Aug 09 2008

Does News Media Access To Terrorists Trump National Security?

Published by at 8:34 pm under All General Discussions,Bin Laden/GWOT

What is more constitutionally important: 

  1. Corporate news media get access to terrorists so they can make a profit on distributing the propaganda of our enemies, or 
  2. Protecting the security and safety of our nation, its people and its allies against the mindless brutality and atrocities terrorists plan for us every minute of every day?

Normally these are not mutually exclusive. But in the war on terror, where the media has been predicting an praying for America’s defeat, and providing the PR oxygen for the terrorists and their faux ‘news’, the issue is paramount this election year.  For example, are people working for US news media companies in foreign subsidiaries to be given unfettered access to terrorists? Are foreign nationals working for US news media companies going to be given special protections US citizens would not garner?  Apparently so:

The Federal Bureau of Investigation said Friday that it had improperly obtained the phone records of reporters for The New York Times and The Washington Post in the newspapers’ Indonesia bureaus in 2004.

The records were apparently sought as part of a terrorism investigation, but the F.B.I. did not explain what was being investigated or why the reporters’ phone records were considered relevant.

The Justice Department places a high bar on the collection of reporters’ records in investigations because of First Amendment concerns, and obtaining such records requires the approval of the deputy attorney general. That requirement was not followed when the F.B.I. obtained the records of two reporters for The Times in Indonesia, Raymond Bonner and Jane Perlez, as well as two reporters there for The Post, Ellen Nakashima and Natasha Tampubolon, officials said.

“The F.B.I. is committed to protecting the news media consistent with the First Amendment and Department of Justice policies, and we very much regret that this situation occurred,” Valerie Caproni, general counsel for the bureau, wrote in a letter to Mr. Keller faxed Friday.

Ms. Caproni said the telephone records, which list the numbers that were called but do not show the calls’ content, had been purged from the F.B.I.’s databases. She also said the records were not used as part of any investigation.

Well, if the FBI and/or NSA is following the communications of known terrorists, and those known terrorists contact reporters that is worth investigating. Especially if there is also an attack and said reporters have incredible scoops in their reporting that would lead anyone to conclude they may have been alerted to the attack. There is absolutely no indication I have seen there was any reason to investigate these journalists. But the fact is they were probably in contact with some bad people. The infraction was that not enough permission was sought to do the investigation – not that there was insufficient grounds to investigate.

In fact if I had to guess, since this is being made public, there likely is plenty of evidence that these journalists should have been checked out. And no, there will not be a blanket special clause for corporate news media employees – since all that would do is entice terrorists to go work at these places to gain cover for their sick plans.

In the end we need to decide what is more important, getting the terrorists’ message out or getting the terrorists. I don’t think it will take Americans too long to make their choice.

8 responses so far

8 Responses to “Does News Media Access To Terrorists Trump National Security?”

  1. piniella says:

    But in the war on terror, where the media has been predicting an praying for America’s defeat

    LOL! The media was a cheerleader for Fredo’s WOT.

  2. breschau says:

    Here’s another question. What is more constitutionally important:

    1) Following the rule of law.

    2) Not following the rule of law.

    This country was based upon a couple of founding principles. One of those was “The government does not have the ability to spy on you completely unsupervised.” If we wanted that, we could have left King George in charge.

    Here’s another question, AJ – do you think the US government is required to follow US law, and the constitution, when persuing terrorists?

  3. breschau says:

    But, while I’m at this, I also want to congratulate AJ for being the only political blog on my list of bookmarks to *not* have a post about the total non-story John Edwards mess. Thanks for remembering what’s important.

    (And though I don’t comment on the Afghanistan/Pakistan or Georgia/Russia posts, because I don’t feel I have anything meaningful to add other than “Are these people f-in’ crazy or what?”, I do read them and appreciate the work you put into them.)

  4. AJStrata says:


    I cannot for the life of me fathom why the story is worth a single breath. The man let his dying wife down and that is horrible, and between them. Beyond this I doubt I will have another word ever to say about it.

  5. AJStrata says:


    Laws conflict with each other and circumstances – that’s why we have courts. No court, with the information in hand, has determined anything Bush did after 9-11 illegal. Start from there and you will be back on the right track.

  6. dhunter says:

    AJ, the story is that the mainstream media had the information on a presidential candidates affair and refused to investigate or report thus allowing Edwards to stay in the race long enough to siphon off Hillary supporters and hand Obama the nomination. Their refusal to do a job they would have done had Edwards been a republican most likely changed the face and name of the presidential nominee of the Democrat party for the president of the United States.

  7. breschau says:

    Yes, I am also outraged that the MSM isn’t spending all of their time hunting down those important leads from the National Enquirer. Obviously, they are ignoring all of the reports about Batboy and Bigfoot because of their Democratic ties.

  8. cheneysuxdix says:

    Let us recall what one of the Founding Fathers, Benjamin Franklin, had to say about all those folks who fear the ramifications of real freedom and liberty.

    Paraphrased, ol’ Ben said, He who would sacrifice a little freedom for a little security deserves neither.

    It’s high time we quit piddling our pants over a bunch of lunatics in the caves of Pakistan. The so-called War on Terror has accomplished little, if anything, other than erosion of our rights at home and our moral authority abroad.