I refuse to take a back seat to anyone in my support for constitutional principles. No lefty, no privacy advocate, no civil liberties absolutist, and certainly no smarmy, self-righteous, sickeningly smug Executive Editor of a newspaper like the New York Times and its cowardly editor Bill Keller can look me in the eye and accuse me of less. Those who question my support for those principles know nothing of me, my past, my passions nor my sincerity.
I have questioned many of this Administration's anti-terrorist measures and am troubled by the accumulation of power by the executive branch - a process, I might add, that both the President and Vice President have stated on numerous public occasions their intent to justify and continue. They have made no secret of their goal to, in their words, "bring the constitution back in balance," a state of affairs they attribute to the stripping of executive power by Congress following Watergate. I look at these statements and some of their actions with the jaundiced eye of a conservative who remembers what untrammelled executive power is capable of when used by men whose primary goal is not preservation of the nation but preservation of their own personal, privileged positions in power.
I have wrestled with with these issues on a case by case basis as any thinking American should. This lets out the overwhelming majority of liberals whose knees automatically jerk and whose heads explode with every revelation of government trying to figure out if there is someone out there trying to blow me to smithereens. They are not serious people and should never, ever be trusted with anything more important to national security than running the local YMCA.
This most recent attempt by the New York Times and others to throw a body block against the Administration to spring al-Qaeda for an open field run at the United States is so far beyond the pale that any attempt to justify their actions only reveals them to be as clueless about national security as they are partisan in their political beliefs.
Indeed, this jaw dropping "explanation" by Times Executive Editor Bill Keller reaches heights of hubris and arrogance not seen since the days of Hearst, McCormick, and other press barons who believed they, not the elected representatives of the people, ran the country:
Bill Keller, the newspaper's executive editor, said: "We have listened closely to the administration's arguments for withholding this information, and given them the most serious and respectful consideration. We remain convinced that the administration's extraordinary access to this vast repository of international financial data, however carefully targeted use of it may be, is a matter of public interest."
There are many, many things "in the public interest" that I would love to see splattered all over the front pages of the Times. For instance, I would find it irresistible to know what was in the President's Daily Brief (PDB) from the CIA each day, wouldn't you? I would love a transcript of the private briefing listened to by the President. What questions did he ask? What were the spook's sources? And while we're at it, I would find it fascinating to get the CIA's take on the situation inside Syria or what's the real scoop on President Ahmadinejad of Iran. Is he really as loony as he sounds? Or is it all an act?