More secrets about secrets

Times public editor Byran Calame writes his first almost-tough column taking The Times to task, properly, for not revealing why they did not reveal what they know about warrantless NSA spying — and why they did reveal it when they did. He called the paper’s explanation “woefully inadequate” and said he had “unusual difficulty getting a better explanation for readers, despite the paper’s repeated pledges of greater transparency.” He accused the editor and publisher of The times of “stonewalling,” a word that carries all too much irony in those halls.

For the first time since I became public editor, the executive editor and the publisher have declined to respond to my requests for information about news-related decision-making.\…

I e-mailed a list of 28 questions to Bill Keller, the executive editor, on Dec. 19, three days after the article appeared. He promptly declined to respond to them. I then sent the same questions to Arthur Sulzberger Jr., the publisher, who also declined to respond. They held out no hope for a fuller explanation in the future….

But the explanation of the timing and editing of the front-page article by James Risen and Eric Lichtblau caused major concern for scores of Times readers. The terse one-paragraph explanation noted that the White House had asked for the article to be killed. “After meeting with senior administration officials to hear their concerns, the newspaper delayed publication for a year to conduct additional reporting,” it said. “Some information that administration officials argued could be useful to terrorists has been omitted.”

If Times editors hoped the brief mention of the one-year delay and the omitted sensitive information would assure readers that great caution had been exercised in publishing the article, I think they miscalculated. The mention of a one-year delay, almost in passing, cried out for a fuller explanation. And the gaps left by the explanation hardly matched the paper’s recent bold commitments to readers to explain how news decisions are made.

At the very least, The Times should have told readers in the article why it could not address specific issues….

Calame said the nearest he got to an explanation was one sentence from Keller:

“There is really no way to have a full discussion of the back story without talking about when and how we knew what we knew, and we can’t do that.”

Calame speculates that this is about sourcing:

Taken at face value, Mr. Keller seems to be contending that the sourcing for the eavesdropping article is so intertwined with the decisions about when and what to publish that a full explanation could risk revealing the sources. I have no trouble accepting the importance of confidential sourcing concerns here. The reporters’ nearly one dozen confidential sources enabled them to produce a powerful article that I think served the public interest.

With confidential sourcing under attack and the reporters digging in the backyards of both intelligence and politics, The Times needs to guard the sources for the eavesdropping article with extra special care.

Well, but with The Times also under attack for its sourcing, it should take extra special care with its own transparency and credibility.

That’s all the more the case because of the timing of the story in relation to the election:

The most obvious and troublesome omission in the explanation was the failure to address whether The Times knew about the eavesdropping operation before the Nov. 2, 2004, presidential election. That point was hard to ignore when the explanation in the article referred rather vaguely to having “delayed publication for a year.” To me, this language means the article was fully confirmed and ready to publish a year ago – after perhaps weeks of reporting on the initial tip – and then was delayed….

For me, however, the most obvious question is still this: If no one at The Times was aware of the eavesdropping prior to the election, why wouldn’t the paper have been eager to make that clear to readers in the original explanation and avoid that politically charged issue? The paper’s silence leaves me with uncomfortable doubts.

What Calame does not address is the timing of the eventual release of the story just as Congress debated the extension of the Patriot Act.

He also trips over himself praising the story itself and does not raise questions about it. I raised some questions here.

See also Jay Rosen on the news The Times isn’t reporting.

: Glenn Reynolds adds:

The Times’ behavior on this story, and the Plame story, has undermined the unwritten “National Security Constitution” regarding leaks and classified information. Since the Pentagon Papers, at least, the rule has been that papers could publish classified information in a whistleblowing mode, but that they would be sensitive to national security concerns. In return, the federal government would tread lightly in investigating where the leaks came from. But the politicization of the coverage, and the outright partisanship of the Times, has put paid to that arrangement. It’s not clear to me that the country is better served by the new arrangement, but unwritten constitutions require a lot of self-discipline on the part of the various players, and that sort of discipline is no longer to be found in America’s leadership circles.

If the Times decided that its job was to tell its readers everything it knew, when it knew it, then it would have a good argument for publishing this sort of thing. But since the Times has made clear that it’s happy to keep its readers in the dark when doing so serves its institutional interests, it doesn’t have that defense for publishing stuff that’s bad for national security.

: Not unrelated: Bill Maher in a yearending post at Huffingtonpost:

Not to feed the idea that Arianna and I engage in logrolling, but it should be noted that this blog thing of hers was a very big event in 2005. And how perfect that the big story that she was way, way, way out in front of everyone on — and for months — the Judy Miller fiasco — was a story about how the media, even the media we most respect, is off its pedestal and there is a vital need for alternative news narrative.

: See a fresh report from Jay Rosen here.

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  • in far more important news than shooting the messenger that delivered you information that the President of the United States is breaking the law by going around the courts and spying on Americans – which is a far far more important story as it may (and shoud) lead to an impeachment – our boy Stern called Howard 100 tonight and talked for an hour and fifteen minutes commercial free and uncensored. it was real, honest, and incredible. i hope you have eh eh eh cuz if you do im sure they’ll re-run it over the next few days.

  • RonP


    u need to at least do a quick google search on this issue. its 2006 get over the wishful thinking ideology and start seeing the world as it is. based on precedent or explicit lack thereof, the courts have not given a whole lot of direction in this area. that has allowed multiple presidents including President Peanut and Lil Abner to exploit our ability to eavesdrop – clinton did it for economic espionage!

    stop the whistleblower act – that’s not what is at stake here. your mindless hatred for bush puts in positions that would have been unthinkable for the left just 25-30 years ago. example: W. Mark Felt (deep throat) his held up as a hero for dropping the dime on Nixon to Bob Woodward. Now this “hero” was at one time the head of J. Edgar Hoovers COINTELPRO operation – domestic spying. Major target was MLK. He also did a lot of other dirty things for Hoover and his masters. he only ratted out nixon because L. Patrick Grey got top spot at FBI after Hoover died.

    my point is: these leaks point to a culture where just because elements at the CIA, NSA, or State are against a policy on political grounds that they can leak secrets to the press for the “common good” well tony i think the fantasy is over because there are going to be people doing the perp walk over this and its not who you are wishing for.

  • RonP

    just a little more info – in case you are not of the baby boomer generation

  • Two short points.
    1. There is a front page story in the NY Times that the admin couldn’t even get its own staff to approve the warrantless wiretaps and had to visit Ashcroft in the hospital.

    2. With the Times the subject of the new probe on the leak by the AG, it seems they may be even more unwilling to discuss things for fear of compromising the upcoming attempts to force them to divulge sources.

  • Great perspective! The MSM has lost credibility even with the folks paid to build it. For more on the effects industry-wide, see

  • Theory

    A theory, all based on Occam’s Razor…
    The dozen sources include several Democrats, and they believed that sharing this information could have changed the presidential election in ’04. The NY Times decided against publishing, feeling it was inappropriate (even for them) to share the story. One year later, there is less political noise. Wanting to sell papers and knowing that a book with this info was about to be published, the NY Times finally went to press.

    Plamegate was about leaks from Republicans. And this FISAgate is about leaks from Democrats.

    Now we can watch the hypocrisy from both sides.

  • RonP

    there is no equivalency between Plame & NSA. Plame was not a covert operative at the time her name was allegedly “leaked”. had not been one for 6 years. for chrissakes she and hubby were listed in who’s who in america. when she was a covert op her cover (like many others) was blown by Aldrich Ames. Valerie Plame’s identity had nothing to do with national security.

    where i do agree with Mr. Theory is that there are democrat and republican leakers and if any of them are involved in this latest scandal they need to be indicted, convicted and do a suitable stretch in the big house. the deeper issue as i pointed out earlier is the no doubt career employees in the intelligence services who are going rogue on the administration. this should concern us all – this is not acceptable under a republican or democrat administration. it is the sourcing that is the issue not necessarily the publishing. although i will derive pleasure watching the media spin around this one.

  • So leaking the name of a CIA operative which serves no public purpose is equivalent to leaking the existence of a secret operation which may be in violation of federal law?

    That’s why we have words like poltical vendetta vs whistleblower.
    In general governments are good at the former and brave citizens are good at the latter.

    Who is RonP? People who are unwilling to reveal themselves are at risk of being considered shills.

  • Ron Pettengill

    there feel better Mr. Feinman?

  • For another view from the blogosphere:

    (the author is a former CIA agent)

  • Robert — two rejoinders.

    Re 1: While you are accurate in summarizing that point in the NYT’s article, what does that mean and what hasn’t the Time’s told us. They use the term “appear”:

    “That led to uncertainties about the chain of command in overseeing law enforcement activities connected to the program, officials said, and it appears to have spurred concerns within the Justice Department over its use. Mr. Thompson’s successor, Mr. Comey, was eventually authorized to take part in the program and to review intelligence material that grew out of it, and officials said he played a part in overseeing the reforms that were put in place in 2004.”

    Thompson wasn’t privy to the program and left in mid-August ’03 Was Comey privy at the time of the request? If not, then a reasonable person might expect Comey saying, “I don’t know enough to approve this request.” Was that why the WH had to visit Ashcroft in the hospital? Was that unfortunate scenario why Comey was then brought in to the program — to prevent a disruption of program activities.

    Per the Rosen article Jarvis links to, NYT’s says “The White House asked The New York Times not to publish this article.” In this case it was a personal meeting of Sulzberger, Keller and the President at the WH, a detail, that is different than, I think, the NYT’s would like you to infer by that blaise sentence.

    Re 2: “it seems” is an understatement. Even so, the timing and portrayal of the story shows a willingness to deceive on many fronts for personal, political and philosophical reasons, and not just for some altruistic purpose of protecting our liberties or keeping our government accountable.

  • Ron Pettengill

    btw she was an analyst and before that she was a covert operative. only a small minority of CIA employees & contractors are covered under the covert op laws. she was not one of them. this according to both her former supervisor and victoria toensing who was one of the laws authors. btw vendetta is the stock in trade in washington. it didn’t just appear with the bush administration.

    cut the whistleblower crap. these leaks are treasonous. people could and should go to jail for this. regardless of party affiliation.

  • Ron Pettengill (the artist formerly known as RonP)

    my sense is that the reason pinch and keller didn’t answer calme’s 28 questions was on the advice of counsel.

  • Ron Pettengill (the artist formerly known as RonP)

    should’ve known it would be Larry Johnson – the Scott Ritter of the Intelligence world.

  • Why answer the Public Editor’s request for information on how the story and its timing meets journalistic standards when everyone knows it doesn’t?

    A careful reading of the NYT times story reveals that the Administration actually did follow proceedures. That with Ashcroft in the hospital the acting AG expressed his doubts abut renewing the 45 day order. That, in fact, the Justice Department and the NSA suspended and changed the sections that were objected to.

    From the latest article of NYT’s wiretapping story:

    What is known is that in early 2004, about the time of the hospital visit, the White House suspended parts of the program for several months and moved ahead with more stringent requirements on the security agency on how the program was used, in part to guard against abuses.

    The concerns within the Justice Department appear to have led, at least in part, to the decision to suspend and revamp the program, officials said. The Justice Department then oversaw a secret audit of the surveillance program.

    Basically, the only serious objection that anyone would have with this is the amount of involvement that the Judical branch had. Other than that the Congress was informed numerous times with only a single, mild concern by Jay Rockefeller; the internal control system of the Executive worked as it should have…moving action items of national security into line with enabling legislation.

    There was no there there; which makes prospects of high book sales rather doubtful. There are no allegations of criminal acts in any of the articles about this event. None.

    Except if you only read the headlines of the NYT. Then it seems that J. Edgar Hoover has risen from the grave to once again begin a massive domestic spying program. And that sells books. And it fits the political wants of Pinchy the Publisher.

    Thus committing the amazing act of pimping two causes at once. The reporters get their book pimped and Pinchy gets a shot at The McBusHitler. This sort of thing can only happen if any desire to maintain the charade of Journalistic Objectivity is completely gone.

  • Gaius Arbo

    As I understand it right now, Constituional law experts seem to be coming down on the side of the legality of the program (Cass Sunnstein (sp?) and some others).

    The NYT has NEVER actually stated that anything illegal occurred. Just innuendo and sensationalism while, rather obviously, cooperating with leaking classified information in violation of the leaker’s sworn oaths. (Which, as I understand it, is NOT allowed by whistleblower statutes).

    No senior member of the Democratic Party has gone on record about this. Likely due to the fact that they knew about the program and concurred with it.

    But certain commenters have again tried, convicted and sentenced the Administration. Trotting out the same tiresome ranting that has accompanied so many “gotcha” exposes in the past couple of years. All of which have turned out to be nonsense.

    So, business as usual in the wonderful world of blog comments! Nice to have some stability in the world.

    I don’t know if it is even possible any longer to have an intellegent exchange of ideas. The trolling has become so extreme. And they never seem to understand that trolling HURTS their cause, not helps it. It shows how completely, willfully blind they are. (Start stopwatch until one of them tells me that I am the one wearing blinders).

    I frankly see why so many Bloggers burn out on this and either turn off comments or stop completely.

  • Isn’t everyone here breaking copyright law by quoting so freely and at length from The Times? Fair use is one thing, but I thought that there was a limitation on that (otherwise, it’s unauthorized reproduction).

  • Gutenberg:

    There are no restrictions on the length of the citation unless the citation becomes the bulk of the report. That’s objective, of course. But no one, imnsho, here comes close.

  • Since none of us know the details of how the Times got its information, why they withheld it, what other information they have not revealed, or even the details of the NSA program such discussions seem mostly an opportunity for each side to accuse the other of bad faith.

    What I think is revealed is that there are two basic world views about spying.

    The optimist view is that government should be trusted and, therefore, whatever they do is for our benefit.

    The pessimist view is that governments can’t be trusted and, therefore, the less intrusive they are and the further away they stay from domestic affairs the better. Many people belong to both points of view in certain respects.

    All I can do is to point you to my recent essay on historical experiences with secret policing and how it usually doesn’t turn out as expected. For those who wish to argue that historical parallels don’t apply, all I can say is that history is all we have to learn from, imperfect as it may be.

    Surveillance vs Liberty

    In many cases what started out as spying against external threats ends up becoming a way to suppress internal dissent. I also explain why I don’t think external spying is very effective.

  • J. Peden

    If the Times in effect got a rather explicit confirmation from the WH a year earlier as to the existence of the surveillance/data-mining program, why didn’t it report the story then? {Why would the WH even object in any way to the appearance of a false story – one “neither confirmed nor denied”- much less ask specifically that the story not be published, since publishing a false story would certainly not compromise national security, and might even enhance it? Though even a false story would have elicited the same uproar then we have now.}

    If the WH thought the program was illegal, why would it confirm its existence to the NYT?

    If the Times thought the program was illegal, why did it not produce the story when the program’s existence was confirmed by the WH?

    If the Times thought revealing the existence of the program would compromise national security, and therefore waited a whole year, why did it decide to reveal it at all? What changed? The story itself apparently had not changed, the WH – the President – was still asking that the story not be published on grounds of national security concerns, and the question of the legality of the program had not changed.

    What changed appears to have been that a book written by the authors of the article was to be published 10 days after the NYT’s article – a book published by an entity connected economically with the NYT, according to The Nation’s Anchorman, Rush Limbaugh.

    So far, this is the only explanation which makes sense to me for the timing of the NYT article: uproar management/advertising in oder to get publicity for a book. Or is The Nation’s Anchorman wrong?

  • Jim S

    So far as I know, Sunstein is the only Constitutional law professor who has said that they feel that it is definitely legal. That certainly doesn’t form a plurality.

    What a bunch of Bush posterior osculators here. Multiple erroneous quotes about the Plame issue taken straight from RNC talking points and completely ignoring other problems with that issue. Did you all get a case of lip balm to prevent too much chapping from all that contact with butts?

  • Ron Pettengill (the artist formerly known as RonP)

    Jim S: cite an erroneous quote or statement. as to RNC talking points – just a red herring not an argument. okay you got me – but your just working straight from democratic talking points.

    the proof is in the indictments. fitzmas came and went and all you got was scooter libby. visions of sugarplums and karl rove in handcuffs went poof. the current state of your party/beliefs are based on fantasy. if that’s ass kissing then so be it.

  • JBK

    I’m always fascinated by these rightwingers who try to downplay the Plame outing by saying that she wasn’t really covert, she was known to be Joe Wilson’s wife, don’t you know she was even listed in Who’s Who!!! So what? CIA agents don’t magically become invisible or cease to exist in their communities because they are agents. They have names, they have kids that go to the local school, they attend neighborood barbeques – they just don’t go around telling folks they are a CIA agent. Plame implied to anyone who asked that she was an energy consultant. After scumbag Novak’s column, some of her neighbors were interviewed and to a person they said they were shocked to find out their neighbor Valerie was in the CIA. I don’t have the inclination to dig up Plame’s listing in Who’s Who, and it has maybe even been updated by now anyway, but I’m willing to bet the orginal listing cited by some rightwing freak in the comments above said nothing about her being in the Agency. Let’s remember, the Fitzgerald probe was started because the CIA asked that an investigation be done about the uncovering of one of their agents. For the wingnuts who say she wasn’t covert, the agency sure seems to take the White House outing of their agent fairly serious. Get a clue. Moron.

  • Ron Pettengill (the artist formerly known as RonP)

    hey jbk better reveal your name (mr. feinman might think your a schill)

    i would explain it again but it would be too much energy. the admission that you will do no research i think says it all. btw the moron comment – touche’

  • Gaius Arbo

    Well, Jim, his credentials are somewhat better than yours or mine. I don’t need a plurality, or a consensus to start forming an opinion. I do, however, actually pay attention to a recognized authority on the subject at hand instead of repeating something an unidentified somebody posted somewhere else….

    I also don’t indulge in gratuitous insults based on ideology.

  • Tim Timms

    Jim, you would seem to be right in your critique of Ron Pettengill’s (the artist formerly known as RonP) overstated claim. I think ‘probably not illegal’ would have been more accurate.

    See Charles Fried in the Boston Globe:


    “The president claims that congressional authorization for military action against Al Qaeda, together with his inherent constitutional powers, make such action lawful. There is some plausibility to that claim but until tested in the courts it is impossible to give a definitive opinion about it.”

  • J. Peden

    Tim Timms: if you have “inherent constitutional powers” you cannot “test them in the courts”. OK?

    What you have to do with Bush is either impeach him or stage a coup, “a sudden brilliantly successful move”. I don’t think either of these things is going to happen. But you can try.

    Go ahead on with your bad self, if it exists.

  • Festus

    Two short points.
    1. There is a front page story in the NY Times that the admin couldn’t even get its own staff to approve the warrantless wiretaps and had to visit Ashcroft in the hospital.

    Oh yeah, we know how great they are at publishing facts.

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  • Angelos

    It’s amazing how the wingers can minimize that damage done by the Plame outing. Her status at the time is less important than the fact that with her outing, everyone who was ever associated with her, especially at the front company where she worked, is put in danger too. But yeah, I know, IOKIYAR.

    And if Saint George is so above the law, why the ever-changing stories he’s telling to defending himself? This is the classic progression of a lie:
    We didn’t do it.
    OK, we did, but it was legal, and Congress approved.
    OK, they didn’t approve, but we told them all.
    OK, we only told some.
    Our Counsel approved!
    OK, the counsel at the time didn’t approve, especially the AG, but we have a new AG now, and he loves it! Torture too!
    It was limited. Incoming calls from Al Qaeda only.

    DAMN that’s funny.

    I thought just a couple days ago there were 18000 Al Qadea operatives roaming the US, blowing up weddings, commuter trains, and apartment buildings.

    Answer me this you stupid, gullible wingers: when is the last time one of the above-listed attacks has actually happened? And how many of the 18000 Al Qaeda opratives have been captured due to this wonderful internal spying operation? Zero and zero? Because they don’t exist? Because the only enemies of George are the reporters, gays, American Muslims, and anti-war groups he was spying on, without warrant?

    I thought so.

    Look, if they found a terrorist cell today, started the tap immediately, and asked for approval tomorrow, as is the law, it would be approved. The FISA court had NOT REJECTED A WARRANT APPLICATION from 1979 through 2002. It rejected 4 of 1727 applications in 2003, but approved one of the after modification of the request. It rejected NONE again in 2004. So that’s 3 rejected applications in 26 years! All Dubya’s of course. Hmmm, I wonder when he decided to stop asking for approval. I wonder…

    And yet Bush wants us to believe had HAD to violate the law and out constitutional rights as Americans, because the FISA requirements are too onerous? Too much paperwork? Actually, yeah, they used that defense. Too much work to follow the law.

    Air Force Gen. Michael V. Hayden, who was NSA director when the surveillance began and now serves as Bush’s deputy director of national intelligence, said getting retroactive court approval is inefficient because it “involves marshaling arguments” and “looping paperwork around.”

    Awww, life’s tough that way. Actually having to work for your salary paid by my tax dollars.

    George Bush and his underlings violated the law no matter which way you look at it. But again, apparently IOKIYAR.

  • Ron Pettengill (the artist formerly known as RonP)

    please cite the overstatement.

    (cue crickets)

    the proof is in the outcome. no terrorist attacks on US soil. check. that’s not luck. that’s hard work and dedication. you on the left (and i am assuming that’s your stripe) seem to think this all works by magic. in fact the following link sums up the current state of the demoleftlib mindset.

  • kat

    (Answer me this you stupid, gullible wingers: when is the last time one of the above-listed attacks has actually happened?)(use they don’t exist?)
    Angelos is right. In 2001 when 3000 were incinerated, it wasn’t al queda–it was koran toting Jews–that’s what imbeciles like Angelos tell us.
    If I were GW, I’d certainly be listening to Angelos’ calls to caves and such. He is right in there with that Iranian moonbat who also says al queda doesn’t exist.

  • Ron Pettengill (the artist formerly known as RonP)

    kat: is it the same iranian moonbat with the bad haircut and the “members only” jacket?

    seriously though. they can sputter and spin all they want. they only prove by their “positions” how out of the mainstream they are.

  • Ron Pettengill (the artist formerly known as RonP)

    btw getting back to the reason we are here in the first place. Mr. Calame is upset that pinch and keller have not answered his 28 questions. i suspect that would be on advice of counsel. to quote Flounder, “oh boy this is gonna be good!!!”

  • Angelos

    the proof is in the outcome. no terrorist attacks on US soil.

    Didn’t do too well in science class, did you Ron? Also, I’m guessing, never on the debate team. But such is the mind of the winger. Logic and science don’t exist, because Dear Leader says they don’t.

    And kat, you nutty nut. That’s right, anyone who opposes the dictatorial attitudes of your Failure in Chief must be a terra-ist. But of course, you can’t actually answer the question, you can only attack with your God-based hate. Like all “religious” people, you are a hypocrit that violates the tenets of your religion every time you open your mouth to spew racist bile. You are no more a Christian than my 17-year-old blind cat. You just use “Christianity” as an excuse for your stupidity.

    Bush first said the illegal wiretapping was tracking thousands of al Qaeda members in the United States. Holy shit! If that was true, how come we haven’t caught any? Of course, when the stupidity was pointed out, he changed the story to a “limited program” tracking “incoming” calls only, presumably, once again, to thousands of al Qaeda members. The ones we haven’t caught, while we somehow know where they are and what their phone numbers are. Thousands. Bombing “weddings and commuter trains” in the US. Riiiiight.

  • owl 1

    I don’t have a clue what Calame thought this article told anyone. They are not answering questions? No, because this time they truly stepped in it.

    In this corner…we have ‘whistleblowers’ (a dirty dozen?) and we accuse the President of the USA of spying on us for the reason of it feels good to be King and I can and it’s fun and illegal.’

    In this corner…we have Americans that say we think you are all traitors and that includes the ‘whistleblowers AND media’ who are unconcerned if they help AQ kill us all.

    Now one corner believes in Shield Laws to protect their Business Enterprise and will need to get waivers from the dirty dozen, otherwise, their lips are sealed. Maybe they think group jail cells will draw more sympathy than one lone Judy Miller? Safety in numbers?

    The other corner says the Constitution gives me the right. How can Congress or Judicial give ‘permission’ for something that is not theirs to give? Guess it depends upon which 2 of the 3 decide to become brothers?

    Dinocrat has the best I have read for those that are sitting up nights worrying:
    “Gosh, it’s been nearly two weeks now that we’ve heard non-stop about all those people concerned with the super-secret NSA’s spying and the loss of their civil liberties. How about this: the next time your friends start in with the Ben Franklin quote and their airy-fairy theoretical concerns about the loss of liberty, light a cigarette and see what happens.

    Back to Calame….add this to your list and publish them. Did everyone on your list of dirty dozen, provide you with evidence that they followed the rules of whistleblowers?

  • kat

    Angelos, you asshole, we have caught plenty of muslim terrorists and we know of the whereabouts of thousands others.. You just think they are Jews.
    *FBI agents arrest Ghassan Elashi and brothers in 2002.A founder of the Texas chapter of a highly influential U.S. Islamic lobby group was found guilty of supporting terrorism.
    Ghassan Elashi, along with two brothers, was convicted in Dallas yesterday of channeling funds to a high-ranking official of the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas, Mousa Abu Marzook.
    Elashi was a board member of the Texas chapter of the Washington, D.C.-based Council on American Islamic Relations — the third CAIR figure to be convicted on federal terrorism charges since 9-11.
    *John Allen Muhammad and John Lee Malvo
    *Mohammed “Sammy” Jabarah Al-Qaeda member dispatched to Southeast Asia to oversee a bombing plot. Detained in the U.S.
     *U.S. authorities have aggressively prosecuted those who trained for jihad. When investigators in Buffalo identified six Muslim youths who had trained at bin Laden’s al-Farooq camp in the summer of 2001, they were charged with providing material support to al-Qaeda. All six pleaded guilty.
    *Mokhtar Haouari-Algerian who arrived here in 1993; arrested in January 2000 and extradited to the United States, where he was convicted for supplying fake identification and cash for Ressam’s millennium bomb plot. Haouari was sentenced in New York in January 2002 to 24 years in prison.
    *List of major international terrorists and militants in the United States in recent years..
    · Sheikh Omar Abdul Rahman, head of the Egyptian Al Gamat Al Islamiya, and convicted leader of an interdicted plot to bomb US landmarks, bridges and tunnels in New York

    · Musa Abu Marzook, one of the top three officials of Hamas (who founded and operated a “think tank” in Chicago and Virginia

    · Ali Mohammed, a top lieutenant to Osama bin Laden (and not insignificantly, enrolled as a Special Forces sergeant at Fort Bragg)

    · Wadih el Hage, secretary to Osama bin Laden

    · Ramadan Abdullah Shallah, head of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (who served as a professor at the University of South Florida in Tampa)

    · Sheikh Abdel Aziz Odeh, spiritual leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and unindicted co-conspirator in the World Trade Center bombing (who visited the United States multiple times for fundraising and political recruitment without any knowledge of the INS)

    · Ayman Zawahiri, leader of the Egyptian Al-Gihad organization, lieutenant to Osama bin Laden and conspirator in the assassination of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat

    · Rashhid Ghannoushi, head of the Tunisian Al-Nahdah

    · Anwar Haddam, a leader of the Algerian Islamic Salvation Front (FIS)

    · Leith Shbeilat, a militant Islamic leader implicated in an assassination plot against Jordan’s King Hussein

    · Khalid Mishal, a top leader of Hamas, who, in his speeches in the United States, has called for stabbings

    · Kamal Hilbawi, a spokesperson for the Muslim Brotherhood, who has called for attacks on American targets and who has encouraged carrying out of suicide bombings

    · Yusef Al Qaradawi, a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood and active supporter of Hamas and other violent groups, who has called for suicide bombings and taking over the United States

    · Qazi Hussein Ahmed, leader of Pakistani Jamaat-e-Islami, a militant group that supports violent “jihad” or holy war

    · Ramzi Yousef, the top organizer of the World Trade Center bombing

    · Sheikh Abdulmunem Abu Zant, a militant Jordanian Islamic cleric, who has routinely called for violence

    · Ishaq Al-Farhan, a leader of the militant Islamic Jordan Action Front who has issued numerous exhortations to carry out violence

    · Wagdi Ghuniem, a militant Islamic cleric from Egypt, who has called for jihad against Jews and other “enemies of Islam.” (Curiously, on one of his recent visits to the United States, Ghuniem was barred from entering Canada because of his terrorist affiliations and sent back to the United States, where he continued his tour exhorting Islamic groups to carry out violence.)
    This is just a drip in the slime bucket–it runneth over.
    Yes, Virginia there is an alqueda,regardless of what Angelos says, and they need to be monitored and spied on and watched like mad dogs. If you aren’t having frequent chats with bin laden and his co-slime, you have nothing to worry about…do you, angelos?

  • Angelos

    What do your crazy non sequiturs about Jews have to do with anything kat? What is your obsession? Your racism is just astounding. Learn that from Jesus, did you?

    Oh, how many of those names came from warrantless searches, versus legal? How many came specifically from Dear Leader’s decision that he was not only above the law, but THE LAW? We need to defend ourselves from our own government as much as from outside threats.

    Remember kat, “Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.”

    Hey, if an NSA guy gets a tip that I’m threat, they can tap my phone this instant. And they can listen to my incredibly boring life for 72 hours. Mostly they’ll get my wife talking to her best friend for 1.5 hours straight about absolutely nothing, like women tend to do. Or my wife talking to her sister, who just separated from her husband after 17 years of marriage. Or me talking to my brother about playoff football. There are maybe three phone calls a day to/from my house. After 72 hours, if the listener hasn’t stabbed himself in the eye out of sheer boredom, the NSA can either stop, or go to the FISA court and make their case as to why they need more time with me, and thus a legit warrant. That’s all I ask, as an American who understands the real meaning of patriotism. Which is quite different from your winger fascism.

  • Ron Pettengill

    Kat – you go girl (assuming)

    we’ve got facts. they’ve got nothing.

    angelenos – no i wasn’t on the debate team or mathletes or the av club. too busy having a good time.

    unlike yourself i actually went out in the world and achieved something. didn’t bottle my anger up like most left wingers who still hold a grudge because they never got picked for the dodgeball team.

    let me guess – you’rethe head of the condo association? last bastion of the witless.

    god i love being petty!

  • Ron Pettengill

    Angelenos: btw if we are calling names then lets establish yours – i think copperhead fits quite nicely.

  • kat

    Democracy can only offer freedom as long as it is not used
    against others with equal rights. A society should give us all freedom but at the same time protect us from those criminal gutblowers who abuse it.
    Most democracies are extremely reluctant to “address” in a
    political or legal sense, the islamofascists from within our society, simply because their freedom is guaranteed by its very constitution. They are afraid to ruffle the feathers of CAIR and other terrorist voices. However, when these groups’ behaviour becomes politically destabilising or a clear and proven danger to others (like, say, a terrorist threat)….then that should change. We can not let democracy become a weapon for terrorists among us to use against us. Their freedom–the terrorists’, means F all to me. These bastards are using the principles of democracy to infiltrate our countries and to kill us. We need to exterminate that slime from our society or be willing to become their targets-again and again.

  • Angelos

    And there are plenty of laws and provisions that allow our security agencies to do what they need to do.

    Wow Ron, nice non-post there! You seem to have all sorts of theories about my life, none of them true of course. But who needs facts!? I was just pointing out the logical impossiblity of your statement, and you’re proud! Proud to be stupid. The credo of the Fox News watcher.

    And what are these facts of which you speak? That your Dear Leader has openly and proudly declared he is doesn’t have to obey the very constitution that gives him his job? You nuts are really buying this? Really? What a scary little minority your little cabal forms.

  • Ron Pettengill

    btw i live in the UK – so not a Fox News watcher. the facts are this. (and i learned this from the clinton administration) the people speak – right now you and the rest of the buffoons in the US left – MSM included are on the wrong side of history. u can’t believe that GW beats you at every turn, i mean how can he? after all i listen to NPR, I read the New Yorker. its just not fair!. well try this on for size – it only gets worse. 2006 – 4 more house seats and 2 more senate seats…… Alito gets confirmed not with a bang but with a whimper – the boob, the dunce, chimpy bushitlerburton leaves office changing everything. the only thing you have left is the media and that is dissoving before your very eyes. get thee to toronto.

  • kat

    No, Angelos, it is you and your fellow nuts who believe they are above the law–you follow a different law. Followers of allah have openly and proudly declared they don’t have to obey the very constitution that is the USA. Nuts like angelos are really buying this. They are a scary cancer on the face of the earth and they live among us .
    And there are plenty of laws and provisions that allow our enemy to do what they need to do.
    Koran 17:16-17
    When we decide to destroy a population, we send a definite order to them who have the good things in life and yet transgress; so that Allah’s word is proved true against them: then we destroy them utterly. How many generations have we destroyed after Noah? And enough is thy Lord to note and see the Sins of his servants
    Koran 8:37
    In order that Allah may seperate the impure from the pure, Put All the impure ones (Non-Muslim), one on top of the another in a Heap and cast them into Hell. They will be the ones to have lost
    Koran 21:11
    How many were the populations we utterly destroyed because of their inequities, setting up in their place other peoples
    Koran 2:8-10
    In their (Non-Muslims) hearts is a disease; and Allah has increased their disease and grievous is the penalty they will incur, because they are false.
    Koran 58:5
    Those who resist Allah and His Messenger will be crumbled to dust, as were those before them: for we have already sent down Clear Signs and the Unbelievers will have a humiliating Penalty
    Koran 44:43-50
    Verily the Tree of Zaqqum will be the food of the sinful. Like molten brass it will boil in their insides,Like the boiling of scalding water Seize Ye Him and drag him into the midst of the blazing Fire Then pour over his head the penalty of Boiling Water
    Koran 2:39
    Those who reject faith (Islam) and belie our signs, They shall be Companions of the Fire and abide in it.
    Koran 2:89-90
    The Curse of Allah is on those without faith (in Islam) Thus have they drawn wrath upon wrath on themselves and humiliating is the punishment of those who reject Islam
    Koran 5:33
    The Punishment for those who oppose Allah and his messenger is : Execution or Crucifixion or the cutting off of hands and feet from opposite sides or exile from the land

  • Pradeep

    We have an Imperial Presidency and now we also have Imperial Editor. Citizens and readers be damned.

  • buzz

    btw i live in the UK – so not a Fox News watcher. the facts are this. (and i learned this from the clinton administration) the people speak – right now you and the rest of the buffoons in the US left – MSM included are on the wrong side of history. u can’t believe that GW beats you at every turn, i mean how can he? after all i listen to NPR, I read the New Yorker. its just not fair!. well try this on for size – it only gets worse. 2006 – 4 more house seats and 2 more senate seats…… Alito gets confirmed not with a bang but with a whimper – the boob, the dunce, chimpy bushitlerburton leaves office changing everything. the only thing you have left is the media and that is dissoving before your very eyes. get thee to toronto.

  • Jim S

    ‘At his October 28, 2005, press conference, Special Counsel Fitzgerald was asked if he knew whether Libby revealed Plame’s covert status knowingly; he responded:

    Let me say two things. Number one, I am not speaking to whether or not Valerie Wilson was covert. And anything I say is not intended to say anything beyond this: that she was a CIA officer from January 1st, 2002, forward. I will confirm that her association with the CIA was classified at that time through July 2003. And all I’ll say is that, look, we have not made any allegation that Mr. Libby knowingly, intentionally outed a covert agent. We have not charged that. And so I’m not making that assertion.

    Fitzgerald said also broadly about her status in CIA, in the beginning of his press conference: “Valerie Wilson was a CIA officer. In July 2003, the fact that Valerie Wilson was a CIA officer was classified”. And: “Valerie Wilson’s cover was blown in July 2003. The first sign of that cover being blown, was when Mr. Novak published a column on July 14th, 2003.”‘

    So Fitzgerald in that press conference doesn’t address her covert status but does speciify that her association with the agency was classified. In addition I notice that the right wingers never address that outing her also destroyed a carefully constructed cover operation and tainted everyone who had ever used it and eliminated its usefulness for any future operations. So your friends most definitely did something that had negative repercussions for American security.

  • Angelos

    William Safire on the Nixon years:

    I was writing a speech on welfare reform, and the president looks at it and says, “OK, I’ll go with it, but this is not going to get covered. Leak it as far and wide as you can beforehand. Maybe we’ll get something in the paper.” And so I go back to my office and I get a call from a reporter, and he wants to know about foreign affairs or something, and I said, “Hey, you want a leak? I’ll tell you what the president will say tomorrow about welfare reform.” And he took it down and wrote a little story about it. But the FBI was illegally tapping his phone at the time, and so they hear a White House speechwriter say, “Hey, you want a leak?” And so they tapped my phone, and for six months, every home phone call I got was tapped. I didn’t like that. And when it finally broke–it did me a lot of good at the time, frankly, because then I was on the right side–but it told me how easy it was to just take somebody who is not really suspected of anything for any good reason and listen to every conversation in his home–you know, my wife talking to her doctor, my–everything.

    I’m much more worried about the threat to my liberty from my own government, than I am from kat’s Koranic bogeymen.

    But it is funny to point out that when kat says “Followers of allah have openly and proudly declared they don’t have to obey the very constitution that is the USA.”, she ignores that her own King George doesn’t think he has to either. And what exactly is the “constitution that is the USA?” Bizarre.

    Yup, to Koran has a lot of crazy shit in it. So does the Bible. And both books have literalist followers, imbeciles really, that will kill to enforce the tenets of their respective books. Whoopie!

    And how this this excuse illegal wiretapping of private American citizens? And what does this have to do with our sending undocumented prisoner to our wonderful “allies” un Uzbekistan to be boiled alive? Are you saying, kat, that your fear of the brown people justifies the spying on and torture of innocents? Torture that only results in faulty information, when the torturees are just willing to anythig to make it stop. A fact that is widely accepted by intelligence experts worldwide? How much false info do we have (and are we acting on) that was extracted via torture?

    Keep thumping that bible.

  • kat

    You’re sounding more and more like that Mahmoud Moonbatah guy–gotta stop that headbanging or reading too much al jazeera.

  • Angelos

    That was original.

    Wouldn’t want to hurt yourself thinking.

  • Angelos: I’m much more worried about the threat to my liberty from my own government, than I am from kat’s Koranic bogeymen.

    And that’s really the last word.

    There’s no point in arguing about the details of US govt actions in the middle of a war with someone who thinks that the US govt is a bigger problem than the enemy (if there is such a thing). I think this view informs much of the left.

  • What about the money? Where are we going to fund the continual special counsels from? I seriosuly believe that the NYT article and the insuing Justice Dept probe, the Plame leak, the Abramoff situ, Tom Delay’s troubles, Mel Martinez slurs, and the like should be funded by their respective parties – both prosecution and defense. I’m sick to death of the millions of dollars which could be dedicated to progress in any number of causes (of course, I’d lobby for the tree-hugging types) being spent in DC courtrooms in a partisan snowball fight. What’s the current Fitzgerald total? 2 years of investigation and pursuit by him and a full staff must have hit several million by now. In ’08 we should allow the candidates to raise an additional $10 million each that is placed in a pre-paid legal services account. WHEN their respective scandal hits, they use their ATM card to pay and not our tax till. I read in the Economist this summer that ’04’s total cost for litigation in the U.S. was the equivalent to 2% of our entire GDP for that year. The “Hatfield’s and McCoy’s” style that Washington has provoked since the start of the nation is nothing new, but I have to believe that it has never been this damn expensive even when adjusted for inflation.

    In addition, all’s fair in love and media. If the NYT, WaPo, or O’Reilly’s can drum up some news that effects the credibility of our democracy, they should be within their rights to tell the nation. You can’t embrace freedom of the press only when it’s in your favor – you take the good (Anderson Cooper) and the bad (Bill O’Reilly) and then get to bed early. The president says that the leaks have compromised our security. Well, I would hope that all those with access to that kind of information would be under oath and at their level be able to know left from wrong. If he wasn’t full of causeless anger, maybe he’d have bi-partisan support to prevent these levee breaches. It’s a war in our nations capital, and the leaks are just the most recent rounds of mortar fire. Build trust, be a visionary, support a bi-partisan agenda, George, and maybe you’ll have lieutenants outside your party who will watch out for you. Learning English would help, too.



  • kat

    Well, I was reminded of his speech at the UN–and if I didn’t know it was him, I’d think it was you. You sound just like him.
    Eg.“Let me be blunt. State terrorism is being supported by those who claim to fight terrorism,”(Mahmood Ahmadinejad)(the mad moonbat who sounds like Angelos or vice versa.) Almadman doesn’t believe al queda exists…just a western myth.

  • Ron Pettengill (the artist formerly known as RonP)

    Jim S.

    not to meddle with your “magical” thinking but Val “pajama game” Plame was not a covert op. her cover was not blown by anybody. she was an analyst. if you know anyone who works for the CIA (I do) they are not all covert. You can know that they work for the agency. It is their responsibility to keep their cover (if indeed they have one) she was not sydney bristow or mrs. kensington. let me boil it down for you. Scooter Libby was indicted for lying about telling the truth about a liar (joe wilson).

  • Angelos

    Brian, if you’d ever cracked a history book, you’d be familiar with many elected officials that kept claiming more and more power (in the name of protecting the nation), and wound up quite totalitarian. Bush has acted and spoken in exactly this manner. Congress has done nothing to disabuse him of the notion that he can make his own rules, and the media has been properly subservient, and the sheeple, well, dumb and gullible as always. Yes, the attacks on the saftey and security of the Constitution and the American people as a whole (not just the rich white ones) have been far more frequent and pernicious than the ones by the brown bogeymen. The result is a financially and militarily weakened nation, with an administration that uses war and terra in a Wag the Dog fashion. Realize, there need to be a country for us to “be at war.” We’re not at war. We are occupying a foreing nation, and playing bitchslap with car-bombers. And that will end when? Any definable goals here? That can actually be met? Didn’t think so.

    Kat, you’re fucking nuts. If your only response to anything anyone posts is to call them a terrorist, well, you done did good learning from Dear Leader, and President Cheney. Why do you hate your freedom so?

    Ron, wrong again. I guess the statements of a UN Attorney mean nothing in your world of talking points and semantics. She wasn’t covert, she wasn’t covert! OK, you win. She was classified. And her outing was malicious, intentional, and damaging to national security, and she was involved with many other people and a till-then successful front operation.

  • Ron Pettengill (the artist formerly known as RonP)

    UN attorney? what is the relevance? and if there is – no a UN attorney’s opinion means nothing to me. if you mean US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald – well yes it does. the last time i checked no one was indicted for outing a covert op. but i suppose if you keep wishing hard enough then maybe just maybe Rove will do the perp walk.

    Classified vs. Covert. (time to turn the tv off)
    there is a distinction. she may have been working with classified material but she was not a covert op. if she was then why wasn’t someone charged with breaking the law?

    the front operation you are talking about is Brewster Jennings Associates. its cover was blown well before the “leak”.

    also on cracking history books. you might want crack a book on the activities of lincoln, wilson, and fdr to name a few.

  • Ron Pettengill (the artist formerly known as RonP)

    as per your reference to Kat. maybe not a terrorist – but you are certainly a copperhead – you know what that means right angelenos? go ahead crack that history book and find out what it means. you are what you are.

  • Angelos

    Our government’s wonderful history of paranoia and illegal snooping, compounded by the power of today’s computers, here.

    Ah Ron, nice try, but no. See, I’m smart enough to be able to differentiate between military action that was valid, justified, and actually successful until it was sabotaged (Afghanistan), and a total clusterfuck of an uncalled for and mismanaged disaster that is Iraq. See, Al Qaeda attacked us, killed 3000 people. So we attacked… Iraq. And killed 30000-100000+ Iraqis. Yeah, that makes sense.

    But back to spying… can you all readily give up your basic civil liberties that easily, to such an unqualified moron? It doesn’t bother you? Well, your little minority has the power now, but the nation will survive, I guess. Later on, while we repair the damage, you can rant and rave in your little white padded rooms, about the bad brown people.

  • Ron Pettengill (the artist formerly known as RonP)

    sorry dude. but its not a minority – check the polls. check the electoral results since 2000. 2006 ain’t going to be any better. you are led by buffoons. btw if i’m giving away my civil liberties should it be a qualified moron?

    wow 30,000 to 100,000+! quite a delta. hope your not calibrating lab equipment. naw. civil service is my bet.

  • Gaius Arbo

    Wow, just look at all we’ve learned.

    Angelos hates (in no particular order) religion, republicans, women, white people and any infringement of civil liberties. He also believes, without question, anything he reads in the NYT.

    He’s also incapable of posting any comment without name calling at minimum and a descent into outright obscenity when he really gets rolling.

    He’s also in favor of locking up all of the above groups judging from his last statement. Which hardly fits with his champion of civil liberties view of himself, but logical consistency isn’t really needed.

    Keep commenting, Angelos. You are doing a mighty fine job of representing your views and winning converts to the side of Truth and Justice.

  • kat

    It’s a well known fact that terrorists use the Web as a base of operations. The Web has become one large madrasa for teaching, funding, planning murder and then showing vidios of their barbaric and sick acts. It is bloody well time to snoop big time on this scum. Terrorists are using the web to plan attacks worldwide.

  • Angelos

    30000 is the most the government will admit to, but there are a few independent estimates that have gone up to low six digits. I don’t know the exact answer, and neither do you. I thought I would give the full range, because it also illustrates the folly of our exercise, and the irresposibility with which it’s being carried out.

    GA, Truth and Justice? Where? When was the last time a Bush official spoke the truth? Justice = Shipment to Uzbekistan, in your formula.

    Yes, I hate religion of the organized variety, any smart person would, having seen the damage it does, and how the mindless are led around by their fear of imaginary beings. But you extrapolated wildily to come up with the rest of your conclusions. It’s what you do.

    It would be really silly of me to hate “white people” considering that I am one. I mean, there are specific white people that I hate, but their color has nothing to do with it.

    Kat, you’re right. We should ban the web, telephones, TV, newspapers, everything. Uncle George will take care of us. Oh, where should we intern all the blacks, browns, and yellows? I’m thinking Wyoming. Nothing really going on there, and the square shape would be easy to fence. Of course, since we’re warring in Iraq and will soon be in Iran, we’ll need upstanding citizens such as yourself to guard the borders.

  • kat

    I have no desire to ban anything–except terrorists. And you are really stuck with your head up your ass re this color thing. I don’t hate people of any color–I just hate terrorists–like John Walker Lindh. Don’t be a freakin’ asshole all your life. Being a drama queen does nothing for you.
    What about non religion–after all atheism has killed more people in a short timespan than all religions combined–the atheists have the religionists beat by a mile. Notorious atheist butchers like Mao Zedong, Pol Pot, Stalin, Enver Hoxha,and that Korean asshole killed and slaughtered their own people at an unheard-of rate.  When it comes to piling up a body count, atheists take second place to none. But these atheists could not be wrong. After all, their knowledge was scientific…they believed in the Darwin ‘religion’.

  • Ron Pettengill

    kat: exactly right. i’m an agnostic and have no use for religion. but facts is facts.

  • Ravo

    “The body of one woman was found still clutching a baby. The infant had been shot in the back of the head and the woman in the face.

    “The youngest foetus we have was 18 to 20 foetal weeks,” said US investigating anthropologist P Willey.”

    Angelos rants about war deaths – perhaps one tenth of the murders during Saddam’s reign.

    there may be as many as 1 million people buried in mass graves from that time period.

    ….can’t argue —– it nets out to LIVES SAVED!

  • Ron Pettengill

    the irony of the situation is that angelenos and his cohorts are right in line (from a foriegn policy perspective) with the realpolitik of Kissinger, Eagleburger and Scowcroft. whats black is white and whats up is down.

  • Jim S

    Ron, what’s the matter? Too busy to actually read what I posted? Or just too stupid to understand it after you scooped out most of your gray cells to replace them with RNC talking points and RWR transcripts? It was Fitzgerald who explicitly stated that her status was classified. I think he knows. You, on the other hand are (at least when it comes to the intersection of fact and politics) are just too utterly stupid to be believed. You and your raging bigot friend kat are a perfect pair.

  • kat

    Well, Jimmy, I hope you got ‘stupid’ out of your system in that little rant–but when ‘stupid’ is part of your very fibre, that’s not likely. Rage on, Jimmy.

  • Jim S

    kat, I think I see some pot calling the kettle black here. What I said was right. The special prosecutor was the one who said that Plame’s status was classified. It was not simply some claim that I made because of what Ron called “magical thinking”. So if someone tries to claim that I made it up then I will call him stupid and you are his match in intellect. Your post proves it. But frankly I don’t really care what you think of me. You’d have to be capable of generating a thought worthy of the name before that would happen. The truth is that you are one of those current excuses for conservatives who are just blind followers. GWB is no Hitler. He never will be. But if through some bizarre twist of unreality he was, you’d still follow him, just like so many citizens of Germany in the ’30s followed their leader.