Thursday, December 15, 2005

Questions for the New York Times

The NYT reports that President Bush secretly signed a presidential order in 2002 that "authorized the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on Americans and others inside the United States." Much of this is warrentless especially if it involves international communications. But even though warrants are necessary for domestic only communications the standard of proof for gaining a warrent is much lower than usually required by law. 1754 warrants for spying on US citizens in the US were approved in 2004.

It's an important revelation and I urge you to read it for the details but this detail stood out.
The Times reports that it knew this information last year but did not report it.....
The White House asked The New York Times not to publish this article, arguing that it could jeopardize continuing investigations and alert would-be terrorists that they might be under scrutiny. After meeting with senior administration officials to hear their concerns, the newspaper delayed publication for a year to conduct additional reporting. Some information that administration officials argued could be useful to terrorists has been omitted.
My question to the NYT is did you know of this before or after the election? If they knew this prior to the election I see a problem. Was this covered up so the terrorists wouldn't know or the voters? The article even reports that "N.S.A. personnel worried that the program might come under scrutiny by Congressional or criminal investigators if Senator John Kerry, the Democratic nominee, was elected president."

Even if it was after the election why is the NYT holding onto this. Security reasons? I see nothing that has changed in terms of security (bin laden and Al Qaeda are still operating) that would deem it ok to print now as opposed to last year. Regardless does anyone really think that terrorist don't know they are being surveilled?
The NYT needs to answer some questions here.

Update: WaPo reports that NYT held onto story for over a year. They quote the NYT which I don't believe the Times said that but....
And that the Prez's actions appear to break the law...

Kate Martin, director of the Center for National Security Studies at George Washington University, said the secret order may amount to the president authorizing criminal activity.

The law governing clandestine surveillance in the United States, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, prohibits conducting electronic surveillance not authorized by statute.
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