Ultima Thule

In ancient times the northernmost region of the habitable world - hence, any distant, unknown or mysterious land.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Fish or cut bait time -- but is there a will in the Bush administration?

By Aussiegirl

Another brilliant article by Clarice Feldman, who is almost single-handedly restoring my faith in lawyers.

Sadly, the Bush administration is in full appeasement mode and will not follow through with her suggestion. They are engaged in a full-court press campaign to appease all their enemies, foreign and domestic. It's impossible at this point to figure out what the Bush foreign or domestic policies are, but strong actions are not likely on any front other than pushing a failed Immigration bill, leaving patriotic Americans frustrated once again with the continuing inaction on many fronts. There appears to be a major loss of nerve in this adminstration, due to reasons that can only be guessed at. Perhaps compassionate conservatism can be defined as trying to get everyone to like you. A policy which usually leads to the exact opposite.

The American Thinker

In March, Gabriel Schoenfeld wrote a brilliant piece in Commentary in which he argued that the New York Times revelations about the NSA program warranted prosecution under Section 798 of Title 18, the so-called Comint statute. In the article he details the history and language of the Act and its 1950 amendment and argues that the language is unambiguous and certainly covers the paper’s disclosures of the NSA program, which substantially harmed our counter terrorism activities.

[...]The latest move is the New York Times report on the way the U.S. tracks terrorists’ movement of funds from financial institutions. In this case, as in the NSA leak, Congressional members of the intelligence committee, Republican and Democrat, asked them not to print this information disclosure of which was harmful to national security. As in the NSA case, the White House warned the paper not to publish this information.

And again the unelected editors of the paper arrogantly ignored this admonition. The very people arguing often that war might not be the answer, that law enforcement and intelligence are sufficient to protect us, are also doing everything they can to make those tools unavailing.

And this latest leak seems to seriously jeopardize our counter terrorism activities. As a reader wrote to Glenn Reynolds:

[quote]What has not been stressed is that SWIFT is not used for individuals. It is used for processing money transfers, stock transfers and bond transfers from companies, governments, banks, insurance companies and NGO’s. What we essentially had on file was the holdings for almost all our clients and the clearance data for these transactions dating back for years. We had to keep all this on file to satisfy all the governmental regulations on taxations, etc.

What the NY Times has essentially done is open up to the terrorists the trails of all their transactions and how the banking procedures of money laundering was done for them by the system. They have essentially stopped dead the ability to track this money and keep it from being put in the hands of our worst enemies. Whether the terrorists might have guessed that their money was being transferred is a moot point. The NY Times had told them that their worst fears have been realized and that they need to find another way to move money around the world. They know it for sure now. Thank you, Bill Keller, and when the nice young man or woman from down the street is killed by one of
these terrorists I can thank you for that as well.

If Schoenfeld is wrong, and the Act is insufficient to prosecute these breaches of security by the leakers and the publishers, than the Attorney General should have proposed new legislation. He hasn’t. Therefore, I assume Schoenfeld’s point is correct: the Act is adequate to proceed.

So, what’s keeping the Attorney General from acting to halt this bleeding of critical information to our enemies?

Frankly, if he doesn’t act soon, Attorney General Gonzales should be removed and replaced by someone with the will to Act . Failing to Act is simply emboldening further those who apparently think the war on the war on terror is more important than what our elected officials consider critical to the war on terror’s success.


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