When in doubt, ask a man from Arkansas:
Do you think that style-setter of American journalism — The New York Times — would have run its expose of still another terrorist-tracking program if it had found out about it when the program was first set in motion, in the immediate aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks? Would the Times have rushed the story into print and given it the front-page play it did last week if smoke was still rising from the charred ruins of the Twin Towers, and the ashes of the dead were still being excavated as around-the-clock crews sifted through that mountain of debris?
But that was then. Now, doubtless in large part because of programs like the one the Times has just outed, the terrorist attacks that were going to follow Sept. 11 haven't materialized. Not yet. So concerns about national security now take second place to politics as usual, and journalism as usual.
Have the rights of the innocent been in any way abused? The New York Times offers no such examples. Let it be noted that the banking cooperative that provided American authorities with all these leads — the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications, or SWIFT — requires that government investigators produce the name of someone they suspect of a link to terrorism before it will release this information.
So let us now praise those Europeans who cooperated with American authorities to track down the bad guys. They renew the hope for solidarity in this war on terror. Unlike The New York Times.