On Special Report, Jim Angle reported that during debate on the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, "Senator Orrin Hatch dismissed the idea that the intelligence agencies were trying to listen to anyone other than those with terrorist connections" and aired a clip of Hatch stating, "I don't want to bruise anyone's ego, but if Al Qaeda is not on your speed dial, the government is probably not interested in you." Angle did not note that several news articles have reported that surveillance under the government's warrantless eavesdropping program was not limited to those with "Al Qaeda on [their] speed dial," but also included thousands of Americans with no ties to any terrorist group.
On Fox News Sunday, Bill Kristol criticized the Supreme Court's decision striking down portions of the Military Commissions Act of 2006 (MCA) and suggested that fears about that law's denial of the writ of habeas corpus were overblown because "American citizens ... and anyone arrested in this country [have] a right to habeas corpus." But contrary to Kristol's suggestion, the MCA explicitly denied habeas rights to noncitizens, regardless of where that person is detained.
On The Sean Hannity Show, Tom DeLay falsely claimed that Sen. Barack Obama is "in favor of a bill to fingerprint every American in this country and have a national fingerprint database." In fact, the bill to which DeLay was apparently referring would require employees of banks that apply for "licensing and registration as a State-licensed loan originator," as well as individuals who apply for licenses, to submit fingerprints to "to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and any governmental agency or entity authorized to receive such information for a State and national criminal history background check."
On Today, during an interview with former CIA agent Michael Sheehan about his new book, Matt Lauer said, "You say we've got to use more undercover agents, informants, wiretapping, email surveillance, the works. The sound you just heard, Michael, is the far left, grabbing for their remote controls, 'cause they say, you're going to do this, you're going to trample civil liberties." In fact, Americans across the political spectrum have denounced the Bush administration for alleged violations of civil liberties.
In the wake of the New York Times exposé on the hidden ties between media military analysts and the Pentagon, the Department of Defense (DOD) released numerous documents related to the program. One is a June 23, 2006, email containing a report written by CNN military analyst Donald Shepperd about his DOD-sponsored trip to Guantánamo Bay on June 21, 2006. In the report, Shepperd wrote: "Did we drink the government kool-aid? -- of course -- that was the purpose of the trip, to hear the U.S. government side of the story, the other side is provided daily in the media, some informed, most by those who have never been to Gitmo."
On Fox News' Your World, Floyd Brown, creator of a new ad claiming that Sen. Barack Obama is "weak in the war on gangs," asserted: "[I]n Chicago, we saw six people killed and over 31 injured. People were stabbed. This is, you know, like Baghdad. And he was the state senator there, and he didn't do anything to clean it up, and I think it's a legitimate issue." Host Neil Cavuto gave no indication that Obama has responded to the ad, much less provide Obama's response.
During his April 15 interview with Sen. John McCain, Chris Matthews failed to challenge McCain on a variety of issues, including Iraq, other foreign policy issues, campaign finance, and spending projects, despite purporting to ask "tough" questions.
The Hill reported that "Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) is expected to announce Thursday that the House GOP floor emphasis will transition away from passing the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act." In fact, FISA became law in 1978, and although it has been amended many times since then, it remains in force today.
A Washington Post article about privacy concerns regarding the federal government's Digital Collection System noted that the number of national security letters "issued by the FBI soared from 8,500 in 2000 to 47,000 in 2005," but it did not mention that the Justice Department's inspector general found many "instances of illegal or improper use of national security letters" by the FBI between 2003 to 2005, according to a 2007 IG report.
Fox News' Alisyn Camerota falsely claimed that House "Democrats are pushing legislation which would strip telecommunications companies of their immunity." In fact, the House Democrats' bill does not "strip" telecommunications companies of immunity; it provides immunity prospectively, leaving intact existing immunity provisions under current law and leaving to the courts the question of whether the telecom companies are immune from suit for their prior alleged cooperation with the government in its warrantless domestic wiretapping program.
On CNN's This Week in Politics, Cliff May falsely asserted, unchallenged, that Nancy Pelosi "is not letting a vote come on" a "bipartisan bill passed by the Senate that would restore to intelligence agencies the authority they used to have to ... surveil, to bug terrorists and terrorist suspects abroad." May further claimed, falsely, that Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama "have said they're against this bill that would restore intelligence authority." In fact, the U.S. government currently has the authority to eavesdrop on the communications of suspected terrorists through the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
Fox News' Bret Baier reported that "in recent days ... Republicans have tried to link surveillance reauthorization to almost every" piece of legislation House Democrats have tried to pass. In fact, the authority to conduct "surveillance" does not need "reauthorization"; the government currently has the authority to eavesdrop on the communications of suspected terrorists primarily through the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
On Fox News' America's Pulse, E.D. Hill falsely asserted, "[T]he law that lets them [U.S. intelligence agencies] listen in to phone calls from overseas by known terrorists expired two weeks ago." In fact, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) did not expire; what expired were revisions to FISA under the Protect America Act, which, among other things, expanded the government's authority to eavesdrop on Americans' domestic-to-foreign communications without a warrant.
Like his Fox News colleague Steve Centanni, Mike Emanuel conflated the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act with the Protect America Act, asking President Bush at a recent news conference, "[D]o you worry that perhaps some House Democratic leaders are playing a high-stakes game of 'wait and see' in terms of if we get attacked, we all lose, if we don't get attacked, then maybe that makes the case that you don't need all the powers in FISA?"
On America's Newsroom, Fox News' Steve Centanni conflated the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act with the Protect America Act, asserting that President Bush is "urging Congress, pushing Congress, to pass the extension of FISA, or what he calls the Protect America Act." In fact, the 1978 FISA law established the federal government's underlying statutory authority to eavesdrop on the communications of suspected terrorists, while the PAA, among other things, expanded the government's authority to eavesdrop on Americans' domestic-to-foreign communications without a warrant.