Monday, June 26, 2006

Peter King gets it....

...while Bill "Qaeda" Keller is clueless. Can't wait to see the self-rightous expression of indignation on that traitorous b*stard's face when he gets frog-marched into a federal lockup. Well, at least if Rep. Peter King (R) has his way:

A top US lawmaker who heads a homeland security committee called for a criminal investigation of The New York Times following the newspaper's disclosure of a secret government operation to monitor international finances....
Republican Representative Peter King of New York, chairman the House Committee on
Homeland Security called the actions of the leading US newspaper "disgraceful" and said he believed it had violated counterespionage laws.

"The New York Times is putting its own arrogant, elitist, left-wing agenda before the interests of the American people," the lawmaker said as he appeared on the "Fox News Sunday" television program.
"And I'm calling on the attorney general to begin a criminal investigation and prosecution of the New York Times, its reporters, the editors that worked on this, and the publisher," he stressed.

And meanwhile, Keller stoops to explain to the unwashed masses why he exposed classified national security operations:

It's an unusual and powerful thing, this freedom that our founders gave to the press...The power that has been given us is not something to be taken lightly. The responsibility of it weighs most heavily on us when an issue involves national security, and especially national security in times of war...
The question we start with as journalists is not "why publish?" but "why would we withhold information of significance?"
...A reasonable person, informed about this program, might well decide to applaud it. That said, we hesitate to preempt the role of legislators and courts, and ultimately the electorate, which cannot consider a program if they don't know about it.

Er...maybe if the information is vital to the security of the United Staes, Bill, you ought to think about witholding it? Keller does not, in his lengthy letter, hint that the financial scrutiny the Administration is applying is in any way illegal; he admits his main reasoning in exposing the program is to open it up its existence to the electorate and elected officials. Again, why? Was Keller in fact hoping to create another backlash against Bush and the nation's military? No other base reason seems to fit his rationale for printing this story, especially since there were both Congressman and Senators (the electorate's representatives, Bill) who were kept constantly appraised of the SWIFT program.

Glenn Reynolds bashes Bill nicely:

A deeper error is Keller's characterization of freedom of the press as an institutional privilege, an error that is a manifestation of the hubris that has marked the NYT of late. Keller writes: "It's an unusual and powerful thing, this freedom that our founders gave to the press. . . . The power that has been given us is not something to be taken lightly."

The founders gave freedom of the press to the people, they didn't give freedom to the press. Keller positions himself as some sort of Constitutional High Priest, when in fact the "freedom of the press" the Framers described was also called "freedom in the use of the press." It's the freedom to publish, a freedom that belongs to everyone in equal portions, not a special privilege for the media industry.

Characterizing the freedom this way, of course, makes much of Keller's piece look like, well, just what it is -- arrogant and self-justificatory posturing.

But now I throw the onus onto Bush - if he refuses to prosecute, then he is equally responsible for these national security leaks as the profit-hungry media who print them. His refusal to hold the media accountable for exposing the "rendition flights" and the NSA's electronic surveillance has brought us to this place, where the New York Times can continue to print government secrets with impunity.

Listen to Representative King, Mr. President, and put a stop to these dangerous actions by a hostile media immediately, before even greater damage is done...

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