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FOX News Host Repeats Lie for a Second Day. Will Tomorrow Make It a Trifecta?

Reported by Marie Therese - June 27, 2006 -

Yesterday, I wrote a post reporting that FOX & Friends host E. D. Hill lied while speaking about the New York Times' coverage of the international monetary spying program.

She claimed that in the original New York Times article there was no mention that the program might be illegal.

I disproved that with direct quotes from the article.

This morning June 27, 2006, at 4:03 EDT, she repeated the lie.

E. D. HILL "You know, as journalists, we get stuff all the time, as does The New York Times, and you always have to make a judgment call based on whether or not it's newsworthy. And 'newsworthy' is something that there is some allegation that there is something improper going on. Then you can make the argument it's newsworthy or it's in the public's interest. But in that New York Times original - in their own original article (holds up a sheet of paper) - they say that everything seems to be on the up-and-up."

STEVE DOOCY, Co-Host: "Uncontroversial."

HILL: "SWIFT people say 'It's fine'. Democrats, Republicans alike tell 'em 'Don't publish it. We've been briefed. It looks legal.' They even put in there the administration has safeguards simply because they wanted to err on the side of not having any kind of abuses take place. So, where's the public interest?"

Here are the same excerpts from the Times article that I reprinted yesterday.

The program, however, is a significant departure from typical practice in how the government acquires Americans' financial records. Treasury officials did not seek individual court-approved warrants or subpoenas to examine specific transactions, instead relying on broad administrative subpoenas for millions of records from the cooperative, known as Swift.

That access to large amounts of confidential data was highly unusual, several officials said, and stirred concerns inside the administration about legal and privacy issues.

******************
Swift executives have been uneasy at times about their secret role, the government and industry officials said. By 2003, the executives told American officials they were considering pulling out of the arrangement, which began as an emergency response to the Sept. 11 attacks, the officials said. Worried about potential legal liability, the Swift executives agreed to continue providing the data only after top officials, including Alan Greenspan, then chairman of the Federal Reserve, intervened. At that time, new controls were introduced.

******************
Swift and Treasury officials said they were aware of no abuses. But Mr. Levey, the Treasury official, said one person had been removed from the operation for conducting a search considered inappropriate

******************
But at the outset of the operation, Treasury and Justice Department lawyers debated whether the program had to comply with such laws before concluding that it did not, people with knowledge of the debate said. Several outside banking experts, however, say that financial privacy laws are murky and sometimes contradictory and that the program raises difficult legal and public policy questions.

******************
Because Swift is based overseas and has offices in the United States, it is governed by European and American laws. Several international regulations and policies impose privacy restrictions on companies that are generally regarded as more stringent than those in this country. United States law establishes some protections for the privacy of Americans' financial data, but they are not ironclad. A 1978 measure, the Right to Financial Privacy Act, has a limited scope and a number of exceptions, and its role in national security cases remains largely untested.

Several people familiar with the Swift program said they believed that they were exploiting a "gray area" in the law and that a case could be made for restricting the government's access to the records on Fourth Amendment and statutory grounds. They also worried about the impact on Swift if the program were disclosed.

"There was always concern about this program," a former official said.

COMMENT

The excerpt above clearly demonstrates "that there is some allegation that there is something improper going on" which, by Ms. Hill's very own argument, means the story is "newsworthy or in the public's interest".

As for Hill's argument that the government put controls in place, they did so ONLY when SWIFT threatened to stop the program and after much coaxing.

And when are we going to learn the identity of the person who was dismissed because he/she abused the program and conducted an illegal search? Didn't that person break the law? Shouldn't he or she be arrested and tried for abusing their position of trust?