The Spectacle Blog

Another Leak

By on 6.23.06 | 10:46AM

Both New York Times editor Bill Keller and LA Times Washington bureau chief, Doyle McManus have been speaking publicly about the supposed balancing act they made in facilitating leaks to terrorist groups about how federal law enforcement and intelligence organizations are monitoring their financial dealings.

Make no mistake, this may actually be a more damaging leak to U.S. anti-terrorism activities than the leak about international call monitoring or the secret prisons. Why? Because the increassingly successful ability to identify and track the money hurt terrorists in two ways: 1. it identified the sources of the dollars financing terror and 2. it gave intelligence and law enforcement a peek inside timelines, planning, techniques and individuals involved in the proces of laundering and distributing funds for terrorist activities. Six years ago, the U.S. capability to do this was weak. For a period, it was stronger. Now? Who knows?

Re: The Korean Missile Crisis

By on 6.22.06 | 8:04PM

John: Much as I hate to agree with two of the people most responsible for our lack of a credible missile defense (Levin being the primary obstructionist) Carter and Perry are right. We need to strike the missile on the NK launch pad unless they agree, forthwith, to abide by the international convention on missile testing.

That convention requires international notices (NOTAM's -- notices to mariners and airmen) which publish time, distance and purpose of launch. If they don't, we should launch a cruise missile from a B-2 without notice to anyone.

Voting Wrongs

By on 6.22.06 | 2:51PM

Acceptably mild perjoratives just can't quite express the level of outrage that again and again is merited by the House leadership for its political cluelessness or its lack of principle of lack of ethics (sometimes all three at once). Every week, it seems, brings yet another example of how the leadership tries to use strong-arm tactics to substitute for serious policy debate and to overcome principled objections to its desired outcomes from either the left OR the right. The latest example is yesterday's dust-up over legislation to extend certain provisions of the Voting Rights Act, in which an expected vote on the subject was delayed after "rank-and-file Republicans revolted." The Washington Post story on the subject said that Speaker Dennis Hastert and his lieutenants were "surprised" by "the intensity of the complaints" about the legislation. If so, their surprise is just another indication of how (adjectival -- actually gerund -- expletives deleted) out of touch Hastert and Company are with the actualy policy implications of what they attempt to do for purely (and often badly judged) political reasons.