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The New York Times’ Encore: “[A] matter of public interest”

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.”

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