It has now been 10 days since the infamous publication of National Security Secrets by the NY Times and the LA Times. In that time the furor over the exposure of our secret funds tracking program has, thankfully, not died down.
The editors of the NY Times, LA Times and the reporters who wrote the story have been forced to defend themselves several times over. Although they have declined to appear on any critics' shows, they have appeared on friendly ones and the editors have issued serial written justifications of their traitorous decision to publish the story.
There are two possible explanations of the clumsiness of their collective defenses:
1) They are so unaccustomed to being challenged that they don't know how to respond;
2) They can't possible admit that they published the story because they hate this country and our committment to the GWOT so much that they knew exactly what they were doing and why they were doing it.
All the parties involved are asserting the same justifications;
1) Everyone knew what the USA was doing and
2) That the press has an obligation to expose government programs that might be illegal.
They appear not to have noticed that their story insists that the program was secret ( the headlines screamed it) and was effective. Obviously if the bad guys knew what we were doing they wouldn't have been caught through this program.
They appear not to have noticed that their story reported that the program was legal and subject to appropriate congressional disclosure.
How, you ask, is it possible for them not to have noticed these obvious points that discredit their defense? Its not, of course. Therein lies the reason they won't face critics directly. They wouldn't be able to continuously assert positions refuted by their own story if the interviewers were persistent in their questioning.
They seem very fond of comparing this case to the Pentagon Papers case although they know(or should know) full well that the cases are completely different. In the Pentagon Papers case SCOTUS decided that the government couldn't restrain in advance the publication of classified material. SCOTUS also said that the ruling on the injunction to prevent publication in no way constrained the government from prosecuting the leakers and the publishers for publishing classified material.
In this case, as the parties know, prior restraint is not the issue. The issue is responsibility for publishing classified material from a legal and effective program. Hopefully, prosecutions will ensue.