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Put the Times Under Surveillance

Chronicles magazine has been very critical of President Bush and his foreign policy, especially the war in Iraq. But the March issue carries a surprising article by Srdja Trifkovic strongly supporting the President’s NSA program monitoring “potential terrorists” on American soil. In the process, he rips the “inflammatory” coverage of this matter by the New York Times, which wants the public to believe that just about any ordinary “American” could be under surveillance.

Trifkovic focuses on Times reporter James Risen, who broke the NSA story and failed “to explore the identity of those ‘Americans and others inside the United States’ to have been subject to NSA surveillance.”  He adds, “The context of the article implied that most or all of those targeted were Muslims, of course, but that was not stated.”

It turns out this is no accident. He explains, “The unwillingness of the Times to disclose the exact identity of the NSA eavesdropping subjects is reminiscent of its refusal to disclose the religious identity of the tens of thousands who wreaked havoc in dozens of French suburbs in November 2005.”

Two purposes are served by this kind of coverage. First, “it presents President Bush as an out-of-control autocrat whose hoods may be eavesdropping on any of us at any time.” Second, it glosses over the possible threat posed by American Muslims inside the U.S.

It is no accident that the March 2006 issue of Washington Report on Middle East Affairs carried a cover headline, “The NSA Spies on American Citizens.” This pro-Arab magazine, which contains articles denouncing American imperialism and Israeli aggression, wants people to think that ordinary Americans are under surveillance.

Incredibly, the article was by Ray McGovern, a former CIA analyst who has contributed articles critical of the Bush administration to publications associated with Lyndon LaRouche, the extremist Democratic Party presidential candidate who served time in prison on financial fraud charges and once called for bringing into being “a new Marxist International throughout the capitalist sector.”  McGovern once told me he knows nothing about LaRouche but believes his researchers “do some fairly good work.”

It’s no wonder Director Porter Goss is cleaning out the agency.