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The New York Times’ Encore: “[A] matter of public interest” (Bumped, with Updates)

Friday, June 23, 2006  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt
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The New York Times refuses to rest on its Pulitzer, but instead publishes details of yet another classified program.

There is no small irony that this disclosure comes within the same news cycle as the arrests of the home grown al Qaeda cell in Miami. Has the Times broken one scoop on the activities of terrorists within the U.S.?

Let’s also note that the Times is not alone in sharing recognition for this achievement:

Nearly 20 current and former government officials and industry executives discussed aspects of the Swift operation with The New York Times on condition of anonymity because the program remains classified.

Would that any of the 20 had been harder at work finding sleepers or WMDs or translating Saddam’s documents.

How odd that most Americans think sleeper cells and buried WMDs in Iraq present more of a threat than the Administration’s surveillance of the banking activities of terrorists.

Supreme Judge of All Things Bill Keller spoke from on high in the Times’ story, and took no questions:

Bill Keller, the newspaper’s executive editor, said: “We have listened closely to the administration’s arguments for withholding this information, and given them the most serious and respectful consideration. We remain convinced that the administration’s extraordinary access to this vast repository of international financial data, however carefully targeted use of it may be, is a matter of public interest.”

Bill Keller. The real decider-in-chief.

Will he ever have the guts to grant an interview to any critic of his paper’s reckless practices?

UPDATE: The U.S. military captures another senior al Qaeda operative in Iraq.

Not that the New York Times will be interested. Bill Keller would rather know how the military found him so his paper could publish the details. Those would be, after all, “a matter of public interest.”

Updates:

Strata-Sphere on Keller’s comments: “What a crock.”

Powerline: You don’t think the Times would blow a program that has actually led to the apprehension of terrorists abroad and at home? Think again.

From a FreeRepublic thread:

“Achmed?”

“Yes Khalid?”

“Did you see the New York Times report on how the infidels are tracking our money?”

“Yes Khalid. I sent a courier with a note to the financier, and he wrote back and assured me that he will route the transfers through a firm in the Bahamas and have the money laundered.”

“That is good Achmed.”

“It is easy. The infidel newspapers do all the hard work. All I have to do is sit here and write out notes.”

“Achmed?”

“Yes Khalid?”

“How come you just don’t call the financier?”

“Oh – that! Because the New York Times revealed that the infidels were monitoring our phone calls.”

“Damn those infidels!”

“Thank Allah for the New York Times Khalid. Without them we’d have no secrets that weren’t known to the infidels.”

“Praise Allah for the New York Times.”

“Indeed, praise Allah for the New York Times.”

And from Michelle Malkin, contact info for the New York Times:

Send a letter to the editor by e-mailing letters@nytimes.com or faxing (212)556-3622. Snail mail:

Letters to the Editor
The New York Times
229 West 43rd Street
New York, NY 10036

Michelle writes:

I’m getting inundated with furious readers’ letters to the Times, most of which the editors won’t bother to read or publish–since they’re not in, you know, the “public (Pulitzer) interest.” So I’m reprinting a representative sample here and I’ll keep adding to it.

Instapundit:

What’s interesting to me is that when you talk about military force, we’re supposed to use law-enforcement and intelligence methods instead. But if you use law-enforcement and intelligence methods, people shout “Big Brother” and the Times runs stories exposing them.

And keep checking NationalReview’s MediaBlog throughout the day.

Finally, I check the Poynter Institute to see how the guild’s flagship is reacting, and find this hilarious lead-in to a story:

Two dozen smart and experienced people who actually run newspapers were here at Poynter recently for a conference about the future of news.

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