It appears that both the NY Times and LA Times have deemed themselves the best arbiters for deciding if a secret government program to fight terrorism should be made public, stripping it of much of its usefullness.
From an AP article:
The editor of the LA Times had a similar attitude:
This Terrorist Financing Tracking Program does not look at ATM records and domestic transactions. It accesses the SWIFT network which tracks the movement of money around the world. SWIFT was on board with the program, albeit with reservations and concerns, and there were more safeguards put in place since the program’s inception post 9/11.
So, the governement and the papers agree that the program is sensitive and encroaches on privacy. There seems to be no question that the information gleaned through it can be and has been valuable. There also seems to be agreement that this information can be put to ill use and that safeguards have to be in place, which the governement has done. The question is, in the final analysis, who makes the final call on how important something is to our national security? The media or the governement? Does it matter that one group are elected officials (or appointed through elected officials) and the other not? That one group has been charged with keeping us safe and the other to sell papers and make a profit?