Saturday, July 01, 2006

LATIMES and NYTIME editors team up and lie.

Media: They must really be feeling the heat because of the SWIFT story to go through all of this which in their minds makes it look important. But then they try to use the Washington Post "secret prison" story as a buffer and they will be called out on it.

The column repeats much of what Baquet and Keller had written in their papers or on their Web sites earlier this week, but also holds new points. One paragraph that jumps out is this one: "Government officials, understandably, want it both ways. They want us to protect their secrets, and they want us to trumpet their successes. A few days ago, Treasury Secretary John Snow said he was scandalized by our decision to report on the bank-monitoring program. But in September 2003 the same Secretary Snow invited a group of reporters from our papers, The Wall Street Journal and others to travel with him and his aides on a military aircraft for a six-day tour to show off the department's efforts to track terrorist financing. The secretary's team discussed many sensitive details of their monitoring efforts, hoping they would appear in print and demonstrate the administration's relentlessness against the terrorist threat."
I would think there is a difference between printing the details of an operation and just giving people an overall view of the operation.
The column closes on this note: "It is not always a matter of publishing an article or killing it. Sometimes we deal with the security concerns by editing out gratuitous detail that lends little to public understanding but might be useful to the targets of surveillance. The Washington Post, at the administration's request, agreed not to name the specific countries that had secret Central Intelligence Agency prisons, deeming that information not essential for American readers. The New York Times, in its article on National Security Agency eavesdropping, left out some technical details.
That is absolute BS and they know it. This is what Dana Priest smugly said about this episode.
Wilmington, N.C.: Are you allowed to share the admin's stated rationale for the secrecy of the prisons you wrote about? I just can't figure the difference between secret and overt facilities as far as the effect of the enemy's knowledge of their existence. I can understand the desire to avoid the revulsion of American (and location country) citizens and their resulting opposition, but, in a democracy, should we not expect information on what is done in our names? Dana Priest: Sure, and we did so in the original article. The administration asked us not to name the countries for two reasons: first, those countries might be subject to terrorist retaliation. Second, that those countries might decide to cease cooperating with the US on other counterterrorist operations. Len Downie, the executive editor, then decided not to name any countries but to give a regional description (Eastern Europe) and include the fact that they are democracies (important because, as countries trying to live under the rule of law, these black site are illegal under their own laws).
They played the cute with the request passing judgement and screwing over countries who have denied any involvement. Keller and Baquet knows it, but have the nerve to say the Post was asked and agreed which is wrong. Dana Priest is the only honest one of the sorry bunch because she decided to be judge, jury and tattletale. The other part about "information not essential for American readers" was posted on news sites on the internet. They know this but play ignorance about it as if people are stupid enough to believe it. The co-editoral doesn't hold up and just comes off as smug arrogance by a press that is out of control. More from Hot Air including poll numbers on leaks.

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