2006-06-23) — Under a secret program launched in the wake of the 9/11 terror attacks, which killed 3,000 people on American soil, The New York Times gained access to private information from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and disseminated it periodically on paper and electronically to al Qaeda and other terror organizations.
News of the covert ‘intel-sifting and sharing’ program follows revelations by the Times and other major media operations that the Bush administration ordered monitoring of major international bank transactions after the 9/11 attacks, which toppled two of the tallest buildings in the United States.
Last year, the Times revealed that the Bush administration was eavesdropping on phone calls to and from suspected terrorists in an effort to prevent another attack like 9/11, in which a civilian jetliner was used in a missile strike on U.S. military headquarters at the Pentagon.
Times executive editor Bill Keller, in a hastily-called news conference, assured Americans that the scope of the intel-sifting and sharing program is “strictly limited” and that the results are “crucial to the success of the war on the war on terror.”
But the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) raised questions today saying “the civil rights of Americans must come before the strategic interests of ‘Big Media’.”
“Our basic rights are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” said an ACLU spokesman. “The New York Times’ disclosure to our enemies of U.S. anti-terror tactics threatens every American’s enjoyment of those three rights.”
The ACLU and Democrats in the Senate called for an immediate investigation to determine the scope of the Times’ intel-monitoring capabilities.
“We want to know the extent of the safeguards they have in place,” said Sen. Charles Schumer, D-NY, “We need to ensure that the program doesn’t facilitate another civil rights violation like 9/11, which caused many New Yorkers to leap from the windows of two major office buildings in order to avoid being burned to death in a fire kindled by jet fuel.”
File under "humor," mordant.