Media Blog

The Damage Done

Hugh Hewitt has the transcript of Treasury undersecretary Stuart Levey’s remarks to the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations regarding the NYT’s disclosure of the Swift program. Key paragraph:

What we had not spoken about publicly, however, is this particular source. And, unfortunately, this revelation is very damaging. Since being asked to oversee this program by then-Secretary Snow and then-Deputy Secretary Bodman almost two years ago, I have received the written output from this program as part of my daily intelligence briefing. For two years, I have been reviewing that output every morning. I cannot remember a day when that briefing did not include at least one terrorism lead from this program. Despite attempts at secrecy, terrorist facilitators have continued to use the international banking system to send money to one another, even after September 11th.  This disclosure compromised one of our most valuable programs and will only make our efforts to track terrorist financing –and to prevent terrorist attacks — harder.  Tracking terrorist money trails is difficult enough without having our sources and methods reported on the front page newspapers.

So what is to be done? Rep. Pete Hoekstra says the leakers will be prosecuted. Today, the editors urge him and other concerned government officials to follow through and “find, prosecute, and punish those who are responsible for leaking details of this highly classified program.” Undersecretary Levey’s testimony speaks to the urgency with which that task should be undertaken.

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