Wrong Again on "Domestic Wiretapping"

More "domestic" misleading about a terrorist surveillance program.

In December 2005, reporter James Risen co-wrote the Times' controversial (but Pulitzer Prize-winning) scoop that exposed a terrorist surveillance program run by the National Security Administration. President Bush is now trying to push a modified form of the program through Congress, and Risen again used misleading labels to identify the program ("Administration Pulls Back On Surveillance Agreement").

"Senior Bush administration officials told Congress on Tuesday that they could not pledge that the administration would continue to seek warrants from a secret court for a domestic wiretapping program, as it agreed to do in January....[Sen. Mitch] McConnell emphasized that all domestic electronic surveillance was now being conducted with court-approved warrants, and said that there were no plans 'that we are formulating or thinking about currently' to resume domestic wiretapping without warrants."

As Times Watch has long pointed out, the paper insists on misleadingly referring to the surveillance of communication between people in the U.S. and terrorist suspects outside the U.S. as "domestic surveillance," as if the phone callsbetween average citizens are at risk of being tapped by the National Security Agency.

Wednesday's lead editorial, "Spying on Americans," at least avoided that lazy labeling, though it certainly didn't skimp on the strident headlines and text: "For more than five years, President Bush authorized government spying on phone calls and e-mail to and from the United States without warrants. He rejected offers from Congress to update the electronic eavesdropping law, and stonewalled every attempt to investigate his spying program."