Thursday, June 29, 2006

Behold The New York Times: Then and Now

Three days after 9/11, a New York Times op-ed piece demanded that the Bush administration use every available means to track the terrorists' financial networks. The words 'duplicitous' and 'hypocritical' come to mind; and they aren't nearly strong enough. I think the word 'prosecution' should also be involved (hat tip: Sweetness & Light via LGF):

Organizing the hijacking of the planes that crashed into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon took significant sums of money. The cost of these plots suggests that putting Osama bin Laden and other international terrorists out of business will require more than diplomatic coalitions and military action. Washington and its allies must also disable the financial networks used by terrorists.

The Bush administration is preparing new laws to help track terrorists through their money-laundering activity and is readying an executive order freezing the assets of known terrorists. Much more is needed, including stricter regulations, the recruitment of specialized investigators and greater cooperation with foreign banking authorities. There must also must be closer coordination among America’s law enforcement, national security and financial regulatory agencies.

And yesterday, the Times ran another op-ed the stammeringly attempts to explain its exposure of the perfectly legal, yet classified, SWIFT terrorist-tracking program. No, the paper explains, it's not at war with the Bush administration:

It is certainly unlikely that anyone who wanted to hurt the Bush administration politically would try to do so by writing about the government’s extensive efforts to make it difficult for terrorists to wire large sums of money.

From our side of the news-opinion wall, the Swift story looks like part of an alarming pattern. Ever since Sept. 11, the Bush administration has taken the necessity of heightened vigilance against terrorism and turned it into a rationale for an extraordinarily powerful executive branch, exempt from the normal checks and balances of our system of government. It has created powerful new tools of surveillance and refused, almost as a matter of principle, to use normal procedures that would acknowledge that either Congress or the courts have an oversight role.

Patterico uses everything but tasers and cattle-prods in disciplining the partisan hacks of the Times. He translates this silly suite of sentences:

Nobody could possibly think we’re trying to get the Bush Administration by revealing the Swift program. After all, the Swift program shows Bush is fighting terrorists, so it’s not as though the Swift program reflects badly on the Bush Administration.

But Good Lord, the Swift program sure does reflect badly on the Bush Administration!

Just when you think the Times has hit rock bottom, they break out the pick-axes and start digging a new sub-basement.

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