For the second time in a week, nationally syndicated radio host Rush Limbaugh falsely claimed that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court denied the FBI a warrant to search the laptop computer of Zacarias Moussaoui. But in fact, the FBI never petitioned the court for a warrant after bureau attorneys determined they did not have sufficient evidence.
CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin falsely claimed that Supreme Court nominee Samuel A. Alito Jr. was in the majority on a three-judge panel when he said that the physical and visual search of a 10-year-old girl and her mother was legal. In fact, Alito dissented from the majority opinion, which ruled that the search was illegal.
Weekly Standard's Stephen Hayes falsely claimed that public polling shows "support" for the National Security Agency's warrantless domestic spy program. In fact, an AP/Ipsos poll released January 6 shows that 56 percent of Americans said the Bush administration "[s]hould ... be required to get a warrant from a judge before monitoring phone and internet communications between American citizens in the United States and suspected terrorists."
CNN analyst Jeffrey Toobin suggested that "the Democrats may be looking for trouble" if they criticize the Bush administration's warrantless spying program during the Alito hearings, falsely stating that the public supports the administration's program
Kris Kobach, a University of Missouri-Kansas City law professor and former aide to Attorney General John Ashcroft, falsely claimed that four appeals court decisions confirmed that it is legal for the president to authorize warrantless domestic surveillance. A January 4 Washington Times editorial made a similar claim.
Fox News' Jim Angle reported on how, hypothetically, domestic eavesdropping could be done without violating FISA, even though the reality of the Bush administration eavesdropping program reportedly conflicts with Angle's scenario.
Rush Limbaugh falsely claimed that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court prevented the FBI from accessing the laptop computer of Zacarias Moussaoui -- the alleged "20th hijacker" in the September 11, 2001, terrorist plot -- immediately prior to the attacks. In fact, the Moussaoui case never reached the FISA court.
Gary Schmitt of the American Enterprise Institute falsely claimed, in an article in the The Weekly Standard, that FISA prevented the government from getting warrants in the Zacarias Moussaoui and Wen Ho Lee cases, even though formal reviews of those cases determined that it was misinterpretation of FISA, not the law itself, that prevented the FBI from getting the warrants in question.
A New York Times article characterized the National Security Agency's domestic spying program as "eavesdrop[ping] on some international calls involving people in the United States." However, the exact scope and dimensions of the program remain unclear, and there is evidence that it intercepted communications in which all parties were located in the United States.
The New York Times selectively quoted Rep. Jane Harman to falsely claim that she had defended President Bush's domestic spying program, leaving out her comment that that she was "deeply concerned by reports" that the program "in fact goes far beyond the measures to target Al Qaeda about which I was briefed."
Both the AP and Fox News' Special Report with Brit Hume reported on a White House event in which U.S. attorneys appeared and spoke in favor of President Bush's efforts to renew controversial provisions of the USA Patriot Act. However, both media outlets omitted the fact that all of the U.S. attorneys participating are Bush appointees.
The Washington Post reported that the Bush administration "repeatedly consulted" Congress about its domestic spying program, even though members of Congress from both parties say they were not fully informed about the program, let alone consulted about it.
Fox News' Stuart Varney said that The New York Times "will do anything to undermine President Bush politically, including undermining the security of the country," and then referred to an unscientific poll to suggest that 96 percent of Americans want warrantless wiretapping.
A Newsweek article asserted that the reaction to the Bush administration's warrantless domestic spying program was "predictably partisan," even though numerous Republican elected officials, conservative commentators, and newspapers that endorsed President Bush's re-election in 2004 also criticized the program.
An article in the January 9 edition of Time magazine by Karen Tumulty and Mike Allen misrepresented remarks by Rep. Jane Harman by falsely claiming that she had defended President Bush's warrantless domestic surveillance program. In fact, in her statement, Harman said that the surveillance program "goes far beyond the measures to target Al Qaeda about which I was briefed."