I used to blog about this kind of thing fairly often. I do it
less, now, partly because so many other people are ding a fine job
themselves. This time, I am not writing in order to make a
significant contribution to public debate. Rather, I am
writing it in order to feel better.
Several newspapers reported on the Administration’s use of information
from the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication
(SWIFT) to track financial transactions. The reported intent
is to track terrorist financing.
President Bush and Vice-President Cheney issued condemnations (
Representative rel="tag">Peter King called for prosecution of the
newspersons involved in the report.
The Administration protested the reports, because, in the words of
And the disclosure of this program is disgraceful.
We’re at war with a bunch of people who want to hurt the United States
of America, and for people to leak that program and for a newspaper to
publish it does great harm to the United States of America.
There is no evidence of harm, nor is there a plausible explanation for
how this harm would come about. It rings false, because it is
already common knowledge that the Administration tracks financial
information. In fact, if the Administration is to be
believed, they have already seized something like two hundred million
dollars in suspected terrorist funds. There’s even href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0767915623/102-1209521-3598565?v=glance&n=283155">a
book about it.
All the newspapers did, was to reveal some additional details.
Most of their disclosure pertained to the question of whether
the program is legal.
Personally, I don’t think that al-Qaeda (or any
other terrorist organization) cares if the program is legal.
They are not exactly constitutional scholars.
Furthermore, I should think that if millions of dollars have
already been seized, the fact that the money is now gone just
might have tipped them off to the existence of the program.
Which is the better clue: someone took millions of dollars out of their
bank account, or someone published a story in a newspaper? I
don’t know about you, but the disappearance of millions of dollars from
my bank account probably would be the thing I would notice first.
BTW, the title of the post comes from
post on Booman Tribune, which is more thorough than this one.
So maybe others have covered this more comprehensively that I
did, but I feel better now for having posted this.