OTR Interviews

Col. Oliver North: We must eliminate ISIS safe havens

The president vowed to be 'relentless' and 'vigilant' against ISIS's reign of terror - but what does that mean?


This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," August 20, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: ISIS ending its chilling video with a warning that another American journalist, Steven Sotloff, is next. He could be the next captive beheaded.

Meanwhile, the U.S. continuing its airstrikes against ISIS. Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North joins us. Good evening, sir.

The report that Catherine just said, is that they are going to treat the death of the journalist like a law enforcement operation.


VAN SUSTEREN: Breathtaking.

NORTH: And, well, he [President Obama] didn't say that today in his remarks. He did -- first of all my condolences to the family and my prayers for them because what they have witnessed is just horrific, the Foley family.

Second, he talked at length about the horrors being perpetrated by ISIS. And then he says at the end of this, and this is a quote: "We will act against ISIL standing alongside others." What the hell does that mean?

Again, I had the great blessing of working for a president who made decisions, acted and then talked. So when Ronald Reagan said you can run but you cannot hide, we already had the terrorists in hand before -- that hijacked the cruise ship, Achille Lauro.

Here's what I think is happening right now, particularly with this announcement today, the recognition of what Catherine just said about there is probably going to be more Americans killed. Here is the facts as we know them and from what I have gathered since that remarkable release that was conducted here just a few moments ago. Number one, Foley and the other Americans were being held by a free Syrian Army organization that did not get the support that they have been promised.



NORTH: In Syria. Free Syrian Army. And they eventually got rolled up by ISIL or ISIS or whatever the hell else they are calling themselves this week. At that point, they turned over the prisoners. The raid is conducted after they have been moved from point A to point B, proving what Catherine has said and what we have been saying all along, our human intelligence is abysmal.


VAN SUSTEREN: Can we stop for one second? We have a CIA director who has gotten caught lying.

NORTH: Yeah.

VAN SUSTEREN: And -- well, anyway, whatever.

NORTH: Yeah. And there is no real clandestine service on the ground. So human intelligence is nonexistent. When they conducted the raid, they found out they weren't there. We now know where they are. They are in the hands of ISIS ISIL, I.S., and they are going to be murdered. This is a horrible fact of life on the ground.


NORTH: And what the president is saying, when he says we are going to act standing alongside others, it's hollow. It means nothing. Here is why you know. There is no second carrier battle group that's been deployed to the Mediterranean. There are no extra Marine expeditionary units being sent out. Those things have to happen.

VAN SUSTEREN: Let me one-up you. He said on Monday -- I'm looking at his answer to a question from Steve Holland from Reuters when he had the press conference. He said that they said that a group like that is "contained." That's what they want to do is contain them because ultimately they pose a threat. Everyone else says that ISIS is mobile. We have got Prime Minister David Cameron coming off his holiday because is he worried about what's going on in Britain. We have got the Iraqi ambassador to the United States who told me last night -- he was going to be back here tonight -- that ISIS on the move. He says it's a real threat to us and we are trying to contain evil people?

NORTH: What has to be done, there has to be a decision made, and this president can do it like that. He has got a pen. He has got a telephone. Start attacking ISIS C.Q., command, control and communication nodes inside Syria. You can't give terrorist organizations a safe haven. If we have learned nothing since Vietnam, a safe haven is a formula for disaster.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, Secretary of State John Kerry has tweeted that ISIS must be eliminated. So he is not trying to contain them. He is trying to eliminate.

NORTH: The only way to do that is go after the safe havens, the command, control and communications, the high-value targets, the logistics facilities. All of those are in Syria. That's where all the M-1 tanks.


VAN SUSTEREN: What about our bad intelligence?


NORTH: You can see this stuff. You can look down from overhead and see the tanks and the artillery pieces and the arsenals and the armories, and this administration isn't doing it. God knows why.


NORTH: I hope it's not because they are coordinating with the ayatollahs in Tehran.

VAN SUSTEREN: It couldn't be that.

NORTH: You hope not. I hope not, too.

VAN SUSTEREN: I don't think so at all.

Anyway, this is like -- and the whole thought, too, is that journalists are sort of helpful on the ground in terms of trying to bring information to protect other people. But what news organization is going to be sending journalists anymore?

NORTH: I'll go.

VAN SUSTEREN: No, I know you will go.

But anyway, Colonel North, thank you, sir.

NORTH: Thank you.