FRONTLINE's new season begins this Tuesday night, October 16th. It also will
mark our 25th anniversary on PBS. Last month we were honored with a Special
Emmy Award for Excellence in Television Documentary Filmmaking for
"outstanding, well-crafted and intelligent documentaries that examine
complex and controversial subjects in a thoughtful and dispassionate
manner." Also winning an Emmy was veteran producer Michael Kirk, whose
documentary, "The Lost Year in Iraq," won in the category of "Outstanding
It is to Kirk, co-producer/reporter Jim Gilmore, and the other professionals
on their team that we have turned for the premier report of FRONTLINE's
special new season.
On Tuesday, in "Cheney's Law," Kirk tells one of the most significant
stories of our times. In this report Kirk outlines how two men -- Vice
President Dick Cheney and his legal adviser, David Addington -- used a
little-known group inside the Justice Department to interpret the law so as
to greatly enhance presidential power. Their assertion of virtually
unlimited presidential authority to conduct the war on terror, both abroad
and at home, raises profound constitutional questions. Especially
controversial is the role of Congress to act as a check on executive power.
But Kirk discovered that it would be a revolt inside the Justice Department
itself -- triggered by a conservative law professor, Jack Goldsmith, who had
been appointed by the president -- that would finally lead to a "no" to
Cheney's lawyer, David Addington.
For awhile, under Attorney General John Ashcroft, that "no" stood. But when
Ashcroft left and President Bush appointed his old friend Alberto Gonzales
as attorney general, some of the "no's" were then reconsidered.
Just recently The New York Times revealed that secret new Justice Department
memos, approved by Gonzales, permit the CIA to engage in the harshest
interrogation practices ever - practices that some have called torture.
We invite you to join us Tuesday night and learn more about the secret
battles of the lawyers -- a clash that ultimately shapes how far the
executive branch of our government can go in waging the war on terror.
And then be sure to visit our Web site to watch the program in full online.
And explore more of what insiders and journalists have to say about the main
themes and issues covered in this story, plus join in the online disscusion
Louis Wiley, Jr.