Video: Keller’s Independence Day message to America

posted at 2:17 pm on July 2, 2006 by Allahpundit

In short: The press isn’t neutral in the war on terror. If they were, would they cover it?

More fancy thinkin’ this morning, this time on Face the Nation. Spruiell has fun with BK’s apparent belief that while no Americans knew about this program, all terrorists everywhere did. Another contradiction is between his de facto admission that the program was above board and his insistence that Bush was “embarrassed” by its exposure. Note to Keller: That wasn’t embarrassment. It was anger.

Jeff Jarvis wants newspaper editors to issue guidelines setting out in advance the circumstances under which they’ll expose covert ops. Jarvis quite reasonably draws the line at illegality or gross incompetence. Keller’s standard, judging from the clip, would make any exercise of executive power fair game, regardless of its effectiveness or legality, unless every member of Congress has been briefed about it (some members of Congress were briefed about the SWIFT program so obviously selective briefings aren’t good enough) or unless the probability of people dying as a result of its exposure is exceptionally high. It boils down to the media’s belief that America, to borrow a phrase from our friend Andrew, is a “rogue nation” under Bush and therefore public oversight of his every move is necessary.

Anyway, here’s the clip. I had to edit it down pretty heavily to get it into the ballpark of fair use, including snipping the part where he says he’d publish the story again if given the chance to do it over. If you want to subject yourself to the whole eleven-minute clip, Ian’s got it. Mine picks up with him talking about the SWIFT program in the context of the NSA wiretap story, and how it’s all “part of a pattern”:

Ian’s also got video of Hugh Hewitt taking on Eric Lichtblau this morning on Reliable Sources. E&P has a precis of Frank Rich’s attempt to dismiss the controversy as Republicans demagoging the media in an election year, a refrain also sung (partially) by Keller himself. And Outside the Beltway has video of Dana Priest being confronted about leaks by Bill Bennett on Meet the Press this morning — and responding with a cheap shot about Bennett’s gambling.

Update: FYI, I included the bit where he talks about John Snow taking the media on a terror-finance tour a few years ago because he mentioned it in his op-ed with Baquet, too. Clearly he thinks it’s very important. But why? No one claims the administration has tried to keep secret the fact that it’s monitoring financial transactions; the secret is how they’re doing it. Or was, I should say. The Keller/Baquet piece insists that Snow talked about “sensitive details” about the program “hoping they would appear in print and demonstrate the administration’s relentlessness against the terrorist threat.” Really?? Snow hoped the sensitive details would be printed? Or merely the fact that they’d gone to such lengths to track the money?

Patterico watched the clip and sounds like he’s ready to start issuing subpoenas.

Update: David Frum lists the sensitive details that every terrorist in the world absolutely, unquestionably knew before the Times published its piece.


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The Dems’ should trade Dean for Keller, Keller is a much better politician, and Dean running the NYT would complete the conversion to total muckracking scoundrels.

B Moe on July 2, 2006 at 3:56 PM

The clip and the write-up leave one pretty speechless.

They had only one aim and he said so, to embarrass the President. Nobel aim – he wares it with pride and defiance.

Patterico said:

Keller, you’re a smart guy

From what he wrote and said so far, on this topic, he doesn’t come across very smart – just illogical, or from his perspective well-intentioned. To embarrass Mr. Bush.

He looks really, really dumb in the pictue, above, as if he is a spoiled child, caught with his pants down, and still doesn’t care…

Entelechy on July 2, 2006 at 3:56 PM

Is there a law that delineates the distinction Dana Priest claims?–that some classified information is illegal to publish–codes, covert operatives, nuclear secrets, etc–but anything else is protected by the First Amendment, even if classified? If there’s no law or precedent to point to, than she’s just interpeting the Amendment herself: “journalists can publish even classified material, unless it’s really obviously in their judgement going too far.” How does she know the Framers wanted codes, coverts agents and nuclear secrets protected but not wiretapping and financial tracking programs?

Alex K on July 2, 2006 at 3:58 PM

I’m really quite amazed-stupefied. Patterico says” Keller, you’re a smart guy, and I know you know better than this”.. and I think I agree, he must be smart. But does he really think the rest of America is this stupid? Not just that today’s drivel might be accepted by the masses… as they say; “OK” duh, makes sense to yous guys, ok by me too also…But he even comes right out and says it. US Citizens are way dumber than terrorists. The terrorists knew all about this money thingy, but the VOTERS and CITIZENS..THEY’RE way to stupid to know, so we tell them.(via Spruiell link) He will hold back ON OCCASION, if people could die, but not always.
This is the most embarrassing example of backtracking in memory. I’ve changed my mind on Keller’s smarts, he is no Mensa member, just a frickin chicken and a possible liar. But he is NO American, in my book.

shooter on July 2, 2006 at 4:02 PM

Keller and every NYT-associated report should have their press credentials pulled by the Executive branch. They wouldn’t issue them to Al Qaeda representative, so why should they to those serving as AQ’s Intel branch?

Mike O on July 2, 2006 at 4:22 PM

It boils down to the media’s belief that America, to borrow a phrase from our friend Andrew, is a “rogue nation” under Bush and therefore public oversight of his every move is necessary.

Kinda sums it up right there, doesn’t it? If this is your starting point, then every effort to undermine the WOT is noble. The diligent search for the new My Lai, the disproportionate coverage of the Cindy Sheehans and this current episode bear that out.

CrankyNeocon on July 2, 2006 at 4:29 PM

Get the Grand Jury ready. If these liberals are so ready to talk about committing treason then let them do so to the jury.

DannoJyd on July 2, 2006 at 4:30 PM

Actauly I think it goes deeper than that, its pure arrogance.

They KNOW that politicians won’t prosecute because of the Co-dependent relationship the press and the Politicians have. You notice how the MSM is circling the wagons, defending what the NYT did… and Politicians know that if they prosecute this eventualy the Press will either tear them apart like a pack of dogs, or, even worse, stop giving them press coverage.

Notice the healines in the MSM, this is called the Bank Story… NOT the Publishing a Secret story…

WE THE PEOPLE need to take our country back from slime like this.

Romeo13 on July 2, 2006 at 4:37 PM

We’re not neutral in the war on terror…

Of course not – you’re on the side of the terrorists!

speed647 on July 2, 2006 at 4:48 PM

I apologize for redundancy, as I’ve posted some of these comments elsewhere, but this is serious, folks:

I am really having trouble understanding the lack of reaction to this act of treason. The NYT were asked, told, by the Commander-in-Chief of this country and others, not to publish the detailed secrets. They published information that helped our enemies.

They should be taken down. NOW. Sort out the legalities later. They are jeopardizing troops, our country, and our lives. In this war, media is just as powerful as bullets and bombs.

Our Nation (We the People) and Congress declared war on Terrorism, with the information we had, and not just GWB. The enemy is not only the terrorism of radical Islam, but also anyone who, for whatever reason, does not want us to win this war. As GWB said to the world in preparing for the War, “you are either for us or against us”.

The NYT and most other mainstream outlets are clearly against this country. They are trying to hide, however, like other spies/traitors: They are but wolves trying to disguise themselves as constitutional-rights-conscious sheep. If we fail to defend this nation against the onslaughts from Islam, we won’t have a constitution to define the rights, nor the country to defend them. There are several home-grown terrorist cells in this country as we are discovering, and one of them is in the building of the old Grey Lady of the NYT.

I think it would be perfectly appropriate for a special-ops seizure of the building, and its nationwide organization.

The Democrats are holding the winning of the political war above the good of the country, and now the Republicans and all elected officials who don’t prosecute these people are doing the same by letting these traitors get away with it.

What about a 10,000 strong force of patriot citizens making a citizens arrest of Pinch and his Ilk? Should citizens start confiscating newspapers on the street, confronting ANY employee of treasonous media. The same New York people who were attacked are allowing this news organization/Terrorist Cell to operate unhindered in their very city! I just don’t understand. If I were paperboy, printer, proofreader, or marketing advertiser there I would have to quit, and make some big waves doing it.

We must act now, people!! Shut the damage off at its source, then ask questions later. The presses should be stopped, the “sources” tracked and confined, the editors, lawyers, journalists, and anyone else choosing to continue with this enemy organization held accountable.

There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, but someone has to have the guts to do what is right.

CountryDoc on July 2, 2006 at 5:09 PM

Hmmm…. just thought of another attack vector…

Don’t go after the advertisors… don’t go after the NYT itself, go after the distributors…

If the NYT (New York Traitor) is carried by the newstand or bookstore DON”T buy there…. could also target the news paper machines… pay for one, take em all, and dump em… kind of a mass Boston Tea Party…

Romeo13 on July 2, 2006 at 5:21 PM

Hmmm…. just thought of another attack vector…

Don’t go after the advertisors… don’t go after the NYT itself, go after the distributors…

If the NYT (New York Traitor) is carried by the newstand or bookstore DON”T buy there…. could also target the news paper machines… pay for one, take em all, and dump em… kind of a mass Boston Tea Party…

Romeo13 on July 2, 2006 at 5:21 PM

Romeo, the idea is appealing, but we are dutily bound to respect the law, in order to demonstrate our respect to the principles of civil order. Pressuring the distributors is a good idea. Stealing the papers will only escalate the Moonbats, and they have NO respect for the law.

CountryDoc on July 2, 2006 at 5:27 PM

Keller says the media is not neutral in the war on terror, and goes on to mention that the media are in cities that are terrorist targets, thereby implying that he and his peers are against terrorism. And of course, who would say they are for it? But isn’t that an odd way to put it? If you’re supportive of the war on terror (or, more accurately, the war on Islamofascism), why not say “we support the war on terror” instead of “we’re not neutral,” leaving it open to interpretation?

Keller suggests that Bush is pandering to his base in an election year by “beating up on the NY Times.” But Keller obviously had his paper’s “base” in mind when he used that awkward phrasing. How would it look to liberals, including Democrats in Congress who rely on the Times for talking points, if its editor were to say “we support the war on terror”? Another thing the media isn’t neutral on is the war on Bush. Stating outright support for one war would make them look weak on the other.

insomni on July 2, 2006 at 6:00 PM

Alex K asks:

Is there a law that delineates the distinction Dana Priest claims?–that some classified information is illegal to publish–codes, covert operatives, nuclear secrets, etc–but anything else is protected by the First Amendment, even if classified?

Ans: Yes. She was referring to 18 USC 798 which prohibits publishing certain classified information, and a section of the old Atomic Energy Act. BTW, the December NY Times article clearly violated Section (a)(3) of section 798.

However, she begged the question. Section 793 prohibits unauthorized persons from RECEIVING any classified information or POSSESSING it. Her own Pulitzer-winning article clearly violated this provision as did the NY Times article on SWIFT operation.

After the “leakers” turned over the classified information to them, they became violators of Section 793 when they did failed to immediately inform the FBI. The punishment is 10 years for each violation plus asset forfeiture of any proceeds (in this case, that’d include the Pulitzer Prize itself).

However, as I have noted in the other threads, there is another section of the US Code that I firmly believe was violated: 18 USC 2381.

Sec. 2381. Treason

-STATUTE-

Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason and shall suffer death, or shall be imprisoned not less than five years and fined under this title but not less than $10,000;…

georgej on July 3, 2006 at 2:56 AM