- The sun still rises in the east,
- My cat is still really fat,
- John Kerry changed his mind a couple times on Iraq, and
- The New York Times still thinks scoring political points against President Bush is more important than national security.
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 Â though there would be nothing legally offensive even if they did.
The New York Times' executive editor Bill Keller said that he made the decision to run the story because it was in the "public interest." Well, gosh, Bill - you know what else is in the public interest? KILLING TERRORISTS! Except that if Bush is the world's biggest terrorist, then I guess it makes sense... Sigh.
Other papers reported on the story of course, but it was NYT reporters who did the investigation and had apparently had the inside sources. Without them, the program would not have come to light.
There's just no excuse for this. None. Bill Keller, the leakers inside the intel agencies, and the reporters involved are American citizens, and they have responsibilities as such. Why is it too much that they root for the good guys? It's one thing to not think President Bush is prosecuting the war on terror correctly, and to say so publicly. It's another thing entirely to actively work for his failure in keeping Americans safe. But hey - don't you dare question their patriotism.
If the terror cell this program would have caught next year succeeds in a bio attack on the NYC subway, the Times and its far left readership will without any question scream bloody murder about "incompetence," "not connecting the dots," etc. What world do these people live in? Can they not see the consequences of their actions?
We cannot live in safety without SOME clandestine operations, SOME ability to gether data and follow the money to the terror financiers, and SOME state secrets. It doesn't equal police state to have these types of programs in place. It equals survival.
To be fair, though, some good press about the war on terror HAS been leaking through. What, really, did we expect?