Keller: Everybody knew about SWIFT except everybody in America

I’ve got nothing left to say about this moron. I post this stuff just to give Patterico something to write about at night.

Here’s BK on NewsHour yesterday taking umbrage at Admiral Bobby Inman’s speculation that some of the Times’s sources were — gasp! — “disaffected”:

BILL KELLER: First of all, I’m not sure how Admiral Inman knows how we got the story, but the story cited more than 20 sources, and it was put together over the course of several months. It wasn’t handed to us and uncritically replicated in the pages of The New York Times. That’s one thing.

Second of all, I don’t believe that there was anything about sources and methods in this story that would be news to anybody, except, perhaps, readers of the newspaper and members of Congress.

What was new in the story was the scope of our efforts to monitor international financial transactions, and the fact that this was being done with minimal congressional oversight, like a number of the other post-9/11 programs.

It must have been administration loyalists who believe strongly in the program’s efficacy who vaporized it by leaking it to the Times, huh? That adds up.

This is fun too:

ADMIRAL BOBBY INMAN: Well, there was a collaborative that President Carter put in place, that President Reagan kept until I departed government, where editors would call 7:00, 7:30 in the evening, and ask, will it be damaging if we say the following?

And I had to answer then, and, if it was not damaging, clear to run the story. If there was a way to take out a few lines and, in my judgment, make it less likely to be damaging, we did that. It was extraordinarily rare that I asked them to hold a story entirely. And, on those rare occasions, they did.

But both the administration and the editors have to be in a mind-set where protecting national security sources and methods — I’m not talking about U.S. operations — I’m talking about intelligence sources and methods.

And when there is a mind-set on both sides to try to limit damage, there are ways that work. But both sides have to be willing to do that.

JEFFREY BROWN: What — so, what do you think about that, Mr. Keller?

BILL KELLER: I think Admiral Inman is describing precisely the procedure that we followed in the NSA eavesdropping investigation and in the story about the SWIFT banking program.

Precisely the same. When Inman asked them to hold a story, they did. When Negroponte asked them to hold it, they didn’t. Identical.

Read the trancript if you’re hungry for more. The “Don’t blame me, blame Thomas Jefferson” argument once again makes a cameo.

Update: Wherever there’s a moral high ground to be lost, you know whom you can count on to lose it.