In describing the Senate debate over granting retroactive legal immunity to telecommunications companies that allegedly cooperated with the government's program of warrantless domestic eavesdropping, Fox News' Jim Angle stated that the debate "is over whether or not to give immunity to the telecom companies who were told by the administration that they were acting lawfully and asked their cooperation, and they gave it." But Angle did not mention that, in a case challenging the legality of AT&T's alleged cooperation with the wiretapping program, a judge found that AT&T "cannot seriously contend that a reasonable entity in its position could have believed" that it would be lawful for the company to cooperate with the government.
FrontPageMag.com, the "online magazine" of the David Horowitz Freedom Center, posted an excerpt from a New York Sun article published that day detailing allegations by a Princeton University student who claimed he had been assaulted because of his conservative views. However, while the Sun updated its story to report that Nava admitted to police that "he fabricated the assault," FrontPageMag.com has yet to acknowledge that the entire story was fabricated.
In a report on the congressional debate over revisions to the 1978 FISA law , Fox News' Jim Angle reported that, "since about 80 percent of the world's Internet traffic passes through U.S. communications infrastructure, officials now find themselves in a bizarre situation, forced to treat foreigners overseas as if they were Americans inside the United States." But, in August, Congress passed the Protect America Act that temporarily revised FISA to allow the warrantless surveillance of these communications -- while also temporarily expanding the president's authority to wiretap without a warrant.
NPR's Ari Shapiro reported on Sen. John McCain's criticism of Mitt Romney "for refusing to say outright that the interrogation technique of controlled drowning known as waterboarding is torture," adding that "Attorney General Michael Mukasey almost was not confirmed based on his refusal to classify waterboarding as torture." But Shapiro did not note that, notwithstanding his criticism of Romney, McCain supported Mukasey's nomination for attorney general despite Mukasey's "refusal to classify waterboarding as torture."
In a report on the newly passed House bill containing a prohibition on the interrogation technique known as waterboarding, NBC News' Jim Miklaszewski asserted that the House included the "waterboarding clause" "pretty much to ensure that it doesn't happen, but also ... [as] a poke in the eye of the administration, clearly." But the Army field manual's prohibition on the use of waterboarding currently applies only to the Department of Defense; the House bill would expand that prohibition to cover "the United States Government."
On The O'Reilly Factor, Newsmax.com chief Washington correspondent Ronald Kessler falsely claimed that Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton "voted to give Osama bin Laden the same rights that Americans have when it comes to intercepting his calls, even if he made calls within Pakistan, to Pakistan. They voted in August to not revise the FISA act." In fact, Obama and Clinton both voted for legislation sponsored by Sen. Carl Levin that would have amended FISA to allow warrantless wiretapping of foreign-to-foreign calls, regardless of whether they are transmitted through the United States.
An Associated Press report claimed that, in an October 30 letter to Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee, attorney general nominee Michael Mukasey "pledged to study," if confirmed, the legality of the interrogation technique known as waterboarding. However, if news reports that the government stopped the use of waterboarding in 2005 are correct, then Mukasey's promise appears not to cover waterboarding, because Mukasey said in his letter that he would "review any coercive interrogation techniques currently used by the United States Government and the legal analysis authorizing their use to assess whether such techniques comply with the law" [emphasis added].
On CNN, Washington Times columnist Diana West said: "What I would like to see is people really start thinking about what is torture. If putting people into human-size shredders, as Saddam Hussein did, is torture, then waterboarding, which my senior military sources tell me you wake up feeling fine the next day -- it is not torture." However, in congressional testimony, Allen S. Keller, M.D., director of the Bellevue Hospital Center/New York University Program for Survivors of Torture, stated, "To think that abusive methods, including the enhanced interrogation techniques [in which Keller included waterboarding], are harmless psychological ploys is contradictory to well established medical knowledge and clinical experience." Keller stated of waterboarding specifically, "Long term effects include panic attacks, depression and PTSD," and said it poses a "real risk of death."
In a Fox News "All-Star" panel discussion, Morton Kondracke said of the interrogation technique known as waterboarding, "I'm sure it feels like torture, you know, it doesn't result in any lasting damage, but it feels like torture." But a physician who heads a program for torture survivors told a Senate committee that techniques such as waterboarding "are intended to break the prisoners down, to terrify them and cause harm to their psyche, and in so doing result in lasting harmful health consequences." He also said: "There is a real risk of death from actually drowning or suffering a heart attack or damage to the lungs."
Advancing a common straw man promoted by the Bush administration and repeated by the media, a Wall Street Journal editorial falsely claimed that under the "preferred rules" for wiretapping purportedly favored by "most House Democrats," "a U.S. President couldn't even eavesdrop on a foreign-to-foreign terror call if by chance that call was routed through an American telephone switch," which "would amount to unilateral disarmament in the war on terror." The assertion is false on two counts.