Prague Twin

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Treason or Smoke Blowing

I've been wanting to post on the issue of the NYT "leaked story" about the government using the SWIFT system to track banking transactions of terrorists. I think one of the biggest problems for the average guy in understanding this issue is that they may not realize how prevalant the SWIFT system is. Almost all of the banking that I do for the business here is done by bank transfer. Every bank has a SWIFT code which has become essential for transfers.

What is the point? If you know that someone is tracking bank transfers, you know that they are using the SWIFT system because there is really no other option.

I really didn't think that what the NYT reported was anything secret, but out of lazyness, I'm going to let you read someone else's take on this who is much more qualified than myself to explain the issue.

Please read this column by Larry C. Johnson.

If you still exercise fatasies that vital information was disclosed by the NYT (and WSJ) articles on the SWIFT system, well, there is little hope.


  • It is difficult to break a story like this one. I expect it is too complex and distant.
    I'm just surprised europe isn't in uproar over it.

    By Blogger Cartledge, at 7:43 PM  

  • Europe isn't even aware of how hard he is stepping on the press, and what it means for us, I think.

    Again, probably too complex for most people, which is why when I hear people pop off about the NYT being responsible for the next attack, it just makes my skin crawl.

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 8:06 PM  

  • Clearly SWIFT by the N.Y. Times own admission was effective. Doubt me on this? Then I implore anyone wanting to engage me in this debate to please read the original piece before responding to me.

    Here is the funny thing. When it comes to Valerie Plame (the non secret CIA operative) and her "outing" the left gets in a fervor over secrecy. Now that people WILL actually die as a result of a leak, it’s no big deal.

    Here is a list of people some of whom I believe to be more qualified than Larry C. Johnson to comment on the topic (who, in 1996, noted that terrorism worldwide was on the decline) who all urged the time NOT to go forward with the SWIT story

    Iraq-war critic, U.S. Rep. John Murtha (D., Pa.)

    September 11 Commissioner Tim Roemer (Democrat)

    September 11 Commission Co-chairman Lee Hamilton (Democrat)

    September 11 Commission Co-chairman Tom Kean

    Assistant Treasury Secretary for Public Affairs Tony Fratto

    Treasury Secretary John Snow

    National Intelligence Director John Negroponte

    We also have this from Stuart Levey, Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, U.S. Department of the Treasury:

    “What we had not spoken about publicly, however, is this particular source. And, unfortunately, this revelation is very damaging. Since being asked to oversee this program by then-Secretary Snow and then-Deputy Secretary Bodman almost two years ago, I have received the written output from this program as part of my daily intelligence briefing. For two years, I have been reviewing that output every morning. I cannot remember a day when that briefing did not include at least one terrorism lead from this program. Despite attempts at secrecy, terrorist facilitators have continued to use the international banking system to send money to one another, even after September 11th. This disclosure compromised one of our most valuable programs and will only make our efforts to track terrorist financing --and to prevent terrorist attacks-- harder. Tracking terrorist money trails is difficult enough without having our sources and methods reported on the front page newspapers.”

    Make no mistake: As a result of the Times story, terrorists - like the ones the times itself sites – who might have otherwise been caught, will go on to kill other human beings. Thank you N.Y. Times.

    By Anonymous Arch Stanton, at 5:46 AM  

  • Arch,

    Please read this thoughtful debate on the subject between the Editor and someone you agree with.


    I hope, once you have read it, you will realize that despite our opinions on the subject, this is a close call. Saying that people will be killed because of the Times is a stretch. 20 people were interviewed.

    Doing my best at an Arch Stanton challenge:

    I would like you to show me a causal relationship in a specific case wherein the information released in the New York Times regarding electronic banking surveillence directly led to loss of life.

    Since you are so sure it will happen, I'm sure that should be easy for you.

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 10:53 PM  

  • I'm sorry, I forgot to mention, that in the case of the Plame leak, the ire is 100% for the leakers, and 0% for the paper that published it.

    Do you see the left calling for Novak to be thrown in prison?

    Put the leakers in prison, not the press.

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 10:55 PM  

  • PT

    I will be glad to proceed with this discussion and read the debate you have provided. However, it comes with the pre-described caveat that you confirm to me that you have actually read the original N.Y. Times piece on SWIFT as it relates to terrorist banking.


    p.s. THERE WAS NO LEAK IN THE PLAME CASE. The failure to prosocute ANYONE involved in that case on the part of fitzgerald is proof of that.


    Stop staring at me.

    By Anonymous Arch Stanton, at 7:23 AM  

  • If you will buy it for me. I'm not paying $4 to read it.

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 8:52 AM  

  • Yeah,, sure is funny how on the whole damn Internet you cant find the treason piece by the N.Y. Times. I looked myself and can’t find it anywhere. Oh well I guess if Al Queda wants secret info they will have to pay 4 Yankee dollars to get it now instead of .50 cents.

    By Anonymous Arch Stanton, at 3:32 PM  

  • I know why. The NY Times owns it and they are making a pretty penny on their archives. They should keep stuff active for a few months anyway, just to be fair.

    You know, that could actually be a blog, Posting NY Times articles that you think will be significant for later reference.

    Think they would mind?

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 12:19 AM  

  • By the way, if it was treason, why aren't there any warrants or even an investigation into the TWENTY PEOPLE who leaked the information.

    Hey, if the president can do whatever he sees fit to protect the nation, does that mean he can set up a military tribunal and have Heller hung?

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 12:22 AM  

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