Axis of abuse

Austin Bay:

Call it the Washington Beltway's "Axis of Abuse": irresponsible reporters and editors collaborating with agenda-ed, unnamed "leakers."
The exposure of a legal and productive counterterror intelligence operation on the front page of the June 23 edition of the New York Times is the latest abusive and dangerous example of this Beltway hustle. "Leakers" in this particular case is too weak a term -- exposing the finance-monitoring program amounts to spying for terrorists.
The New York Times acknowledged the program it exposed was limited "to tracing transactions of people suspected of having ties to al Qaeda by reviewing records from the nerve center of the global banking industry. " The paper also admitted these intelligence operations helped nab al Qaeda's Southeast Asia terror kingpin, Hambali, the man who planned the 2002 Bali massacre.
The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times and the Wall St Journal also published the story -- "me, too" popinjays after the New York Times blabbed.


So why expose this fruitful, legal operation? Why expose necessary secrets that protect American lives?
The simple power to do it is one explanation -- and that's the power of a bully. Add arrogance and greed, and we have a "most likely" explanation. The New York Times obviously believes it can expose intelligence secrets and pay no penalty. Hot stories sell newspapers. This "revelation," however, is manufactured sensationalism. The Times has demonstrated it will manufacture scandal no matter the national cost.


The Constitution gives people the right to bear arms. It doesn't give them the right to commit murder.
Every editor wants a headline, but some headlines damage our government's Job One: national security. I suspect Bill Keller doesn't really believe we are fighting a for-real global counterterror war. The pleasant semblance of peace in the Hamptons and in Hollywood allows him to trivialize the threat.
At one time there was a hole in south Manhattan the New York Times' elitist trivializers could not ignore.
I think Kellor is feeling the heat that he thought would be directed toward the Bush administration. The way these "scandal" stories are supposed to work is that they bring mounting pressure on the government while the administration acts defensive. That is not what happened. People outside the administration immediately saw the NY Times as egrigously in the wrong and they went on the attack. The administration also fought back and the Times finds itself very much on the defensive and worried about not just the legal consequences of its bad conduct.


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