Bill talks to George Tenet
devoted Wednesday's first three segments to a revealing and sometimes combative interview with former CIA director George Tenet, who was at the center of 9/11 and the Iraq war. A few excerpts from the interview:
O'Reilly: President Clinton told Chris Wallace that he tried to kill Osama Bin Laden. But in your book, you say (Attorney General) Janet Reno told you trying to kill Bin Laden was illegal.
Tenet: We understood that if he was killed in the context of a capture operation, that was okay. Nobody ever said you can simply go out and kill him. That never happened.
O'Reilly: The hard truth is that you didn't get him in time. And I have to go back to the part in your book where Janet Reno told you killing Bin Laden was illegal in her opnion.
Tenet: It's true. But we live in a country where the laws matter ... After 9/11 everybody's rules changed.
O'Reilly: I'm trying to cut through the fog here, Mr. Tenet. President Clinton told Chris Wallace in the most emphatic fashion that he tried to kill him ... I don't think President Clinton or President Bush ordered you guys to kill him. That's what I'm getting from almost everybody I talk to.
The conversation moved to the Bush administration and Tenet's claim that he warned of an "imminent threat" in the summer of 2001.
Tenet: I started talking about "imminent threat" in May, and I know the president understood my concerns.
O'Reilly: I would have been in there banging that table.
Tenet: I banged every table in town. I was the guy who had his hair on fire that summer ... We worked our hearts out, the country was unprotected, we didn't have a system of internal protection ... those families deserved more than they got from all of us.
The former CIA director also spoke about Saddam Hussein, the invasion of Iraq and the aftermath.
Tenet: We believed he had weapons of mass destruction ... I believed on the basis of ten years of following it, data that we'd seen, his deception, his denial, his thwarting of the UN. I believed it in my core.
O'Reilly: We go in, the military campaign goes well and Saddam is out. But then I saw looting and nobody stopping them. It doesn't seem there was any kind of plan to secure the country.
Tenet: When you plan a war you have to transition from war-fighting to conflict-termination to peace-keeping and stabilization. And we needed to have an integrated plan from beginning to end. We didn't.
O'Reilly: Whose fault is that?
Tenet: Let's not get into fault.
O'Reilly: You're telling me that you warned the Pentagon there was no cogent plan to stabilize the country.
Tenet: No, Bill. We told them what intelligence people tell them. We don't comment on policy, but once we got on the ground we told them we have an insurgency that's brewing.
O'Reilly: I can only extrapolate that the Pentagon screwed up.
Looking ahead, Tenet stressed the need for diplomacy in the Middle East.
O'Reilly: Do you believe most Americans understand the threat that is brewing over there?
Tenet: We have an Iranian problem. There is a nuclear program we should be concerned, there is support of Hezbollah that we should be concerned about ... Maybe it's time for us to look the Syrians in the eye and look the Iranians in the eye and sit down and have some straight talk about how we're going to get out of this together. The region is at risk - it's not just about Iraq any more. There's a lot of danger out there; it's also a time for adroit diplomacy, strategy, and big thinking.
Featured Book: At the Center of the Storm
by George Tenet
Virginia Beach changes sanctuary policies
Virginia House Delegate John Welch
The city of Virginia Beach, where a drunken illegal alien driver killed two teens, says it will no longer provide sanctuary to illegals charged with crimes. Police Chief Jake Jacocks, obviously unhappy about the change, called Bill a "pathetic individual" who spews "half-truths." Bill offered this retort: "What is really pathetic, chief, is your failing to uphold your oath to obey the law and failing to protect the good people of Virginia Beach. It is not your job, sir, to decide what immigration law you will obey." In contrast to Jacocks, state representative John Welch complimented The Factor
for shining a spotlight on Virginia Beach. "I'd like to publicly say thank you, Bill, for bringing this situation to a boil. The people of Virginia Beach had their say, and the government heard them. It's sad that we had to lose two young citizens, but we've learned from it and we're going to move on."News Link: VA Beach about-face in "sanctuary policy"News Link: Video: VA Beach Police Chief calls O'Reilly "pathetic"
Dennis on Tenet & Rosie
The Factor was joined by Dennis Miller, who was unimpressed with what he heard from George Tenet. "With no due respect to Mr. Tenet," Miller said, "I think he makes Inspector Clouseau look like the man from U.N.C.L.E. When history looks back, it's going to see that Tenet presided over the Balkanization of our intelligence community." The Factor also asked Miller about Rosie O'Donnell, who said Wednesday that the U.S. Army recruits the ill-educated and even felons. "I have no personal bone to pick with Rosie," Miller proclaimed, "but I don't think she gives any sort of thought to any difference of opinion - there's 'Rosie' and there's 'wrong.' There are soldiers and soldiers' families out there who are hurt by this and she has to know that." The Factor cited Army stats to dispute O'Donnell's assertions. "90 percent of recruits to the Army have high school diplomas, compared to 75 percent of the general population. Reading scores are one full grade higher than civilians. It's true that the Army does grant more criminal waivers, but that is infinitesimal. The stat are fed to her by the far-left Internet smear sites, who do indeed hate America."
John Stossel on DC prostitution bust
ABC's "20/20" is about to run a major piece about the D.C. call girl ring that may involve some high ranking government officials. Ironically, "20/20" co-host John Stossel believes prostitution should be legalized. He joined The Factor
and explained his rationale. "It just does so much more harm to have it be illegal," Stossel asserted. "Don't we own our own bodies? Can't consulting adults do what we want? Boxers use their bodies to make money, why can't a woman?" The Factor
put forth the other side of the legalization argument. "Prostitution preys upon desperate and drug-addicted people. There's a public health danger - AIDS, pimps, corruption, and destroyed neighborhoods."News Link: Stossel defends prostitution
Viewers sound off
Your e-mails dealt with a variety of recent subjects. Some excerpts:
Frank Tufano, West Babylon, NY: "Michelle Malkin is allowed to speak uninterrupted, yet Kirsten Powers is subject to you talking over her. Fair and balanced, O'Reilly?"
Paul Hollah, Sand Springs, OK: "O'Reilly, why do you insist in showing your ignorance? Are you unaware oil refineries have to be maintained? Your ignorance is mind-numbing."
Richard Rettke, Virginia Beach, VA: "Bill, the police chief here said you don't do anything for anyone. I guess he missed the fire you lighted under his derriere that resulted in changes being made for criminal illegal aliens. The mayor hasn't said anything yet."
Donna Stackaruk, Toronto, Canada: "O'Reilly, love the Factor, especially holding the judges responsible for giving child predators light sentences. See, we're not all liberals here."