Sign in to comment!

Hannity

Hunting Terrorists in the Philippines

This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," June 8, 2007, that has been edited for clarity.

SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: We go live now to the Philippines, where our own FOX News Channel's Colonel Oliver North is covering a major counter terror operation with a joint Philippine strike force and U.S. Special Op advisors on the hunt for the Islamic terror group Abu Sayyaf.

Colonel, what's happening?

OLIVER NORTH, HOST, "WAR STORIES": Sean, today we went with U.S. Special Operations troops and Philippine troops to the scene of two recent battles with Abu Sayyaf and rogue Moro National Liberation Front terrorists.

For years, Islamic radicals have used this dense, triple canopy and rugged terrain of this 635-square-mile island as a safe haven.

We spent the day with men who just weeks ago engaged in bloody combat with more than 300 of these enemy combatants. Groups like Abu Sayyaf claim that their goal is an autonomous Islamic state, but in fact they're thugs and murderous criminals.

The commanders we've talked to here say that these victories by the Philippine armed forces, advised by U.S. Special Operations troops are bringing this part of the world closer to peace and prosperity.

One of those making this happen is here beside me. Lt. Colonel Tony Lastimado is the operations officer for the Philippine joint Special Operations forces.

Colonel, what's the mission of your troops out here?

LT. COL. TONY LASTIMADO, OPERATIONS OFFICER, PHILIPPINE JOINT SPECIAL OPERATIONS FORCES: Well, the mission of my — of my unit is to utilize the high volume targets of the Abu Sayyaf group and the Jemaah Islamiyah terrorist groups.

NORTH: Tell me about some of the successes you've out here.

LASTIMADO: My unit is doing great. We have, in fact, neutralized seven leaders of the Abu Sayyaf group. And among them is the Islamiyah (ph) leader in the Abu Sayyaf group who have practically planned all the bombings and kidnappings of Abu Sayyaf until his death in January.

NORTH: Of course, he's killed Americans, as well?

LASTIMADO: Yes.

NORTH: The Burners?

LASTIMADO: Yes.

NORTH: Tell me, what does the American cooperation with your forces do for you? How does it help?

LASTIMADO: The U.S. forces are doing great in helping us accomplish our mission. The subject expert exchange training helps a lot in enhancing the security of our soldiers. And the technical intelligence, it helps in coming up with good motivation for our troops.

NORTH: Now, tell me, who is it that delivers this help to you?

LASTIMADO: It's actually the joint operations task force. The joint operations task force is my friends here...

NORTH: Now, how long have you — Lieutenant Colonel Lemire, everybody should know (ph) is the joint special operations task force had out here. Tell me, what is it you guys do for him?

LTC. GUY LEMIRE, JOINT SPECIAL OPERATIONS: Well, what we do, our mission is to advise and assist the armed forces of the Philippines in defeating terrorism here in Suma (ph).

And we do that a number of ways. We work through, by, and with the armed forces of the Philippines. We provide them operations intelligence fusion. We assist them with engineering projects. We assist them with medical projects, and we assist them with veterinarian projects.

And we do all of this in support of their combat operations. So what we don't do is engage in any combat operations ourselves.

NORTH: How long have you known each other?

LEMIRE: I've known Tony now for about 12 years, Ollie. I had the pleasure of attending the Special Forces officer qualification course in 1995 with Tony. And I can tell you he is mentally tough. He is physically strong. He is the best of the best, and it's an honor to be serving with him here.

NORTH: Two years ago when we were out here, the thought of a Philippine civilian coming up and helping the Philippine armed forces track down terrorists was unthinkable. What's changed?

LEMIRE: It's much more secure. It's much more stable now. It's really a team effort, with the AFP at the forefront of furthering peace and prosperity.

We've also had a lot of assistance from USAID, from the U.S. embassy and from the inter-agencies. So what you're seeing now, Ollie, is a much more synchronized and a much more focused effort at bringing peace and prosperity to the area and making it a little bit better for your average Filipino.

NORTH: Tell me real quick, was he any good at Fort Bragg?

LASTIMADO: He did a great job in our Q-course. But I think I beat him in the land navigation.

NORTH: All right, guys. Quick, say hi to home.

LEMIRE: I'd like to say hi — hello to my friends and family, and a special hello to Cindy. We recently lost her husband, a sergeant major, on another operation in another part of the world. We just want to let her know that we're praying for her.

NORTH: Well, these are heroes. And I know you've got family in the states, as well.

LASTIMADO: Yes. I would say hello to my family back in Manila and in California.

NORTH: Thanks, guys. We appreciate very much the chance to show these heroes to the American and Filipino people.

Back to you.

HANNITY: All right, Colonel. Stay safe, my friend. And send our best regards to all of them.

Watch "Hannity & Colmes" weeknights at 9 p.m. ET!

Copy: Content and Programming Copyright 2007 Fox News Network, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Transcription Copyright 2007 Voxant, Inc. (www.voxant.com), which takes sole responsibility for the accuracy of the transcription. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No license is granted to the user of this material except for the user's personal or internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may infringe upon Fox News Network, LLC'S and Voxant, Inc.'s copyrights or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.