Rep. Peter King: Charge the New York Times

Updated

Republican Congressman Peter King of New York wants the New York Times prosecuted for its disclosure of the classified terrorist financial tracking program.

WASHINGTON — The chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee urged the Bush administration on Sunday to seek criminal charges against newspapers that reported on a secret financial-monitoring program used to trace terrorists.

Rep. Peter King cited The New York Times in particular for publishing a story last week that the Treasury Department was working with the CIA to examine messages within a massive international database of money-transfer records.

King, R-N.Y., said he would write Attorney General Alberto Gonzales urging that the nation’s chief law enforcer “begin an investigation and prosecution of The New York Times — the reporters, the editors and the publisher.”

“We’re at war, and for the Times to release information about secret operations and methods is treasonous,” King told The Associated Press.

A message left Sunday with Times spokeswoman Catherine Mathis was not immediately returned.

Senator Arlen Specter said such an action is premature – no surprise there.

In spite of Senator Specter’s remarks, I hope other lawmakers follow Rep. King’s lead and stand up to the New York Times and other newspapers who work to undermine our government’s ability to protect us from terrorists. The editors of these newspapers must know that we will not tolerate their disclosing secret national security programs and operations, tipping our hand to our enemies, which puts the lives of our citizens, military personnel, and country at grave risk.

Unfortunately, fear of prosecution may be the only way to get the Times’ attention. It’s unfortunate, but the reality is the New York Times and the other left leaning media who published the details of the terrorist financial tracking operation don’t have any loyalty to or patriotism for America. In fact, they don’t appear to have any concern for the safety of the American people. If they had, they wouldn’t have chosen a path that puts the American people, not to mention our military personnel, in more danger. So if the media won’t refrain from publishing national security secrets, whether during wartime or peacetime, out of simple concern for America’s safety and well being, then perhaps we should make it so they refrain from publishing national security secrets out of fear of prosecution. It’s obvious that we can not trust the New York Times to do what’s right.

Additional: We learned yesterday that the Times again published classified information from a secret briefing about troop deployments in Iraq. Be sure to read Paul’s piece from earlier today.

Update: Be sure to read Austin Bay’s piece “The Axis of Abuse: The NY Times and Washington, DC Leakers.” In it he offers a variety of possible motives for the Times’ disclosure of national security secrets. He also says that the leakers should be prosecuted but is concerned that the Bush administration wouldn’t have the nerve. None the less, Austin is right. The person or persons who leaked our national security secrets to the Times must be prosecuted and jailed.

Update II: Allahpundit has the video of Rep. King’s appearance on Fox News Sunday where he stated that the NY Times should be charged publishing classified national security information.

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