MSM Blabbermouths

posted at 6:20 am on June 26, 2006 by Bryan

Private Snafu
How about a nice big glass…
Rep. King: Prosecute the Times (video)
Austin Bay: Axis of Abuse
Bill Keller, blabbermouth
A soldier responds
WaPo weighs in
(Correction: Mel Blanc, not Brooks)

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Great Vent folks, but I believe you meant Mel Blanc not Mel Brooks did the voice of Snafu (and most of the other voices, unless I miss my guess) Think back to the old Bugs Bunny cartoons (another great patriot for the US)

jcon96 on June 26, 2006 at 6:53 AM

What a nice way to start a Monday – a vent already waiting with my morning coffee! Very nice.

Jcon: good catch on Mel Blanc – I too was wondering when Mel Brooks became Bugs. Plus Brooks would have been pretty young in 1942. Then again, some of the humor was definitely Brooksian.

Back on topic: I have two questions:

1) I worked in signals intel in the USMC and had a top-secret clearance. It was made clear to us that talking to anyone (include wives and family) could get us a long trip to Leavenworth. So what’s happening here? Are we no longer enforcing classification regulations? If the New York Times KNEW the information was classified, shouldn’t their prosecution be essentially a no-brainer? And even if they can hide behind the First Amendment (they can’t – but work with me), what about the leakers? I just don’t get it. When did “classified” stop having meaning?

2) Somebody asked this the other day so I’m just going to repeat it: if the New York Slimes and the rest of the MSM had known the plans for Operation Overlord (the June 1944 Normandy invasions a.k.a. D-day) … would they have published what they knew?

I guess I know what they would have done then – but what would they do today? Would they publish? Knowing it would cause thousands of deaths, maybe lose the war?

And is this question so stupidly (and sadly) obvious that I shouldn’t even bother asking?

I guess there is one last question: is there anything at all that the New York Times would NOT publish?

Professor Blather on June 26, 2006 at 7:44 AM

D’oh! I got my funny Mels mixed up. Thanks for the catch.

Michelle on June 26, 2006 at 8:07 AM

Another great vent and waiting with my coffee. I would like to add that all during the 80′s, we (in the navy) had training every 6months on operational/communication security with humurous clips, films and signs posted on the ships. In the 90′s and up till I retired in 2003, the humorous clips disapeared but we still had training films. We took our oath for guard classified info to heart. I can not understand why “people in the governement that wish to remain anonomous” are leaking info. They need to be rounded up, tried and prosecuted and then spend a long time in federal prison. I don’t agree with the Times printing those stories, but the government needs to crack down on the leaks first, then “work” with the MSM.
Thanks Michelle, Bryan, and Allah, you all are doing a fantastic job.

br8veheart on June 26, 2006 at 8:39 AM

Excellent. Bravo.

Wade on June 26, 2006 at 8:39 AM

A very vital vent, Michelle. Nicely done. But, I must confess that I would not contaminate a nice piece of fish by wrapping it in the NY Slimes.

And thanks for running that Pvt. Snafu cartoon. My uncle was a tank commander during WW II and he would tell me about such cartoons being shown to the troops (oddly enought, I do not recall my other uncles or Dad telling me about those cartoons).

Ernie Pyle must be doing 360′s in his grave.

Clearly, again, the Grey Old Lady has become the Grey Old Whore, on her journalistic back, happily spreading her journalistic legs for the pleasure of our enemies. I believe that Congress must go after the Slimes as Peter King demands-and go after the LA Slimes and even the Wall Street Journal, as well.

I would definately at least pull the press cards of the Slimes reporters since they tend to lead the way in publishing secrets and forbid them entrance to any govt installation and even from Capital Hill press conferences. They can get their news to report from the other reporters.

I guess a severe warning for the Journal since, as far as I know, this is the first time they have published info about a secret program. I would like to see the Slimes shut down for treason.

Professor, the term “Classified” stopped having meaning when the drive by media decided that Pres Bush is the enemy, not the terrorists. Remember, that there are people within the Administration and the various govt agencies who are against Pres Bush, so they are more than happy to leak info to the Slimes. They strongly believe that every time we stop a terrorist, that it is not a victory for the survival of America, but a victory only for Pres Bush.

At one time, leaking meant going to the bathroom. Now it means going to the bathroom on America’s survival (taking a leak on America).

We are in big trouble,here, everyone. With every program being exposed, and us being leaked on, means putting us in danger even more. The media is doing the terrorists job for them by providing them with proper intel.

I refuse to wear a burka.

Prof. Blather makes some nice points. The First Amendment is NOT exclusive when it comes to free speech (IN THE CASE OF THE SLIMES, I WOULD CALL IT FREE SCREECH). According to Fox and Friends this morning, the Slimes attorney (?) said that the White House only made a half-hearted case as to why the story should not be published (yeah…RIGHT!)

The False Dervish on June 26, 2006 at 8:40 AM

BTW-

HUNT DOWN THOSE LEAKERS AND IMPRISON THEM!!!!

The False Dervish on June 26, 2006 at 8:41 AM

A great nostalgic vent. Michelle, mail that fish package to the NYT.

Crude One on June 26, 2006 at 8:45 AM

Pretty nice largemouth, too. I’d say about 3 1/2 pounds.

RedWinged Blackbird on June 26, 2006 at 8:51 AM

Quick Question for the lawyers among us…
Can we, as citizens, do a class action suit on behalf of all Americans and our soldiers for punitive damages against American security and sue the Times? Ever since the stories have come out I have been unable to sleep. I lie awake in fear that the terrorists will win because of the Times treason! My right to peace of mind has been violated with wanton disregard by the bullys at the la and ny times. Can they not be held accountable?

Wyrd on June 26, 2006 at 9:04 AM

I’m with you in regards to the leak about troop level reductions. That falls into the area of military strategy, and revealing that sort of information is borderline treason. But when it comes to spying on the communications and financial transactions of law-abiding citizens, a “zipped lips” policy will only give the government carte blanche to trample Americans’ Constitutional rights, notably the Fourth Amendment.

[...] reminding Americans of the dangers of revealing too much information to the enemy.

If the government is spying on my phone records, my Internet communications and my financial records (which they are, if these reports are true), they are treating me as an enemy. Revelation of that fact isn’t going to “sink ships”… it’s going to sink the political careers of the people who think that Constitutional rights don’t apply while we have enemies and those who think that wartime provides a good excuse for bigger, more centralized government. The Lefties might not realize it now (blinded by Bush-hatred), but the Bush Administration and the Republican-controlled Congress is doing more for their precious ideal of “big government solutions” than a Democratic president could have ever hoped to do.

Can you imagine what (additional) abuses of power Clinton could have gotten away with if he had the legal muscle of the Patriot Act behind him?

The Grey Lady et al should be roundly criticized for any leaks regarding military strategy… the type of info that could very well put our soldier’s in harm’s way. But when it comes to information uncovered about how the government is spying on the personal affairs of ordinary American citizens, distrust of big government intrusion follows in the best of Conservative traditions.

Mark Jaquith on June 26, 2006 at 9:12 AM

My right to peace of mind has been violated with wanton disregard by the bullys at the la and ny times. Can they not be held accountable?

Apparently you also have the right to invent rights. :-)

Mark Jaquith on June 26, 2006 at 9:20 AM

Mark, what the government is doing is looking at trends.
Now, if your phone records showing you calling a known terrorist center, and your international wire transfers show you sending vast sums of money to Syria, Iran, Jordan etc then that flags the government and they may well start looking into your actual records.
But if you are like most americans, your calls to Mom, your sister, work (unless you work for Cair)raises no flags. Same as your financial records. Since no flags are raised no one is looking into your private data.

Thats why I do not see this as a violation. The government is not looking to see who Jamel the pimp has been calling. Unless Jamel is calling a knowon terrorist cell to buy the drugs he uses on his girls he will be perfectly safe and secure. No one is looking at his specific records.

Course, I could be wrong. I could assume that the government is machavalian and is keeping tabs on everyone. I prefer to give them the benafit of the doubt though.
Besides, I have nothing to hide. Theu want to know why I pulled 300 bucks out of my savings then more power to them. They are going to tax me on it regardless.

Wyrd on June 26, 2006 at 9:23 AM

hehe, just read your last post Mark. I was working from a liberal angle. Spill a hot cup of coffee on your lap and you have the right to sue :)
I sleep quite well at night, it just seems that somone somewhere is being sued for mental anguish, why not the times?

Wyrd on June 26, 2006 at 9:24 AM

When the entire Democratis Party is on NY Times side, we have a problem here.

Do we hear a word from the Demo leadership?…How come it is so quiet there?

NY Times’ leak is so coincided with Kerry’s call for troop withdrawal that it ain’t funny.

The problem, fellow Americans, is that we have a political party that is ready to betray our troops’ safety, to provide aid and comfort to our enemies, and to sacrifice our lives, if they can just score a few political points from doing it.

NY Times is just the tail of the Donkey.

easy87us on June 26, 2006 at 10:14 AM

Sorry, Mark, I don’t see the Fourth Amendment issue here. Wyrd articulates it well: the government is analyzing communications for specific trends – in other words, probable cause – before ever actually investigating the content of communications.

Frankly, if I suddenly start making daily calls to Qatar and Yemen – I hope someone is paying attention.

The issue reminds me of banking regulations requiring all transactions over $10,000 to be reported for analysis. It’s a threshold issue. Once the threshold is met, the government takes a look. Same here.

And of course there’s the ever popular internet quote about the Constitution: it ain’t a suicide pact. In time of war (or any crisis), government becomes more intrusive. Always has, always will. It has to to be effective.

Note: none of the above say we shouldn’t keep an eye on authorities, however, to make sure they don’t get carried away.

Ironically, the thing that worries me most about arguments like yours is that they always seem to lead to the same place: government effectiveness is eroded, the crisis worses, and suddenly the people are clamoring for MORE intrusion. Trust me on this: if some idiot detonates a nuke in Malibu – especially if it could have been prevented, but for things like the New York Slimes’ bologna – all of our rights will go right out the window.

In short: give me a mildly intrusive, effective government program now – rather than a useless, defanged program that can’t stop the terrorism — and which will just lead to worse intrusion after the worst happens.

I really hope I’m wrong on all of the above.

History suggests I’m not.

Professor Blather on June 26, 2006 at 10:33 AM

Mark, you’ve got this story wrong. The SWIFT program was looking at international wire transfers to target those involving known or suspected terror connections. It was an effort to collect the dots that must be connected in order to stop terrorism. It’s pretty simple: If you were wiring money to a Palestinian source with connections to Hamas, your transaction was probably observed. If you were wiring money to an uncle who lives in Canada, not.

And yes, publicizing this story pretty much ended the program’s proven effectiveness. The Times has made it harder to track terror funding, which is the lifeblood of any international terror operation. If we can’t track their funding, their lives are that much easier and ours are that much less safe. You can cheer the Times all you want, but you’re wrong and the Times was wrong to publish this story.

And then it did follow up by publishing a classified briefing about actual troop movements. Care to defend that?

Bryan on June 26, 2006 at 10:47 AM

And back to my first and simplest question: if we can’t DO anything when classified information is released to the general public – what is the point of classification?

Professor Blather on June 26, 2006 at 10:52 AM

By the way, financial records and transactions aren’t constitutionally-protected information. Anyone who has ever applied for a mortgage or any other loan knows just how much information any would-be lender can find out within minutes. Credit reporting companies keep or can find copious data on you for every transaction you’ve ever made that left an electronic trail. None of that runs afoul of the Constitution.

SWIFT isn’t even as deep as any of that, and the Times should not have published the story. They did it because they could–and need to pay because they have harmed national security in the middle of a war. The Times has also made it less likely that international organizations will cooperate with us in the future–they know that there is a strong chance that their assistance will end up on the front page, spun into some new Big Brother conspiracy. This again makes life easier for the terrorists.

Bryan on June 26, 2006 at 11:01 AM

Having power, and knowledge, required a certain level of personal responsibility if one wished to keep that power.

The NYT is losing power and influence by not being responsible with the information they possess.

Unfortunatley, the NYT (and other media sources) have become so narrowly focused on specifica agendas that they have lost sight of the bigger picture. The bigger picture that their own power and influence i sinking right along with the boat (our country) that they are poking the holes in.

It is self defeating, it is irresponsible, it is foolish, it is becoming insane.

Lawrence on June 26, 2006 at 11:36 AM

I wonder if I could take Michelle into going fishing. She certainly looks dressed for it today.

Lawrence on June 26, 2006 at 11:38 AM

Thanks for that Bryan

By the way, financial records and transactions aren’t constitutionally-protected information.

SWIFT is doing nothing more than thousands of banks do daily. The government went a step BEYOND and produced warrants that aren’t even legally necessary. 3000-4000 banks access this info each day, the IRS has Carte Blanche to this data, organizations around the world use this data, but let our government use it to protect us and…all hell breaks loose.
Look up the definitions of ‘defraud’ as used by SCOTUS and you’ll see the reasons this is treasonous (and a picture of the NY Times).
Bryan, you have made some eloquent arguments on this topic. I’m w/you.

shooter on June 26, 2006 at 11:39 AM

I am “spelling challenged” today. My appologies.

Lawrence on June 26, 2006 at 11:39 AM

But if you are like most americans, your calls to Mom, your sister, work (unless you work for Cair)raises no flags. Same as your financial records. Since no flags are raised no one is looking into your private data.

They can’t make a “flag” decision without looking at my number and the person I called. At that point, my privacy has been compromised.

The government is not looking to see who Jamel the pimp has been calling. Unless Jamel is calling a knowon terrorist cell to buy the drugs he uses on his girls he will be perfectly safe and secure. No one is looking at his specific records.

They’re not looking at his records specifically, but they are looking at his records. They just so happen to be looking at millions of records too. And that’s precisely what makes it unconstitutional.

no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

There is no probable cause to search the phone logs of millions of Americans.

Course, I could be wrong. I could assume that the government is machavalian and is keeping tabs on everyone. I prefer to give them the benafit of the doubt though.
Besides, I have nothing to hide. Theu want to know why I pulled 300 bucks out of my savings then more power to them.

Everyone has something to hide. That’s why the Fourth Amendment exists… so the government can’t poke its nose in your private business. Did you take a shower yesterday? Would you care if the government videotaped it?

You can’t give them the benefit of that doubt at the same time that you are giving “more power” to them. The more power you give them, the less you should trust them.

Professor Blather,

Ironically, the thing that worries me most about arguments like yours is that they always seem to lead to the same place: government effectiveness is eroded, the crisis worses, and suddenly the people are clamoring for MORE intrusion.

I’d much rather argue against people wanting to institute government intrusion, than argue against those who want to perpetuate it. And I’m well aware that less government intrusion would lessen the government’s ability to identify terrorists. I’d rather be threatened by an external evil (terrorism) than an internal one (my own government). Terrorism is never going to destroy this country, but increased government intrusion definitely could.

Bryan,

Mark, you’ve got this story wrong. The SWIFT program was looking at international wire transfers to target those involving known or suspected terror connections.

According to the NYT:

The records mostly involve wire transfers and other methods of moving money overseas and into and out of the United States. Most routine financial transactions confined to this country are not in the database.

So at least some of the records relate to US to US transfers, and some deal with transactions coming in or out of the US. But consider:

“At first, they got everything — the entire Swift database,” one person close to the operation said.

So the restraints were placed later. And according to that article, there isn’t just a theoretical risk for abuse:

Mr. Levey, the Treasury official, said one person had been removed from the operation for conducting a search considered inappropriate.

And even if every single one of their searches has just cause, it’s still legally shaky to perform the searches without warrants.

And then it did follow up by publishing a classified briefing about actual troop movements. Care to defend that?

No, that’s borderline treason, as I said in my first comment. Giving out classified information on troop deployment is wholly different than disclosing information about a program that looks at the financial transactions of Americans without a warrant. Let me bridge the gap: if the NYT found out that the military was going to start temporarily housing troops in the homes of American citizens, I’d applaud them for publishing that, because that would be a Constitutional violation.

By the way, financial records and transactions aren’t constitutionally-protected information.

I believe the concern comes from potential skirting around the Right to Financial Privacy Act.

Mark Jaquith on June 26, 2006 at 12:22 PM

BEST VENT YET!!

venmax on June 26, 2006 at 12:25 PM

I can see we’ll talk in circles on this Mark, but the enemy we’re talking about is external only in its HQ. Al Qaeda intends to fight the war right here in our cities; therefore, our government has to examine how al Qaeda is getting its funds and operators inside our country. That means our government has to examine communications and transactions that cross the borders into our country. Your own illustration shows that when a single abuse happened, it was dealt with quickly. The program itself was legal, Congress was briefed, and it was effective. It was doing exactly what we expect the government to have been doing after 9-11. Your paranoia on this issue shows why libertarianism in its purest form will never become a majority philosophy: It’s impractical in the face of real-world threats like terrorism directed from afar but operating on US soil. How would you propose to stop terrorist cells in the US from a) getting orders from their masters on the other side of the world and b) obtaining the funds necessary to operate (like living expenses, flight training expenses, etc)? Since you’re against what the government has been doing, offer up some concrete, viable alternatives.

And as I said in my earlier post, banks routinely examine far deeper data on you than SWIFT ever did. Go apply for a mortgage or for a car loan or, heck, for a Capital One credit card, and find out what banks can legally find out about you anytime they want. Do you trust banks more than you trust the elected US government?

Bryan on June 26, 2006 at 12:36 PM

Sorry, Mark. Before I let you decide what is and isn’t Constitutional, I’ll look to the plain language of the Amendment, then to the existing case, then to current and future SCOTUS interpretation.

If it is indeed unconstitutional, it will eventually be stuck down. Until then, it is law.

For the record, your “shower scenario” is a red herring. The government is not interested in activities like me taking a shower; in other words, there is at least some rational connection between the government’s compelling interest in national security and its action via the SWIFT program. Again, this is basic con law; and again, if the government is over-stepping its bounds, the courts will either strike down the program or restrict it.

As for my point – you blew right past it. I’ll simplify. If another 9/11 occurs, nobody is going to care about your privacy rights. At all. Ask the Japanese who went to summer camp in 1943. Thus to me it makes far more sense to permit some goverment intrustion to prevent that attack and PROTECT our rights.

In fact, I think we’re closer than you may think, because I agree with THIS entirely:

And I’m well aware that less government intrusion would lessen the government’s ability to identify terrorists. I’d rather be threatened by an external evil (terrorism) than an internal one (my own government). Terrorism is never going to destroy this country, but increased government intrusion definitely could.

My concern is that when the ACLU has a hissy fit about what to at least this licensed attorney seems wholly constitutional, we are paving the way for a crisis which will lead to real destruction of our constitutional rights.

I guess we’ll see. Hope I’m wrong.

But when the next attack comes – and it could have been prevented by a program we’ll dismantle because of the ACLU – you’re going to be in for a rude surprise.

Of course, all of this is absolutely beside the point. FOR NOW, at least, the SWIFT program is both legally valid AND classified. Whether it is unconstitutional or not, as long as it the classification of information is legitimate, the New York Times is effectively committing treason when it reveals that classified information. That’s what we all should actually be talking about.

Join the ACLU and attack the program in the courts, if that’s your wish. Until the courts rule, don’t reveal the mechanism of the program or the information gained.

If you do, you are ironically doing exactly what you’re accusing the government of doing: skirting the law to achieve a goal you see as worthy.

If the ends don’t justify the means for the government, they don’t for the ACLU and NYT, either.

Professor Blather on June 26, 2006 at 12:43 PM

Bryan is right; I think we’ll keep talking in circles on this.

Bottom light: the media ought to at least show a little common sense restraint if it cares about the safety of our people and our military. I’m not sure why that idea is so revolutionary.

Professor Blather on June 26, 2006 at 12:51 PM

Other then talking in circles, their has to be some trust.
We elected the government. If we do not trust the government to do its job we have 2 options.
1) Vote them out
2) take it back by force of arms.
I am not ready for item #2.

here is the fourth amendment
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

At which point is it a violation? Is the current government program unreasonable? I do not think it is, and nothing that I have read about it leads me to believe that it is unreasonable. The government has your phone number, SS, tax records, address, number of children etc. Is this also a violation of your privacy?
Monitoring a slew of information to see if it falls into catagories of risk, then using the risk assement to pursue a warrent to look into the actual details of the calls or financial records is not un constitutional. It appears to be what the government is supposed to do. IE defend its citizens from foreign threats.

The media’s attempt to subvert the governments role as protector is what I am finding unconstitutional. And their are laws on the books prohibiting them from divulging national security secrets.

Wyrd on June 26, 2006 at 1:13 PM

And I’m well aware that less government intrusion would lessen the government’s ability to identify terrorists. I’d rather be threatened by an external evil (terrorism) than an internal one (my own government). Terrorism is never going to destroy this country, but increased government intrusion definitely could.

This point I just don’t understand. Terrorism is never going to destroy the country? Try this definition of terrorism:

The unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence by a person or an organized group against people or property with the intention of intimidating or coercing societies or governments, often for ideological or political reasons.

Now if a terrorist coerces my government into an ideological change; i.e. instituting dhimmitude, I consider that to be destroying this country. And if the gov’t has to look at my financial records or phone records to help prevent that, then yes… look away. And remember, we don’t have an actual person looking at these records; and figuring “oh, I’m having a bad day; let’s see who I can screw to make myself feel better”. These are all computerized searches, and when the search tickles a threshold, only THEN will a person take a look at the results.

Great vent MM, AP, and Bryan.

dalewalt on June 26, 2006 at 1:22 PM

And, any charges brought will STILL have to pass a courts’ scrutiny. If the police bring a charge against someone; they’ll have to tell the court where they rcv’d the info (like searching phone records). If the went through the phone records without going through proper legal channels, the case will be dropped (and give the aggrieved party a darn good case for a lawsuit)

dalewalt on June 26, 2006 at 1:28 PM

Perhaps we should take a page out of Michelle’s dead tree thing and mail the NYT a small fish wrapped in their paper and carefully placed inside a plastic bag. We could explain that we would renew the subscription for a week at the start of fishing season or maybe next winter for a month.

Mike H. on June 26, 2006 at 1:30 PM

I prefer to think of the Times as a bird cage liner rather than a fish wrap. After all, the content on the pages of the Times is virtually the same before the bird does his business on it as it is afterward. Except for Maureen Dowd of course, which is all hopelessly sophmoric BS.

thirteen28 on June 26, 2006 at 1:33 PM

WTF is a “bottom light?” Nevermind. I was apparently drunk while writing that last post.

Watching FoxNews a minute ago and heard a couple interesting points:

1) The program in question has had specific successes in capturing terrorist and the NYT admits this;

2) Despite their coverage, the NYT does not even CLAIM a single alleged “unconstitutional” act nor a single incident of abuse of power or violation of privacy; instead, they are arguing there MIGHT be a “potential” for such abuses.

So let’s keep those two things in mind while debating. The NYT itself is not claiming what some in this thread are claiming. In short, they published classified information, and that publication HAS harmed our anti-terror efforts and WILL increase the likelihood of death or injury for soldiers or civilians.

And they did it based solely on their own admitted opinion that a POTENTIAL for abuse of privacy exists.

Note: the above is based on watching the news while eating a bagel. I haven’t read the article itself. If it says otherwise, somebody point it out.

It the above is actually true, then frankly, at this point I’m more frightened by the abuses of the New York Times than by any imagined abuses of the government.

I still have only one question: What will the main stream media NOT publish? Anything at all?

Professor Blather on June 26, 2006 at 1:56 PM

There comes a point in many a case when someone puts for an argument or assertaion that totally undermines their case. Here it is with Mark:

And I’m well aware that less government intrusion would lessen the government’s ability to identify terrorists. I’d rather be threatened by an external evil (terrorism) than an internal one (my own government). Terrorism is never going to destroy this country, but increased government intrusion definitely could.

First of all Mark, the only way for your statement to be true is if the federal government continues doing thing such as tracking certain financial transactions, phone calls, and so forth. You simply cannot take away all of those tools and reasonably make the ‘never’ assertion that you do.

Second, it is not as if terrorists would need to blow up every city in the U.S. to destroy this country. Look at the damage done by 9/11, which went far beyond the buildings destroyed and lives lost. Now imagine what would happen if terrorists pulled off nuke strike or some other massive attack against just a single city. In addition to the immediate damage, such an attack would undermine the social fabric of the country, the confidence of investors, and so forth. It’s not just the attack itself, it’s the ripples afterward, and another attack of 9/11 proportions would have a huge ripple.

Your ideas are fine when there are no external enemies to occupy the energies of those who run such programs. However, as we are all too painfully aware, there are plenty of such enemies, and they are the type that exploit the weaknesses in our system that would result from your extreme tilting to one side of the privacy spectrum, a side that does not acknowledge national security concerns.

And finally, as other posters have alluded to, I find it ironic that you seemingly have no problem with the IRS (a federal government agency) having far more financial data about you personally than could be gained from the SWIFT program, not to mention numerous creditors that are looking for your business.

thirteen28 on June 26, 2006 at 1:59 PM

Professor,you are right. NY Times has just admitted that they intentionally printed classified info. Their reason is…the readers may want to know and they think the readers have a right to know classified info.

NY Times has just declassified top secret information for NSA!

This is almost hilarious if it isn’t for real. NY Times has gathered the highly classified info and declassified it while they are holding no clearance, having no authority to release classified info, and no authority to declassify classified info.

Our entire law will be broken down if they are not prosecuted. This could be the precedent case for future security violation.

I don’t know what DOJ is waiting for? They have all they ever needed to prosecute NY Times. Just get their front pages!

easy87us on June 26, 2006 at 2:58 PM

NY Times has a great thing going for our enemies.

From now on, our enemies just need to run a newspaper in America, stole our secrets and print it on front page!

Wow…no more jail, no more espionage!

Every secret agent is now a bona fide news reporter!

President Bush, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR????

easy87us on June 26, 2006 at 3:07 PM

I am still hung up on the mental picture the False Dervish painted about the NYT…gag…:)(I agree completely, but still gag)

jcon96 on June 26, 2006 at 3:08 PM

By the way, follow the top link next the Vent feed (Private Snafu) to watch more of these films. They really were the greatest generation. Kinda makes me feel like I could do more to help. Time to go find out how to put my hand in this and give our folks a boost. Makes me wonder if they need to bring back the war bonds and all the different drives to support the military. I know this Vent was about the NYT and what they have done, but the first Snafu at that link got me thinking, what DO we really do to help? I know the emotional support helps alot (my time over there in Gulf War 1 showed me what a card or letter from a complete stranger can do to boost morale) but what else can we do?

jcon96 on June 26, 2006 at 3:36 PM

This weekend I was up at 5AM when I heard my front door shaking. I thought it was a burglar so I proceeded to get the shotgun. I was thinking that I was about to kill another human being for messing with my family.

As I approached the front door I didn’t hear any noise; I waited a few seconds. It was then that I heard a car door slam and the car left the area.

I went out to find a free copy of the Washington Post… Burglar? A Criminal? I was nearly correct…

It seems they can’t give their paper away. They also give free copies daily on the D.C. Metro Subway system. I’m sure the same thing is happening in NYC.

The MSM, what a disgrace.

ar_basin on June 26, 2006 at 5:36 PM

I was lining my bird cage when I first noticed the NY Times articles. I checked the Times editorial page online and I failed to find any Letters To The Editor that denounced the actions of the Times. I think that this meets the criterion of censorship.

Greg

DAT60A3 on June 26, 2006 at 6:42 PM

At least we can mess around with the Slimes with satire !

Bryan, thank you for putting into words the reason why I left the libertarians. I should print that out and put it on a notecard for when I’m asked, but I’m not asked very often.

NTWR on June 26, 2006 at 6:43 PM

The libs are SO concerned about their financial activities remaining unknown. My take on all this is that the libs don’t want any financial records of their trips to the adult bookstore getting into government hands.

To give up military secrets during wartime is treason. These guys need to go to jail for a L-O-N-G time.

Mojave Mark on June 26, 2006 at 7:11 PM

Looking forward to the day that the NYT sleeps with the fishes.

BTW, nice tank top Michelle. ;-)

speed647 on June 26, 2006 at 7:52 PM

Ever consider that the Bush Administration is leaking these stories on purpose? Look at what they gain: They can say, “Hey, look, we have these programs to protect the American people. We haven’t caught Osama yet, but we are doing something to try and catch terrorists.”
They don’t lose much. No one has the authority to stop these programs.

As for the latest leak, I don’t see how it helps the insurgents. Their strategy is to wait us out, no matter how long it takes. Knowing we might withdraw at some point in the future makes no difference. And it may be a case of the admin sending up a trial ballon for American voters.

Just sayin’.

Vanya on June 26, 2006 at 8:29 PM

Vanya…please…

Wade on June 26, 2006 at 8:38 PM

I think you may be reaching a bit on that Vanya..

Just sayin’.

jcon96 on June 26, 2006 at 8:45 PM

Re: speed647, me too, Michele … love the tank top!! Looking mighty, well, shall we say … blue collar and HOT!

pabarge on June 26, 2006 at 9:23 PM

If these kind of leaks happen during World War II things would have been alot different. The War on Terrorism will be lost thanks to leaks by the MSM such as what the New York Times is doing, if only there could be cartoons made as the World War II one. Then again Liberals would be claiming racism..

Brah on June 26, 2006 at 9:35 PM

Bottom light: the media ought to at least show a little common sense restraint if it cares about the safety of our people and our military. I’m not sure why that idea is so revolutionary.

It’s because the liberals hate our military. They don’t think we should have bombs, guns, tanks, planes, etc. Or at the very least, we shouldn’t be spending as much as we are on those things. I know one lady who believes our military is NOT what keeps us free, it’s our constitution. Well, OK, our constitution does grant us our freedoms, but without a strong military, what would keep other countries from taking us over? This piece of paper???

StephC on June 26, 2006 at 9:50 PM

BTW-

HUNT DOWN THOSE LEAKERS AND IMPRISON THEM!!!!

Ditto, Ditto, Ditto!!

StephC on June 26, 2006 at 9:59 PM

Not very often has Vanya said something so mind-numbling heart-achingly jaw-droppingly stupid that I couldn’t think of a few words of rebuttal, if only for my own amusement.

This time she’s outdone herself. There isn’t one thing I could say that could drive home her banality and vapidity more than her own post. Her post speaks for itself.

That level of willing self-induced brainwashing, that extent of Bush-derangement-syndrome, is so vast it simply defies the imagination.

Actually there is a good respone and it was the very first thing I thought of. It’s the best line from the classic Sandler flick Billy Madison. This one’s for you, Vanya. Congrats, kid:

“What you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.”

That about covers that.

Professor Blather on June 26, 2006 at 10:46 PM

The Lady is grey but her soul is black. We need a contest to find a new name for the NYT. No longer a lady. No shades of grey.

People upset about the program to search financial records were not so upset when the Clinton administration was fishing FBI files on political enemies and keeping them on pcs at home. Remember Craig Livingston, the guy who took the soft fall who to this day no one in the Clinton administration remembers hiring?

If you want a major invasion of privacy for no good reason, how about the census, which even looks into your bathroom and count toilets.

How do you fight a war of survival if you can’t track data because someone takes offense? Do agents have to go to meetings in person?

In the CTR currency transaction program banks are required to supply all transaction records over 10k to IRS. Suspicious patterns are flagged and passed on to law enforcement. That program has been following transactions inside the US for years.

If you are calling some al-Quaeda member multiple times, I want the good ole gov to follow your butt forever! We are talking anthrax, planes into buildings, dirty bombs, sarin gas, subway blasts, or just maybe a van into a crowd at a campus square. I want you tracked, followed, analyzed. If nothing else, your buddy might indicate travel plans or some other clue to save lives.

What’s the difference from a covert agent asking your neighbors how often you go to meetings after midnight, and finding 30 phone calls to a terror cell at 3:00 am in one month. The phone record scan can dredge more, faster. How fast does sarin travel in a subway tunnel?

When there is a fire in a house, firemen axe the door to get in. They don’t ask permission. They will push you aside if you try to stop them. It is called public safety.

entagor on June 26, 2006 at 10:53 PM

entagor, here is the first entry in your contest – how about The Grey Harlot?

Entelechy on June 26, 2006 at 11:18 PM

My Thoughts on why many people or trying to stop the capture of terrorist and everything that goes against our laws.
THEORY:
People that hate the way we track terrorist are most likely to be aiding them .TRAITORS-

But as for the leak I say TREASON they should be shot and not spared.
I say give the loose-lips to our Dead Soldier’s Parents to do as they please with them…I like shoot them better.
DON’T GIVE THEM A TRIAL !
…They no longer have rights when their lips were greased up to spill our Secrets….USA ROCKS!!!! BOYCOTT NY TIMES A GREAT TERRORIST CONTRIBUTOR.
NOT IN OUR COUNTRY! WE WILL FIGHT YOU TILL THE END..

alyce on June 26, 2006 at 11:44 PM

entagor, on another thread, webprose calle them The Grey Hag.

Entelechy on June 26, 2006 at 11:58 PM

Ahhh… the good old days. Why hasn’t someone made similar cartoons using flash technology?

This is very funny along those lines:
http://www.zipperfish.net/free/yaafm12.php

It deals with the muslim cartoon controversy.

***NOT SAFE FOR WORK!!!***

rightside on June 27, 2006 at 12:21 AM

Al Qaeda intends to fight the war right here in our cities; therefore, our government has to examine how al Qaeda is getting its funds and operators inside our country. That means our government has to examine communications and transactions that cross the borders into our country.

So they can get a warrant. They’re already several weeks behind on this financial data, so an extra 24 hours shouldn’t matter.

Since you’re against what the government has been doing, offer up some concrete, viable alternatives.

Limit these broad unwarranted data collection and search programs to foreigners. If American citizens are plotting terrorism, it’s a law enforcement issue, and should be carefully handled using traditional methods. Abolish laws that prevent citizens from being armed. Terrorism is much harder if the targets refuse to be victims. Pull our troops out of Japan, Germany, and all other places where we have lingered for half a century longer than we should have. Concentrate our military budget on defense: anti-ICBM systems that work. Invest in sustainable domestic sources of energy.

The last thing we can do is realize that it isn’t the government’s role to provide absolute safety. Much in the way that you have no legal expectation that anyone will come when you dial 9-1-1, and that the police aren’t legally required to protect you from criminal acts, people shouldn’t expect the government to fight terrorism at any cost. It’s a battle that can never be completely won without rejection of the principles on which this country was founded. Bush was attacked by Democrats for saying “I don’t think you can win [the war on terrorism]. But I think you can create conditions so that the — those who use terror as a tool are less acceptable in parts of the world.” That’s not as much of a rallying cry as “victory at any cost,” but it’s realistic, and can be accomplished without changing our country for the worse.

Do you trust banks more than you trust the elected US government?

Sure I do. Banks make money by protecting my money and my private data. If they lose the trust of their customers, they’ll be dropped. When the U.S. government violates the trust of U.S. citizens, people applaud the violations as necessary to make them safer.

Again, this is basic con law; and again, if the government is over-stepping its bounds, the courts will either strike down the program or restrict it.

[...]

FOR NOW, at least, the SWIFT program is both legally valid AND classified.

Seems to me that you’re granting the government unlimited power, unless it is specifically restricted. That’s not a conservative view at all… the conservative view would be that the government has no powers except those specifically granted to it. Alexander Hamilton thought that the Bill of Rights wasn’t necessary…

For why declare that things shall not be done which there is no power to do?

Back to you,

Join the ACLU and attack the program in the courts, if that’s your wish. Until the courts rule, don’t reveal the mechanism of the program or the information gained.

As far as I know, the Judicial branch was never made aware of this system. Congress didn’t authorize the program. How is there even a way for checks and balances to be considered, absent this leak? This is one branch of the government acting unilaterally and in secrecy. If the executive branch violates the law in the middle of the forrest and no one is there to see it, did it really happen?

Bottom light: the media ought to at least show a little common sense restraint if it cares about the safety of our people and our military. I’m not sure why that idea is so revolutionary.

With regards to military information, absolutely. Reporting on troop movement is a serious matter. See, military action doesn’t just happen because the President wants it to. There are checks and balances between branches of the government. But when the executive branch decides to go against all pre-existing interpretations of law, and use National Security Letters as a way to do what they want, when they want, to whomever they want, without checks or balances, what recourse do we have? Crossing of fingers and “we should give them the benefit of the doubt” is all I see suggested.

However, as we are all too painfully aware, there are plenty of such enemies, and they are the type that exploit the weaknesses in our system that would result from your extreme tilting to one side of the privacy spectrum, a side that does not acknowledge national security concerns.

Freedom isn’t without its downsides. It’s dangerous to your health. It offends delicate sensibilities. It allows for dangerous ideas to be spread. It can erode traditional values. So if you don’t like the idea of someone riding a motorcycle without a helmet, strip clubs, articles on how to make weapons, or openly homosexual individuals, then maybe the downsides of freedom outweigh the benefits for you. Many Americans have become sissified. The thought that someone might be able to walk onto a bus and detonate a bomb scares people. And instead of objecting to bus bombings, people object to the principles of freedom that might allow such events to take place, transferring the danger posed by bombs onto the concept of freedom. I don’t really buy into the notion that “they hate us because we’re free.” At least, that’s not why they think they hate us. But many people quote that line, and these are usually the same people advocating a reduction in our freedom to combat the threat. How marvelously French.

And finally, as other posters have alluded to, I find it ironic that you seemingly have no problem with the IRS (a federal government agency) having far more financial data about you personally than could be gained from the SWIFT program, not to mention numerous creditors that are looking for your business.

I have a huge problem with the IRS. The income tax was created, much like these “temporary” measures, in a period of war. Previously, the IRS would have been unconstitutional. And what do you know… more than a hundred years later it’s still here, harassing and intimidating American citizens and providing politicians with enough money to buy reelection and placate the proletariat with promises of safety and socialism. But that’s a sidebar.

And yeah, we’re probably just going in circles with this. If your primary concern is safety, there’s not much I can do to dissuade you.

Mark Jaquith on June 27, 2006 at 2:31 AM

Mel Brooks… LOL. I guess fact-checking is reserved for real journalists. Better luck next time.

Vanya on June 27, 2006 at 7:03 AM

Mark:

I don’t think anyone is going to disagree with you in principle. The problem with your position, it seems to me, is that it is absolutist. The rest of us are adopting a realist posture.

Our primary concern is indeed national security; without it there will be no freedoms. Yet maintaining those freedoms is obviously also a vital interest.

But it seems that privacy is your SOLE concern without even a casual acknowledgment of the need for safety. There has to be a balance there. A balance is realistic; absolutism is idealism here. An absolute position in either direction seems both unrealistic and dangerously short-sighted to me.

Do you agree that in times of crisis some privacy rights may be curtailed? Do you support that notion – or do you think no crisis or threat should ever limit freedoms or privacy?

A couple more questions: do you consider yourself a classic paleo-conservative? A libertarian? Both? (The anti-gun control and isolationist tone of that last post got me curious!)

And a last question that I think might explain much about your differing perspective: do you or do you not believe we are currently fighting a war?

Professor Blather on June 27, 2006 at 8:33 AM

And by the way, all of the above is still completely off the topic — none of it changes the propriety of the NYT choosing to print this story. I notice you sort of glossed over the fact that even the NYT doesn’t claim any actual abuses of privacy rights.

Professor Blather on June 27, 2006 at 8:34 AM

RightSide: Thanks for that link!

Professor Blather on June 27, 2006 at 8:41 AM

Our primary concern is indeed national security; without it there will be no freedoms. Yet maintaining those freedoms is obviously also a vital interest.

Now you’re being absolutist. :-) Attacks on America, whether by terrorists or by a legitimate army, do not necessarily reduce freedom. Sure, if terrorists or a foreign government took over the country, our freedom would likely vanish, but such a task is hardly within the capabilities of the world’s current terrorist organizations. America wasn’t less free when the 9/11 attacks were taking place. Less safe, yes. But not less free.

But it seems that privacy is your SOLE concern without even a casual acknowledgment of the need for safety.

The government doesn’t have an obligation to keep me safe (and even if it did, it is an impossible task… absolute safety is out of the reach of even the most Totalitarian of governments). It does, however, have an obligation to uphold and respect my rights. I just have a more individualist (as opposed to collectivist) view on safety. If a burglar broke into my apartment, I’d go for my gun, not complain about how the government failed to protect me. Once the expectation that the government must (or even will) protect you has evaporated, it’s much easier to favor freedom.

Do you agree that in times of crisis some privacy rights may be curtailed? Do you support that notion – or do you think no crisis or threat should ever limit freedoms or privacy?

Where such legal provisions have been made, as in states of emergency, and declarations of martial law. But these should be temporary in the extreme.

A couple more questions: do you consider yourself a classic paleo-conservative? A libertarian? Both?

I consider myself libertarian, a classical liberal, an individualist and a capitalist. Definitely not paleo-conservative. I voted for Bush in 2004, as a lesser of two evils. I’m fairly disappointed with him, mostly on issues relating to abandonment of core conservative/libertarian issues like government expansion (health care, education, regulation, subsidies) but also on some liberal (again, classically liberal, not “left”) issues such as trying to put a gay marriage ban in the Constitution, and Constitutional disdain in general. He got some good originalist judges on the SCOTUS, which is the high point of his legacy, for me.

And a last question that I think might explain much about your differing perspective: do you or do you not believe we are currently fighting a war?

Not in the traditional sense. We fought a war in Afghanistan, and we fought one in Iraq, but once their governments were toppled, they ceased being wars. And with regards to the general “war on terror,” if your declared enemy is a concept, (drugs, pornography, terrorism) rather than a well-defined group, it is only a “war” in the sense of it being an effort to eliminate something undesirable. There can be no surrender, there is no uniform, there is no single leader, there is no measure by which the war can ever be declared to be over. It’s an effort against a concept.

Of course, that’s just my opinion on the matter. Legally, it isn’t a war, because Congress hasn’t passed a war resolution against “terrorism.”

I notice you sort of glossed over the fact that even the NYT doesn’t claim any actual abuses of privacy rights.

It mentions one instance of an “inappropriate” search, and it mentions the concerns of many officials about the program’s legality.

Mark Jaquith on June 27, 2006 at 4:04 PM