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The UPI’s Definition of “Bypassed” and the Year of MSM Meltdown

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The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court is the subject of a UPI story this afternoon:

WASHINGTON, Dec. 26 (UPI) — U.S. President George Bush decided to skip seeking warrants for international wiretaps because the court was challenging him at an unprecedented rate.

A review of Justice Department reports to Congress by Hearst newspapers shows the 26-year-old Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court modified more wiretap requests from the Bush administration than the four previous presidential administrations combined.

The 11-judge court that authorizes FISA wiretaps modified only two search warrant orders out of the 13,102 applications approved over the first 22 years of the court’s operation.

But since 2001, the judges have modified 179 of the 5,645 requests for surveillance by the Bush administration, the report said. A total of 173 of those court-ordered “substantive modifications” took place in 2003 and 2004. And, the judges also rejected or deferred at least six requests for warrants during those two years — the first outright rejection of a wiretap request in the court’s history.

Now that you have read the story, here’s the headline:

Bush was denied wiretaps, bypassed them

How can the story’s verb, “bypassed,” be squared with the story’s own reporting that the Bush Adminsitration sought 5,645 authorizations?

(BTW: The judges on the court break down this way: 4 Clinton appointees, 4 Reagan appointees, 2 Bush I appointees, and 1 Carter appointee. This includes the Clinton appointee who recently quit. Full bio material available here.)

In fact, the UPI story undercuts every MSM toss-off comment (like Clueless Jack Cafferty’s of last week) that the FISC is a rubber stamp court, or a guaranteed speed demon.

And the lefty MSM still refuses to deal with the weight of informed legal opinion that President Bush was well within his powers to order the surveillance of al Qaeda terrorists abroad in contact with their agents in America. It is as though they were engaged in the MSM version of “pay no attention to the man behind the curtain” when they resolutely refuse to quote such liberal legal scholars as Cass Sunstein on the subject.

2004 was bad for the MSM, as Rathergate and the “Christmas Eve Not In Cambodia” stories exposed the MSM pro-Kerry, anti-Bush stance. But beginning with Eason Jordan’s exit from CNN early this year after his Davos slander on the military, it has been a year of MSM smash-up, declining circulation, and shattered credibility.

A New Year’s Resolution: Do something good for the country. Cancel a MSM newspaper subscription. MSM is bleeding out before our eyes, but not fast enough to force the change back to basic fairness and standards of integrity that a vibrant and free press needs.


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