NYT Finally Weighs in on CIA-on-the-Hudson

Perhaps six months late, the NYT figured out (with no sense of irony about that delay) that if Ray Kelly can spy on Muslims with impunity–as he appears to have done–he can do it to anyone.

It is a distressing fact of life that mistreatment of Muslims does not draw nearly the protest that it should. But not just Muslims are threatened by this seemingly excessive warrantless surveillance and record-keeping. Today Muslims are the target. In the past it was protesters against the Vietnam War, civil rights activists, socialists. Tomorrow it will be another vulnerable group whose lawful behavior is blended into criminal activity.

The editorial focuses on one of the many areas that should have offered a reasonable middle ground months ago: if it’s true nothing is wrong with this spying, than the NYPD should provide more information about what leads the cops were actually following.

Mr. Bloomberg has reacted in the worst possible way — with disdain — to those raising legitimate questions about the surveillance program. Asking about its legality, and about whether alienating innocent Muslims is a smart or decent strategy, does not translate into being soft on terrorism, or failing to appreciate that it is a dangerous world.

The mayor insists that the actions reported by The A.P. were “legal,” “appropriate” and “constitutional.” He also says the police were only “following leads.” But he has yet to explain what sort of leads, why they justify police surveillance of so many Muslims, or whether the type of surveillance depicted in the news reports continues.

If only the NYT knew of a newspaper that employed some good reporters who could do some reporting on such questions. I wonder where they might find that?

Perhaps most curious, though, is the NYT’s focus on Bloomberg, not Kelly, even while they admit that this program is Kelly’s baby.

It’s all a very curious focus from the NYT.

But it’s a good start.

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including Vice, Motherboard, the Nation, the Atlantic, Al Jazeera, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse in Grand Rapids, MI.

8 replies
  1. P J Evans says:

    The NYT seems a bit slow on the uptake, for some subjects. Should they have figured out the NYPD has problems when they found out it was spying on people in other states?

  2. Bob Schacht says:

    If only the NYT knew of a newspaper that employed some good reporters who could do some reporting on such questions. I wonder where they might find that?

    I got some ideas, but they’d never ask me.

    Bob in AZ

  3. MadDog says:

    On the outrage scale of 1 to 10, I found the NYT’s tepid editorial barely reaching 2-3.

    Moral duty now done, they can return to cheerleading Bibi’s and Aipac’s insistence that the US immediately militarily castrate Iran. And if we use a dull knife, so much the better!

  4. thatvisionthing says:

    If only the NYT knew of a newspaper that employed some good reporters who could do some reporting on such questions. I wonder where they might find that?

    Reminds me of when Matt Cooper was on the Daily Show… from comment on Salon (in appropo Glenn Greenwald post David Halberstam on today’s American press):

    * lattitudes
    * Tuesday, April 24, 2007 at 5:39 am

    Related– last night on The Daily Show, Jon Stewart was asking reporter Matt Cooper (who had virtually nothing to say for himself, or for anyone else either) why no one ever asked Rove ‘if you did nothing wrong outing Plame, why are you hiding behind reporters?’ Cooper dissembled, agreed that someone should have thought of that, etc., and an exasperated Stewart finally said ‘do you know any reporters?’

  5. thatvisionthing says:


    What, is he on tour?

    Via Naked Capitalism Links 2/24/12:

    Holder Defends Efforts to Fight Financial Fraud New York Times. Have your barf bag handy.”

    Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. spoke to about 400 Columbia University students and faculty members on Thursday.Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. defended the Justice Department’s record on financial fraud Thursday evening, asserting that the administration’s “record of success has been nothing less than historic.”

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