WASHINGTON, June 26—President Bush today condemned as “disgraceful” the disclosure last week of a secret program to investigate and track terrorists that relied on a vast international database containing Americans’ banking transactions.
From the New York Times. I had to read this sentence a couple of times. Note that Bush calls the disclosure disgraceful, not the program.
“Traditionally in this country in a time of war, members of the press have acknowledged that the commander in chief, in the exercise of his powers, sometimes has to do things secretly in order to protect the public,” Mr. Snow said. “This is a highly unusual departure.”
That may be true, Mr. Snow. But if said secret things are illegal, isn’t it true that the press has an obligation to report on them?
Despite the fact that ‘terror’ isn’t really something you can fight a war against (at least not with an army) the administration somewhere along the line got the impression that war justifies gross abuse of power in violating civil liberties.
During his briefing today, Mr. Snow also called for stepping back from the “passions” ignited by the articles and called on journalists, the government and “consumers of news” to engage in a thoughtful debate about the role of the press in the struggle against terrorism.
This is not about the role of the press in the struggle against terrorism – it is about the role of the press to serve as a watchdog of the government – the role of the press to report when the government crosses the line. It seems to me that the government is getting very uppity about getting called out on their bull.
Benjamin Franklin once wrote that, “Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.”
The invasion of civil liberties is perhaps the biggest hurt terrorists can impose upon us. And they’re using our own government to do it.
Here’s a link to the NYT article: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/26/washington/26cnd-prexy.html?hp&ex=1151380800&en=f041c93d1f1731c4&ei=5094&partner=homepage
And here’s a link to the Daily Show’s coverage, courtesy of http://www.onegoodmove.org: http://onegoodmove.org/1gm/1gmarchive/2006/06/fooled_ya_once.html
The good news is that the government has arrested seven people on terrorist charges. The bad news is that they have no connections to any known terrorist organization, no capability for carrying out a terrorist plot, and no plot to carry out.