Sunday, July 02, 2006

Calame: Al Qaeda Has a Right to Know

The Empty Suit, New York Times spokesman Barney Calame -- the widely-reviled, worthless "public editor"-- today came out ( suprise suprise!) in favor of Times management's publishing that story revealing the secret terrorist-finances tracking program.

Hey, they don't call him a "management shill" for nothing. But Calame's column today was laughable even by Calame standards.

"It was time to take a close look at the handling of the article in search of answers," says Barney and, well, I don't have to tell you what that "answer" was, was it? But look at the "reasoning." Barney's view is that since a whole bunch of people already knew about this super-secret program, why not let al Qaeda know? Sure. Spread it all over the front page of the Times. Make sure that every terrorist from here to Kabul knew about it.

I'm not kidding. Calame went to the executive editor, Bill Keller, and loyally acted as stenographer for the following.
"Hundreds, if not thousands, of people know about this," Mr. Keller said he was told by an official who talked to him on condition of anonymity. The 25 bankers from numerous nations on the Swift board of directors, and their predecessors going back to 2001, knew about the arrangement. So did some consortium executives and staff members — a group that probably expanded during this period. Starting in 2003, Swift representatives had to be stationed alongside any government intelligence official searching the data.
By the same reasoning, since the entire population of Chicago knew about the Japanese code being broken -- after the Chicago Tribune irresponsibly published that fact during World War II -- there was no valid reason not to spread that all over the headlines of the world media. After all, "the people have a right to know." Japanese are people too, aren't they? Same principle goes for the guys and gals of al Qaeda and its affiliates all over the world. They're people and they have a right to know.

Likewise, the Manhattan Project was known to thousands upon thousands of people. Damn the U.S. media for not satisfying the public's -- in the U.S., Germany and Japan -- "right to know" that silly millitary secret!

Barney's not through. No, he's got a whole column to fill this week before he goes back to the divan. "Another reason Times editors were right to proceed with the 3,550-word Swift story was the skimpy Congressional oversight of the program." That's right. If Congress isn't paying attention, tell bin Laden!

And so it went, Barney Calame proving again that the Times has no more loyal lapdog than its very own in-house watchdog.

Go back to the divan, Barney. You've earned your pay. Say, how many months left on your contract? I'm sure they'll want to renew. You're good!


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