Global War on Terror,  Media,  Media Bias,  Terrorists

Global War on Terror Watch: New York Times Publishes Secret Details of SWIFT Bank Data Anti-Terrorism Program

Among the program’s successes was the capture of an Al Qaeda operative known as Hambali, believed to be the mastermind of the 2002 bombing of a Bali resort, several officials said.

New York Times: Bank Data Sifted in Secret by U.S. to Block Terror

Under a secret Bush administration program initiated weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks, counterterrorism officials have gained access to financial records from a vast international database and examined banking transactions involving thousands of Americans and others in the United States, according to government and industry officials.

The program is limited, government officials say, to tracing transactions of people suspected of having ties to Al Qaeda by reviewing records from the nerve center of the global banking industry, a Belgian cooperative that routes about $6 trillion daily between banks, brokerages, stock exchanges and other institutions. The records mostly involve wire transfers and other methods of moving money overseas and into and out of the United States. Most routine financial transactions confined to this country are not in the database.

Viewed by the Bush administration as a vital tool, the program has played a hidden role in domestic and foreign terrorism investigations since 2001 and helped in the capture of the most wanted Qaeda figure in Southeast Asia, the officials said.

Another Leak of a secret United States program to combat terrorism brought to you by the leakers of the NSA Surveillance program, ERIC LICHTBLAU and JAMES RISEN.

Remember James Risen and his New Year’s surprise?

So, read the rest of the piece here.

The Bush administration has made no secret of its campaign to disrupt terrorist financing, and President Bush, Treasury officials and others have spoken publicly about those efforts. Administration officials, however, asked The New York Times not to publish this article, saying that disclosure of the Swift program could jeopardize its effectiveness. They also enlisted several current and former officials, both Democrat and Republican, to vouch for its value.

Bill Keller, the newspaper’s executive editor, said: “We have listened closely to the administration’s arguments for withholding this information, and given them the most serious and respectful consideration. We remain convinced that the administration’s extraordinary access to this vast repository of international financial data, however carefully targeted use of it may be, is a matter of public interest.”

The Swift Program is NOT illegal and most of the activity occurs in a foreign location. So, why leak a secret program that has been protecting American from terrorism? Because some anonynmopus sources question the proprieatry of the program or is it because the New York Times and its employees want a scoop at any cost?

Is this responsible journalsim?

Should the leakers of classified information that served as the basis of the story be prosecuted?

You betcha!

The first subpoenas should be directed at Lichtblau, Risen and Keller. The Attorney General, Alberto Gonzales, should seek out the traitors who stole this classified information and gave it to the media whores at the New York Times.

The Swift Program:

And the program had been successful in finding terrorist cells. Flap says had because he doubts the program will continue now that it is public and terrorists adapt.

Data provided by the program helped identify Uzair Paracha, a Brooklyn man who was convicted on terrorism-related charges in 2005, officials said.

The Los Angeles Times has just picked up and posted the story as well: U.S. Mining Bank Transfer Data in Anti-Terror Effort

The U.S. government, without the knowledge of many banks and their customers, has engaged for years in a secret effort to track terrorist financing by accessing a vast database of confidential information on transfers of money between banks worldwide.

The program, run by the Treasury Department, is considered a potent weapon in the war on terrorism because of its ability to clandestinely monitor financial transactions and map terrorist webs.

Dean Baquet, the editor of the Times, said: “We weighed the government’s arguments carefully, but in the end we determined that it was in the public interest to publish information about the extraordinary reach of this program. It is part of the continuing national debate over the aggressive measures employed by the government.”

In other words, the Los Angeles Times says to Hell with the secret nature of the anti-terror program and National Security because it is in the “public interest” to make Americans LESS SAFE FROM TERRORISTS.


Michelle Malkin has a good round-up of reactions from the blogosphere: NYTIMES BLABBERMOUTHS STRIKE AGAIN

The NYTimes has in-house produced video showcasing Licthblau as he “reveals a secret Bush administration program to access to financial records.”


Bryan Preston


Jeff Goldstein

Write the New York Times( ) and the Los Angeles Times and voice your displeasure. Better yet refuse to purchase their publications for allowing Americans to be placed in MORE jeopardy from terrorists.

Stephen Spruiell has it RIGHT: NYT: We’re Still Above the Law

According to the NYT’s own reporting, the program is legal. The program is helping us catch terrorists. The administration has briefed the appropriate members of Congress. The program has built-in safeguards to prevent abuse. And yet, with nothing more than a vague appeal to the “public interest” (which apparently is not outweighed in this case by the public’s interest in apprehending terrorists), the NYT disregards all that and publishes intimate, classified details about the program. Keller and his team really do believe they are above the law. When it comes to national security, it isn’t the government that should decide when secrecy is essential to a program’s effectiveness. It is the New York Times.

National security be damned. There are Pulitzers to be won.

Patterico says these guys are dangerous.

They are to a fault.

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  • JP

    Letter to Michelle Malkin


    I’m sure an educated person like yourself knows quite well that the “terrorist” masterminds are fully aware that our government, as well as all of Europe and Asia, does and has done, for as long as there have been wire transfers, monitor banking transactions as well as freeze assets. If you need a refresher, look back at your pals of the 80’s and the BCCI and educate yourself – – might learn to pick your battles a little bit better.

    I’ve read the articles you’ve posted before and can tell when you really believe in something. But this wimpy injected and forced tone of “secret? not anymore” and “sabotaged a successful counter terrorism tool” crap doesn’t cut it. It comes off as a lot of hot air.

    Good luck on that.


  • Brian


    You site “” LOL

    If Michelle Malkin’s hot air fills a “Happy Birthday” balloon, than quoting the Washington Monthly as though it were an unbiased source is causing global warming. (I thought I read somewhere in there that Kerry found a cure for cancer and can fly.)

    The fact of the matter is, we don’t know how much this program helped (we have anecdotal evidence that it did at least some good, as reported by the Times’ own article.) But one thing we do know: the only terrorists that use this system to transfer money in the future are too stupid to hold John Kerry’s jock strap (could have sworn I read that in the Washington Monthly too…)

    Don’t drink that Kool-Aid too fast John.



    What the times has done is clearly treason. Their hatred for President Bush and their desire to be the cause of his demise have clouded their judgement. The actions they have taken both make everyday Americans less safe, but also ensure the safety of the Times and its building. Al Qaeda would never attack the source of it’s best intelligence operation.