Monday, July 03, 2006

A Few Final Thoughts on the New York Times Banking Revelations

The White House, the Department of Defense and the Department of Justice talked openly – and repeatedly – in the weeks after 9/11 about “following the money” and cutting off the sources of funding for Al Qaeda. How can the revelations in the New York Times, therefore, be any surprise to the terrorists? The terrorists have already adjusted their tactics. The only news is that the privacy invasions by the Bush Leaguers are continuing with no effect on the war on terror, and for that the public does have a right to know of these practices.


(1) Transcript from THIS WEEK (07/02/06) between George Stephanopoulos and Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA):

STEPHANOPOULOS: The White House said they briefed the Congress on this matter and there is no law called into question. Do you believe that a law is called into question and that this program might have been illegal?

FEINSTEIN: Well, I’m on the Intelligence Committee. I can tell you when I was briefed and when the committee was briefed — and that was when it became apparent that the New York Times had the story and was going to run it. And that’s when and why they came to us and briefed us.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So you knew nothing about it before the New York Times was asking questions?

FEINSTEIN: That’s correct.
(2) NORMAN HOROWITZ: Why talk about a failed war, atrocities in Iraq, Katrina, our humungous debt, energy prices, global warming and such when you can rant and shout about the “un American” NY Times?

(3) JEFF JARVIS: Thirty-five years ago yesterday, in the Supreme Court ruling that stopped the government from suppressing the secret Vietnam War history called the Pentagon Papers, Justice Hugo Black wrote: "The government's power to censor the press was abolished so that the press would remain forever free to censure the government. The press was protected so that it could bare the secrets of the government and inform the people."


But why should we imagine that the Bush administration is more competent in secret than it is in public?

This is the administration that went to war against Afghanistan to catch Osama bin Laden and his protector, Mullah Omar, but didn't get either.

A secondary purpose was to get rid of the Taliban and put in a Western friendly regime. The Taliban is making a comeback and opium production is back with a rush as well. [Ed.: "Western officials in the country have admitted that the country is to produce its largest ever poppy harvest."]

This is the administration that went to war against Iraq because they had WMD.

They claimed that they would rebuild Iraq, that the oil would flow and it would pay for Iraq's reconstruction and even the war itself. They spent forty billions dollars, or
more, half ours and half theirs, and Iraq is in worse physical condition than under Saddam Hussein.

They claimed we would be greeted with open arms, democracy would ensue and we would leave.

This is the administration that came into office with a budget surplus.

This is the administration that sat and watched and did nothing as an entire American city was lost. The promised reconstruction, like the reconstruction of Iraq, has never taken place. It has been spectacular instead for its mismanagement and corruption.

This is the administration that designed a prescription drug program that is incomprehensible and benefits only the pharmaceutical companies.

This is the administration that has created the least effective and least efficient bureaucracy in American history, the Homeland Security Administration.

Let us count how many terrorists have been caught. How many terrorist operations have been interrupted? How many terrorist financial supporters have been caught?

The administration and its supporters will claim – in the name of national security and secrecy – that there are many more than we can be allowed to know about. I expect not. This is an administration that crows the slightest triumph, from "Mission Accomplished," to the "past-Zarqawi era," to the arrest of the pathetic seven al Qaeda wannabees who were more "aspirational than operational."

(5) And, finally, harkening back to the illegal domestic call screening,

June 30 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. National Security Agency asked AT&T Inc. to help it set up a domestic call monitoring site seven months before the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, lawyers claimed June 23 in court papers filed in New York federal court.

The allegation is part of a court filing adding AT&T, the nation's largest telephone company, as a defendant in a breach of privacy case filed earlier this month on behalf of Verizon Communications Inc. and BellSouth Corp. customers. The suit alleges that the three carriers, the NSA and President George W. Bush violated the Telecommunications Act of 1934 and the U.S. Constitution, and seeks money damages.

``The Bush Administration asserted this became necessary after 9/11,'' plaintiff's lawyer Carl Mayer said in a telephone interview. ``This undermines that assertion.''

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