Sunday, July 02, 2006

Here's some of what Richard Clarke and Roger Cressey, counterterrorism officials on the National Security Council under both President Clinton and the current Bush, had to say about the much-ado being made about the Times publishing a story about the financial monitoring program. The op-ed is entitled "A Secret the Terrorists Already Knew":
They want the public to believe that it had not already occurred to every terrorist on the planet that his telephone was probably monitored and his international bank transfers subject to scrutiny. How gullible does the administration take the American citizenry to be?

Terrorists have for many years employed nontraditional communications and money transfers — including the ancient Middle Eastern hawala system, involving couriers and a loosely linked network of money brokers — precisely because they assume that international calls, e-mail and banking are monitored not only by the United States but by Britain, France, Israel, Russia and even many third-world countries.

While this was not news to terrorists, it may, it appears, have been news to some Americans, including some in Congress. But should the press really be called unpatriotic by the administration, and even threatened with prosecution by politicians, for disclosing things the terrorists already assumed?
There is, of course, another possible explanation for all the outraged bloviating. It is an election year....The attacks on the press are part of a political effort by administration officials to use terrorism to divide America, and to scare their supporters to the polls again this year.
Isn't it also a bit peculiar how the NY Times is being singled out, without any criticism likewise directed at the right-wing Wall Street Journal...? The WSJ published the same story on the same day as the NYT -- what gives?

My out-on-a-limb guess: for those on the right, the NYT is the centerpiece symbol for what's wrong with the MSM, namely that it's too liberal. Needless to say, the WSJ is far from being such a symbol, with its crazed editorial page literally echoing GOP talking points on a daily basis. Never mind the fact that the NYT incessantly hounded Bill Clinton with Whitewater and Monica stories, or that it played a pivotal role in aiding Bush/Cheney in the run-up to Iraq. The cliche is what matters here and the right-wing base will always regard the NYT as an "evil" pinko-left rag.

Thus, the reason for targeting the NYT and not the WSJ. As usual, it's all about Rovian politics, not the truth.

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