On The O'Reilly Factor, guest host Tony Snow repeated the false claim that Valerie Plame's husband, former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, said his wife "wasn't covert for six years" before she was exposed as a CIA operative by Robert Novak in a July 14, 2003, column. In fact, Wilson never made such a statement.
During an interview on Fox News Sunday, Fox News' Chris Wallace failed to challenge Gen. Michael Hayden when he defended the Bush administration's domestic surveillance program by claiming that in order to undertake domestic surveillance without a warrant, the National Security Agency must have evidence "in the probable cause range." Hayden's statement appears to be in direct contradiction to an earlier statement he made, in which he said the program requires a "reasonable basis" standard that he admitted is "a bit softer than it is for a FISA warrant."
Stating on Meet the Press that Americans support President Bush's domestic spying program, Tim Russert selectively cited data from an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll to prove his point. Russert cited a question about whether people support Bush's "approach" to the domestic spying program, while ignoring poll questions regarding privacy concerns raised by the program and whether warrants should have been obtained before wiretapping.
Fox News' Jim Angle falsely claimed that Democrats initially objected to the Bush administration's domestic surveillance program because they opposed eavesdropping on people believed to be tied to terrorist activity but then made a "shift in strategy" to argue, as Charles Krauthammer put it, "a narrow issue of legality." Krauthammer further suggested that Democrats engaged in a "wholesale retreat" after recognizing that "opposing the idea of listening in on an Al Qaeda call into the U.S. is not a political winner."
Fox News chief Washington correspondent Jim Angle repeated the discredited claim that the National Security Agency's (NSA) warrantless domestic surveillance program led to the arrest of Al Qaeda accomplice Iyman Faris, a naturalized U.S. citizen who pleaded guilty in 2003 to plotting to destroy the Brooklyn Bridge. However, a January 17 New York Times report indicated that information gleaned from the warrantless NSA eavesdropping did not play "a significant role" in Faris's capture.
A Washington Times editorial on President Bush's State of the Union address adopted the White House's terminology for its warrantless domestic surveillance program, dubbing it the "terrorist surveillance program."
Keith Olbermann again awarded Bill O'Reilly third-place honors in his nightly "Worst Person in the World" segment, this time for accusing CNN's Christiane Amanpour of having a "rooting interest" in the Iraq war being a disaster.
During an interview with Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales, CNN Justice Department correspondent Kelli Arena failed to question Gonzales about his 2005 confirmation hearing, in which he responded to a question from Sen. Russ Feingold about whether the president could authorize warrantless domestic wiretaps. At the hearing, Gonzales suggested that Feingold had described a "hypothetical situation," despite the fact that the warrantless surveillance program had been in place since 2001 and that President Bush had reauthorized it numerous times.
CNN national security correspondent David Ensor suggested that Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV was disingenuous in his criticism of the Bush administration's apparent failure to fully inform Congress about its warrantless domestic surveillance program because he had been briefed on the program in 2003. But Ensor failed to note that, immediately after being briefed, Rockefeller wrote a letter to Vice President Dick Cheney expressing strong reservations about the program and restrictions on information he needed to evaluate it.
Bill O'Reilly again denied that he endorsed an Al Qaeda attack on San Francisco.
Few major news outlets have covered the fact -- first reported by the New York Daily News -- that in a letter to I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby's defense attorneys, special counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald said that numerous emails from 2003 are missing from the White House computer archives.
Bill O'Reilly claimed that remarks by CNN's Christiane Amanpour show that she has a "rooting interest" in the Iraq war being a disaster, though nothing she said supports O'Reilly's assertion.
In a New York Times op-ed, former National Security Council senior director Philip Bobbitt appeared to contradict the 9-11 Commission by suggesting that restrictions on electronic surveillance under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) prevented the U.S. from identifying the hijackers who later committed the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
In a January 23 speech defending his warrantless domestic surveillance program, President Bush claimed that Congress' 2001 authorization of force, upheld by the Supreme Court in Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, establishes his authority to conduct the program. But numerous legal authorities have objected to Bush's claim that the high court affirmed his authority to wiretap U.S. residents without a warrant. Despite these objections, several news outlets repeated Bush's claim without challenge.
NBC's Andrea Mitchell claimed that recent polls on President Bush's authorization of warrantless wiretapping showed "little public outcry over the program, especially when [the administration] tell[s] people it is limited only to those who talk to Al Qaeda." What Mitchell did not note is that the administration's characterization of the program understates its scope. Moreover, recent polling shows that support for the program is at best split.