Friday, June 30, 2006

HOUSE CONDEMNS FIN DATA MONTIORING DISCLOSURE -- "Lawmakers expressed their sentiment through a resolution that was approved on a largely party-line 227-to-183 vote after days of harsh criticism by the Bush administration and Congressional Republicans aimed at The New York Times and other newspapers for publishing details of the program, which the government said was limited to following possible terrorist financial trails."

As might be expected from a competitor, WSJ criticizes NYT's decision to publish the story:
Just as dubious is the defense in a Times editorial this week that "The Swift story bears no resemblance to security breaches, like disclosure of troop locations, that would clearly compromise the immediate safety of specific individuals." In this asymmetric war against terrorists, intelligence and financial tracking are the equivalent of troop movements. They are America's main weapons.

The Times itself said as much in a typically hectoring September 24, 2001, editorial "Finances of Terror": "Much more is needed, including stricter regulations, the recruitment of specialized investigators and greater cooperation with foreign banking authorities." Isn't the latter precisely what the Swift operation is?
And then there is a call for calm: "Counterterrorism has become a source of continuing domestic and international political controversy. Much of it, like the role of the Iraq war in inspiring new terrorists, deserves analysis and debate. Increasingly, however, many of the political issues surrounding counterterrorism are formulaic, knee-jerk, disingenuous and purely partisan. The current debate about United States monitoring of transfers over the Swift international financial system strikes us as a case of over-reaction by both the Bush administration and its critics."