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.
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.