What motivates the New York Times to publish information that helps the enemy kill Americans? It is the central question because, in the final analysis, Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. and his editors and reporters are Americans, too. This is a paper based in a city that lost almost 3,000 citizens on 9/11. The next time the terrorists strike, the Times and its employees could be incinerated. The next time we are hit by al Qaeda, Times employees could be jumping out of windows to their deaths. But the paper decided that it’s better to risk another terrorist attack on America than withhold information that might help prevent another attack. What accounts for such a strange view about the value of human life? Why has this paper turned its back on the absolute necessity of protecting the lives of our fellow Americans?
If the answer is freedom of the press, then it is freedom without responsibility. Curiously, though, the practice of aiding the enemy is something that is not only honored but encouraged by the journalism establishment today. That is why the Times, after publishing the James Risen/Eric Lichtblau Pulitzer Prize-winning story about the NSA terrorist surveillance program last December, has followed up with a story about another secret program to uncover terrorist financial transactions.
The www.peoplescube.com website is running a cartoon showing Osama bin Laden smiling while he reads the New York Times. It says, “Osama, don’t waste your time spying?read the New York Times for all your Jihad needs.” The accompanying commentary declares: “The Bush administration and The New York Times are again at odds over national security, this time with new exposures of the administration’s immoral attempts to protect imperialist America from heroic Islamic freedom fighters.”
It would be funny were it not so serious. If these decisions only affected the Times and its own employees, there might be some conceivable justification for its strange behavior. But while the Times may not have any regard for its own survival, its conduct is threatening the lives of other Americans as well. And that is why all Americans ought to be concerned and demand legal action by the federal government, which is charged under the Constitution with the national defense of the United States. That is why AIM is joining with Kristinn Taylor and members of www.freerepublic.com at a demonstration outside of the Times Washington, D.C. bureau on July 3.
In the case of disclosing the highly classified NSA terrorist surveillance program, there is no question that the paper received an illegal leak of information from government employees who violated their oaths of secrecy. Not only that, but the publication of the information was a violation of Section 798 of Title 18 of the U.S. Code, which explains the crime of espionage and specifically prohibits the publication of classified intelligence dealing with how the U.S. obtains information about the activities of the enemy. The government employees, who, for all we know, could be al-Qaeda sympathizers, can certainly be prosecuted if they are discovered. But the Times can be prosecuted as well. It is mind-boggling why no such action has been taken six months after the NSA story was published.
The Times conduct, however, is not only illegal but immoral. And that is why I personally can’t comprehend how Sulzberger & Company sleep well at night. Every day that goes by they have to consider the possibility that what they have done has brought our country closer to suffering another terrorist attack. How can people live with such a thought? It’s comparable to interfering with police operations to investigate and arrest child killers.
Ironically, however, the Times has done a great public service?and has even cooperated with law enforcement authorities?in running reporter Kurt Eichewald’s stories about the problem of child predators using the Internet to distribute child pornography. Yet, on the matter of international terrorists who target men, women, and children, the paper has decided that the activities of counterterrorism officials should be crippled through press exposure.
As for motivation, since “freedom of the press” doesn’t fully explain why a paper would jeopardize the survival of its own personnel in a city that is an obvious terrorist target, the explanation has to lie in hatred for President Bush and his administration. The Times must believe that Bush is more of a threat to America than the terrorists who want to kill us.
Based on my questioning of Sulzberger at the Times annual meeting in April, this is the only logical conclusion. He said that, in the case of the NSA story, he and his editor, Bill Keller, decided to publish because of their concern about civil liberties. That is, they regarded the program as a threat to civil liberties. It goes without saying that he didn’t express any concern about the terrorist threat to those same civil liberties, including the right to live.
In a subsequent college commencement speech, Sulzberger provided further insight into his thinking when he attacked the prosecution of the war in Iraq and said the U.S. ought to spend more time on issues like guaranteeing homosexuals the right to marry. He doesn’t seem to grasp the basic fact that Americans won’t have any rights to affirm or protect if they die in a terrorist attack that could be brought on by his paper’s immoral and criminal reporting. Prosecution of the paper is the only hope of bringing him to his senses and preventing more irresponsible conduct that jeopardizes the lives of more Americans.