Blabbermouths at the New York Times, who have been accused by federal prosecutors of tipping off Islamic charities fronting for terror, want Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to protect them:
The New York Times asked the Supreme Court yesterday to bar a federal prosecutor from reviewing the phone records of two of its reporters. The records, lawyers for The Times said, would allow the government to learn the identities of many of the reporters’ confidential sources.
The case arose from a Chicago grand jury’s investigation into who told the two reporters, Judith Miller and Philip Shenon, about actions the government was planning to take in 2001 against two Islamic charities. The United States attorney in Chicago, Patrick J. Fitzgerald, sought the reporters’ records directly from their phone companies, and The Times filed suit to stop him.
In August, a divided three-judge panel of the federal appeals court in Manhattan ruled in favor of Mr. Fitzgerald, saying the reporters were not entitled to shield their sources. The needs of law enforcement, the majority said, outweighed any protections the reporters might have in the First Amendment or other areas of law.
Ms. Miller left the paper last year after spending 85 days in jail in connection with a separate leak investigation, also supervised by Mr. Fitzgerald.
The paper’s filing yesterday was a limited one, seeking an order from Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg staying the appeals court decision until the Supreme Court has an opportunity to decide whether to hear the case. The deadline for seeking review of the appeals court’s decision is in January, but The Times said it would move faster.
In a letter filed in response to yesterday’s application, the Justice Department said it “desires to review the records in question as expeditiously as possible” but agreed not to do so until Wednesday. Yesterday afternoon, the court ordered the government to submit a formal response to the stay application by today at 4 p.m.
As the New York Post reported last September, the Justice Department charged that “a veteran New York Times foreign correspondent warned an alleged terror-funding Islamic charity that the FBI was about to raid its office — potentially endangering the lives of federal agents.” Times reporter Philip Shenon was accused of blowing the cover on a Dec. 14, 2001, raid of the Global Relief Foundation.
“It has been conclusively established that Global Relief Foundation learned of the search from reporter Philip Shenon of The New York Times,” U.S. attorney Patrick Fitzgerald wrote in an Aug. 7, 2002, letter to the Times’ legal department.
Shenon’s phone tip to the Muslim charity (which occurred one day before the FBI searched the foundation’s offices), Fitzgerald said, “seriously compromised the integrity of the investigation and potentially endangered the safety of federal law-enforcement personnel.” The Global Relief Foundation (GRF) wasn’t some beneficent neighborhood charity sending shoes and Muslim Barbie dolls to poor kids overseas. It was designated a terror-financing organization in October 2002 by the Treasury Department, which reported that GRF “has connections to, has provided support for, and has provided assistance to Usama Bin Ladin, the al Qaida Network, and other known terrorist groups.”
The Muslim charity had “received funding from individuals associated with al Qaida. GRF officials have had extensive contacts with a close associate of Usama Bin Ladin, who has been convicted in a U.S. court for his role in the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.” Moreover, the Treasury Department said, “GRF members have dealt with officials of the Taliban, while the Taliban was subject to international sanctions.”
Shenon’s then-colleague, Judith Miller, had placed a similar call to another Muslim terrorist-front financier, the Holy Land Foundation, a few weeks before Shenon’s call to the GRF. She was supposedly asking for “comment” on an impending freeze of their assets. According to Fitzgerald in court papers, Miller allegedly also warned them that “government action was imminent.” The FBI raided the Holy Land Foundation’s offices the day after Miller’s article was published in the Times.
The NYTimes’ refusal to cooperate with the feds to find illegal leakers in these counterterrorism cases deserves to be on the front page. Spread the word.
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