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CBS Highlights CIA Chief's Rebuke of Harmful Leaks; Not ABC & NBC --2/3/2006


1. CBS Highlights CIA Chief's Rebuke of Harmful Leaks; Not ABC & NBC
ABC and NBC, on Thursday night, didn't find CIA Director Peter Goss' lambasting of leakers and the news media, for publicizing secret information, very newsworthy. CBS Evening News anchor Bob Schieffer, however, noted that at a Senate hearing the intelligence officials who testified "seemed at one point as concerned about leaks to the news media as the nuclear threat" from Iran and CBS reporter David Martin pointed out how "the leak that dominated the hearing was the New York Times story about the National Security Agency's warrantless eavesdropping on suspected al-Qaeda operatives inside the U.S." Roberts also highlighted how "CIA Director Goss delivered a tirade against news leaks." But ABC's World News Tonight ignored the topic completely, while NBC's Andrea Mitchell allocated a mere eleven seconds to how the intelligence officials "claim the leaks about domestic eavesdropping have already disrupted valuable operations against terrorists," compared to nearly three times more time -- 29 seconds -- to how "Democrats were outraged that the administration still won't provide more details about its domestic spying" as well as how the administration won't "say how many people are being wiretapped."

2. CBS Promotes Byron Pitts Who Delivered Sycophantic Kerry Coverage
CBS News has promoted Byron Pitts to "National Correspondent, covering the biggest domestic stories and reporting on a new beat focusing on faith, family and the culture." Pitts won the "John Kerry Suck-Up Award" at the MRC's 2005 "DisHonors Awards" for his sycophantic post-Kerry 2004 convention speech wonderment over how Kerry had supposedly reminded his sister that on her deathbed their mother told him, "integrity, that's what matters," and "tonight," Pitts truckled, "John Kerry tried to show that integrity." In a runner-up, on that morning's Early Show, Pitts had narrated a Kerry profile that could easily have passed for a Democratic campaign commercial. The more than three-minute story included quotes only from Kerry, his wife, laudatory soundbites from liberal Boston Globe columnist Tom Oliphant, and Pitts' fawning narration: "Tonight's acceptance of the Democratic nomination is more than merely a day, it's his destiny." Pitts also earned a runner-up spot for the "Blue State Brigade Award," in the MRC's "Best Notable Quotables of 2004," for, on the day Kerry announced John Edwards as his running mate, gushing: "It was the all important and perfectly choreographed first glimpse of the Democratic Party's new dream team."


CBS Highlights CIA Chief's Rebuke of
Harmful Leaks; Not ABC & NBC

ABC and NBC, on Thursday night, didn't find CIA Director Peter Goss' lambasting of leakers and the news media, for publicizing secret information, very newsworthy. CBS Evening News anchor Bob Schieffer, however, noted that at a Senate hearing the intelligence officials who testified "seemed at one point as concerned about leaks to the news media as the nuclear threat" from Iran and CBS reporter David Martin pointed out how "the leak that dominated the hearing was the New York Times story about the National Security Agency's warrantless eavesdropping on suspected al-Qaeda operatives inside the U.S." Roberts also highlighted how "CIA Director Goss delivered a tirade against news leaks."

But ABC's World News Tonight ignored the topic completely, confining itself to an anchor-brief about testimony on the continuing threat from al-Qaeda, while NBC's Andrea Mitchell allocated a mere eleven seconds to how the intelligence officials "claim the leaks about domestic eavesdropping have already disrupted valuable operations against terrorists," compared to nearly three times more time -- 29 seconds -- to how "Democrats were outraged that the administration still won't provide more details about its domestic spying" as well as how the administration won't "say how many people are being wiretapped."

[This item was posted Thursday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org. To share your comments, go to: newsbusters.org ]

An excerpt from a Thursday AP dispatch about the hearing of the Senate's Select Committee on Intelligence, "CIA Says Disclosures Damage Work," by Katherine Shrader of the wire service's Washington, DC bureau:

U.S. intelligence officials told Congress on Thursday that disclosure of once-classified projects like President Bush's no-warrant eavesdropping program have undermined their work.

"The damage has been very severe to our capabilities to carry out our mission," CIA Director Porter Goss told the Senate Intelligence Committee, citing disclosures about a variety of CIA programs that he suggested may have been compromised....

Goss complained that leaks to the news media about classified CIA programs -- such as reported CIA secret prisons abroad -- had damaged his own agency's work.

"I use the words '€˜very severe' intentionally. And I think the evidence will show that," he said.

Goss cited a "disruption to our plans, things that we have under way." Some CIA sources and "assets" had been rendered "no longer viable or usable, or less effective by a large degree," he said.

The revelations have also made intelligence agencies in other countries mistrustful of their U.S. counterparts, Goss said.

"I'm stunned to the quick when I get questions from my professional counterparts saying, '€˜Mr. Goss, can't you Americans keep a secret?"

Goss, when pressed, said he was speaking of programs run by the CIA, and would let NSA officials speak for themselves.

Gen. Michael Hayden, the principal deputy director of national intelligence and a former NSA director, said it was hard to characterize any damage done to his agency in an open session.

But, he said, "Some people claim that somehow or another our capabilities are immune to this kind of information going out into the public domain."

"And, I can tell you, in a broad sense, that is certainly not true."...

END of Excerpt

For the AP dispatch in full: news.yahoo.com

Partial transcripts of coverage of the topic on the February 2 broadcast network evening newscasts, gathered with the assistance of the MRC's Brad Wilmouth:

# CBS Evening News: In introducing David Martin's story on the hearing in which the intelligence officials clarified the threat posed by Iran and al-Qaeda, anchor Bob Schieffer noted that in the "wide-ranging hearing, the officials seemed at one point as concerned about leaks to the news media as the nuclear threat."

Martin, after summarizing Iran's nuclear threat, moved on to the damage caused by leaks:
"But the issue most vividly on display was the clash between government secrecy and the public's right to know. CIA Director Goss delivered a tirade against news leaks."
Porter Goss, CIA Director, at the hearing: "-that the damage has been very severe to our capabilities to carry out our mission. I use the words 'very severe' intentionally."
Martin: "He vowed more leak investigations like the one into the disclosure that Valerie Plame was a covert CIA operative, reporters brought before grand juries and required to reveal their sources or go to jail."
Goss: "It is my aim, and it is my hope that we will witness a grand jury investigation with reporters present being asked to reveal who is leaking this information."
Martin, over video of the New York Times headline: "The leak that dominated the hearing was the New York Times story about the National Security Agency's warrantless eavesdropping on suspected al-Qaeda operatives inside the U.S. In the weeks since the leak, the President and other senior administration officials have publicly defended the eavesdropping, but the full Senate Intelligence Committee has yet to be briefed on it. Only the Chairman and Vice Chairman have been told the details."
Senator John Rockefeller, Vice Chairman of the Intelligence Committee: "The reasons we are told is that the 13 other members of this committee cannot be trusted to know the details of the program."
Martin: "One of those 13 asked the Deputy Director of National Intelligence if he would tell the committee in secret how many Americans have been monitored."
General Michael Hayden, Deputy Director of National Intelligence: "I'm not at liberty to do that sir."
Martin concluded: "Public hearings on the eavesdropping begin next week, but the Justice Department is refusing to turn over classified documents outlining its legal justification. David Martin, CBS News, the Pentagon."


# NBC Nightly News: After running through the points made about the nuclear threat from Iran, Andrea Mitchell relayed how the intelligence officials who testified "claim the leaks about domestic eavesdropping have already disrupted valuable operations against terrorists."
Porter Goss, CIA Director, at hearing: "The damage has been very severe to our capabilities to carry out our mission."
Mitchell: "But Democrats were outraged that the administration still won't provide more details about its domestic spying."
Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), at hearing: "This rationale for withholding information from Congress is flat-out unacceptable, and nothing more than political smoke."
Mitchell: "Nor will the administration say how many people are being wiretapped."
Senator Carl Levin (D-MI), at hearing: "Will you give us that number in closed session, the rest of us that are on the Intelligence Committee?"
General Michael Hayden: "Sir, I'm not at liberty to do that."
Levin: "Pardon?"
Hayden: "I'm not at liberty to do that, sir."
Mitchell concluded: "Tonight the stalemate continues over domestic eavesdropping and the U.S. is no closer to a solution on Iran."


# ABC's World News Tonight didn't touch the topic of the damage caused by leaks, as anchor Elizabeth Vargas confined, to this short item, her newscast's look at the hearing:

Elizabeth Vargas: "On Capitol Hill today, the nation's new Director of Intelligence warned that al-Qaeda is still planning high-impact attacks against the U.S. John Negroponte said al-Qaeda continues to pursue chemical, biological and atomic weapons."
John Negroponte, National Intelligence Director, at hearing: "The battle is far from over, but the organization's core elements still plot and make preparations for terrorist strikes against the homeland and other targets from bases in Pakistan/Afghanistan border area."

CBS Promotes Byron Pitts Who Delivered
Sycophantic Kerry Coverage

CBS News has promoted Byron Pitts to "National Correspondent, covering the biggest domestic stories and reporting on a new beat focusing on faith, family and the culture." Pitts won the "John Kerry Suck-Up Award" at the MRC's 2005 "DisHonors Awards: Roasting the Most Outrageously Biased Liberal Reporters of 2004," for his sycophantic post-Kerry convention speech wonderment over how Kerry had supposedly reminded his sister that on her deathbed their mother told him, "integrity, that's what matters," and "tonight," Pitts truckled, "John Kerry tried to show that integrity." In a runner-up, on that morning's Early Show, Pitts had narrated a Kerry profile that could easily have passed for a Democratic campaign commercial. The more than three-minute story included quotes only from Kerry, his wife, laudatory soundbites from liberal Boston Globe columnist Tom Oliphant, and Pitts' fawning narration: "Tonight's acceptance of the Democratic nomination is more than merely a day, it's his destiny." Pitts also earned a runner-up spot for the "Blue State Brigade Award," in the MRC's "Best Notable Quotables of 2004: The Seventeenth Annual Awards for the Year's Worst Reporting," for, on the day Kerry announced John Edwards as his running mate, gushing: "It was the all important and perfectly choreographed first glimpse of the Democratic Party's new dream team."

The elevation of Pitts came in the wake of the departure from CBS News of John Roberts to CNN. In addition to the promotion of Pitts, CBS News President Sean McManus on Thursday named Jim Axelrod to assume Roberts' Chief White House Correspondent slot and picked Lara Logan as Chief Foreign Correspondent. For the CBS News announcement: www.cbsnews.com

[This item was posted Friday morning, with video, on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org. To view RealPlayer clips of the three quotes listed below, go to: newsbusters.org ]

# At the MRC's 2005 "DisHonors Awards: Roasting the Most Outrageously Biased Liberal Reporters of 2004," the "John Kerry Suck-Up Award" went to Pitts for this during live coverage of John Kerry's July 29, 2004 speech to the Democratic convention:
"It was four years ago during the Democratic convention, not far from where we stand tonight, that John Kerry stood near his father on his deathbed. Earlier, as the family was preparing to leave John Kerry's home in Boston, I'm told he whispered to his sister, 'Remember the words of our mother on her deathbed when she said, 'John,' knowing he would run for President some day, 'remember, John, integrity, that's what matters.' Tonight, John Kerry tried to show that integrity."

For the DisHonors Awards page: www.mediaresearch.org

For video: newsbusters.org


# Pitts also earned a runner-up slot for this tribute to Kerry aired on the July 29, 2004 Early Show, the morning of Kerry's acceptance of the Democratic presidential nomination:
Pitts: "For Massachusetts Senator John Kerry, tonight's acceptance of the Democratic nomination is more than merely a day, it's his destiny. Best understood from the beginning. Back not simply to when John Forbes Kerry was born in 1943 to a Catholic couple from the privileged class, but to that time when America embraced Camelot. Boston Globe columnist Tom Oliphant has covered Kerry's career from the start."
Tom Oliphant, Boston Globe: "I'm absolutely convinced that this all started out of a very sincere belief in President Kennedy's words."
John F. Kennedy (1961 Inaugural Address): "Ask not what your country can do for you-"
Pitts: "A gifted athlete and captain of the debate team at Yale, Kerry followed his idol's lead and enlisted in the Navy in 1966. In Vietnam, Lieutenant John F. Kerry rescued a comrade in combat, killed an enemy soldier, won three Purple Hearts and one Bronze Star. He returned home both angry and ambitious."
Kerry: "How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake."...
Pitts: "The day before his speech, Kerry crossed Boston Harbor with some of his crew mates from Vietnam. His band of brothers. They have one battle left. But tonight the loner will stand alone here in his hometown one more time and look to do what John F. Kerry has nearly always done -- find a way to win."

For video: newsbusters.org


# And Pitts was a runner-up in the "Blue State Brigade Award" category in the MRC's "Best Notable Quotables of 2004: The Seventeenth Annual Awards for the Year's Worst Reporting," for this story, on the July 7, 2004 CBS Evening News, about Kerry's announcement of John Edwards as his running mate:
"It was the all important and perfectly choreographed first glimpse of the Democratic Party's new dream team. The Kerry and Edwards families posing for pictures, a nervous first date with the American public....Humor from the boss, humanity from his running mate....Team Kerry touched and tickled their way to Ohio, the first stop in a six-state, five-day swing through battleground states....Both partners in this political marriage hope it's a winning formula....At the moment, star-struck Democrats are willing to believe."

For the Best of NQ awards section: www.mediaresearch.org

For video: newsbusters.org

-- Brent Baker