NYT Reveals Secret Banking Anti-Terrorist Program

The New York Times Eric Lichtblau and James Risen have exposed yet another clandestine method used by American intelligence to track terrorists at home and abroad. This time, the pair has revealed a complex surveillance system in the international banking system that traced financial transactions of people suspected of terrorist ties. The system, called Swift, has resulted in at least one capture of a high-value target, al-Qaeda’s leader in Southeast Asia:

Under a secret Bush administration program initiated weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks, counterterrorism officials have gained access to financial records from a vast international database and examined banking transactions involving thousands of Americans and others in the United States, according to government and industry officials.
The program is limited, government officials say, to tracing transactions of people suspected of having ties to Al Qaeda by reviewing records from the nerve center of the global banking industry, a Belgian cooperative that routes about $6 trillion daily between banks, brokerages, stock exchanges and other institutions. The records mostly involve wire transfers and other methods of moving money overseas and into and out of the United States. Most routine financial transactions confined to this country are not in the database. …
The program is grounded in part on the president’s emergency economic powers, Mr. Levey said, and multiple safeguards have been imposed to protect against any unwarranted searches of Americans’ records.
The program, however, is a significant departure from typical practice in how the government acquires Americans’ financial records. Treasury officials did not seek individual court-approved warrants or subpoenas to examine specific transactions, instead relying on broad administrative subpoenas for millions of records from the cooperative, known as Swift.

The White House sent a bipartisan team of officials to ask the Times not to print the story:

The Bush administration has made no secret of its campaign to disrupt terrorist financing, and President Bush, Treasury officials and others have spoken publicly about those efforts. Administration officials, however, asked The New York Times not to publish this article, saying that disclosure of the Swift program could jeopardize its effectiveness. They also enlisted several current and former officials, both Democrat and Republican, to vouch for its value.
Bill Keller, the newspaper’s executive editor, said: “We have listened closely to the administration’s arguments for withholding this information, and given them the most serious and respectful consideration. We remain convinced that the administration’s extraordinary access to this vast repository of international financial data, however carefully targeted use of it may be, is a matter of public interest.”

Excuse me, but no one voted to put Bill Keller in charge of our national security, and the laws covering classification of materials does not have an option for journalists to invalidate their clearance level. The continuing arrogance of Keller and his two reporters has damaged our national security, and in this case on a ridiculously laughable story that tells us absolutely nothing we didn’t already know in concept. They keep pretending to offer news to their readers, but instead all they do is blow our national-security programs for profit.
The administration has told us on many occasions that one of the main fronts in the war on terror would be the financial systems. We have seen plenty of coverage on how the US has pressured various banking systems into revealing their records in order for us to freeze terrorist assets. If anyone wondered whether our efforts had any effect, all they needed to read was the stories of Hamas officials having to smuggle cash in valises in order to get spot funding for the Palestinian Authority. Their neighboring Arab nations pledged upwards of $150 million in direct aid, which banks would not transfer lest the US discover the transactions and lock them out of the global banking system.
Did no one read that and understand that the US has an extensive surveillance system on financial transactions around the world? Perhaps Keller, Lichtblau, and Risen need facts spelled out for them using crayon and words of two syllables and less, but the thinking world already understood that American intelligence had thoroughly penetrated global finance — exactly like we said we would do in the wake of 9/11.
This story is only good for one thing, and that is an attempt to blow the program and stop our ability to follow the money. The New York Times apparently wants to stage itself as a publication written by traitors for an audience of idiots.

28 thoughts on “NYT Reveals Secret Banking Anti-Terrorist Program”

  1. Will The Leaks Ever Stop?

    Damn it! Will someone PLEASE find the person responsible for these leaks to the press and have them arrested for violating national security???
    Under a secret Bush administration program initiated weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks, counterterrorism off

  2. More leaks at al-NYT

    Michelle’s on it. *** Bryan Preston: Whose side are they on? Like there’s any doubt? *** Laughing Wolf is livid. Captain Ed has some interesting thoughts on the matter here.

  3. People need to be Prosecuted

    We simply can not continue to allow government employees to leak classified information whenever they see fit. If they administration fails to prosecute the leakers then I have to assume this program is not as important as they say it is. If the progra…

  4. They Think Know They’re Above the Law, and Above the Mere Mortals Responsible for National Security

    How else to react to The New York Times’ sweeping exposure of an effective law-enforcement tool against terror?
    And hold the story when the government requests it? Please — who are they? They’re only responsible for keeping us safe….

  5. Bank Data Is Sifted by U.S. in Secret to Block Ter

    The program is limited, vital to our national defense, and save guards have been implemented. Why did the NYT feel that it had to print a large expose of this secret program in the middle of a war? Does Al Qaeda own the NYT?

  6. We Are The Keeper Of All Secrets

    Another example of a story by the liberal press to damage Bush. The NSA wiretap story didn’t do the job but did damage our intelligence gathering ability. This story won’t be any different. Most Americans understand the need to find thes…

  7. Should the United States try both the NY Times and the LA Times Editors for Treason against the United States?

    More info on why NY Times and LA Times need to be prosecuted for Treason and Sedition. Here and Here, and here and here and Here and again Here and here Here and Here.
    Here are the Federal Treason and Sedition Laws of the United States:
    All these grou…

  8. The Times Is At It Again

    Here we go again. Eric Lichtblau and James Risen of the NY Times have once again chosen to publicly disclose a Bush Administration anti-terrorism program. (free login required) The two reporters would like, apparently, to substitute their judgement, an…

  9. The Times Is At It Again

    Here we go again. Eric Lichtblau and James Risen of the NY Times have once again chosen to publicly disclose a Bush Administration anti-terrorism program. (free login required) The two reporters would like, apparently, to substitute their judgement, an…

  10. Treason By The Extreme Press

    Strong words, I know. But take a look at Michelle Malkin’s coverage of the revealing of a perfectly legal *secret* program used to thwart terrorists. The New York Times and the L.A. Times blew the lid off of this program, and will no doubt harm our n…

  11. NY Times pushing to be charged?

    So the NY Times has, once again, been asked (by a bi-partisan group) not to report on classified information in a time of war, and they’ve refused.
    I’m wondering at what point whom Captain Ed correctly points out, “no one voted to p…

  12. “A War Against The War”

    In case you are disagreeing with my last post, here is the New York Times latest attempt to undermine the United States’ effort in the war on terror. It’s by our favorite duo of James Risen and Eric Lichtblau. And

  13. The NYT at it again … (eyes rolling)

    Via Media Blog:According to the NYT’s own reporting, the program is legal. The program is helping us catch terrorists. The administration has briefed the appropriate members of Congress. The program has built-in safeguards to prevent abuse. And yet, wi…

  14. It’s not Monday yet, but here come the quarterback

    Dear Osama,
    It’s been a few weeks since we chatted about that NSA program, but there’s some news we though you had the right to know. The CIA has a secret program to track your financial dealings here in America. So you might wanna change how you’re…

  15. International banking records – some facts


    BSphere Buzz
    Powerline
    Michelle Malkin
    Pajamas Media
    Captain’s Quarters
    Instapundit
    The Moderate Voice
    Donklephant
    Kevin Drum
    The blogosphere is buzzing over today’s New York Times report about the “secret” program to access bank transaction data on

  16. The Anti-American New York Times

    The New York Times can now be counted upon to disregard each and every request from the Bush Administration to withhold publishing classified material about any anti-terrorism program the United States has implemented. Such classified material is only …

  17. National Security Be Damned! Says NY And LA Times

    Despite appeals from the Bush Administration as well as several current and former government officials — both Democrat and Republican — the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times decided to break a story today that could have far-reaching

  18. No Bias here just move along

    In the never ending story of trying to get at the Bush White House, the MSM published reports on the adminstrations use of tracking finacial transactions to find out where people are giving money ot terrorists. What ever happened to

  19. The Line Must Be Drawn

    There is a line that must be drawn, one that our enemies cannot cross without suffering the consequences of their actions. That goes for actions domestically as well as overseas.

  20. Liberal Press Blabbermouths

    So many folks have commented on the New York leak this morning on the way the U.S. government has been tracking terrorists money movement. Some of those have been Michelle Malkin (here and here), Outside the Beltway, Powerline, Hugh Hewitt

  21. Liberal Press Blabbermouths

    So many folks have commented on the New York leak this morning on the way the U.S. government has been tracking terrorists money movement. Some of those have been Michelle Malkin (here and here), Outside the Beltway, Powerline, Hugh Hewitt

  22. More Photoshop Fun!

    The New York Times proving once again
    that they are a proterrorist rag
    anti American newspaper by leaking National secrets again for the third time in six months.
    Michelle Malkin continues to post photoshopped entries.. There are some dang good ones!

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