Apparently, lots of fuming, sputtering American wankers are really, really, really pissed that the cover has been blown on a super-duper, top-secret, Commander Codpiece, secret decoder ring program to combat swarthy evildoers everywhere:
A fresh barrage of criticism is erupting over the decision of The New York Times to disclose last night another classified surveillance program aimed at gathering information about terrorist plots...
The Times report, which appears in today's editions and was posted last evening on the paper's Web site, details the federal government's use of subpoenas to gather large troves of data from a Belgium-based consortium that handles international bank transfers, the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, known as Swift.
The Times quoted an unnamed former government official describing Swift as "the mother lode, the Rosetta stone" of data on global banking operations.
Ah, yes, keeping tabs on international banking to thwart global terrorism. What a splendid idea. Or, at least it is now (emphasis added):
Terrorists oppose scrutiny of offshore accounts. And so do many U.S. bankers and lawmakers
October 15, 2001 Posted: 2:45 p.m. EDT (1845 GMT)
The U.S. was all set to join a global crackdown on criminal and terrorist money havens earlier this year. Thirty industrial nations were ready to tighten the screws on offshore financial centers like Liechtenstein and Antigua, whose banks have the potential to hide and often help launder billions of dollars for drug cartels, global crime syndicates--and groups like Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda organization. Then the Bush Administration took office...
Since the Sept. 11 attacks, the anti-money-laundering cause has sprung back to life. The Bush Administration, which is trying to hunt down Osama bin Laden's cash in tax havens and secret bank accounts, has suddenly got religion about tracking down terrorists' assets, know-your-customer laws for banks and an array of other tools on law enforcement's wish list. The antiterrorism bill the Bush Administration sponsored, augmented by tough money-laundering provisions proposed by Democrats, sailed through the Senate. But late last week House Republican leaders Dick Armey and Tom Delay thwarted efforts to include an anti-money-laundering bill in the chamber's antiterrorism legislation, sources tell TIME, endangering the entire banking reform effort.
You know, if the American public had a collective long-term memory that went further back than last week's episode of CSI, the Republicans would be in such trouble.