Oops, Never Mind!

You’ve probably already heard that Byron Calame, the New York Times’s Public Editor, recanted this morning on the paper’s exposure of the SWIFT terrorist money tracking program. Shortly after the paper leaked the SWIFT program’s existence, Calame wrote a column backing the paper’s position. Now he says that the Times should not have exposed the SWIFT program.
Given the considerations Calame now cites–the program is legal, and there is no evidence that anyone’s private data were compromised in any way–it’s hard to understand why he supported the paper’s publication of the leak in the first place. Here is Calame’s own, self-revealing explanation:

What kept me from seeing these matters more clearly earlier in what admittedly was a close call? I fear I allowed the vicious criticism of The Times by the Bush administration to trigger my instinctive affinity for the underdog and enduring faith in a free press

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