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July 05, 2006

NYTimes Contradicts Itself Again

The Papir of Recard is really starting to make a name for itself... in all the wrong ways. Several days ago the half-vast editorial staff fondly recollected catching the Grey Lady in several acts of historical revisionism regarding L'Affaire Plame and their disclosure of the terrorist financial tracking program.

times.jpg Now, thanks to the ever-alert Cori Dauber, we note the Times' latest graf ("You know that sinister secretive terrorist tracking program we were forced to "out" because the Bushies were being so horribly... well... secretive??? Well... turns out it wasn't really secret at all! Never mind the twelve times we used the word SECRET in our flagship article! Heh...we were just kidding, guys!").

You see, the good guys knew what we were doing all along!

There was a significant question as to how secret the program was after five years. "Hundreds, if not thousands, of people know about this," Mr. Keller said he was told by an official who talked to him on condition of anonymity. The 25 bankers from numerous nations on the Swift board of directors, and their predecessors going back to 2001, knew about the arrangement. So did some consortium executives and staff members — a group that probably expanded during this period. Starting in 2003, Swift representatives had to be stationed alongside any government intelligence official searching the data.

In other words, though Bill Keller previously justified his publication of a classified program by saying the administration had been overly secretive and he wanted to ensure there was Congressional oversight (though for unstated reasons he couldn't turn over the leaked information to the House Permananent Select Committee on Intelligence AS THE LAW REQUIRES and let them do their job), the fact that there was, in fact, oversight over the program justified publishing its existence to as many people as possible!

Of course, the fact that the Times hasn't come out with this counterargument until now strongly suggests they didn't know any of this at the time, doesn't it? Of course it does. But wait! Mr. Calame has more to say:

Further support for the conclusion that the Swift program hasn't remained totally hidden from terrorists, or anyone else, emerged last week. A former State Department official who has served on a United Nations counterterrorism group pointed to a 2002 United Nations report noting that the United States was monitoring international financial transactions. Swift and similar organizations were mentioned in the publicly available report, although there were no details. "The United States has begun to apply new monitoring techniques to spot and verify suspicious transactions," the report noted.

"...although there were no details". That's really a mouthful. So what we're saying here is that if every person who wanted to help fund the terrorists knew exactly where to look on the UN web site, they could find out that we were monitoring terrorist funding... In general. Without any details.

Whoopie. As several have noted, that information was already in the public domain. And as I have already noted several times, the Times did not need to avail itself of classified leaks to "break" a story about a "secretive" administration not allowing Congress to exercise proper "oversight" of a program cleverly hidden right in plain sight. The Times can't have it both ways: either the program was open and above-board or it was clandestine and sneaky. The Times clearly thought it was the latter, and if they didn't know about it (and if the program caught several terrorists, including the Bali bomber) then it was secret enough to work. But the real evidence is found in a place so secret even Eric Lichtblau couldn't find it. The Times' own archives. In November of last year, (dear sweet Mother of God) Lichtblau bashes the administration for not doing a better job of cutting off terrorist financing!

The administration has made cutting off money to terrorists one of the main prongs in its attack against Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups. It has seized tens of millions of dollars in American accounts and assets linked to terrorist groups, prodded other countries to do the same, and is now developing a program to gain access to and track potentially hundreds of millions of international bank transfers into the United States.

But experts in the field say the results have been spotty, with few clear dents in Al Qaeda's ability to move money and finance terrorist attacks. The Congressional report-- a follow-up to a 2003 report that offered a similarly bleak assessment -- buttresses those concerns.

Senator Charles E. Grassley, the Iowa Republican who leads the Senate Finance Committee and was one of the lawmakers who requested the study, said he was disappointed to learn that in an area as critical as countering terrorist financing, ''they haven't gotten very far yet.''

In an interview, Mr. Grassley said: ''It's as simple as learning to stop the infighting and turf protection and get on with the job. What's happening is just inexplicable in light of the war on terrorism.''

The title of the article?

U.S. Lacks Strategy to Curb Terror Funds.

So much for the "terrorist tracking program wasn't a secret" argument. Apparently it was a secret... at least from the New York Times' crack staff of investigative reporters, who couldn't find that hidden-in-plain-sight report on the U.N. web site. Or those hundreds... if not THOUSANDS of staffers in SWIFT who knew about the Treasury Department program... or even, apparently the Op-Ed hidden behind their own TimesSelect wall urging President Bush to take exactly the steps he did, in fact, end up taking before Bill Keller exposed a perfectly legal and successful anti-terror program.

Hypocrisy, thy name is New York Times.

Update: See More on Who Knew What When for more NYT perfidity.

Update II: Bwa ha ha ha!!! Hysterical.

Posted by Cassandra at July 5, 2006 07:14 AM


Tell me, please, what moron in this country did not believe that the United States and the other targets of Islamic terrorism were examining smelly financial transfers? The difference is that knowing there is underwear in the underwear drawer is sufficient for most of us. The Times has to dance around with the panties on its head.

Posted by: spd rdr at July 5, 2006 08:17 AM

You know, I keep saying this when it comes to the NYT, but: Unbelievble!

Posted by: FbL at July 5, 2006 10:16 AM

And now a Powerline link.....Girl, you big-time fo-sure.

Posted by: WildBlueYonder at July 5, 2006 01:34 PM

Ya know, the only think I can figure is that poor Eric Lichtbau (does that stand for "lightly built" in German = lightweight?) is a DUPE, a victim of the insidious Carl Rove-Dick Cheney Disinformation Machine: the November story was fed to ol' Lightweight in order to lull the terrorists into thinking the US was unsuccessful at tracking terrorist monies.

Well, of course Lightweight was angry when he found out differently....

Posted by: CatoRenasci at July 5, 2006 01:48 PM

Greg, it is just a blip on the radar screen of life.

I don't take any of this too seriously. Tomorrow morning I will wake up and my head (and very likely my chest) will still be the same size. And I will still be blathering away in well-deserved obscurity :) Thank God.

Posted by: Cassandra at July 5, 2006 01:52 PM

You people just don't understand how things work.

When MiniTruth (aka the NYT) says terrorist-monitoring programs are secret, then the terrorist-monitoring programs have always been secret.

If the NYT later says the terrorist-monitoring programs are NOT secret, then the terrorist-monitoring programs have never been secret.

In related news, Al Qaeda has issued a press release giving the names and locations of all its top personnel, on the grounds that "everyone knew they were out there somewhere anyway."

Posted by: TallDave at July 5, 2006 01:57 PM

Shocking! The NYT (Not Yet Truthful) prevaricating on their story?? The NYT dont have to respond to accusations of double-talk from anyone ... they are THE paper of record! Anyone who would dare accuse them of such bias, distortion, arrogance, and shall we say 'inexactitude' is obviously part of the Karl Rove machine and is a neo-neo-neo con. End of story ... (checking democratic talking points, yup, that covers it)

Posted by: jojo at July 5, 2006 02:32 PM

Is the NYT in the habit of publishing common knowledge on its front page?


Posted by: Mark Buehner at July 5, 2006 03:20 PM

Heh :)

The Times has to dance around with the panties on its head.

Oh no... it's another Abu Ghuraib! Aieee! I can't bear it!

Posted by: Cassandra at July 5, 2006 03:32 PM

Not content with just continuing its highest and best use, which is training puppies to piddle and poo properly, the New York Times now demonstrates an uncanny ability to poop all over itself. More at Strong As An Ox And Nearly As Smart

Posted by: Major Mike at July 5, 2006 03:52 PM

The NYT's constantly revolving excuse for publishing on SWIFT and the majority of the MSM's choruses to it, makes their "Bush Lied!" chants seem quaint.

Posted by: Dusty at July 5, 2006 04:36 PM

Mr. Buehner, you're asking for trouble. What would happen if Bush found out about the veto?

Posted by: Grim at July 5, 2006 04:46 PM

STOP THE MADNESS !!! The President has veto power??? Who knew?

Posted by: WildBlueYonder at July 5, 2006 05:46 PM

Great work Cassandra! Semper Fi from one Marine wife to another!

Posted by: Laura Armstrong at July 5, 2006 09:55 PM

The very idea of panty-headed journalism will cling to me like a smart tailed skunk.

Posted by: spd rdr at July 5, 2006 10:06 PM

Keep up the great work w/ this. As a longtime but now former reader of the NYT I've re-dubbed the paper "The Al-Quaeda Times" since it appears that is the constituency Keller & Company wish
to serve. What needs to be done is to force out the revelation of the name(s) of the leaker(s)and those name(s) should be known by Keller & his team. The way to do that is obvious: put Fitzgerald to work a la the Plame probe.

Posted by: John Jay Daly at July 6, 2006 08:33 AM

Keller , Sulzberger , and the leaking Politicians should be tarred and feathered then hanged for treason.

But , then again , that would take out half of Congress.

Posted by: Ratt at July 6, 2006 10:18 AM

Cassandra, you're becoming a regular blogistani heavyweight. Congratulations on your success.

Now. What about the Wall Street Journal and the LA Times? Why waste all that venom on just the one paper? There's other papers intent on terrorizing America with Press Freedom, too.

And the blogs! Dear Lord. A regular nest of poking, prodding,unaccountable liberals with axes to grind.

The NYT has some serious problems, their unwillingness to investigate WMD claims among them, but to attack them based on (at-least) a semi-public program that folks assumed was there anyway seems nitpicky. I assumed it. Maybe because President Bush told me our government was busily tracking financial transactions in an effort to run down terrorist funding. Did the President undermine national security when he said this? Did he ally with the terrorists?

Of course not.

The state of the American press is abhorrent. Righties say it's liberal. Liberals say it's neocon. The fourth estate is supposed to be a truth machine, not a noise machine. It's broken and needs fixing. The NYT certainly needs to try to achieve some sort of relationship with objective truth that has been lost. So does the rest of the corporate media.

Maybe this is an area Conservatives and Liberals could come together on?

Posted by: Screwy Hoolie at July 6, 2006 11:11 AM

Screwy, I have written about the LA Times and the WSJournal.

The WSJournal sourced their story, unlike the Times, on the information released by the Treasury department after the Times refused to stop publication of their story. So that's rather a different matter, isn't it?

And the LA Times has been covered in a different post.

And as for my "success", this is a one-day wonder. No one is going to remember me after this is over. I came up with a catchy phrase one day (which I thought was a good idea, but I've written far better posts and gotten absolutely no attention in the past) and Cori Dauber found the Lichtblau article - she does really great work all the time and I don't think she gets half the credit she deserves. She really should have gotten the attention and not me, but a lot of the time that's how things play out. I hope the Instapundit and Powerline readers clicked on her link in the second sentence of my post (above) and saw that she was the one who found the article. The blogosphere is a collaborative venture - that is its power, and for that I'm very grateful.

Posted by: Cassandra at July 6, 2006 11:34 AM

Maybe this is an area Conservatives and Liberals could come together on?

And yes, I agree with you Screwy, for whatever that may be worth!

Posted by: Cassandra at July 6, 2006 11:35 AM

Hi Laura! Good to see your name!

How's the hubby?

Posted by: Cassandra at July 6, 2006 11:36 AM

The NYT with panties on its masthead? Who could hack and photoshop it?

Can you just imagine the screeching that would issue from the Left as wingnuts commit cyber terrorism?

then again...

Posted by: Cricket at July 6, 2006 05:53 PM

Screwy, you said it best. Yes, there are other papers that are just as broken in their editorial policy, but they seem to take their cues from the NYT and LAT and the WaPo.

So, by targeting one of the big players, and pointing out the flaws in logic, reasoning, rhetoric, the use of hyperbole to frame the strawman arguments, it not only saves times, it informs other bloggers and hopefully the other media will see the firestorm and Get A Clue.

We can agree on what you said about L*berals and C*nservatives coming together on it.

Posted by: Cricket at July 6, 2006 07:37 PM

So Treasury thinks that this story was leaked by someone no longer in the government? Hmmm....I'll bet someone a nickel that they're NOT referring to anyone in the Bush 41 administration.

The question I have is whether or not the leaker has ties to the Hillary campaign. Any bets on how quickly MSM will follow THAT thread?

Posted by: trentk269 at July 6, 2006 09:16 PM

How DARE YOU! Hillary is the ModelofaModernMajorGeneral and is running as a Moderate! She SUPPORTS the troops! She is against an early withdrawal from Iraq and risked getting booed by the Democratic Anti-War Front. She has suffered so much for The Cause!

Truly an inspiration to those leopards who are wanting to change their spots.

Posted by: Cricket at July 7, 2006 05:40 PM

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