Monday, June 26, 2006

Congressman Peter King Uses the "T" Word

Congressman Peter King (R-NY 3rd) has called for the New York Times to be charged with treason. Not even Mark Souder is this crazy. If the government starts shutting down newspapers and throwing editors in prison based on what they write, then we have more to worry about than fanatics wearing turbans and living in caves. We now have despots wearing nice suits and living in Congressional housing.

Apparently Mr. King thinks that the Times reporting on the government tapping phone lines and tracking the financial records of suspected terrorists amounts to aid and comfort to the enemy. If the enemy needs the New York Times to tell them that the government is spying on them, then they are so dumb they should have been defeated a lot sooner.

6 comments:

  1. I. Chart10:09 PM

    http://blogs.fortwayne.com/opening_arguments/2006/04/just_asking.html

    Robert, last April even Leo Morris asked about the overuse of the term "legally blind."

    Have you given it any more thought?

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  2. That isn't really relavent to this post, but I'll address it anyway. When Leo Morris asked if there was such a thing as illegally blind, he was either kidding or he was ignorant of the proper meaning of the term "legally blind". A legally blind person is any person who has vision worse than 20/200, even while using glasses. Our legally blind LPAC member cannot recognize a person's face from more than ten feet away. But he is still able to use a computer. A totally blind person cannot see at all. All blind people are legally blind. Not all blind people are totally blind.

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  3. I am sure that Osama and his buddies are well aware that they are being spied on, but that doesn't mean that letting then know the details isn't a dumb idea. In World War II, shortly after the Battle of Midway, the Chicago Tribune let it be known that we had broken the Japanese naval code. I think all that kept the Tribune from being prosecuted under the Espionage Act of 1917 was that prosecution would draw more attention to the fact of the broken code than the original news story did. After all the Tribune hadn't posted the story to a website and they weren't delivering a lot of newspapers to customers in Japan. Over sixty years later, you can bet Osama Bin Laden reads the New York Times online on a regular basis.

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  4. I understand that bin Ladin only speaks Arabic. He probably gets briefings from an interpreter.

    The govenment has the right to keep certain things secret. But the only people who should be prosecuted when classified information gets out are the ones who were trusted to keep the secret in the first place.
    If the New York Times knows about it, then the bad guys probably figured it long ago.

    This isn't even about revealing classified information. This is about bad publicity. The GOP is a sinking ship

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  5. I wouldn't assume that if the New York Times knows about it, the bad guys figured it out a long time ago. The Times has a few advantages that the bad guys don't. For one thing, the Times reporters are mostly located near where the secrets are being kept, or leaked, as the case may be. The bad guys are located mostly in the Middle East. They might be able to sneak a spy into high places in the government, but it would certainly not be easy. For another, the Times reporters speak something resembling English. The Times story gave names of terrorists that the financial monitoring program snagged. That would indicate that the bad guys did not know about the program, or at least the details that would prevent them from getting caught, before the Times blabbed. I don't think the Times should be prosecuted, but I am surprised that they haven't at least temporarily been booted out of the White House press corps. The Constitution may authorize the press to print what it knows, but it doesn't require the government to invite any particular newpaper to the party. The only way it makes sense that the bad guys knew long before the New York Times is if the journalists at the New York Times are incredibly incompetent. What happens to people who make assumptions about what the enemy does or does not know is that they lose wars.

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  6. Jeff Pruitt2:04 PM

    Let us not forget that it's the administration itself that is leaking the info to the Times. I fully support any investigation into the leaking of classified information. However, if a newspaper receives information that the government could possibly be involved in an illegal activity then it is the duty of the paper to present the information to the American public. NOT printing this information would be closer to treason in my opinion.

    If we allow the government to censure the free press then we move into an arena where the government can do whatever it pleases simply by classifying information. What check would there be on their authority? The government should ALWAYS fear the press as it leads to a natural check on the perpetual authoritarian creep of the government.

    Currently, the patriots at the NYT are the only ones keeping this government remotely translucent. This administration, from the beginning, felt that there should be little/no checks on the executive authority. This is a dangerous ethos and requires a watchful eye such as the NYT...

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