Tony Snow recently said that the New York Times wouldn’t get their press credentials revoked as a result of their disclosure of the classified Terrorist Finance Tracking Program (TFTP) — something we recommended. Snow also said this:
MR. SNOW: […] And in point of fact, since September 11th, this particular program has been useful in helping us get Hambali, the mastermind of the Bali bombing. It got the fellow in Brooklyn for $200,000. It has helped to reveal terror cells. It has also been effective, at least according to the British, in helping track down some of the people responsible for the bombings there. So, in point of fact, regardless of what the President had said some years back, the program was working. It had results. […]
The New York Times and other news organizations ought to think long and hard about whether a public’s right to know, in some cases, might overwrite somebody’s right to live, and whether, in fact, the publications of these could place in jeopardy the safety of fellow Americans.
Snow identified four real instances in which the TFTP helped track down and locate terrorists. If it becomes clear over time that the TFTP’s ability to function effectively has indeed been compromised, how many American lives have to be put at risk before the NYT is held accountable for taking national security into its own hands?