An editorial in Friday’s Wall Street Journal noted that the legal scholar, Alexander Bickel wrote, in 1975:
“Not everything is fit to print. There is to be regard for at least probable factual accuracy, for danger to innocent lives, for human decencies, and even, if cautiously, for nonpartisan considerations of the national interest.”
With its decision to publish classified information concerning the electronic analysis of financial data from a clearinghouse in Europe, and, in particular, with its selective outrage concerning leaks in general, the Times has provided an important clarification regarding its motives.
In his open letter intended to explain his decision, Executive Editor Bill Keller provided an inadvertently telling view into his political world by stating:
“Since September 11, 2001, our government has launched broad and secret antiterrorist monitoring programs without seeking authorizing legislation and without fully briefing Congress.”
Implicit in this broadside is the dark aura of illegality, setting the stage for presumably impending charges against the Bush Administration and the left’s holy grail, impeachment proceedings. If untempered zeal can lead to political miscalculation, Mr. Keller and his ilk at the Times have already written President Bush’s resignation speech.
It’s this presumption of guilt without reference to a scintilla of evidence, melded as it is with the unreasonable supposition that guarded steps that balance national security against civil liberties to protect our nation against another heinous terrorist attack is at once unprecedented and hostile to the common good.
This latest episode did, indeed, provide America with a glimpse into the window of the soul of the arch-liberal, and it’s a sight that should make us recoil.
Mella is Founder and Editor of ClearCommentary.com