NYT`s Keller wrong. Some never knew about SWIFT

Photo credit - Barcelona based Ricardo Bofill Taller de Arquitectura, the Brussels based headquarters of the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications, SWIFT, is shown in an undated aerial view.

Keller made a point that everyone, including terrorists, have long been on notice that we are doing everything we can to track their finances.

Not quite everyone. According to

26 Jun 2006,
Belgium probes legality of US bank record searches

Belgium's government said on Monday it was investigating the legality of counter-terrorism searches by U.S. officials of thousands of private records held by Brussels-based international bank cooperative SWIFT.

U.S. media reported last week that the U.S. Treasury Department had been tapping into records of the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications since Sept. 11, 2001 for evidence of potential activity by terrorist groups.

Belgian Justice Minister Laurette Onkelinx learned of the searches from the media and asked Belgium's national security services and counter-fraud office to produce reports into the matter before the end of the week, a ministry spokeswoman said.

"She wants to know if these actions taken by the U.S. and SWIFT are okay under Belgian law," Annaik De Voghel said, adding security officials would discuss the issue later this week.

Interesting. The very organization in Europe who should have known about the monitoring of international transfers had no clue that this was going on. So much for the excuse that "everyone already knew".

Well, if everyone didn't know before, they certainly know now. How did these idiots get to be in charge of the most powerful papers in America?

A favorite excuse now by the left is to quote from Media Matters - a declaration of war,

In a September 24, 2001, speech, Bush announced the establishment of a "foreign terrorist asset tracking center at the Department of the Treasury to identify and investigate the financial infrastructure of the international terrorist networks." He added, "It will bring together representatives of the intelligence, law enforcement, and financial regulatory agencies to accomplish two goals: to follow the money as a trail to the terrorists, to follow their money so we can find out where they are; and to freeze the money to disrupt their actions."

They use this announcement from President Bush to show that the terrorists were already alerted to our government's tracing of money, so the NY Times did nothing different. A disingenuous liberal argument. All bank robbers know that banks have alarm systems. So if a bank puts up a sign that says we have alarms it is not telling the robbers where those alarms are. It would be disingenuous for any newspaper to then print the exact location of the panic buttons for the robbers and then proclaim innocence of any wrongdoing by declaring, "Hey, all bank robbers know you have alarms."

President Bush saying he was going to follow the money was so nebulous as to be non-threatening to would be money-launderers. The SWIFT disclosure was akin to pointing to the location of the panic buttons. Do not pass go; do not collect $200.00.

Related Blog:

villainous company,
Bill Keller: The Unitary Editor

The unfolding train wreck at the New York Times continues. Executive Editor Bill Keller has demonstrated a truly impressive mastery of the flexible urban viewpoint for which the Times is justly renowned. He argues, at various times, that we should not allow governments to keep secrets, that the decision was "agonizing", that our friends in the international community (folks like Abu Musab al-Zarqawi - if only the Times had gotten a tip on that impending airstrike!) - can only benefit when we allow greater transparency in our secret anti-terror programs.

But nowhere in all this talk of openness and transparency did Mr. Keller find time to mention that the publication of classified information is against the law. And make no mistake: revealing our national secrets is illegal.

Photo credit: Barcelona based Ricardo Bofill Taller de Arquitectura, the Brussels based headquarters of the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications, SWIFT, is shown in an undated aerial view.

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