Today's New York Times provides intimate detail on the charter flights used by the CIA to ferry prisoners across the globe. The names of the charter companies are disclosed. The types of aircraft flown are revealed. The points of departure and destinations of these flights are stated. There is even a picture of one of the charter craft, with the identification number of the aircraft in full display.
All of this is extremely valuable to al Qaeda members who may have an interest in rescuing, or if deemed appropriate, conducting a suicide attack against suspected extraction flights. A successful attack resulting from this story can endanger the lives of CIA, security and civilian personnel involved in these missions, as well as deprive the intelligence and military communities of valuable information that can be gained from interrogations....
What exactly is the purpose of the New York Times in reporting on sensitive issues such as these? Do they even care about the consequences of making such information pubic? It appears the editors of the New York Times feel that breaking a titillating story about sensitive CIA operations is much more important than national security and the lives of those fighting in the war. All to our detriment.
If the Times's reporting isn't "aid and comfort" to the enemy, I don't know what is. As I wrote here:
The NYT article about a CIA operation being conducted in support of an authorized war amounts to the same thing. The right to publish cannot be absolute and should not exempt anyone from a charge of treason.
The preservation of life and liberty necessarily requires a willingness to compromise on what -- in the comfortable world of abstraction -- seem to be inviolable principles. For example:
- The First Amendment doesn't grant anyone the right to go on the air to compromise a military operation by American forces...