WASHINGTON – Former hostage William Daugherty spoke with FOX News' James Rosen on Thursday about his recognition of Iranian President-elect Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (search) as one of the student captors who held him and 52 other Americans hostage for 444 days beginning Nov. 4, 1979.
FOX NEWS' JAMES ROSEN: How certain are you that the president-elect of Iran is one of the individuals involved in the Iranian hostage crisis?
FORMER HOSTAGE WILLIAM DAUGHERTY: I'm absolutely certain. I'm very confident that it's that individual.
ROSEN: And how did you arrive at that determination?
DAUGHERTY: I saw his picture in "The Washington Post" Saturday morning, I guess after he had just cast his ballot. And I recognized him immediately. There was, there was no doubt in my mind then and there's, there's really no doubt in my mind now.
ROSEN: What kind of role did he have at the time?
DAUGHERTY: He had, clearly, a leadership role. I was kept with a number of the other hostages for the first 19 days and then I was placed in solitary confinement. But in those first 19 days, for most of the time, we were not blindfolded, the places I was kept. And it was very easy to distinguish between the guards who were responsible for our feeding and care and whatever, and, if you will, the leadership, the individuals who came around and told the guards what to do, what to do with us. They would come, you know, check on our circumstances, I guess to make sure we weren't trying to escape. They weren't that concerned about our comfort. And during the first 10 or 12 days, there were some outsiders that the Iranians brought through, sort of to put us on display. The Papal Nuncio was one, I think; somebody from the Red Cross; somebody from the PLO; and also some senior Iranian clerics. And they were always escorted by the leaders, the ones that we saw in these supervisory positions and we assumed were responsible for the takeover. And this guy would appear with these groups.
ROSEN: And how many times do you think you saw him throughout the entirety of your ordeal?
DAUGHERTY: In the first 19 days or so, I would say four, five, six times.
ROSEN: When you saw the photograph — you know, there's been some discussion that you and some of the other former hostages communicated with each other, And there's been some suggestion that perhaps you were reinforcing memories for each other. But do you mean to tell me that when you first saw him, you made this conclusion that he was one of your captors completely independent of any communication with any other former hostage?
DAUGHERTY: That's correct. I saw the picture Saturday morning, believed right then that I recognized him. And I sent a very short e-mail to three of my colleagues and our lawyer. and all I said was, "Hey" — words to this effect — "you'll never guess who's the new president of Iran: One of" — words to the effect of, you know — "one of the bad guys who was, you know, involved in the takeover." And that's all I said. I didn't, I didn't say, "Look at this picture." I didn't say, "What do you guys think?" I was very firm in my conclusion then. I said, you know, "One of our captors is now the president of Iran." And I didn't even allude to what picture I had looked to [sic] in the e-mail. So when they — I don't know what pictures they've looked at to reach their conclusions. But obviously Dave Raeder, Chuck Scott, Don Sharer, you know, they're very certain as well.
ROSEN: Do you have any specific memories of him speaking to you or dealing with you?
DAUGHERTY: No. His attitude is what I recall. When he would come into the room, the place where we were being held, he very clearly — his whole body language, his looks, the way he looked at us, just emanated a deep sense of hatred, I felt. And I think that's what impressed me more than anything else, was his looks at us, as though, you know, we really weren't worthy to live. Just, just a deep, intense personal hatred on his part. And that sort of thing really doesn't leave you. That's, that is the kind of thing you remember. And when you consider Dave Raeder. This guy sat across from Dave Raeder and said, "We're going to kidnap your son. We're going to cut off his fingers and toes and we're going to send them to you one by one." That is not the kind of person that you forget, even with the passage of time.
ROSEN: Is it correct, as was reported, that you were working for CIA at the time?
DAUGHERTY: Yes, that's correct. I was an officer in the CIA station in the embassy.
ROSEN: I want to thank you once again for your time, and for your sacrifice on behalf of our country.
DAUGHERTY: Well, thank you, James. It's been a pleasure talking with you.