Congressman Calls for NY Times Prosecution; Bush Denounces Revelation

The chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, Rep. Peter King, says the New York Times should be prosecuted for revealing the program for monitoring international money-transfers.

President Bush also denounced the revelation, saying, the disclosure was "disgraceful" and does "great harm to the United States of America."

Reports AP reporter Devlin Barrett:

The chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee urged the Bush administration on Sunday to seek criminal charges against newspapers that reported on a secret financial-monitoring program used to trace terrorists.

Rep. Peter King cited The New York Times in particular for publishing a story last week that the Treasury Department was working with the CIA to examine messages within a massive international database of money-transfer records.

King, R-N.Y., said he would write Attorney General Alberto Gonzales urging that the nation's chief law enforcer "begin an investigation and prosecution of The New York Times _ the reporters, the editors and the publisher."

"We're at war, and for the Times to release information about secret operations and methods is treasonous," King told The Associated Press.

Reports AP reporter Terence Hunt:

President Bush on Monday sharply condemned the disclosure of a program to secretly monitor the financial transactions of suspected terrorists. "The disclosure of this program is disgraceful," he said.

"For people to leak that program and for a newspaper to publish it does great harm to the United States of America," Bush said, jabbing his finger for emphasis. He said the disclosure of the program "makes it harder to win this war on terror."...

"Congress was briefed and what we did was fully authorized under the law," Bush said, talking with reporters in the Roosevelt Room after meeting with groups that support U.S. troops in Iraq.

"We're at war with a bunch of people who want to hurt the United States of America," the president said. "What we were doing was the right thing."

"The American people expect this government to protect our constitutional liberties and at the same time make sure we understand what the terrorists are trying to do," Bush said. He said that to figure out what terrorists plan to do, "You try to follow their money. And that's exactly what we're doing and the fact that a newspaper disclosed it makes it harder to win this war on terror."