Jun 23 2006
*** Updates Below – Keep Scrolling***
I am not sure which political fringe is going to get us first, the left or the right. I had just completed a post on the terrorists rounded up in Florida and I see the NYTimes and other liberal news outlets exposed another key – non military – tool in our war on terror.
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.
You would think the NY Times would have the honesty to point out that all anti-terrorism policies and programs are secret. The security for each US Airport is secret. But no, they have to make this sound as sinister as possible. Note this is an international database which means the transactions are international (not national). This is just like the NSA Terrorist Surveillance Program where they monitor a terrorist overseas. If someone from the US is in contact with the NSA’s target they will get caught up in the overseas monitoring. Same here. If the US is investigating a terrorist money laundering scheme, which has legit international money transfers as a cover, the investigation is going to get the legal and illegal transfer data. And all of this is confirmed in the very next paragraph:
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 that routes about $6 trillion daily between banks, brokerages, stock exchanges and other institutions.
Now this story, as hyperventilated and exaggerated and overblown as it is, may not have exposed news to Al Qaeda who know their money is being targetted – Bush has said this from day one. But the methods and details exposed in this propaganda piece are not required to expose the obvious – if someone in the US has financial dealings with a terror suspect their records will be discovered when that terror suspect is investigated. I mean – duh!
What is criminal here is not the Bush administration investigating terrorists (we want that), and it is not the administration giving US citizens or people here in the US any special bye’s when their information comes up as part of these terrorist investigations, it is the out of control liberal media which exposed this against the warnings of the admininstration. When will the madness end in DC with all these leaks? How much are votes worth to these people?
NY Times honcho Bill Keller rationalized this debacle this way:
“We remain convinced that the administration’s extraordinary access to this vast repository of international financial data, however carefully targeted use it may be, is a matter of public interest,” said Bill Keller, the Times’ executive editor.
What a crock. Keller has it out for the Bush administration and wants to salvage his sinking revenues. There is no reason to expose this because very few Americans have international bank dealings. And if they did, I am sure they would not mind someone scrutinizing the overseas entity. McManus from the sinking LA Times said it this way:
“This is different. This is new. And this is a process that has been developed that does not involve getting a specific warrant. It’s a new and unfamiliar process.”
Given it is an international communication and subject to the same scrutiny as a call or email, my guess is this is not new. It is simply new to the pretend know-it-alls who naively think the US government doesn’t do anything to protect its people from attack (or fraud). The only other option is we have a wave of Benedict Arnolds in the news media who are trading our security for their Pulitzers. Which means Americans who care about national security may have to do some financial squeezing of our own and boycott these news outlets completely.
Update: Welcome Hugh Hewitt readers! Please take the opportunity to peruse the site and the categories while you visit. For our regular readers, make sure to check out Michelle Malkin’s list of irate letters to the NY Times. (hat tip Hugh Hewitt!). Makes you proud to be an American when you read the reactions to this debacle.
Update: On a day when the NY Times, LA Times and other news outlets have exposed our national security details to our enemies for the umpteenth time, and made each and every one of us less protected against terrorist attacks, Sen Arlen Specter is doing his part to expose our national defenses to our enemies as well. Specter and the media must seemed to have attempted a coordinated PR event this week. Wonder if the anger of the American people to these Benedict Arnold stunts is what they were looking to achieve? Just because these zealots have told themselves they are doing this for the good of the nation doesn’t mean it is true. Their rationalizations to expose us to more 9-11’s are ridiculous and self serving blinders to their own crimes.
Update: Andrew McCarthy exposes the truth behind the the Terrorist Financial Tracking program which is clearly legal and clearly critical to identifying terrorists and the financiers. Criminal charges must be brought against these media Benedict Arnolds immediately for this outrageous exposure of our nation’s defenses. Mac Ranger has word the legal storm is about ready to hit the NY Times for the last round of exposing the NSA’s tips to the FBI and FISA court (where the supposed end round of FISA was actually just the opposite).
Update: More details from Dennis Lormel at the Counter-Terrorism Blog, someone who helped put this critical (and possibly now crippled) program in place.