The 1st Amendment, the media and classified information

“Were” brainwashed is a better description. Now that his approval ratings are down in the mid-to-low thirty percentile where they belong only his bedrock base of true believers is left. They are the ones who are truly brainwashed.

:snore:

:America:

:wink:

NY Times pushing the envelope again:

[quote]U.S. General in Iraq Outlines Troop Cuts

By MICHAEL R. GORDON
Published: June 25, 2006

WASHINGTON, June 24 — The top American commander in Iraq has drafted a plan that projects sharp reductions in the United States military presence there by the end of 2007, with the first cuts coming this September, American officials say.

Gen. George W. Casey Jr. is the top American commander in Iraq.

According to a classified briefing at the Pentagon this week by the commander, Gen. George W. Casey Jr., the number of American combat brigades in Iraq is projected to decrease to 5 or 6 from the current level of 14 by December 2007.

Under the plan, the first reductions would involve two combat brigades that would rotate out of Iraq in September without being replaced. Military officials do not typically characterize reductions by total troop numbers, but rather by brigades. Combat brigades, which generally have about 3,500 troops, do not make up the bulk of the 127,000-member American force in Iraq, and other kinds of units would not be pulled out as quickly.

American officials emphasized that any withdrawals would depend on continued progress, including the development of competent Iraqi security forces, a reduction in Sunni Arab hostility toward the new Iraqi government and the assumption that the insurgency will not expand beyond Iraq’s six central provinces. Even so, the projected troop withdrawals in 2007 are more significant than many experts had expected.

General Casey’s briefing has remained a closely held secret, and it was described by American officials who agreed to discuss the details only on condition of anonymity. Word of the plan comes after a week in which the American troop presence in Iraq was stridently debated in Congress, with Democratic initiatives to force troop withdrawals defeated in the Senate.[/quote]

So, is it classified or not?

I don’t see conspiracy; I see chaos. After all, a secret is only a secret if you don’t tell anyone.

At least some papers are getting pissed about the leaks and the printing of classified materials:

[quote]Investor’s Business Daily
Issues & Insights
Eyes On The Prize

Posted 6/23/2006

Media: Once again, major newspapers, led by The New York Times, have spilled secrets that will make Americans less safe and the war on terror harder to win. No doubt, Pulitzers are in order. We hope they’re proud.

The decision by The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal to print details of the government’s secret program to monitor terrorists’ finances couldn’t come at a worse time.

The same day that program was revealed, seven men were arrested in Florida, part of a plot to create a terrorist “Islamic Army” and blow up Chicago’s 110-story Sears Tower. The group hoped to hook up with al-Qaida, and even swore oaths to it.

Scary. If nothing else, this underscores the threat we’re under — and why those who aid and abet our enemies must be watched.

[b]Which is exactly what the program to watch terrorists’ bank accounts did. It looked at bank transfers in the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, or SWIFT, system to track the financial activities of terrorists and their friends.

It is a key part of our effort to dismantle the global terrorist threat and to render al-Qaida and its allies financially impotent. It worked — so well, in fact, that
both Republicans and Democrats asked newspapers not to print the story
[/b].

Just how good was it?

“[b]The program,” the L.A. Times said, “is considered a potent weapon in the war on terrorism because of its ability to clandestinely monitor financial transactions and map terrorist webs.”

No doubt true. So why publish anything at all if it will ruin a legal program that works at rooting out terrorists[/b]?

Now, thanks to the actions of a few newspapers, maybe a future terrorist attack will be successful. After all, al-Qaida and other terrorist groups know to be more careful.

Sound familiar? It should. Last December, The New York Times printed details of the National Security Agency’s data-mining operations — using phone company records — to keep tabs on al-Qaida phone traffic to the U.S. The NSA program contributed to the breaking up of at least two terrorist plots. It made us safer.

Now the same Times reporters, Eric Lichtblau and James Risen, are back with the SWIFT story. They took a lot of flak for the NSA stories. We’re just spitballing here, but maybe that explains why four major papers would have the same “scoop.” In numbers, there is safety.

For the record, the White House practically begged them not to publish this, arguing it would imperil the highly successful counterterrorism program. (Remember: There have been no major terror attacks on the U.S. since 9-11). The New York Times rejected the plea, citing “public interest.” The others followed.

We’re left to wonder: Is this criminal behavior? The newspapers will claim they have the right under the First Amendment to publish government secrets if they see fit. But that’s rubbish. Since World War II, Congress and a series of legal decisions have made it clear the media aren’t exempt from the Espionage Act — which forbids giving secrets to the enemy.

While the legality of printing secrets may be debatable, it’s clear there’s a crisis among media elites that have allowed hatred of the president and his party to taint their reporting. In the process, they’ve destroyed whatever claims to objectivity and fairness they might have once had. Far worse, they’ve given aid and comfort to the enemy in a time of war — and that is simply inexcusable.[/quote]

Good for you IBD! :bravo: :bravo:
investors.com/editorial/IBDA … 623&view=1

Interesting issue. It’s odd for me to see my way through this one, because in the parliamentary tradition the government leader has to put up with being directly confronted by the opposition, all the time. And once the term of office done, the PM goes back to being an ordinary citizen.

Despite the famous ‘checks and balances’ of the American system, the presidency comes with a great deal more office charisma. Too much, I think, especially in times of war when the rally 'round the commander in chief shite starts to flow.

Under either system, things that ought to be public are still kept secret, far too often. The press ought to blow the whistle on that kind of crap… whether or not it leads to the sponsorship scandal that allows the separatist party to come back from the brink in Quebec. (Is the threat of losing your country any less than the threat of losing a distant war that, in no way, threatens the continuance of your own country?)

I believe that Bush & Co. have exploited the post-9/11 environment of partisan political ends, and to expand executive power and reset the balance between the branches of government. They’ve gotten away with it due to the heightened level of deference given the president/ cinc. The NYT had, and held on to, secrets in the run up to the last presidential election. Now, they’ve decided that it’s no longer appropriate to hold on to such secrets. (I don’t think it was appropriate in the first place.)

Perhaps if the checks and balances were working, and as importantly, were seen to be working, the press wouldn’t have become as aggressive in pursuing and publishing such stories. Perhaps if the administration had more creditability, the press would play along.

I find it interesting, and odd, that conservatives who usually tend to be suspicious of government are more willing to trust the gov’t on this issue and the like, while those, like myself, who see a broader positive role for the gov’t are more suspicious. But the policing/ policy-making split is an old one.

Perhaps you miss the part in the IBD article about a group of American grown pseudo-terrorists caught planning to bomb the Sears Tower which is in the continental USA.

Lose a war fine. Vietnam, fine. Lose a fight, fine. Somalia, fine. But the War on Terrorism, like it or not is real,and IMHO most people don’t appreciate the severity of Wahhibist theology and a billion dollar bankroll.

Remember those boys swore an oath to Al Queda too.

It will be VERY interesting to see the USA vs The NYT in court.

Are you saying that in times of war, the PM and the government maintain no information on a confidential basis? I cannot believe that is true.

I don’t know what to make of that statement. Was it “shite” when the Brits rallied 'round PM Churchill?

I don’t understand why you think the program under which the US government was able to follow terrorists’ financial transactions something that “ought to be public”. Should the press have made public the plans for the invasion of Normandy in WW2? Where do you draw a line? Do you draw a line?

Happens in every war. After the threat is gone, the pendulum swings back the other way. I don’t see a problem.

Yes… probably because we are in a war.

How is it inappropriate to maintain confidential a program that helps us to watch a secretive enemy intent on killing us?

With all due respect, I think that is nonsense.

  1. How are the checks and balances NOT working? IMO, this isn’t even an issue of checks and balances.

  2. Certain members of the press and media have been antagonistic to Bush since the get go… even before he was elected the first time. You cannot seriously believe that those folks would “play along” with Bush now?

Nothing odd at all. As a conservative, I want the government generally to leave me alone. However, I do want the government to keep me safe. I like the idea of the government using all of its resources to track those fuckers who want to kill me.

Perhaps you miss the part in the IBD article about a group of American grown pseudo-terrorists caught planning to bomb the Sears Tower which is in the continental USA.[/quote] No, I caught that. I remember another home-grown terrorist blowing up a federal building, as well. And a couple weeks ago, there was a home-grown group captured in Toronto. There’s more to contemporary terrorism than the lunatic religious fringe. I don’t know precisely what’s behind all of it, but rooting it out is going to take more than the standard “War on _____” claptrap. The War on _______ hasn’t worked against drugs, poverty, illiteracy, or Tribbles. I don’t expect it to work here. No doubt tracing flows of money is a useful tool. No doubt, as well, given the current political environment, at least a few reasonable people are concerned that the tools being used may do as much to mar the work as they do to preserve it.

Are you saying that in times of war, the PM and the government maintain no information on a confidential basis? I cannot believe that is true.[/quote] No. But there’s less of an aura of secrecy surrounding the government, and that goes towards maintaining trust. When trust goes, respect for necessary secrecy goes with it (right or wrong).

I don’t know what to make of that statement. Was it “shite” when the Brits rallied 'round PM Churchill?[/quote] No, but then he was turfed out of office soon after, and much of the office charisma in Britain flows further up the food chain.

[quote=“Tigerman”]I don’t understand why you think the program under which the US government was able to follow terrorists’ financial transactions something that “ought to be public”. Should the press have made public the plans for the invasion of Normandy in WW2? Where do you draw a line? Do you draw a line?

Happens in every war. After the threat is gone, the pendulum swings back the other way. I don’t see a problem.[/quote]
The issue is trust. If the issue were attack plans in WWI, and the press had learned that one of the bloody, incompetent generals had decided to march another 5,000 men across open country into a machine gun nest, after having tried, time and again, and after having already lost 100,000 men that way… well, I’d hope that the lack of trust and respect for the lives of those about to die would have compelled the press to spill the beans in as public a manner as possible.

We disagree on this, but many believe that Bush has, through his own efforts, lost the incredible amount of trust that had be placed in him. Many also reject the “War on Terror” metaphor. The pendulum’s already swinging back. And not too soon, imho.

Yes… probably because we are in a war.[/quote]Of choice, or adventure, in Iraq. Quite different from a defensive war.

How is it inappropriate to maintain confidential a program that helps us to watch a secretive enemy intent on killing us?[/quote] Depends on the context. Given what’s come before, I trust Bush about as far as Dick’s hunting buddies trust him.

With all due respect, I think that is nonsense.

  1. How are the checks and balances NOT working? IMO, this isn’t even an issue of checks and balances.[/quote]

With all due respect, I think that is nonsense. Nothing’s changed? Changes, if any, have been appropriate? Measured?

Nothing odd at all. As a conservative, I want the government generally to leave me alone. However, I do want the government to keep me safe. I like the idea of the government using all of its resources to track those guys who want to kill me.[/quote]

How far into your life are you prepared to permit the gov’t?

[quote]Mr. Bill Keller, Managing Editor
The New York Times
229 West 43rd Street
New York, NY 10036

Dear Mr. Keller:

The New York Times’ decision to disclose the Terrorist Finance Tracking Program, a robust and classified effort to map terrorist networks through the use of financial data, was irresponsible and harmful to the security of Americans and freedom-loving people worldwide. In choosing to expose this program, despite repeated pleas from high-level officials on both sides of the aisle, including myself, the Times undermined a highly successful counter-terrorism program and alerted terrorists to the methods and sources used to track their money trails.

Your charge that our efforts to convince The New York Times not to publish were “half-hearted” is incorrect and offensive. Nothing could be further from the truth. Over the past two months, Treasury has engaged in a vigorous dialogue with the Times - from the reporters writing the story to the D.C. Bureau Chief and all the way up to you. It should also be noted that the co-chairmen of the bipartisan 9-11 Commission, Governor Tom Kean and Congressman Lee Hamilton, met in person or placed calls to the very highest levels of the Times urging the paper not to publish the story. Members of Congress, senior U.S. Government officials and well-respected legal authorities from both sides of the aisle also asked the paper not to publish or supported the legality and validity of the program.

Indeed, I invited you to my office for the explicit purpose of talking you out of publishing this story. And there was nothing “half-hearted” about that effort. I told you about the true value of the program in defeating terrorism and sought to impress upon you the harm that would occur from its disclosure. I stressed that the program is grounded on solid legal footing, had many built-in safeguards, and has been extremely valuable in the war against terror. Additionally, Treasury Under Secretary Stuart Levey met with the reporters and your senior editors to answer countless questions, laying out the legal framework and diligently outlining the multiple safeguards and protections that are in place.

You have defended your decision to compromise this program by asserting that “terror financiers know” our methods for tracking their funds and have already moved to other methods to send money. The fact that your editors believe themselves to be qualified to assess how terrorists are moving money betrays a breathtaking arrogance and a deep misunderstanding of this program and how it works. While terrorists are relying more heavily than before on cumbersome methods to move money, such as cash couriers, we have continued to see them using the formal financial system, which has made this particular program incredibly valuable.

Lastly, justifying this disclosure by citing the “public interest” in knowing information about this program means the paper has given itself free license to expose any covert activity that it happens to learn of - even those that are legally grounded, responsibly administered, independently overseen, and highly effective. Indeed, you have done so here.

What you’ve seemed to overlook is that it is also a matter of public interest that we use all means available - lawfully and responsibly - to help protect the American people from the deadly threats of terrorists. I am deeply disappointed in the New York Times.

Sincerely,

[signed]

John W. Snow, Secretary

U.S. Department of the Treasury [/quote]

corner.nationalreview.com/post/? … Q0ZDU3OWQ=

The WOT is not yet over. Thus, your criticism is inappropriate. Or irrelevant.

Well, that isn’t the issue, and thus your point is irrelevant.

How is it a metaphor? One very big reason, IMO, that so many distrust Bush now is that so many have deliberately or negligently or ignorantly framed the issues falsely. One good example is the continuing misrepresentation of Bush’s rationals given for the invasion, and the false assertion that Bush characterized the threat posed by Saddam’s Iraq as “imminent”.

That distinction is irrelevant to the issue.

Certainly trust is an issue. Were there a greater degree of trust, of the administration and the minority party, the press wouldn’t be so hot and bothered to play the role of an opposition party.

How is ‘war on a tactic/ a chemical/ social practice’ not a metaphor? And a poor one at that, from the get go?

The distinction is relevant. Necessity imposes demands that need be met (whether or not the price is later paid). Adventure comes with costs, and those footing the bill (blood, degrees of freedom/privacy, cast, respect) have every right to know and question the cost.

So you are losing the debate with Tigerman so shift to new reasons for the debate? Isn’t that what you are accusing Bush of doing?

What kind of mumbo jumbo is this? Necessity is the mother of all demands. How’s that for another. Necessity means needing to do something. How’s that?

So do tennis rackets and shoelaces. What’s your point?

Yes, but when you have been given answers to those questions and you choose not to accept them because you disagree with the arguement on such an emotional level that you cannot accept factual evidence, then reasoning with you is going to be a highly problematic non-necessity, which as we know is the mother of all adventures.

Thin and weak; as expected.

Losing the debate? Shifting grounds? Uh, ok. Whatever.

OKay, maybe I missed something. Explain to me how your point is relevant if I missed something.

Yes, but so what? How is this now relevant to your point?

You are assuming then that the “opposition party” is acting with perfect candor and honesty while the other is being deliberately deceptive. You have not made your case. Stop squirming.

Terrorism is real. Shall we call it war on islamofascism instead? or do you think most of us get the idea and prefer to not label one religion as the primary source of trouble to excessively skirt around giving offense.

What distinction are you talking about now?

A zoo is a collection of animals. Government is political administration. Any other definitions you want to share?

Yes, question but obtusely refuse to take a president at his own word about his own reasons for the invasion but rather attribute motives without proof is an unacceptable alternative to not wanting to hear the president’s message and take him at his word.

Sure. Happily.

[quote=“fred smith”]

Yes, but so what? How is this now relevant to your point?[/quote] Keep this one in mind and we’ll come back to it.

Yes, question but obtusely refuse to take a president at his own word about his own reasons for the invasion but rather attribute motives without proof is an unacceptable alternative to not wanting to hear the president’s message and take him at his word.[/quote]Still sorting through the grammatical structure of that one, but here goes… apologies is I mischaracterize your meaning, which I take to be:

‘Question, yes; but obtusely refusing to take a president at his word about his reasons for the invasion and instead attributing motives without proof is unacceptable.’

And yet, you’re refusing to accept, at face value, my reasons for rejecting the logic of his arguments; instead, you insist on characterizing my motives negatively. Today, I posted an excerpt from Foreign Affairs. I summarize that article thus: [url=http://tw.forumosa.com/t/us-embassy-iraq-memo-gloomy/29074/96 what do we have? Bush & Co. still believing in their approach, but pursing other means because acting on their beliefs has clearly failed to acheive their ends."[/url] Perhaps you missed that. It’s not that I don’t believe that Bush believes he’s right, it’s that I believe he’s dressed his reasons up to parade them around and win support. That belief is based on statements made by numerous individuals, inside and outside of the administration. Are those statements sufficient to constitute proof? No. Were the administrations statements in making the case for war sufficient to constitute proof? No. So we’re left with reasonable doubt, and I believe that men of good will can honestly disagree on their analyses of the situation. Fair enough?

You are assuming then that the “opposition party” is acting with perfect candor and honesty while the other is being deliberately deceptive. You have not made your case. Stop squirming.[/quote] No, I’m not. The Democrats rightly lost trust, and I characterized the press as “hot and bothered”–hardly the best condition, I think.

Terrorism is real. Shall we call it war on islamofascism instead? or do you think most of us get the idea and prefer to not label one religion as the primary source of trouble to excessively skirt around giving offense.[/quote]
War on a tactic, or an ideology, it’s still a poor metaphor. War has a rather concrete reality that escapes ‘battles for hearts and minds’.

[quote]The distinction is relevant.

That between wars of necessity and choice, and the relative degrees of trust that a population should extend the gov’t in either case. Goes to my initial, hanging point.

[quote=“fred smith”]A zoo is a collection of animals. Government is political administration. Any other definitions you want to share?[/quote] This is where I leave you.

Look, he stated ALL of his reasons prior to the invasion.

Of course he needed to win support for his plan. What’s wrong with that? How often does a leader NOT need to argue for support to go to war? Maybe you should explain what you mean by “dressed up”.

I don’t think its fair at all. Why would you doubt the President’s stated reasons for going to war in Iraq? You have the statements of people in and out of his administration… are they the President? Do they know what is in the President’s heart and mind? I doubt it.

How about we all decide that Jaboney means X even though Jaboney says, repeatedly Y, simply because people who are not Jaboney make certain statements that could be interpreted to be in disagreement with Jaboney? Hardly seems fair to me. How 'bout you?

J, c’mon… the press, or at least a great many of the members of the press/media have been against GWB since before he was elected in 2000. The Dems who agreed with him for Iraq did so only because it was politically advantageous to do so then… and they condemn him now when it has become politically advantageous to do so. Surely you are not duped by the Dems’ statements now?

Um, the enemy is real. They bleed and cause us to bleed. Doesn’t seem to matter much what we call the war. Its a war. As you say, war has a “concrete reality”. You’re not suggesting that the war in Iraq lacks that concreteness, are you?

Well, Bush believes that this is a war of necessity (and so do I). So, why don’t you trust Bush?

[quote=“Tigerman”]How about we all decide that Jaboney means X even though Jaboney says, repeatedly Y, simply because people who are not Jaboney make certain statements that could be interpreted to be in disagreement with Jaboney? Hardly seems fair to me. How 'bout you? [/quote] I’m not the head of an administration with multiple (sometimes contradictory) voices speaking on it’s behalf. The Bush administration isn’t Bush alone. If I were the titular head of a hydra-headed organization, you’d be perfectly justified in reading those many voices against my own statements to determine the character(s) of the organization.

As for the rest, we’ve been over that sooo many times.

Because you have not made your case. You have given no proof or any solid argument for why anyone should not take the president’s words at face value.

No, I insist on rejecting the premise of your argument when you have proved nothing regarding your views.

That is one author’s view. But it does not change the fact that you have not been able to prove that Bush is somehow lying or misleading the public. I understood from the very beginning that Bush wanted to reshape the Middle East and I believed that his plan was one worth supporting. Very inconveniently for most of those who oppose this is a lengthy paper trail of my statements extending back nearly four years ago to the very beginning of this debate. It is all there in black and white and if I understood and took to heart Bush’s words, then I will require some sort of proof that your allegations or views have relevance. To date, I have seen nothing from you that would change my view.

[quote]
Perhaps you missed that.[/quote]

No. I think I see that all too clearly. You are the one making the statement or allegation if you will. It is up to you to support it.

Okay.

That is as you say “your belief,” but you have not proved it nor have you made a very good case for it.

Yes, I have seen those statements posted repeatedly and it really depends on the context that you put them in and in and of themselves given the president’s lengthy and numerous personal statements are no indication that we should discount what President Bush has said repeatedly and emphatically himself. Why is this so hard to accept?

Glad to see that you finally admit that.

Why does the administration have to prove anything about its statements? Bush said we needed to remake the Middle East and get rid of some of these dysfunctional governments. After 911, we were no longer going to kick the can down the road until the day when Saddam and others became a real problem. We were going to deal with them now today. I get that. Seems to me that we aer still on track there. What’s to prove?

No, you against all reasoning are left with doubt.

As do I, but in my view you have not given sufficient reasoning or proof or a foundation for having any of us even respect how you arrived at your conclusions. Sure, you can believe whatever you want. You can support whatever views you want, but if you fail to articulate them adequately then no one else will be able to understand why you have these views unless they “feel” your need to have them and then where are we but in MFGR territory without the quips.

I guess so. You have not made your case but you are entitled to your views nonetheless. I don’t respect them but I do respect your right to think whatever way you want.

Thus spraken Fred. :slight_smile: