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FOX and Friends blame FISA for Gonzales-created delay monster

Reported by Chrish - October 15, 2007 -

This morning 10/15/07 Gretchen Carlson expressed dismay about a news item from May 2007, when four US soldiers were killed and three kidnapped (once since found killed) south of Baghdad. She misrepresented the story and cited another News Corp holding, the tabloid New York Post, as a source.

Carlson said that the "US authorities could not begin a search for (the kidnapped soldiers) for ten and a half hours, until they got word from lawyers that it was OK to wiretap!" Kilmeade chirped in "And they said that they had to wait to get the FISA laws to allow them to tap into communications that they believed was (sic) Al Qaeda-related..." so for 9.5 hours the family believed everything was being done to get their son and husband back, when in reality, those 9.5 hours, those should have been the hours they were hunting for him, he lost his life. "Sure" said Doocy - "the search teams are ready to go out and find him, look for him, but the commanding officer said 'Hold on, because of the FISA laws, (said with much disdain) we're gonna have to call the lawyers." And it took all those waiting hours.

Doocy explained why FISA applies to Iraq: because so many conversations are routed through the United States, even though they may have been between two Iraqis, they needed to figure out probable cause. After ten hours the lawyers said 'eeehh, let's do it this way." Alex Jiminez, still not found. Kilmeade seemed quite annoyed and disgusted by the whole concept of the FISA court. He reminded viewers it was started in 1978, before cell phones and the Internet, and was outdated. He thought there was some consensus on moving forward but obviously someone is still worrried about the consequences of tapping without permission. Carlson was thinking of Jack Bauer of '24" - could you imagine him waiting ten hours? Why, that's ten episodes! chimed in Doocy.

During this time a picture of a missing NYC GI, Alex Jiminez, was plastered on the screen. We can't see flag-draped coffins because it's an invasion of the grieving families' privacy, but this man can be exploited for the White House/FOX to make a political point about legislation/power Bush wants.

So why is this being brought up now? The New York Post shouted " 'WIRE' LAW FAILED LOST GI" and answers the question in paragraph 2:

"This week, Congress plans to vote on a bill that leaves in place the legal hurdles in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act - problems that were highlighted during the May search for a group of kidnapped U.S. soldiers."

The final paragraph quotes the missing soldier's mom verbalizing what the unitary executive pushers want to be the mantra:

"You know that this is how this country is - everything is by the law. They just did not want to break the law, and I understand that. They should change the law, because God only knows what type of information they could have found during that time period."

But the FISA law was not the cause of the delay. It allows instant surveillance with a 72-hour window after the fact to obtain the legal warrant. It's been this way since the start, and Congess has (at least for now) temporarily expanded wiretapping without a warrant. They are reviewing that expansion this week and may rein Bush's authority in, which is what the White House does not want. So FOX will frame it as Democrats trying to tie the administration's hands, and are using this specific case to put a human face on the supposed cost of requiring warrants.

But former Justice Department FISA official James Baker testified in September before the House intelligence committee that it would take only one phone call to secure an emergency FISA warrant, according to Spencer Ackerman at TPM Muckraker, and

a "source, who is privvy to the timeline of the incident, says "internal bureaucratic wrangling," and not court-based restrictions, were responsible for the lag time. "To get an emergency warrant, you just have to believe the facts support the application that someone is an agent of a foreign power," the source says. "That takes approximately five seconds to establish if you're going after an Iraqi insurgent."

Here is an analysis from the other side, the side that wants to protect your privacy, which you won't hear on FOX. This story is expected to continue in coming days, true to form. Drip, drip, drip, and all viewers will get is more speculation that an earlier search could have saved Jiminez, it's the FISA law's fault, and ultimately, Democrats and the ACLU et al.

As Donna noted, later today on Studio B Sheperd Smith continued the drip, drip, drip, convincing all-day listeners (FOX's core audience) that this is indeed the unrefuted truth.