So, this is the big NYTimes story that was being hyped tonight: “U.S. Web Archive Is Said to Reveal a Nuclear Guide:”
Last March, the federal government set up a Web site to make public a vast archive of Iraqi documents captured during the war. The Bush administration did so under pressure from Congressional Republicans who said they hoped to “leverage the Internet” to find new evidence of the prewar dangers posed by Saddam Hussein.
But in recent weeks, the site has posted some documents that weapons experts say are a danger themselves: detailed accounts of Iraq’s secret nuclear research before the 1991 Persian Gulf war. The documents, the experts say, constitute a basic guide to building an atom bomb.
Last night, the government shut down the Web site after The New York Times asked about complaints from weapons experts and arms-control officials. A spokesman for the director of national intelligence said access to the site had been suspended “pending a review to ensure its content is appropriate for public viewing.”
Officials of the International Atomic Energy Agency, fearing that the information could help states like Iran develop nuclear arms, had privately protested last week to the American ambassador to the agency, according to European diplomats who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the issue’s sensitivity. One diplomat said the agency’s technical experts “were shocked” at the public disclosures.
The NYTimes blabbermouths are accusing the Bush administration of being careless with national security data?
Ouch. Stop. Sides. Splitting.
Reader Mike M. sends the best response:
With all of the classified document leaks purposefully made by the NY Times–through clearly illegal sources–for the NY Times to suggest that the U.S. may have helped users of this web site to build bombs or do things to endanger America is rich.
Just another rich and ripe example of how the Times’ problem is, you know, that it’s too “evenhanded.”
Oh, by the way, this story didn’t make the front page of the Times, but the New York Sun reported:
The Times is bracing for another high-profile First Amendment confrontation after a federal judge in Virginia upheld an order compelling the newspaper to divulge its confidential sources for columns about the 2001 anthrax mailings.
The decision Tuesday by Judge Claude Hilton effectively places the Times in contempt of court, as attorneys for the newspaper have said it will not comply with any order to identify confidential sources.
The standoff stems from a libel lawsuit filed in 2004 by a former Army scientist, Steven Hatfill, who claimed he was defamed by five columns written in 2002 by Nicholas Kristof. Mr. Hatfill contended that the columns falsely fingered him as responsible for the anthrax mailings, which killed at least five people.
“We’re certainly disappointed,” Mr. Kristof told The New York Sun. “We certainly believe that it’s imperative not only for journalism but also for society as a whole that investigative reporting be allowed to use confidential sources.”
According to lawyers familiar with the case, the Times faces a range of possible sanctions for defying the court’s order. The most likely outcomes involve Judge Hilton fining the newspaper or issuing a jury instruction that could hurt the Times in the pending libel case. The judge could order that an officer of the New York Times Company be jailed for up to 18 months, but attorneys following the dispute said they viewed that possibility as remote.
Allah “questions the timing.”
“I think the Times editors are counting on this being spun as a “Boy, did Bush screw up” meme; the problem is, to do it, they have to knock down the “there was no threat in Iraq” meme, once and for all. Because obviously, Saddam could have sold this information to anybody, any other state, or any well-funded terrorist group that had publicly pledged to kill millions of Americans and had expressed interest in nuclear arms. You know, like, oh… al-Qaeda.”
Ed Morrissey, who has done yeomen’s work sifting through the documents on the web archive, has a brilliant analysis. Excerpt:
All of these documents underscore the threat posed by Saddam Hussein and show that his regime continued their work on banned weapons programs. We have made this case over and over again, but some people refused to believe the documents were genuine. Now we have no less of an authority than the New York Times to verify that the IIS documentation is not only genuine, but presents a powerful argument for the military action to remove Saddam from power.
The Times wanted readers to cluck their tongues at the Bush administration for releasing the documents, although Congress actually did that. However, the net result should be a complete re-evaluation of the threat Saddam posed by critics of the war. Let’s see if the Times figures this out for themselves.
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