Sunday, July 09, 2006

The suicidal tendencies of the Times

Eric Lipton must be suffering from depression and anxiety over the Government's recent rollup of terrorists caught plotting to destroy PATH tunnels in and around Manhattan. How else to explain his (each hand holding up two fingers) news story entitled, "Recent Arrests in Terror Plots Yield Debate on Pre-emptive Action by Government"?

It's worth pointing out that the Times has spent very little time analyzing the terrorists' actual plans and have instead scrutinized the government's attempts to preempt attacks. The point of Lipton's piece follows this template. Not satisifed with exposing the classified programs that help catch terrorists, the Times also hopes Americans will question the ethics associated with arresting terrorists before their plots have fully congealed!

I'll save you the time and energy required to click the link and read 14 column-inches of the Times' traditional counter-clockwise spin. Lipton's bullet-points are:
  • Terrorists have been arrested while in the planning stages of attacks
  • Shouldn't we wait until they're closer to pulling off their attacks (can't we give them a fighting chance to carry their plans out?)
  • Some attorneys like Martin R. Stolar figure we should!
Using Martin Stolar to counter the Government's notions of prosecuting terrorists makes as much sense as having Michael Jackson serve as a character witness in a pedophilia case. Lipton writes:

...suspects have been apprehended before they lined up the intended weapons and the necessary financing or figured out other central details necessary to carry out their plots...

"Talk without any kind of an action means nothing," said Martin R. Stolar, a New York defense lawyer. "You start to criminalize people who are not really criminals."

And just who is Martin Stolar? He seems to be quite a character, based upon a brief session with Google. Stolar's background includes unsuccessfully defending would-be terrorist bomb-plotters:

A Pakistani immigrant was convicted yesterday of plotting to wreak havoc in the heart of the city by blowing up the Herald Square subway station... Siraj and [a conspirator]... were caught discussing nitty-gritty details... including targets, how big the bomb should be, how to get nuclear materials and different disguises to use when they planted the bomb...

But Siraj's lawyer, Martin Stolar, insisted his client was entrapped, saying, "This was a manufactured crime... This is not somebody who is a terrorist."

Stolar showed up to organize and/or defend civil disobedience protests at the Republican National Convention.

He also defended "activist" David Segal, who pled guilty to a charge of attempting to burn down a Bronx military recruiting office and was subsequently sentenced to prison.

He also appears to be the same Martin Stolar who was denied entry to the Ohio bar for refusing to answer, among other questions, the following:

State whether you have been, or presently are . . . (g) a member of any organization which advocates the overthrow of the government of the United States by force . . . .

Stolar appealed that decision all the way to the Supreme Court, who ruled in 1971 that he did not have to answer the questions.

In other words, Stolar appears to have some very odd loyalties and -- at minimum -- loose affiliations with out-of-the-mainstream, anti-Government types.

So this wouldn't be the first guy I would go to when I needed a legal expert. But that's just me. However, he was someone Eric Lipton thought of immediately when weaving another tilted story.

If I wanted an expert, I'd find someone equivalent to Dennis Lormel. Lormel is a 28-year FBI vet, who served as Section Chief for Financial Crimes. At the Counter-terrorism Blog, he writes about the effects of the Times' SWIFT disclosures (hat tip: Hugh Hewitt):

The Times article mentioned select operational investigative SWIFT program successes, to include the capture of Jamaah Islamiah leader Hambali. How could that happen if terrorists had stopped using the formal financial system because of Government disclosures of financial tracking mechanisms?

...One fact is certain…the disclosure... has caused terrorists and their supporters to sit up and take notice. This will cause terrorist operational changes and significant new challenges for the Government in identifying and countering evolving terrorist financing methodologies.

Another interesting aspect to Lipton's article relates to the American Spectator's report that the Times' SWIFT disclosure endangered three ongoing and active investigations:

Treasury and Justice Department officials [indicate]... media outlets were told that their reports on the SWIFT financial tracking system presented risks for three ongoing terrorism financing investigations. Despite this information, both papers chose to move forward with their stories.

Could it be, Eric, that the Government was forced to rein in the conspiracy prematurely because the Times helped blow the investigation?

* * *

The original title of Lipton's piece was:
In Zeal to Foil Terror Plots, Cases May Be Missing Something

But a more accurate title would have been:
In Zeal to Foil National Security, Newspaper May be Missing Something

Put bluntly, the Times appears to have suicidal tendencies. How else to explain its willingness to coddle terrorists and expose a series of classified US national security efforts, some of which all can agree are perfectly legal?

In the Archives of Suicide Research, Dr. M. Wolfersdorf associates these tendencies with, "thoughts of worthlessness, guilt, despair, depressive delusional symptoms, inner restlessness and agitation."

By and large, that sounds like the Times to me.

The nom de guerre  "Gray Lady" may have special significance given the Times' suicidal tendencies. After all, a corpse in a state of rigor mortis is tinged with gray.

Hugh Hewitt: The NYT's Bill Keller, Unplugged
Patterico: Another Leaker Damages Our Counterterror Efforts
Philip Mella: The politics of Terrorism
RantingProfs: Another Terror Threat and Damned if you Do
Rathergate: Bill Keller does Charlie Rose
Villainous Company: NYTimesWatch: Connecting The Dots On Treachery

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