Home Store In Memoriam Deborah Newsletter Forum Topics Blogfeed Blogroll Facebook MySpace Contact Us About

Your tax dollars at work - US House prepares to denounce NYTimes "and other papers"

Reported by Chrish - June 29, 2006 -

The BS continued on the Big Story today 6/28/06 as FOX kept up the White House led indignation at the New York Times (but not the Wall Street Journal and LA Times, who were in a dead heat with the Times in releasing the story) for the report on the Bush administration's surveillance of international banking transactions. Republican Congressman Jack Kingston of Georgia ranted unopposed about the by now familiar talking points - this program was classified, now terrorists know we're watching financial transactions, and lives have been endangered. There was nobody on the BS to echo former CIA Agent Larry C. Johnson, who so eloquently stated what has been running through my head all day: " Bullshit alert!"

With all that faces us these days the House is going to pause and bring us another moment reminiscent of the Schiavo case - a cynical politcal maneuver meant to energize their base and arouse righteous indignation. This time it's directed at the media, not the courts, but the sentiment is the same - scream foul, facts be damned, and tarnish another institution that furnished much-needed braking on the runaway executive branch. And if you can wave the flag while undermining another basic right then all the better.

According to Kingston, the resolution will probably pass because people are fed up: "It's one thing to mix your criticism with [Bush] with your war position, but it's another thing to mix your hatred of George Bush with putting people's lives in danger." (TP #1 - endangering lives. To reinforce this bogus claim, the chyron under him read "Hastert: Loose lips kill American people." ) He claims the NYT has gone way over the line because they disagree with Bush's foreign policy, and the Times has disclosed something of use to terrorists - now they know how we're tracking them and tracking their money.

Comment: As many have already pointed out, Bush announced the beginnings of this plan, in great detail, in 2001. SWIFT is and has been easily found on the www, as are numerous earlier references to financial monitoring. FOX and their followers conflate the evil barbarous acts of some of the terrorists with sheer stupidity and ignorance of modern technologies . Their acts are those of savages, but to imagine them simple cavemen understates the danger, to our own detriment.

Also note the repitition of the "Bush-hater" meme. The right tries to ascribe this emotional, irrational reaction to Bush in order to diminish legitimate intelligent objections to his policies and his methods. It's one of O'Reilly's favorites.

Gibson asked Kingston if and how this disclosure is different from the Pentagon papers or the domestic surveillance, and Kingston rambled on about how Treasury Secretary Snow and Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton of the 9/11 Commission had "pleaded" with the NYT to not print the story, and Congress had been briefed and there wasn't a legality issue like there was with the wiretapping. Gibson interrupted at that point, saying that "they say it might be illegal." Who they are, he doesn't say. Kingston is thrown by this and gives a useless answer: "I don't think that they're arguing that it was illegal, that it was legal." and repeats the talking point that the Times was asked to not report the story - because of the danger it would put our soldiers in. (TP#1)

Comment: Ridiculous - like they're not already in mortal danger. Some terrorist is going to say Now those Americans have really gone too far, spying on my banking! I never dreamed they'd go to such an extreme! Now I'm really mad! Sheesh.

A captain in the Army Reserves serving in Iraq has asked that the Justice Department query the NYT reporters (but again, not the WSJ or LAT reporters) and force them to reveal their sources. Kingston allows that the NYT may have only acted irresponsibly but somewhere down the line someone broke the law and revealed classified information. Gibson remembered to mention that no-one has gone after the NSA leaker but forgets to mention that the Plame leaker, who really did endanger lives, still holds a high position in the US government. Kingston says maybe it's time to start going after leakers; Congress is outraged, people at home are outraged, because this is over the line. "Somebody is in danger now because of this story, and it's an American, and the terrorists are smarter now because of this story." (TP#1)

Comment: Some of us have been outraged for years but that hasn't seemed to motivate any oversight or action. Let's investigate the leaks in chronological order, 'K?

That was the end of the interview, just another opportunity for FOX to echo the outrage and righteous anger at the "liberal media". Read Larry Johnson's article for a rundown on the Bush White House attitude towards the NYT over the years.

Comment: From a follow-up article in the NYT:

Mr. (Tony) Snow said there was no coordinated effort by the White House to ratchet up pressure on journalists, or The Times in particular. But he said the president seemed eager to have a chance to express his views about the issue, and decided at the last minute to take reporters' questions at Monday's photo session, after a meeting with supporters of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

"If you want to figure out what the terrorists are doing, you try to follow their money," the president said. "And that's exactly what we're doing. And the fact that a newspaper disclosed it makes it harder to win this war on terror."
The remarks were the first in public by Mr. Bush on the issue, and they came as the administration intensified its attacks on newspapers' handling of it.

In a speech in Nebraska on Monday, Vice President Dick Cheney repeatedly criticized The Times by name, while Treasury Secretary John W. Snow dismissed as "incorrect and offensive" the rationale offered by the newspaper's executive editor for the decision to publish.

No, no co-ordinated effort there.
It seems to be a case of overkill the messenger. Methinks the sentence that set off this cartoonish over-reaction, "Several outside banking experts, however, say that financial privacy laws are murky and sometimes contradictory and that the program raises difficult legal and public policy questions," is the real meat of the matter and the administration and FOX are in a panic to see that it be buried again. They're doing what they do best - diverting, dividing, and creating a phony issue.