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NY Times Damaged National Security

John on August 19, 2006 at 12:32 pm

I wrote a post about this a week ago based largely on this quote:

Authorities say terrorist groups are illegally modifying the pre-paid cell phones to place untraceable international calls.

Bryan at Hot Air linked to that post and the quote was also noted over at Wizbang by Kim Priestap. As I noted at the time, it was unclear which “authorities” were saying this which made it difficult to weigh it properly. Nevertheless, it seemed like a pretty strong indictment of the Times decision to publish the wire-tap story.

Ironically, an opinion that appeared to vindicate the Times decision to publish may contain the best evidence to date that it was unwise to do so.

Today Patterico has taken this story quite a bit further. In fact, he has wrapped it up and put a big “Case Closed” stamp on the outside. In this post, he notes that the opinion released yesterday in the wire-tapping case makes the tenuous connection between the Times decision to publish and terrorist behavior explicit. We’re not dealing with unnamed authorities any more, now we have the plantiffs in this case going on the record. After citing the relevant portion of the decision, Patterico translates:

Let me put that into plain English: terrorists and their associates will no longer communicate with these plaintiffs via e-mail and telephone — in other words, ways that the government could monitor under the surveillance program — because the terrorists are aware of the surveillance program. It’s not the Terrorist Surveillance Program itself that has caused terrorists to cease these international communications. It’s the fact that the terrorists now know about it.

The plaintiffs being referred to include, “lawyers, scholars, journalists, and others who communicate internationally with terrorists.” I think we can consider them credible sources, don’t you?

Ironically, an opinion that appeared to vindicate the Times decision to publish may contain the best evidence to date that it was unwise to do so.

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Category: MSM & Bias |

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