Cheney miffed, Beeb chuffed.

The BBC reports on the undermining of what it refers to as “the ‘so-called war on terror'” in this story which flowed from this one based on a New York Times Pulitzer-hunting, terrorist-helping sellout. [My opinion on the behavior of the NYT.] What the Beeb fails to point out in either online account is both the firm legal ground and the high degree of success of the SWIFT programme.

Here’s a slippery little paragraph used in both online stories to cast doubt on SWIFT’s legal standing without really having any supporting facts for this novel theory.(See SWIFT’s own statement on the story here and Treasury Secretary John Snow’s statement here.)

From the ‘angry Cheney’ piece:

Although there is no direct connection, the scheme has echoes of a recently revealed US surveillance programme in which millions of international and domestic phone calls and e-mails were monitored, correspondents say.

From the “US defends secret money tracking piece”:

Although there is no direct connection, the programme has echoes of a recently revealed US surveillance programme in which millions of international and domestic phone calls and e-mails were monitored, correspondents say.

They say that although the US government insists it acted on a firm legal footing, this programme is likely to elicit similar charges of enfringement of civil liberties.

We are not given the names of these ‘correspondents’. For all we know, they are 16 year-olds on MySpace. What the BBC could have told us, but didn’t, is that this programme successfully brought about the exposure and apprehension of real terrorists who had committed murder and/or were planning further massacres. Who are they? At least the New York Times reported it.

Viewed by the Bush administration as a vital tool, the program has played a hidden role in domestic and foreign terrorism investigations since 2001 and helped in the capture of the most wanted Qaeda figure in Southeast Asia, the officials said. The program, run out of the Central Intelligence Agency and overseen by the Treasury Department, “has provided us with a unique and powerful window into the operations of terrorist networks and is, without doubt, a legal and proper use of our authorities,” Stuart Levey, an undersecretary at the Treasury Department, said in an interview Thursday. The program is grounded in part on the president’s emergency economic powers, Mr. Levey said, and multiple safeguards have been imposed to protect against any unwarranted searches of Americans’ records.

Some specifics on those apprehended:

Among the successes was the capture of a Qaeda operative, Riduan Isamuddin, better known as Hambali, believed to be the mastermind of the 2002 bombing of a Bali resort, several officials said. The Swift data identified a previously unknown figure in Southeast Asia who had financial dealings with a person suspected of being a member of Al Qaeda; that link helped locate Hambali in Thailand in 2003, they said.

In the United States, the program has provided financial data in investigations into possible domestic terrorist cells as well as inquiries of Islamic charities with suspected of having links to extremists, the officials said.

The data also helped identify a Brooklyn man who was convicted on terrorism-related charges last year, the officials said. The man, Uzair Paracha, who worked at a New York import business, aided a Qaeda operative in Pakistan by agreeing to launder $200,000 through a Karachi bank, prosecutors said.

Heather McDonald reports:

The Wall Street Journal adds that the July 7, 2005, London subway bombings were fruitfully investigated through the Swift initiative and that a facilitator of Iraqi terrorism has been apprehended because of it.

One might think that the UK would be served this bit of information about this matter from its ‘so-called national broadcaster’, but that would be asking a lot.

Hat tip: PowerLine, Hugh Hewitt and RealClearPolitics

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11 Responses to Cheney miffed, Beeb chuffed.

  1. Rick says:

    Sorry but what’s the issue ? Menwith Hill scours Emails and telephone calls in Britain, and GCHQ does the same across Europe.

    The British Govt pushed the Eu into storing Email data and telephone data for 2 years –

    The billing info on calls connected is not especially secret and I have no doubt any private detective armed with £50 can get any phone company to turn over your records.

    I am still confused as to what is so odd about all this. Or does the BBC think someone is sitting with headphones on listening to the billions of telephone calls each day ?


  2. Rick says:

    Sorry it’s an ORG

    Under the guise of tackling “terrorism” the EU’s Justice and Home Affairs Minister decided on 20 September 2001 that the law enforcement agencies needed to have access to all traffic data (phone-calls, mobile calls, e-mails, faxes and internet usage) for the purpose of criminal investigations in general.

    What stood in the way was the 1997 EC Directive on privacy in telecommunications. This was the follow-up to the hard-won 1995 EC Directive on data protection, now law across the EU. The 1997 EC Directive said that the only purpose for which traffic data could be retained was for billing (ie: for the benefit of customers) and then it had to be erased. Law enforcement agencies could get access to the traffic data with a judicial order for a specific person/group.

    The “deal” agreed between the Council (the 15 governments) and the two largest parties in the European Parliament (PPE, conservative and PSE, Socialist groups) means that there are two crucial amendments: i) the obligation to erase data has been deleted and ii) EU member states are allowed to pass laws requiring communications providers to keep traffic data for a so-called “limited period”.


  3. Dave Hill says:

    I’m sure you will be as shocked as me by the infiltration of Thought For The Day by a political extremist I have uncovered here.

    Something must be done.


  4. Jack Bauer says:

    –the scheme has echoes of a recently revealed US surveillance programme–

    This is what conservatives and patriots in the REALITY BASED COMMUNITY call…



  5. gordon-bennett says:

    Dave Hill | Homepage | 25.06.06 – 10:52 am

    In summary: because the PC brigade have given extra rights to minoritities everyone else’s lives are valued less.

    This distortion is worthy of a beeboid. The message that members of PC victim groups are treated favourably compared to others does not diminsh those others – the treatment of non-PC victims has not changed. To put it another way, if I win the lottery and double my wealth that doesn’t mean your wealth is diminished in any way.

    I think Anne Atkins is right.

    Let me repeat what I posted once before. If I go up to a fat, black man, say “I dont like fat people” and then kill him I get jailed. However, if I had said “I dont like black people” and then killed him my sentence would be doubled.

    Where’s the justice in that doubling?


  6. dumbcisco says:

    What the New York Times – and then the LA Times – did, after serious requests from the White House not to publish this secret info – was nothing short of treason. Section 793 of the the US Espionage Act applies, and it overrides the First Amendment rights of freedom of speech.

    These reporters and their editors should be prosecuted. Otherwise these papers (including the Washington Post) will continue to blow open secrets of the US. They are OUR secrets too, methods of combatting the terrorism that faces us all.

    These papers – like the BBC – simply do not accept there is a war agaiunst the terrorists. They do have a war – a war against Bush, a constant battle to undermine the White House. If they attacked the terrorists and their fellow-travellers here and abroad with the same relentless vigour they use against Bush, we would be safer.


  7. dumbcisco says:

    I like this comment to the NYT from a serving officer in Iraq :


  8. dumbcisco says:

    The New York Times at war against America :


  9. dumbcisco says:

    sorry – here is the Michael Barone article :


  10. TAoL Reincarnated says:

    Well done, Dave, for unmasking this dangerous political extremist.

    With people like Anne Atkins on the loose, how can we sleep at night?


  11. gordon-bennett says:

    With people like Anne Atkins on the loose, how can we sleep at night?
    TAoL Reincarnated | 26.06.06 – 10:02 pm

    I’m very worried that she might sneak into our houses and leave some religious tracts for us or (even worse) fluff up our cushions and vacuum clean the living room carpet.

    On that last possibility, if you’re reading this, Anne, the front door key is under the dustbin round the back.