MSNBC Lies About Warrantless Wiretapping

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    Bob Fertik
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If you want to see the most dishonest discussion of the Orwellian "Protect America Act," watch MSNBC's Alex Witt and Col. Jack Jacobs - neither of them has a clue what they're actually talking about, but they do a great job of promoting Republican lies.

Witt and Jacobs were key liars about Iraq and the fact that they are still promoting GOP lies on TV is a disgrace to MSNBC and its parent companies, GE and MSNBC.

[transcript below]

ALEX WITT, MSNBC: What has this wiretapping law been doing, and why did it expire?

COL. JACK JACOBS, MSNBC MILITARY ANALYST: It permits the government under certain circumstances to listen to and to record the conversations of people in order to gather intelligence information. It expired because it was given a limited life in the first place because the Congress just doesn't like to give the government the authority to listen to conversations. But now ironically the administration would like to see it lapse -- it's been extended, by the way, even though it expired, it's been extended -- would like to see it lapse because it doesn't contain -- a new law will contain a specific provision to prevent telecommunications companies from being sued for cooperating with the government.

WITT: Which would get them more on board, then.

JACOBS: That's right. And the Congress doesn't want to do this, so now there's a huge fight between the administration, which would like to see a new law protecting the telecommunications industry, and the Congress, which doesn't want the law at all and wants to continue with the old law.

WITT: Okay, Attorney General Michael Mukasey sends this letter to Congress that says, "Hey folks, we've lost a lot of potential terrorist-related information in this last week alone." Like what?

JACOBS: Like listening to conversations that they would otherwise listen to but they can't. Why? Because the telecommunications industry does not want to cooperate. There are something like 30 or 40 pending lawsuits already against the telecommunications industry and internet service providers and so on, for cooperating with the government and violating their privacy. They're not going to participate anymore, the telecommunications industry, with the government, if they can't be protected. And so Mukasey's saying there are a lot of conversations we could have listened to, information we could have received, but we didn't get it because nobody's cooperating.

WITT: So does this mean that the terrorists, who are certainly aware of this situation right now, have got this open window? And they're able to communicate --

JACOBS: They do indeed. They do indeed. And there are other ways they can take advantage of the situation too, not just this law. But this is a big stumbling block in getting information which we can use to protect ourselves. It's a big fight and it will continue and this is an election year, don't forget, so it's got partisan overtones that you'll continue to hear about.

WITT: We will. Which means we'll be talking to you about it further. Colonel Jack, thanks so much.

JACOBS: You bet.

WITT: There's another twist in the Britney Spears case...