By the way, I'm very aware of the New York Times' and the LA Times' most recent articles exposing intelligence information being used to track down terrorists. I don't have any great insights to add: In my mind, it's not news to report intelligence information during a time of war, it's treason. (This is my personal conclusion, not a legal opinion.) I like Michelle Malkin's coverage, which includes wonderful WWII posters and a sampling of outraged "letters to the editor" that Malkin rightly assumes will never see the light of day on the printed page.
UPDATE: I also like Andrew McCarthy's take on the newspapers' decision to go public with a completely legally appropriate and incredibly effective intelligence program:
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It was in view of the TFTP’s palpable value in protecting American lives, its obvious legal propriety, and the plain fact that it was being responsibly conducted that the administration pleaded with the newspapers not to reveal it after government officials despicably leaked it. Exposing the program would tell the public nothing about official misconduct. It would accomplish only the educating of al Qaeda — the nation’s enemy in an ongoing war; an enemy well-known to be feverishly plotting new, massive attacks — about how better to evade our defenses. About how better to kill us.
Appealing to the patriotism of these newspapers proved about as promising as appealing to the humanity of the terrorists they so insouciantly edify — the same monsters who, as we saw again only a few days ago with the torture murder of two American soldiers, continue to define depravity down.
The newspapers, of course, said no. Why? What could outweigh the need to protect a valid effort to shield Americans from additional, barbarous attacks? Bill Keller, executive editor of the New York Times, smugly decreed that the Bush administration’s “access to this vast repository of international financial data” was, in his singularly impeccable judgment, “a matter of public interest.”
And you probably thought George Bush was the imperious one. And that the public’s principal interest was in remaining alive. Wrong again.
The blunt reality here is that there is a war against the war. It is the jihad of privacy fetishists whose self-absorption knows no bounds. Pleas rooted in the well-being of our community hold no sway.
The anti-warriors know only the language of self-interest. It is the language that tells them the revelation of the nation’s secrets will result, forthwith, in the demand for the revelation of their secrets — which is to say, their sources in the intelligence community — with incarceration the price of resistance. It is the language admonishing that even journalists themselves may be prosecuted when their publication of national secrets violates the law.
Bluntly, officials who leak the classified information with which they have been entrusted can be prosecuted for theft of government property. If the information is especially sensitive, they can be prosecuted for violating the Espionage Act. In either event, the press has no legal right to protect such lawlessness.
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