Jack Shafer has a very good column today about whether the New York Times should’ve published its story revealing a semi-classified terror-financing story or not. Understandably, he trusts Bill Keller over the Bush administration. Nothing to disagree with there, although I’m agnostic on the question of whether the article actually harmed national security in any way; reports suggest that details of the SWIFT program were already somewhat public, and I don’t plan on taking the word of administration officials on this matter.
But there’s another article I’ve been meaning to link to, concerning the merits of the program in question. like William Greider, I wish the government would actually more to monitor overseas financial transactions; it would be nice if something like SWIFT could be used to clamp down on offshore tax evasion, securities fraud, CEOs looting pension funds, etc. As it is, the U.S. government is incredibly lax on the issue. Sadly, bankers and corporations tend to be hugely influential, so terrorist financing is the only thing that is likely to get any attention.