Is the Anti-Bush Media Putting Us All in Danger?

This is a partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," June 23, 2006, that has been edited for clarity.

Watch "The O'Reilly Factor" weeknights at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. ET and listen to the "Radio Factor!"

BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "Personal Story" segment tonight, this is truly a story that you have to decide for yourself. I say that some anti-Bush media in America are putting us all in danger by exposing, criticizing and undermining just about everything the administration does in the War on Terror. The anti-Bush media say they're looking out for you, that the administration is trampling on your rights and waging the terror war ineptly.

Joining us now from Washington, former deputy undersecretary of defense, Jed Babbin, author of the book "Showdown," and FOX News analyst Jane Hall, a former reporter for The Los Angeles Times.

All right. We just heard from Mr. Daly, you know, FBI — former FBI Agent and they tend to be conservative on these matters. But I am a guy, Jane, who really wants an aggressive watchdog press. I mean, I make my living doing that.

But I read my article today and I'm saying to myself, "What?" And then when I heard Snow get out there and say, look, we asked these guys not to run it. And now obviously the whole thing is blown. Well, how do you react to that?

JANE HALL, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, you know, I have to tell you, this is a lot harder to defend than the warrant wireless — warrantless wiretapping story that involved millions of Americans' phone records that may not even be legal. The Times was approached by the Bush administration — I think that they would say there was a compelling — there is a compelling public interest...

O'REILLY: But what is it?

HALL: There is a debate to be had in this country about national security versus how far do you want to go on civil liberties

O'REILLY: OK, OK, let's drop the theory for a minute. And you're an American. You're an American, and you're smart and you're a journalist and you're trained. OK, you're reading this article. I don't want to talk theory, Jane. I hate the theory.


O'REILLY: I'm reading the article. And I'm reading the article and Mr. Babbin is reading the article. And I'm going to myself, what — what is the reason that I, Bill O'Reilly, have got to know that these — that the United States authorities with a subpoena, are gathering information about where money wire transfers go? Why do I need to know this if the whole thing is going to be blown? And I can't answer that question. Can you?

HALL: Well, I think that the reason to consider running this story is that they're not individual subpoenas. It's very broad subpoenas. It's a vast...

O'REILLY: But it's a subpoena.

HALL: But it's not — there hasn't been congressional oversight. It hasn't been formally approved.

O'REILLY: The administration says there was and the administration provided congressional people to tell [Bill] Keller at The New York Times and the people at the L.A. Times what was going on, Jane!

HALL: Well, but apparently, there were people who were involved in this program who had concerns about it. The consortium had concerns about the legal liability possibilities. It may be overly broad. It may be something that needs to be considered what kind of oversight.

O'REILLY: A lot of maybes in there for me.

HALL: That's the only reason for running it. This is not an easy story to defend.

O'REILLY: All right. Mr. Babbin, go ahead. Whale — I know you're going to whale on them. Go ahead.

JED BABBIN, AUTHOR, "SHOWDOWN": Well, The New York Times has chosen sides in this war, and they're not on our side, Bill. If this was a story to expose government corruption, if this was a story to expose some horrible action by our troops or something like that, we need a free press, OK. That sort of stuff, maybe, needs to come out.

There's not a word in there that says this is an illegal program. They have subpoenas for this information. There is no allegation in this story that the government is acting illegally. If there is no allegation like that, I'm telling you The New York Times is breaking the law here, and we have gone overboard. We have gone way far beyond.

O'REILLY: All right. But here's the problem with that. The Wall Street Journal, which has a conservative editorial page, also ran stuff on its — I guess in addition.

But here's the problem. Tony Snow gets out there today, and he says, look, we told them we didn't want them to run it. But he didn't attack The New York Times. He didn't say, "You guys botched our program. We're angry. We're going to get to the bottom of who leaked it to you." He didn't do any of that, Mr. Babbin. He showed zero outrage on this. Tony did.

BABBIN: I can't speak for Tony. I don't know what brief he has...

O'REILLY: But you saw him. He wasn't outraged.

BABBIN: I know. But apparently, he didn't talk to the same people I did or maybe they made a policy decision in the White House that they're going to actually surrender the issue of classification of programs to The New York Times.

O'REILLY: All right. Now I'm going to ask you one more direct question. You made a very provocative statement. You believe that The New York Times is on the side of the terrorists. You don't believe that, do you?

BABBIN: I believe that at this point [Arthur] "Pinch" Sulzberger, Jr. and Bill Keller ought to be frog marched out of the New York Times building and either arrested for publishing classified information or compelled to divulge the sources. The New York Times has chosen sides, Bill. They've published...

O'REILLY: But why would they choose to publish things that would put their own families in danger? Why would they do that?

HALL: What a minute, what a minute...

BABBIN: If you look at what Pinch Sulzberger said in that graduation speech he gave...

O'REILLY: Yes, he's a far-left guy. But why would they put their own families in danger, though, Mr. Babbin?

BABBIN: Because I think...

HALL: Can I just...

O'REILLY: I'm going to give you the last word, Jane. Go ahead.

BABBIN: Because I think they believe they know better. These guys, [Eric] Lichtblau and [James] Risen are out there saying, "Oh, the terrorists already knew that." How did they know that? They don't.

The New York Times has chosen itself as the fourth branch of our government. They are out of control, Bill. They are hurting our national security.

O'REILLY: All right. Jane, you go ahead. I'm going to give you the last word. You've got 60 seconds. Say whatever you want.

HALL: I — I think it's outrageous. I mean, journalists are risking their lives to cover the war in Iraq. These — there needs to be a department of this government that is — there needs to be a watchdog function. There are a lot of things going on. This administration is doing a lot of new things that are a departure, that they think are valid. There needs to be some reporting on what is going on that we need to be having information about these new techniques.

O'REILLY: All right. But again, you're back in the theoretical. But you wouldn't have run this story if you were the editor of The New York Times, Jane. I know you wouldn't run it.

HALL: I think I would have run it with a heck of a lot less detail.

O'REILLY: OK. Mr. Babbin, Jane, thanks very much. We appreciate it.

We would like for you to vote in our poll question: "Do you believe the anti-war media has intimidated the Bush administration? Yes or no? And we'll give you the results on that on Monday.

Copy: Content and Programming Copyright 2006 Fox News Network, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Transcription Copyright 2006 Voxant, Inc. (, which takes sole responsibility for the accuracy of the transcription. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No license is granted to the user of this material except for the user's personal or internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may infringe upon Fox News Network, LLC'S and Voxant, Inc.'s copyrights or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.