Sunday, January 08, 2006

Frank Rich In Righteous Anger On Snoopgate

Rich's New York Times column is behind a paywall. You, my dear readers, have paid for me to get past it so I can comment on what happens on the other side. In hindsight this was not the cleverest of arrangements, and I may decide to stop blogging on articles that are only available for some.

But not before I give you the gist of Rich's newest. He's blowing hot and cold and saying most excellent things about the president's defence of the illegal wiretapping of Americans:

That the White House's over-the-top outrage about the Times scoop is a smokescreen contrived to cover up something else is only confirmed by Dick Cheney's disingenuousness. In last week's oration at a right-wing think tank, he defended warrant-free wiretapping by saying it could have prevented the 9/11 attacks. Really? Not with this administration in charge. On 9/10 the N.S.A. (lawfully) intercepted messages in Arabic saying, "The match is about to begin," and, "Tomorrow is zero hour." You know the rest. Like all the chatter our government picked up during the president's excellent brush-clearing Crawford vacation of 2001, it was relegated to maƱana; the N.S.A. didn't rouse itself to translate those warnings until 9/12.

Given that the reporters on the Times story, James Risen and Eric Lichtblau, wrote that nearly a dozen current and former officials had served as their sources, there may be more leaks to come, and not just to The Times. Sooner or later we'll find out what the White House is really so defensive about.

Does Rich have something more than guesses as the ground for the last sentence? If so, I would have loved to hear it.