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MITT ROMNEY, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I was not shocked because of the covert action. I was shocked because a news organization with such a renowned reputation as ABC News would deem it appropriate to publish information about a covert action existing.
And publish that not only to America but to the entire world. I think it important to recognize that we have a global war on terror that continues. It's a global war against violent jihad. We've seen six years of this, it's not about to disappear anytime soon.
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SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: That was presidential candidate Mitt Romney expressing his disappointment with ABC News for its report exposing covert CIA operations going on in Iran and our fight against terrorism by the way could hit closer to home.
There is a disturbing research by the Pew Research Center. It found literally that one in four young American Muslims think that suicide bombings are acceptable in at least some circumstances when it comes to defending their religion.
Joining us now, the author of "Never Quit the Fight," Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Peters. Ralph let me start with Mitt Romney's comments. Mitt Romney was 100 percent right, I'm glad these covert operations to destabilize Iran are going on here. But why would ABC expose it and why should we not conclude that they're putting ratings above our own national security, they're putting ratings above our own national safety?
LT. COL. RALPH PETERS, "NEVER QUIT THE FIGHT": Sean, you got a couple of issues going here. First of all, most of the mainstream media don't care how many troops they kill if they get higher ratings. And we all know that and it's ugly and that's that.
But what concerns me are two issues down here in Washington. First of all, this culture of leaks. The idea that secret — top secret, doesn't matter. If you don't like a policy in your department, you leak it. I really think we need to get serious. Punishing people on both sides of the aisle.
HANNITY: I agree with you.
PETERS: But the other issue in this particular case, on this particular case I really think this may have been a conscious — a purposeful leak to bring pressure on Iran to nudge the Iranians. Really a leak is psychological warfare.
HANNITY: Perhaps, and I can hope you're right. But for a news organization to make the decision, these are covert operations against the country that wants nuclear weapons, that denies the Holocaust, that wants to wipe Israel off the map, it's very disturbing to me and it should be to every American.
My next question to you, though, is about this Pew Research Center study. One in four American Muslims find suicide bombings acceptable to protect their religion. That scares the living daylights out of me.
PETERS: Well it certainly is scary. But when you really look at the way they pose the questions and what the answers were, first of all, it turns out that the most radical elements within the Islamic community were native-born African American Muslims. Not immigrants.
And secondly, it was stretched out to the point where it was are there any circumstances where suicide bombing might be justified to protect your religion? So it was kind of a setup job. Look, Sean.
HANNITY: No, it's not.
ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: Hey, Ralph, we only have a moment left. I just want to point out that the rest of the Pew Research Study said most Muslim Americans overwhelmingly reject that tactic and are critical of Islamic extremism and of al Qaeda.
And it shows a broad willingness, the Pew Study said, to adopt American customs and have an income and education level similar to others in the U.S. That's what it also said. Let's give the full picture.
PETERS: I'm as tough on terrorism as anybody you're going to find. I want to kill the bad guys, I don't want to put them in a resort at Guantanamo.
But we are a nation of immigrants. No immigrant Muslim has strapped on a suicide bomb and walked into Nordstrom's or Macy's. Somebody will eventually. But look, fight the war on terror but don't fight the innocent.
And it's unworthy of Americans to lump anybody into a massive group and say they're all.
COLMES: I agree with you on that and I just wanted to put the Pew Study in perspective. Also in terms of ABC, ABC issued a statement saying in the six days since we contacted the CIA and the White House, at no time did they indicate broadcasting the report would jeopardize lives or operations on the ground.
I think you were right when you said possibly the White House wanted this leaked. And ABC did its due diligence and nobody objected.
PETERS: In this particular case, I really — look, the administration is doing a full-court press. Everything short of military action to press the Iranians to change, to try to topple the government of President Ahmadinejad. And it's something we need to do. We should do everything legally possible, covert, clandestine.
COLMES: Do you want us to topple him? Do you want us to go after regime change? We did so well in Iraq doing that and Afghanistan and you want us to have another country where we do a regime change?
PETERS : Pitch until you win.
COLMES: Sorry, sir?
PETERS: Pitch until you win.
No look, I still believe that we did absolutely the right thing of deposing Saddam Hussein, it's just a shame the administration did it so thoroughly incompetently.
Look, Iran is...
HANNITY: Colonel, we have to run. We're out of time. Colonel, 26 percent is a frightening number. The Iranian situation is a frightening scenario for anybody. But we have to run and we appreciate your time.
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