The House of Representatives last night approved a resolution condemning the leaking and publication of classified anti-terrorsim programs like the terrorist financial tracking program SWIFT. Only seventeen Democrats crossed the aisle to support the measure…seventeen.
The Washington Post:
The GOP-crafted resolution, approved 227 to 183, also condemned the unidentified sources who leaked information of the program. It said the House “expects the cooperation of all news media organizations” in protecting the government’s capability “to identify, disrupt, and capture terrorists.”
The House vote was the latest volley in a Republican campaign accusing the New York Times and other news outlets of endangering national security by disclosing classified programs, including the warrantless surveillance of Americans’ phone calls and the collection of phone data from U.S. residences and businesses.
The culprit’s take:
Lawmakers expressed their sentiment through a resolution that was approved on a largely party-line 227-to-183 vote after days of harsh criticism by the Bush administration and Congressional Republicans aimed at The New York Times and other newspapers for publishing details of the program, which the government said was limited to following possible terrorist financial trails…
…Mr. Oxley and other Republicans said The Times deserved particular scorn as the first to make public the details of the administration’s effort to try to identify and apprehend terrorists by tracing financial transactions processed through an international cooperative called Swift. The Los Angeles Times and The Wall Street Journal published similar accounts soon after The Times. “If you are Al Qaeda, the appropriate response to this publication is, ‘Thank you,’ ” said Representative Spencer Bacchus, Republican of Alabama…
…The Republican-written resolution did not identify any publication by name. But many of the resolution’s backers said The Times had acted irresponsibly.
Representative David Dreier, Republican of California, said The Times had led other news outlets in deciding to publish classified material. He dismissed arguments that the disclosure served a public interest, saying the public would rather be safe from terrorists than “all-knowing” about antiterror efforts.
As noted previously, the coverage and debate are all focused on the NY Times…the more I pay attention to this the more I like the resolution.