In an interview with Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales, CNN's Wolf Blitzer failed to challenge Gonzales's dubious claim that "if the need were not there for the United States of America to detain people that we catch on the battlefield, then we would not be having to operate" the military prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. Blitzer could have noted recent news reports pointing out that many -- if not a majority -- were not caught by American soldiers on the battlefield but turned over to the U.S. by third parties.
MSNBC host Chris Matthews claimed that a recently reported data-mining initiative led by Harold Ickes -- an adviser to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) -- is "just like we saw the NSA doing" in conjunction with President Bush's controversial warrantless domestic eavesdropping program. But the initiative run by Ickes, according to news reports, relies on commercially and publicly available information that Republicans have used for years in their data operations. Matthews made no mention of these Republican operations.
A Wall Street Journal editorial described a recent agreement between GOP Senate Intelligence Committee members and the Bush administration concerning its warrantless domestic surveillance program as a "White House mugging by Republicans." However, far from a "mugging," the agreement essentially legitimizes the controversial program, which currently operates in apparent violation of the law.
CBS correspondent Gloria Borger misrepresented the terms of new legislation, reportedly agreed to by Senate Republicans and the White House, affecting the administration's domestic spying program. Borger reported that in order to conduct warrantless surveillance under the new legislation, the president would first be required to "explain why he needs to eavesdrop to a newly created congressional subcommittee." In fact, the legislation as reported would let the president authorize warrantless surveillance of Americans for up to 45 days without informing Congress.
The New York Times reported that the recent agreement between the White House and Republican senators concerning the Bush administration's warrantless domestic surveillance program "would reinforce the authority of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court." In fact, the reported agreement, if it is introduced as legislation, would codify the program's status outside the reach of the court.
Associated Press staff writer Katherine Shrader referred to the Bush administration's warrantless domestic surveillance program as a "terrorist monitoring" program, once again echoing the White House's preferred terminology -- "terrorist surveillance program" -- to describe the controversial operation.
Fox News' John Gibson misrepresented a Washington Post article to baselessly claim that Democratic senators are "teed up for lie detector tests" in an FBI investigation into the disclosure of the Bush administration's domestic surveillance program. In fact, the Post reported that the Bush administration's efforts to curb leaks have included "a polygraph investigation inside the CIA," not among members of Congress.
A story in The New York Times falsely suggested that only Democrats have challenged the legality of the Bush administration's warrantless domestic spying program. But the Times itself has reported on Republican concerns about the program's legality.
Sean Hannity dubiously claimed that "[t]here's nobody at Guantánamo Bay that's there for nothing." In fact, a recent National Journal article and a study by Seton Hall Law School show that many detainees are being held with no evidence of having committed hostile acts against the United States or of having ties to Al Qaeda.
Sinclair Broadcast Group commentator Mark Hyman selectively quoted Clinton-era editorials from The New York Times to support his false claim that the Times dismissed as "a simple mistake" the acquisition by a Clinton administration official of the FBI background reports of Republican former White House officials, an incident that became known as "Filegate." In fact, the Times editorial board stated that "[i]t remains hard to believe that these Democratic Party operatives accidentally stumbled onto" the FBI background documents. Hyman made his false claim in support of his assertion that the Times editors "had a different opinion" of domestic spying when it came to Filegate compared with their opinion of President Bush's warrantless domestic wiretapping program, which they have criticized.
In his U.S. News & World Report column, Mortimer B. Zuckerman wrote that arguments that the Bush administration's warrantless domestic spying program is illegal "miss the point."
Despite multiple reports on the subject, The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and the Associated Press have ignored several important issues concerning a proposal by Sen. Mike DeWine (R-OH) to resolve any potential legal problems involving the Bush administration's warrantless domestic surveillance program by crafting legislation that would exempt the program from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
In an article about potential congressional hearings on the Bush administration's warrantless domestic surveillance program, The New York Times reported that "Democrats and a growing number of Republicans [who] say the eavesdropping violates" the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) "have called for the law to be revamped." But the article did not cite any Democrats who have expressed this view, and the available evidence suggests otherwise.
NBC News' Jim Miklaszewski uncritically reported White House press secretary Scott McClellan's response to a new United Nations report on the treatment of detainees at Guantánamo Bay, even though McClellan's claims had previously been undermined by both the International Committee of the Red Cross and internal U.S. government emails.
Rush Limbaugh and Fox News' Jim Angle both repeated the misleading claim that the Bush administration's warrantless domestic surveillance program targeted only terrorists. In fact, the program has monitored the communications of thousands of people with no terrorist connection.