The New York Times could use a refresher on this foundational principle of republican society (republican with a little “r”): on Friday, the New York Times reported on the U.S. government’s secret surveillance of financial transactions among terrorists (access by subscription only). Hot Air has the video (Broken link, active June 26, 2006) of the President’s reaction … and he is angry with the Times and the leakers who cannot understand the words “Top Secret.” (Perhaps their lack of proficiency in English is enough to disqualify them for their jobs. Or their lack of loyalty to their country, take your pick.) National Review calls for the Times’ press credentials to be withdrawn:
“Publications such as the Times, which act irresponsibly when given access to secrets on which national security depends, should have their access to government reduced. Their press credentials should be withdrawn. Reporting is surely a right, but press credentials are a privilege. This kind of conduct ought not be rewarded with privileged access.”
Hey, not a bad idea. Some in Congress are starting to use the “T” word, and no, not of the administration, to the chagrin of the deranged conspiracy uberleftists. Michael Barone details the Times’ history of disclosing secret operations to our enemies in war time, which have hurt us, and speculates as to why the Times is doing this (the hatred). Michelle Malkin thinks it’s the arrogance, and, as usual, is keeping us updated on the blogosphere’s response. The Instapundit corrects the Times on its basic misunderstanding of the First Amendment.
Update: the press wants to make the President’s rebuke “a chilling effect on media outlets …” Tony Snow in the White House press briefing today turned the tables masterfully on that line of reasoning. He said,
“If the New York Times decides that it is going to try to assume responsibility for determining which classified secrets remain classified and which don’t, it ought to accept some of the obligations of that responsibility. It ought to be able to take the heat as well.”
Finally, some clarity and common sense in the ‘press- has- the- right- to- publish- national- security- secrets- in- war-time- or- the- First- Amendment- has- been- repealed’ debate. Be sure to check Scrappleface’s witty take on the issue, as well.