June 23, 2006
I'M ON HUGH HEWITT'S SHOW with Ed Morrissey, talking about the New York Times' latest publication of classified information. You can listen live here.
Nobody from The Times was willing to talk, but you can see what others are saying here.
UPDATE: A reader who has lots of experience working for SWIFT (the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Transfers, the entity involved in the financial surveillance program in question) emails:
What has not been stressed is that SWIFT is not used for individuals. It is used for processing money transfers, stock transfers and bond transfers from companies, governments, banks, insurance companies and NGO's. What we essentially had on file was the holdings for almost all our clients and the clearance data for these transactions dating back for years. We had to keep all this on file to satisfy all the governmental regulations on taxations, etc.
What the NY Times has essentially done is open up to the terrorists the trails of all their transactions and how the banking procedures of money laundering was done for them by the system. They have essentially stopped dead the ability to track this money and keep it from being put in the hands of our worst enemies. Whether the terrorists might have guessed that their money was being transferred is a moot point. The NY Times had told them that their worst fears have been realized and that they need to find another way to move money around the world. They know it for sure now. Thank you, Bill Keller, and when the nice young man or woman from down the street is killed by one of these terrorists I can thank you for that as well.
When big companies dump toxic waste into rivers to enrich themselves, they're criticized by the press. But this is the same kind of thing -- self-serving profiteering at the public's expense.
Meanwhile, a humorous take: "If anti-terror officials are allowed to access banking records now, then how long before the IRS has access to them as well?"
ANOTHER UPDATE: King Banaian has a much more thorough description of what's going on with SWIFT.