Global War on Terror,  Media,  Media Bias

Global War on Terror Watch: United States Treasury Secretary Snow Responds to Bill Keller of the New York Times

President George W. Bush (2nd R) speaks to the press at the end of a Cabinet meeting, in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington June 1, 2006. With Bush are U.S. Secretary of HHS Mike Leavitt (L), U.S. Secretary of Interior nominee Dirk Kempthorne (2nd L), U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales (3rd L) and U.S. Secretary of Treasury John Snow.

The Department of the Treasury: Letter to the Editors of The New York Times
by Treasury Secretary Snow

Mr. Bill Keller, Managing Editor

The New York Times

229 West 43rd Street

New York, NY 10036

Dear Mr. Keller:

The New York Times’ decision to disclose the Terrorist Finance Tracking Program, a robust and classified effort to map terrorist networks through the use of financial data, was irresponsible and harmful to the security of Americans and freedom-loving people worldwide. In choosing to expose this program, despite repeated pleas from high-level officials on both sides of the aisle, including myself, the Times undermined a highly successful counter-terrorism program and alerted terrorists to the methods and sources used to track their money trails.

Your charge that our efforts to convince The New York Times not to publish were “half-hearted” is incorrect and offensive. Nothing could be further from the truth. Over the past two months, Treasury has engaged in a vigorous dialogue with the Times – from the reporters writing the story to the D.C. Bureau Chief and all the way up to you. It should also be noted that the co-chairmen of the bipartisan 9-11 Commission, Governor Tom Kean and Congressman Lee Hamilton, met in person or placed calls to the very highest levels of the Times urging the paper not to publish the story. Members of Congress, senior U.S. Government officials and well-respected legal authorities from both sides of the aisle also asked the paper not to publish or supported the legality and validity of the program.

Indeed, I invited you to my office for the explicit purpose of talking you out of publishing this story. And there was nothing “half-hearted” about that effort. I told you about the true value of the program in defeating terrorism and sought to impress upon you the harm that would occur from its disclosure. I stressed that the program is grounded on solid legal footing, had many built-in safeguards, and has been extremely valuable in the war against terror. Additionally, Treasury Under Secretary Stuart Levey met with the reporters and your senior editors to answer countless questions, laying out the legal framework and diligently outlining the multiple safeguards and protections that are in place.

You have defended your decision to compromise this program by asserting that “terror financiers know” our methods for tracking their funds and have already moved to other methods to send money. The fact that your editors believe themselves to be qualified to assess how terrorists are moving money betrays a breathtaking arrogance and a deep misunderstanding of this program and how it works. While terrorists are relying more heavily than before on cumbersome methods to move money, such as cash couriers, we have continued to see them using the formal financial system, which has made this particular program incredibly valuable.

Lastly, justifying this disclosure by citing the “public interest” in knowing information about this program means the paper has given itself free license to expose any covert activity that it happens to learn of – even those that are legally grounded, responsibly administered, independently overseen, and highly effective. Indeed, you have done so here.

What you’ve seemed to overlook is that it is also a matter of public interest that we use all means available – lawfully and responsibly – to help protect the American people from the deadly threats of terrorists. I am deeply disappointed in the New York Times.



John W. Snow, Secretary

U.S. Department of the Treasury

Flap agrees with Hugh Hewitt in that John Snow has called Bill Keller, Executive Editor of the New York Times OUT as a LIAR. Flap has just finished listening to Keller on CNN’ Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer and will try to get the video to post up here tonight. Believe me the arrogrance and Keller’s misstated facts is beyond belief. Keller’s contact is near treasonous and Flap urges the Attorney General to go after the government leakers first and then Keller for violating our federal espoinage/national security laws.

Allah has the video/audio of the CNN Keller interview here.

As far as Flap is concerned Bill Keller can be frog marched out of the New York Times offices and thrown in a cell and let him reflect on how many Americans he endangered with this reckless act. Bill Keller, James Risen and Eric Lichtblau are not above the law and have put Americans in jeopardy. Mr. Keller, how many Americans have to die?

Hugh Hewitt on his radio show this afternoon has interviewed Doyle McManus Washington Bureau Chief of the Los Angeles Times. When the transcript comes up, Flap will have some comments about this stammering dumbshit’s interview. His conduct and arrogance are DISGRACEFUL.

Stay tuned……


More just in: AJ Strata notes that in an interview with CNN, Bill Keller reveals that John Murtha–yes, that John Murtha–also joined Kean and Hamilton in pleading with the Times not to run the story…

Plus: Video of Tony Snow laying the smackdown over at Hot Air.

Graphic courtesy of Michelle Malkin

Patterico has a more satirical view of Bill Keller’s response with Blogosphere Excels in Reaction to Keller Letter

The blogosphere did a bang-up job today reacting to Bill Keller’s silly missive in defense of publishing classified details of an effective counterterrorism program. Rarely have I been prouder to be associated with such a group of clever folks — all giving world-class opinions for free!

I can’t give you every good link out there, but here are a few that caught my attention:

For those short on time, Wizbang admirably summarizes Keller’s letter:

Dear Reader:

1) We have no reason to believe the program was illegal in any way.

2) We have every reason to believe it was effective at catching terrorists.

3) We ran the story anyway, screw you.

Bill Keller

But for my money, as is so often the case, some of the best expressed and most on-target sentiments came from one of my very favorite bloggers (if not my very favorite), Allahpundit, in this post.

It’s more direct, more entertaining, and more dead on target than anything you’ll read in the newspaper about this sad affair.

These are terrible days for Old Media, as exemplified by Keller’s pathetic letter. But these are also great days for New Media, as exemplified by the thoughtful and funny posts quoted above.


Global War on Terror Watch: President Bush Condemns Disclosure and Publishing Details of SWIFT Anti-Terrorism Finance Program

Los Angeles Times Watch: Patterico and Danziger Dump the Los Angeles Dog Trainer

Global War on Terror Watch: Dear Mr. Keller – Why?

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

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