OTR Interviews

Embarrassing Attack on Two Generals Reporting on Security Threat at the U.S.-Mexico Border

Ret. Gen. Barry McCaffrey and Ret. Gen. Bob Scales stress the security threat of cartels in Congressional hearing


This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," October 17, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Two U.S. generals under attack not by Al Qaeda but by members of Congress. The generals are hired to assess the danger at the U.S.-Mexico border. They were called to Congress to report their findings. Two Texas congressman apparently didn't like the generals' assessment of the scene down at the border, so the congressmen went to their Plan B and attacked the generals.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I looked at your report. All I found was anecdotal evidence. I think if I would have done my dissertation or my report, I would have got an F. Don't you think anybody that would render this as a Ph.D. would have gotten an F in the report?

RET. GEN. BOB SCALES: Not only have I done Ph.D., I've done six books and about 300 scholarly articles. So I know a little bit about how to write. No, that's not how we did it.

REP. HENRY CUELLAR, D-TEXAS: Wait, Washington, D.C. is at 23. We're here in Washington. Wouldn't you call Washington, D.C. a war zone? Just a "yes" or "no."

RET. GEN. BARRY MCCAFFREY: The questions are never answered with "yes" or "no."

CUELLAR: I'm asking you just --

MCCAFFREY: I'm not going to answer a question with a "yes" or "no." I think what we're doing --

CUELLAR: OK, thank you.

MCCAFFREY: We are talking to each other.

CUELLAR: You were paid $80,000 as former military - taxpayer dollars to make this report, is that correct?

SCALES: We had five people work four months on this report. And I assure you.

CUELLAR: Sir, general, with all due respect, general --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Will the gentleman yield for a second. I do think these are respected generals and I believe we need to show respect and allow them to answer the question.

CUELLAR: Let me ask my question again. Were you paid $80,000 yes or no?

MCCAFFREY: Let me ask you, are you suggesting that this report had political or monetary motivation? If you are, sir, that is a shameful comment.

CUELLAR: Let me say.

MCCAFFREY: My dedication to this country was based on 32 years of service.

CUELLAR: General --


VAN SUSTEREN: Major General Bob Scales joins us. And let me be the first to apologize.


VAN SUSTEREN: I'm really ashamed. I know you very well. I know General McCaffrey very well. You were called up to give information about your report and I think it's scandalous the way you were treated.

SCALES: Again, Barry and I have served over 80 years in the military. We've both been shot at many times.

VAN SUSTEREN: Usually you expect the enemy though.

SCALES: But in this case the shots were verbal. I think that the congressman was -- really took a personal attack on both of us and impugned our integrity and our motive, and that's what Barry and I got most upset about.

VAN SUSTEREN: He didn't do it to me and I'm embarrassed. You know what, you guys did a report. You went up there to tell the report. It's fair to ask you questions about it. But to say you did it for money, attacked you. And I know you and I have been on a million times and I know all about background, and for him to talk about an F. I thought it was terrible.

SCALES: Yes. It was embarrassing. And what we wanted to do was to get our message across. We didn't want to go through some verbal sparring contest with Congress. Unfortunately that's what it devolved into. We wanted to tell the tale about Mexican narco-terrorists who have extended their reach into the United States, who have gang member infantrymen in 1,000 cities in this country, who are making somewhere between $28 billion and $36 billion off of this and are terrorist groups that are beginning to act less like criminals and more like insurgents, military insurgents. This is a very big problem out there.

VAN SUSTEREN: We have been down there. I was warned when I was down there over in South Texas. And, you know, I don't know how much is exaggerated by what people tell us. But it's hard not to believe it is a serious problem with an open border, a known civil war going on down there, the latest terrorism thing Iran thing we heard about last week. There is something there. I don't know the magnitude, but to show the disrespect of two people who had gone down there and studied with others is just extraordinary.

SCALES: Yes. We had one guy who testified with us, Dr. Mike Vickers, who was a veterinarian in a county of 7,000 citizens. Over the years he has autopsied or discovered over 600 dead people in his county. This is not just incidental. These are homicides. These are people who are left in the desert to die, many of them women sexually abused. This is not just incidental conflict. This is a very, very serious affair. And most of it is occurring in the unpopulated counties along the Texas border in those empty areas where the narco-terrorists are still able to invade our country.

VAN SUSTEREN: The congressmen who were, I think, unbelievably rude, one is from Laredo, one is from El Paso. Why did they do that do you think? What is their motive?

SCALES: Part chamber of commerce speech. They wanted to if emphasize that crime is not so bad in their cities. And it's not because the narco- terrorists are going to the empty spaces rather than the cities. And that would make sense. In the military you always go to where the enemy is weakest. And in this case it's in those empty spaces between the cities, not in the cities. That's the point we tried to make to them during the hearing.

VAN SUSTEREN: So maybe ignorance a little bit. Could be.

Once again, I'm terribly sorry. I know your reputation. I know you and I know General McCaffrey's reputation, and I'm very sorry. Thank you, sir.

SCALES: Thank you, Greta.