On this issue, Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., is right. He has called for an investigation of the leakers of these secret programs and criminal prosecution of the editors and the publisher of the Times:
"The time has come for the American people to realize and The New York Times to realize we're at war and they can't just be on their own deciding what we declassify, what to release."
Editorialists at the Times and The Washington Post and their kennel-fed columnists and "media critics" are trotting out all the bromides about "the meaning of the First Amendment," "the people's right to know," "the role of the press in a democratic society," etc. And it is a slam-dunk prediction that more Pulitzers and People's Hero awards, like the ones Walter Duranty and Herbert Matthews collected for the Times, are ahead.
Behind the Times' defiance of the law surely lies a gnawing need for redemption. For the Times has been through a bad patch. First, it was revealed Jayson ("Burning Down My Master's House") Blair had hoked up three dozen stories and smoked them right past the Times' editors, who were blinded by the brilliance of their black prodigy. Then, there came the revelation that editor Howell Raines directed the paper to run three dozen stories on the human rights atrocity at Augusta National, where some good ole boys had conspired to keep the girls out of their tree house. After that, there was the Judith Miller fiasco, where the Times stood firm -- then folded in the face of some really big-time fines.
Keller and publisher Arthur Sulzberger appear to have decided the way to recapture lost credibility is to publish national security secrets, as in the Pentagon Papers days of yore.
And, thus far, for all their huffing and puffing, the Bushites have blinked. But this cannot stand. For appeasement will beget new acts of arrogance and aggression by the Times, and other newspapers, until a White House finds the courage to demand that the Times, too, obeys the laws and respects our national security secrets, even if it means putting Bill and Art in the Graybar Hotel for a spell.