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Sean Hannity and Jack Kemp Can’t Defend Warrantless Wiretapping And Tell The Truth At The Same Time

Reported by Ellen - February 7, 2006

I have asked this before and I’ll ask it again. If truth is on his side, why does Sean Hannity feel the need to lie so regularly? Judging from the number of lies and misrepresentation told by him and guest Jack Kemp about Alberto Gonzales’ defense of warrantless wiretapping during his testimony to the Senate yesterday (2/6/06), one can only conclude that they can’t make their case otherwise.

Republican Kemp was the only Hannity & Colmes guest for the discussion about the Senate hearing. Although senators from both parties expressed concerns about warrantless wiretapping, Kemp provided a pro-Bush perspective only. FOX News proved again how fair and balanced it really is by crawling a stream of Gonzales’ quotes across the screen throughout the interview. None of the critical remarks from a bipartisan collection of Senators appeared on the crawl. You have to think that FOX News is also nervous about Bush’s game plan if it feels the need to boost the odds by only showing his side of the argument.

Hannity started the discussion by saying (rightly) that it all comes down to the question of whether or not the president has the power. But any notion that Hannity might stick to a fair fight was quickly dispelled when he started lying soon thereafter, “Are (Democrats) weak? Do you perceive, do you think the American people perceive Democrats, when they attack the president about incoming calls from Al Qaeda being, you know, listened to – as weak on national security?” Of course Democrats don’t attack the president for eavesdropping on incoming calls from Al Qaeda. The complaint is about WARRANTLESS eavesdropping. And it’s not just Democrats doing the complaining, as Hannity surely knows. Why does he have to keep twisting the facts if he’s so confident Bush is doing the right thing?

Kemp deflected that question by saying that the debate had become too political and toxic but he also said that the criticism of Bush and Gonzales was “over the top.” Like Hannity, Kemp ignored the Republican criticism heard from Chairman Arlen Specter and Lindsey Graham, among others.

Hannity asked where the debate has become politicized. We know what that meant: it’s all the Democrats’ fault. From there, he launched into his usual harangue about Democrats “undermining the president” in a time of war, yadda yadda yadda plus at least one more lie. It was a classic case of Freudian projection. “(Democrats are) mad at (Bush) if he DOES intercept calls from Al Qaeda, they’ve mischaracterized this purposely.” The next was an old chestnut. “Howard Dean has said, he advanced the theory the president knew about 9/11 ahead of time.” By adding "advanced the theory" Hannity squeaked away from an outright lie. As Media Matters has reported, Hannity publicly admitted Dean never said the president knew about 9/11 but that he tries to use "advanced the theory" as a qualifier because Dean did call the theory that Bush knew about 9/11 in advance "interesting."

Kemp, ignoring Hannity’s inflammatory deceptions, said it was important that leaders “lower the decibel level of this inflammatory issue.” Then Kemp added a deception of his own by claiming that “close to 70% of the American people want the president to do what’s necessary to guard us from another 9/11.” Maybe so, but they also indicate a concern if there is warrantless wiretapping of Americans (Questions 23-25).

Kemp began to use the falsehood that Jamie Gorelick, then deputy attorney general, suggested that this could or should be done.

That’s when Alan Colmes chimed in, pointing out what the Republicans seem to have repeated amnesia over: That the FISA law was changed AFTER she said that.

Kemp was stymied by Colmes’ fast questions. The first question was why didn’t Alberto Gonzales testify under oath? Kemp couldn’t answer.

Next Colmes played a clip of President Bush’s now-famous April 20, 2004 statement that a wiretap requires a court order and that nothing has changed with the passage of the Patriot Act. “That’s not what he’s saying now, is it?” Colmes asked.

Kemp came up with the lame answer that the NSA program isn’t a wiretap but more of a data mining operation. He added that the FISA law was too cumbersome to work with today’s technology.

Colmes pointed out that not much had changed technologically since 4/20/04 and that if the law wasn’t working, Bush could have gone to Congress to change it.

Kemp, like every other H&C Republican defending Bush’s warrantless wiretapping, was blind to the real concern – that it’s done WITHOUT A WARRANT, and responded that if we can drop a cruise missile on a terrorist, we ought to be able to intercept their phone call.

Ask Sean Hannity and FOX News why they’re afraid to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth when they talk about Bush’s warrantless wiretapping and the objections thereto.



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