WEDNESDAY’S LETTERS: Debating the ‘NYT’ Bank Records Disclosure

By: E&P Staff

Today’s letters all focused on the ongoing New York Times bank records story uproar. Concerned readers weigh in from the left and the right.


Keller, Risen and Lichtblau disclosed classified information that they knew was classified. They were told that it was classified, and they published the story thereby disclosing it to a readership of millions. This is a clear violation of Section 798.

If it’s unlawful to tell one person, it’s unlawful to tell everybody.

William West
Los Angeles, Calif.

What bothers me most about reporting [like the latest ‘NY Times’ issue is] the Constitutional aspect to it. It’s apparent that two cornerstones of our Constitution are at stake, specifically the ability of our President to carry out his Constitutionally-mandated duties to protect us from our enemies vs. the First Amendment.

It seems to me that something’s gotta give when two such vital concerns collide. In this instance, it seems to me that the President’s ability to protect the American people from enemies like al Qaida trumps the First Amendment, so long as it’s this narrowly defined. I suspect that the Supreme Court would rule in agreement with me on that.

Gary Gross

[Perhaps] this administration so upset about the leaking of surveilance of our bank records not because of tracking terrorism but for tracking by the IRS to be able to find out how much money Americans have in their personal bank accounts. Sounds to me like an idea to collect more taxes without having to go through the courts. If you search the Internet you will find I am not alone in my thinking.

By the way, I think [Rep. Peter King] is just pandering to the right wing and looking for political gain.

Edna Birch

In publishing details of how our nation goes about protecting itself from terrorists, some news editors have moved their journalism into a realm of civil disobedience that allows their own passions concerning a sitting president twice elected and provided majorities in both houses of Congress to override what surely must be their better judgment. The nation is unjustifiably put in harm’s way by this.

Journalists who came of age in a Watergate era burdened with narcissistic journalistic exuberance and much professional myth have added a partisan contagion to the news cycle that now even threatens to breach the cordon sanitaire around disloyalty.

A terrorism which swept away thousands in the course of a single September morning stands always ready to exploit such folly. Sounder and more mature heads need to make themselves heard in the boardrooms of the newspapers in question.

Ron Goodden
Atlanta, Ga.

… Please let’s not pretend that the New York Times — or even E&P — is concerned with this country or its citizens. If you were, you wouldn’t have a history of supporting America’s enemies and sneering at all the things that make America so great and attract over 1 million legal immigrants per year. You do have a right to support America’s enemies, and we the public have a right to call you the money-grubbing, two-faced thugs that you are. Liberty is a two-way street. The First Amendment wasn’t written just for elite, college-educated, trust fund brats who get jobs in the media because their mommies own a chain of clothing stores; it was written for EVERYONE, including us unwashed masses who wave the U.S. flag proudly and are willing to defend it. …

John Sulikowski

… This is not the first time the New York Times has published classified information. This program was reportedly all classified as TOP SECRET! The actual individual who revealed all of this top secret program must be identified and prosecuted to the fullest extent possible. He or she is a traitor to our country and should be severely punished. And the “mainstream media” organize conclaves, cluelessly pondering why Americans despise them and why they poll beneath almost every other occupation in America? It’s because they do not represent America. In fact, they loathe traditional America and its greatness. They are leftists. They long ago lost their credibility and, without that, what does a media have? I am thoroughly and carefully educating all of my children in regards to the NYT and most of the old media; that they are truly a Fifth Column, who lie, lie by omission and are tirelessly working against our great nation. …

Howard Bixler
100% disabled veteran
Toms River, N.J.

Hoorah! It’s way past time that this crowd of Republican schoolyard thugs and bullies get their comeuppance. If the New York Times is being charged with treason, then charge me too. I think this Administration is the dumbest crowd ever to fill the buildings in Washington. …

Rev. Frank Halse (ret)
The United Methodist Church

Any newspaper that is so callous [as to show] a total disregard for the safety of the citizens of the United States should have their Pulitzer Prize nominations rejected for a period of three years per offense.

Gary L. Harding
System Administrator / Data Security Officer
The Indianapolis Star

What a stroke of genius. Turn another abuse of powers and probable law-breaking by the Bush administration into an attack on the New York Times. The nightly news isn’t talking about how this may be unlawful; instead they are helping turn the public against the press by having the main focus; attacks on the New York Times, and how they should be prosecuted. I did hear on PBS, how the administration rushed to brief members of congress when they knew the story would break, why did they wait so long?

If we continue to allow this president to claim “national security” and “classified” information, how much other data can he collect secretly, in the name of being at war? After living under the first King George tyranny, our founding fathers wisely made the first amendment for a reason. They saw what happened when unchecked power becomes corrupt. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. Long live King George W.!

Mike Miller
Merced, Calif.

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