Bush at is full of faux outrage over the New York Times article discussing the administration’s financial monitoring program:
The disclosure of this program is disgraceful. We're at war with a bunch of people who want to hurt the United States of America, and for people to leak that program, and for a newspaper to publish it does great harm to the United States of America.
The SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) monitoring has been public knowledge since December 2002, when a public report specifically mentioned SWIFT and noted that “The United States has begun to apply new monitoring techniques to spot and verify suspicious transactions.”
MediaMatters notes that the Bush administration has spoken about the financial monitoring program at least eight times, including this statement from Dubya himself on 24 September 2001:
We've established a foreign terrorist asset tracking center at the Department of the Treasury to identify and investigate the financial infrastructure of the international terrorist networks.
It will bring together representatives of the intelligence, law enforcement and financial regulatory agencies to accomplish two goals: to follow the money as a trail to the terrorists, to follow their money so we can find out where they are; and to freeze the money to disrupt their actions.
We're also working with the friends and allies throughout the world to share information. We're working closely with the United Nations, the EU and through the G-7/G-8 structure to limit the ability of terrorist organizations to take advantage of the international financial systems.
Is this supposed to be an attempt on his part to keep the program secret?
Glenn Greenwald summarizes the administration’s real problem with the Times:
Prior to the "treasonous" Times articles, The Terrorists already knew that we were eavesdropping on their international calls and monitoring their banking transactions -- because that information was previously, and repeatedly, put into the public domain, often by the Bush administration and President Bush himself. What the Times revealed is the lack of oversight and checks on these intelligence-gathering activities, not the existence of the activities themselves, which were already well known. [emphasis added]
Since the NYT cannot be completely controlled they must be maligned for their failure to conform. MediaMatters lists the many instances of media mouthpieces doing the administration’s bidding, making their perpetual accusations of treason against anyone in the media who dares to criticize Dear Leader Bush. Over at Hughes for America, the indignation runs high:
Is this outrage really about the leaking and reporting of sensitive material? No, because, if it were, the administration and its supporters would be leading the charge against those who printed the Valerie Plame information. This isn't about that. It's about an administration's contempt for a press corps that sometimes pokes holes in its veil of secrecy. It's about the White House's efforts to turn the typically servile media into the official house organ of the Republican Party.
In another post, Greenwald—not a man given to baseless hyperbole—noted that:
After the unlimited outpouring of venomous attacks on the Times this weekend, I believe these attacks on our free press have become the country's most pressing political issue. […] A book could and ought to be written about the corrupt reasoning and truly unparalleled dangers characterizing this anti-media lynch mob. But for now, following are what I believe are the most noteworthy points:
(1) There is not a single sentence in the Times banking report that could even arguably "help the terrorists." […]
(2) The reason there is "no evidence of abuse" is precisely because the administration exercises these powers in total secrecy. […]
(3) The Founders unequivocally opted for excess disclosures by the media over excess government secrecy and restraints on the press. […]
(4) How can any rational person believe that the reporters and editors of The New York Times want to help terrorists attack the U.S.? [emphasis added]
Greenwald supports his assertions with facts, which is one of the things separating his analyses from those on the Right who specialize in unsupported smears and slander.