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October 22, 2006

NYT: We Needlessly And Vindictively Compromised National Security, And Gosh We Feel Awful Bad About That

The New York Times' "public editor" (which the rest of the world calls an ombudsman) confesses error in previously defending the Times' revelation of the details of the SWIFT financial-surveillance program. (Safe link to Instapundit.)

Those two factors are really what bring me to this corrective commentary: the apparent legality of the program in the United States, and the absence of any evidence that anyone’s private data had actually been misused. I had mentioned both as being part of “the most substantial argument against running the story,” but that reference was relegated to the bottom of my column. . . .

I haven’t found any evidence in the intervening months that the surveillance program was illegal under United States laws. Although data-protection authorities in Europe have complained that the formerly secret program violated their rules on privacy, there have been no Times reports of legal action being taken.

If they get a Pulitzer based on this Bush-deranged decision to expose a useful, perfectly-legal program, will they refuse to accept it?

Don't count on it. They're still proud owners of the Pulitzer for the work of a Soviet-propagandizing agent of influence.

Where do we go to get our reputation national security back?

Everything in this mea culpa, written long after the fact, was apparent at the time of publishing. But the New York Times has an institutional bias in favor of damaging American security, at least when a government it doesn't like is in power.


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posted by Ace at 05:51 PM

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