Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y.
U.S. Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., wants the New York Times and other newspapers indicted for reports on a secret financial-monitoring program used to trace terrorists.
“We’re at war, and for the Times to release information about secret operations and methods is treasonous,” King told the Associated Press.
King is critical of last week’s story that the Treasury Department was working with the CIA to study messages within an international database of money-transfer records.
King, who serves as chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said he’d contact Attorney General Alberto Gonzales urging him to “begin an investigation and prosecution of the New York Times – the reporters, the editors and the publisher.”
“I agree, the New York Times and other should be charged with treason,” writes WND reader Keith Sasaki of Honolulu. “I’m sick and tired of them getting away with ‘murder,’ the government has to use them as an example.
But not all Republicans are supporting King’s proposed action, among them Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania.
“On the basis of the newspaper article, I think it’s premature to call for a prosecution of the New York Times, just like I think it’s premature to say that the administration is entirely correct,” Specter said on “Fox News Sunday.”
Similar stories have also appeared in the Wall Street Journal and Los Angeles Times, and while King feels those publications should be probed, he says the focus should be on the New York Times, since the paper also revealed a secret domestic wiretapping program in December.
He claims the paper was “more concerned about a left-wing elitist agenda than it is about the security of the American people.”
Bill Keller, executive editor of the Times, said at the time that editors listened to the government’s argument for withholding the information, but “remain convinced that the administration’s extraordinary access to this vast repository of international financial data, however carefully targeted use of it may be, is a matter of public interest.”
Lucy Dalglish, executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, told AP the paper acted responsibly, both in last week’s report and the December wiretap issue.
“Its pretty clear to me that in this story and in the story last December that the New York Times did not act recklessly. They try to do whatever they can to take into account whatever security concerns the government has and they try to behave responsibly,” Dalglish said. “I think in years to come that this is a story American citizens are going to be glad they had, however this plays out.”