DOD Security & Pardon for Terrorists Skipped; GMA's Gibson Dozed Off
1) Tuesday's CBS Evening
News picked up on a Washington Post story, relaying how a former DOE
official insisted "there's not a 'shred of evidence' that [Wen
Ho] Lee passed secrets to China and that race was 'a major factor' in
naming Lee the prime suspect."
2) "In a stinging draft
report," USA Today revealed Monday, the GAO disclosed that "the
Defense Department has 'created risks to national security' by failing
to conduct thorough security background investigations." But only FNC
found it worth a story.
3) A federal judge ordered the
government to pay a $625,000 fine because the Clinton administration
failed to comply with his order to produce documents, but ABC, CBS, CNN
and NBC ignored him.
4) Not a syllable yet on
network television about Clinton's decision last week to pardon 16
Puerto Rican terrorists.
5) "America Under the
Gun" announced Newsweek's cover for an issue crusading against guns
and featuring a rare editorial blast.
6) Charlie Gibson appeared to
nod off during Tuesday's Good Morning America, but ABC denied he did.
Judge for yourself.
Tuesday night all the networks led with multiple stories on the earthquake
in Turkey and of the broadcast networks only the CBS Evening News picked
up on an August 17 Washington Post story on how the former chief of
counter-intelligence at Los Alamos doesn't think Wen Ho Lee is guilty
and attributed Lee's plight to racism. CBS's news judgment is no
surprise since the Post story matched the claims Lee made in a 60 Minutes
profile last month.
Sharyl Attkisson explained: "New doubts are being cast on the
government's case against Wen Ho Lee, the only person accused in the spy
scandal at the nation's nuclear weapons labs. A former top investigator
in the case claims there's no proof Lee gave away nuclear secrets while
working as a scientist at Los Alamos. Robert Vrooman, who headed
counter-intelligence at the lab, told the Washington Post there's not a
'shred of evidence' that Lee passed secrets to China and that race was
'a major factor' in naming Lee the prime suspect. In an exclusive
interview with 60 Minutes' Mike Wallace, Lee also claimed investigators
unfairly targeted him because of his heritage."
After a clip of Lee, Attkisson showcased Henry
Tang of the Committee of 100 who characterized the investigation as a
"racist witch hunt."
An upcoming General Accounting Office (GAO) report will document how
Clinton administration indifference to security issues extends beyond the
Energy Department to the Defense Department, USA Today disclosed on
Monday, but the networks weren't interested. ABC's Good Morning
America gave the revelation a few seconds in a Monday morning news brief
and, MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth informed me, it got a full story from James
Rosen on FNC's Fox Report Monday night. But not a word on the other
evening or morning shows, not even CNN's Inside Politics.
excerpt of the August 16 story on the front page of USA Today by Edward T.
Pound headlined, "Report: 92% of security probes lax: Pentagon
'created risks,' congressional agency says."
In a stinging draft report, a congressional
agency says the Defense Department has "created risks to national
security" by failing to conduct thorough security background
investigations on personnel requiring access to classified information.
Nine out of every 10 security
investigations reviewed by the General Accounting Office, the
investigative arm of Congress, were found to have been incomplete,
according to government officials familiar with the preliminary report.
The officials say the GAO reviewed 531
background investigations and found that 488, or 92%, did not fully meet
federal investigative standards. In 59 cases, or 12%, the Defense
Department failed to follow leads on potentially serious issues involving
criminal histories, alcohol and drug use, and financial problems, the GAO
The figures could change. The GAO will
issue its final report in October, and officials declined to comment,
except to say their analysis is continuing.
Background checks are made by the Defense
Security Service and are essential to keeping the nation's secrets out of
the wrong hands. The service conducts 120,000 inquiries each year on
people needing top-secret and secret clearances. They include military and
civilian personnel in the Defense Department and defense contractor
The officials say
the GAO blames many problems on poor management during the past three
years. The service eliminated a key training program for agents, cut back
on supervisors and installed a case-management computer system that didn't
work. In its zeal to close cases, the service didn't follow through on all
investigative standards required for background inquiries....
A federal judge last week ordered the U.S. government to pay a $625,000
fine because the Clinton administration's Interior Department failed to
comply with his order to produce documents for an Indian group suing over
mismanagement of trust funds. Judge Royce Lamberth, the August 11
Washington Post reported, "said he regretted that he could not hold
the officials and lawyers personally responsible for the costs, adding,
'The court is aware of the unfortunate consequences of today's ruling on
FNC's Special Report with Brit Hume delivered a full story by Julie
Kirtz, but the MRC team of analysts saw nothing, not even a few seconds on
a morning show, on any ABC, CBS, CNN or NBC news show.
excerpt from the Post's August 11 story by Bill Miller:
The Clinton administration has spent much
time and money defending itself against a class action lawsuit alleging
that government agencies have mismanaged billions of dollars in Indian
trust funds. Yesterday a judge ordered it to spend $625,000 more -- to pay
legal bills accrued by the Indians.
U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth said
he imposed the penalties because government officials and lawyers
repeatedly disobeyed his orders to turn over records critical to the
Indians' case. As a result, he said, the government caused the Indians'
attorneys to waste thousands of hours seeking documents.
The ruling was a follow-up to an order
issued by Lamberth in February that found Interior Secretary Bruce
Babbitt, Assistant Interior Secretary Kevin Gover and then-Treasury
Secretary Robert E. Rubin in contempt of court.
The judge held them responsible for the
failure to locate and produce records concerning trust fund accounts held
by the government on behalf of Indians. He said government lawyers misled
him by insisting the records were produced.
Yesterday Lamberth said he regretted that
he could not hold the officials and lawyers personally responsible for the
costs, adding, "The court is aware of the unfortunate consequences of
today's ruling on American taxpayers.
"In this judge's view, the American
taxpayers should not continue to be forced to bear the burden of these
types of misdeeds. Instead, as is the case in the private sector, these
attorneys and officials themselves should bear individual responsibility
for their actions," he said in a 45-page opinion.
The Native American Rights Fund filed the
lawsuit in 1996, alleging that the government has lost track of billions
of dollars in trust funds because of mismanagement that dates back more
than 100 years. Lamberth recently presided over a trial to determine what
to do with roughly 350,000 trust accounts held by individual Indians. He
has yet to announce a ruling but in court has openly explored the
possibility of naming an outside expert to oversee reforms....
Clinton's offer to commute the sentences of 16 Puerto Rican terrorists
is a big topic on talk radio, but don't think that means the networks
care. Traveling last week I heard both Sean Hannity, filling in for Rush
Limbaugh, as well as Michael Reagan, talking about it. So, upon my return
I queried the MRC news analysts about how much TV coverage this seemingly
controversial decision generated. The answer: Zilch. No one saw anything
last week on any of the networks. (Tuesday night, August 17, this issue
was a topic on FNC's Hannity & Colmes.)
First, the basic
facts as outlined in an August 11 AP dispatch by Kevin Galvin, and then
some points from a Wall Street Journal editorial which show why this
subject ought to be examined.
Now to the AP
President Clinton offered on Wednesday to
commute the sentences of 16 members of a Puerto Rican independence group
if they sign agreements renouncing the use of violence. Their group staged
some 130 bomb attacks on political and military targets in the United
States from 1974 to 1983.
One administration official, who spoke on
condition anonymity, said the prisoners were not involved in any deaths.
Eleven members of the group would be
released immediately from prison if they agreed to Clinton's conditions;
two others would have to serve additional prison time before release; and
three would have the unpaid balance of their criminal fines canceled,
according to a Justice Department announcement....
Justice Department spokeswoman Chris Watney
declined to explain Clinton's reasons for the decision. She did say the
Justice Department, as is customary, submitted a report and recommendation
to Clinton, but declined to describe it.
The 13 original prison sentences for which
Clinton offered reductions ranged from 35 years to 90 years. He offered to
reduce them to a range of four years to 44 years. Watney could not
immediately supply the amount of fines being waived.
Clinton's action was in response to a
campaign by human rights advocates who have argued that members of the
group known as FALN -- the Spanish initials for Armed Forces of National
Liberation -- were punished too harshly in light of their crimes....
Bombings attributed to the FALN killed six
people and wounded dozens, but the 11 offered clemency were not directly
involved the deaths and injuries, officials said. The 13 didn't defend
themselves at trial, saying they didn't recognize U.S. legal jurisdiction
A Friday, August
13 Wall Street Journal editorial attributed the move to helping Hillary
capture Hispanic votes in New York. The Journal countered the idea that
those to be pardoned didn't do anything all that bad and highlighted how
Clinton has only pardoned three others in six-plus years:
House Chief of Staff Maria Echaveste is quoted in yesterday's papers as
saying that those offered clemency 'never killed anyone.' This is
preposterous. No one died in the [1983 Hartford] Wells Fargo heist but
innocent people lost their lives in more than 100 attacks carried out by
the same terrorist group on U.S. facilities. Even if these 16 terrorists
didn't murder anyone directly, they were part of a conspiracy that was
to be extended by the funds stolen from the bank in Connecticut....
"To understand how rare it is for a
President to commute a sentence or offer remission of a fine, as Mr.
Clinton did for the 16 Puerto Rican terrorists this week, consider the
numbers supplied by the Office of the Pardon Attorney. From the time he
took office in January 1993 until April 2, the date the Office prepared
its last report, Mr. Clinton had received 3,042 petitions for clemency.
Until Wednesday, he had granted a total of three."
Sounds like a
great hook for a television news story. If only someone would produce it.
Newsweek crusades against guns. This week's MRC MagazineWatch, compiled
by MRC news analyst Geoffrey Dickens, details how "Newsweek devoted
almost their entire issue to flogging the gun control issue. 'America
Under the Gun,' cried the cover." For only the fourth time is its
history, Newsweek featured an editorial. This one demanded stricter gun
Here are some
excerpts, about Newsweek's crusading in its August 23 issue, from the
Newsweek set the tone for their entire
issue in the editorial: "America, or at least the sensible center
where most of us stand, has had enough -- of this senseless violence, and
of this circular debate. For more than a generation, we've watched as the
great and the pedestrian have died in the line of fire. Though it won't do
to act as though, in the emotional aftermath of yet another shooting, a
sweeping ban or a single bill will keep more tragedies from happening, it
also won't do to shrug off the deadly role guns play."
Newsweek asked, "So what must be done?
It is time, as Franklin Roosevelt said long ago, to try something."
Among the measures Newsweek called for was
a total ban on "assault weapons": "We've been here before,
and the lessons from that battle shed light on the tricky terrain ahead.
The Uzi Furrow probably used in Granada Hills can no longer be legally
imported to the United States, but was obviously available. Gun control
wouldn't have stopped him. Still, assault weapons have few sporting
Newsweek also called for licensing and
registration of all guns: "To ears unaccustomed to the nuances of the
gun debate, this could sound innocuous, or at worst bureaucratic. But
proposals to establish a gun registry, either state by state or
nationally, raise gun owners' most fundamental fears. Still, licensing
could operate along the same lines as the DMV: to drive a car, you need to
pass a minimal test. There are potential perils; authorities might be
distant, or abusive, or inattentive. But licensing could improve gun
safety, particularly for beginners."
The editorial demanded things would be
better if only gun owners sacrificed some of their constitutionally
protected rights: "The gun lobby says the government shouldn't know
who owns a firearm, and on Second Amendment grounds it has a point. Bill
Clinton isn't likely to confiscate guns, but some President in the distant
future might. Still, all rights have to be balanced with the need for
public order, and registration is one sure-fire way of shutting off a line
of supply to criminals. Why? If all sales of firearms have to be logged in
a registry, then the typical gun owner who gets his firearm legitimately
knows the government has a record of his acquisition. He may then be much
more careful about what happens to that gun for fear that crimes committed
with it would bring the police to his door. Would it stop underground gun
traffic altogether? No, and the NRA says the measure would create
'massive civil disobedience.' But registration could help keep guns
from slipping, through a careless private sale or swap, into a criminal's
In an interview with reporters Howard
Fineman, Matt Bai and Jon Meacham, NRA Executive Vice President Wayne
LaPierre did get an opportunity to express the other side of the gun issue
but was peppered with questions from the left:
-- "Are people right to be saying 'Why do we have guns? Why can't
we do something about this violence? Why are you so opposed to licensing
-- "How about stricter bans on assault weapons, like California just
-- "Are you willing to compromise on gun laws?"....
Newsweek's guest editorialists both
called for more gun control. First was Devon Adams, a student from
Columbine High School and then Professor Robert Jay Lifton of John Jay
College at the City University of New York wrote a column titled,
"The Pysche of a 'Gunocracy'-- Firearms are icons of freedom and
power, 'equalizers' in an egalitarian country. Can we change our myths
and break this troubling bond?"
He blamed the actions of the Jewish Center
shooter, Buford Furrow, on his access to guns. "Beneath the murderous
behavior of Buford O. Furrow Jr. flows a dark undercurrent that deforms
the American psyche: our unique bond with the gun. That bond readily lends
itself to zealotry, the dangers of which become all the more terrifying in
our age of high, unregulated technology. The historian Richard Hofstadter
once said that after a lifetime studying the American experience, what he
found most deeply troubling was the country's inability to come to terms
with the gun and its association with the warrior subculture. Indeed, the
gun has become close to a sacred object, revered by many as the essence of
Newsweek allowed the professor to link gun
rights to racism: "The contemporary resurgence of paramilitary groups
has been accompanied by fierce resistance to political efforts to impose
the mildest kind of gun control. And this is not surprising, since even
God, as envisaged by these groups, is gun-centered ('Our God is not a
wimp' is one popular slogan). The violence committed in his name is
likely to be performed on behalf of a 'white race' supposedly
endangered by Jews, blacks and homosexuals. Whatever the social
dislocations that fuel such racist ideology, the gun is always available
to provide an absolute solution. The gun is crucial, as well, to the
enactment of vengeance, so central to the martyrology of the racial
Lifton concluded: "Besides fanatics
and mentally disturbed people (Furrow appears to be both), many ordinary
Americans have also become caught up in the cult of the gun. For them, it
is not a jarring source of violence but as much an accepted part of the
landscape as forests and rivers. Such people often resist controls over
the objects they revere. But human beings are capable of modifying their
own mythologies. After the tragedies in Littleton, Colo.; Atlanta, and now
Los Angeles, Americans have shown signs of a change in their feelings
about guns, seeing them increasingly as more dangerous than sacred. That
kind of collective psychological shift is necessary if we are ever to
transcend the crippling fraternity of the gun."
covered in the August 17 MagazineWatch about the August 23 editions:
-- Newsweek noted the obvious. George W.
Bush won big in Iowa and Steve Forbes spent a lot on his way to a strong
second place finish. The Conventional Wisdom box referred to Gary Bauer as
-- Time took seriously speculation about a presidential bid by actor
Warren Beatty, contending that "seasoned Washington figures,"
like Bill Moyers, "are already giving the actor a fighting chance at
doing for grassroots liberalism what Reagan did for Goldwater
-- Gloria Borger prayed at the altar of Bill Bradley in her U.S. News
& World Report profile.
MagazineWatch, go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/magwatch/mag19990817.html
Did Charlie Gibson doze off during Tuesday's Good Morning America? It
sure looked that way, though ABC News officially denied it.
Going first to the
co-hosts for the "hot" story of the day before bringing in news
reader Antonio Mora, the August 17 GMA opened with a series of reports and
interviews about the earthquake in Turkey. After a report from Turkey,
substitute co-host Nancy Snyderman interviewed by phone Energy Secretary
Bill Richardson who was in Turkey and then she briefly talked with Bill
Smith of the U.S. Geological Survey. When she finished with Smith she
threw the show to Mora.
Gibson comes in. For the ten seconds or so as she thanked Smith and
introduced Mora the camera showed her beside Gibson, whose eyes were
clearly not open as his head tilted to one side -- like someone who dozed
off while sitting. As she looked past Gibson toward Mora you could see her
developing a smirk as she glanced at Gibson.
Paramount's syndicated Entertainment Tonight picked up on the incident
and noted that Good Morning America cut this shot of Gibson out of the
subsequent West Coast feed, but ET co-anchor Bob Goen reported that ABC
denied Gibson was not awake: "GMA told us Gibson was absolutely not
asleep, that he was listening to the report. The problem they say was he
was not supposed to be on camera, so they corrected it for the West
Maybe he was just
resting his eyelids.
yourself. Wednesday morning by 10am ET MRC Webmaster Sean Henry will post
a still shot image of Gibson as well as a video clip, in RealPlayer
format, of a few seconds before and after the shot of Gibson in whatever
state he's in. If you squint real hard at your mini computer video frame
you may be able to see Snyderman's smirk as she heads toward laughter.
Go to the MRC's home page: http://www.mrc.org.
Or, go to this item in the posted version on this
To be fair to Gibson, he is handling both GMA and
World News Tonight this week so if he is getting up at 4am he's putting
in a 16-hour day. But it's still humorous to see. --
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