Thursday, June 29, 2006

New York Times defends its patriotism - Yahoo! News: "New York Times defends its patriotism by Catherine Hours
Thu Jun 29, 1:00 AM ET

NEW YORK (AFP) - The New York Times hit back at bitter government criticism of its decision to disclose details of a secret US anti-terror program to monitor global banking transactions.

In an editorial titled 'Patriotism and the Press,' the Times firmly rejected charges from President George W. Bush and senior Republicans that the report had undermined national security and offered succour to terrorist groups.
The story bore 'no resemblance to security breaches, like disclosure of troop locations, that would clearly compromise the immediate safety of specific individuals,' the newspaper said.
As for tipping off terrorists, the newspaper argued that terror groups would have to be 'fairly credulous' not to have already suspected that such a fund monitoring program was in place.
It highlighted a public 2002 UN report that specifically cited the US policy of monitoring suspicious transactions.
The searches involved millions of records held by the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT), a Belgium-based international cooperative that serves as a clearing house for transactions.
Bush labelled the Times decision to publish in the face of government opposition a disgrace, while Peter King, the Republican chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Homeland Security, said the newspaper should be prosecuted under the Espionage Act.
The Times responded that its report had exposed 'an alarming pattern' that has emerged since the September 11 attacks, of the Bush administration citing security imperatives to bypass the normal checks and balances placed on the executive branch.
'It has created powerful ne"


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