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NY Times Strikes Again-At Terrorist Funding

Annie

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I read about the Swift program in the a.m. paper, I didn't notice it was a ny times article. I did wonder, why it was there? I should have looked, I should have noticed. The ny times is beginning to remind me of oil baron Rockefeller, a quote about him, I believe by his son went something like this:
'My father didn't break the law, but laws were created because of him...'

http://www.nysun.com/pf.php?id=34950
New Furor Erupts as Spying Secret Is Compromised

BY JOSH GERSTEIN - Staff Reporter of the Sun
June 23, 2006
URL: http://www.nysun.com/article/34950

A fresh barrage of criticism is erupting over the decision of The New York Times to disclose last night another classified surveillance program aimed at gathering information about terrorist plots.

"The president is concerned that, once again, the New York Times has chosen to expose a classified program that is protecting the American people," a White House spokeswoman, Dana Perino, said last night. "We know that terrorists look for any clue about the weapons we're using to fight them and now, with this exposure, they have more information and it increases the challenge for our law enforcement and intelligence officials."

The Times report, which appears in today's editions and was posted last evening on the paper's Web site, details the federal government's use of subpoenas to gather large troves of data from a Belgium-based consortium that handles international bank transfers, the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, known as Swift.

The Times quoted an unnamed former government official describing Swift as "the mother lode, the Rosetta stone" of data on global banking operations.

The newspaper said the surveillance effort helped lead to the capture in Thailand in 2003 of a top Al Qaeda op erative, Riduan Isamuddin, who also went by the name Hambali.

The Times reported that it decided to report publicly on the program despite requests by administration officials that the newspaper not publish the story. The officials argued that the disclosure could reduce the effort's effectiveness, the newspaper said.

The executive editor of the Times, Bill Keller, said the newspaper was not persuaded. "We have listened closely to the administration's arguments for withholding this information, and given them the most serious and respectful consideration," Mr. Keller said. "We remain convinced that the administration's extraordinary access to this vast repository of international financial data, however carefully targeted use of it may be, is a matter of public interest."

The Times was already facing calls for its criminal prosecution in connection with a December report on a classified National Security Agency program for warrantless surveillance of telephone calls between America and abroad that are thought to involve people affiliated with terrorism. In that instance, President Bush reportedly summoned Mr. Keller and the publisher of the Times, Arthur Sulzberger Jr., to the Oval Office to ask that the story be killed.

The disclosure led to a series of lawsuits by civil liberties advocates. Some lawmakers also have denounced the program as unlawful and an impermissible expansion of executive authority.

A conservative magazine editor who is one of the leading advocates of prosecuting the Times for its December story, Gabriel Schoenfeld, told The New York Sun last night that the newspaper's latest move could increase their legal jeopardy.

"They're courting prosecution. ... They're increasingly behaving like if we were in the middle of World War II and they learned of plans to invade Normandy. Because they decided it's a matter of public interest, they'd publish it," Mr. Schoenfeld said. "I think this is reckless and likely to encourage Attorney General Gonzales to prosecute them, if not for this story, for some of the other things they've done."

Mr. Schoenfeld said that the latest disclosure by the Times about the financial surveillance was less clear cut as a legal violation because it did not appear to involve communications intelligence, which is specially protected under federal law.

Mr. Schoenfeld said the new report would increase anger against the paper. "They really are testing the limits of congressional and executive branch patience. There's a lot of displeasure with what they're doing," said Mr. Schoenfeld, who edits Commentary magazine and writes a weekly column on chess for the Sun.

However, the editor said he still considered a prosecution unlikely, on balance. "I'm not sure the Bush administration has a stomach for a fight with the media of that magnitude, but it's become more and more clear that it's necessary," Mr. Schoenfeld said.

Reports about the financial surveillance program appeared yesterday on the Web sites of the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and the Wall Street Journal. The latter two seem to have learned of the Times's reporting, which has been under way for some time.

The Treasury Department confirmed the existence of the program.
 
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Annie

Annie

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There's a lot all over the blogosphere on this, best for my pov:

http://patterico.com/2006/06/22/475...nd-formerly-effective-anti-terrorism-program/

But getting to the gist of it, is Scott Ott. ***Satire Alert***

http://www.scrappleface.com/?p=2283

New York Times Secretly Sifting CIA Data
by Scott Ott

(2006-06-23) — Under a secret program launched in the wake of the 9/11 terror attacks, which killed 3,000 people on American soil, The New York Times gained access to private information from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and disseminated it periodically on paper and electronically to al Qaeda and other terror organizations.

News of the covert ‘intel-sifting and sharing’ program follows revelations by the Times and other major media operations that the Bush administration ordered monitoring of major international bank transactions after the 9/11 attacks, which toppled two of the tallest buildings in the United States.

Last year, the Times revealed that the Bush administration was eavesdropping on phone calls to and from suspected terrorists in an effort to prevent another attack like 9/11, in which a civilian jetliner was used in a missile strike on U.S. military headquarters at the Pentagon.

Times executive editor Bill Keller, in a hastily-called news conference, assured Americans that the scope of the intel-sifting and sharing program is “strictly limited” and that the results are “crucial to the success of the war on the war on terror.”

But the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) raised questions today saying “the civil rights of Americans must come before the strategic interests of ‘Big Media’.”

“Our basic rights are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” said an ACLU spokesman. “The New York Times’ disclosure to our enemies of U.S. anti-terror tactics threatens every American’s enjoyment of those three rights.”

The ACLU and Democrats in the Senate called for an immediate investigation to determine the scope of the Times’ intel-monitoring capabilities.

“We want to know the extent of the safeguards they have in place,” said Sen. Charles Schumer, D-NY, “We need to ensure that the program doesn’t facilitate another civil rights violation like 9/11, which caused many New Yorkers to leap from the windows of two major office buildings in order to avoid being burned to death in a fire kindled by jet fuel.”
 

GotZoom

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But...and this should shut some people up...until they find something else to bitch about:

-----

Under the program, Treasury issues a new subpoena once a month, and SWIFT turns over huge amounts of electronic financial data, according to Stuart Levey, the department's undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence. The administrative subpoenas are issued under authority granted in the 1977 International Emergency Economic Powers Act.

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationw...3jun23,0,6482687.story?coll=la-home-headlines
 

theHawk

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The executive editor of the Times, Bill Keller, said the newspaper was not persuaded. "We have listened closely to the administration's arguments for withholding this information, and given them the most serious and respectful consideration," Mr. Keller said. "We remain convinced that the administration's extraordinary access to this vast repository of international financial data, however carefully targeted use of it may be, is a matter of public interest."

This scumbag needs to be tried and convicted for Treason.



:firing: :dev2:
 

trobinett

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Damn, we not only have to fight world wide terrorism, but also the traitors within the MSM, which the NYT is a leader.

I don't think its "over the top" to state, that this publication is a front for the home front terrorist. Wonder what kind of information they are passing along in their articles?

Maybe we can use them to past along misinformation, wait, that's what they are ALREADY doing.,:scratch:
 
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Annie

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Prosecute those leaking, (I'd like to see laws passed to also get the media):

http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=YjE4ODFmMmI3ZmM5ZGE4ZDQxNmY1ODA5YTQ3NzkxZWQ=

June 23, 2006, 1:58 a.m.

The Media’s War Against the War Continues
The New York Times and Los Angeles Times expose a classified anti-terrorism program.

By Andrew C. McCarthy

Yet again, the New York Times was presented with a simple choice: help protect American national security or help al Qaeda.

Yet again, it sided with al Qaeda.

Once again, members of the American intelligence community had a simple choice: remain faithful to their oath — the solemn promise the nation requires before entrusting them with the secrets on which our safety depends — or violate that oath and place themselves and their subjective notions of propriety above the law.

Once again, honor was cast aside.


For the second time in seven months, the Times has exposed classified information about a program aimed at protecting the American people against a repeat of the September 11 attacks. On this occasion, it has company in the effort: The Los Angeles Times runs a similar, sensational story. Together, the newspapers disclose the fact that the United States has covertly developed a capability to monitor the nerve center of the international financial network in order to track the movement of funds between terrorists and their facilitators.

The effort, which the government calls the “Terrorist Finance Tracking Program” (TFTP), is entirely legal. There are no conceivable constitutional violations involved. The Supreme Court held in United States v. Miller (1976) that there is no right to privacy in financial-transaction information maintained by third parties. Here, moreover, the focus is narrowed to suspected international terrorists, not Americans, and the financial transactions implicated are international, not domestic. This is not data mining, and it does not involve fishing expeditions into the financial affairs of American citizens. Indeed, few Americans even have information that is captured by the program — though there would be nothing legally offensive even if they did.

And unlike the last vital program the New York Times compromised — the National Security Agency’s Terrorist Surveillance Program, which the same reporters, James Risen and Eric Lichtblau, exposed last December — there is not even a facially plausible concern that the TFTP violates statutory law. The provisions germane here (mainly, the Right to Financial Privacy Act that Congress enacted in 1978 in reaction to Miller) do not even apply to the nerve center at issue, the Society of Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication.

That’s because SWIFT, as it is better known, is not a financial institution at all. It is a consortium, centered not in the U.S. but in Belgium, which simply — albeit importantly — oversees how funds are routed globally. It is a messenger, not a bank. Nevertheless, in an abundance of caution, the government uses administrative subpoenas — which were expressly provided for by Congress in the aforementioned Financial Privacy Act and the Patriot Act — when it seeks SWIFT information. That’s not just legal; it’s hyper-legal.

Nor is there any credible worry that the Bush administration is secretly and dictatorially running roughshod over privacy interests. Prominent members of Congress — including elected officials from both parties who serve on the House and Senate Intelligence Committees — have been briefed on the program since its inception after the 9/11 attacks.

The administration, moreover, has worked closely with SWIFT managers, who are led by the National Bank of Belgium and include such other independent financial powerhouses as the Bank of England, the European Central Bank, and the Bank of Japan, as well as the U.S. Federal Reserve. The resulting collaboration has both narrowed the information gathered and ensured that its use is limited to counterterrorism purposes — not the prosecution of ordinary crimes. As if that were not enough, the TFTP is regularly subjected to independent auditing as an additional safeguard ensuring that information is accessed only for terrorism-related purposes.

No, the most salient thing we learn from today’s compromise of the TFTP is that the program has been highly effective at keeping us safe. According to the government, it has helped identify and locate terrorists and their financial backers; it has been instrumental in charting terrorist networks; and it has been essential in starving these savage organizations of their lifeblood: funding.

The TFTP was evidently key to the capture of one of the world’s most formidable terrorists. Riduan bin Isamuddin, better known as “Hambali” — the critical link between al Qaeda and its Indonesian affiliate, Jemaah Islamiya, and thus at the center of the 2002 Bali bombing in which 202 people were slaughtered — is now in U.S. custody rather than wreaking more mayhem. He was apprehended in Thailand in 2003, thanks to the program, which identified a previously unknown financial link to him in Southeast Asia.

In another example, the TFTP led to the discovery that Uzair Paracha, in Brooklyn, might be laundering money for al Qaeda in Pakistan. Paracha was ultimately indicted. Last November, a federal jury in Manhattan convicted him for providing material support to a terrorist organization — specifically, trying to help an al Qaeda operative enter the United States to commit a terrorist act.

It was in view of the TFTP’s palpable value in protecting American lives, its obvious legal propriety, and the plain fact that it was being responsibly conducted that the administration pleaded with the newspapers not to reveal it after government officials despicably leaked it. Exposing the program would tell the public nothing about official misconduct. It would accomplish only the educating of al Qaeda — the nation’s enemy in an ongoing war; an enemy well-known to be feverishly plotting new, massive attacks — about how better to evade our defenses. About how better to kill us.

Appealing to the patriotism of these newspapers proved about as promising as appealing to the humanity of the terrorists they so insouciantly edify — the same monsters who, as we saw again only a few days ago with the torture murder of two American soldiers, continue to define depravity down.

The newspapers, of course, said no. Why? What could outweigh the need to protect a valid effort to shield Americans from additional, barbarous attacks? Bill Keller, executive editor of the New York Times, smugly decreed that the Bush administration’s “access to this vast repository of international financial data” was, in his singularly impeccable judgment, “a matter of public interest.”

And you probably thought George Bush was the imperious one. And that the public’s principal interest was in remaining alive. Wrong again.

The blunt reality here is that there is a war against the war. It is the jihad of privacy fetishists whose self-absorption knows no bounds. Pleas rooted in the well-being of our community hold no sway.

The anti-warriors know only the language of self-interest. It is the language that tells them the revelation of the nation’s secrets will result, forthwith, in the demand for the revelation of their secrets — which is to say, their sources in the intelligence community — with incarceration the price of resistance. It is the language admonishing that even journalists themselves may be prosecuted when their publication of national secrets violates the law.

Bluntly, officials who leak the classified information with which they have been entrusted can be prosecuted for theft of government property. If the information is especially sensitive, they can be prosecuted for violating the Espionage Act. In either event, the press has no legal right to protect such lawlessness.

That is our simple choice: Strong medicine we will either take or persist in declining … while resigning ourselves to more of the same.

— Andrew C. McCarthy, a former federal prosecutor, is a senior fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.
 
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Annie

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Seems a lot of folks have been pondering this over the weekend:

http://www.strategypage.com/htmw/htwin/articles/20060625.aspx
Treason You Can Get Away With

June 25, 2006: Because the war on terror is fought in a peacetime atmosphere, treason can be presented as dissent, and you can get away with it. Case in point is the energetic pursuit, and publication, of U.S. intelligence gathering techniques, by the American media. The latest one was the reporting of how the U.S. has been analyzing international bank wire transfers. This apparently led to the capture of several prominent terrorists, especially in Southeast Asia. But to opponents of the war, this is an assault on civil liberties, attacks they consider more dangerous than potential terrorist violence. Earlier scoops revealed to terrorists how the traffic analysis was being used to track terrorist activity.



Again, the threat to civil liberties, relative to the lack of a real terrorist threat, was used to justify what was basically treason in time of war. But the war on terror is not a normal war. There's no country to declare war on, so there's no formal declaration of war. Every war has it's dissenters and opposition politicians criticizing how the war is fought. The unique nature of the war on terror, with much of the action being on the domestic front, has us searching for terrorists among our own population. This leads to opposition groups depicting success against the terrorists (no attacks) as the absence of a real threat. This leads to implications that the government is using the war on terror to establish government intelligence gathering programs that threaten civil liberties.



The absurdity of this is that the intelligence programs that have been revealed involve techniques that have been used before to successfully track down criminals, and have not led to compromising anyone's civil liberties. Indeed, if any government program was misused to persecute an American, the uproar and blowback would be monumental. There are some examples of that, but far fewer of government exploitation of intelligence programs. Criminals benefit far more than citizens suffer. Moreover, many of these techniques were used successfully by the West German government in the 1970s, to deal with an outburst of domestic terrorism. Thus the track record has been that these techniques work, and don't do any damage to civil liberties. Ironically, the German government then shut down the program in the late 1970s, after it had done its job. The reason given was that such powerful tools posed a threat to German liberties. In actuality, there were apparently plenty of politicians worried about their illegal activities being exposed (and many of them have since come to the surface, including links with the secret police in East Germany.) There may be similar fears in the United States, for it is known that many politicians and activists opposed to the war have crossed the line. Some have been caught and punished, and many others probably fear the same fate.



Trivializing the enemy is another dangerous journalistic tactic. Many of the Islamic terrorists are basically amateurs. The bunch rounded up in Miami recently are starting to be portrayed as victims, rather than threats. However, if one or two FBI supervisors had zigged instead of zagged back in early 2001, and the 19 or 20 911 terrorists would have been rounded up. It would have been very easy for enterprising journalists to portray this as an overreaction by the FBI. After all, who could take seriously this plan to simultaneously hijack four aircraft and crash them into buildings? It was all too absurd, and another example of the excessive police power of the government.



Treason aside, these tactics of destruction by revelation, and trivializing the threat, do provide substantial benefits to the enemy. While the most professional and experienced terrorists were always aware of things like traffic analysis and CIA access to international wire transfer data, most al Qaeda activists do not. But now they do, and the implications have been spelled out for them, in great deal, by helpful journalists. This influences future reporting, which will tend to avoid connecting the dots between these revelations and the success of some future terror attack. A sort of unconscious professional courtesy. There is one new element; net based journalists. That includes widely read bloggers and reports like this. But that only keeps the crimes visible, it doesn't do much to punish the guilty, or stop the assistance these traitors are giving to those who would kill them, and us.



These traitors will continue to get away with it. Unless their activities are shown to assist terrorists in a particularly direct and obvious way, scary stories about potential perils will continue to protect those attacking the counter-terrorism effort. By blurring the line between legitimate dissent and active assistance to the enemy, political opportunism has sunk to new lows.


Also well worth reading:
http://austinbay.net/blog/?p=1224
 

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