Cheney nails media over reports on legal intelligence operations

NY Times:

Vice President Dick Cheney on Friday vigorously defended a secret program that examines banking records of Americans and others in a vast international database, and harshly criticized the news media for disclosing an operation he said was legal and "absolutely essential" to fighting terrorism.

"What I find most disturbing about these stories is the fact that some of the news media take it upon themselves to disclose vital national security programs, thereby making it more difficult for us to prevent future attacks against the American people," Mr. Cheney said, in impromptu remarks at a fund-raising luncheon for a Republican Congressional candidate in Chicago. "That offends me."

The financial tracking program was disclosed Thursday by The New York Times and other news organizations. American officials had expressed concerns that the Brussels banking consortium that provides access to the database might withdraw from the program if its role were disclosed, particularly in light of anti-American sentiment in some parts of Europe.

But the consortium, the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, or Swift, published a statement on its Web site on Friday, saying its executives "have done their utmost to get the right balance in fulfilling their obligations to the authorities in a manner protective of the interests of the company and its members."


The program, run out of the Central Intelligence Agency and overseen by the Treasury Department, has allowed counterterrorism authorities to gain access to millions of records of transactions routed through Swift from individual banks and financial institutions around the world. The data is obtained using broad administrative subpoenas, not court warrants.

Investigators have used the data to do "at least tens of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of searches" of people and institutions suspected of having ties to terrorists, Stuart Levey, an under secretary at the Treasury Department, told reporters at a briefing on Friday. Officials say the program has proven valuable in a number of foreign and domestic terrorism investigations, and led to the 2003 capture of the most wanted Qaeda fugitive in Southeast Asia, known as Hambali.


"The fact of the matter is that these are good, solid, sound programs," the vice president said at the fund-raiser in Chicago for David McSweeney, a Republican who is running against Representative Melissa Bean, a freshman Democrat.

"They are conducted in accordance with the laws of the land," Mr. Cheney continued, adding, "They're carried out in a manner that is fully consistent with the constitutional authority of the president of the United States. They are absolutely essential in terms of protecting us against attacks."

Mr. Cheney's sentiments were echoed Friday by two other top administration officials, Treasury Secretary Snow and the White House press secretary, Tony Snow.

The two men, who are not related, defended the program in separate news conferences on Friday. The Treasury secretary called the operation "government at its best," and the press secretary derided criticism of it as "entirely abstract in nature."

The Treasury secretary called the program "an effective weapon, an effective weapon in the larger war on terror."


The NY Times continues to defend this traiterous conduct along with some useful idiots at the ACLU and the Democrat party. While the legality of this program is beyond question Arlen Specter has also raised questions, but then he did so on the intercepts of enemy communications also. The terrorist rights lobby in Washington would rather lose the war than stop a terrorist ploy by surveillance. This is a privacy fetish more bizaar than the one that afflicted Howard Hughes'.


Popular posts from this blog

Should Republicans go ahead and add Supreme Court Justices to head off Democrats

29 % of companies say they are unlikely to keep insurance after Obamacare

Bin Laden's concern about Zarqawi's remains