Flopping Aces appears to be down, at the moment, and I can guess as to why. Curt's been blogging extensively on the Saddam documents, and today we have this from the NYTimes:
Last March, the federal government set up a Web site to make public a vast archive of Iraqi documents captured during the war. The Bush administration did so under pressure from Congressional Republicans who said they hoped to “leverage the Internet” to find new evidence of the prewar dangers posed by Saddam Hussein.Does anyone here understand why the hypocrisy? This is the same news rag that has repeatedly and brazenly published leaked information, involving national security. And now, they're concerned? Why, because the Saddam documents might actually lend justification to pre-war intell and the Iraq War? Here's a money quote:
But in recent weeks, the site has posted some documents that weapons experts say are a danger themselves: detailed accounts of Iraq’s secret nuclear research before the 1991 Persian Gulf war. The documents, the experts say, constitute a basic guide to building an atom bomb.
Last night, the government shut down the Web site after The New York Times asked about complaints from weapons experts and arms-control officials. A spokesman for the director of national intelligence said access to the site had been suspended “pending a review to ensure its content is appropriate for public viewing.”
Officials of the International Atomic Energy Agency, fearing that the information could help states like Iran develop nuclear arms, had privately protested last week to the American ambassador to the agency, according to European diplomats who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the issue’s sensitivity. One diplomat said the agency’s technical experts “were shocked” at the public disclosures.
Among the dozens of documents in English were Iraqi reports written in the 1990s and in 2002 for United Nations inspectors in charge of making sure Iraq had abandoned its unconventional arms programs after the Persian Gulf war. Experts say that at the time, Mr. Hussein’s scientists were on the verge of building an atom bomb, as little as a year away.Austin Bay recently wrote a piece in regards to the exposure of the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) program:
Times enablers greeted all critique with the usual rhetorical parries. We heard "the free press" defense -- as if the intelligence community wasn't engaged in defending the system that permits a free press. The Times and its national media enablers (by innuendo) suggested the Bush administration might be engaged in illegal spying on innocent people, though the June article admitted the program was limited "to tracing transactions of people suspected of having ties to al-Qaida by reviewing records from the nerve center of the global banking industry."It's no wonder that Bernard Goldberg titled his media bias sequel, "Arrogance". Meanwhile, circulation and subscription rates continue to spiral down the toilet.
Last week, the Times' "public editor," Byron Calame, issued a lame "mea culpa." He wrote he hadn't "found any evidence in the intervening months that the surveillance program was illegal under United States laws." (Earth to Calame: We told you that in June.)
Calame added: "My original support for the article rested heavily on the fact that so many people already knew about the program that serious terrorists also must have been aware of it. But critical, and clever, readers were quick to point to a contradiction: The Times article and headline had both emphasized that a 'secret' program was being exposed."
Throughout the summer, I read volumes of informed criticism of the Times --criticism the Times' staff pooh-poohed. Now, it seems Calame and Times Editor in Chief Bill Keller were neither informed enough nor concerned enough to understand the criticism, much less understand the damage their clique did to America's ability to conduct multilateral intelligence programs.
Remember the word "multilateral?" That's what John Kerry-type Democrats claim our effort in Iraq is not. The SWIFT program was a meticulously constructed multinational covert operation that had the cooperation of Belgium, Spain and other European nations. The Times' revelation not only damaged the SWIFT program as an individual effort, but damaged the "inside diplomacy" that organized it and ensured its legality.
I've discussed the SWIFT debacle with my contacts in the U.S. intelligence and defense technology communities, and asked for an estimate of what it would cost to reconstitute a SWIFT-type intel program. Gut estimates range from $400 million to $500 million -- a hefty quantity of taxpayer cash. Complete program reconstitution probably isn't necessary. SWIFT may still be operating, but if it is it operates with reduced effectiveness -- the Times' tipped off al-Qaida. Not surprisingly, every source has stressed the qualitative damage done to the political-diplomatic side of multilateral intelligence cooperation.
The New York Times calculates it can defend itself against criminal charges involving the publication of classified material. Times editors intend to play "media martyrs" defending the First Amendment against a "government attack on a fundamental right."
I have no doubt Curt's site is down because he is probably linked to the heavy hitters and is experiencing another spike in traffic. So I went to Michelle Malkin's, and you can probably find all the relevant links there.
Ok....I got through, by using the categories link. Here's Curt's post.