Did the New York Times Cross the Line Between a Free Press and Treason?
Liberal columnist Mort Kondracke echoed the sentiments of many Americans: The New York Times leaked information about a top secret banking operation, which was aimed atstopping terrorist financing and money transfers, because of their hatred for President George W. Bush.
President Bush implored the Times not to run their story, but the editors decided to disregard the presidential request. (One cannot help but wonder: If President Bill Clinton were our Commander-in-Chief today, would the editors at the New York Times comply with his request to kill the story? Most probably.)
Americans following the aftermath of the Times leak knew that part of the news story.
However, what most didn't know was that the co-chairmen of the 9-11 Commission -- Tom Keane and Lee Thompson -- also contacted the New York Times and told them disclosure of the Treasury Department's counterterrorism operation would hurt national security. The editors at the Times couldn't care less and disregarded their plea, as well.
"In the past, I believe the New York Times got too close to the line separating honest journalism and betrayal. Now I think they crossed that line," said a former intelligence officer who now works as an undercover detective for a large city police department.
"I also don't believe someone from the [Treasury Department] leaked the information to the Times. I believe one of the lawmakers -- either in the House or Senate -- who opposes the war on terrorism leaked the information," he added.
As yet, there are no comments emanating from Washingtion, DC regarding a full investigation of the leak. One source says he hopes the Justice Department assigns a special prosecutor to look into the case.
"We wasted millions of dollars on the so-called CIA leak case; how about investigating a serious leak that actually does impact [upon] US national security?" he added.
So far, the most vocal member of the Bush Administration regarding the New York Times and Los Angeles Times stories is Vice President Dick Cheney. "These [were] good, solid, sound programs. They [were] conducted in accordance with the laws of the land," Cheney said.
"They are carried out in a manner that is fully consistent with the constitutional authority of the president," Mr. Cheney said. He also said that he found it "offensive" that newspapers would publicize the secret program.
"What I find most disturbing about these stories is the fact that some in the media take it upon themselves to disclose vital national security programs, thereby making it more difficult for us to prevent future attacks against the American people," Cheney said with obvious anger in his voice.
The New York Times stood by its coverage saying editors had judged after careful deliberations that releasing the information served the public's interest. They didn't explain in what way the disclosure of top secret information served the public interest, unless they include terrorists, our homegrown insurgents in congress, left-wing Stalinist groups, and your garden variety Bush-haters.
It's been said before: Al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups don't need to spend money on intelligence gathering and analysis. Members of the US news media are de-facto intelligence agents for them.
Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police and he's a staff writer for the New Media Alliance
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