Thursday, June 29, 2006
"To A Dark Place Does This Path Lead."
There has been much handwringing over the New York Times aparrant blowing of national security secrets recently. (link requires registration)
There is a good reaction to the NYT explanation for this wretched article here, here, here, here and here.
For my part, I'm horrified.
These unelected, prima-donna Bo'Bo's have not only compromised a program that they admit was legal and reportedly effective, the have played Russian roulette with not only national security, but the first amendment as well.
"Huh? How's that?" asks the reader.
NEARLY ANY PRECEDENT THAT IS SET BY THIS FIASCO IS BAD.
If nothing happens and there are no consequences for the 'Times or its informants, then this sort of thing will keep happening, the aura of 'untouchable royalty' that causes them to feel that they can do this with impunity will grow and they will eventually publish something so big they get millions of people killed (assuming this does not do so indirectly).
If, as is being proposed by some hotheads, and the 'paper of record' is prosecuted for espionage under the espionage act then the camels nose will be even further under the tent on the sort of press censorship that will make the prudish asshats at he FCC look like the writers for South Park...(but without their talent). Given the inevitable racheting and empire building of govt. administrators, the ultimate implications for talk radio as well as netroots campaigns and barren unvisited blogostanic wastelands like this are troubling. This seems odd to some calling for prosecution of the Times editors, as at at first blush national security would not seem to be involved in any of those things, but as we have seen with political corectness and hate speech legislation (and willie-nillie classification of information) what beauraucrats decide constitutes a public menace can be broad indeed.
The best option at this point might be to revoke the NYT's press credentials and find, then prosecute, the jackasses who leaked this in the first place. That sets up it's own set of very troubling issues, regards whistleblowers, but is likely the best response to the bad situation that the NYT's frothingly stupid lack of judgement has dropped upon us.
This bitch of it is that we DO need a free press constantly nagging and pushing for information, and there ARE things that need scrutiny (like the Patriot Act, secret tribunals and other things), as an unacountable government is or soon becomes a tyrrany. My great fear is that this terribly irresponsible act on the Times part may not only endanger us indirectly (by aiding Al-Quaeda financing) but may set the stage both legislatively and in the publics mind for a very troubling slippery slope.
Update: For some reason my draft posted initially.All the links now work. Also added 2 very good Anchoress posts to the list of above links.