You can’t leak something that’s already overflowing

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If anyone tells you that certain leftist newspapers like the Wall Street Journal (though they will probably say the New York Times, which is about as “leftist” as the WSJ) committed treason by leaking intelligence about the U.S.’s secret searches within a vast global database of confidential financial transactions–tell them to go to a “burning hot” place.

Really. Because that is where The Heretik is camped out, exposing the outrageousness of this claim. He explains that the Bush administration has been doing nothing but blabbing for years about its intention to spy on and monitor financial transactions as a way of fighting the so-called war on terror.

“George Bush should look in the mirror,” The Heretik says, for “Nobody has done more to…tell terrorists we are on to them, on the financial trail which in some ways is going cold.”

He then provides a chronological collection of statements by Bush, beginning September 24, 2001, in which he explains to the world over and over how the U.S. is tracking international financial transactions and freezing the assets of terrorists.

Except, of course, that didn’t really happen. The Heretik points out that terrorists do not actually do business with Swift–what a surprise– only with a few selected Swift banks, and that terrorist assets are easily and quickly converted to things like diamonds, gold and investments in front companies. However, as a result of the fishing expedition, millions of confidential Swift records have been released without authorization, violating privacy laws, and resulting in complaints lodged in thirty-two countries.

“The simple truth is terrorists need little money to do great harm.” So says The Heretik. And he refers to Bryan Bender’s Boston Globe story, in which Bender quotes former terror financing expert Victor D. Comras:

Unless they were pretty dumb, they had to assume their transactions were being monitored. We have spent the last four years bragging how effective we have been in tracking terrorist financing.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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