Friday, June 23, 2006

The New York Times revealing the apparently very narrow intelligence monitoring of international financial transactions by suspected al Qaida couriers, operatives and financiers by the Treasury Department and IC was exceptionally damaging to American national security.

Unless the Bush administration is up to something else entirely different, publication here was particularly irresponsible and pointless partisanship by the Times editors. Covert or cut-out financial transfers of funds are the lifeblood of jihadism and terror operations and detecting these activities is now going to be immeasurably harder, as more al Qaida funds transfers are shifted to alternate, underground, networks. Great job guys !

As for the leakers inside the IC who first alerted the Times, they need to be identified, their security clearances revoked, fired and prosecuted.
Like the NSA wiretapping row, do you mean to tell me that they did not assume such transactions were being monitored?

Are we really to the point where we are going to rely on the assumption that these very capable adversaries are enormous idiots?

I am as sensitive as the next guy to revealing "sources and methods", but I find it hard to believe that terrorists didn't assume some form o monitoring in the first place.
As with many of these new cases, the leaker is probably not in the government. The government is increasingly reliant on civilian groups/companies (outside of the national security system) to do most of the heavy lifting here.
Bill is exactly on target - in addition, it is old rulesets that would dictate your recommended course of action.

New rulesets assume this will happen, massive interconnectivity equates to massive information transmission. You can't control this stuff, period.

Being resilient in the face of this interconnectivity is more important. Hunting down the leakers is a waste of time.

Plus in an age of bypassing the Constitution, I'd like to know what is going on. ;)
Hi guys,

Not idiots, willing to entertain certain risks for the sake of speed. Which in turn breeds a certain operational laziness over time.

It is certainly possible that this leak came from the private sector as Shloky suggests. At this point, however, I'm wagering it was inside the IC.

I'm troubled because this leak was not a case of revealing USG *abuse* but of the IC doing exactly what it was set up to do and for the right reasons.
Just a thought. When the government takes on a program such as this there is no way to shut it down when it become no longer relevant, unless it is "leaked". I am not saying there is a government conspiracy to leak and close, I am saying that the people who are actually working these programs see in their minds when things are no longer relevant and close them. It is the hidden program in modularity so to speak. A reactor if you will. Evolution?
Is it any surprise that the New York Times is a natural ally for al Qaeda? Political and military victories are both based on the correlation of forces. The NYT espouses an unpopular ideology with few powerful adherents, so must focus on its (perceived) greatest enemy -- President Bush. al Qaeda espouses an unpopular ideology with few powerful adherents, so must focus on its (perceived) greatest enemy -- President Bush. Thus they naturally correlate their forces in parallel against an enemy they both oppose.
Hi Dan,

There is a dangerous (from the perspective of the legitimacy of the american state)line of thinking that embraces a fair part of the Left, not just the hard Left but the Democratic Party, that Bush and the Republicans are the " real enemy " and must be defeated first. Hence the apprehension and depression at moments of victory.

I'm the first to say that the Bush administration tends to corrupt their own feedback loops on Iraq by " shooting the messenger" but their critics are doing much the same thing, but in an opposite direction

Here's a tidbit for you from a private conference. I give it some credibility with the caveat that it is paraphrasing, not a direct quote:

"Second, the U.S. mainstream media who send reporters to the combat zone do not like to have their people embedded with our troops. They claim that the reporters get "less objective" when they live with the soldiers and marines - they come to see the world through the eyes of the troops. As a consequence, a majority of the reporters stay in hotels in the "Green Zone" and send out native stringers to call in stories to them by cell phone which they later write up and file. No effort is made to verify any of these stories or the credibility of the stringers. The recent serious injuries to Bob Woodruff of ABC and Kimberly Dozier of CBS makes the likelihood of the use of local stringers even higher.

Third, the stories that are filed by reporters in the field very seldom reach the American public as written. An anecdote from Col. McMaster illustrates this dramatically. TIME magazine recently sent a reporter to spend six weeks with the 3rd ACR as they were in the battle of Tal Afar. When the battle was over, the reporter filed his story and also included close to 100 pictures that the accompanying photographer took. TIME published a cover story on the battle a week later, allegedly using the story sent in by their reporter. When the issue came out, the guts had been edited out of their reporter's story and none of the pictures he submitted were used. Instead they showed a weeping child on the cover, taken from stock photos. When the reporter questioned why his story was eviscerated, his editors in New York responded that the story and pictures were "too heroic". McMaster had read both and told me that the editors had completely changed the thrust and context of the material their reporter had submitted."

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