The administration's anointed echo chamberlains were swift to pick their drumsticks. This from a National Review Online editorial titled "Stop the Leaks."
Every passing week, it becomes more apparent that disgruntled leftists in the intelligence community and antiwar crusaders in the mainstream media, annealed in their disdain for the Bush administration, are undermining our ability to win the War on Terror. Their latest body blow to the war effort is the exposure, principally by the New York Times, of the Treasury Department’s top-secret program to monitor terror funding.
It's pretty funny how anybody who objects to government intrusion on privacy is a disgruntled leftist or an antiwar crusader, and how any effort to check the power rapacious Bush administration is a "body blow to the war effort."
But this NRO vituperative gets even funnier.
President Bush…must demand that the New York Times pay a price for its costly, arrogant defiance. The administration should withdraw the newspaper’s White House press credentials because this privilege has been so egregiously abused, and an aggressive investigation should be undertaken to identify and prosecute, at a minimum, the government officials who have leaked national-defense information.
I'll let the Ann Coulter-like style of this passage go for the time being and jump to its core absurdity. If the administration yanks the NYT's White House press credentials, how will it leak classified disinformation through the Gray Lady via the next Judith Miller?
Speaking absurdity and Ann Coulter, on Joe Scarborough's program last night she compared the Times to Jane Fonda sitting on a North Vietnamese tank. I love how these far right types use their freedom of speech to attack freedom of speech.
Here's where it all stops being funny.
House Homeland Security Chairman Pete King (R New York) wants Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to prosecute the New York Times for running the SWIFT story.
This is scary stuff, kids, because we're talking about a potential major league legal battle, and as deep as the Times' pockets may be, they're nowhere near as deep as the pockets of the United States Treasury.
Here's something else I don't find terribly funny. Cheney tells us that all the administration's secret monitoring programs are consistent with Mister Bush's constitutional authority. And a lot of people are willing to take his word for it.
I am not a scholar of constitutional law, but I've spent quite a bit of time studying the document. I know precisely where it guarantees freedom of speech and personal privacy (Amendments I and IV), but I have yet to find a single passage in the Constitution that discusses the government's right to keep secrets.
Commander Jeff Huber, U.S. Navy (Retired) writes from Virginia Beach, Virginia. Read his weekday commentaries at ePluribus Media and Pen and Sword.
Also see Smoke, Mirrors and War Powers.