A Motto For The New York Times

“The duo of Eric Lichtblau and James Risen have published the details of yet another classified national-security program. This time, they exposed the workings of a database of financial records that the administration has used to track al Qaeda’s banking transactions:

The Bush administration has made no secret of its campaign to disrupt terrorist financing, and President Bush, Treasury officials and others have spoken publicly about those efforts. 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.”

According to the NYT’s own reporting, the program is legal. The program is helping us catch terrorists. The administration has briefed the appropriate members of Congress. The program has built-in safeguards to prevent abuse. And yet, with nothing more than a vague appeal to the “public interest” (which apparently is not outweighed in this case by the public’s interest in apprehending terrorists), the NYT disregards all that and publishes intimate, classified details about the program. Keller and his team really do believe they are above the law.” — Steven Spruiell

You know, the United States spends billions of dollars every year to improve technology, hires huge staffs, works to gain intelligence assets, negotiates with foreign governments for more information, interrogates prisoners, on and on and on. The money, work, and effort expended to protect us from another terrorist attack is just endless.

But, the terrorists have it easier. All they have to do every day is just open up the New York Times, where they recklessly and deliberately undermine our national security on a regular basis by giving the terrorists, and everyone else in the world, all the details of incredibly sensitive classified programs.

So, how about a new motto for the New York Times to replace “All The News That’s Fit to Print.” How about,

“Sure, we might be helping the terrorists kill thousands of Americans, but if it hurts the Bush Administration or helps us get a Pulitzer, it’s worth it.”

It’s not quite as short or as catchy as the old motto, but at least it would have the benefit of being accurate.

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