Wednesday, June 28, 2006
President Bush vs. The New York Times
Instead of reading The New York Times, it's quite possible White House staffers are using the venerated newspaper as fish wrap or lining for canary cages these days.

President Bush, Vice President Cheney, and congressional leaders -- primarily Republicans -- are calling a recent Times report disgraceful, dangerous, even illegal.

In a nutshell: The Times told the story of a secret program to track terrorists by monitoring bank accounts, and the White House believes the Times report has endangered national security.

Some concern seems reasonable. It is never good when the away team gets a free peek at the home team's playbook. Furthermore, terrorists widely and commonly monitor U.S. media sources for their own intelligence gathering purposes.

We know, for example, that when newspapers reported on how portable phones were being used to track terrorist movements, the terrorists hung up and quit using them. And a former KGB intelligence chief once told me that reading American papers and watching American TV was an essential part of his spy job, simply because free societies generate so much valuable information.

That said, the other side of the coin is also clear. The New York Times (and by the way, The Wall Street Journal and The Los Angeles Times, too) could report on this program only because people working on it leaked information.

There is hot talk here in the nation's capital about pursuing criminal charges against these newspapers and designing new laws to stop potential leaks from making it into the press.

So what do you think: Is the problem that these newspapers reported this secret or is it that the secret was not being kept very well in the first place?
Posted By Tom Foreman, CNN Correspondent: 2:56 PM ET
  63 Comments
The Newspapers who report secrets like these should be prosecuted. Newspapers are looking for new ways to generate publicity for themselves, as their readership drops due to the information superhighway. A line has been crossed and its time for an example to be set
Posted By Anonymous blogrfactor, NY NY : 3:18 PM ET
We have a free press in this country. If the administration does not want information broadcast, then don't leak it in the first place.
Posted By Anonymous Michael C., Holiday, FL : 3:18 PM ET
The problem is that the current administration is bypassing checks and balances at every turn and their credibility is gone. With the recent illegal wiretapping going on I believe it would have been irresponsible for the New York Times not to report this story.
Posted By Anonymous Mike Trantham, Oklahoma City, Ok : 3:20 PM ET
This is tricky. On the one hand, the press has the freedom to report on whatever it chooses--although we hope it will use the necessary discretion. On the other hand, information is classified at a certain security level for a reason. That being said, sometimes both the leak and the reporting of it are necessary. Afterall, Watergate isn't just a nice hotel.
Posted By Anonymous Heather, Washington, DC : 3:22 PM ET
I think it's disgraceful that our "public servants" can't keep their mouths shut. If something is classified, there's supposed to be a good reason for it. I don't blame the newspapers for reporting the program, it's their job to keep us informed. It's our government's job to keep us safe. Whoever leaked this to the press should be prosecuted and barred from serving on any committees where they might learn any more "secrets".
Posted By Anonymous Barbara, Ventura, CA : 3:23 PM ET
First off, you'd think terrorists would already know the US would be using tactics as in monitoring bank accounts and cell phones to tract their activity. I'd highly doubt terrorists are not thinking of these things, so what's the big deal in newspapers running reports about it? I think it's less about exposing tactics and more revealing the failures of the White House and the administrations inability to keep their mouths shut. Let's see, will there be another round of musicial chairs for the Bush administration???
Posted By Anonymous Devin Rose, Houston, Texas : 3:25 PM ET
Freedom of speech; the problem is that the information is being leaked - not that it is being printed.
Posted By Anonymous Joy, NYC : 3:30 PM ET
I wonder if the leak is intended to serve a similar purpose to the proposed constitutional amendments: diverting attention from this administration's many failures.
Posted By Anonymous Gene, Santa Fe, NM : 4:48 PM ET
Balancing national security and the rights granted by our free society have never been more challenging. The essential question would seem to be "who spilled the beans?" If this was a classified operation, then the crime was the disclosure, not the printing. At the same time, printing information that directly exposes clandestine operations or operators ( spies- Valerie Plame) crosses a line where both parties should be held to task.
Posted By Anonymous Tom, St. Augustine, Fl : 5:18 PM ET
What I find disgraceful is that the President of the United States acts as if he is above the laws and the constitution that he swore an oath to protect and defend. While I understand the need for secrecy in certain situations, this administration cannot continue to use a concept as loosely defined as the GWOT to provide rationale for every action that is above the law. Further, I believe that if Congress behaved more like an institution with oversight of the Executive branch and less like a rubber stamp for the administration then publications such as the Times would not be put in the position of weighing moral and constitutional concerns against those of security.
Posted By Anonymous Rob N., Washington, DC : 5:19 PM ET
The press is a critical part of the checks and balances of this nation. It has been and always will be.

Government whistleblowers help the average citizen known when his or her rights are being circumvented and abused. The White House has always feared this because they know, from wiretaps, to phone records and now to banking, that they are violating their very oath of office and the laws they swore to uphold.

Very wag the dog of them. They are wrong so make it sound like the the press broke the law. I'll never buy it.
Posted By Anonymous Dennis, Philadelphia, PA : 5:20 PM ET
Make no mistake about it, this is the New York Times versus the United States. I wonder how many people will die because of the information that was printed?
Posted By Anonymous Ted, Mandeville, La. : 5:22 PM ET
When the Administration is doing something that is unlawful, the media MUST publish the facts. Just because the President and his Attorney General say that their actions are "Constitutional" does not make them so. The Law of the Land IS the Constitution, not a rogue administration's self serving interpretation. We are all the victims of this injustice and are too uninformed to know or do something about it. The media needs to do MORE, not less.
Posted By Anonymous Randy Camarillo, CA : 5:23 PM ET
The problem is not the press, but a run away government operating outside the law. Since Congress has abdicated their responsibility to the Administration those of us who cling to the concept of a government of the people by the people & for the people believe we have a right to be informed.
I am thankful for the few reporters and their editors and publishers who dare take the risk of informing us. I truely believe loss of the rule of law is a far greater danger than zealots & "terrorists".
Posted By Anonymous Evert Oldham, Flora Vista, New Mexico : 5:31 PM ET
Of course I am not surprised to see comments posted against the bush administration since it seems to be the popular thing to do Media is a liberal as it gets
Posted By Anonymous Virgil Irvine, Kentucky : 5:33 PM ET
Just to put this in perspective how this administration uses issues like these to twist this nation into a paranoid lot.

Do they actually believe that the terrorists do not know that they are being monitored this way?
Posted By Anonymous Howard R. Chicago, IL : 5:33 PM ET
If you read the article most of it is boilerplate about us info from SWIFT and the rest quotes from administration officials complaining about its disclosure. There is nothing new here that wasn't discussed publicly in the days after 9/11. In fact if it weren't for continual news coverage and on-air interviews by disgruntled administration officials it would be highly unlikely that any terrorist group would have heard of the program.
Posted By Anonymous Alan, Chicago, IL : 5:34 PM ET
The government people who leaked this story - any story - should be fired immediately and nothing should be done to the newspapers who were fed the story. Why punish the newspapers? They didn't break the law.

That said, I agree with the blogger who said this is just a case of the GOP diverting attention from the administration's DAILY failure to do their job - which should be acting in the best interests of the country. The USA voted against having a king many years ago. How did we end up with one now?
Posted By Anonymous Margaret, Thousand Oaks CA : 5:34 PM ET
When applying for a mortgage at a credit union, one of the disclosure pages notes :

" Patriot Act Disclosure: To help the govt fight the funding of terrorism and money laundering activities, Fed. law requires all financial institutions to obtain, verify, and record information that identifies each person who opens a mortagage account."

First, I admit this is tangential to the int'l use of power to vet people; I'd also say that such obvious use of excessive US gov't power is no secret, that Americans' careless assumption of personal privacy and freedom is ironic at the very least, and that it's absurd for the govt to pursue what is just good information finding on the part of the NYT.

The problem is more that the govt assumes that if it isn't talked about and people dont' know about it, that it's okay and the public doesn't care.
Posted By Anonymous G Church, Houston, TX : 5:35 PM ET
The practice of monitoring the bank accounts, phone logs, emails, credit cards or pants sizes of suspected terrorists, is not the problem. The practice of violating the rights of U.S. citizens without the proper oversight is the problem. Taking it upon itself to proclaim that contacting a judge, a high ranking, senior judge, to secure a warrent, is no longer a prudent thing to do in order to spy on a U.S. citizen is a dangerous problem and an even more dangerous precedent. An administration that seems intent on seizing as much power from the other branches of government as possible is the problem. If we continually strip away our constitutional rights and freedoms in the name of combating evil, then we are no better than the terrorists themselves. They are proclaiming to be battling the evil that is us. What is different about that rationale? No one. Not even the leftest of the left are saying not to destroy these guys. They are crazed religious zealots who have lost their minds and souls and have nothing left to care about and should be put down like the rabid dogs they are. Just don't destroy our fragile democracy in the process.
Posted By Anonymous John Simpson, Minneapolis, MN : 5:36 PM ET
Thanks to The New York Times I feel less safe now. Also, the next time one of our military personel gets killed in Iraq I'll be wondering if this secret that was let out by The New York Times had anything to do with it. It does not matter that one is Democrat or Republican, what upsets me is that this was done in a time of war, isn't that treason?
Posted By Anonymous Alice El Paso, TX : 5:36 PM ET
I find it ironic that Bush claims this is a threat to national security. Especially when he is a threat to national security. No only has he made it nearly impossible for us to travel overseas without fearing for our lives, he also had plenty to do with leaking information about an undercover CIA agent. He claimed he would crack down on anyone involved, but I see plenty in his administration that didn't receive any punishment. Meanwhile, leaking our own agent's identity because her husband told the truth (not this admin's policy), is what George Sr. once said is done by only the most insidious traitors. Some more irony.
Posted By Anonymous Bart Raleigh, NC : 5:37 PM ET
Nobody seems concerned that the media is assisting the terrorists by providing them with information. There are free speech rights but there is also supposed to be a level of common sense and responsibility in deciding what to report. I consider it very irresponsible for the media to report how insecure a particular nuclear plant is, providing diagrams of the layout and security checkpoints of said plant and describing how an assailant might get in. The story about the wiretapping and the bank tracking are close seconds to this kind of foolishness. If you don't realize the editors of the newspapers are anti-Bush and put their personal political beliefs above your safety and our national security, you are being misled by the media. Clearly our ability to listen and detect "chatter" and to close down money transfers has helped us thwart attacks and has hurt the terrorists. Now we have lost a few easy ways to fight this war in the name of our individual rights, playing to liberal fears of misuse of Presidential power. If there has been a misuse of power, I challenge the liberal media to show me one plaintiff in one lawsuit declaring it! I used to call myself a liberal, but in light of all this post 9-11 foolishness, now I'm a Zell Miller (moderate) Democrat!
Posted By Anonymous Mary Zimmer, Santa Cruz, CA : 5:38 PM ET
This is ridiculous. Terrorists knew a long time ago that tracking bank accounts was a way to find them. This is such old news to them...its our governments' job to find ways to track and find them without their knowledge...we need some imagination and intelligent people...obviously they are not in the White House...
Posted By Anonymous Kevin Colebank, Tazewell, Virginia : 5:40 PM ET
First, we have freedom of the press in this country, at least for now. That's the way it has always been, and we pray that's the way it will always be.

Second and most important, this is a rogue administration which violates the Constitutution it swore to uphold. If they are so interested in our security, why are they turning control of our ports and airports over to foreign interests? Why are they leaving the borders open and welcoming millions from corrupt countries into this country with opening arms, even to the point of giving away our Constitututional rights to illegals as though our Constitutution was a prize in a box of Cracker Jacks? Why have the sold the plant which manufactures our weapons to a Dubai company?

No, we have a right to know what they're doing. If we lose the right to freedom of the press, we lose our right to know. When we lose that, this administration will have effectively turned this country into the dictatorship which Bush said would be so much easier to run, as long as he's the dictator.

If any legal action is taken, I would prefer it be against this administration, not by.
Posted By Anonymous Sonya Gaub, Salem, Oregon : 5:40 PM ET
Didn't Bush ALREADY tell us all about this strategy right after September 11?

Also, why is this administration so angry with the NYT ,yet, not at all bothered by the Robert Novak report identifying the brass plate company (working in Iran) which was a CIA (including Valeria Plame) front company?
Posted By Anonymous Carol New York, New York : 5:44 PM ET
The problem is that there are people living it up in America because of our free society, who would go so far as to endanger our security in order to further their agenda of hate and power.
If nobody was publishing the stories, then nobody would leak them!!
Posted By Anonymous Joe Semah, Lakewood, NJ : 5:44 PM ET
It didn't appear to bother Bush and Cheney when the identity of a CIA operative was leaked- which put not only Valerie Plame, the victim of that leak, in jeapardy, but also any other operatives with whom she had contact.
In fact, they seemed to brush it off as unimportant, though it constituted an act of treason against the US. Now they're outraged? What hypocrasy!
Posted By Anonymous Jacky McDaniel, Fredericksburg, VA : 5:44 PM ET
How can we trust these guys who bungled Katrina with properly handling wiretapping and bank records? Cheney's already asserted that he can "declassify" information whenever the politics suits him.

The arguments against the New York Times are old arguments that have been brought up througout the history of our country. In all cases, we as a people value freedom over secrecy -- and we are willing to live with the risks of having that freedom.

I think the newspapers in this country would probably do a better job tracking terrorists that these guys in the White House. Afterall, 9/11 happened on Bush/Cheney's watch and there were plenty of warnings which they ignored.

Let the newspapers and the people handle the job if Bush/Cheney can't.
Posted By Anonymous Dave, New York, NY : 5:45 PM ET
I wonder if this administration should engage with a plumbers group as did the Nixon administration did to stop its leaks.

The problem with the current administration is Nixon's men would look like boys next to the Bush group.
They are, by far, the most corrupt men ever to govern and they do it by using homeland security.

Thankfully, we have the "New York Times" that dares to their job.
Posted By Anonymous Levi Rickert, Grand Rapids, Michigan : 5:46 PM ET
Of course the information should not have been leaked in the first place, but I definitely think the news media should use some discretion in reporting classified information. In my opinion, both the informer and the New York Times are guilty.
Posted By Anonymous Melvina Arnett, Houstonia, MO : 5:48 PM ET
If the administration really believed that the news reports threatened national security, then the New York Times would not have been singled out for castigation. The failure of any administration official to criticize the Wall Street Journal -- which ran the same story -- demonstrates that we are just witnessing more political spin. As this administration does with any critic, it is simply using every tool at its disposal to distract from the criticism and attack the critic (remember Valerie Plame?).
Posted By Anonymous Doug Applegate, San Francisco, California : 5:50 PM ET
The "secrets" were definitely not leaked out by the media. The government official that spilled it has never heard of the saying "loose lips sink ships."
Posted By Anonymous Genevieve M, El Paso, TX : 5:51 PM ET
The disclosure of the SWIFT program is tantamount to treason. The reporters concerned should be charged under federal statutes.
Posted By Anonymous Tom, New Orleans LA : 5:52 PM ET
Hi Tom,
Let's face it we all could argue this until the cows come home..The Republicans and Democrats will never see eye to eye on the New York Times or ANY other issue this country faces..And that's heartbreaking..This NYT article only gives us Americans yet another chance to scream at the top of our lungs at each other..No wonder people turn off the news, or don't vote..We are ALL Americans and I'd hope we could put aside our hate long enough to be civilized to each other and do what's needed for our country.Take Care
Posted By Anonymous Lorie Ann, Buellton,Calif. : 5:54 PM ET
In a fascist state such as ours, there is no room for a free press. The NYT needs to be made an example.
Posted By Anonymous Shantay, grafton, MA : 5:55 PM ET
Of course, the "liberal" New York Times gets the blame (ignoring the other papers that carried the story.) If the bad guys didn't know this, then they were pretty stupid. And so far after committing 9/11 Bin Laden is still free - Not so stupid.

Once again it is the Bush Propaganda machine spinning the news. Their failed policies in New Orleans, the disaster in Iraq, the failures in Afghanistan, the giant budget deficits, the eavesdropping in anyway desired of Americans, violating the Geneva Convention, and other atrocities have been overlooked by the media AND the Democratic congress.

Thank You, New York Times for doing a great job. Now go do some more until this regime is changed. (Just maybe they will bring Howell Raines back keep them going in the right direction.)
Posted By Anonymous Bill Sharpe, Tampa, Florida : 5:56 PM ET
First we had the Patriot Act filled with very scary things to limit our privacy and freedom, now potential criminal charges against the press because the government doesn't approve of what they are saying... why is everyone in the U.S. not screaming "velvet revolution!" as loud as they can? And will we act on that scream before it's too late? Using the fear of terrorism is a shameful way for our current administration to turn our country into everything we are supposedly fighting against.
Posted By Anonymous Coco, Ann Arbor Michigan : 5:57 PM ET
This goverment is all about ditracting the public from the real issues. If the White House has personnel so incompetent that cannot keep classified information secret, it is not the press' fault. But I highly doubt that any goverment can be THAT bad (yes, even this one). I think that this is all a calculated lick to pound even more on the already very dead horse of "national security" and how any one that doesn't agree with the president is a traitor. Meanwhile, we don't talk about real issues (economy, education, health).
Posted By Anonymous GMac, Ames, IA : 5:58 PM ET
Well since we can all know what the Bush Administrations definition of Terrorism is(Anyone who does not support the Bush Administration or its Aims)it seems that we the people ought to know that the "Current" government may be looking into our financial transactions. I am not moved by cries for patriotism in wartime, and stand by the flag tirades by those who put Corporations interests above the We the People's Interests. The NYT was correct in exposing the Administrations Monitoring of Bank Accounts, and The U.S. Media has the right to proclaim anything they deem in the interest of We the People. They are NOT to be Propaganda Mills for the Government. They are to be Watchmen for the People.
Posted By Anonymous Bob, Bridgewater NJ : 11:35 AM ET
When I first heard the story break, I thought to myself, "Well duh... the current administration has said for years that they are tracking terrorist financing..." The very same people condemning the Times for running the story have likely stood in front of a microphone in the past six months and said they were tracking how terrorists are funded... The terrorists know this, it's a non-issue being escalated to shield the point of the story: The adminstration doesn't want to be constrained as to what they can and cannot do... They SHOULD be looking at terrorist financing, but if you ask them to prove that they're not looking into all of our bank accounts without warrants, they'll say, "Trust us."
Posted By Anonymous Phil, Philadelphia PA : 11:37 AM ET
Why does everyone think that it was a Bush staffer that leaked the information? There are plenty of people in Washington who will do anything they can to try and embarass the President. Add to that the willingness of the press to print or broadcast any story critical of Bush (even if the story is old or a flat-out lie), and the result is the NY Times article. It didn't matter to the Times that the story was classified, only that it hurt Bush.
Posted By Anonymous Homer, Biloxi MS : 12:36 PM ET
To me it just shows that most Americans are really not taking this war very seriously. Most Americans are not really scared of the threat of terrorism or the terrorist that are sworn enemies of this country. If the average American truly beleived we were at war or that we had a real enemy that could cause us harm, then the N.Y. Times would never publish anything that would help the enemy of the US because Americans would then look at the publishers at the N.Y. Times as the enemy of the US... right now the N.Y. Times is just trying to sell newspapers and advertising to an American public that does not truly beleive it is at war or that our enemy is really all that dangerous.
Posted By Anonymous Ray Sabourin, Frisco, Texas : 12:47 PM ET
The majority of the comments posted here seem to imply a distrust of the govt and no fear of the terrorists. As a Vet I can tell you that the words Top Secret mean something. Both to the leaker and the recipient. That these things are leaked does not suddently declassify the intel nor free the recipient from the moral obligation not to pass it on.Especially when it endangers the lives of our military and helps the enemy to gain time, prolong the war, rearm and resupply with the funds they receive.All these self proclaimed intel experts who seem to know what the enemy knows and can and can't do would seem to eliminate the need for an intel service at all. One wonders where these sunshine patriots get all this expertise and inside know how.Doesn't it ever bother the amoral press that they seem to hate the govt. more than our enemies and as a result justify publishing these secrets to achieve a short term high for a gotcha?
I don't do my banking thru Brussels and I don't phone terrorists but I want my govt to track those that do. Only a bunch of fools or sheep would object.And only a pack of journalists with no scruples would report these things. You have no moral high ground behind the 1st amendment when you aid in the committing of a crime. no more than if you helped bank robbers by publishing the combinations to bank vaults simply because you could and you were anti banks.
Posted By Anonymous Gary Bothum, Escondido, Ca. : 12:54 PM ET
I think almost every American agrees that terrorism is a threat and likely always will be.

And almost every terrorist knows that anything electronic has the possibility of being tracked. The only thing the NYT gave up that wasn't already said by the adminstration was the word "SWIFT"

I wonder who endangered the lives of our military more: the NYT for publishing the story, or the adminstration for launching a war under the false pretenses of WMD and Iraqi sponsorship of terrorism...
Posted By Anonymous Al, New York, NY : 1:38 PM ET
The do-nothing Congress and Bush Administration can only deal with issues they think will get their base riled up. If they had their way, freedom of the press would be abolished, along with free speech, and the other liberties we currently enjoy. I have never seen such a corrupt, lying, leaking information (ncluding one that put a CIA agent in danger,adminitation. Leave the press alone and let them do their job. It's the only way the American people found out the truth. Go after the people who are leaking this information and who are in this administration's employ. 2008 can't get here fast enough!
Posted By Anonymous Bev Cortese, Town of Tonawanda, New York : 1:41 PM ET
The problem is that there is a story here. If Bush was following the law, instead of seeing how far he can push the envelope, there would be no story to report.
Posted By Anonymous charles, Miami, Florida : 1:46 PM ET
This administration is a primary example of why a presidential system of democracy can become a constitutional dictatorship. Maybe it is time to move to a parliamentary form of government.
Posted By Anonymous HR, San Jose, CA : 2:17 PM ET
The Bush administration has a decided double standard when it comes to leaks:
Leaks that highlight their mean-spirited, "above the law", gunslinger mentality - BAD
Leaks that blow CIA covert agents' cover to punish their critics - GOOD.
Posted By Anonymous Susan R. Charlotte,NC : 2:22 PM ET
The greater problem would of course be the information leak. But there is a problem in the unrelentless quest of journalist to make ratings increase. For instance news medias being allowed to observe milatary functions.
Posted By Anonymous David Edwards, SpringCity,TN. : 2:31 PM ET
Leaking vital national security secrets to generate finacial gain, power and influenece clearly demonstrates the lack of patriotism often displayed by the media. We have lost touch with reality when we sacrifice American lives for our own self proclaimed notoriety under the guise of our first amendment rights. Utlilizing the phrase, "The public has a right to know" does not enhance our survivability. The enemy watches and reads American newspapers and television. Showing them our playbook increases their chances for success. Because of irresponsible reporting like this, we now live in even more perilous times. Tell me whats more important to you...Freedom to Speak or Freedom to Live.
Posted By Anonymous Kelvin, Leavenworth Kansas : 2:31 PM ET
WHY WOULD ANY LOYAL, PATRIOTIC AMERICAN SAY ANYTHING TO ANYONE THAT WOULD ENDANGER THE LIVES OF THOSE BOYS OVER IN IRAQ WHO ARE GETTING THEIR LEGS AND ARMS BLOWN OFF TO PROTECT US.HOW DO YOU LAY DOWN AND SLEEP AT NIGHT KNOWING YOU DID THAT. ITS SHAMEFUL.
Posted By Anonymous CAROLYN DAVIS, WATERVLIET, MI : 2:46 PM ET
This administartion has always made it known that they were going after the terrorists money--they even whinned incessantly about countries which weren't cooperating enough thereby telling the terrorists which countries to do their banking thru. It doesn't take a genius to firgure out they'd be spying on the flow of funds in and out of the country.

This is all about distaracting us from the main story--how they leak when it's convenient to their coarse of action or to spin a story-- unfortunately this administration has miss lead the country on so many issues that they have very little credibility any longer. It's also about diverting discussion away from their failures and complete mismanagement of this war. It's one thing to decieve the country about why we went to war but the mismanagement has lead to unnecessary deaths and countless unnecessary injuries to are brave and dedicated soliders. They never sent enough personal in the first place --that's why it's going so wrong. But alas they would rather we not think about that situation or they're illegal spying programs, detntions, and grabs for power.

I agree with the writer who mentioned the King---we don't have a king --the president doesn't have the power to make law -that power was given to others-- unfortunately there are to many citizens who have never read the constitution let alone know what the Bill of Rights are(the first ten ammendments meant to protect the citizens rights). And until we change that situation we will be in grave danger from this administration and any other which chooses to manipulate this lack of general knowledge amongst it's citizenry.

So I call upon all you good, informed, concerned citizens to make a difference. I challenge you to go out and encourage others to read the constitution. I encourage you to discuss it with those who are less informed, less knowlegdable. Explain why the the founding father set up a seperation of powers -- or religion---freedom of the press. Ask folks what's the third amendment--and why do we have it's protection codified in the constitution. Ask others to name the five freedoms gauranteed us in the 1st Amendment.

And if we have this discussion --whether you are liberal or conservative-right or left, center of the road or independent, Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, or Socialist ---we will do more to protect, save and grow this country then any war on terrorism ever will.
Posted By Anonymous Steve M. Sarasota, Fl : 3:01 PM ET
After reading all the comments posted before mine, I can't believe the hate and distrust of the government. Is it the government that is our enemy, or the terrorists? Any publication of information that could put our soldiers or civilians in harm's way is an act of treason. There have been times when watching CNN or other newscasts I have been horrified at the information that is being given out. Who is minding the store? If the editors of these liberal newspapers don't have the common sense to know when it's appropriate to print something, they shouldn't be editors at all. I do not agree with some of President Bush's policies, but he is our President, and this is still the greatest country in the world. Let's work together for a change to keep us all safe.
Posted By Anonymous Cheryl in Manchester, NH : 3:35 PM ET
The GOP sooo gave this story to the Times so that they could then jump on top of them with this patrioticness.
Posted By Anonymous Lauren, Boca Raton, Florida : 3:35 PM ET
This President has proven that he can't be trusted to abide by the law, and protect our Constituional rights. He has abused his power time and again. Now, more than ever, when one party is in total control of all branches of government, do we need a free press to act as our one last check and balance. If they lean toward the left, all the better protection of the current minority.
It's nonsense to think that the terrorists don't already know we are tracking the movement of funds. Maybe if we stopped incorrectly thinking of them as uneducated morons, we could get a leg up on them. But then we have to stop being uneducated morons ourselves.
Posted By Anonymous Patty, Seatte, WA : 3:47 PM ET
First, to respond to Cheryl, the governmnet created the terrorists withthe foreing policy, therefore BOTH are our enemy.

Second has anyone considered that the informaton was leaked intentionally in order to justify new anti-freedom of press laws?

As so many before me, why isn't the Administration going after those that leaked the info? After all, the Times was merely alerted The People to yet another 4th Amendment intrusion.
Posted By Anonymous Ken, Birmingham, AL : 3:58 PM ET
President Bush excoriated the N.Y. Times but said nothing about the fact that the Washington Post and Wall Street Journal published similar stories on the same day. I believe the president is retaliating against the Times because it broke the telephone surveillance story.

This White House doesn't seem to grasp that leaks are inevitable, and if they want to stop stories like this one from being reported, it is the leakers who should be taken to task, and their own security measures which should be examined.

Any elected official who would suggest criminal retaliation against the press, simply for reporting the truth, must not have any regard at all for the First Amendment.
Posted By Anonymous Lauria, Fairview, Tennessee : 3:59 PM ET
I'm not condoning anyone's actions {the leaker(s), gov't or the media}, but it is high time the media use a bit more discretion when it comes to national security.

In my mind there is a certain responsibility associated with a free press especially when it comes to the security of OUR country.
Posted By Anonymous Steve C., Albuq. N.M. : 4:13 PM ET
The President told us from the beginning that the government checks on fund raising and bank activity to prevent terrorism. If Fox news had reported the story, it would have just been another story that everyone seems to forget, like how its been 5 years and still no Bin Laden.
Posted By Anonymous Charlie New Haven, CT : 4:38 PM ET
Looking at the administrations comments (and many of the comments posted here), I have to wonder how many people have actually read the original NY Times article. Personally, I didn't see anything in the article that hasn't already been widely hinted at -- or acknowledged outright -- by people ranging from Bill O'Reilly, to Dick Cheney, to Bush himself. True, the article dies get into some specifics -- like naming the database used to monitor financial transactions -- but the information is so high level, it's really not of use to any terrorist trying to circumvent the system. After all of Bush's proclamations that we're going to "follow the money trail" a terrorist would have to be brain dead to not already realize that traditional financial transactions are likely to be monitored. Any terrorists that missed that message obviously don't listen to the American, European or Middle Eastern press, so it's unlikely that they'll read this story either.
Posted By Anonymous Gary B., Orange County, CA : 4:47 PM ET
Terrorists are such an evil on this earth today, and President Bush needs all the support he can get to abolish this from our world. I have long said the newspapers reveal too much information that terrorists can use against us. I believe in Freedom of Speech, but the newspapers today do a poor job of that Freedom our founding fathers gave this country.
Posted By Anonymous Sandra Lis Marshall, Bridgeville,Pa. : 10:18 AM ET
I agree with most of the comments written. . .as a matter of fact i think it further nails home the point of how incompetent the Bush Administration is. If you don't wanted info printed don't leak it SIMPLE! . . Furthermore I think the whole liberal name calling is getting kind of old. Honestly I don't think most of these people who think being liberal is a bad thing even know what the word means
Posted By Anonymous Chris, Houston, Tx : 3:52 PM ET
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