Introducing an interview with Director of National Intelligence Michael McConnell, Chris Wallace asserted: "A law which gives President Bush powers to monitor communications among terrorism suspects expired at midnight." In fact, the expired PAA revisions to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, did not simply give Bush "powers to monitor communications among terrorism suspects," but rather, among other things, the revisions expanded the government's authority to eavesdrop on Americans' domestic-to-foreign communications without a warrant. Further, Wallace never mentioned that the government had the authority to listen in on the communications of suspected terrorists before Congress passed the PAA in August 2007 or that this authority continues despite the PAA's expiration.
NPR Weekend Edition Saturday host Scott Simon and NPR newscaster Korva Coleman both falsely claimed that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act "expires tonight." In fact, what is set to expire are the Protect America Act's revisions to FISA; the government would retain all surveillance powers under FISA if the PAA expired.
Referring to the expiring revisions to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, Fox host Chris Wallace asserted that when Sen. John McCain "gets on the campaign trail and says, 'Look, here is a law that was going to provide the tools for the United States to be able to intercept communications of people who want to kill us and Congress went home, the Democratic Congress went home on a break' -- that's going to be a pretty effective weapon to use against the Democrats in the fall." In fact, contrary to Wallace's suggestion, the government has "the tools" to "intercept communications" of suspected terrorists.
NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams stated that the Republicans "left the House chamber to protest the Democrats' refusal to renew the foreign intelligence surveillance law, which expires this week." In fact, the House voted on a measure to extend the law in question, the Protect America Act, for another 21 days, but all 195 Republicans who voted on the matter voted against it. Moreover, the "foreign intelligence surveillance law" doesn't expire this week; the Protect America Act, giving the president broad authority to intercept communications involving people in the U.S. without a warrant, expires. Even without its renewal, the government has the authority to conduct foreign intelligence surveillance.
On Special Report, Carl Cameron reported that Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama "were both present for the debate and vote on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act [FISA] being tweaked a little bit today." However, if the FISA amendments bill becomes law, it would do far more than "tweak" FISA "a little bit" -- as The Washington Post reported, it "include[s] major revisions to the 30-year-old Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which established a secret court to issue warrants for domestic spying on suspects in terrorism and intelligence cases."
While discussing the "dogfight under way" over the Protect America Act, Fox News' Megyn Kelly falsely claimed that "this bill," which "allows the president to, among other things, surveil the conversations between American citizens and those suspected of being terrorists overseas" is "set to expire on Friday," February 15. In fact, only revisions to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act made in August 2007 would expire; the government would retain the authority to monitor the communications of suspected terrorists.
In a Washington Times op-ed, Discovery Institute senior fellow John Wohlstetter falsely suggested that if the August 2007 Protect America Act (PAA) expires on February 1 as scheduled, the government will not be "allow[ed] ... to continue to monitor communications for counter-terror purposes." In fact, the government would retain the authority to monitor the communications of suspected terrorists after the PAA expires; only the PAA's revisions to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act would expire.
An item in The Washington Post, titled "Aye to Spy?" falsely claimed that "[t]he current FISA [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act] authorization will expire on Friday [February 1]." In fact, FISA does not "expire" on February 1; rather, the August 2007 revisions to FISA made through the Protect America Act are set to expire, but FISA will remain in effect.
In a Washington Times column, R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. wrote that Sen. Hillary Clinton's "experience ... includes lying under oath, and obstructing justice." But Clinton has never been charged with, let alone found guilty of, "lying under oath" or "obstructing justice."
An Associated Press article falsely asserted that the U.S. government would lose its "eavesdropping powers" if Congress does not reauthorize them by February 1. In fact, only revisions to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act made in August 2007 would expire.
The Hill misquoted Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's January 7 comments about civil rights by presenting two different parts of Clinton's statement as one continuous quote without indicating that words had been omitted.
An Associated Press article reported that House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn "expressed disappointment with Clinton after she said it took President Lyndon B. Johnson, a white politician, to finally realize King's dream of racial equality by signing the Civil Rights Act." But that is not what Clinton said.
Articles in Newsweek and The Washington Post mischaracterized a remark by former President Bill Clinton, claiming that he appeared to dismiss Sen. Barack Obama's campaign as "the biggest fairy tale I've ever seen." In fact, Clinton was referring to Obama's statements about his position on the Iraq war; he was not talking about the Obama campaign as the "biggest fairy tale." Further, the Newsweek article, as well as a New York Times article and a Washington Post op-ed, all truncated a comment by Hillary Clinton on the passage of civil rights legislation in the 1960s, omitting a portion of her remarks in which she referred to President John F. Kennedy.
A Des Moines Register article reported that Mitt Romney "defended the Bush administration's use of wiretaps to spy on suspected terrorists," quoting Romney asserting that President Bush "has done what was necessary here with the Patriot Act, as well as by listening in when al-Qaida was calling." But the article simply ignored the central issue in the debate: whether the government should have to obtain warrants to eavesdrop on communications involving people in the United States.