The Times' Strange Defense: Our Big Spy Scoop? Old News
The On Point radio show on WBUR public radio in
Joining Brooks by phone, Lichtblau offered this lame defense in response to a question from fellow guest Heather Mac Donald, who wrote critically about the Times' report for the Weekly Standard: “The idea that we’re alerting terrorist to the idea that their finances may be tracked I think is misguided. I think they’ve been alerted to that for the last four-and-a-half years by President Bush and by numerous aides, including former Treasury Secretary Snow and others. That drumbeat has been constant from the administration, and it’s such a poorly kept secret, if you can call it even that.”
In other words, his big scoop? Old news.
Mac Donald challenged Lichtblau’s central premise: “If it’s so universally known, why is this a front-page story that the Times was proud to publish? You can’t have it both ways….How do you explain the Hambali [the
Lichtblau avoids the question: “The value of running the story seems clear to me from the debate that we’d had for over the last year with the NSA story and others, is how you go about prosecuting the war on terrorism, checks and balances in government that speaks to a broad reading of presidential authority. The question of how long we will be using extraordinary emergency measures to fight the war on terrorism. These are all critical questions for public debate, and I think the paper decided that those were issues that outweighed what seemed like a tough-to-follow argument that the terrorists are not already aware of this.”
For more on this story and other examples of New York Times bias, visit TimesWatch.