In the continuing firestorm over the decision of the NYT to publish the bank transaction monitoring story comes this important tidbit of information, from Allah at Hot Air: In an interview the NYT’s Bill Keller gave to CNN, he pointed out that three people outside of the administration (who were, incidentally, Democrats – Correction: Tom Kean is a Republican – a commenter whose comment I accidentally deleted pointed that out) were asked to call the NYT about the story prior to its being published to urge them not to publish. Two people of the three did exactly that: urging the NYT not to publish were 9-11 Commission co-chairs Governor Tom Kean and Congressman Lee Hamilton.
Who was the third guy to call who apparently did NOT urge the NYT not to publish the story?
Rep. John Murtha. Via Bryan at Hot Air:
“Not all of them urged us not to publish” says Keller. Which means one of them green-lighted the story, or at least didn’t go to bat for the administration. The boss has the definitive answer as to which two of the three did urge the Times not to publish: Hamilton and Kean, who were the co-chairs of the Omission. They’re identified by Treasure Secretary John Snow as having weighed in with the Times against publication.
Which leaves Murtha as the one who did not urge the Times not to publish the story. Murtha greenlighted it. That’s the same Jack Murtha who has been prejudging the Marines guilty of a massacre in Haditha and trying to get us out of Iraq quick enough so we can all watch the fledgling Iraqi government collapse rather than waiting until it can defend itself.
My question is: why in the world would the administration ask Rep. John Murtha to do anything for them? He’s proven himself completely untrustworthy time and time again on matters of national security. Them asking Rep. Murtha to call the NYT on their behalf makes no sense.
PM Update I: Is ST show prep for Rush? (Just kidding ) He mentioned the same point I did about not understanding why the WH would ask Rep. Murtha to call the NYT and urge them not to publish the story.
PM Update II: Powerline points to a NYT editorial from Sept. 24, 2001 on terror finance monitoring in an appropriately labelled post: “That was then.” Make sure to read the key excerpt they have posted there from the piece, which is now a PPV piece if you visit the NYT site. (Hat tip: ST reader Bak in the comments section of this post)