Wrong Number! USA Today Backs Off Phone Record Report

Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

Reporting Retreat

USA Today is backing off part of its controversial report accusing three major phone companies of secretly providing phone records to the National Security Agency for a nationwide database of domestic calls. The paper now says it's unable to confirm that two of the three telecommunications giants — BellSouth and Verizon — turned over any records to the NSA. Both companies issued strong denials after a national uproar last month.

USA Today reports that five members of the congressional intelligence committees confirm that the companies did not participate in the NSA database and admits that its original sources could not document a contractual relationship between BellSouth or Verizon and the NSA, as the paper had originally reported.

An overwhelming 70 person of Americans say they support tracking financial records to root out terror financing networks, but the verdict is not so positive for the newspaper that revealed the secret government program.

The Latest Polls

The latest FOX News poll reveals that 60 percent think The New York Times decision to publish a story on the financial tracking program helped the terrorists.

Sixty-six percent say news organizations that report classified security information should face criminal charges and 43 percent say reporting on secret national security data amounts to an act of treason.

Theories From the Ivory Tower

The University of Wisconsin is launching a review of a professor who teaches that the U.S. government planned the 9/11 terror attacks to start a war between Christians and Muslims.

Cultural folklore professor Kevin Barrett is the co-founder of a 9/11-conspiracy group, and urges members of the two faiths to overcome their belief that terrorists were behind the attacks. The university launched an investigation after Barrett told a conservative radio show that he shares his views on 9/11 in the classroom, prompting some state lawmakers to call for Barrett's immediate dismissal.

History Lesson

Civil liberties groups are suing to force a West Virginia high school to remove a painting of Jesus that has hung in the halls for more than 30 years. The ACLU and Americans United for Separation of Church and State filed the suit in federal court on behalf of two parents, who say the painting sends the message that Bridgeport High School endorses Christianity as its official religion.

Defiant school board members are holding out hope for the painting, but Americans United Director Barry Lynn calls the case "pretty clear," saying, "I frankly cannot understand why this school insists that it is doing nothing wrong."

—FOX News Channel's Aaron Bruns contributed to this report.