Saturday, December 17, 2005

All The News That's Cleared By George Bush To Print

The decision by the New York Times to withhold from its readers for a year the fact that George Bush personally agreed to secret and illegal wiretaps on American citizens as part of the so-called war on terror is yet another example of how the Ivory Tower US mainstream media have let themselves get played by the Bush administration. It further demonstrates, along with the crappy WMD reporting, the secret conversations about CIA officer Valerie Plame, and the near-silence surrounding the so-called Downing Street Memos, how badly the media have left the American people in the dark about the operations of their government, thereby failing to fulfill their most important responsibility.

The excuses given by the Times for this latest case of ball-dropping are as bad as any they have given for any of their other recent lapses:
A year ago, when this information first became known to Times reporters, the Administration argued strongly that writing about this eavesdropping program would give terrorists clues about the vulnerability of their communications and would deprive the government of an effective tool for the protection of the country's security.

So, what, the terrorists didn't already know that they were being spied on without a warrant? Then why do they always talk in code, retards? There is nothing in the the story's revelations that would have hurt the administration's ability to monitor the activities of terror suspects, and the reputedly highly-intelligent Times editorial staff had to know that.

Then the Times says:
Officials also assured senior editors of The Times that a variety of legal checks had been imposed that satisfied everyone involved that the program raised no legal questions.
Still believing these documented liars? What is the Times' problem?

So why, a year later, did the Times change its mind?

First, we developed a fuller picture of the concerns and misgivings that had been expressed during the life of the program.
It doesn't take a year to find out that folks are concerned about this. People have been raising hell about the Patriot Act for years. This secret wiretap business is but the bastard child of the Act. The Times had to know immediately upon hearing about this program that there would be huge misgivings about its legality.
Second, in the course of subsequent reporting we satisfied ourselves that we could write about this program -- withholding a number of technical details -- in a way that would not expose any intelligence-gathering methods or capabilities that are not already on the public record.
Again, it does not take a year to figure out how to write about this without revealing key secrets. Not if you're a whizbang smart journalist like those at the Times.


At 9:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm curious what degree of precision "year" has here. If this info was in the NYT's hands prior to November 2, 2004, everyone in on the decision not to publish should resign. Now.


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