted by: Stephen on June 29, 2006 at 3:56 PM | PERMALINK

    Why did the treasury ask NYT and LAT to not run the story, but did not ask the same of WSJ?

    Probably the same reason CIA didn't keep trying to shush up reporters after Novak let the Plame cat out of the bag -- the similarities keep piling up.

    Posted by: Doug on June 29, 2006 at 4:00 PM | PERMALINK

    Stefan says: "we've hampered our ability to monitor the stupid, amateur, non-professional terrorists"

    like the 7/7 guys.

    Posted by: Nathan on June 29, 2006 at 4:01 PM | PERMALINK

    "We are now in grave danger from the complete moron subset of amateur unskilled terrorists who can't even buy boots for themselves."

    Shoeless bombers!

    Doug snarls: "If foreign governments are now pressured to stop SWIFT cooperation with the U.S., and terrorists get money through said loosened channels, their next victims' blood will be on your hands."

    My hands? Well, there's a better than average chance that my hands, or those of close family members, or dear friends, would be among these next victims - quite possibly detatched from the other bits. You also seem to be under the misapprehension that I would have something to do with this chain of events, which is certainly hard to imagine.

    Posted by: Dan S. on June 29, 2006 at 4:07 PM | PERMALINK

    Uh oh,

    Information Week let the cat out of the bag in 2004:

    http://www.informationweek.com/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=18901691

    "SwiftNet Speeds Data Exchange"

    Apr 19, 2004 12:00 AM

    "Still, banks caution that steps must be taken to ensure that transactions are screened against terrorist lists supplied by
    the Office of Foreign Assets Control and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. "As a U.S. bank, we have to be able to
    track, monitor, and scan files against OFAC and other regulatory lists," Wachovia's Stockler says. "

    --What ? The US Embassy spilled the beans --

    http://www.usembassy.it/file2001_09/alia/a1091813.htm

    "As many of you are aware, last week the Treasury Department announced that the Foreign Terrorist Asset Tracking Center (FTAT) is now up and running. FTAT will be an important tool in our quest to dismantle the terrorist's financial bases and shut down their fundraising capabilities. FTAT differs from traditional law enforcement's use of financial tracking in two critical aspects.

    First, the FBI and other law enforcement entities look at financial data as it relates to a specific case -- in this instance last Tuesday's horrific attacks. By contrast, FTAT will be looking at all terrorist organizations world-wide who have been involved with several different terrorist attacks -- we seek to create a "big picture" profile of the financial infrastructure of terrorist groups.

    Second, we are collecting this information for the express purpose of identifying and disrupting the various sources of funding that these terrorist groups are receiving.

    We will be utilizing several different tools to do this. FinCEN, the Financial Crimes Enforcement network, will be a key player with respect to tracking down any financial link between terrorist groups and legitimate financial institutions. FinCEN collects data under the Bank Secrecy Act and can cross-reference the names of terrorists and terrorist organizations with Suspicious Activity Reports in that database. "

    ---

    Hang them all....


    Posted by: Stephen on June 29, 2006 at 4:30 PM | PERMALINK

    Dan, as Bush once said, "Either you are with the torch and pitchfork-carrying mob, or you're one of the people us torch and pitchfork-carriers are gonna go get. Which is it?"

    Posted by: Irony Man on June 29, 2006 at 4:30 PM | PERMALINK

    MAte the 7 July bombers were domestic, wires had fuck all to do with them, and I'd thank you not dragging that into American obsessions.

    And it's bloody al-Qaeda, no fucking "u" in there.

    As to the issue of amateurs and mistakes, I see little possibility that one year down the road that the same errors will not be made. Frankly, working in MENA financial areas, I hear far more complex conspiracy theories of what the US is doing re spying on people than this straight forward SWIFT project.

    Posted by: The Lounsbury on June 29, 2006 at 4:30 PM | PERMALINK

    Dan S.:

    Don't get your panties in a bunch. As I'm sure you and the Democrats are aware, getting killed by a terrorist is WAY down on the list.

    your chances are 1 in 7 of dying of cancer...

    1 in 100 of dying in a car crash...

    1 in 245 of dying from a fall...

    and of dying in a terrorist attack?

    1 in 88,000

    Posted by: Doug on June 29, 2006 at 4:37 PM | PERMALINK

    To amplify on Stefan's post, and repeat what I noted earlier and on me own bloggy, US Gov has hardly been low key about the information that they are going after fin sec infos, and the very public pressure in MENA region, e.g., to collect more customer data under revised KYC rules leaves little doubt as to their goals and what they are doing.

    This is in the papers all the time, mates, all the fucking time (the KYC pressurising and the like).

    As I said earlier, an al-Qaeda type Salafi sympathiser would have to be truly dim, and I do mean dim, not to understand wires and the like are being tracked by the Americans (and the French, and others)....

    Posted by: The Lounsbury on June 29, 2006 at 4:39 PM | PERMALINK

    As I have said, this is much ado about nothing. The U.S. government monitoring SWIFT international money transfers, while another example of extraConstitutional snooping, was as worthless as a bubblegum machine in a lockjaw ward...

    Posted by: Stephen Kriz on June 29, 2006 at 5:02 PM | PERMALINK

    Kriz says:
    "The U.S. government monitoring SWIFT international money transfers, while another example of extraConstitutional snooping, was as worthless as a bubblegum machine in a lockjaw ward..."

    huh? how do you get that from the foregoing?

    Posted by: Nathan on June 29, 2006 at 5:14 PM | PERMALINK

    If only the program would have been called Valerie Plame SWIFT we could all be outraged about the exposure of this secret program.

    But of course she wasn't a secret, I mean, it wasn't really a secret program.

    Again the New York Times is being protected by the left. What a surprise.

    Posted by: Orwell on June 29, 2006 at 5:32 PM | PERMALINK

    It was not worthless and is not worthless.

    As I noted supra it has value in interdicting use of lowest cost, fastest means of money transfer - the modern electronic systems.

    Second, some percentage of terrorists or aspiring terrorists and criminals, etc. will by force of time constraints, sheer stupidity or generally clever but not good enough strategies (such as exploiting low compliance jurisdictions and executing smaller transactions) use such systems, regardless.

    There will, therefore, remain value in exploiting the data - which was never real time but weeks later, and thus not a preventative measure in general.

    Posted by: The Lounsbury on June 29, 2006 at 5:35 PM | PERMALINK

    Don't be a moron "Orwell", I am no Leftie. However, knee jerk ignoramus ideological outrage is hardly interesting or useful

    Posted by: The Lounsbury on June 29, 2006 at 5:37 PM | PERMALINK

    Lounsbury do you think that maybe, just maybe, specifically pointing out a program so that even the lackey terrorist soldier can understand means even the Islamic dimwits will keep from using things which would be sensed by the SWIFT program? It is by catching the little fish and turning them that we receive greater information.

    But thanks to self destructive press who would sell out their own mother, they have spelled out in dumbed down English - even where an 8th grade American school kid can figure it out - exactly where and how the program works. Then they look around and say, "We didn't do anything, we were just standing here."

    Delayed info is still info - and now because those who claim to be on the side of freedom but hate the administration will do ANYTHING which they perceive hurts the Bush crew. And then we have these NYT useful idiots taking anti-terror tools out of our hands.

    And why would they be so reckless and not really consider the disadvantage which it would place military personnel? Because of their IDEOLOGY. Do you get it now genius?

    Posted by: Orwell on June 29, 2006 at 5:53 PM | PERMALINK

    Thank you, Orwell.

    Posted by: Doug on June 29, 2006 at 6:21 PM | PERMALINK

    And why would they be so reckless and not really consider the disadvantage which it would place military personnel? Because of their IDEOLOGY. Do you get it now genius?

    Look if you want to jam this square peg of the NYT article into the round hole of your preconceived conclusions about liberal media-- have at it. But as a vet I would kindly ask you, when invoking the military as rhetorical point in your argument, to consider issues of much greater importance to us grunts. Issues like this:

      A recent IED attack has surfaced an ugly truth -- the Grunts doing the great majority of fighting and dying in Iraq are considered "more expendable" than their REMF comrades, and the people making this determination are themselves, you guessed it, REMF's!!

    And then do something like write your Congressman. I'll thank you in advance Orwell.

    Posted by: cyntax on June 29, 2006 at 6:22 PM | PERMALINK

    Well, Orwell, since you asked:
    Lounsbury do you think that maybe, just maybe, specifically pointing out a program so that even the lackey terrorist soldier can understand means even the Islamic dimwits will keep from using things which would be sensed by the SWIFT program? It is by catching the little fish and turning them that we receive greater information.
    >

    No.

    No.

    No.

    Becuase you stupid whinging git, (i) the SWIFT data is not real time, (ii) SWIFT monitoring is bloody well known at some level - already everyone knows it's monitored for transfers - that's the fucking point of the Know Your Customer regulations (KYC), (iii) despite your and others presumptions SWIFT is not well-known etc, I fucking work in the fucking Middle East, and I can assure you, there is heavy usage of wires by working class working in Gulf and Europe. Given the KYC data collection there is little doubt that international authorities are tracking such.

    Bloody hell, it's been fucking clear from the trafficking busts and the like.

    The added information in the NYT article merely 'confirms' what is already 'known.'

    But thanks to self destructive press who would sell out their own mother, they have spelled out in dumbed down English

    Whinge, whinge, whinge.

    Your ignorant dumb-ass whinging is nothing more than ideoglurge, pre-determined political whanking over an excuse to outrage.

    Stupid ignorant whanker.

    Posted by: The Lounsbury on June 29, 2006 at 6:25 PM | PERMALINK

    I will add the tool in question, historical transfer data, remains useful, despite the hysterical shrieking by ignoramuses such as yourself. And of course the hysterical shrieking about the Evil Fascist Bush Administration.

    Bollocks, the lot of you are stupid whankers.

    Posted by: The Lounsbury on June 29, 2006 at 6:27 PM | PERMALINK

    The Lounsbury: it's kind of like showing a portrait album to a blind man isn't it? Welcome to the world of the US conservative. It's a world all unto itself. Like the bizarro world of make-believe. Like nationwide healthcare is socialism....ha, ha, ha.

    Posted by: Where's osama on June 29, 2006 at 6:37 PM | PERMALINK

    The American Left is hardly any better, the shrieking about SWIFT violating privacy rights and the like was hardly any better informed.

    It just so happens that in this case the Right whankers are more annoying on the issue.

    Posted by: The Lounsbury on June 29, 2006 at 6:41 PM | PERMALINK

    Well, we're not used to the extensive use of surveilance cameras as they are in London but still we should know that many things we do cannot have the expectation of secrecy. From medical info, to telephone info, to financial but we still seem to have an unawareness of it and shock at finding it out. Why, I don't know, what with all the identity theft and all. We act shocked but we should know better.

    Posted by: Where's osama on June 29, 2006 at 6:53 PM | PERMALINK

    Betagirl wrote:
    You can't even come up with an original thought to post? You are pathetic.

    I guess my post hit a little close to home! Don't think too hard, honey, it just makes you agitated.

    Posted by: sportsfan79 on June 29, 2006 at 7:35 PM | PERMALINK

    So much hoop la te da for the assholes at the NYTs. In America today you can buy your own news oulet and do or say what ever you want.nothing new. So be proud NYT you can get your digs for free and at the same time screw Bush and America so what who gives a damn if some Military personel die... you do not. So much for the little PINCH with a big mouth ,big wallet, and the scared gutless liberal cronies on the payroll .By cutting the throat of the President for the Democrats ,its a good sign they are running scared we thank you for your service and for being afraid BUSHs Idea of WINNING might actually work. Truth is you dont have any ideas of your own, nor do the DEMOCRATS on any resolve to IRAQ and that is what is eating at your punk ass.It is hard to translate boo hoo hoo and wha wha wha goosh gook boo boo....DUH... what message? So in NOVEMBER nothing will change and because you think the American people are mostly Hayseed BUD drinking NASCAR nuts your IGNORANT thoughts are your own ,but WE LOVE OUR COUNTRY we dont give a rats rear about GITMO, ALA or Bin Muhamid Mulacadak, MONEY Tracking,or the Rights of any man who takes up arms against us. As I am sure you will never understand this I'm not surprised. So if we are attacked again run out and get a FUCKING court order telling them to stop shooting at you.Look up"EMEMY" in Websters

    Posted by: Glyn Lockhart on June 29, 2006 at 8:06 PM | PERMALINK

    Glyn: you represent your intellect very well. Especially with the caps.

    Posted by: Where's osama on June 29, 2006 at 8:17 PM | PERMALINK

    Lounsbury do you think that maybe, just maybe, specifically pointing out a program so that even the lackey terrorist soldier can understand means even the Islamic dimwits will keep from using things which would be sensed by the SWIFT program? It is by catching the little fish and turning them that we receive greater information.

    Now you're really reaching...Do you think it's the "lackey terrorists" that are responsible for
    transfering money ?

    Posted by: Stephen on June 29, 2006 at 8:34 PM | PERMALINK

    The Lounsbury's arguments are as interesting as his goofy insults. Ah look at the pretty man insulting both the right and left taking the squishy middle ground of non-conviction. Leave the heavy lifting to the Americans and keep snappy Monte Python verbage rolling brother.

    Yeah Stephen, how could some lackey terrorist transfer money? He might have to use a computer or something. We know only smart people can use computers right? Oh, well I guess that theory gets shot down daily on this site.

    How about the fact that the revealing of this program just lost the old federal government and all of us billions of dollars of investment in a program that might have been halfway useful even if the smart terrorist knew about it. Hey we don't need to spend so much on defense anyway so the government should just stop spending all this money on pro-active measures, pull out of the war, and go home hoping the terrorist will stay away because we are peaceful people. Yeah, okay. Brilliant strategy brought to you by the Democratic party.

    This is why we get our butts kicked around every time a left leaning administration gets into the presidency. Time to live in reality boys and admit the the LEFT leaning NYT doesn't care if people die as long as their friends are in office to give them juicy leaks and invite their reporters to the big parties. They are handing terrorist information with out even making them Google it. Islamists all across the world just made the NY Times their home page.

    Posted by: Orwell on June 30, 2006 at 12:26 AM | PERMALINK

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    Posted by: aacxmmc on June 30, 2006 at 2:37 AM | PERMALINK

    orwell: This is why we get our butts kicked around every time a left leaning administration gets into the presidency.


    well....actually the u-s death toll due to terror has never been higher than it is under the current administration

    and that's true even if you only start counting...

    after 9-11..

    (f.y.i...same is also true for record budget deficit and federal debt)

    Posted by: thisspaceavailable on June 30, 2006 at 6:22 AM | PERMALINK

    al, you stupid chickenhawk, you don't have a commander in chief. no civilian does, unless you are military stop calling george your commander in chief, because he isn't. civilians do. not. have. commanders in chief.

    Posted by: merlallen on June 30, 2006 at 6:33 AM | PERMALINK

    He might have to use a computer or something. We know only smart people can use computers right?

    If he's using a computer, he could just go to SWIFT's website:www.swift.com and read about their involvement with law enforcement and
    anti-terroism. Some secret.

    a program that might have been halfway useful even if the smart terrorist knew about it.

    So it's still "halfway useful" ?

    Another ditto head bites the dust.

    Posted by: Stephen on June 30, 2006 at 8:53 AM | PERMALINK

    and look at how tough republicans are when faced with supposed "treason"..


    The resolution, passed 227-183 on a largely party-line vote, did not specifically name the news organizations, but it was aimed at the New York Times and other news media that last week reported on a secret CIA-Treasury program to track millions of financial records in search of terrorists." (AP)


    didn't name them?

    that's the rubber stamp gop congress for ya...

    Posted by: thisspaceavailable on June 30, 2006 at 9:19 AM | PERMALINK

    Bush showed us how seriously he takes leaks by defending Rove all through the Plame investigation. Where was the outrage against Rove and Novak?

    Obviously when leaks of classified information serve the administration's purpose, they are OK. The administration's latest assault on the First Amendment is nothing more than hypocritical, election year partisanship.

    Posted by: pj in jesusland on June 30, 2006 at 9:56 AM | PERMALINK

    The resolution, passed 227-183 on a largely party-line vote, did not specifically name the news organizations

    That'll learn 'em!

    Posted by: Irony Man on June 30, 2006 at 10:58 AM | PERMALINK

    If BushCo and the Repubs REALLY cared about the SWIFT program, they wouldn't be making such a big noisy public stink about it. They would ignore it completely and hope that no one they cared about happened to read the NYT that day.

    Instead, they've chosen to use the issue to try to score political points, and in the process they've raised public awareness of the SWIFT program an order of magnitude beyond what it would otherwise have been.

    Posted by: Will on June 30, 2006 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK

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    Posted by: DD on July 1, 2006 at 2:27 AM | PERMALINK

    In the interest of being more complete on the available facts and dialogue, here is an open letter from John Snow at the US Treasury regarding the New York Times decision to publish. Throws a bit different perspective on it . .

    http://www.ustreas.gov/press/releases/4339.htm

    Posted by: Please Read This on July 1, 2006 at 7:26 AM | PERMALINK

    That's a classic case of "projection" you got there, Will. How are Administration officials MORE to blame than the NYT placing the story on the FRONT PAGE?! I think this is an appropriate, and measured, response:

    Mr. Bill Keller, Managing Editor
    The New York Times
    229 West 43rd Street
    New York, NY 10036

    Dear Mr. Keller:

    The New York Times' decision to disclose the Terrorist Finance Tracking Program, a robust and classified effort to map terrorist networks through the use of financial data, was irresponsible and harmful to the security of Americans and freedom-loving people worldwide. In choosing to expose this program, despite repeated pleas from high-level officials on both sides of the aisle, including myself, the Times undermined a highly successful counter-terrorism program and alerted terrorists to the methods and sources used to track their money trails.

    Your charge that our efforts to convince The New York Times not to publish were "half-hearted" is incorrect and offensive. Nothing could be further from the truth. Over the past two months, Treasury has engaged in a vigorous dialogue with the Times - from the reporters writing the story to the D.C. Bureau Chief and all the way up to you. It should also be noted that the co-chairmen of the bipartisan 9-11 Commission, Governor Tom Kean and Congressman Lee Hamilton, met in person or placed calls to the very highest levels of the Times urging the paper not to publish the story. Members of Congress, senior U.S. Government officials and well-respected legal authorities from both sides of the aisle also asked the paper not to publish or supported the legality and validity of the program.

    Indeed, I invited you to my office for the explicit purpose of talking you out of publishing this story. And there was nothing "half-hearted" about that effort. I told you about the true value of the program in defeating terrorism and sought to impress upon you the harm that would occur from its disclosure. I stressed that the program is grounded on solid legal footing, had many built-in safeguards, and has been extremely valuable in the war against terror. Additionally, Treasury Under Secretary Stuart Levey met with the reporters and your senior editors to answer countless questions, laying out the legal framework and diligently outlining the multiple safeguards and protections that are in place.

    You have defended your decision to compromise this program by asserting that "terror financiers know" our methods for tracking their funds and have already moved to other methods to send money. The fact that your editors believe themselves to be qualified to assess how terrorists are moving money betrays a breathtaking arrogance and a deep misunderstanding of this program and how it works. While terrorists are relying more heavily than before on cumbersome methods to move money, such as cash couriers, we have continued to see them using the formal financial system, which has made this particular program incredibly valuable.

    Lastly, justifying this disclosure by citing the "public interest" in knowing information about this program means the paper has given itself free license to expose any covert activity that it happens to learn of - even those that are legally grounded, responsibly administered, independently overseen, and highly effective. Indeed, you have done so here.

    What you've seemed to overlook is that it is also a matter of public interest that we use all means available - lawfully and responsibly - to help protect the American people from the deadly threats of terrorists. I am deeply disappointed in the New York Times.

    Sincerely,

    [signed]

    John W. Snow, Secretary
    U.S. Department of the Treasury

    Posted by: Doug on July 2, 2006 at 12:32 AM | PERMALINK

    Of course, the Times has moved on to assisting the terrorists in locating Cheney's and Rumsfeld's secure (previously) undisclosed locations now, but I'm sure Keller would say that the jihadis already knew about specific security measures revealed in a prominent photo they published with the lens hidden in a birdhouse, since it's well known that high-ranking government officials have secure, undisclosed locations and take security precautions in general.

    Patterico's Pontifications offers another explanation, that applies to the St. Michaels story as well as the finance tracking story: the Times thought the article was only available through Times Select! Which would, I guess, make it a well-kept secret anyways ; )

    Posted by: Doug on July 2, 2006 at 10:38 AM | PERMALINK




     

     

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