Monday, June 26, 2006

The NY Times flips over the cards

Anybody who has ever watched professional poker players will notice that they never reveal their hole cards unless their bet is called. Even when the hand is over and the chips have been raked in, the pros will “muck” (throw in) their cards face down so that the other players will never know if they were bluffing or had a great hand. On the surface, there seems to be no good reason for this; after all, the hand is over. The reason is that the pros don’t want to reveal any information at all. If they turn over either a bluff or a strong hand, other poker players will relate this back to facial tics, body language, chip handling, betting patterns, or other “tells” to piece together how the player will react in a given situation.

This simple logic seems to have escaped the New York Times which chose to reveal a legal and secret program to track possible funding of terrorist elements in the United States. NY Times editor Bill Keller wrote a weak defense that was promptly ripped apart by Glenn Reynolds and Hugh Hewitt. For an extra measure of the NY Times mindset, here’s former theater critic Frank Rich revealing his ignorance on CNN’s Reliable Sources only to be smacked down by National Review’s David Frum:

RICH: Can I just say, we have to stop assuming that the terrorists are morons. When the "Times" publishes an NSA story which indicated there was some domestic surveillance involving tracking al Qaeda terrorists or other terrorists, while that story broke, there was a fictional show on Showtime called "Sleeper Cell" about a sort of fictional terror cell in Los Angeles where on the show, in the script, the screen writers imagined that they know they're being wiretapped, even though all the calls are within the United States.

These people aren't idiots. They're very, very dangerous enemies, and the idea that this has changed the equation -- this is some secret that's changed the equation...

KURTZ: David, I've got 10 seconds for a final word.

FRUM: If they're not -- if they're not idiots, then it's very dangerous to confirm what they think might be true as being positively true.
Exactly. Why give the terrorists any information whatsoever about what we might know or might not know? Only the haughty hubris of the NY Times could dream up a justification for selling newspapers that trumps national security.

Extra – Michael Barone – “The New York Times at war with America” Also, Tom Maguire and conservative journalist (?) Matt Hoy weigh in.

More – From AJ Strata: “What does it say when the NY Times go so far over the edge even John Murtha won’t follow? I doubt Keller will survive the summer, the NY Times will need a sacrificial lamb, and it is obvious someone pressured Keller to get out and deal with his anti-American acts.”

18 comments:

wvwv said...

It's been one of the remarkable dynamics of this scorched-earth period in American politics, watching small-government conservatives tripping over their own history and values to cheer on a shadow government because dissent "hurts" George Bush. Or because exposure "endangers our safety," as if such secret unconstitutional programs don't.

Michael van der Galien said...

Liberty and Justice TrackBack

If this is the way the 'talks' between the Bush Administration and The New York Times went, there was, indeed, nothing half-hearted about the Administration's effort either.

The New York Times may get in severe trouble if there will be bi-partisan outrage over this and that seems to be a fair possibility.

Anonymous said...

wvwv,

You are breathtakingly stupid. There is no other way to phrase it, sorry.

What we are talking about is a program that even the NY Times acknowledges was constitutional, and had received full congressional approval in advance.

You are incapable of reasoning - a partisan slug, reacting blindly to any external simulus that comes anywhere near your Bu$hitler nerve.

Moron.

wvwv said...

Yes, Nameless, yes. Just like the NSA wiretapping case was "fully briefed" and "well within the law." Go back to sleep, bubbelah, your Daddy Bush loves you and will always protect you. Accountability is for traitors.

On the subject of not breaking laws, the Times didn't violate anything. But even if they had, they could just quietly write a "signing statement," asserting their right to bypass whatever they feel like.

It's something patriots do:
http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/B/BUSH_SIGNING_STATEMENTS?SITE=ILROR&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT

TGK said...

Interesting article about signing statements (I didn't know what those were until now). Here's the wikipedia article, FWIW:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Signing_statement

They seem innocuous to me, just a written statement by the Executive, about what he understands the new law to be, and how he intends to apply it. When courts rule on legislation, they frequently try to determine legislative intent, and this is a way of leaving nothing to misinterpretation.

There are more important things to worry about, like militant Islam.

Synova said...

I think it's rather fascinating how people who are *presumably* of the liberal "the government can save us" bent are suddenly on the "nothing is more important than protecting us from the State" side of things.

Libertarians should be pleased. Maybe they can get something done about the IRS and our absolutley non-existant right to privacy in this country.

That, of course, presumes that this is a matter of principle rather than opportunity. And what are the chances of that?

Anonymous said...

Yes, Nameless, yes. Just like the NSA wiretapping case was "fully briefed" and "well within the law." Go back to sleep, bubbelah, your Daddy Bush loves you and will always protect you. Accountability is for traitors.

How...original.

Are you this sadly predictable all the time? Like I said, you're just a slug, unthinkingly reacting to stimuli.

JackTanner said...

'Or because exposure "endangers our safety"

Exposing classified information to terrorist groups endangers our safety. Either your OK with that or not, it's not really a matter that merits comparison with other matters. It's pretty much stand alone.

T.J. Cavenaugh said...

Illegally classifying information endangers our safety. Either your OK with that or not, it's not really a matter that merits comparison with other matters. It's pretty much stand alone.

TGK said...

Who is illegally classifying information, and how (specifically) would that endanger our safety?

Nobody, and, it wouldn't.

JackTanner said...

'Illegally classifying information'

WTF? Counterterrorism ops shouldn't be classified? You want to argue overreach or invasion of privacy that's one thing but intel ops shouldn't be classified? And libs wonder why no one takes them seriuosly on security.

Synova said...

I'm going to assume that "illegally classifying information" wasn't a typo or something and say... I doubt libs *wonder* about this at all. They already know that anyone claiming not to take them seriously with national defense is just blowing hot air for political advantage.

Anonymous said...

I interpret it as saying that the programs themselves are illegal, and thus classifying them is an effort to obscure criminal orders and protect their own butts, rather than to protect our safety.

Oh, how the conservatives once laughed at the torturous definitions of "is" and "sexual relations." Now they snarl and parse and defend torturous definitions to the death.

"I did not have illegal relations with that paper, the Constitution."

Freud said...

I interpret it as saying that the programs themselves are illegal, and thus classifying them is an effort to obscure criminal orders and protect their own butts, rather than to protect our safety.

Yes. Well. That's what we in the trade call "projection."

Tim Couch said...

Another Freudian slip.

"Sometimes a crime is just a crime."

Get back to us when you've figured out the difference between the unconscious and the unconscionable.

Synova said...

And yet, the only way to be sure that classified information is legitimately classified (and the military's theory of classification is "better safe than sorry" so it's a sure thing that a whole lot of classified info probably doesn't warrant a classification) is to publish everything in the public domain first so that a public consensus can be reached that classified programs and information are, indeed, legitimately classified.

Simple, dude.

Anonymous said...

Agreed. And another good reason why a President should not piss away his benefit of the doubt, in the manner Bush has.

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