The L.A. Times runs a story today about the difficulties that the US is having in tracking and shutting down terrorist financial operations. The story leads with a number of factors impeding both our domestic and international efforts:
The U.S.-led effort to choke off financing for Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups is foundering because setbacks at home and abroad have undermined the Bush administration's highly touted counter-terrorism weapon, according to current and former officials and independent experts.
In some cases, extremist groups have blunted financial anti-terrorism tools by finding new ways to raise, transfer and spend their money. In other cases, the administration has stumbled over legal difficulties and interagency fighting, officials and experts say.
But the most serious problems are fractures and mistrust within the coalition of nations that the United States admits it needs to target financiers of terrorism and to stanch the flow of funding from wealthy donors to extremist causes.
Can anyone spot what's missing? Anyone? Sigh Anyone besides Lisa?
Apparently the Times doesn't think that the media's disclosure of the nature, procedures, and targets of those programs could have a deleterious effect on their effectiveness and foreign cooperation.
Moreover, the Times doesn't thing that the House Democrats' refusal to grant immunity to telecom companies who helped the government with foreign intelligence gathering could be interpreted by foreign banks and governments as a warning of might be in store for them if they, too, make the mistake of assisting the US is tracking down terrorist transactions.
And certainly, the House Democrats' refusal to renew the PAA couldn't have any effect on our ability to locate and track new targets for investigation?
No, certainly not. But we wouldn't want to question their patriotism.