Saving Private Lynch

This is a partial transcript of The Big Story With John Gibson, October 31, 2003, that has been edited for clarity.

JOHN GIBSON, HOST: NBC’s "Save Jessica Lynch," is a movie about the dramatic rescue of Private Lynch (search). Mohammed al-Rehaief is the Iraqi lawyer who revealed her location to U.S. troops. The movie is based in part on his new book "Because Each Life is Precious: Why an Iraqi Man Came to Risk Everything for Private Jessica Lynch."

Earlier this week, Al Rehaief tried to visit Jessica at home, but she refused to meet him. That's today's big question. How do you feel, Mr. Mohammed al-Rehaief, about being snubbed by Jessica Lynch?

MOHAMMED AL-REHAIEF, AUTHOR, "BECAUSE EACH LIFE IS PRECIOUS": It's so important to me that Jessica is safe and healthy and happy. I am not concerned about that because I think when the time is right, we'll meet.

GIBSON: Let me just ask a specific question.


GIBSON: When you saw Jessica Lynch in that hospital, was she in danger of dying?

AL-REHAIEF: Yes, she was in danger, it was very dangerous.

GIBSON: Mohammed, were they torturing her? Were they beating her? Did any of her injuries come from the Iraqis who were holding her prisoner mistreating her?

AL-REHAIEF: Yes, I saw in my eyes and I take full responsibility about what I say now. I saw the officer of Fedayeen Saddam slap her twice in her face.

GIBSON: Mohammed, when you went back and forth from the hospital to the Americans several times. When the Americans came to rescue Jessica Lynch, was there a danger that there would be soldiers there who would shoot at the Americans and resist or had all the Iraqi soldiers left?

AL-REHAIEF: The Marines, they were very smart because they attacked the Iraqi army and Fedayeen Saddam at another site and make the Iraqi army and Fedayeen Saddam leave the hospital to go fight the Americans in another place. And in this moment, same moment, the Americans go to the hospital to help Jessica. And I think the operation is fantastic.

GIBSON: Mohammed, how is your new life in America?

AL-REHAIEF: Believe me, I like it. I am enjoying here, the people here are very kind with me, and I feel part of your family, American family.

GIBSON: Mohammed Al-Rehaief, Mohammed, thank you very much, we appreciate it.

AL-REHAIEF: Thank you. You are very welcome. Thank you very much.

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