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?

We hear from sources in the LA Times newsroom out west that McManus's colleagues believed McManus never had an intention of holding the story. "Even before the phone calls and meeting with government officials, there was no way Doyle was going to play ball with them. He wasn't going to hurt morale by giving in to this administration. If he had, a lot of us would have lost respect for him."

At some point, the Department of Justice, Congress and the White House need to get active in this and make facilitating journalists and leakers pay for their duplicitous acts.

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