My latest column blasts the “good” leak/”bad” leak and “whistleblower”/”felon” memes now being used by the Left to defend the NYT/NSA story. To the Times’ defenders, keeping secrets to protect counterterrorism operations is an impeachable offense, but keeping secrets to protect the Gray Lady’s fanny is an elite media prerogative.
The latest Cox & Forkum cartoon says it all:
On a related note, compare and contrast these NYTimes editorials:
“After an egregiously long delay, Attorney General John Ashcroft finally did the right thing yesterday when he recused himself from the investigation into who gave the name of a CIA operative to the columnist Robert Novak. Mr. Ashcroft turned the inquiry over to his deputy, who quickly appointed a special counsel.”
–New York Times editorial, “The Right Thing, At Last,” December 31, 2003
“A democratic society cannot long survive if whistle-blowers are criminally punished for revealing what those in power don’t want the public to know – especially if it’s unethical, illegal or unconstitutional behavior by top officials. Reporters need to be able to protect these sources, regardless of whether the sources are motivated by policy disputes or nagging consciences. This is doubly important with an administration as dedicated as this one is to extreme secrecy.”
New York Times editorial, “On the Subject of Leaks,” January 4, 2006
Rick Moran has an excellent dissection of the Times’ jaw-dropping idiocy. His conclusion:
If ever one needed proof that the liberal worldview (if ever its adherents were voted back into power) would be dangerous to the safety and security of the United States then this editorial should put all doubts to rest. Simply put, this editorial proves once and for all that liberals would prefer that terrorists succeed in attacking us rather than do what is necessary to protect us. The key word here is “necessary,” of course. And the fact is that the Times definition of “necessary” seems to be so limited and constricting that, if left up to them, the terrorists would have a gigantic head start and a leg up in trying to kill as many of us as they can. Any possible defense that they are serious about national security can therefore be ignored.
Thomas Lifson at The American Thinker reports that Wall Street isn’t too happy with NYTimes’ management.
Nevertheless, according to the NY Observer, Times top execs got hefty, end-of-the-year bonus packages. Times chief executive Janet Robinson received 74,000 shares of New York Times stock—worth nearly $2 million as of this week’s trading–as well as 149,000 stock options worth about $4 million. More:
In addition to Ms. Robinson’s 74,000 shares of free Class A stock, publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. received 30,000 shares, worth a bit less than $800,000, plus stock options worth about $4.1 million.
Other stock-package recipients include senior vice president Martin Nisenholtz (8,000 shares, a bit more than $200,000) and vice president for corporate communications Catherine Mathis (1,750 shares, worth just under $50,000). Chief financial officer Leonard Forman, president Scott Heekin Canedy, and vice chairman and International Herald Tribune publisher Michael Golden all received 12,000 shares, worth a bit more than $300,000.
The news of executive stock gifts rankled some Times newsroom staffers, who are still smarting from the paper’s layoffs, hiring freeze, reduced expense policy and—most galling—the cancellation in December of The Times’ 15 percent discount for employees on stock purchases…
And here is one last snort-worthy clip from James Risen’s interview yesterday with Katie Couric. Explaining why his law-breaking sources came to him, Risen said:
“They came to us because they thought you have to follow the rules and you have to follow the law.”
Watch the video (.wmv file)
There is still much we don’t know about how exactly the NSA program worked. Based on new details in Risen’s book, Volokh conspirator Orin Kerr suggests that warrantless eavesdropping on electronic communications rather than wire communications may not violate FISA:
Now here’s the part I can’t quite figure out. If most of the program dealt with international calls, and didn’t violate FISA, why would the program be designed so that it also tapped the calls of 500 or so people in the United States? If the communications tapped were wire communications, then tapping those communications inside the United States seems to clearly violate FISA under 1801(f)(2). So it seems like there are two possibilities: either the communications were wire communications and the designers of the program thought that the 500 people tapped in the U.S. were of sufficient importance (potential terrorists cells, etc.) that they didn’t want to cabin the program to deal exclusively with foreign-to-foreign calls, or else the communications were electronic communications and perhaps the monitoring didn’t violate FISA. (Can anyone else tell based on Risen’s excerpt whether the communications were wire or radio? Maybe it’s just late, but I’m not sure.)
Over at The Corner, Andrew McCarthy has further thoughts:
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As a matter of law, all telephone/email information is not constitutionally or statutorily equal. The interception of content (what you say to me and I say to you in a call or an email) requires court approval based on probable cause in most (but, importantly, not all) instances. But other telecommunication data — e.g., the fact that my phone number called your phone number at such-and-such at time on such-and-such a date, and that we spoke for seven minutes — does not.
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