If members of the CIA broke the law while interrogating captured terrorists following 9/11, the American people have a right to know, according to Fox News host Bill O’Reilly, who addressed a Senate Intelligence Committee report, released Tuesday, which finds that the agency misled Bush administration officials and engaged in unauthorized torture.
“I don’t dispute that opinion but in an open society if the CIA or any other federal agency breaks law, we the people should know,” O’Reilly said during the Talking Points segment of his show, “The O’Reilly Factor.” “That being said talking points does believe the report is a partisan play that will solve nothing.”
But harsh tactics were needed during those frightening times, he added, and O’Reilly would have authorized many of the techniques had he been president.
“On a personal note, I know scores Americans who lost loved ones on 9/11,” he said. “I watch their children grow up without mothers and fathers. If I were president, I would have authorized waterboarding and other severe interrogation methods of high-ranking captured terrorists. It is morally correct to protect innocent lives from barbarians. As we all know the jihadists are beheading Americans today and they will kill any American they can. That’s not theory, that’s reality. We are a nation of laws, but we are involved in a brutal ongoing war. Americans need to be protected.”
“The report concludes that harsh interrogation did not produce a single critical intelligence nugget that could not have been obtained by noncoercive means,” O’Reilly said. “Now I’ve spoken directly to senior members of the CIA who say that conclusion is false. They strongly assert that coerced information saved thousands of lives. They point to the waterboarding of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed to prove their point.”
Americans can’t even agree on what defines torture, O’Reilly noted, saying some people believe that subjecting a captive to loud noise or verbal threats is torture. Others maintain that America must obey the Genera Convention “even though we’re fighting an enemy that does not fall under that treaty.”
“There are some folks, like me, who believe we must use harsh measures to defeat the jihadists who would slaughter us if they could,” said O’Reilly, who pointed out that a number of high-ranking CIA officials “are furious and swear the Senate report is misleading.”
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