Media reporter Howie Kurtz says people are “piling on” the New York Times. I don‘t think so. Would we have accused outraged critics of “piling on” if a newspaper during World War II had described to the Nazis the Enigma code-breaking program? Here is 9/11 Commissioner Tom Kean’s account of trying to persuade the Times not to destroy an effective weapon in the war against terror:
“[Tom] Kean tells National Review Online that the New York Times’s decision to expose the terrorist finance effort – Kean called Times executive editor Bill Keller in an attempt to persuade him not to publish – has done terrible damage to the program. ‘I think it’s over,’ Kean says. ‘Terrorists read the newspapers. Once the program became known, then obviously the terrorists were not going to use these methods any more.’
“Kean, the former Republican governor of New Jersey, says he had a pessimistic feeling after calling Keller. ‘He couldn’t have been more courteous,’ Kean recalls. ‘He said he’d take my views into consideration. But…when the Treasury Department called to ask whether I had made the call, I said, ‘Yes, I have, but I think you have a problem.'”
Is it beginning to sound like Howell Raines was much less a jerk than Keller?