Bill O’Reilly vs…. John Sifton

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Last month, Daniel Schulman and I revealed that John Sifton and his private investigation firm, One World Research, were hired by the ACLU to obtain photographs of CIA interrogators for Guantanamo lawyers defending high-value terrorist suspects. Someone at Bill O’Reilly’s show, “The O’Reilly Factor,” evidently read the piece, because the Fox News Channel show sent a producer to Sifton’s house last week to ask questions about his work in an ambush-style interview:

Beyond O’Reilly’s aggressive tactics, two things stick out about this segment. First, it was great to see O’Reilly refer to our scoop—but rather aggravating that he didn’t credit us with the story. Also, O’Reilly refers to what Sifton did as an “illegal operation.” That’s far from clear. While the Justice Department is investigating Gitmo defense lawyers for showing the photos Sifton took to detainees, there’s no indication—so far—that Sifton himself is being investigated. And even if Sifton was under investigation, that wouldn’t be proof that what he did was “illegal.” Taking photographs of people in public places isn’t, generally, against the law—even if you know that they’re CIA officers. Nor is it necessarily illegal to research the identities of CIA officers. Anyway, you can read more about the operation here, and judge for yourself.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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