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They’re not talking bout Jonathan “Swift”

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http://www.swift.com/

 

June 23, 2006

White House Says Tracking Bank Data Deters Terror

 

By ERIC LICHTBLAU and SHERYL GAY STOLBERG

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/23/washington/23cnd-react.html?hp&ex=1151121600&en=9d9f4dbd36e17ed4&ei=5094&partner=homepage

 

WASHINGTON, June 23 — The White House vigorously defended today a secret program of combing through a vast international data base containing banking transactions involving thousands of Americans. Vice President Dick Cheney and other officials said the program, whose existence was revealed on Thursday night by The New York Times, was both legal and necessary to deter terrorism.

Treasury Secretary John Snow, in his first public remarks about the program, called it "government at its best." He told reporters that the operation was carefully controlled to trace only those transactions with an identifiable link to possible terrorist activity.

"There can't be any doubt about the fact that the program is an effective weapon, an effective weapon in the larger war on terror," he said. "It's for that reason that these disclosures of the particular sources and methods are so regrettable."

Separately, President Bush's spokesman, Tony Snow, said the program complies with "the letter and spirit of the law." He said members of Congressional intelligence committees had been apprised of the program, though he did not provide specifics.

Mr. Snow derided criticisms of the program as "entirely abstract in nature." He said it had been subjected to outside auditing, and that the president did not need to seek authorization from Congress for it.

"Let me tell you why this is important: it works," Mr. Snow said. "It is sought only for terrorism investigations. A series of safeguards have been put in place."

The banking consortium, known as Swift, that maintains the database gave no sign today that it was rethinking its relationship with the American government, despite the sudden glare of publicity aimed at an organization that generally keeps a very low profile.

Prior to publication of the article, some backers of the program had expressed concerns that Swift, based in Brussels, could be prompted to pull out of the program if its role were revealed — particularly in light of sharp anti-American sentiments in parts of Europe. But an official with Swift, speaking on condition of anonymity, said today that there had been "no discussions" about a withdrawal.

Still, there were indications of possible disagreements between Swift and the American government over the group's role and how it came to cooperate.

Swift has said that its role in the program was never voluntary, that it was obligated to comply with a valid subpoena presented by American officials, and that it worked to narrow the range of data it provided.

But Secretary Snow offered a different account at a news conference today. He said that after the Sept. 11 attacks, Treasury officials initially presented Swift with "really narrowly crafted subpoenas all tied to terrorism," only to be told by Swift that it did not have the ability to "extract the particular information from their broad data base."

"So they said, 'we'll give you all the data,' " Secretary Snow said.

News of the program's existence renewed concerns about civil liberties first raised last year when The Times reported on another secret program, conducted by the National Security Agency, involving eavesdropping on telephone communications without court warrants.

Both disclosures prompted complaints to the administration from members of Congress, who are calling for more oversight, and from advocates for civil liberties.

"I am very concerned that the Bush Administration may be once again violating the Constitutional rights of innocent Americans, as part of another secret program created in the aftermath of the Sept. 11th attacks," Representative Ed Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat who has made privacy a signature issue, said in a statement.

The executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, Anthony D. Romero, condemned the program, calling it "another example of the Bush administration's abuse of power."

But Mr. Snow, the White House press secretary, said Americans by and large supported the eavesdropping program.

"You can go ahead and look at your own polling, and you will find that Americans — if somebody says, 'Do you want a program that listens in on people who have been identified as al Qaeda terrorists?' — the answer would be, 'Yes, I would like to do that. I would like to find data on it.' "

The press secretary made his remarks during a lengthy morning briefing, during which he at times grew uncharacteristically testy. At one point, he accused news organizations like CNN, The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times of collecting personal data from visitors to their web sites without disclosing it. At another, he grew exasperated when Helen Thomas, a longtime White House correspondent, interrupted him, and told her to "stop heckling and let me conduct the press conference."

Anyone?

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Let’s see what happens when you replace some specific words:

 

McCarthyism took place during a period of intense suspicion in the United States primarily from 1950 to 1954, when the U.S. government was actively countering alleged American Communist Party subversion, its leadership, and others suspected of being Communists or Communist sympathizers. During this period people from all walks of life became the subject of aggressive witch-hunts, often based on inconclusive or questionable evidence. It grew out of the Second Red Scare that began in the late 1940s and is named after the U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy, a Republican of Wisconsin.

 

New paragraph:

 

Rove-ism took place during a period of intense suspicion in the United States primarily from 2001 to 2006, when the U.S. government was actively countering alleged American al-Qaeda Party subversion, its leadership, and others suspected of being al-Qaeda or al-Qaeda sympathizers. During this period people from all walks of life became the subject of aggressive witch-hunts, often based on inconclusive or questionable evidence. It grew out of the Rove,Bush,Cheneyfear/terror/warmongering idiots that began in September of 2001 and is named after the Republican Karl Rove or the Architechtic .

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problem is mccarthy was "closer to the truth than those who ridiculed him" says liberal historian nicholas con hoffman in the washington post in 1996.

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problem is mccarthy was "closer to the truth than those who ridiculed him" says liberal historian nicholas con hoffman in the washington post in 1996.

 

Friday, Jun. 23, 2006

 

It is not a 'fishing expedition,' but rather a sharp harpoon aimed at the heart of terrorist activity.”

— Treasury Secretary John W. Snow

In response to news reports about a program initiated after 9/11, which monitors data on international financial transactions collected by a Belgian banking consortium known as Swift

Friday, Jun. 23, 2006

 

I suppose sometimes people look at my demeanor and say, 'He's the Darth Vader of the administration.'”

— Vice President Dick Cheney

Explaining that since his political career will end with the Bush administration, his policies are not based on popularity but on what he thinks is best for the country

~I am sure there are those that think the above mentioned people are closer to truth -too.

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