Legal Reprisals Against The Grey Lady?

Initial reader reactions to the New York Times’ blatant disregard for public safety in pursuit of an anti-Bush agenda are in, and man, are people pissed. The depth of feeling expressed in those letters-to-the-editors sparked a notion in my head: why not file a class action lawsuit against the NYT for materially damaging the government’s ability to protect US citizens from harm? Since the Times doesn’t seem to be concerned with plummeting subscription rates or angry reader mail, perhaps they will respond to people suing the pants off them. I’d say Rosen and Lichtblau’s reporting constitutes wanton disregard for the safety of their fellow citizens, made all the more heinous by the blatantly self-serving fashion in which they have pursued such reporting.
I dunno. Anyone have any thoughts on the merits of such a suit and/or the name of a lawyer that would be willing to take on such a case?

11 Comments

  1. Here’s my take:
    1) As all sides are already saying, this is not news. What was reported isn’t really news either (it named the clearinghouse and not much more).
    2) If THEY weren’t paying attention anyway, and had no clue WE were watching, then THEY probably aren’t paying attention to the sources that are carrying the news.
    3) IF THEY do now know we are watching international money transfers, then they will stop transfering money, well, internationally. This is a BAD thing?
    4) WE SHOULD KNOW WHAT OUR GOVERNMENT IS DOING.
    5) In regards to the above, there will always be things that are genuine state secrets. Over the last, oh, 60 years or so, we as a country have become far to tolerant of more and more secrecy in our government.
    6) Those who would give up their freedoms for the supposition of security can freely move to places that will accomodate.
    7) As to lawsuits, it would be wholey ironic for the party of “legal process reform” (aka plank “make it harder to get sued”) to bring action against a newspaper reporting about the actions of members of said party.
    8) It shouldn’t be hard to find a lawyer willing to try anyway.

  2. 1) The program was legal. NYT doesn’t dispute that.
    2) The Times’ story revealed operational details of an ongoing program.
    3) The gov’t begged the Times (both LA and NY) not to run the story.
    4) This is most important: The program was working. It caught Hambali, the plotter of the Bali bombings. If I could yell on the internet, I would scream this at the top of my voice: IT. WAS. WORKING.
    5) The story is of NO value to anyone in the US other than the NYT and the Administration’s detractors. It does not affect the daily lives of American citizens and, as all parties have admitted, it was fully legal.
    6) The cousin-loving sons of motherless goats published more classified information from a confidential briefing on troop levels. The Times are enemies of the state now, it’s official. The Times should have its editors and reporters dragged into the street and executed by a lynch mob, then the gov’t should track down the traitors that leaked the information in the first place and hang ’em by their necks until they’re dead.
    I have no way of expressing how angry I am at the moment. Andy, your knee jerk anti-Bush stance has completely clouded your thinking. It’s almost as if you’ve done an internal calculation and figured that you’re mathematically unlikely to be killed in a terrorist strike, given your current address. Well me, I’m next to some of the most historical and symbollic relics and sites the US has to offer. If al Qaeda or someone of that ilk decides to go after Philly, it’s my family that will be directly affected. So take your NPR-listening liberal nastiness and shove it. And I mean that in the most polite fashion possible.

  3. In re: “THEM” not doing international transactions, I say: bollocks. al Q already had a booming trade in money laundering via the central African tanzanite trade and so-called “blood diamonds” from the west coast of Africa. Once they know they’re actually being watched and not simply “oh, they’re probably watching us with their Zionist technology”, they switch their methodology (witness the whole “bin Laden is using a sat phone and the US can track him via it” story).

  4. ooohhh…the venom…
    I wasn’t questioning the legality of the program. Nor did I see any true op info of use ion the link provided by your link. Maybe it was a bad link, maybe it had been “cleansed”. I can’t say.
    It appears that your biggest beef (and I’m not saying it isn’t warranted) is the fact that the Times (East & West) is publishing this so called Classified info. To that I say the following: WHERE IS THIS INFO COMING FROM, AND WHY AREN’T HEADS ROLLING TO STOP IT? You may disagree with the ideals of those at both times, however because of them, you know that THEY knew something they shouldn’t have. The following then should also be considered true: OTHERS also inevitably knew things they shouldn’t have. Their loose lips exposes that a leak exists, which is what many have been screaming about for a while.
    Nothing is knee-jerk. I have indeed calculated the risks, and found them to be not worth worrying about, REGARDLESS of where I live. The reason is because for the most part, it is out of my control. You have calculated your risks, and while I don’t agree with your conclusion (Philly? sure it’s got the bell and the hall, but the other “targets” are of lower value then say, Sears Tower, Golden Gate, Etc) you have decided that instead of guaranteeing protection of your family by MOVING (yes, that’s harsh, but it cannot be denied that your arguement goes away if you move) you want the government to pick up the risk, and you are willing to go along with certain things to see that through.
    I am going to now make a sweeping analogy, which you will of course use against me:
    In essence, you would have more SECURITY for YOU paid for by less freedoms for ME. I am not subject to the SAME risk as you, yet I would be subject to the same reduction in freedoms as you. So. I will go along with that, if you will agree to directly contribute to my Home Owners Insurance, as I have chosen to live in a slightly more “active” weather area then you.
    Now is where I am going to make this a little political ( you started it). All of you like-minded folk who claim we are under constant threat and could be attacked every minute are lead by the VERY SAME folk who want office and PLANY safety left up to the invisible hand. Imagine yourself oogling the cars in the parking lot of that pickel factory of yours, and lo and behold, it blows up. You survive, but you lost your shins and are now 4 feet tall (and call everyone bobby). You and your ilk would NEVER say “I knew it!”. We as a society have accepted far worse from our companies and their negligence, and when those companies are held to account in the courts, your party poo-poos the settlements as excessive (yes, many seam excessive, to those of us who WEREN’T blown up).
    What’s my point? We have ALWAYS been under threat. Be it disease, war, weather, or machines, there is no SAFE place – never has been. We accept the fact that a rock could fall from the sky and hurt us, even though we think we should be able to prevent that. Same with living near volcanoes or shorelines. AND TERRORISM.
    After all, if we give up what we hold dear, then they win ™.

  5. Andy:
    My comments were way overboard and insultingly personal in their tone, tenor and implications. I’m extremely sorry for lashing out at you as I did. It’s inexcusable and you’ve every right to be ticked at me.
    I know I’ve blown up at you a few times on my blog and said things I probably never would have, had you been in the same room as I. I think one of the reasons that I’ve reacted in the ways that I have is that I get so incensed, so furious at the likes of the Times that I’m almost speechless. You hold views that are to the left of mine by a fair shake and thus I light into you as a convenient proxy for those that I’m truly angry at. This doesn’t diminish the insulting and demeaning nature of my comments.
    Again, I apologize.

  6. I don’t take it personally, at least in the sense that I don’t see you as any less of a person, or a friend. You are in my inner circle precisely BECAUSE of your passion and fire . In fact, I think it is fairly safe to say that I have successfully interacted with and surrounded myself with people who hold different opinions then myself, and in general are very different then me. It keeps me honest, and I feel makes me a better person.
    I don’t want to agree with you all of the time. I don’t want to see things the same way you do. Where’s the fun in that?
    For the record, I didn’t think your response was that bad. Just sharp. In the same way some (ok, probably many) of my responses have been. You were not un-civil, and that is most important. I would still weclome you into my cabinet of the Purple People…
    Now then.
    Your response to my previous diatribe?

  7. No time for a reply tonight – I’ll post one tomorrow. I think I have a full-fledged post in the works on the subject, at least in my head…

  8. Bump appreciated, response is a long’n that’ll have to wait for tomorrow, unfortunately.
    Another authorial promise broken, I know…
    *sigh*

  9. […] Anger management issues aside, I think that the true ramifications of the Times' (LA & NY) release of information on a top secret financial surveillance program are starting to become clear. The Times' revelations have effectively killed the SWIFT program, not due to the terrorists becoming aware of the program, but rather due to the fact that the revelations spooked European banking officials that had previously been cooperating. This puts the terrorists at an advantage again, as they now have a sure fire transit point for their finances, where before they couldn't be sure that their transactions weren't being monitored. The Times have handed them a huge gift. […]

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