The most puzzling thing about the New York Times’ exposure of America’s counterterrorism secrets is that it has no apparent sense of self-preservation. If the Times were headquartered in, say, Bismarck, N.D., its spectacular disregard for human safety might be explained by its bet that terrorists never would hit it directly.
However, the Old Gray Lady occupies the bull’s-eye on Islamofascism’s dartboard. The Times undermines U.S. national security from its base at 229 West 43rd Street, just a half block from Times Square, which bears the paper’s name. If Gotham ever suffered a dirty-bomb attack, densely populated, camera-filled Times Square would be the quintessential venue for a radiological blast. In that event, gamma rays would race through the thyroids of Times staffers within seconds.
Perhaps America’s self-appointed “Paper of Record” is so self-absorbed that its morally vain editors and publishers ignore the fact that the September 11 hijackers attacked Manhattan, killing 2,749 individuals. These likely included Times subscribers and advertisers alike. According to journalist Ron Suskind’s new book, The One Percent Doctrine, al Qaeda came within 45 days of unleashing a 2003 cyanide-gas assault on New York’s subway system, before retreating. That, too, could have killed Times readers and employees.
New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly on June 12 told New York’s City Council about 17 potential and actual Islamofascist strikes on the Big Apple. These included El-Sayed Nosair’s 1990 assassination of Jewish Defense League chief Meir Kahane, the 1993 World Trade Center bombing (six dead; 1,040 injured), and the June 6 London arrest of Syed Hashmi, a Queens resident allegedly in cahoots with al Qaeda. As “The Great Satan”’s principal metropolis, and home to the world’s largest Jewish population outside Israel, New York holds a special place in the icy hearts of the most violent anti-Semites since Nuremberg.
Despite 16 years of thwarted and successful mass murder by Muslim fanatics in and around Manhattan, the Times spurned pleas by the White House, Treasury, and even Democrats Lee Hamilton (September 11 Commission co-chair) and Iraq War critic Rep. John Murtha of Pennsylvania to stay quiet about the Terrorist Finance Tracking Program (TFTP). The Times’s June 23 story, among other things, identified the Belgian Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications, where the CIA selectively scrutinizes international bank transfers of terror suspects and their sponsors. Besides educating terrorists on U.S. surveillance techniques, the Times has painted a giant target on SWIFT’s offices.
The Times’s manifest arrogance (exemplified when an acquaintance of mine recently answered his phone and heard a recording say, “Please hold for a New York Times reporter”) already is insufferable. But as this institution threatens 8.5 million New Yorkers, its potentially suicidal Bush hatred has devolved into reckless endangerment of Americans from coast to coast.
Islamofascism’s targets include Chicago, home of the Sears Tower — whose possible destruction by seven accused, Miami-based, Muslim terrorists made headlines the day the Times outed TFTP. Terrorists lately have populated Atlanta, Los Angeles, Phoenix, and San Diego. The Times’s moral exhibitionism jeopardizes American lives in these and other locales.
Conversely, the CIA, FBI, and NSA work tirelessly to connect the dots, which President Bush’s critics (including the Times) slammed Bush for not doing before 9/11. Now that Washington connects the dots, the Times disconnects them.
TFTP helped authorities capture Riduan Islamuddin (alias Hambali), the ringleader of the October 2002 Bali nightclub bombing that killed 202 innocents and injured some 300 others. TFTP also aided the arrest and conviction of Uzair Paracha, a Brooklyn man who laundered $200,000 destined for al Qaeda operatives in Pakistan and tried to whisk an al Qaeda agent into America to attack Maryland. TFTP may have enjoyed other successes. If so, they remain secret…at least until the Times’s next shout-out to al Qaeda.
Like its unilateral “declassification” of the NSA’s Terrorist Surveillance Program last December, the Times spilled the beans on TFTP even though this initiative is considered legal, congressional Democrats and Republicans were briefed on it, and no American claims to be its victim.
This is a crucial point. If the administration used the pretext of counterterrorism, say, to glean financial data for IRS audits (which the Times admits was not the case), knowledgeable legislators could denounce TFTP on the House or Senate floor without legal consequences, since such statements cannot be prosecuted.
As Article I, Section 6, Clause 1 of the U.S. Constitution says: “for any Speech or Debate in either House [senators and representatives], they shall not be questioned in any other Place.” As U.S. Circuit Court judge James L. Buckley writes in The Heritage Guide to the Constitution, the Supreme Court “has held that the clause protects…even the reading of stolen classified materials into a subcommittee’s public records. Doe v. McMillan (1973).” This is an excellent legislative bulwark against Big Brotherism, if it emerged. But this safeguard hardly satisfies the Times’s un-elected jihad journalists.
“The 9/11 Commission recommended that the government be robust in tracing money,” President Bush told reporters Monday. “If you want to figure out what the terrorists are doing, you try to follow their money. And that’s exactly what we’re doing. And the fact that a newspaper disclosed it makes it harder to win this War on Terror.”
The Justice Department should prosecute the officials who leaked the TFTP story and the Times-niks who publicized it. There is nothing funny about making it easier for al Qaeda and its allies to turn Americans into body parts. Handcuffing a few disloyal newsmen and their bureaucratic sources for aiding and comforting our wartime enemies will telegraph this message.
Average Americans should punish the Times’s transgressions. Boycotting this nationally distributed paper is the easiest way to sock this snotty rag right where it smarts: in the wallet. Watching their red ink rise might make Times personnel think twice before publishing more secrets from America’s anti-al Qaeda playbook.
Meanwhile, the New York Times should adopt a new slogan: “All the treason that’s fit to print.”
– Deroy Murdock is a columnist with the Scripps Howard News Service and a senior fellow with the Atlas Economic Research Foundation.