O'Reilly: I Would Have Authorized Waterboarding
In tonight’s Talking Points Memo, Bill O'Reilly reacted to the release of a scathing report on the CIA's post-9/11 interrogation practices.
O'Reilly said that ever since America was attacked on 9/11, there has been an ongoing debate over how to fight the war on terror.
He said some people are like him and believe we must use harsh measures to defeat the jihadists who would slaughter us all if they could, while others believe we must obey the Geneva Conventions even though we are fighting an enemy that does not fall under that treaty.
O'Reilly added that there's a disagreement as to the very definition of "torture," and it’s useless to debate the issue because minds will not be changed.
O'Reilly said the report by Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee found that the CIA tortured captured Al Qaeda suspects and lied about it to Congress.
"The Factor" host pointed out that Republican senators refused to endorse the report because they felt it was a partisan situation designed to embarrass the Bush administration.
He said the report concludes that harsh interrogations did not produce a single critical intelligence nugget that could not have been obtained by non-coercive means.
"Now, I have spoken directly to senior members of the CIA who say that conclusion is false," O'Reilly said. "They strongly assert that coerced information saved thousands of lives."
He said they use the waterboarding of Khalid Sheik Mohammad and the resulting intelligence to prove their point.
O'Reilly noted that some are saying the report should never have been released because it puts U.S. operatives around the world in danger.
"I don't dispute that opinion, but in an open society, if the CIA or any other federal agency breaks the law, we the people should know it."
That being said, O'Reilly added that the report is a partisan play that will not solve anything.
"On a personal note, I know scores of Americans who lost loved ones on 9/11. I've watched children grow up without mothers and fathers," O'Reilly said.
"If I were president, I would have authorized waterboarding and other severe interrogation methods of high-ranking captured terrorists," he said. "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."
Watch the Talking Points Memo above.