An article in The Washington Post reported the claim that the June 23 report by The New York Times on a Treasury Department program designed to monitor terrorists' international financial transactions "undermined a highly successful counter-terrorism program and alerted terrorists to the methods and sources used to track their money trails." But the article at no point mentioned the numerous instances in which administration officials have publicly touted their efforts to track terrorist finances. Nor did it note reports that terrorists were increasingly using alternate means of transferring money to elude detection.
A Washington Post article noted that President Bush has recently begun "[s]harpen[ing] his attack[s]" on Democrats by alleging that "some Democrats want to surrender" in Iraq, but did not mention the reported pullout plan for Iraq drafted by Gen. George W. Casey Jr.
Numerous conservative commentators joined the Bush administration in arguing that, in detailing a secret Treasury Department program designed to monitor terrorists' international financial transactions, a June 23 New York Times article tipped off terrorists to the U.S. government's ability to track their financial activities -- some going so far as to accuse the newspaper of treason. But the Times report was hardly the first indication of U.S. efforts to monitor terrorists' financial transactions: President Bush himself repeatedly touted the government's capability to track and shut down terrorists' international financial networks.
On Fox News' Special Report, attorney David B. Rivkin Jr. made the baseless claim that The New York Times' justification for publishing an article on a Bush administration program designed to monitor international financial transactions would also justify a decision to print details of a hypothetical imminent attack on Osama bin Laden. But Supreme Court precedent suggests that, in contrast with the information published by The Times, the publication of such information about bin Laden not only could likely be punishable after the fact, but also might be blocked by a court in the first place.
In his syndicated column, Media Research Center president L. Brent Bozell III claimed that "[t]he hardened historical narrative" on weapons of mass destruction in Iraq "needs to be amended" because of the assertion by Sen. Rick Santorum and Rep. Peter Hoekstra that a recently declassified report found there were WMDs in Iraq prior to the U.S.-led invasion. Bozell ignored conclusive declarations by intelligence officials that the degraded chemical munitions hyped by Santorum and Hoekstra were not, in fact, in the category of "weapons of mass destruction."
In his newest column, Jonah Goldberg furthered falsehoods and baseless assertions on the NSA's warrantless domestic eavesdropping program, including writing that President Bush's approval ratings "went up" following the public disclosure of the NSA program.
Chris Matthews failed to challenge Rep. Peter King's false claim that The New York Times is "acknowledging" that a secret Bush administration program designed to monitor international financial transactions "is legal." However, New York Times executive editor Bill Keller has stated that "[i]t's not [the Times'] job to pass judgment on whether this program is legal." The Times has also reported that banking experts, as well as banking executives and Bush administration officials familiar with the program, have concerns about its legality.
Bill O'Reilly railed against The New York Times' disclosure of a secret Bush administration program designed to monitor international financial transactions, falsely claiming that "by all accounts" the program is "entirely legal" and that "[n]obody is asserting that they [the Bush administration] overstepped their authority." Right-wing pundit Ann Coulter similarly asserted that "no one thinks" the program "violates any laws." In fact, some legal experts and politicians have indeed questioned the legality of the newly disclosed program.
Numerous conservative media figures have lashed out at The New York Times and its executive editor, Bill Keller, over an article describing a secret Bush administration program designed to monitor international financial transactions, arguing that the publication of the article was a treasonous act and suggesting that the newspaper is "sid[ing] with al Qaeda" and "aiding and abetting the terrorist movement."
Several conservative media figures baselessly asserted that "a lot" of Democrats, including Rep. John P. Murtha (D-PA), had asked The New York Times not to publish an article disclosing a secret counterterrorism program that involves tracking bank records. But Times executive editor Bill Keller named only three people outside the administration (two of whom were Democrats) who Keller said contacted the Times regarding the story; moreover, he did not say whether the two Democrats advocated against publishing the article.
After criticizing the revelation of the Bush administration's warrantless domestic wiretapping program, The Wall Street Journal editorial board has been silent on the disclosure of the administration's monitoring of international financial transactions, on which the Journal's own news division reported.
On The Journal Editorial Report, Wall Street Journal editorial writer Bret Stephens asserted that an internal White House poll "reflects the fact that Americans want a strategy for winning ... not for pulling out," but failed to note that the most recent Journal poll, as well as other recent public polls, show that Americans do support pulling troops out of Iraq.
On Fox News Watch, Newsday columnist James P. Pinkerton asserted that "the press turned on the Iraq war several years ago" and now chooses to "frame" its coverage of the war in two ways: "One is, the U.S. military is evil" and two, "the U.S. military needs to be carefully restrained with legal rules and procedures." Pinkerton suggested the media portray American servicemen and women as "bad people" and "killers."
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Chris Matthews and Time columnists Andrew Sullivan and Joe Klein heaped praise on Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, never mentioning that Rice, in her current capacity and previously as national security adviser, repeatedly made false or misleading statements about the administration's use of intelligence in advance of the Iraq war and pre-9-11 intelligence.