The controversy following revelations that U.S. intelligence agencies have monitored suspected terrorist related communications since 9/11 reflects a severe case of selective amnesia by the New York Times and other media opponents of President Bush. They certainly didn’t show the same outrage when a much more invasive and indiscriminate domestic surveillance program came to light during the Clinton administration in the 1990’s. At that time, the Times called the surveillance “a necessity.”“If you made a phone call today or sent an e-mail to a friend, there’s a good chance what you said or wrote was captured and screened by the country’s largest intelligence agency.” (Steve Kroft, CBS’ 60 Minutes)
Those words were aired on February 27, 2000 to describe the National Security Agency and an electronic surveillance program called Echelon whose mission, according to Kroft,“is to eavesdrop on enemies of the state: foreign countries, terrorist groups and drug cartels. But in the process, Echelon’s computers capture virtually every electronic conversation around the world.”
Echelon was, or is (its existence has been under-reported in the American media), an electronic eavesdropping program conducted by the United States and a few select allies such as the United Kingdom.
Tellingly, the existence of the program was confirmed not by the New York Times or the Washington Post or by any other American media outlet – these were the Clinton years, after all, and the American media generally treats Democrat administrations far more gently than Republican administrations – but by an Australian government official in a statement made to an Australian television news show.
The Times actually defended the existence of Echelon when it reported on the program following the Australians’ revelations.“Few dispute the necessity of a system like Echelon to apprehend foreign spies, drug traffickers and terrorists….”And the Times article quoted an N.S.A. official in assuring readers“...that all Agency activities are conducted in accordance with the highest constitutional, legal and ethical standards.”
Of course, that was on May 27, 1999 and Bill Clinton, not George W. Bush, was president.
The essential point for the Times is clearly the last sentence above. When a Democrat president does it, it is essential for national security. When a Republican does it, it represents the imminent implementation of a police state.
Just so you remember, glance at my sidebar for a moment, at the video graphic of 9/11 that is playing there. That was in 2001. It is now 2006. Few people after 9/11 thought that we would be spared another series of attacks--and yet we were.
Why do you suppose that is? Are we simply lucky? Many Democrats and their lunatic fringe would say that the threat was deliberately exaggerated. If it weren't for the fact that terrorist attacks have been happening all over the world at an increasing rate--in Europe, in Asia, in the Middle East, in Russia.
But not in the U.S.
Does any reasonable person doubt for even one millisecond that if the Islamofascist thugs and their seemingly endless supply of human fodder could have attacked us in these last four years that they would have?
As I am forever telling my patients, actions have consequences. The actions that the Bush Administration took after 9/11 to secure the safety of Americans have had at least one indisputable outcome.
We are beginning to get an idea of the potential consequences of the NY Times' ill-considered and agenda-driven flaunting of national security:
Federal agents have launched an investigation into a surge in the purchase of large quantities of disposable cell phones by individuals from the Middle East and Pakistan, ABC News has learned.
The phones — which do not require purchasers to sign a contract or have a credit card — have many legitimate uses, and are popular with people who have bad credit or for use as emergency phones tucked away in glove compartments or tackle boxes. But since they can be difficult or impossible to track, law enforcement officials say the phones are widely used by criminal gangs and terrorists. ... "There's very little audit trail assigned to this phone. One can walk in, purchase it in cash, you don't have to put down a credit card, buy any amount of minutes to it, and you don't, frankly, know who bought this," said Jack Cloonan, a former FBI official who is now an ABC News consultant.
Law enforcement officials say the phones were used to detonate the bombs terrorists used in the Madrid train attacks in March 2004. The FBI is closely monitoring the potentially dangerous development, which came to light following recent large-quantity purchases in California and Texas, officials confirmed.
In one New Year's Eve transaction at a Target store in Hemet, Calif., 150 disposable tracfones were purchased. Suspicious store employees notified police, who called in the FBI, law enforcement sources said. In an earlier incident, at a Wal-mart store in Midland, Texas, on December 18, six individuals attempted to buy about 60 of the phones until store clerks became suspicious and notified the police. A Wal-mart spokesperson confirmed the incident.
RELIAPUNDIT: ALL of these large sales came RIGHT AFTER the NYTIMES NSA leak (12/15/05).
The New York Times has become the ultimate profile in hypocrisy and spite. And they have deluded themselves into thinking they are championing liberty, even as they cheerlead for its enemies.