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Interviews

Is The New York Times Putting America in Danger?

This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," May 25, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "Impact" segment tonight: The New York Times has printed a story saying General David Petraeus, commander of U.S. Central Command, has ordered that covert military operations be expanded in the Middle East. Apparently, the newspaper got hold of a memo by Petraeus stating that.

Fox News strategic analyst Lt. Col. Ralph Peters says this is just another example of The New York Times hurting the nation because it hurts the War on Terror effort. Colonel Peters joins us now from Washington. He's the author of the book "Endless War" about the jihad situation.

So colonel, you know, I don't want to use any hyperbole here. We want to be very, very methodical. It's a serious accusation to say that The New York Times is putting the nation in jeopardy. Can you back it up?

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LT. COL. RALPH PETERS, FOX NEWS STRATEGIC ANALYST: Well, sure. First of all, they tipped our secret operations, our black operations approach to the Iranians, to the Syrians, to the terrorists. It made it much harder and much more dangerous for our agents, for our special operators to collect intelligence, to take direct action, to protect our country, to advance our interests…

O'REILLY: Well, how did that happen though?

PETERS: …but it goes beyond that.

O'REILLY: If you print, as The New York Times did, a memo that Petraeus says, look, we're going to expand operations, military operations, all right, try to get more intel, hunt down some Al Qaedas in the Persian Gulf, but you don't say, why, when, where, how, you don't, it's a general memo. How does that help Iran specifically?

PETERS: Well, yes, Iran's a great example here. It helps them because, one, it tells them we're now looking at taking direct action on their soil, collecting targets in case we have to hit. That's very important. But beyond that, the Iranians are so paranoid that now they will see every Western businessman, every tourist and, yes, every journalist as a potential spy, and there will be consequences. Imagine what the Iranians are going — how they're going to use this against Iranian dissidents and democracy advocates. You're a spy for the great Satan. You disappear…

O'REILLY: But don't they already do that?

PETERS: …you're killed.

O'REILLY: Aren't they doing that already?

PETERS: Now these people are hyper-paranoid. And yes, they're doing it, but now you're putting the paranoia on methamphetamines. Bill, this is a very specific problem. It has hurt us badly, and it's also hurt us with countries that are pseudo friends, such as Saudi Arabia and Pakistan because — and Yemen…

O'REILLY: And they don't want…

PETERS: …because it's said that we're going to run operations against them.

O'REILLY: Yes, they don't want their people to know they're cooperating with the United States in any kind of a mission or operation, Yemen in particular.

PETERS: Yes.

O'REILLY: OK, so let's assume that you are correct, that The New York Times printing this memo, which isn't anything extraordinary. I mean, we all feel that Central Command is doing whatever they can to track down the terrorists and get intel. So it's no big thing. It's not like Watergate. So they print it, and it emboldens our enemies, and it creates paranoia, and makes it more difficult for friendly nations like Saudi Arabia to cooperate with us. All right. So why do they do it? So this guy Sulzberger, who's the publisher of The New York Times, you know, from his speeches and all that, he's not happy with the way the country is. I guess he's a big Obama guy, but I can't think he's so happy. Does Sulzberger dislike America that much that he wants to hurt American citizens, or just does he not know any better?

PETERS: Well, let's look at the evidence. The New York Times, his paper celebrated Abu Ghraib with hundreds of stories on the front page, grim photos.

O'REILLY: Absolutely correct. Absolutely true.

PETERS: He — they tipped our wiretapping program against terrorists. They tipped our program about going after terrorist financing. And now this — Bill, I disagree with you. I think this is a big thing that they tipped this one, because highlighting that we're going to do operations on the ground in places like Iran, that's a different ballgame. And what I want to know is what on earth did The Times think they would accomplish? What is the good of it? The only thing I can come up with…

O'REILLY: Well, they don't like the military so much.

PETERS: Oh, yes.

O'REILLY: And they feel that America is doing bad things, I guess. I guess that's Sulzberger's point of view.

PETERS: Well, I think that, you know, as a former intel guy, my first instinct is that an Obama disciple, a civilian appointee or somewhere within the military CENTCOM, the White House, leaked this on purpose, because Obama is getting a bad rap because his program of sanctions against Iran is going nowhere. So this, I think they…

O'REILLY: So it makes him look like a tough guy, yes.

PETERS: He's macho.

O'REILLY: Makes him look like a tough guy.

PETERS: Yes, he's a macho, macho man.

O'REILLY: That may be true with that speculation. But one more question about Sulzberger.

PETERS: Sure.

O'REILLY: And I'm going to ask you the same question. Is he a man who hates his country? Does he just have no regard for his country?

PETERS: Bill, two separate questions. One, I think he's a man with no regard for his country, a citizen of the world, one of the global elite. As to whether he hates his country, I can't judge that. I can only tell you with certainty that he and his paper are damaging our country.

O'REILLY: All right. Colonel, thanks very much. We appreciate your point of view. Mr. Sulzberger's welcome to come on this program any time.