Jun 26, 2006

NY Times editor hides behind the first amendment

In response to reader complaints about unveiling the administration's until-then-secret program of combing through international banking records to uncover terrorist activity.
It's an unusual and powerful thing, this freedom that our founders gave to the press. Who are the editors of The New York Times (or the Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post and other publications that also ran the banking story) to disregard the wishes of the President and his appointees? And yet the people who invented this country saw an aggressive, independent press as a protective measure against the abuse of power in a democracy, and an essential ingredient for self-government. They rejected the idea that it is wise, or patriotic, to always take the President at his word, or to surrender to the government important decisions about what to publish.

Yada, yada, yada.

Keller believes that "the press and the government generally start out from opposite corners in such cases," so, despite the administration's defense of the legality and effectiveness of the program, the onus is on George Bush and co. to defend itself against the "concerns" of anonymous leakers.

And the terrorists already knew the administration was going after their funding, anyway.
It has been widely reported — indeed, trumpeted by the Treasury Department — that the U.S. makes every effort to track international financing of terror. Terror financiers know this, which is why they have already moved as much as they can to cruder methods. But they also continue to use the international banking system, because it is immeasurably more efficient than toting suitcases of cash.

So what's the big deal?

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