Reporters from the lip flapping New York Times are accused of tipping off Islamic charities that they were about to be raided by the Feds for funding terrorism, and now the Times is looking for protection from Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
The New York Times asked the Supreme Court yesterday to bar a federal prosecutor from reviewing the phone records of two of its reporters. The records, lawyers for The Times said, would allow the government to learn the identities of many of the reporters’ confidential sources.
The case arose from a Chicago grand jury’s investigation into who told the two reporters, Judith Miller and Philip Shenon, about actions the government was planning to take in 2001 against two Islamic charities. The United States attorney in Chicago, Patrick J. Fitzgerald, sought the reporters’ records directly from their phone companies, and The Times filed suit to stop him.
In August, a divided three-judge panel of the federal appeals court in Manhattan ruled in favor of Mr. Fitzgerald, saying the reporters were not entitled to shield their sources. The needs of law enforcement, the majority said, outweighed any protections the reporters might have in the First Amendment or other areas of law.
Ms. Miller left the paper last year after spending 85 days in jail in connection with a separate leak investigation, also supervised by Mr. Fitzgerald.
The paper’s filing yesterday was a limited one, seeking an order from Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg staying the appeals court decision until the Supreme Court has an opportunity to decide whether to hear the case. The deadline for seeking review of the appeals court’s decision is in January, but The Times said it would move faster.
In a letter filed in response to yesterday’s application, the Justice Department said it “desires to review the records in question as expeditiously as possible” but agreed not to do so until Wednesday. Yesterday afternoon, the court ordered the government to submit a formal response to the stay application by today at 4 p.m.
The press has been on a losing streak of late in the federal courts, with several decisions refusing to recognize protection for confidential sources. The Supreme Court has not weighed in on the question since 1972.
The folks at the Times are hoping that Justice Ginsburg will come to their rescue and stay the order, thus saving their rear ends, for the time being. If the New York Times and its reporters are going to help charities fronting for terrorist groups to the detriment of FBI agents and our country and our troops by extension, then it should suffer the consequences. I have no sympathy for either of these reporters or the Times.
Michelle Malkin wrote about the New York Times’ actions back in June:
“It has been conclusively established that Global Relief Foundation learned of the search from reporter Philip Shenon of The New York Times,” U.S. attorney Patrick Fitzgerald wrote in an Aug. 7, 2002, letter to the Times’ legal department.
Shenon’s phone tip to the Muslim charity (which occurred one day before the FBI searched the foundation’s offices), Fitzgerald said, “seriously compromised the integrity of the investigation and potentially endangered the safety of federal law-enforcement personnel.” The Global Relief Foundation (GRF) wasn’t some beneficent neighborhood charity sending shoes and Muslim Barbie dolls to poor kids overseas. It was designated a terror-financing organization in October 2002 by the Treasury Department, which reported that GRF “has connections to, has provided support for, and has provided assistance to Usama Bin Ladin, the al Qaida Network, and other known terrorist groups.”
The Muslim charity had “received funding from individuals associated with al Qaida. GRF officials have had extensive contacts with a close associate of Usama Bin Ladin, who has been convicted in a U.S. court for his role in the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.” Moreover, the Treasury Department said, “GRF members have dealt with officials of the Taliban, while the Taliban was subject to international sanctions.”
Shenon’s then-colleague, Judith Miller, had placed a similar call to another Muslim terrorist-front financier, the Holy Land Foundation, a few weeks before Shenon’s call to the GRF. She was supposedly asking for “comment” on an impending freeze of their assets. According to Fitzgerald in court papers, Miller allegedly also warned them that “government action was imminent.” The FBI raided the Holy Land Foundation’s offices the day after Miller’s article was published in the Times.
Jay at Stop the ACLU is just as disgusted with the Times:
Where do we draw the line on freedom of press? That seems to be what this comes down to. It is scary and despicable that the NY Times so often prints classified material for our enemies to read on their front pages. The NY Times have argued this kind of stuff is in the public interest. This is a lame and deploreable excuse in my eyes, but many were eager to buy it. Now, to actually leak information out to the enemies to warn them is nothing more than taking sides against our public interest in the war on terror. The people who did this have shown where their sympathies lie. They should definitely be investigated at the least. The actions of the NY Times to protect these traitorous individuals sends my rage meter off the scale.
Mine too. This goes way beyond freedom of the press. Tipping of terror front groups of an impending FBI raid is offering aid and comfort to our enemies.