Right Wing Nut House



Filed under: Media — Rick Moran @ 7:53 am

If I could sputter on line, I would do so…

This piece of rancid apologia that appeared in today’s New York Times is one of the most extraordinary examples of smug, self righteous, self-pitying, and self-aggrandizing editorializing I can ever remember reading.

No, I mean it. I’ve racked my brains for a couple of hours trying to think of something even remotely similar in brazenness, in the the twisting of facts, in outright lies, and in sheer, breathtaking arrogance toward its readers but cannot for the life of me come up with anything that approaches the intellectual corruption and demonstrable immorality represented in this cynical 300 word essay defending its outing of the top secret NSA intercept program.

If ever one needed proof that the liberal worldview (if ever its adherents were voted back into power) would be dangerous to the safety and security of the United States then this editorial should put all doubts to rest. Simply put, this editorial proves once and for all that liberals would prefer that terrorists succeed in attacking us rather than do what is necessary to protect us. The key word here is “necessary,” of course. And the fact is that the Times definition of “necessary” seems to be so limited and constricting that, if left up to them, the terrorists would have a gigantic head start and a leg up in trying to kill as many of us as they can. Any possible defense that they are serious about national security can therefore be ignored.

Either you believe there is a grave threat to the Republic and will do everything in your power to support the government’s legitimate efforts to protect us or you believe that abstract notions and ivory tower formulations of Constitutional limits on the exercise of executive power should outweigh the judgment of people who we elected to protect us from harm. The debate over executive authority itself is not the issue. Responsible opposition to any expansion of executive power is a necessary element in a democracy such as ours. But to willfully blind oneself to the consequences of one’s position - or in the Time’s case, to cynically exploit the debate for partisan political purposes - is to walk down a road I daresay most Americans would be unwilling to travel.

There are so many lies, exaggerations, and calumnious thinking in this editorial that analyzing all of it would be a tiresome job, something fit for a janitor tasked with cleaning up an overflowing toilet. I will instead take some of the more egregious violations of logic and the truth in order to try and set the record straight:

A democratic society cannot long survive if whistle-blowers are criminally punished for revealing what those in power don’t want the public to know - especially if it’s unethical, illegal or unconstitutional behavior by top officials.

This would be true if we were talking about bribe taking at the Department of Health and Human Services or contract shenanigans at the Department of Defense. But we are talking about the most closely guarded secrets in government - signals intelligence. And if, as the Times so cavalierly assumes, their sources for the story are “whistle blowers” why did these sources break the law? If they are in the intelligence community, they must take their concerns to the Inspector General. That is how they receive protection as whistle blowers not running to the New York Times. The last I looked, the Times was not even a part of the United States government, although I’m sure they think of themselves in some way as more important.

And of course the government doesn’t want us to know about the NSA program, but why? The Times automatically assumes it is because the program is “unethical, illegal, or unconstitutional.” I guess we must take our pick because the editorial is silent about what part of the program is unethical. And unless the Times is holding back information that would buttress their case for illegality or unconstitutional actions by the executive, they are talking through their hat. No one knows if this program constituted a crime. No one knows if the President exceeded his authority in authorizing the intercept program. This would all depend on technical aspects of the program that the Times is either hiding from its readers - the same readers who have a “right to know” about the program in the first place - or is ignorant of and can therefore be accused of rank partisanship in stirring up a pot; the contents of which they know little or nothing about.

Reporters need to be able to protect these sources, regardless of whether the sources are motivated by policy disputes or nagging consciences. This is doubly important with an administration as dedicated as this one is to extreme secrecy.

Leaving aside the potshot at an Administration dedicated to secrecy (someone should write a letter to the editor informing the Times that we are at war) I agree that whatever the motivation, reporters should be able to protect their sources. But wouldn’t it behoove the Times to inform its readers - you remember…the readers that have a “right to know” - what the motivation of the leaker might be? If the motivation is, in fact partisanship or a dispute over policy, I don’t know about you but I’d sure like to know that. Instead, the Times assumes that we should simply take their word as gospel and that everything the leaker has related to Mr. Risen, the Times reporter, is completely truthful and not colored in any way that would cast aspersions on any individuals. In fact, the Times assumes that everything on its pages should be taken as the truth, as something handed down from above and placed on the pages of that august and honorable institution by the finger of God; sort of like the Ten Commandments but without the burning bush or thunder and lightening.

The Times then tries to slough off its law breaking by bringing up the Plame case and with chutzpah worthy of a daylight cat burglar, they contrast the “good leak” that has probably severely damaged a program vital to our national security with the “bad leak” of outing a CIA desk jockey who a Special Prosecutor determined was not a covert agent at the time her name appeared in the press and who was part of a partisan group at the CIA seeking to undermine a policy they opposed - the Iraq War:

There is a world of difference between that case and a current one in which the administration is trying to find the sources of a New York Times report that President Bush secretly authorized spying on American citizens without warrants. The spying report was a classic attempt to give the public information it deserves to have. The Valerie Wilson case began with a cynical effort by the administration to deflect public attention from hyped prewar intelligence on Iraq. The leak inquiry in that case ended up targeting the press, and led to the jailing of a Times reporter.

First of all, I agree that there is a “world of difference” between the two cases for reasons I stated above. But did President Bush “secretly authorize” the intercept program? Considering that the program’s legality was vetted through the Department of Justice on a monthly basis as well as being examined by White House lawyers and attorneys at the NSA itself not to mention several Congressional briefings, it would seem that the Time’s definition of “secret” needs an overhaul. If the Times means that the President didn’t inform their reporters of the program then they have a case. But if the Times means that no one else knew about the intercept program, they are lying. This was not John Mitchell authorizing the Watergate Plumbers to break into Democratic headquarters to place wiretaps or even other Nixon era abuses that were not authorized and where Congress was not briefed. The program has at least the veneer of legality in how it was vetted. Any judgment that it was unconstitutional or even illegal can only be made by an examination of the program in its totality - not by reading some slap-dash summary put out by a blatantly partisan newspaper.

And any “targeting of the press” in the Valerie Plame case was not the result of the Administration’s investigation but of an Independent Counsel’s probe that the Times itself had been screaming for. This kind of dripping hypocrisy is par for the course where the Times is concerned. They believe that their readers are idiots who can’t remember anything that happened more than 24 hours ago.

The White House has yet to show that national security was harmed by the report on electronic spying, which did not reveal the existence of such surveillance - only how it was being done in a way that seems outside the law.

The Times felt it necessary to inject a little humor into the editorial. The disingenuousness and irony here is so thick you can put it on a scoop of ice cream. In order for the White House to “prove” that national security was harmed by the outing of the program, they would have to compromise national security further - all to satisfy the New York Times! The Administration would have to publish more details of how we are keeping track of our enemies in order to satisfy the New York Times challenge - a challenge that the Times knows full well the Administration cannot answer.

Finally, the Times plays the martyr and takes a stand on the battlements, waving the bloody shirt:

Leak investigations are often designed to distract the public from the real issues by blaming the messenger. Take the third leak inquiry, into a Washington Post report on secret overseas C.I.A. camps where prisoners are tortured or shipped to other countries for torture. The administration said the reporting had damaged America’s image. Actually, the secret detentions and torture did that.

Illegal spying and torture need to be investigated, not whistle-blowers and newspapers.

The fact that most leak investigations are not designed to “distract the public” but rather to punish people who break the law may be a matter of opinion. But when the “messenger” takes part in blatantly illegal actions that could endanger national security, the idea that the government shouldn’t be asking questions is ludicrous. The First Amendment protections for the press in this country as they relate to national security are among the broadest in the industrialized world, if not the most expansive. Mr. Risen would be in jail if he wrote for a British newspaper given their Official Secrets Act. But the idea that the Times and its employees should be exempt from what, in some quarters, could be considered traitorous activity goes beyond sophistry and enters the realm of cynicism. No one believes them when they claim to be serving “the public good.” Their self-interest and partisanship evidently knows no bounds.

It may prove out that this NSA intercept program is a clear cut case of abuse of executive power by President Bush but to date, there is no such evidence and in fact, what little we know would tend to point to the opposite case; that the program was necessary in the aftermath of 9/11 to protect us. But as long as the New York Times continues its assault on the Administration’s justifiable attempts to battle an enemy that has infiltrated this country with hundreds, perhaps thousands of agents, operatives, sympathizers, and financiers, then the country will be at risk not of dictatorship but of having its citizens incinerated just to satisfy the partisan blood lust of the New York Times and their ideological allies in the Democratic party.


Tom McGuire also has a jaw dropping post…As in “jaw dropping good:”

What if what “those in power” are concealing are important national security secrets in wartime? Who makes the call? And how long can we survive if every disputed wartime decision is debated on the nation’s front pages?

Read it all as Tom also presents some interesting corallaries with the Plame case.


  1. Bush may very well have operated in a gray area as the current laws predate the latest cell phone and computer technology. Had he tried to get the laws updated and amended Schumer and friends would have run screaming to the nearest microphone and given the game away.

    Comment by Santay — 1/4/2006 @ 9:43 am

  2. The NYT will sink into oblivion. Their shareholders should revolt and decapitate all current management. “Pinchie” should be deported to Saudi Arabia so he can be with his Wahhabi paramours.

    Comment by nikko — 1/4/2006 @ 9:46 am


    My latest column blasts the “good” leak/”bad” leak meme now being used by the Left to defend the NYT/NSA story. To the Times’ defenders, keeping secrets to protect counterterrorism operations is an impeachable offense, but keeping secrets to prote…

    Trackback by Michelle Malkin — 1/4/2006 @ 12:32 pm

  4. Ive been following Al-NY Times descent into demented insanity and madness for a while, BUT, after readinng this rant last night, my jaw drpped…This is beyond belief.

    Heres the money quote:

    “The White House has yet to show that national security was harmed by the report on electronic spying, which did not reveal the existence of such surveillance – only how it was being done in a way that seems outside the law.”

    Im a psychiatrist and deal with the mentally ill suffering from psychotic delusions and loss of contact with reality all the time, but this takes the cake.

    Comment by Doctorted — 1/4/2006 @ 1:08 pm

  5. [...] This editorial: On the Subject of Leaks - New York Times is making some waves (Redstate, Right Wing Nuthouse, and Ankle Biting Pundits for examp [...]

    Pingback by Justus For All » Whistle-blowers — 1/4/2006 @ 1:23 pm

  6. Reporters have the right to protect their sources from my point of view as long as their is no criminality involved in what the source is communicating to the new agency. When the law is broken the Media goes from being a news source to an accomplice and therefore have the choice of facing criminal prosecution or releasing the information to investigators. Non-negotiable.

    Comment by Mike — 1/4/2006 @ 2:50 pm

  7. Kbible wanted to leave a comment here but was prevented from doing so by my anti-spam program. Here it is:

    Can I just say, that I wouldn’t care if the NSA listened in on every phone call I made for the rest of my life, if I knew that this would help keep terrorists from killing another 3,000 Americans in one morning…

    NY Times needs to get a BIG clue. Americans spend a lot of time watching both spy/action films and tv shows like Law & Order. From their Hollywood “education” they see that spying is a necessary thing, and that warrants take precious time. Imagine Q telling James Bond that he can’t use his special ear-piece spy device until he files forms in triplicate and waits for a judge to issue a warrant. So James is sitting in a hotel room, while the bad guys plot next door. By the time the warrant has been issued, they’ve already eaten their continental breakfast and left to blow up some innocent people…

    Comment by Rick Moran — 1/4/2006 @ 5:39 pm

  8. Time for a consumer boycott of their advertisers, Rick. (Some bloggers are talking class action but I don’t think that’s doable or a good idea.) Morgan Stanley is concerned about the paper’s finances, and cutting revenues even more would be the only way to get change. At some point, even the family will decide Pinch has gone around the bend.

    Comment by clarice feldman — 1/4/2006 @ 8:42 pm

  9. The NY Times editorial board wouldn’t help protect Americans from terrorists even if the 9/11 hijackers had flown an airplane right into the newsroom.

    It’s well past time to call them to account.

    Comment by Black Jack — 1/5/2006 @ 12:27 am

  10. [...] tand up and call them on their churlish childishness. Related: RightwingNuthouse calls it breathtaking arrogance and notes that the Times insists [...]

    Pingback by The Anchoress » The NY Times defines Chutzpah — 1/5/2006 @ 12:45 am

  11. (Click here for some earlier related posts.) … Check out this al-NYT editorial, people, then tell me again all about that fair and unbiased press: …

    Comment by Small Town Veteran >> Jihadis and Wiretaps and Moonbats! Oh, My! -- Part 13 — 1/5/2006 @ 1:35 am

  12. This “whistleblower” facade defense is getting insanely tiring.

    Stand in front of a camera. Tell the public what law is getting trashed. But don’t you goddamn dare stay in that “sources” cloakroom and expect me to buy a minute of your sh*t and not think you just have a goddamned politically sculpted bone to pick.

    Comment by TC@LeatherPenguin — 1/5/2006 @ 5:20 am

  13. you just have a goddamned politically sculpted bone to pick.

    Or a book to sell.

    Comment by DaveG — 1/5/2006 @ 9:20 am

  14. “A liberal is a person too open-minded to take his own side in a quarrel.”

    –Robert Frost

    Comment by Khornet — 1/5/2006 @ 11:51 am

  15. A Leak Is A Leak

    The NYT ranks as the most audacious rag in print, and lacks the moral clarity to distinquish a leak from treason in a time of war.

    Trackback by Hyscience — 1/5/2006 @ 3:30 pm

  16. Hundreds of thousand/millions of past and current DoD employees carry clearances (and national secrets) throughout their lives never once inappropriately revealing those secrets to anyone, including their closest family members. I can forgive the Times personnel. They have proven time and again to be terminally stupid and don’t know any better. However, the people who are leaking these secrets know better. They could have walked into any one of several Inspector General offices and asked to speak to someone holding the appropriate clearance. They could have even walked into the closest FBI office and asked to speak to a cleared agent. I can’t think of any circumstance that will ever warrant leaking classified information to a newspaper. These leakers know this. They need to be hunted down and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. That is the only way to stop this crap.

    Comment by Cranal Retentive — 1/5/2006 @ 6:05 pm

  17. Reframing the issue. To what extent can someone ignore the law in pursuit of the safety of American citizens? And where will it end if the ends always justify the means? Is there not some danger in destroying the very democracy that we all are attempting to protect?

    Comment by Mark Blucher — 1/8/2006 @ 10:49 am

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