My new column responds to New Yorker editor David Remnick’s recent contribution to the growing pile of MSM alarm-sounding in the aftermath of the public’s massive rejection of the New York Times/Los Angeles Times decisions to publish stories that help terrorists elude capture.
Remnick, a very accomplished author and serious journalist, may be feeling a little bit of buyer’s remorse at taking the New York Times’ line that “no harm was done by the June 23 banking story” as details of Eric Lichtblau’s past stories begin to emerge.
As John Hinderaker –working from a number of other contributions from bloggers– has revealed, Eric Lichtblau had not uncovered the Swift program after extensive reporting on the subject as recently as November, 2005.
I am willing to bet that there are tens of thousands of terrorists and terrorists sympathizers who are not as skilled as Mr. Lichtblau in uncovering hidden things, and who also can’t read English or have access to high level sources within the American intelligence community.
As has been noted in many places, the master terrorist Hambali was brought down by Swift because he and/or his associates either did not understand how it operated or were unaware of its reach.
Mr. Lichtblau went hunting for details of the Bush Adminstration terror financing program and could not find them eight months ago, concluding that “experts in the field say the results have been spotty, with few clear dents in Al Qaeda’s ability to move money and finance terrorist attacks.”
It must be increasingly obvious even to New York Times’ reporters that the article of June 23 did enormous damage to the United States’ ability to “follow the money,” a damage that may become complete as countries such as Belgium and Canada review their support for the use of the program data by the CIA.
Lichtblau’s, Risen’s and Keller’s place in journalism history is secure. Even loyal friends and allies should at this point fall silent. There is no defense to be made and no counterattack to mount. They hurt the United States, innocent future victims of terrorists, and media’s reputation by telegraphing to terrorists everywhere crucial information on how to dodge the watchers, information that even the New York Times had been unable to detect late last year.