On treason, the NYTimes, domestic spying, freepers, and President Bush

The New York Times broke the story about the US combing through bank transactions to track terrorists. Bush had a fit:

“…the disclosure of this program is disgraceful. We’re at war with a bunch of people who want to hurt the United States of America, and for people to leak that program, and for a newspaper to publish it, does great harm to the United States of America.”

Newspapers everywhere scrambled to justify the breaking of the story. Right-wing pundits attacked. The Weekly Standard:

The New York Times is a national security threat. So drunk is it on its own power and so antagonistic to the Bush administration that it will expose every classified antiterror program it finds out about, no matter how legal the program, how carefully crafted to safeguard civil liberties, or how vital to protecting American lives.

If that weren’t extreme enough for you, consider a right-wing blogger’s proposal:

Wouldn’t executing Risen, Lichtblau, and Keller for treason (along with the person or persons responsible for leaking the government secrets) bring with it the ancillary benefit of encouraging other journalists and editors to find more socially beneficial ways to win a Pulitzer Prize and government leakers other ways of carrying out their leftwing Democratic party-supporting political agenda?

Yes, this blogger is saying that supporting Democrats is akin to treason.

Personally, I think the Times and other papers are doing US citizens a favor by publishing reports on intelligence agencies and the administrations working outside the bounds of law. The agencies and administration should follow the rule of law. End of story.

There’s a number of theories that Bush and his allies were only half-heartedly concerned about the leak, if at all, but are using the story as a pretext to divert attention to the media and away from Bush’s illegal domestic spying.

In the end, it comes down to the question posed by Bernie Ward: who should decide what newspapers should print? The newspapers or the government?


  1. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

    And if Bush has a problem with that,

    “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

  2. The agencies and administration should follow the rule of law. End of story.

    As reported by the Times the program was, in fact, legal (not that I like it.)

    You must, at some point, suffer from some internal conflict over this given that Rep. Murtha (D-limelight disease) even contacted the Times and asked them not to run the story.

  3. While the SWIFT snooping was legal, the NSA wiretapping and data mining are certainly illegal. And whether Congress approved of the government’s snooping through bank transactions or not, perhaps the public should have the right to know.

    Believe it or not, Mr. Budge, I do not always see eye-to-eye with Democrats. If a Democrat wants to dictate to newspapers what should be printed, then they too will feel the mighty sting of 4&20 blackbirds…er…”paltry” sting? “ticklish” sting?

  4. There is great deal of dispute over whether the NSA evesdropping program is illegal and you make a leap by asserting that Bush’s response is to obfiscate the political implications of the NSA program. That, seem to conform with your conspiratorial thinking.

    While I believe that you would call Dems out if they dictated to the press I wonder why you didn’t call out Jack Murtha on this issue as well. Is he now part of the team Bush?

    I’m no fan of Bush and I think that our privacy has been usuped in many areas that, as a libertarian, I’m distressed by – the NSA program included. But wholesale statements of constitutional legality on complex issues under war resolutions are for sophists. Thngs are not so black and white. My point being, and I addressed this on my site, that there are times when context matters. I think you pathalogical hatred for Bush sometimes makes you unable to see the forest for the trees.

  5. There is great deal of dispute over whether the NSA evesdropping program is illegal…

    Only among conservatives who support the President.

    UC Berkeley’s John Woo, who supplies the administration with its legal basis to do whatever it will, is generally seen as off the charts with this issue…or at least so say my sources in the law school.

    That the administration itself is unwilling to allow the issue to go to court shows how confident they are in the program’s legality.

    …you make a leap by asserting that Bush’s response is to obfiscate the political implications of the NSA program. That, seem to conform with your conspiratorial thinking.

    There’s enough evidence concerning administration efforts to manipulate public opinion through planted news stories, manipulated intelligence, and outright lies to justify my “conspiratorial thinking.”

    …I wonder why you didn’t call out Jack Murtha on this issue as well. Is he now part of the team Bush?

    Uh…what? Why would I spare Murtha? Just because he thinks the story was a bad idea doesn’t mean he’s part of the Bush “team.” Maybe he sincerely feels it was a mistake.

    If you read the article concerning the accusation that Bush allowed the story to go reported, you’d see that the papers went to the administration before they printed the story and got a non-commital response.

    Also, this was not a big secret in the first place. SWIFT is a well-known financial system, and even casual observers would know that the Bush administration vowed to track international transaction records.

    It was only after the story broke that the sh*t hit the fan.

    …wholesale statements of constitutional legality on complex issues under war resolutions are for sophists. Thngs are not so black and white. My point being, and I addressed this on my site, that there are times when context matters. I think you pathalogical hatred for Bush sometimes makes you unable to see the forest for the trees.

    Personally, I thought that Americans deserved to know about the program. It fits within the narrative of the encroachment of executive authority into our daily lives.

    Others don’t agree. Fine.

    But the issue isn’t whether the story was a mistake. The issue is whether its printing was an act of “treason.” Bottom line: who should have final say over which stories break?

    I don’t care which President gets tattled on. I don’t care who speaks out against the printing of the story. The bottom line is that newspapers have the responsibility and the obligation to run stories they think will serve the public interest.

  6. For a “small government libertarian,” you sure are keen on expansive executive power.

  7. I responded to your question of “who decides” at my site.




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


  • Pages

  • Recent Comments

    Miles on A New Shelter for Vets or an E…
    success rate for In… on Thirty years ago ARCO killed A…
    Warrior for the Lord on The Dark Side of Colorado
    Linda Kelley-Miller on The Dark Side of Colorado
    Dan on A New Shelter for Vets or an E…
    Former Prosecutor Se… on Former Chief Deputy County Att…
    JediPeaceFrog on Montana AG Tim Fox and US Rep.…
  • Recent Posts

  • Blog Stats

    • 1,689,727 hits
  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 2,734 other followers

  • June 2006
    S M T W T F S
     123
    45678910
    11121314151617
    18192021222324
    252627282930  
  • Categories


%d bloggers like this: