Ann Coulter is the latest “conservative” pundit to call the New York Times’ editorial staff traitors. Her legal analysis is simple: The Times revealed a Top Secret program that was supposed to out prospective terrorists.
On its face, her logic is unassailable. But let’s review:
- The NSA and the Treasury Department (through its subsidiary FinCEN) have been monitoring SWIFT transfers since the early ’90s.
- The SWIFT banking system isn’t exactly a secret; it connects 7,800 banks in over 200 countries and handles about 11 million money transfers a day.
- SWIFT is open about its relationships with law enforcement: “SWIFT has a history of cooperating in good faith with authorities such as central banks, treasury departments, law enforcement agencies and appropriate international organisations, such as the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), in their efforts to combat abuse of the financial system for illegal activities.”
- We’re supposed to believe that terrorists with the sophistication to pull off another 9/11 are too stupid to know that transferring large sums of money between banks attracts unwanted attention.
- To underscore the previous point — and state the obvious — the program failed to stop 9/11.
I note that active investigations into terrorist financing after 9/11 involving men with known ties to Al Qaeda were quashed by Michael Chertoff, then with the Department of Justice. But that’s just my inner moonbat barking.
Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, or anyone else who equates the disclosure of the SWIFT monitoring program by the New York Times with the treasonous acts of Robert Hanssen or Aldrich Ames (or even Jane Fonda), deliberately twists the issue and hopes that you’re too stupid to see through the smoke screen of pseudo-patriotic invective.