CBS's "Good Thought" to Restrict Free Speech; Another Spy Case?
>>> A Holiday Weekend Video Treat: See and hear Dan Rather look goofy singing a train song, The Wreck of the Old Ninety-Seven, on the Late Show with David Letterman back on June 22, 1994. He really did try to sing and even imitated the sound of a train whistle. Rather has not been nearly so wacky in his appearances since this one five years ago. MRC Webmaster Sean Henry posted the video clip in RealPlayer format and it will stay up until the middle of next week. Go to: http://www.mrc.org
Correction: The June 30 CyberAlert misspelled the name of an Energy Department counter-intelligence agent. It's Bob Henson, not Hensen.
Prompted by George W. Bush's record fundraising CBS reporter Bob Schieffer argued there's too much money in politics, saying "that's a good thought" to McCain's case for banning soft money.
All the networks led Wednesday night with the Federal Reserve's quarter point hike of the discount rate, but all also looked at the predicted second quarter FEC filings of the presidential candidates. On ABC Peter Jennings noted of Bush's money intake: "It's a staggering amount of money to have raised a year and a half before the election." NBC Nightly News concentrated on Bill Bradley as Gwen Ifill explained that his $11.5 million raised, compared to Gore's $18 million, makes him a credible opponent for the Vice President.
Introducing Schieffer's story on the need for campaign finance reform anchor John Roberts lamented: "For all of the talk of campaign finance reform, new fundraising figures show one Republican candidate already has raised multi-millions more than all of his GOP rivals combined."
began: "Presidential candidate John McCain is a long-time reformer
and critic of pork-barrel politics, but this New Hampshire stop was gilded
his fundraising shows support for his candidacy before Schieffer continued
his case for more regulation:
Schieffer didn't bother to explain that soft money is rising because of the $1,000 per person donation limit which has not been raised since 1974, so with inflation that means the amount an individual can give each cycle effectively drops year by year. But as Newt Gingrich observed a few years ago, liberals see the problem as too much money in politics while conservative realize there's really too little. Major corporations spend far more on advertising each year than all the presidential candidates combined. In 1998, according to Advertising Age, one cable channel -- ESPN -- earned $756 million from advertising sales. That's 21 times more than Bush has raised so far.
If a guy hundreds of miles away in Alabama can work the phone to figure it out why can't network producers and reporters in Washington, DC? After reading the June 30 CyberAlert item about Carl Cameron's Fox News Channel story on explosive secret testimony to the House Government Reform Committee from Energy official Bob Henson, Quin Hillyer, an editorial writer at the Mobile Register, alerted me to how he revealed the basics of the intriguing story in an op-ed run in Monday's Washington Times.
Indeed, in the
June 28 piece for the Times on reprisals against the whistleblowers,
In a column in Wednesday's (June 30) Mobile Register, "Whistleblower's Tale May Detail Another Spy Case," Hillyer outlined what happened in Washington, DC last week, which all the DC electronic media but FNC have skipped, and what it might mean:
The more Bobby Henson talked, the more his interviewers blanched. Should we get ready for the next spy scandal?
Bobby Henson is the twice-fired nuclear physicist who first alerted his boss, Notra Trulock, to possible espionage at the Los Alamos nuclear laboratory. Trulock, in turn, alerted the world. On June 18 The Wall Street Journal ran a 1,100 word story about how Henson had finally gotten his job back, courtesy of publicity about the spying he had so bravely identified.
Five days later, members and staff of the House Committee on Government Reform were debriefing Henson about testimony he would give the next day. He was a scheduled witness in the committee's hearing about federal whistleblowers who had been punished, rather than praised, for their efforts. By the time he was finished, the whole scenario had changed. It seems he had more to talk about than mere mistreatment at his job.
The next day, the hearing began as planned, with four other federal workers telling of being harassed or demoted for trying to warn about national security lapses. But when Henson's turn arrived, the hearing suddenly became classified. It was moved to a secure room where reporters were disallowed, as were any staff without the highest security clearance.
What Henson had started to say the night before involved yet more security breaches, reportedly by the Chinese and the Russians. The committee followed up with another classified meeting on Monday.
This could be big.
Indeed it could, but you'll probably have to order a subscription by mail to the Mobile Register or watch Fox News Channel to hear any more about it.
Back to Hillyer's column, he filled in some details on the treatment of the whistleblowers whose testimony last week was ignored by all the television networks except FNC:
It comes against the backdrop of testimony that already was chilling. I spoke with two of the whistleblowers, and have a copy of the memorandum submitted as evidence by a third.
Edward McCallum, the director of Safeguards and Security at the Department of Energy, was placed on administrative leave in April, within days of testifying to the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (the Rudman commission). The department claims that he "may have been involved in a potential unauthorized disclosure of classified information."
The allegation involves two phone conversations he had with a contractor at the Rocky Flats nuclear facility. The charge is absurd. The transcript of the calls is available on the web site of the Government Accountability Project. McCallum and the contractor talked in only generic terms about security problems at the site -- the supposed "unauthorized disclosure" -- but spent most of the time discussing plans to bring the problems to light before a "mushroom cloud" erupts over Denver.
The conversations were clearly not a security breach, but rather an example of a concerned official trying to ensure the public safety.
McCallum told me that he has asked the Energy Department to let his case be decided by an impartial third party, such as the inter-agency U.S. Security Policy Board. The department has not yet responded.
Even Rep. Henry Waxman, the Californian with a reputation as being among the most partisan Democrats in the House, concluded at Thursday's hearing that DOE had badly mistreated McCallum.
Peter Leitner, a civil servant for 22 years, is a strategic trade adviser for the Defense Technology Security Administration. He says that since 1990 he has been warning against various technology transfers to China, and that the Bush administration often ignored him just as the Clintonites do now. "But the Clinton appointees are by far the most vindictive," he told me.
"I refused to approve a license which would have allowed the Chinese to obtain an entire defense factory full of very advanced machine tools which they can use for a variety of militarily productive goals. [When his superiors approved the license anyway], the tools were diverted to a cruise missile factory."
Leitner says his performance reviews suddenly started dropping, and that he was denied bonuses and within-grade pay increases. "I became a GS-15 before many colleagues who are now ahead of me on the pay scale," he said. "I, my wife, and my four children are now between $75,000 and $100,000 poorer than we would have been if I had simply gone with the flow ... and all for just following my job description and keeping an eye on national security."....
Making the rounds to plug his book collection of radio commentaries, Deadlines and Datelines, Dan Rather, who gave puffball interviews this year to Bill and Hillary Clinton, insisted that he believes in posing "tougher questions."
CNN's Howard Kurtz pressed him about his tough approach to George Bush in 1988 compared to his softball approach to Bill Clinton at the end of March this year. Rather defended his Clinton interview, maintaining Clinton had already been asked the tough questions about the Lewinsky scandal "at news conferences and at other forums." Putting the inaccuracy of that aside, repetitiveness didn't matter to Rather in 1988. Defending that interview style to CNBC's Chris Matthews, Rather maintained: "I was doing what reporters do and that is asking the tough questions and keep pressing it either until he answered or until it was clear he wasn't going to answer."
Here are brief excerpts from two recent Rather appearances:
Reliable Sources on June 26. Host Howard Kurtz asked about George W. Bush:
"Is the press giving him a pretty easy ride. Should there be tougher
questions toward Governor Bush?"
Kurtz later made
the MRC's point about the interview contrast:
Rather insisted: "No, I don't pull punches. I go into each interview thinking to myself, 'How can I make this the best interview I've ever done, and how can I make the best interview he's ever done?' But the question is fair. First of all, he'd been asked a version of those questions at news conferences and at other forums -- that's number one. Number two, you know, I've learned that there are three things that every man at CBS News thinks he can do better than any other man: one is to judge a Miss America contest, two is coach the Knicks, and three is to do big interviews. Everybody has their idea about how the interview should be done. I sized up the moment -- the news moment, if you will, sized up President Clinton, and I thought the interview was as revealing as anything he had done. On another day he might have done it a different way."
-- Dan Rather
Video Bias Contrast. Compare these two interviews as noted by Kurtz.
3/31/1999: But on March 31 of this year when Rather interviewed President Clinton for 60 Minutes II he avoided Chinese espionage and donations and gave Clinton plenty of time to portray himself as defender of the Constitution against partisan conservatives who tried to impeach him. Rather asked about Clinton's "feelings" on Kosovo and lightheartedly wondered what he'd do as the husband of a Senator.
Click on "for more details" to go to the CyberAlert report on the Clinton interview. The direct address: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/cyberalert/1999/cyb19990401.html#1
Go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/biasvideo.html and scroll down to the 5/27 entry.
Again, click on "for more details" to go to the CyberAlert report on this interview. Or, go directly to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/cyberalert/1999/cyb19990527.html#4
Clinton as a victim in a Salem witch trials atmosphere. On the first edition of CNN's summer run of 8pm and 1am ET on Tuesdays of Late Edition/Primetime, The New Yorker's Joe Klein dismissed the credibility of the impeachment process.
MRC analyst Paul
Smith caught this on the June 29 show from the author of Primary Colors:
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