NYT REVELATIONS HELP BUSH; HURT US WAR ON TERROR
Taken together with the NSA revelations, it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that the US was repeatedly hit during the Clinton administration because it failed to use the tools at its disposal and has not been hit because the Bush administration did not. Moreover, while Bill Clinton turned down the opportunity to try Bin Laden because it lacked the evidence it needed to bring him to justice, the tools used by the Bush administration led to the capture of terrorists both here and abroad AND to their successful prosecution:
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.
Ironically, this so called"political" administration repeatedly put the good of the country ahead of its political interest not only by keeping the lid on these programs but by appealing humbly to the NYT editors' sense of patriotism. They failed repeatedly.
Administration officials, however, asked The New York Times not to publish this article, saying that disclosure of the Swift program could jeopardize its effectiveness. They also enlisted several current and former officials, both Democrat and Republican, to vouch for its value.
Bill Keller, the newspaper's executive editor, said:"We have listened closely to the administration's arguments for withholding this information, and given them the most serious and respectful consideration. 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." . . . .
On Thursday evening, Dana Perino, deputy White House press secretary, said:"Since immediately following 9/11, the American government has taken every legal measure to prevent another attack on our country. One of the most important tools in the fight against terror is our ability to choke off funds for the terrorists."
She added:"We know the terrorists pay attention to our strategy to fight them, and now have another piece of the puzzle of how we are fighting them. We also know they adapt their methods, which increases the challenge to our intelligence and law enforcement officials."
Referring to the disclosure by The New York Times last December of the National Security Agency's eavesdropping program, she said,"The president is concerned that once again The New York Times has chosen to expose a classified program that is working to protect our citizens."
To understand the motivation of the NYT's editors, it is necessary to understand the purpose of their revelations. Who will they help the most? Terrorist financiers. They will rush to alter the way they send their money to Bin Laden and company. Why would the New York Times wish to help these men? Because Bill Keller and company like the international elite of which they are apart, feel no deference to the judgment of their democratically elected Republican and Democratic officials nor do they wish to privilege the safety of the American people as a whole or even New Yorkers in particular. Their purpose is to level the"playing field" in the War on Terror by taking away as much of the technological, legal and moral advantages enjoyed by the anti-Islamist forces.
That includes undermining the anti-Islamist alliances. For who will it hurt the most? Swift, the gate keeper of the international banking system located in Belgium. For this revelation, like the Washington Post rendition, seeks to undermine US-EU cooperation. Dana Priest published her article following the election of pro-American Angela Merkel and during the fence mending trip of the new Secretary Rice to Europe. The NYT revelation followed the"unexpectedly" successful President Bush's trip to Europe.
What is to be done? If exposure and shaming fail, there will be little choice but to reinstate some form of prior restraint, first voluntary, then, mandatory.
In the meantime, the Republicans gained a very potent campaign talking point.
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