Sunday, October 22, 2006

New York Times Admits They Effed Up

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After the damage was done, the New York Times finally gets around to agreeing with what sensible people were saying all along: the SWIFT program was legal in the United States, and there was never any evidence of abuse of private data.

Byron Calame, the New York Times's Public Editor, waffles that he still thinks the decision to expose or not expose the SWIFT program was a close call. How he could arrive at that conclusion is a complete mystery to me.

At the outset he admits he never had any reason to think the program was illegal, either in the United States or overseas. In fact, I haven’t seen anything by anyone that cites any law or regulation that suggests the surveillance was illegal. I have seen uninformed speculation that the surveillance must have been illegal because it had to violate privacy, but without any information or evidence of how privacy was violated.

He admits an “… absence of any evidence that anyone’s private data had actually been misused.”

So why was it exposed?

No evidence then, none now, of illegality.

No evidence then, none now, of privacy violations.

Don’t you have to have some reason before you compromise national security?

But Mr. Calame admits a very strange thing. He admits that he did it because of “vicious criticism” of the New York Times by the Bush administration.

How gallingly unprofessional can you get?

I won’t go into the Bush Administration criticism that must have set him off. Power Line has already done that masterfully. Suffice to say, it doesn’t seem sufficient to excuse sabotaging the war on terrorism.

I am outraged and dismayed that an editor of the New York Times could rationalize a decision that impedes our ability to identify and track terrorists because of his pique at being criticized.

I thought professional journalists would be above such petty vengefulness. Mr. Calame treated this serious national security matter the way a child on the playground reacts to an insult.

And he still doesn’t seem to understand that he effed up.

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