Soviets Had the KGB -- Al Qaeda Has the NYT
All our top secrets, delivered right to your doorstep!…
[by Mac Johnson] 1/3/06
spends $40 billion per year on intelligence operations aimed at
our enemies’ secret activities. All our enemies have
to do is subscribe to the New York Times and, for as little
as $4.65 per week, they can discover most of our secret operations
-- at least as long as a Republican is President.
reading the Times won’t give them an accurate picture
of the growth of the U.S. economy, the progress in the Iraq
War, or the average American’s political opinions. But
it will provide them a detailed description of almost any classified
military, CIA, or NSA operation designed to catch or kill them.
Johnson is a freelance writer and biologist in Cambridge,
Mass. Mr. Johnson holds a Doctorate in Molecular and
Cellular Biology from Baylor College of Medicine. He
is a frequent opinion contributor to Human
Events Online. His website can be found at macjohnson.com [go
to Johnson index]
We are now two weeks into the artificial brouhaha engineered
by the Times when it exposed that the National Security Agency
(NSA) had been authorized by the President to monitor the international
phone calls and emails of terror suspects within the US.
Despite the best efforts of the Times and its backup singers
in the mainstream media, this revelation has not resonated as
scandalous with the American people. A Rasmussen poll released
December 28th revealed that 64% of Americans believe that the
NSA should intercept such international communications. This
was the majority opinion among Republicans (81%), Democrats (51%)
and Independents (57%) alike. A mere 23% thought the NSA should
be prohibited from such warrant-less monitoring.
And 68% of respondents
said they were following the NSA wiretapping story closely,
so the President’s critics cannot blame
ignorance for the rejection of their arguments by the citizenry.
Indeed, the respondents understood very well that President authorizing
such eavesdropping to assess national security threats is not
new or unusual -- only 26% were misinformed enough to think that
Bush was the first President to do so.
Contrary to press
reports, there is no “Wiretapping Scandal.” But
there is a “Leak Scandal”. For many Americans, the
issue raised by the Times’ revelation of the secret NSA
operation is not why or how it was authorized; but why the Times thinks it can expose such classified information during a time
Indeed, this spying
operation was judged so vital to the U.S. effort to defeat
Al Qaeda that it is said that President Bush,
upon hearing that the Times had learned of the covert program,
summoned Arthur Sulzberger and Bill Keller (Publisher and Executive
Editor of the Times, respectively) to the Oval Office for a personal
meeting. At this unusual face-to-face discussion, the President
explained the importance of the eavesdropping effort and that
exposing it would likely cause terrorists to change their communications
practices –thus depriving America of an essential source
And yet the Times,
believing it could twist the story into “Snoopgate” and
frighten average Americans into believing that the country was
on a slippery slope toward Orwell’s Big Brother, chose
to print the secret information anyway -- knowing it would harm
our war effort.
If an individual citizen had learned of this program and communicated
its existence and operational details to our enemies, we would
imprison him. Yet the NY Times expects public accolades for doing
the same thing.
How can the United States win a war against a worldwide secret
organization like Al Qaeda, when we cannot conduct even the simplest
classified operations against them without everything ending
up on the front page of the New York Times?
The NSA case is not unique either.
In May of 2005 the
Times ran a story detailing a classified CIA operation to transport
captured terror suspects from one
international facility to another using a covert network of planes.
It is hard to imagine why the Times thought the American people
had such a pressing need to know about this program that they
were obligated to blow its cover. It is even harder to imagine
why the story included so many details -- plane tail numbers,
flight dates, subcontractor’s names, shell companies, home
airports, even the names of individual men associated with the
CIA covert air operations.
The exposé was made easy by the gross incompetence of
the modern CIA. But the big question remains: why would the Times want to publish details that add nothing to the story’s
debatable value in addressing civil liberties concerns, but are
very valuable to those who might wish to disrupt future CIA transportation
efforts? Indeed, several of the private contractors named by
the Times are now the focus of lawsuits from the ACLU and former
terror suspects, as well as criminal investigations by foreign
And how secure are these private companies and the small airports
from which they are based, now that Al Qaeda knows who and where
The Times is
not alone in such revelations of national secrets, of course.
details about the CIA’s hidden network
of overseas interrogation facilities were proudly blasted into
the public domain by the Washington Post, which even
speculated later that the New York Times decision to
ignore the President’s
appeal not to publish the NSA story was influenced by the Post having “scooped” the Times on
the secret prison story, the Times later helped the world
fill in some of the blanks from the Post story, so that
our allies in the covert operations have all been exposed to
diplomatic ridicule and potential terrorist
A number of outlets of the mainstream media seem to be in a
gleeful contest with one another to publicly expose as many of
our secret operations as possible. In the guise of being a valuable
watchdog on government, these media organizations are serving
mostly as watchdogs for our enemies.
If the press
is, as they claim, the ultimate check on government, who is
on the press? Will they police themselves? Will
the Washington Post criticize the New York Times,
where many Post personnel wish to work one day? No. The ultimate
the press in cases such as this is the prosecutor’s office.
As we saw in the Valerie Plame debacle, a rare instance in which
the media supported a leak investigation (solely because they
believed, incorrectly, that it might ensnare George Bush or Karl
Rove), when a prosecutor wishes to force a reporter to give up
her sources, he can. And the world will not collapse. The First
Amendment will not shrivel. And our Democracy will not fall pallid
should vigorously pursue the New York Times’ serious
leak of classified information, and force the Times to reveal
their sources. Anyone guilty of a crime should then be indicted,
regardless of who they are or how self-righteous they behave.
It is ridiculous to imprison a foreign agent for passing secrets
to our enemies, then shower praise on the New York Times for
doing the same.
The convicted spy
Aldrich Ames sits in a Federal Prison today for communicating
some of our dearest secrets to the Soviet Union.
Perhaps his real crime was forgetting to “Cc” the
New York Times on those communications. It is time to stop treating
the media elite as though they have the right to ignore without
consequence any law that gets in the way of a journalistic scoop
or a political agenda.
Certainly, the media
themselves have come to believe that they have a quasi-governmental
authority to randomly declassify any
military or intelligence operation. Consider the following quote
from a December 24th New York Times piece exposing yet another
NSA operation, a data mining effort: “The current and former
government officials who discussed the program were granted anonymity
because it remains classified.”
Times has “granted” anonymity. Really? How
about prosecutorial “immunity”? Can the Times grant
that? We should vigorously prosecute such hubristic non-sense
and end the anti-American counter-intelligence service that our
media so willfully provides to the world.
Contrary to their belief, journalists are not privileged to
violate laws. They are not prosecutors capable of granting legal
protection to sources. And they are not in charge of determining
when and if classified material is made public. They are mere
citizens, like you and me, subject to the same rights and restrictions
as any other American. -one-
First appeared at Human Events Online
2006 Mac Johnson