Home Store In Memoriam Deborah Newsletter Forum Topics Blogfeed Blogroll Facebook MySpace Contact Us About

Grapevine Whine - Kennedy in the Crosshairs

Reported by Nancy - December 30, 2005 -

Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) must really be aggravating someone at FNC this week -- he's had spot #1 on the Grapevine twice -- an honor usually reserved only for President George W Bush. Of course the "pickings" that highlight Kennedy, unlike those that highlight Bush, are always distorted in order to seem extremely negative. Tuesday night (12/27) & last night (12/29), with Jim Angle still substituting for anchor Brit Hume, were no exception. But Angle has to use another one of FNC's "iffy" sources to spin the first item, & had to drag up a weeks-old story for the second.

This was "picking" #1 on Tue 12/27:

MA Senator Ted Kennedy has said the vice president "ought to reread the Constitution" if he thinks President Bush can approve domestic surveillance without congressional oversight or a court order. But Institute for Homeland Security director Randy Larsen says that on the day after 9-11, with the Pentagon still smoldering, Kennedy invited Larsen to his office for a briefing & asked Larsen whether the attacks meant that the government should unleash the NSA & CIA inside the US. After a pause, Larsen says he told the Senator, "We may have to look at that, but we'd need a lot of oversight." Senator Kennedy could not be reached for comment.

And here's "picking" #1 on Thu 12/29:

MA Senator Ted Kennedy blasted the president last week for authorizing wiretaps on US citizens without a court order, but said that's not all the Bush administration is doing to restrict American freedoms. In a Boston Globe op-ed, Kennedy cited public reports that a MA college student was questioned by government agents after checking out communist literature from the library. Kennedy complained that such actions had a "chilling effect on free speech & academic freedom." But the New Bedford Standard-Times reports that the student in question has since tearfully admitted to fabricating the entire incident. A Kennedy spokesman tells the Globe that even if the story is a hoax, it doesn't detract from the Senator's point that President Bush has gone "too far."

Comments: First, as always, note the language (emphasis added):

1) on the day after 9-11, with the Pentagon still smoldering -- Fox never miss a chance to evoke that image, whether it's relevant to the story or, as in this case, completely irrelevant. And wasn't Ground Zero "still smoldering" too?

2) Senator Kennedy could not be reached for comment. -- how hard do you think they tried?

3) Kennedy blasted ...Kennedy complained -- why not use a simpler, less loaded word, like "said" or "wrote" as they did in picking #1 on Tuesday? Did someone tell Angle to step it up a notch?

Second, let's examine Tuesday's "picking" a little more closely.

The full name of the "Institute for Homeland Security" is the "ANSER Institute for Homeland Security" which is profiled at SourceWarch. ANSER (Analytic Services, Inc) itself is an offshoot of the Rand Corp & has, as you might expect, significant ties to the military & intelligence communities:

The Institute for Homeland Security is an off-shoot of the ANSER Institute, which was established by the RAND Corporation in 1958.[2] (http://www.personal.psu.edu/users/i/a/iao102/chapter4.PDF) As Margie Burns wrote June 29, 2002, in Online Journal: "Although funded and initiated in October 1999, the institute was formally established only in April 2001, following a month of high-tech and heavy-hitter-security-type buzz assisted by its ties to the military and to the intelligence community. On March 13-15, 2001, the Homeland Security (HLS) Mini-Symposium (http://www.mors.org/publications/reports/HLS.pdf) was held by the Military Operations Research Society (http://www.mors.org/) (Alexandria, VA), at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab in Laurel, MD.
"Also on March 13, [2001] by coincidence, George Walker Bush released his first National Security Presidential Directive (NSPD) (dated February 13, 2001), which expanded the National Security Council and added 11 new coordinating committees." [3] (http://www.onlinejournal.com/archive/06-29-02_Burns.pdf)
The NSPD directed the Deputy National Security Adviser -- Bush appointee Stephen J. Hadley, formerly with the National Institute for Public Policy and a former member of ANSER's Board of Trustees -- to attend NSC meetings, and makeing him Executive Secretary of the NSC.
"Interestingly -- given today's emphasis on 'coordinating' and 'information-sharing' -- the directive also stated, 'The existing system of Interagency Working Groups is abolished.'" ibid. (http://www.onlinejournal.com/archive/06-29-02_Burns.pdf)

There's more, much more, & I recommend that you read it & follow some of the links.

Angle also omitted Larsen's title: he's Colonel Larsen (USAF, ret). An undated biosketch at the National Defense University offers this info:

Randy Larsen is the Director of Homeland Defense Studies at ANSER, a not-for-profit, and public service research institute. He previously served as the Chairman, Department of Military Strategy and Operations at the National War College where he taught courses on homeland defense, biological warfare, national security policy, and military strategy. He has served as a government advisor to the Defense Science Board and as a National Defense Fellow at the Mathew B. Ridgway Center for International Security Studies. 
He completed 32 years of active service in both the Army and Air Force. He flew 400 combat missions in Vietnam as a Cobra gunship pilot. He has also flown numerous USAF aircraft including the T-38, KC-135, C-5, C-9 and most recently the Boeing 757 when he commanded America's fleet of VIP aircraft. His staff assignments have included: assistant air attaché, Thailand; chief of media relations at Military Airlift Command; and chief of legislative affairs at USTRANSCOM. He is a graduate of the Naval Post Graduate School.

Even more interesting, if you go to ANSER's home page & click on the link to "Information about the new Homeland Security Institute" (second link in the left-hand column), you get The Homeland Security Institute

Here's some info from their "About Us" page:

The Homeland Security Institute (HSI) is a Studies and Analysis (S&A) Federally Funded Research and Development Center (FFRDC) established pursuant to Section 312 of the Homeland Security Act of 2002. The HSI delivers independent and objective analyses and advises in core areas important to its sponsor in support of policy development, decision-making, analysis of alternative approaches, and evaluation of new ideas on issues of significance. The need for HSI was documented in the National Research Council's 2002 report, Making the Nation Safer. HSI is operated by Analytic Services Inc under contract W81XWH-04-D-0011
The primary mission of the HSI is to assist the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its Operating Elements in addressing important homeland security issues, particularly those requiring scientific, technical, and analytical expertise. The DHS Under Secretary for Science and Technology is responsible for managing the HSI and other FFRDC matters for the Department.

And here's their staff list, also from the "About Us" section:
Ruth David, PhD - Executive Advisor - Homeland Security Institute
Paula Imbro, PhD - Director - Homeland Security Institute
John Sopko - Operations Division Manager
George Thompson - Programs Division Manager
Glenn Price - (Acting) Threats Division Manager
Mark Weitekamp - Systems Division Manager
Charles Brownstein - Visiting Senior Fellow - National Academies
Kim Corthell - Fellow - Operations Division
Jerry Kahan - Fellow - Operations Division
Captain Geoff Abbott - Visiting Senior Fellow - U.S. Coast Guard
Michael Frankel, PhD - Fellow - Systems Division
David McGarvey, PhD - Fellow - Systems Division
James Scouras, PhD - Fellow - Systems Division
Jo Velardo, PhD - Fellow - Systems Division

Gee, I don't see Randy Larsen's name there. But I'm sure we're all happy to see our tax dollars at work.

Angle didn't specify to whom Larsen allegedly said what he said, & a googlenews search for "Randy Larsen" turns up only 2 hits (one for a couple who had an upside-down Christmas tree, the other for a lawn care company), so it's impossible for me to verify at this point.

FNC should reveal more of this kind of information.

Third & finally, the story about the UMass student was originally published 12/17/05 by The New Bedford Standard-Times (the same source Angle cites as debunking the story but without explaining that it was their own story they were following up) & retracted by them a week late 12/24

The original article has already been archived & is available only to subscribers, but here's the article the paper published on 12/24 announcing that the story was false -- Federal agents visit was a hoax:

The 22-year-old student tearfully admitted he made the story up to his history professor, Dr. Brian Glyn Williams, and his parents, after being confronted with the inconsistencies in his account.

And here's an editorial from the same paper dated 12/30 that explains more fully what happened -- When a story is too good to be true:

The next day, as the student's story began to ravel, the student admitted to his professors that he had made the whole thing up. He ducked our reporter's attempts to reach him.

If you'd like to complain to Fox about this, email: special@foxnews.com

NOTE TO READERS: Please stay on topic (Special Report's use of "iffy" sources & old stories to spin Grapevine items; or anything specifically addressed above). O/T comments will be deleted. Thanks.