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Hannity

Separating Facts From Fabrication

This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes", February 25, 2003, that has been edited for clarity.

ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: In 1985 Senator John Kerry got involved in an investigation that blew up into what is now known as the Iran/Contra Scandal. But what role did the junior senator from Massachusetts really play in the investigation?

We'll talk to a former aide to Senator Kerry in just a moment. But first, we're joined by the man at the center of the storm, Lieutenant Colonel Oliver...

LT. COL. OLIVER NORTH, INVOLVED IN IRAN-CONTRAL SCANDAL: It's none. Zero. Nada.

COLMES: Let me ask you a question.

NORTH: You just asked a question.

COLMES: Let me ask you a question. Kerry believed the Boland Amendment banning aid to the Contras was violated. He did an investigation. He was kept off the committee, because some people thought he was too hot at the time.

But then he was named chairman of the subcommittee on terrorism, narcotics and international operations, leading to the investigation of BCCI and a bunch of other things .

So he did...

NORTH: Alan, that's just -- this is John F. Kerry's problem. See the "F" stands for the falsehood or fabricator or whatever.

But the problem with Kerry is he makes this stuff up and then he can't justify it. John Kerry wasn't on the committee, never asked anybody who was called before the committee or the Tower commission or any of the other things that investigated officially what had happened in what came to be called as Iran-Contra.

Never called any of us who were involved in trying to save the lives of Americans tortured to death in dungeons in Beirut or helped the Nicaraguans defeat communism.

Never once did he call any of us. Let me finish, dog gone it. You made the accusation, and so did Kerry.

So the fact is, months after that committee reported out, publishes all their findings, Kerry convenes this witch-hunt and smears a bunch of people that were never given the opportunity to respond.

COLMES: All right. Here's what the "Boston Globe" reported about this back at the time. "Ultimately, the subcommittee's findings" -- actually, a more recent "Boston Globe" piece.

"Ultimately, the subcommittee's findings on the scope of the Contra drug connection were validated by two subsequent federal investigations. Kerry's proven conclusion was that the government, especially the CIA, looked the other way, according to Tom Blanton, National Security's executive director."

NORTH: National Security Archive is not a source that you ought to confer some kind of repute to.

COLMES: Two agencies, two federal agencies.

NORTH: No.

COLMES: What Kerry said, according to that report.

NORTH: First of all that report is wrong, Alan. The fact is nobody in the government of the United States, going all the way back to the earliest days of this under Jimmy Carter ever had anything to do with running drugs to support the Nicaraguan resistance. Nobody in the government of the United States.

I will stand on that to my grave.

Second of all, what John Kerry has done is typical of what John Kerry does. John Kerry smears people. John Kerry is out there smearing the National Guard right now.

COLMES: No, he's not.

NORTH: Service in the National Guard. Smearing...

COLMES: Bush's record, not the National Guard.

NORTH: Using four-letter expletives to describe the president of the United States. And you know why he's doing it?

Here's why he is doing it. He's doing it because he wants to hide his 15-year record of failing to stand up for the security of this country.

COLMES: That's ridiculous.

NORTH: No. It's not ridiculous. There's a long record.

Let me just -- Next time you have John Kerry on, or when you have his guy on, ask him why did John Kerry vote against the Patriot missile? Why did John Kerry vote against the B-2 bomber? Why did John Kerry vote against the Tomahawk? All weapons systems that we've used in two wars to win them. Why did John Kerry vote to cancel the Apache? Why did John Kerry vote against the M-1 tank?

SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: Colonel North...

NORTH: On your show, I showed that tank firing on the run. No other tank in the world can do it, knocking out men.

I'm sorry.

HANNITY: I'll tell you what, colonel, I'm not going to count on Alan to ask the question, but I'll ask it in the next segment, OK? Because we've got a Kerry guy coming up here.

But there's more to this than meets the eye. I did find a 1986 article in which he talked about the "North network," You talk about smearing people. No substantiation, no evidence, just like McAuliffe and others' charges about being AWOL. No substantiation.

That was exploited by the Contras for smuggling illegal weapons and drugs and so on and so forth, and U.S. officials knew of it. Where's the evidence to back this up?

NORTH: I mean, that's precisely the point. I mean, what you can do, you can smear people, I mean, when you can't, you know, stand up and defend yourself. That's what he's done with the president's record.

Here's a question that you ought to lay out for these guys. John Kerry says on the one hand he served four months, which is two months less than Al Gore, and then came home early -- why?

Has John Kerry ever done what the president of the United States did and lay out his whole military record? Have you ever seen it, Sean? Because I sure haven't seen it.

HANNITY: There's one point here. And it has to do with the -- remember when the San Jose Mercury-News came out -- came out with this idea that the CIA introduced crack cocaine into America?

Well, the foundation for that report was -- correct me if I'm wrong -- wasn't that the John Kerry 1,166-page report that came out in 1989? That theory was eventually totally, completely, utterly debunked.

NORTH: And furthermore, a number of the witnesses who appeared before that committee, who clearly had a political agenda, perjured themselves in making accusations against people who were never given the opportunity to respond to the charges.

Let me come back to something that's very important here. John Kerry brought the issue of Vietnam into this whole thing. Said the other day in Georgia, why is it that Republicans who never served in Vietnam want to, you know, make nasty things about those of us who did?

John Kerry keeps bringing up Vietnam. So when John Kerry brings up Vietnam the next time, somebody ask him to lay out, as the president has done, his entire military record. Why is it that John Kerry comes home after only four months? Nine months less than I served, than most of us served, even two months less than Al Gore?

COLMES: We're going to get the other side from the Kerry camp. We want to talk to you for a second about "War Stories," a show you have coming up here on Fox News.

NORTH: A brand new season starts on the 7th of March. This weekend, we've got a big red one. But let me just give you a great brief -- here's a quick hit from one of the best shows that I've done.

This is ripcord, one of the unknown battles from the Vietnam War.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was a very sobering experience for the company, not only to have any Americans killed, but also which was the first time I'd ever lost an American in combat.

NORTH: But there was little time for grief. Twenty-six- year-old Captain Straub and his men faced yet another night on Hill 805.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's when I decided, you're hurt but you're not going to lose an eye, you're not going to lose a limb, you're not going to lose, you're staying on the hill. And I've got no gripes about that at all.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NORTH: By the way, that's a guy who's talking about guys who were wounded on the field who couldn't be medevaced, were going to stay with their men, no matter how many times they've been wounded. I don't want to make any current analogies.

By the way, that's the 101st Airborne Division.

COLMES: Thank you very much. It's Sunday night at 8 p.m. here on Fox News.

NORTH: Eastern Time.

COLMES: Eastern, of course, and across the nation and the world.

HANNITY: Joining us now to respond to what Oliver North just said about John Kerry, a former adviser to Senator Kerry, Jonathan Winer, is with us.

Jonathan, thanks for being on board.

I want to give you the chance to answer Colonel North's question. Because, in fact, John Kerry -- it's a matter of record -- voted for the cancellation of 27 major weapons systems that our military now uses: the B- 1, the Cruise missile, the M.X. missile, the Trident submarine, the Patriot air defense, the F-15, stealth bomber, Persian 2 missiles and others.

Why should Americans trust John Kerry when he didn't have the insight to vote for the systems we now use back then? He voted to cancel all those.

JONATHAN WINER, FORMER KERRY AIDE: Actually, he voted against the defense authorization or appropriations bill that included funding for the entire U.S. military. So you could say that he was ready to eliminate the U.S. Army, Air Force and Navy.

But if you were to say that, it would be kind of stupid.

HANNITY: He voted specifically...

WINER: No.

HANNITY: For the cancellation -- Sir, I have the votes, and I have the times and...

WINER: Sir.

HANNITY: Sir, he voted for the cancellation of all of those systems.

WINER: Sir, sir. The Republican National Committee research you're using is based on...

HANNITY: Don't take your cheap little pathetic shot. I'm telling you that...

WINER: You're taking a cheap little pathetic shot. I'm trying to tell you what the truth is. No, you're misrepresenting...

HANNITY: I'm telling the truth, sir. The truth about his record.

WINER: I understand what your position is. It's not correct.

HANNITY: Just like he voted -- and he introduced when Reagan was running the Cold War, there was John Kerry who was voting for a nuclear freeze.

Just like when he had the opportunity to vote for the death penalty for terrorists, convicted of murdering American nationals, he's now changed his position. But when we had a vote in '89 he voted against it. You can't take away his record.

WINER: No one should take away their record at all. That's why I was so fascinated to see Oliver North running away from portions of his.

HANNITY: Well, do you think -- what does it say about somebody when we have a president that has a policy, he's going after terrorists wherever they are and track them down. And John Kerry voted not to have the death penalty for them.

What should the American people think of that in a post 9/11 world?

WINER: I think that you have to look at the context of the vote. And what John Kerry was saying back then was he was basically opposed to the death penalty. And the position that he's taken over time is that terrorists are different.

He doesn't think the state ought to be killing people. He's seen people kill people, and he's killed people. And his position is that when the state kills people, it can get kind of dangerous. And he makes an exception for terrorists. And I think he's been very clear on that.

COLMES: Mr. Winer, it's Alan Colmes. I want to set the record straight about what Oliver North said. There was a Boland amendment, there was a prohibition about aiding the Contras. That happened. There was an attempt to do that.

John Kerry began an investigation into this. He was the one who got the ball rolling on this, was he not?

WINER: Well, I can only tell you what we were doing back in 1985 and 1986. We had heard that Oliver North was taking money from people like the Saudi Arabians to buy guns for guerillas in Central America to foul things up.

COLMES: Go ahead, Mr. Winer.

WINER: The evidence was in the Iran/Contra committee, which found all of that to be true, as did the Independent Counsel, which is why Mr. North was ultimately indicted and, I believe, convicted on several counts.

Those things were true. A lot of that information is still online and anybody who wants to read about it can go online and get the details.

COLMES: I also want to be clear about his record, that he voted for the largest increase in defense budget since the '80s, providing more than $355 billion for the Defense Department for 2003, a $21 billion increase.

And many of those weapons systems are -- many votes on any one of these weapons systems. And almost everybody in the House or Senate will vote, on the 20 or 30 votes for any weapons systems, some for and some against.

You can make the case that any one person serving in the House or Senate voted either for or against any weapons system. Couldn't you?

WINER: Well, you know who killed the B-2 bomber? It was George Herbert Walker Bush, who decided we didn't need it anymore.

COLMES: So all this, in my view, is an attempt to try to paint John Kerry. They've tried to link him with Jane Fonda. The subtext here is that he's somehow unpatriotic, doesn't care about the defense of this country, doesn't care about intelligence that we voted in the last seven years to increase intelligence spending 50 percent since 1996.

WINER: Sure, there are a lot of efforts to destroy his record. We just heard some tonight.

COLMES: So is the Kerry camp -- I want to get back to this Oliver North issue.

WINER: Sure.

COLMES: What specifically did John Kerry do, and was he instrumental in the attempt to focus on Oliver North back then?

WINER: Well, I guess the best record of that would be Oliver North's own notebooks and diaries, which are still available from an organization called the National Security Archives. And some of them are online.

There are lots of references in 1986 to Senator Kerry's investigation of Mr. North in Mr. North's own diaries. So a good place to start on that would be Oliver North's own anxieties about Senator Kerry's investigation.

COLMES: Is John Kerry prepared to fight -- I mean, do you expect more of these kinds of charges during this campaign? And by the way, the president's called himself a war president. So that, I think, brings up the issue of, if we want to fight on that level, I believe that much of this is quite relevant.

WINER: Well, I think that, as the records continue to get exposed, Senator Kerry has got decades of service for this country. He's proud of the investigations he did, including the investigation of Mr. North's activities.

People who worked on it are proud of it, and there is a substantial record there for the American people to look at.

HANNITY: And his record was exposed.

WINER: We don't think that people ought to be funding other people to blow things up in other countries, and certainly they ought not to be doing it when the Congress says it is illegal.

HANNITY: Are you accusing him of a crime, sir?

WINER: He was convicted of a crime, sir.

HANNITY: Sir, that was not -- that was overturned, sir. He was not convicted of anything.

WINER: That is not true, sir. That's what a conservative...

HANNITY: That's another lie that you've told. That is absolutely not true. Thank you very much.

WINER: No, as a matter of fact, if you'll allow me to respond...

HANNITY: He's innocent, thank you.

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