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Former DOJ Official Victoria Toensing Can't Give A Straight Answer About How New York Times Compromised National Security

Reported by Ellen - June 29, 2006 -

As FOX News continues to milk the New York Times story (and avoids discussing what the Bush administration did) about tracking bank records, Hannity & Colmes held another discussion last night with Victoria Toensing, former Department of Justice official about the Times’ alleged infraction of national security. But when pressed by Alan Colmes to explain just what sensitive information the Times revealed that might hamper a terrorism investigation, Toensing kept changing the subject and seemed unable to provide a straight answer.

Colmes started his questioning by saying that the SWIFT program reported on by the Times wasn’t secret, that in fact Bush talked about tracking terrorists’ money in 2004. Colmes played a clip of Bush talking about how the Patriot Act made it easier to follow paper trails. (Comment: However, Colmes never commented on the point of The Times article – that the Bush program’s warrantless tracking might be illegal.)

Colmes asked Toensing, “Tell me exactly what piece of information was the New York Times that terrorists are gonna now look at and say you know what, I’m gonna, you know, now find a new way to subvert the United States of America? What piece of information was there?

Toensing avoided answering as determinedly as she seemed to avoid a camera on the right side of her face. With the left side of her face tilted toward the camera, she said, “It’s just a reminder because I used to do drug cases when I was…

Colmes repeated his question. “Well, what piece of information did the New York Times reveal?

Toensing dodged again. “You know what I want to know? What piece of information did the New York Times reveal that made you feel that you were being harmed by this kind of program?”

Colmes tried again. “You’re the one who’s saying we’re harmed. Tell me what the piece of information is that the Times put out.”

Toensing dodged a third time, her face still skewed to the right. “No, I’m saying what is it, this great balance of a program that everyone agrees was effective, legal and the Congress was briefed on and the balance is public interest.” (Comment: No, not everyone, as Media Matters outlines. Among others, Senator Arlen Specter, the Republican Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, was reported to be “concerned about the legal authority” of the program)

Toensing never did answer Colmes’ question and eventually he turned to the other guest, FOX News contributor Geraldine Ferraro.