The Discerning Texan

All that is necessary for evil to triumph, is for good men to do nothing.
-- Edmund Burke
Friday, June 30, 2006

If the New York Times existed in 1776...

(click to enlarge)
DiscerningTexan, 6/30/2006 11:36:00 PM | Permalink | |

Hewitt and Steyn discuss the Supreme Court, the New York Times, and the betrayal of America

Those of you who read this blog regularly may think I have become like a broken record on these pages for the last week; but the truth is I have been writing about the dreadful, anti-American New York Times since I started this blog, and about the need for a strict constitutionalist Court for at least two years. But the way things have come to a head this week have been unnerving--even considering past atorcities by both the media AND the Court.

Yes, there are other vitally important things going on in the world right now--but the naked truth is that I am just so f-ing ANGRY about this betrayal that I can barely see straight: A proud nation of hundreds of millions of good people, protected by blood shed over two hundred years of wars fought for their freedom; a Dream that began with intellectuals like Adam Smith, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson in the 1700's--a Dream that has changed the world and has given hope to millions for over 200 years--has been so badly betrayed this week, that it is all I can do get past my horror and anger.

Even with the knowledge that a majority of our news media are driven by a narrow and single-minded blind hatred of Republicanism that is so myopic it is destroying our country; even knowing that 5 liberal Justices have self-appointed themselves as Dictators within a Democratic Republic, under a Constitution that gave them no such power; even knowing all these things, the scope and ramifications of these betrayals are so damaging that it may take us years to recover from it--if recovery is even a possibility. The terrifying truth is that the seditious acts of the New York Times and the atrocity of a decision by the Supreme Court could cost the United States an entire city...or worse. I heard talk radio hosts bemoaning the fact that "the American way" was left out of the phrase "Truth, Justice, and the American way" in the latest Superman flick. If there is such a thing as "Justice", one day the "American way" will not stand for putting the lives of your countrymen in jeapordy simply in order to make a political statement. And that is the "Truth".

Here are the reflections of Mark Steyn and Hugh Hewitt, courtesy of Radio Blogger. God help us all:

HH: I've always thought we were going to win this war, and I've always thought we'd summon the political will to do it. But today's Supreme Court decision, coupled with the House of Representatives' refusal to name names in their resolution condemning the action of the New York Times, and the similar reasoning coming out of the United States Senate leaves me wondering. To discuss that and other things, Mark Steyn joins me, columnist to the world. You can read his stuff at Mark, let's start with the United States Supreme Court. Your reaction to the Hamdan decision?

MS: Well, I agree with you. I think it's a bad decision, and I think it's part of the same story as the New York Times story, that on the battlefield, the military is only one of the weapons you deploy when you're at war. And on all the other fields, like the media, the courts, the broader culture, we are not performing well. And this is a very good decision for every jihadist who now knows that he has...basically, he will be treated like a U.S. citizen if he falls into the hands of the U.S. military. Meanwhile, if the U.S. military fall into their hands, they get their heads cut off and left by the roadside.

HH: Mark Steyn, it seems to me, and I was trying to describe this earlier today. We have a 9/11 President, and a 9/11 military, and a 9/11 cabinet, and there are some members of Congress who are 9/11 Congressmen and Senators. But we've got a 9/10 Court majority, and we've got a 9/10 Senate and House leadership, it appears, and certainly a 9/10 Democratic Party. What's it going to take?

MS: Well, you know, you said you thought that we would in the end win this war. I think it is entirely possible that we could lose, simply because at the heart of all these things is the idea that somehow, you demonstrate your moral virture by bending over backwards to be as accommodating as you can at people who want to kill you. And that is generally not a good idea. I don't like Vladimir Putin, but when he reacted to this business with the four Russian hostages by saying that he was dispatching Special Forces on a mission to hunt down and kill the guys who did it, I did...I was very heartened at a guy who just actually sees it that clearly. I mean, we complain a lot of the time about the unassimilated Muslim population. But in fact, when it comes to things like this, our enemy are incredibly assimilated. They understand the legalisms very well. They understand how to play the court systems, how to play the media extremely well.

HH: Mark Steyn, let's turn to the New York Times/Los Angeles Times story of a week ago tomorrow. We haven't talked since that came out. What was your reaction to it?

MS: Well, I think it's disgusting. I personally stopped buying...I stopped writing for the Times, I think about eight or nine years ago, and they edited a piece I wrote into the biggest mush ever to appear under my name. So I stopped writing for it. And a couple of years later, I realized that actually, quite a lot of the paper reads like mush, so I stopped buying it. So I'm not in a position, personally, to boycott the paper. But if I could do, I would, because I think it crossed the line into Al Jazeera territory with what it did for no good reason. And it could have done the same with any of the secret codes that were used, in which the Allies relied on in the Second World War. And if you think of...this is the difference in the media across 60 years. In the Second World War, the BBC cooperated with the British government in broadcasting coded messages to members of the French resistence on the Continent. Now, not only couldn't you get any of these guys to do anything like that, but if they found out that somebody else was doing it, they'd expose the program.

HH: Now Mark Steyn, after the outrage began to mount, the New York Times has adopted a line that says no harm, no foul. That which we published did not in fact assist the terrorists. I've been arguing that of course it assists terrorists in eluding capture. What's your sense of it?

MS: Yes, I think there's absolutely no doubt that it does. I mean, there were no issues here that impacted in any legal or Constitutional sense. If a guy wires money from a bank account in the United Arab Emirates to a bank account in Paris via a clearing house in Belgium, that's got nothing to do with the U.S. Constitution, or any legal issues. They did this, basically, just to expose the program, and to damage it. And the idea that somehow they're exercising their freedom as the founders foresaw it...I mean, I'm sure you get this everywhere you go, Hugh. The American people do not think the press are a privileged class. They think we've all got freedom of expression, whether you're a newspaperman, or you're a plumber, or you've got a small software company, or you're a clerk at the feed store. But they don't think that the New York Times has privileges above and beyond what any of the rest of us have.

HH: And they also believe, and I think intuitively, but backed up by sound reasoning, that if you print a story that says Hambali was obtained...his capture was obtained by the SWIFT program, that everyone who knew Hambali is going to go back and reverse engineer that, and figure out what he did, and then not do it again. And they also assume that a lot of terrorists are just plain stupid, and didn't know about financial tracking, much less brilliant, and knowing about SWIFT. I find it astonishing that they think that this argument will work, Mark Steyn, that no one has been advantaged by this.

MS: Yeah, no. And the problem is, a lot of the big banks use this SWIFT program in Belgium. My bank in Montreal uses it. But the people will now be actively thinking, particularly some Saudi banks, wealthy banks in the Gulf and others, will be thinking of setting up systems that will bypass this, specifically in order to attract jihad business, which can be quite lucrative. And I think it's very foolish to actually advertise that you're willing to be played for suckers, which is what it looks like we do a lot of the time.

HH: Which is why Belgium and Canada have already made noises of withdrawing cooperation with us, vis-à-vis the SWIFT program.

MS: Absolutely, because this is not...this is simply not just something that damages you with some crazy guy in the caves in Pakistan, or in Afghanistan. It's something that tells other advanced Western nations that America is not serious. This is the most damaging thing of all these things. It's not a question of America's enemies. It's not only a question of what the Saudis or the Egyptians or the Russians or the Chinese think. When you talk to high up government officials in friendly countries to America, countries like India, Singapore, Denmark, countries that essentially share the same view of the Islamist threat, they worry about whether America is the strong horse you want to bet on in this game.

HH: Mark Steyn, I discussed this at length with Howard Kurtz and Eric Lichtblau, and Eugene Robinson, and Geneva, the former ombudsman of the Post this Sunday on Reliable Sources. That's their idea of a fair fight. Four MSM'ers and me.

MS: (laughing) You can take them all, Hugh.

HH: It's already over. Yeah, it's done, and I did. But the point is, I was looking for help from the United States Congress. I was hoping the House of Representatives and the Senate of the United States would pass resolutions condemning the actions of these two newspapers. Others followed that had not been requested not to publish like the Wall Street Journal. But the Times and the Times are the two Times that did it. And the House won't name names, and I received a call this morning from a Senator staffer, who said the Senate at that point was also not going to name a name, and not comdemn it. It seems to me like they are afraid of the big dogs, so they're going to kick the puppies. What do you think?

MS: Yeah, and I think that speaks very poorly for them. You know, I love those fellows in Washington. They get a bit upset because they think they won't be invited to this or that dinner party when they're next in New York, or the Washington Post crowd will be annoyed with them. But you've got to face down these things. This arrogant man who's basically appointed himself essentially the national security general, this man at the New York Times, he hasn't gone through any confirmation hearings. He basically says I've got a special clause in the U.S. Constitution, just for me and my institution. And the Senate should be calling him on that, and so should the House of Representatives.

HH: You're referring to Bill Keller. Now I get to something I talked about with a lot of people this week. I want your opinion on this. You've been in journalism for how many years, Mark Steyn?

MS: Well, actually, pretty much since I was 17 or 18. I was always hoping something else would turn up, but it never did. It's a long time.

HH: Well, I've only been doing it for 17 years. But before that, I spent 6 years in the government, and I've handled a lot of classified information, and I am confident when I say that 95% of America's journalists don't have a clue about intelligence, and how it works. And they are not in a position to judge the impact of these stories, because they don't get out much. They live in little bubbles, and they're not that well educated to begin with, and they're not very good thinkers. Correct me if I'm wrong.

MS: Well, I would agree with you. I think America has one of the most parochial journalist classes in the world, because those of us who come from smaller, less important countries, one consequence of that is if you go to London, there's lots of Australians working in the newsroom. If you go to India, you'll find a lot of British journalists working there. American journalists seem to have this completely parochial idea...I mean, if you look at Bill Keller's choice of words, that it's the administration...he regards this as a program of the administration. It's not. It's a program of the United States government. But he thinks that Bush and Cheney are at war. Not that America is at war, but that Bush and Cheney are. And this is this parochial, almost totally self-absorbed way of looking at what is actually one of the great global conflicts of the age.

HH: 30 seconds, Mark Steyn. What's a terrorist watching this past week conclude about America?

MS: Well, I think when we listen to terrorists talking about the new caliphate, and there are a bunch of guys sitting in the cave, we think they're nuts. When a guy is sitting in the cave listening to Bill Keller explain proudly why he betrayed America's national security interests, that guy in the cave would rightly conclude that we're the ones that are nuts. And it's hard to disagree with him.

HH: Mark Steyn, thank you., America.

DiscerningTexan, 6/30/2006 09:38:00 PM | Permalink | |

Disgraceful Supreme Court attempt to override US Constitution betrays America AND the Geneva Convention

The New Hampshire Union-Leader has a sensational op-ed up today on the long-term ramifications of the Supreme Court's attempt yesterday to wrest power from the Executive Branch. As I alluded to yesterday, this is a Classic example of the Court "legislating from the bench"; not only is the written decision monumentally flawed--as shown below--but in reaching this decision the Court is attempting to delegate powers to itself and the Congress that can be found NOWHERE in the Constitution (h/t to Real Clear Politics).

It is beyond ironic that the New York Times has been so busy trying to accuse the President of wielding "dictatorial" powers, yet doing everything in its power to prevent him from exercising the authority explicitly granted to him by the Constitution to wage war on HIS terms--still it is the Supreme Court that is clearly overstepping its bounds in this decison. As Constitutional scholar Ma
rk Levin writes (bold highlighting is my own):

Congress and the Court are systematically stripping the presidency of war-making powers. Congress demands that the president get court approval before intercepting enemy communications (we call that intelligence gathering) and the Court demands that the president get statutory support from Congress before he can use military tribunals to try terrorists.

And yet, neither Congress nor the Supreme Court have any explicit constitutional authority to make these decisions. Congress can cut-off funding for the war or any aspect of it, which it has not; and the judiciary's only role in these matters is to defer to the president, who has explicit and broad authority under the Constitution as the commander-in-chief.

Today, the Court has taken a giant new step in its usurpation of explicit presidential authority. The battle against terrorism is being fought as much in our courtrooms as on the field in Iraq and other places — where the likes of the ACLU and activist judges will set policy in contravention of the Constitution.

Congress and the courts are conferring rights and privileges on terrorists. They are conferring constitutonal protections on the enemy. They are granting the enemy jurisdiction in our civilian courts. They are extending the Geneva Conventions to an enemy that is specifically excluded from those protections.

I wrote an entire book on the subject of the Supreme Court, and how it's destroying America. And that's exactly what it's doing. In 2004, the Court said, in two cases — Rasul and Hamdi — for the first time in our history, that unlawful enemy combatants — that is, terrorists who themselves refuse to comply with the rules of law — have a legal right to access to our federal civilian courts and can file habeas corpus petitions there. That means they can ask a federal judge to determine whether their detention is proper. In the past, the Supreme Court refused to grant such access to our courts. And as I wrote at the time, this is a slippery slope. Having broken down the wall of restraint that had traditionally been recognized by the Court, there appears to be no limit anymore on the judiciary's role in second-guessing the commander-in-chief. And that's exactly what happened today.

The Supreme Court said today that in exercising his constitutional authority, the president had to comply with congressional statutory mandates. I don't believe the establishment of these tribunals violate any statute, but more to the point, since when does a statute trump the Constitution? Since never.

Meanwhile, the Union-Leader chillingly describes the damage this decision has done:

Thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court, as of yesterday the Geneva Conventions no longer offer an incentive for terrorist thugs to abide by the rules of war. The court has afforded al-Qaida members the protections of a treaty their leaders never signed and they have never followed.

The Supreme Court ruled 5-3 yesterday that the military tribunals used to try prisoners at Guantanamo Bay were both unconstitutional and illegal under the Geneva Conventions. The court made some sense with its constitutional argument, but none at all when it applied the Geneva Conventions to al-Qaida.

The court declared that Guantanamo Bay detainees could be tried in military tribunals, but only in ones explicity authorized by Congress. President Bush could work with Congress to create a tribunal that would pass Supreme Court review, except that the court seems to have ruled that out by applying the Geneva Conventions to Guantanamo detainees. And therein lies the real importance of this ruling.

To be classified as a prisoner of war protected by the conventions, combatants have to meet certain criteria, which include “having a fixed distinctive sign recognizable at a distance” and “conducting their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war.”

The Geneva Conventions intentionally exclude people who operate outside the rules of warfare, which includes al-Qaida terrorists. Yet the court applied the conventions to al-Qaida operative Salim Ahmed Hamdan anyway, arguing absurdly that a provision written to cover civil wars — armed conflicts “not of an international character” — somehow covered the War on Terror, plainly a conflict of an international character.

If the Geneva Conventions apply to captured terrorists, as the court ruled, then our ability to track these enemies is severely handicapped, as we will be unable to use coercive measures to make them talk. We are not for torture. But in a war against a barbaric enemy that ignores the rules of war, coercive interrogation techinques are justified.

Also, by offering their protections only to combatants who abide by the rules of war, the conventions are supposed to encourage non-conventional combatants to follow the rules. The court, by extending convention protections to terrorists who routinely emerge from the shadows to slaughter innocent civilians before slinking back to their caves, has eliminated whatever incentive to civilized behavior the conventions might have offered.

Nice job guys--if EVER there were an argument for "Strict Constitutionalists" on the court, this is it. Last year I highlighted these prophetic words of Antonin Scalia; and if this President and future Presidents continue to fail to use this standard in naming Justices to the Court, this Republic will eventually cease to exist as the brilliant experiment intended by the Founders.

This decision is beyond outrageous--which of course makes this ringing endorsement of it by the seditious New York Times that much more sickening.

UPDATE: Spook86 may be right when he calls this the "Worst Supreme Court Decision Ever":

I'm not an attorney, nor a legal scholar, so I'm in unfamilar territory commenting on a Supreme Court decision. But the more I read about yesterday's ruling in the Hamdan v. Rumsfeld case, the more I'm convinced that the decision will (ultimately) rank among the worst ever made by the high court--on the same level as the Dred Scott decision, which tilted the legal balance of power in favor of slave holders (and helped precipitate the Civil War), and Plessy v. Ferguson, which helped institutionalized segregation in the United States.

At first blush, such comparison may seem a bit overwraught. Afterall, the Scott and Ferguson decisions denied basic rights to African-Americans, perpetuating inequality and racisim for decades. But, in its own right, Hamdan also sets justice on its ear. Over the course of a 167-page decision, Justice John Paul Stevens (who wrote the majority opinion), joined by Justices David Souter, Steven Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Anthony Kennedy, manage to accomplish some rather amazing legal gymnastics. Among their feats of jurisprudence:

--Abandoning Legal Precedent. Yesterday's ruling conveniently ignores a Supreme Court ruling from World War II which upheld the legality of military tribunals for foreign combatants. In that case, Nazi spies caught infiltrating into the U.S. They were tried and sentenced to death by military courts.

--Awarding Geneva Convention Protections (Where None Existed). The convention was careful to limit its protection to combatants representing recognized governments and nation-states. Efforts to extend that protection have been routinely rejected by the signatories, and for good reason. Under that approach, persons affiliated with any seperatist, terrorist, or eco-terrorist group would be a potential POW, entitled to protection under the convention, and greatly increasing the legal, investigative and financial burden on nations abiding by the treaty.

--Undercuting the Authority of the Commander-in-Chief. As Justice Clarence Thomas noted in a stinging dissent, Hamdan effectively dilutes the chief executive's wartime powers--in a time of war.

--Circumventing the Foreign Policy Process. By conveying legal protection to "stateless" Al Qaida suspects, the Supreme Court (it could be argued) negotiated a treaty with a terrorist organization. So much for the President, and so much for Senate review and consent. If it's good enough for Justice Stevens and Osama bin Laden, it should be good enough for the Administration and the American people.

As the court's leading liberal, Justice Stevens (at the age of 86) probably sees his opinion as the capstone of a 30-year career on the court. We can only hope that future generations look back on Hamdan as a legal travesty, much as we view Dred Scott, or the "seperate but equal" doctrine of the Ferguson case. has some reassuring thoughts. But there is little doubt that Justice Stevens and Co. put the U.S. on a slippery legal slope, and created an opening for all sorts of potential judicial activism.

(I too highly recommend the aforementioned OpinionJournal piece.)

DiscerningTexan, 6/30/2006 08:28:00 PM | Permalink | |

Treason and Hypocrisy at the New York Times

Vasko Kohlmayer--who fled to the West from the repressive and Orwellian Communist regime of Czechoslovakia at age 19 (and thus, who knows doublespeak and hypocrisy when he sees it)--demonstrates the two-faced treachery of the New York Times, in light of its betrayal of America and reckless endangerment of the safety of Americans at home and abroad; especially considering the enormous stink it raised about the alleged (and now utterly discredited) Valerie Plame "leaks". This one really hit home for me; it perfectly illustrates just how partisan, irresponsible, and CRIMINAL the publishers of the Times really are.

The full force and power of the United States government needs to be applied to making the New York Times pay dearly for its betrayal of the nation it supposedly serves. I have survived for several years now without reading the Times--I have a sneaking suspicion:

The New York Times apparently sees nothing wrong with disclosing the existence of two vital national security programs, but deems the non-outing of a non-undercover CIA agent a grievous threat to this nation’s survival. So much so that in the minds of its editors it merits indicting everyone from Dick Cheney on down.

Although their hopes ultimately proved groundless, the left still managed to make hay out the Valerie Plame affair. They even succeeded in destabilizing the administration for a time by hamstringing some of its most capable operatives. It would, however, be short-sighted not to see that the trouble was entirely of the administration’s own making.

To begin with, the investigation should have never been allowed to proceed in the first place. If you remember, Patrick Fitzgerald obtained his mandate only after Attorney General John Ashcroft recused himself citing a potential conflict of interest. Rather than this being an act of magisterial uprightness, it was in fact a dereliction of duty. We are at war and at this critical time the attorney general has no business of stepping aside when spurious charges are being leveled against the administration.

Rather than giving a free hand to the detractors, Mr. Ashcroft should have launched a probe into the apparent attempts in some government agencies to undermine this nation’s war effort. As far as the matter of Ms. Plame was concerned, Mr. Ashcroft should have looked into it himself and had he seen any reason for concern appoint an honest man to conduct an inquiry. But instead he fumbled and the ball was snatched by Patrick Fitzgerald whose sham investigation kept distracting the administration from the pressing task of fighting the war whose issue will decide our future.

In a more peaceful period it may have been entertaining to watch liberals quivering with hope at the prospect of Fitzmas only to be bitterly disappointed when if failed to arrive. But these are very serious times and there should be no place for people like Mr. Fitzgerald to be conducting inquiries occasioned by nothing more than specious partisan accusations.

President Bush clearly relishes his role of a gracious Texas gentleman who is ever ready to overlook his detractors’ mischief no matter how egregious it may be. This is certainly at least part of the reason why he left unanswered the New York Times’ disclosure of the CIA secret flight operation and, more importantly, of the NSA surveillance program last December. Mr. Bush needs to realize, however, that more is at stake here than his reputation as an amiable man. By disclosing those programs the New York Times seriously compromised our national security. Emboldened by the administration’s blasé attitude, it last week revealed the existence of yet another vital anti-terrorism operation.

George Bush was not elected to shower his enemies with magnanimity, particularly when they imperil America’s security. Neither was he elected to nominate wavering attorneys general who step aside or blink confusedly when confronted with treasonous acts. Mr. Bush has been entrusted with office primarily on the strength of his pledge to uncompromisingly prosecute the war on terror. And dealing with domestic subversives is a crucial component of this effort, especially when they commit indictable offenses.

We must insist that the president do his duty and prosecute those who have so badly undermined our national security. Failure to do so would be a betrayal of the Constitution which expressly mandates the executive branch to act in such situations. To honor its constitutionally assigned duties, the administration must spring into action and launch a criminal probe. We are in the midst of a war whose outcome will decide whether we survive as a nation, and this president needs to come to terms with the obvious fact that there are traitors among us. This is not unusual, for there are traitors in every war. But whereas in the wars past they were dealt with just severity, today they are given a free pass. So brazen have they become that they even award themselves the Pulitzer prize for their acts of treason.

Those at the New York Times have shown complete disregard for this country’s national security and by disclosing vital programs seriously diminished our ability to persecute the war on terror. The vast majority of Americans cannot but be enraged by these acts of treachery. It is time for the president to do his duty and bring to justice those responsible. Once he begins this work, the nation will cheer him on.

DiscerningTexan, 6/30/2006 07:36:00 PM | Permalink | |
Thursday, June 29, 2006

How to facilitate the Murder of US Citizens:

(click to enlarge) Then read this article in the Weekly Standard which makes the case for why the New York Times should be prosecuted.
DiscerningTexan, 6/29/2006 10:48:00 PM | Permalink | |

Traitor Lichtblau's "Defense": AQ already knew...

... Really--this did no harm; everyone already knew.... This guy has the AUDACITY to say that. Well, Eric: hopefully you will get a chance to write all the reasons why AQ already knew the secrets you fed them from your cell, Eric. And I hope you get a chance to reminisce in the Prison yard with the scum that leaked it to you in the first place.

Hugh Hewitt rips Lichtblau's argument to shreds:

Eric Lichtblau is one of the authors of the New York Times' piece from june 23 that I believe has assited terrorists in eluding capture. He has denied this, and when he and I appear on CNN's Reliable Sources on Sunday, he'll make the same claim.

I wrote about it briefly in my column this morning, and Tom Macguire has ben dealing with variants of the argument as well.

But given this "no harm, no foul" defense is likely to be the last refuge for an elite media staggered by the public's anger, it deserves a little more detail.

First, the Los Angeles Times' Doyle McManus has admitted to me on the air ( transcript here) that the stories "conceivably" could help terrorists avoid capture.

Once any sort of possibility is allowed, the argument is over, as no one in the meida can quantify the risk, and ifit can't be quantified, it can't be justified. You cannot "balance" what you cannot "weigh."

So Lichtblau has adopted the only defensible rhetoric, but using it reveals himself to be either disingenuous or simply not very bright.

First, and most obviously, consider how many terrorists there are in the world. That number is, at a minimum, in the tens of thousands.

Unless each of them had detailed knowledge of Swift and how it worked, then those that didn't but gained that knowledge immediately after publication or will have that knowledge passed to them by trainers down the road will be better prepared by that information to elude capture.

Lichtblau and his enablers respond that "everybody" knew and the Administration loudly proclaimed that terrorist financing was under surveillance. This transparent dodge is akin to arguing that because everyone knows that police try and catch speeders, that every motorist knows every speed trap, radar gun and mounted camera deployed around the country.

Illustration: Does Mr. Lichtblau want to bet that the Canadian cell or the Miami cell knew what Swift was, or that 7,800 institutions routed all their finances through one system in Belgium that the U.S. had access to?

Better yet, Mr. Lichtblau ought to read his original story, in which this disclosure is made:

The idea for the Swift program, several officials recalled, grew out of a suggestion by a Wall Street executive, who told a senior Bush administration official about Swift's database. Few government officials knew much about the consortium, which is led by a Brooklyn native, Leonard H. Schrank, but they quickly discovered it offered unparalleled access to international transactions. Swift, a former government official said, was "the mother lode, the Rosetta stone" for financial data.

Lichtblau's story also noted that "the banking program is a closely held secret," and that it was "hidden," no doubt because of the scale of the operation was simply not understood even by sophisticated terrorists:

Swift's database provides a rich hunting ground for government investigators. Swift is a crucial gatekeeper, providing electronic instructions on how to transfer money among 7,800 financial institutions worldwide. The cooperative is owned by more than 2,200 organizations, and virtually every major commercial bank, as well as brokerage houses, fund managers and stock exchanges, uses its services. Swift routes more than 11 million transactions each day, most of them across borders.

The cooperative's message traffic allows investigators, for example, to track money from the Saudi bank account of a suspected terrorist to a mosque in New York. Starting with tips from intelligence reports about specific targets, agents search the database in what one official described as a "24-7" operation. Customers' names, bank account numbers and other identifying information can be retrieved, the officials said.

That terrorists clearly did not understand the net that had been thrown out --at least until last Friday-- is also proven by Lichtblau's own words. here are the key paragraphs:

The Swift data has provided clues to money trails and ties between possible terrorists and groups financing them, the officials said. In some instances, they said, the program has pointed them to new suspects, while in others it has buttressed cases already under investigation.

Among the successes was the capture of a Qaeda operative, Riduan Isamuddin, better known as Hambali, believed to be the mastermind of the 2002 bombing of a Bali resort, several officials said. The Swift data identified a previously unknown figure in Southeast Asia who had financial dealings with a person suspected of being a member of Al Qaeda; that link helped locate Hambali in Thailand in 2003, they said.

In the United States, the program has provided financial data in investigations into possible domestic terrorist cells as well as inquiries of Islamic charities with suspected of having links to extremists, the officials said.

The data also helped identify a Brooklyn man who was convicted on terrorism-related charges last year, the officials said. The man, Uzair Paracha, who worked at a New York import business, aided a Qaeda operative in Pakistan by agreeing to launder $200,000 through a Karachi bank, prosecutors said.

In terrorism prosecutions, intelligence officials have been careful to "sanitize," or hide the origins of evidence collected through the program to keep it secret, officials said.

Hambali was called the Osama of Asia, a smart and deadly killer who had mastermined the bali attacks, the attack on the Marriott in Indonesia, and at the time of his capture in August, 2003 --due to Swift-- was said to be planning suicide attacks on a summit of world leaders in Thailand scheduled for October of 2003.

Hambali's organization clearly didn't understand Swift's reach, but it does now. And you can be sure it is going back as best it can over Hambali's steps before capture to figure out the weak link that brought the mastermind to justice. Whatever mistake was made, it won't be made again.

More to the point, the article alerts terrorists and their sympathizers of the degree of sophistication and sensitivity we have developed. There's always --in every organization-- a smartest guy and a dumbest guy. Now they know the dumbest guy can bring the end of the smartest guy with an ATM transaction or a Wetsren Union payout, or a Mosque wire-transfer from Saudi Arabia, or even a laundered New York ExIm transaction.

This was a world wide alert in cap letters, and also an aside that previous official accounts about how X or Y was captured "sanitized" the use of the Swift data.

Finally there is the shock effect of this story. terror bosses around the globe miught well have been sticklers for operational security and the use of non-bank measures, but there is always the grind on security that comes about when routine sets in.

It is why fire alarm batteries aren't changed, or why "Top Secret" files are wrongly left on desks, or locks unlocked. People, even terrorist killers, get sloppy.

Every terrorist director of internal security got a gift last week. They got a road map with much better graphics and a prop for all their training sessions.

Eric Lichtblau and all who attempt to argue that "no harm was done" are simply unwilling to deal with their responsibility. To their recklessness must also be added an indifference to facts and logic that calls into question their basic competence.

By the way, the panel on Sunday's Reliable Sources, hosted by the always fair Howard Kurtz, will be Lichtblau, former Des Moines Register editor and former Washington Post Ombudsman Geneva Overholser and columnist Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post.

Normally a three-to-one MSM to new media line up wouldn't be fair, but in this instance, the actions of the papers are so obviously wrong and so widely reviled, don't be discouraged from watching.


An e-mail from a smart guy:


Not A Good Day, indeed.

let me add my .02....

while everything you say about the current situation is TRUE, however please allow me to suggest that the LONG TERM impact here is EVEN WORSE...

Since St. Jimmy sent St Stan down to Langley to show the Peasants how
"Honorable Ladies and Gentlemen" did Intelligence...

...we have increasingly made our National Intelligence infrastructure
subject to the whims and fancies of both Pop Culture and post-modern
Political Correctness, it has long been a point that anyone "bold" enough to suggest "Active Measures", was treated as a Pariah, (i think this goes a long way to explaining the Situational Derangement of guys like Richard Clarke and Michael Scheuer, who were reportedly for much more muscular counter-intelligence efforts from the late 80's thru the late 90's, all to no avail)

This produces situations where even Slick Willy thought that dropping a few dozen cruise missiles on goat herds in the middle of the desert passed for a legitimate response to a increasingly deadly opponent.

My Argument:

If the Times*2 do not experience ***GENUINE PAIN*** here, we will be
effectively giving a "pocket veto" over intelligence operations to the Main Stream Media, as conflict-adverse incumbents both elected and bureaucratic, will gauge all potential covert ops in terms of political blowback when the Op is blown in the MSM....

this will, i contend, in addition to fostering EVEN MORE caution amongst the Intelligence Mandarins regarding Ops, will effectively give a COST-FREE veto over Plans and Ops to every employee of an Intelligence Agency, who is willing to invest in a cellular phone call to a reporter from a MSM outlet willing to print/broadcast it...

And if Times*2 aren't REALLY SPANKED HERE, that will be very, very many MSM entities....

Godspeed and Blue Skies!

DiscerningTexan, 6/29/2006 10:33:00 PM | Permalink | |

A stunning defeat in the War--inflicted by our own Supreme Court

Spook86 tells it like it is below.

The thing that really has me puzzled about this horrible decision is the fact that the Supremes--if you read the Constitution anyway--have no business ruling on this case. The conduct of war and all operations in support of that war are strictly delegated to the Executive Branch. If this isn't a horrific demonstration of why we need Strict Constitutionalists appointed to the court, not simply "Conservatives" like Roberts and Alito--what is?? Here is the take from In From the Cold:

A Major Legal Setback

Drudge has the headline (and now a link): Supreme Court blocks Gitmo War Trials. By a 5-3 ruling, the high court has determined that the Bush Administration overstepped its authority by ordering military tribunals for terrorist detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The Supreme Court made its ruling in the case of Salim Ahmed Hamdan, a Yemeni national who once worked as a driver for Osama bin Laden. Hamdan filed suit against Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, prompting the court case that eventually resulted in today's decision.

Today's majority decision was written by Justice John Paul Stevens, the court's most liberal member. He was joined by the usual suspects, plus Justice Anthony Kennedy (surprise, surprise). New Chief Justice John Roberts was barred from voting in the case. As a federal appellate judge, he ruled against Hamdan when the case was brought before his appeals court. Today's ruling overturns the appellate court decision.

There is no way to mitigate the potential damage inflicted by his misguided decision. Take the legal antics of the Moussaoui trial (which lasted more than three years), multiply that by the number of inmates at Guantanamo, and you've got some idea of what's ahead for our federal courts system. From the district court to the Supreme Court, the system will be jammed with Al-Qaida suspects for years to come, each determined to create their own courtroom circus, and drag the process out as long as possible.

And who knows? If the Democrats regain the White House (and get a few court vacancies to work with), there's no telling what rights the SCOTUS may eventually confer on stateless terrorists. Meanwhile, every defense attorney with an Al Qaida client will mount their own, personal fishing expedition through U.S. national security files , in search of "evidence" to support their clients. Naturally, much of the information obtained in discovery will wind up on the front pages of friendly newspapers. Afterall, the public has a right to know, don't they? Bill Keller and the gang at the Times must be positively atwitter at that prospect.

C'mon, Spook surely you exaggerate. To the contrary, the legal assault on classified files by defense attorneys has alread begun, and let me offer a personal example. Earlier this week, a former colleague told me that he had been directed to seach his files for anything related to a certain terror suspect, now in federal custody. Apparently, the suspect's attorney is requesting information that may exist in intelligence files on his client, and he's casting the widest possible dragnet. Please note that my friend's area of expertise is adversary aircraft and tactics--he has never worked terrorism issues. But he had to spend an hour carefully checking his files, and responding to the request, a process that was repeatedly hundreds (if not thousands) of times across the intel community. This type of query will increase exponentially, as more Guantanamo suspects gain access our legal system, clogging both the courts and our intelligence community with useless requests for information.

I'm not a lawyer, but the most "interesting" element of this morning's decision is the Supreme Court's apparent finding that the Bush Administration plan violates not only U.S. law, but the Geneva Convention. You may recall that the convention provides no protection for combatants who do not fight for a nation-state or recognized government. But somehow, the five justices found enough wiggle room to determine that military trials violate both U.S. law and international accords. There must be dancing in the halls at ACLU offices around the country; the group's lawyers must be salivating at the prospect of a full-fledged legal war on the Bush Administration, courtesy of the nation's highest courts. And I'm sure the personal injury lawyers won't be far behind. Was that prison guard verbally or physically abusive, Mr. Terrorist? Don't worry, we'll make him pay.

Reacting to today's ruling, the DOD says it will have no affect on the detention effort at Gitmo. Don't be so sure. Emboldened by today's decision, I'm sure that a battalion of "human rights" attorneys will challenge the legality of the detention program, claiming that inmates are subjected to cruel and unusual punishment, through isolation and indefinite confinement. President Bush said a few months ago that he's like to shut down Gitmo. With a little help from the Supreme Court and the legal community, he may get that chance.

If our President had the courage, he could create a genuine Constitutional Crisis here. I see Lindsey Graham rushing to the forefront to try and get something through Congress that will allow military tribunals to decide cases of foreign nationals. But the Geneva Convention also says that combatants must wear uniforms, therefore even if the Courts were enabled by our Constitiution to rule on this case (which they are not), the Geneva Convention clearly does not apply here. The Geneva Convention accord is a treaty, not a "living breathing document" like some bench legislators consider the Constitution to be. These justices have no business ruling on the manner in which the Executive chooses to conduct war. And it is NOT the final arbiter for a treaty it did not even enact.

DiscerningTexan, 6/29/2006 10:22:00 PM | Permalink | |
Wednesday, June 28, 2006

(click to enlarge)
DiscerningTexan, 6/28/2006 08:57:00 PM | Permalink | |

Nightmare Scenario: Financial Monitoring may REALLY be Dead Now

Thank you New York Times. Thank you to all those who revealed classified information they were bound by law to keep secret. Thanks to all the seditious traitors who share responsibility for possibly killing the best weapon agaist Islamist terror that we had in our arsenal.

No kidding. This time they really HAVE done incalculable damage to us all. (see below)

WE NEED TO THROW AWAY THE KEY (from Say Anything):

The news continues to get worse about the fall-out from the New York Times article. It now appears plausible that the US will no longer have access to SWIFT via its European partners:

Legal experts who specialize in European data protection law said Swift may have breached European rules, which forbid companies to transfer confidential personal data to another country unless that country offers adequate protection.

Kristof Van Quathem, a data protection advisor at Covington & Burling in Brussels, said the EU did not consider that the United States offered sufficiently robust protection of individual data because it does not have comprehensive laws on its books.

"The key question is where the data originated," Van Quathem said. "If it was transferred from the EU to the U.S., then that could breach European rules. A court in Iran can't just ask for a European company to reveal the sexual preference of a private individual, nor can a U.S. court ask for private financial information about a citizen on the grounds of national security."

He said Swift could face fines or an order to halt the transfers if it was found guilty of breaching laws in countries where the complaints have been filed.

So what we may be facing now is an end to monitoring of these types of transactions.

What that means is that, not only can we not use this valuable tool in the tracking of terrorist networks, the terrorists may now be able to use the network with impunity, without having to worry about the US tracking their large money exchanges.

So, uh, yeah, thanks New York Times! We're o glad we elected you to selectively decide when to abide by laws governing classified material, and when it's OK to ignore them! You obviously have such a more profound understanding of the consequences of outing a program than, say, the people who do that sort of thing for a living.

(h/t Captain's Quarters.)

DiscerningTexan, 6/28/2006 08:30:00 PM | Permalink | |

Bill Whittle Update

The great Bill Whittle has done a slight re-write of the introduction to his new book. The introduction, entitled "Rafts" was posted here last week, but if Whittle says he is much more pleased with this revised version, who am I to argue with greatness?

For any of those who missed it the first time around: go read the revised version now. For those who already read the rough draft--I know YOU will re-read it.

Anyone who has read Whittle's work knows: This guy has "it".

Chapter One of the new book is due up on his site any day now. I can't wait...
DiscerningTexan, 6/28/2006 08:01:00 PM | Permalink | |

Washington Post: National Security up to Editors, not Government

I have to give props to Sweetness and Light for this terrific "find"--this is a quote attributed to the Washington Post back in March, but it suddenly has great relevance; it shows the world how incredibly arrogant that the American media really is. And it also demonstrates how important it is that the Bush Administration take decisive action NOW to shut down the leaks and jail the leakers. In bold below is the actual quote from Washington Post executive editor Leonard Downie, Jr. as reported by Post reporter Dan Eggan in March:

The Bush administration, seeking to limit leaks of classified information, has launched initiatives targeting journalists and their possible government sources. The efforts include several FBI probes, a polygraph investigation inside the CIA and a warning from the Justice Department that reporters could be prosecuted under espionage laws.

In recent weeks, dozens of employees at the CIA, the National Security Agency and other intelligence agencies have been interviewed by agents from the FBI's Washington field office, who are investigating possible leaks that led to reports about secret CIA prisons and the NSA's warrantless domestic surveillance program, according to law enforcement and intelligence officials familiar with the two cases.

Numerous employees at the CIA, FBI, Justice Department and other agencies also have received letters from Justice prohibiting them from discussing even unclassified issues related to the NSA program, according to sources familiar with the notices. Some GOP lawmakers are also considering whether to approve tougher penalties for leaking.

In a little-noticed case in California, FBI agents from Los Angeles have already contacted reporters at the Sacramento Bee about stories published in July that were based on sealed court documents related to a terrorism case in Lodi, according to the newspaper.

Some media watchers, lawyers and editors say that, taken together, the incidents represent perhaps the most extensive and overt campaign against leaks in a generation, and that they have worsened the already-tense relationship between mainstream news organizations and the White House.

"There's a tone of gleeful relish in the way they talk about dragging reporters before grand juries, their appetite for withholding information, and the hints that reporters who look too hard into the public's business risk being branded traitors," said New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller, in a statement responding to questions from The Washington Post. "I don't know how far action will follow rhetoric, but some days it sounds like the administration is declaring war at home on the values it professes to be promoting abroad."

President Bush has called the NSA leak "a shameful act" that was "helping the enemy," and said in December that he was hopeful the Justice Department would conduct a full investigation into the disclosure.

"We need to protect the right to free speech and the First Amendment, and the president is doing that," said White House spokesman Trent Duffy. "But, at the same time, we do need to protect classified information which helps fight the war on terror."

Disclosing classified information without authorization has long been against the law, yet such leaks are one of the realities of life in Washington -- accounting for much of the back-channel conversation that goes on daily among journalists, policy intellectuals, and current and former government officials.

Presidents have also long complained about leaks: Richard Nixon's infamous "plumbers" were originally set up to plug them, and he tried, but failed, to prevent publication of a classified history of the Vietnam War called the Pentagon Papers. Ronald Reagan exclaimed at one point that he was "up to my keister" in leaks.

Bush administration officials -- who complain that reports about detainee abuse, clandestine surveillance and other topics have endangered the nation during a time of war -- have arguably taken a more aggressive approach than other recent administrations, including a clear willingness to take on journalists more directly if necessary.

"Almost every administration has kind of come in saying they want an open administration, and then getting bad press and fuming about leaks," said David Greenberg, a Rutgers University journalism professor and author of "Nixon's Shadow." "But it's a pretty fair statement to say you haven't seen this kind of crackdown on leaks since the Nixon administration."

But David B. Rivkin Jr., a partner at Baker & Hostetler in Washington and a senior lawyer in the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations, said the leaking is "out of control," especially given the unique threat posed by terrorist groups.

"We're at the end of this paradigm where we had this sort of gentlemen's agreement where you had leaks and journalists were allowed to protect the leakers," Rivkin said. "Everyone is playing Russian roulette now."

At Langley, the CIA's security office has been conducting numerous interviews and polygraph examinations of employees in an effort to discover whether any of them have had unauthorized contact with journalists. CIA Director Porter J. Goss has spoken about the issue at an "all hands" meeting of employees, and sent a recent cable to the field aimed at discouraging media contacts and reminding employees of the penalties for disclosing classified information, according to intelligence sources and people in touch with agency officials.

"It is my aim, and it is my hope, that we will witness a grand jury investigation with reporters present being asked to reveal who is leaking this information," Goss told a Senate committee.

The Justice Department also argued in a court filing last month that reporters can be prosecuted under the 1917 Espionage Act for receiving and publishing classified information. The brief was filed in support of a case against two pro-Israeli lobbyists, who are the first nongovernment officials to be prosecuted for receiving and distributing classified information.

Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), chairman of the Senate intelligence committee, said last month that he is considering legislation that would criminalize the leaking of a wider range of classified information than what is now covered by law. The measure would be similar to earlier legislation that was vetoed by President Bill Clinton in 2000 and opposed by then-Attorney General John D. Ashcroft in 2002.

But the vice chairman of the same committee, Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.), complained in a letter to the national intelligence director last month that "damaging revelations of intelligence sources and methods are generated primarily by Executive Branch officials pushing a particular policy, and not by the rank-and-file employees of the intelligence agencies."

As evidence, Rockefeller points to the case of Valerie Plame, a CIA officer whose identity was leaked to the media. A grand jury investigation by Special Counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald resulted last year in the jailing of Judith Miller, then a reporter at the New York Times, for refusing to testify, and in criminal charges against I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, who resigned as Vice President Cheney's chief of staff. In court papers, Libby has said that his "superiors" authorized him to disclose a classified government report.

The New York Times, which first disclosed the NSA program in December, and The Post, which reported on secret CIA prisons in November, said investigators have not contacted reporters or editors about those articles.

Leonard Downie Jr., executive editor of The Post, said there has long been a "natural and healthy tension between government and the media" on national security issues, but that he is "concerned" about comments by Goss and others that appear to reflect a more aggressive stance by the government. Downie noted that The Post had at times honored government requests not to report particularly sensitive information, such as the location of CIA prisons in Eastern Europe.

"We do not want to inadvertently threaten human life or legitimately harm national security in our reporting," he said. "But it's important . . . in our constitutional system that these final decisions be made by newspaper editors and not the government."

Do you really need to read any more of this article? Does that statement not say it all? Excuse me, but the Constitution of the United States and the laws of the United States do NOT give the authority to THE MEDIA to determine what should and should not be classified as secret.

Meanwhile, Hugh Hewitt is weighing in on the outrageous media leaks--and reports that the House is beginning to take it very seriously (bold highlights are mine):

Howard Kurtz atetmpts to rally some sympathy for the Times Two, and unfortunately stumbles into the Bay of Pigs Club, from which exit is almost impossible. Once you buy into the use of a "might have been" (and a mightily mischaracterized one at that) to justify the publication of secrets that could help terrorists elude capture, there's no argument left because the "Bay of Pigs" mantra is an appeal to fiction, not to fact or history.

No major media outlet in the United States has ever knowingly, and over the objection of the United States government, ever published classified information that could assist the nation's enemies. Period. What the New York Times has done --and the Los Angeles Times copied-- is without precedent, which is why a Congressional response is so necessary, and hopefully forthcoming soon.

Kurtz notes that "[m]ost Democratic lawmakers, meanwhile, lay low," adding that "Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid sidestepped a question yesterday about whether the Times should be prosecuted."

In fact, lawmakers of both parties are for the most part "laying low," and that is not distinguishing them in the eyes of the public interested in seriousness about the war.

If it is a war -and it is-- and if the disclosures helped our enemies --and they did-- Congress should draft, debate and vote on resolutions condemning the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times by name.

The First Amendment protects the press in most of its operations and from almost all prior restraints on publication.

But not from deserved criticism from the genuine representatives of the people.

Marc Danzinger has much more on the subject of what went wrong at the Times Two.

UPDATE: The Real Ugly American notes the House is getting its act together.

Now where's the Senate?

DiscerningTexan, 6/28/2006 07:18:00 PM | Permalink | |
Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Wanted: Open Cell for this man:

(borrowed from Frau Budgie)
DiscerningTexan, 6/27/2006 04:44:00 PM | Permalink | |

If TODAYS Dems Were in Charge THEN (continued)

(click to enlarge)
DiscerningTexan, 6/27/2006 04:29:00 PM | Permalink | |

"Has the Grey Lady Turned the President Yellow?"; Is Bush Afraid of the Big Bad NY Times?

Unfortunately, I could not find much to argue with today in Jim Pinkerton's calling out President Bush. And I really, really wanted to find some flaw in his reasoning. I am hoping against hope that Bush's failure to act thus far is because Bush is holding his cards close to the vest until the perfect moment--when he will strike down these seditious enemies in our midst. But I fear Pinkerton's analysis in Newsday may be closer to the mark. If so, this means that we have to create enough of a firestorm that the President will change his mind.

I am as serious as I can possibly be when I say that I believe to my very bones that lives are at stake here. Enough is enough: It is time for our President to make a principled stand against the leakers and (especially) the sources of those leaks--no matter where that leads. Heads MUST roll. And--just in case you didn't notice--the Times published ANOTHER "classified" story over the weekend: that being the story about General Casey's classified briefing on possible future troop deployments. And THIS coming AFTER the firestorm over the Financial Leaks! Are you kidding me? These guys are not intimidated at all--they fully intend to keep going without missing a beat! Unless WE THE PEOPLE stop it.

What is needed most here is a bona fide groundswell of thousands of people like you and I--and the Congress, and the talk shows, etc.--to mobilize and light a fire under this President until it shakes him out of his apparent terror of the "Old Grey Lady". If that is what it takes so be it. I am ready to dive in; anyone else for a swim? Or are we just going to sit and watch as an American newspaper sells its own country down the river? If we do, then we are as guilty as the President of inaction. The facts are: if enough of us act, action will be taken. Are you up to it? For our men and women overseas? For your children and grandchildren? If not now, when?

It really seems a shame that it has come to this: once upon a time this President actually stood for doing the RIGHT thing, no matter what the consequences. Not only that, but--unlike his father who allowed himself to be blown about by every iota of a change in the political wind--Bush the Son acted on principle-even when the polls said otherwise; Why the hell do you think we re-elected him: for his public speaking ability??

So answer me this: Where is THAT man today? Where has he gone? Our country needs that man back. But what I am seeing lately is not the decisiveness and will of a strong President--rather it appears to be someone who is so scared is numbers might drop further that he has lost his nerve completely--and he appears to be governing accordingly. The real tragedy of this is that the American people know how wrong this NYT outrage is and we collectively are at long last showing genuine disgust and anger that it has come to this. The mood is ideal right now for a bold move against both the leakers and the Times. Personally I think that the public would LOVE it if the President went after these traitors. We would rally around this President just like we did after 9/11--and just like the Dems rallied around Clinton when he was impeached. Talk about firing up the base!

But no--so far, all we see is rhetoric; and rhetoric ain't enough folks. Not this time. As we all know, a decision not to act is still a decision; the WRONG decision. Let's help our President show some backbone. Let's bring back the George W. Bush who stood before Congress after 9/11 and said Bring It On. And please--let us not waste time. We must hurry--before it is too late for all of us. Mr. President: tear down the Old Grey Lady's facade. The leakers must pay.

Has the Gray Lady turned the president yellow?

Should The New York Times get the death penalty or merely a jail sentence? If the Times is guilty of treason in wartime, then obviously the "Gray Lady" should be wearing prison stripes - at best.

But although the Times is open about its willingness - make that eagerness - to publish secrets in wartime, it doesn't appear that the Justice Department plans on doing anything in response. And so it's fair to ask: Does the Bush administration have a serious plan for winning the international war on terror, or is it drifting down the path of least political resistance - and thus to defeat.

riday, the Times printed details about federal surveillance of the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, based in Belgium. The U.S. government's goal has been to uncover terror-financing networks, which are no small phenomena: Two years ago, the Council on Foreign Relations issued a report showing that Saudi Arabia, alone, gives $12 billion a year to Islamic "charities."

Reacting to the Times story, Vice President Dick Cheney declared that the financial surveillance was "absolutely essential." And apparently the SWIFT-tapping program has scored some significant successes; the feds captured the mastermind of the 2002 bombing in Bali that killed more than 200 people, predominantly Australians, as well as a Brooklyn man who laundered huge cash transfers to al-Qaida agents in Pakistan.

And, of course, the results in the last five years, since 9/11, speak for themselves: Something has been going right on the homeland security front. The recent arrests of seven men in Miami, accused of plotting, however vaguely, to blow up the Sears Tower in Chicago, is a reminder that homeland securitizers are vigilant.

Much of the political reaction to the Times story has been fierce: Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford), chairman of the House homeland security committee, called on the attorney general to "begin an investigation and prosecution of The New York Times - the reporters, the editors and the publisher."

King added, "We're at war, and for the Times to release information about secret operations and methods is treasonous." Similar criticism, using the T-word, chorused across cable news, talk radio and the blogosphere.

Yet all of this might sound a bit familiar, because the Times' latest revelations come on the heels of similar Times revelations last December, concerning the government's effort to wiretap terrorists' phone calls. Those earlier disclosures led Gabriel Schoenfeld, writing in the March issue of Commentary magazine, to assert that it was "perfectly clear" that the Times could and should be prosecuted under the Espionage Act of 1917.

After 6,700 words of close legal analysis, Schoenfeld asked whether "we as a nation can afford to permit the reporters and editors of a great newspaper to become the unelected authority that determines for all of us what is a legitimate secret and what is not." Schoenfeld's answer: "Like the Constitution itself, the First Amendment's protections of freedom of the press are not a suicide pact." In other words, stop the Times. But now the Times has done it again.

So why hasn't the Bush administration done anything? One answer, of course, is that the wheels of justice grind slow - and unseen, at least for a while. But a better answer comes from Fox News' Bill O'Reilly, who argues that the Bush administration has been "intimidated" by the media and by allied critics in Congress. That would explain the Boston Globe story on Monday, detailing how the Bushies, who once asserted that the phone taps were perfectly legal just the way they were, are now willing to accept closer Congressional supervision. So score a media-political victory for the Times.

And so the Gray Lady has every reason to think it will win this latest battle, too. The fate of the war on terror, of course, is another story - but the Times is too busy crushing George W. Bush to worry much about that.
DiscerningTexan, 6/27/2006 02:37:00 PM | Permalink | |
Monday, June 26, 2006

Day by Day by Chris Muir (click to enlarge)
DiscerningTexan, 6/26/2006 10:39:00 PM | Permalink | |

A Seven-count Indictment of the NYT; What happens next is up to US

Legal scholar Henry Mark Holzer, author of Keeper of the Flame, a superb book about the Supreme Court decisions of Justice Clarence Thomas, has written a Seven-count Indictment of the New York Times, including Treason. This indictment is Definitely worth the read (check out the entire Indictment here), however I could not help but be discouraged by the concluding paragraphs:

The Justice Department has already initiated a criminal investigation into the leak of the NSA program, focusing on which government employees may have broken the law. But the government is contending with hundreds of national-security leaks, and progress is uncertain at best. The real question that an intrepid prosecutor in the Justice Department should be asking is whether, in the aftermath of September 11, we as a nation can afford to permit the reporters and editors of a great newspaper to become the unelected authority that determines for all of us what is a legitimate secret and what is not. Like the Constitution itself, the First Amendment’s protections of freedom of the press are not a suicide pact. The laws governing what the Times have done are perfectly clear; will they be enforced?

I fear not—unless there is a hue and cry from American patriots loud enough to make President George W. Bush and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales remember the solemn oaths of office they took. Perhaps then those like Jane Fonda and The New York Times, who self righteously wrap themselves in the flag while contributing to the destruction of what it represents, will deservedly have to defend charges under the treason and espionage statutes of the United States of America.

I cannot help but agree with this assessment. For whatever reason, this President--the same man who stood on that pile of rubble; the man who told the world "you are either with us or you are with the terrorists"; who then proceeded to take ACTION on those words; who served notice in Afghanistan and Iraq that the United States will no longer go quietly into that good night--this man who stood up to the entire world, against the current of the UN lackeys and world press suddenly seems to be terrified of taking on the one enemy who has done as much damage to our country than has all of the intelligence efforts of Al Qaeda combined: the New York Times and the leakers in his own government. If the President and Attorney General won't step up to the plate for our men and women whose lives are on the line, who will? Who knows, riding on this decision could be the difference between losing soldiers, or more innocents, or entire population centers. And for what? The New York Times? For a bunch of seditious journalists and the leakers who betrayed their solemn oath to protect our country? Not if I--and you--can help it.

It is time to apply pressure: Write to the President and encourage him to be strong and face this challenge head on. Same for the Attormey General. Flood the Congress with email and letter, call in to talk shows, write letter to the editors of newspapers; and BLOG: to get the President to move it may take a blogswarm of epic proportions--I'm talking about Rathergate, Swift Boats proportions. We can do this folks. It is time to pump up the volume--and LOUD--until these traitors are locked up for good. These are real-life Enemies of the State. We will lose many more casualties--and possibly even the War itself--unless the leaks are stopped now. I fear it is up to us.
DiscerningTexan, 6/26/2006 09:26:00 PM | Permalink | |

The New York Times: They're Just More Important Than You Are

Speaking of NRO, Andrew McCarthy weighs in for the second time since the story broke, with eloquence equal to his first effort. Highlights in bold:

They’re Just More Important Than You Are
Are any secrets more important than the New York Times’s sources?

The echo trails off the last defiantly gleeful chorus of “We Are the World.” Reality stubbornly dawns on you: There really are bad people out there. They are the world, too. And they want to kill you.

They refuse to be reasoned with. They can afford to. They’re not a country. They don’t have to worry about defending a territory. They are seeped into places that can’t be bombed into submission. They are the world, after all. They are the children — or at least hidden among them. No “Mutually Assured Destruction” here.

No, you have only one defense: Intelligence. Superpower power is useless. What are you gonna do? Hit them where they live? Bomb Hamburg? Bomb London? Bomb New York?

Not an option. Your nukes, stealth fighters, carpet bombers … they’re largely irrelevant. This is not about killing an advancing brigade. It’s about killing cells. A handful of operatives here and there, nestled among millions of innocents.

The real challenge is not how to kill them — or at least capture them. It’s how to find them. How to identify them from among the hordes they dress like, sound like, and even act like … right up until the moment they board a plane. Or wave cheerily alongside a naval destroyer. Or park their nondescript van in the catacombs of a mighty skyscraper.

The only way to prevent terrorist attacks is to gather intelligence. It is to collect the information that reveals who the jihadists are, who is backing them with money and resources, and where they are likely to strike. There is nothing else.

How do you get such intelligence? Your options are few. The terrorists you capture, you squeeze until they break. Since your laws and protocols forbid physical coercion, you must employ psychological pressure — relentless detachment and loneliness that may render a battle-hard, hate-obsessed detainee hopeless enough and dependent enough on his interrogators to tell you the deepest, deadliest secrets. So you move your captives to places where they will be isolated, and forlorn, and … eventually — maybe after a very long time — moved to tell you what they know about their fellow savages.

Otherwise, you use your technological wizardry to penetrate their communications. You use your mastery of the global web that is modern finance to find the money and follow it — until you can pierce the veiled charities and masked philanthropists behind the terror dollars. Until you strangle the supply lines that convert hatred into action.

All the while, you never underestimate your enemies. You know they are clever, resourceful, and adaptive. You know they study you, just as you are studying them. More effectively, in fact. After all, when you find their vulnerabilities, there is still due process. When they find yours, there is murder. Mass murder.

Life or death. Which one it will be turns solely on intelligence and secrecy. Can you find out how they next intend to kill you, can you stop them, and can you prevent them from knowing how you know … so you can stop them again?

Simple as that. Modernity has changed many things, but it hasn’t changed that. In command of the first American military forces, and facing a deadly enemy, George Washington himself observed that the “necessity of procuring good intelligence is apparent and need not be further urged…. [U]pon Secrecy, Success depends in Most Enterprises ... and for want of it, they are generally defeated.”

What on earth would George Washington have made of Bill Keller, executive editor of the New York Times, and his comrades in today’s American media?

What would he have made of transparently politicized free-speech zealots who inform for the enemy and have the nerve to call it “patriotism.”

Who say, “If you try to isolate barbarians to make them hand up the other barbarians, we will expose it.”

“If you try to intercept enemy communications — as victorious militaries have done in every war ever fought — we will tell all the world, including the enemy, exactly what you’re up to.”

“If you track the enemy’s finances, we will blow you out of the water. We’ll disclose just what you’re doing and just how you’re doing it. Even if it’s saving innocent lives.”

And why this last? Remember five years ago, back when they figured “you’re not doing enough” was the best way to bash the Bush administration? Remember the Times and its ilk — disdainful of aggressive military responses — tut-tutting about how the disruption of money flows was the key to thwarting international terrorists. So why compromise that?

Is there some illegality going on in the government’s Terrorist Finance Tracking Program (exposed by the Times and other news outlets Friday)? No, no laws have been broken. Is there some abuse of power? No, there seem to have been extraordinary steps taken to inform relevant officials and win international cooperation. Why then? Why take action that can only aid and comfort the enemy in wartime?

Because, Keller haughtily pronounced, American methods of monitoring enemy money transfers are “a matter of public interest.”

Really? The Times prattles on about what it claims is a dearth of checks and balances, but what are the checks and balances on Bill Keller? Can it be that our security hinges on whether the editor of an antiwar, for-profit journal thinks some defense measure might be interesting?

Well, here’s something truly interesting: There are people in the U.S. intelligence community who are revealing the nation’s most precious secrets.

The media aspire to be the public’s watchdog? Ever on the prowl to promote good government? Okay, here we have public officials endangering American lives. Public officials whose violation of a solemn oath to protect national defense information is both a profound offense against honor and a serious crime.

What about the public interest in that? What about the public interest in rooting out those who betray their country in wartime?

Not on your life.

National-security secrets? All fair game. If it’s about how we detain, or infiltrate, or defang the monsters pledged to kill us, the New York Times reserves the right to derail us any time it finds such matters … interesting.

But the media’s own sources? That, and that alone, is sacrosanct. Worth protecting above all else.

National-security secrets, after all, are merely the public treasure that keeps us alive. Press informants are the private preserve of the media.

And they’re just more important than you are.

DiscerningTexan, 6/26/2006 08:40:00 PM | Permalink | |