The disclosures by the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times about the secret monitoring of the flow of funds to and from terrorist organizations further undermines the national security of the United States. These disclosures, along with previous disclosures about NSA monitoring of phone calls from suspected Al Queda terrorists to and from the United States evidences the fact that the enmity for George Bush and his administration, and the desire to prevent the success of any administration programs, outweighs national security considerations. In previous times that would have been considered treason in time of war.
During World War II, the national press, along with Hollywood, were supportive of the U.S. efforts to win the war against fascism. Newspapers withheld publishing information that would give an advantage to our enemies. Hollywood, rather than making films that showed the U.S. to be the sinister aggressor against the poor Japanese and German victims who had justifiable reason to hate the U.S., made fillms that supported the U.S. war effort and represented the U.S. military as the heroes they were.
Now the national press has been embedded with extreme far-left pro-socialist liberals, including the owner/publisher of the New York Times, Arthur Ochs (“Pinch”)Sulzberger, Jr., who seemingly would rather see fascism prevail over the United States. It is very difficult for the United States to be successful in fighting a war when the national press works hard to undermine the security of the country, and opposes the very war the country is engaged in.
As Michael Barone writes in an article titled, “Why do they hate us” today,
Once again, Bush administration officials asked the Times not to publish the story. Once again, the Times went ahead anyway. “We have listened closely to the administration’s arguments for withholding this information, and given them the most serious and respectful consideration,” Bill Keller is quoted as saying. It’s interesting to note that he feels obliged to report he and his colleagues weren’t smirking or cracking jokes. “We remain convinced that the administration’s extraordinary access to this vast repository of international financial data, however carefully targeted use of it may be, is a matter of public interest.”
This was presumably the view as well of the “nearly 20 current and former government officials and industry executives” who were apparently the sources for the story.
But who elected them to make these decisions? Publication of the Times’ December and June stories appears to violate provisions of the broadly written, but until recently, seldom enforced provisions of the Espionage Act. Commentary’s Gabriel Schoenfeld has argued that the Times can and probably should be prosecuted.
The counterargument is that it is a dangerous business for the government to prosecute the press. But it certainly is in order to prosecute government officials who have abused their trust by disclosing secrets, especially when those disclosures have reduced the government’s ability to keep us safe. And pursuit of those charges would probably require reporters to disclose the names of those sources. As the Times found out in the Judith Miller case, reporters who refuse to answer such questions can go to jail.
Why do they hate us? Why does the Times print stories that put America more at risk of attack? They say that these surveillance programs are subject to abuse, but give no reason to believe that this concern is anything but theoretical. We have a press that is at war with an administration, while our country is at war against merciless enemies. The Times is acting like an adolescent kicking the shins of its parents, hoping to make them hurt while confident of remaining safe under their roof. But how safe will we remain when our protection depends on the Times?
Yesterday, the Los Angeles Times tried to justify its decision to disclose national war secrets by stating that the public has a right to know, and that only by disclosing government activity can we protect our civil rights. The problem with their explanation is that no one has even suggested that what the government is doing is illegal. Secondly, our “right to know” has to take second place to our “right to be secure in our homes.” Also, we may have to give up some of our civil liberties in order to be safe. I remember when I could just walk into an airport and go right to the departure gate without having to stand in long security lines and having my luggage scanned.
Jonah Goldberg writes today
There have been no allegations of abuse or illegality. There are no pressing constitutional issues involved, and nobody seriously disputes that it is an important program. The Times simply thinks it’s in the public interest to expose it and, hence, cripple it. The Times ignored pleas from a wide array of public officials, including the chairmen of the 9/11 Commission, who apparently see such efforts as the sort of “imaginative” work the government should be doing.
A glimpse into the thinking behind Times executive editor Bill Keller’s decision to green-light the story can be gleaned by noting his tactic of referring to this as a program of the Bush “administration” rather than a government program. It seems the Times has simply concluded that a president who won’t use the war on terror to unify the country on terms the newspaper finds favorable isn’t justified in fighting that war at all.
The fact is that the national press is against the war, against the administration, against American political and economic values, and especially against the President. That will lead to the failure of the mainstream media, which has already begun, but it may also lead to mortal danger for all of us.