COMMENTS: Unpatriotic

The internal investigation by the Department of Justice that exposed the FBI's abuse of power was Story of the Day. ABC treated the feds' warrantless searches most seriously, leading its newscast with the legal angle and following up with the political one. Overall it was a heavy day of law enforcement news. CBS and NBC led with different crime stories. However, NBC did not assign a separate reporter to the FBI's violations.

ABC's Pierre Thomas (subscription required) summed up the FBI's three main flaws: according to the "blistering" report by the Inspector General at DoJ, some searches were improper, even illegal; some were on mistaken targets; some invoked an emergency when none existed. Thomas reminded us that last year when the Patriot Act, which authorizes such searches, was debated, the Justice Department offered assurances that "safeguards were in place." The FBI made over 100,000 different searches without warrants in 2004 and 2005, noted CBS' Thalia Assuras, targeting telephone logs, library records and financial transactions. ABC's George Stephanopoulos predicted that the FBI's actions would undercut the Patriot Act itself: "It really could end up changing the law."


You must be logged in to this website to leave a comment. Please click here to log in so you can participate in the discussion.