Go Get An Apple For Tony! LOL!
First we had Vice President Cheney admitting he was "The Shooter." Then President Bush called himself "The Decider." Now Press Secretary Tony Snow has proclaimed himself "The Teacher."
It happened today at the White House briefing, following a long exchange with Helen Thomas over Friday's revelations about another "anti-terrorist" surveillance program, this time involving certain bank records. The Bush administration tried to stop The New York Times, Los Angeles Times and others from publishing the news.
Here is the end of the Snow/Thomas back-and-forth, during which the press secretary asked the reporter to stop "heckling" him.
HELEN: What is the law that allows you to go into the private --
MR. SNOW: I'll tell you what, we will attach -- we'll get our lawyers to attach all this and it will just --
HELEN: No, no, just give me the law --
MR. SNOW: I am going to give you the law. Go ahead...
HELEN: You don't even know --
MR. SNOW: You're absolutely right, I do not know the specific statute, which is why I will present it to you.
HELEN: But, again, why go to the extraordinary effort of trying to get news media to not inform people what their government is doing?
MR. SNOW: Well, I'll tell you what, does CNN disclose what it does with the financial information or personal information of the people who log onto its website? Does The New York Times? Does The L.A. Times? Your organizations all collect personal data on people who use your services. But there's a second point --
HELEN: Do you not understand the difference between private companies and governments, sir?
MR. SNOW: I understand. I do understand. But what I'm saying here is, what the public -- I'll tell you what, you ask the American public, do you want -- do you think you have a right to know the specific means and methods by which --
HELEN: That's not --
MR. SNOW: Helen, will you stop heckling and let me conduct a press conference.
HELEN: -- argument.
MR. SNOW: Well, no, I'm making an argument, and you're pestering the teacher.
Okay, now, here -- I think the American people understand that if somebody says, how is it that you're tracking down terrorist financing? We don't want the terrorist to know that. That's an important thing for them not to know. But now what's happening is that some of the means and methods are available. What happens is they adjust their own techniques accordingly.
Now, here's the other interesting thing. If there were some specific allegation that there was an abuse here, that people 's rights were in jeopardy, that there was a violation of law -- none of which is alleged; I mean, you keep asking me what the laws are -- it's not even mentioned in here, in The New York Times or any of the pieces that ran today, there is no allegation of illegality. Go ahead...
HELEN: Let me ask a follow up. Are you saying that the financial experts in the terrorist ranks would not know about an organization that works for 7,800 different financial institutions in 200 countries?
MR. SNOW: I'm saying, yes. I think that a lot of people didn't know about the existence of Swift.