Now it's not just the Times fault. We apparently (although it's not surprising) have traitors in the government. I can name a couple off the top of my head (Murtha, Kerry). Inside traitors leaked classified information to the Times.
Once the Times got this information, though, they proceded to abuse it. Though warned not to publish -- and I think they absolutely knew what the implications were as far as aiding Al Quaeda et. al. -- they did it anyway.
This elicited some of the straightest talk I've ever heard from a government official -- Treasury Secretary John Snow (in a letter to executive editor Bill Keller ) :
You have defended your decision to compromise this program by asserting that "terror financiers know” our methods for tracking their funds and have already moved to other methods to send money. The fact that your editors believe themselves to be qualified to assess how terrorists are moving money betrays a breathtaking arrogance and a deep misunderstanding of this program and how it works. While terrorists are relying more heavily than before on cumbersome methods to move money, such as cash couriers, we have continued to see them using the formal financial system, which has made this particular program incredibly valuable.[emphasis, mine]
Lastly, justifying this disclosure by citing the “public interest” in knowing information about this program means the paper has given itself free license to expose any covert activity that it happens to learn of - even those that are legally grounded, responsibly administered, independently overseen, and highly effective. Indeed, you have done so here.
Precicely! These. People. Ought. To. Be. Taken. Out. And. Shot. The whole arrogant lot of them. Maybe the New York Times will be Al Queda's next American target. Nah. Who'd destroy their best weapon?
Patterico has an excellent roundup of responses. He also has this excellent post.
Update: I watched Bush's reaction and response. I don't think I've ever seen him that angry before, and I don't blame him one bit. I'm sure the pompus presumtuousness of the leading compound question he was asked didn't help matters.
Tony Snow's was blunt and honest as well.