UPDATE! "But Michael, EVERYBODY Knew About The Swift Program..."
That's the Angry Left's response to my latest column, and our conversations on 96.9.
First of all, perhaps the dumbest defense ever offered on behalf of a media outlet is the "It's not news" defense currently operative re: the NYTimes. Uh, guys--If the top-secret, super-insider scoop about the TFTP wasn't news...then why was it on the front page of their paper?
And if it was front-page news, that was only because of the secrecy involved.
Who said it was secret in the first place? Why, the NYTimes, on their own front page. So even if you buy this lame argument, the NYTimes THOUGHT they were releasing classified information about a successful, secret program. So the criticism of the Times remains.
UPDATE: Just how secret did the NYTimes think this program was? Find out here.
However, this argument, featured most prominently in the Boston Globe, is even less convincing because the same Globe story quotes another intelligence official working on the TFTP who called the NYTimes story a disaster. Why? Because of the amount of detail offered.
What the insane Left refuses to acknoweldge is that "I am tracking financial information" is NOT the same as "Here are the specific details of what financial information I can get, where I'm getting it and what I can do with it."
But if you insist on believing the oxymoronic "Our front-page breaking news was never news in the first place!" Times defense, you might want to talk to 9/11 co-chair Tom Kean, who went to the Times and begged them not to print the story. Why? Because HE didn't know about the SWIFT program, either!
Oh, but you're right: EVERYONE knew about the program. Well, except for all those terrorists we were successfully tracking using it until the Times broke the story.
UPDATE: The New York Times has found yet another petard upon which they can hoist themselves, as reported by MediaBlog:
the New York Times editorial board on October 2, 2003 compared the leak of
Valerie Plame's identity with disclosing troop locations (I can't find the link
via the nytimes.com site. This is from Nexis.):
As members of a profession that relies heavily on the willingness of government officials to defy their bosses and give the public vital information, we oppose "leak investigations" in principle. But that does not mean there can never be a circumstance in which leaks are wrong — the disclosure of troop movements in wartime is a clear example.
Compare with the NYT now:
The Swift story bears no resemblance to security breaches, like disclosure of troop locations, that would clearly compromise the immediate safety of specific
Leaking Valerie Plame's identity was akin to disclosing troop
movements? Leaking our methods for monitoring terrorists isn't that bad? The
NYT, again, manages to show how logic and reason get tossed out the window when
it comes to assailing the Bush administration.