22 October, 2006

Oops, We're Sorry

The New York Times' "Public Editor" (aka ombudsman) has had a change of heart. He's decided that maybe the NYT shouldn't have published all that information about the efforts to track terrorist financing earlier this year after all. And wonder of wonders, his change of heart is for some of the very reasons people argued against publishing the info in the first place!:

Those two factors are really what bring me to this corrective commentary: the apparent legality of the program in the United States, and the absence of any evidence that anyone’s private data had actually been misused. I had mentioned both as being part of “the most substantial argument against running the story,” but that reference was relegated to the bottom of my column. [snip]

Also, there still haven’t been any abuses of private data linked to the program, which apparently has continued to function. That, plus the legality issue, has left me wondering what harm actually was avoided when The Times and two other newspapers disclosed the program. The lack of appropriate oversight — to catch any abuses in the absence of media attention — was a key reason I originally supported publication. I think, however, that I gave it too much weight.

There's more (scroll down to "Banking Data--A mea culpa), all in a similar breezy vein.

So glad to know that four months after spreading secret info around the world they've decided they're sorry. Perhaps they will be more circumspect the next time they have the chance to put something classified on the front page.

Yeah, and pigs will fly.

Update: Captain's Quarters thoroughly fisks it.