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Newspapers Reject White House Request to Kill Records Story

 
 
Reply Fri 23 Jun, 2006 08:51 am
Newspapers Reject White House Request to Kill Story
By E&P Staff
Published: June 22, 2006 11:45 PM ET

The New York Times and Los Angeles Times on Friday published a major story on government surveillance of private banking records over the objections of the Bush administration.

The same team that produced the Pulitzer-winning National Security Agency (NSA) "domestic spying" program, James Risen and Eric Lichtblau, put together the New York Times' piece. In the middle of the article, they reveal that the White House had asked the paper not to run it. This had happened with the NSA story as well, and the Times put off running the pair's key findings for a year.

"We know the terrorists pay attention to our strategy to fight them, and now have another piece of the puzzle of how we are fighting them," Dana Perino, a White House spokesman said late Thursday. "We also know they adapt their methods, which increases the challenge to our intelligence and law enforcement officials."

Perino added: "The president is concerned that once again The New York Times has chosen to expose a classified program that is working to protect our citizens."

The Risen-Lichtblau story reveals: "The Bush administration has made no secret of its campaign to disrupt terrorist financing, and President Bush, Treasury officials and others have spoken publicly about those efforts. Administration officials, however, asked The New York Times not to publish this article, saying that disclosure of the Swift program could jeopardize its effectiveness. They also enlisted several current and former officials, both Democrat and Republican, to vouch for its value.

"Bill Keller, the newspaper's executive editor, said: 'We have listened closely to the administration's arguments for withholding this information, and given them the most serious and respectful consideration. 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.'

A top official eventually agreed to discuss the classified operation with the reporters after the Times editors told him of the newspaper's decision to go ahead with the story. The Los Angeles Times and the Wall Street Journal also carried stories on the snooping operation on Friday.

The L.A. Times story related: "Bush administration officials asked The Times not to publish information about the program, contending that disclosure could damage its effectiveness and that sufficient safeguards are in place to protect the public."

Dean Baquet, editor of that newspaper, said, "We weighed the government's arguments carefully, but in the end we determined that it was in the public interest to publish information about the extraordinary reach of this program. It is part of the continuing national debate over the aggressive measures employed by the government."

The New York Times article opens: "Under a secret Bush administration program initiated weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks, counterterrorism officials have gained access to financial records from a vast international database and examined banking transactions involving thousands of Americans and others in the United States, according to government and industry officials.

"The program is limited, government officials say, to tracing transactions of people suspected of having ties to Al Qaeda by reviewing records from the nerve center of the global banking industry, a Belgian cooperative [known as Swift] that routes about $6 trillion daily between banks, brokerages, stock exchanges and other institutions. The records mostly involve wire transfers and other methods of moving money overseas and into and out of the United States. Most routine financial transactions confined to this country are not in the database."

The complete story can be found at www.nytimes.com.
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Baldimo
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 Jun, 2006 10:00 am
Re: Newspapers Reject White House Request to Kill Records St
BumbleBeeBoogie wrote:
Newspapers Reject White House Request to Kill Story
By E&P Staff
Published: June 22, 2006 11:45 PM ET

The New York Times and Los Angeles Times on Friday published a major story on government surveillance of private banking records over the objections of the Bush administration.

The same team that produced the Pulitzer-winning National Security Agency (NSA) "domestic spying" program, James Risen and Eric Lichtblau, put together the New York Times' piece. In the middle of the article, they reveal that the White House had asked the paper not to run it. This had happened with the NSA story as well, and the Times put off running the pair's key findings for a year.

"We know the terrorists pay attention to our strategy to fight them, and now have another piece of the puzzle of how we are fighting them," Dana Perino, a White House spokesman said late Thursday. "We also know they adapt their methods, which increases the challenge to our intelligence and law enforcement officials."

Perino added: "The president is concerned that once again The New York Times has chosen to expose a classified program that is working to protect our citizens."

The Risen-Lichtblau story reveals: "The Bush administration has made no secret of its campaign to disrupt terrorist financing, and President Bush, Treasury officials and others have spoken publicly about those efforts. Administration officials, however, asked The New York Times not to publish this article, saying that disclosure of the Swift program could jeopardize its effectiveness. They also enlisted several current and former officials, both Democrat and Republican, to vouch for its value.

"Bill Keller, the newspaper's executive editor, said: 'We have listened closely to the administration's arguments for withholding this information, and given them the most serious and respectful consideration. 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.'

A top official eventually agreed to discuss the classified operation with the reporters after the Times editors told him of the newspaper's decision to go ahead with the story. The Los Angeles Times and the Wall Street Journal also carried stories on the snooping operation on Friday.

The L.A. Times story related: "Bush administration officials asked The Times not to publish information about the program, contending that disclosure could damage its effectiveness and that sufficient safeguards are in place to protect the public."

Dean Baquet, editor of that newspaper, said, "We weighed the government's arguments carefully, but in the end we determined that it was in the public interest to publish information about the extraordinary reach of this program. It is part of the continuing national debate over the aggressive measures employed by the government."

The New York Times article opens: "Under a secret Bush administration program initiated weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks, counterterrorism officials have gained access to financial records from a vast international database and examined banking transactions involving thousands of Americans and others in the United States, according to government and industry officials.

"The program is limited, government officials say, to tracing transactions of people suspected of having ties to Al Qaeda by reviewing records from the nerve center of the global banking industry, a Belgian cooperative [known as Swift] that routes about $6 trillion daily between banks, brokerages, stock exchanges and other institutions. The records mostly involve wire transfers and other methods of moving money overseas and into and out of the United States. Most routine financial transactions confined to this country are not in the database."

The complete story can be found at www.nytimes.com.


The traitors within I guess you could say. Why does the media continue to expose the tatics our govt is using to catch terrorists? Do they think they are helping any one?
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 Jun, 2006 10:02 am
I suspect they believe, as do i, that they are helping the honest citizens who don't want their bank records opened illegally to government scrutiny.
0 Replies
 
timberlandko
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 Jun, 2006 10:06 am
Whether they think so or not (and it is my belief they must, if they think at all, certainly do think so), they are helping our enemies. Its high time such sensationalistic, national-security-imparing, rabble rousing became subject to the vigorous prosecution and sternest sanctions it merits.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 Jun, 2006 10:10 am
Yes indeed, let's bring back the Alien and Sedition Act . . . after all, John Adams used it to jail newspaper editors who were critical, it could work for the Shrub . . .
0 Replies
 
timberlandko
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 Jun, 2006 10:25 am
Your hyperbole ill serves you Set; criticizing an administration and disclosing legitimately classified matters of national security to the benefit of enemies in time of war hardly are equivalent. Buried within the stories currently at disussion is the fact no general, invasive scrutiny of private financial records is involved, but rather that the program focus and effect is to facillitate investigation into transactions occurring among persons and entities known or reasonably suspected to be engaged in illegal subversion of laws pertaining to the proscription of funding or otherwise aiding our enemies.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 Jun, 2006 10:31 am
My hyperbole was engendered by your melodramatic hyperbole. The editorial staffs of The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times and The Wall Street Journal are hardly to be described reasonably as sensationalistic rabble-rousers (and, of course, you snidely suggest that these people might not think at all). Additionally, your contention that this helps our enemies is necessarily predicated upon an assumption that sophisticated terrorists networks such as al Qaeda which use international credit transfer instruments are so dense as not to have ever suspected that such a tactic might be used against them.

If you drop the rabble-rousing hyperbole targeting the right, i'll be happy to refrain from such a tactic targeting the left. Sauce for the goose always makes sauce for the gander.
0 Replies
 
timberlandko
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 Jun, 2006 10:42 am
Whichever sauce you care to include in the recipe, the aim is to cook the same geese. I will agree hyperbole most typically is unhelpful, and admit to falling to it all to frequently.

As to the wit and wisdom of our foes, your comment brings me to recall something I heard from an OIF combat veteran; "They're determined, but damn! Are they ever stupid!" He was referring to the enemy's penchant for repeatedly engaging superior forces in manner wasteful both of resources and manpower, and with no hope of tactical success. There is little reason to suspect the enemy's strategic skills surpass their tactical skills.
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 Jun, 2006 10:43 am
Just want to add that SWIFT is an international organisation with headquarters in Belgium (in La Hulpe)
... which
Quote:
responded to compulsory subpoenas for limited sets of data from the Office of Foreign Assets Control of the United States Department of the Treasury.

(source: SWIFT statement on compliance policy)

I'm just wondering why those compulsary subpoenas have to be followed ... from Belgium.
0 Replies
 
woiyo
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 Jun, 2006 10:44 am
Setanta wrote:
My hyperbole was engendered by your melodramatic hyperbole. The editorial staffs of The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times and The Wall Street Journal are hardly to be described reasonably as sensationalistic rabble-rousers (and, of course, you snidely suggest that these people might not think at all). Additionally, your contention that this helps our enemies is necessarily predicated upon an assumption that sophisticated terrorists networks such as al Qaeda which use international credit transfer instruments are so dense as not to have ever suspected that such a tactic might be used against them.

If you drop the rabble-rousing hyperbole targeting the right, i'll be happy to refrain from such a tactic targeting the left. Sauce for the goose always makes sauce for the gander.


Sophisticated? It has been proven that cash has been moved to the hands of these terrorists via intl credit transfer systems.

These "sophisticated" terrorists use the cash to purchase weaponry that get strapped to other people who blow themselves up and anyone around them as one example. Yep, they be real sophisticated.

This story did not need to be published and I think those media whores congratulate themselves when the next terrorists kills more civilians and soldiers with explosives obtained in this manner.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 Jun, 2006 10:45 am
With al Qaeda, it is fatal to assume that they are stupid, or that they will repeat stupid mistakes. In fact, the administration spokesman made the point that these people are known for changing their operational methods, as demonstrated by this quote from the initial article: "We also know they adapt their methods, which increases the challenge to our intelligence and law enforcement officials." Therefore, i submit that your anecdotal evidence does not apply in this instance.
0 Replies
 
Dartagnan
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 Jun, 2006 10:46 am
Given the timidity of most Democtrats in congress, I'm grateful that some national media are looking into--and exposing--what the gov't is up to.
0 Replies
 
timberlandko
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 Jun, 2006 10:50 am
Anecdote is never evidence, and anology often is poor practice, or at least poorly executed. I recognize and acknowledge the folly of underestimating one's enemy, just as I recognize and acknowledge the folly of failing to preserve from one's enemy significant knowledge of one's own capabilities, intents, and methodologies. Sun Tzu, and all that.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 Jun, 2006 10:57 am
I've no basic objection to that, however; it flies in the face of the principle of a nation in which the military (and by extension, Central Intelligence) are subordinate to the civilian authority, which is in its turn subordinate to the people. Fruthermore, there is here an issue of trust, and i don't trust these jokers. One of the principle reasons is their flagrant implementation of the PNAC agenda in invading Iraq, and the queering of available intelligence data to justify that cynical action. I don't trust them, and consider that mistrust justified.
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 Jun, 2006 11:07 am
Again a quotation from SWIFT:

Quote:
The SWIFT Board and Executive have done their utmost to get the right balance in fulfilling their obligations to the authorities in a manner protective of the interests of the company and its members.


"The right balance" - that's what they admit as well as that the committee, which oversees their action has only been informed now/a short time ago/from the very beginning (?):

Quote:
SWIFT is overseen by a senior committee drawn from the G-10 central banks and has informed them of this matter.


Unfortunately, I can only transmit my money with SWIFT.
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 Jun, 2006 03:41 pm
According to media, the German Federal Data Protection Agency thinks (as well as Concumer agencies) that German citizens most likely are affected as well.
0 Replies
 
Acquiunk
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 Jun, 2006 04:35 pm
The Times article points out that there was, and is, a great deal of unease in the government, especially in the Treasury Department, over the reach and permanence of this program and the fact that it was total uncontrolled. One individual has already been fired for conducting inappropriate searchs and we do not know how many others were not caught. If the government needs some of this data then the program should be brought within the rule of law and oversight and safeguards applied. At the moment there is neither.
0 Replies
 
timberlandko
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 Jun, 2006 08:03 pm
Dunno where you come up with "Uncontrolled", Acquiunk - the article describes stringent, layered controls including among other provisions oversight by a SWIFT representative, an independent audit process, and subpoena requirements. That someone was terminated for inappropriate methodology stands in testament to the efficacy of the controls, IMO; that individual screwed up, the screwup was caught and addressed, the system worked.
0 Replies
 
Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Sat 24 Jun, 2006 12:19 am
The simple fact of the matter is that this endeavor had ultra-redundant safeguards:

* Before any analyst could request a database query, he or she had to specify a name and a possible connection to terrorism

*Swift had the capability of realtime review of any query and the ability to shut the query down if they thought it was inappropriate

*Swift reviewed each and every query after it was made

*The government hired an independent auditor to confirm that the queries were within the law and not abusive.

Not only did the Administration try to convince the NY Times that there was no story to print and there was national security to compromise, but the lead commisioners of the 9/11 Comission urged the Times not to print their story. Rep Murtha (hardly an ass kisser of the Bush Administration) urged the Times not to print their story.

And yet they did.

And nw that it has been released how many partisan Democrats have lined up to criticize the Bush Administration? Exactly one -- the news whore and moronic representative from Maine - Mr Markay.

Even news whore Chuck Schummer didn't call a press conference on this issue.

Bottom line: The NY Times and the Washington Post should be shut down for aiding and abetting the Enemy.

The Times pathetic excuse for going with the story: There could be abuses. Of course the Times couldn't find any such abuse.

Each and every institutional practice could result in abuses.

There was an institutional practice around the Normandy Invasion.

There was an institutional practice around the Cuban Missile Crisis.

There were institutional practices involved in the lead up to Gulf War I.

So has the rule become: There might be an abuse of power and therefore we are obliged to reveal national security information?

Probably not, but what has become the rule is that the mainstream (liberal) media considers the Bush Administration (the legally elected choice of the American public) as The Enemy.

This should not stand. Whether intentional or not treachery has been committed and someone should pay.

There is a shitload of bad-guys trying to do us harm. Do we really need the NY Times and The Washington Post to help them because their primary interest is to **** on conservatives?
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Sat 24 Jun, 2006 12:54 am
You forgot the LA Times (they started this actuall)y, the Chicago Tribune etc etc
0 Replies
 
 

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