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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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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