Monday, August 02, 2004

THE TIMES SHOWS ITS TEETH (Well, a tooth, anyway) 

While I'm not about to give the New York Times credit for transforming itself into a newspaper with the public interest at heart, after watching the Times behave as a slathering lapdog for the Bush administration during the run-up to the Iraq invasion it's heartening to see the two top stories of the moment (eleven o'clock, Mountain time, Monday evening):

1. Reports That Led to Terror Alert Were Years Old, Officials Say
EXCERPT: Much of the information that led the authorities to raise the terror alert at several large financial institutions in the New York City and Washington areas was three or four years old, intelligence and law enforcement officials said on Monday. They reported that they had not yet found concrete evidence that a terrorist plot or preparatory surveillance operations were still under way.
(And the corollary report: Few Measures to Avert Truck Bombs.)

2. A Czar Without Power? Support Leaves Questions
EXCERPT: President Bush on Monday cast his support for a new post of national intelligence director as an historic overhaul of the nation's major spy agencies. But White House officials left vague the authority that the new director would wield over personnel and spending, raising doubts among some experts about the real power of the new position.
Mr. Bush said the new director would "coordinate" the budgets for the nation's 15 major intelligence agencies, while Andrew H. Card Jr., the White House chief of staff, said the director would have a "coordinating role" in hiring. But neither the president nor Mr. Card said that the director should directly hire and fire or have authority over the estimated $40 billion that the government spends each year on intelligence. Right now, the Pentagon controls about 80 percent of the money.
"If the national intelligence director has no real budgetary authority, he or she will have no real power," said Representative Jane Harman of California, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee.


Tell me again: What's the legal definition of treason?


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