Monday, June 26, 2006

Others Comment On the NY Time's Security Breach

Here are some sobering responses to the NY Time's publishing classified details of our government's surveillence program over international financial transactions:

Secretary of the Treasury John Snow's letter to the NY Times (Excerpt):
Dear Mr. Keller:

The New York Times' decision to disclose the Terrorist Finance Tracking Program, a robust and classified effort to map terrorist networks through the use of financial data, was irresponsible and harmful to the security of Americans and freedom-loving people worldwide. In choosing to expose this program, despite repeated pleas from high-level officials on both sides of the aisle, including myself, the Times undermined a highly successful counter-terrorism program and alerted terrorists to the methods and sources used to track their money trails.

Your charge that our efforts to convince The New York Times not to publish were "half-hearted" is incorrect and offensive. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Read the whole thing here at Hugh Hewitt.

Lt. Tom Cotton (a Harvard Law School grad) writes the NY Times from Iraq (excerpt):
...As your story states, the program was legal, briefed to Congress, supported in the government and financial industry, and very successful.

Not anymore. You may think you have done a public service, but you have gravely endangered the lives of my soldiers and all other soldiers and innocent Iraqis here...

I am well-versed in the espionage laws relevant to this story and others -- laws you have plainly violated. I hope that my colleagues at the Department of Justice match the courage of my soldiers here and prosecute you and your newspaper to the fullest extent of the law. By the time we return home, maybe you will be in your rightful place: not at the Pulitzer announcements, but behind bars.
You can read the entire letter here at Powerline.

And Vice President Dick Cheney chimed in on the subject today with this comment (excerpts):
...The New York Times has now twice – two separate occasions – disclosed programs; both times they had been asked not to publish those stories by senior administration officials. They went ahead anyway. The leaks to The New York Times and the publishing of those leaks is very damaging...

These kinds of stories also adversely affect our relationships with people who work with us against the terrorists. In the future, they will be less likely to cooperate if they think the United States is incapable of keeping a secret.

...What is doubly disturbing for me is that not only have they gone forward with these stories, but they've been rewarded for it, for example, in the case of the terrorist surveillance program, by being awarded the Pulitzer Prize for outstanding journalism. I think that is a disgrace.
You can read the whole comment at Hugh Hewitt.

President Bush also adds a comment or two:
For people to leak that program and for a newspaper to publish it does great harm to the United States of America...

The disclosure of this program is disgraceful.
You can read the story on the President's comments here.

I, of course, have expressed my own feelings here and here and now I wish that I could add my name at the bottom of Secretary Snow's letter.