Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Shhh!! It's A "Secret"

It was so secret that anyone paying any attention during the last five years already knew about it. The Boston Globe (06.28.06):
"News reports disclosing the Bush administration's use of a special bank surveillance program to track terrorist financing spurred outrage in the White House and on Capitol Hill, but some specialists pointed out yesterday that the government itself has publicly discussed its stepped-up efforts to monitor terrorist finances since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks." Terrorist funds-tracking no secret, some say
Here's what's so funny. And pathetic: "a search of public records -- government documents posted on the Internet, congressional testimony, guidelines for bank examiners, and even an executive order President Bush signed in September 2001 -- describe how US authorities have openly sought new tools to track terrorist financing since 2001. That includes getting access to information about terrorist-linked wire transfers and other transactions, including those that travel through SWIFT." "'There have been public references to SWIFT before,' said Roger Cressey, a senior White House counterterrorism official until 2003. 'The White House is overreaching when they say [The New York Times committed] a crime against the war on terror. It has been in the public domain before." "Victor D. Comras , a former US diplomat who oversaw efforts at the United Nations to improve international measures to combat terror financing, said it was common knowledge that worldwide financial transactions were being closely monitored for links to terrorists. 'A lot of people were aware that this was going on,' said Comras, one of a half-dozen financial experts UN Secretary General Kofi Annan recruited for the task." Rest assured, however, this hasn't tempered the sputtering indignance. "The controversy continued to simmer yesterday when Senator Jim Bunning, a Republican of Kentucky, accused the Times of 'treason,' telling reporters in a conference call that it 'scares the devil out of me' that the media would reveal such sensitive information." "Representative Peter King, the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, has urged Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez to pursue 'possible criminal prosecution' of the Times, which has reported on other secret government surveillance programs." Yeah. OK. So let's put these clowns in charge of what gets printed. That ought to fix it, huh. Clarence Page, fresh on the heels of working over poor Bill O'Reilly, has more. Chicago Tribune (06.28.06):
"Governments traditionally use fear of terrorists or some other subversions of national security to excuse power grabs. It is for that reason that the Bush administration, like any other, needs to be held accountable for what it does in the name of keeping us safe. Instead of making its case to Congress, the courts and the public, Team Bush is treating accountability like one more threat to national security." Bush beats the press to distraction
Accountability? Yeah, we heard of it. Competence too. Just can't remember where.


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