This is getting truly amazing. No one in recent history ever accused the New York Times of being conversative. But as I wrote in the previous post, I'm hard-pressed to see what exactly it is that that the NYT did wrong to merit criminal prosecution. The article linked above indicates that the financial-transaction surveillance program was "secret," but I'm not sure what that means -- was it classified, or not? If the NYT knowingly published classified information, that's one thing. But it's still not clear to me that this program was a "secret" in the legal sense of the word. We have a free press in this country for a reason -- to tell us what our government is up to. To some extent that requires that the press be critical of the powers that be, certainly it requires asking searching questions and not accepting what the government says at face value all the time.
The article in question can be read here. I don't think it reflects negatively on the administration at all; it goes out of its way to explain that civil liberties safeguards are in place and that it has been reasonably effective. And like I wrote earlier, I don't relaly think that the existence of this program was really a big surprise to anyone -- this cat was never in the bag.
I think the play from the White House should have been, "Well, we would rather the Times has been discreet, but now that they've published this, we can say that this is an example of things we are doing that are really working to fight the terrorists; see what a good job we're doing?" Instead, there is a lot of demonizing the press -- for no apparent reason. Criminal prosecutions against the press are entirely uncalled for and I'm glad that Arlen Specter is starting to act like a grownup.