This is a partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," May 12, 2004 that has been edited for clarity.

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TONY SNOW, GUEST HOST:  Our top story tonight:  Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe got our attention yesterday when he said this at the hearings about the Abu Ghraib (search) prison abuse scandal.


SEN. JAMES INHOFE (R), OKLAHOMA:  I'm probably not the only one up at this table that is more outraged by the outrage than we are about the treatment.  The idea that these prisoners, you know they're not there for traffic violations.

If they're in Cellblock 1-A or 1-B, these prisoners, they're murders, terrorists, insurgents.  Many of them probably have American blood on their hands.  And here we are so concerned about the treatment of those individuals.


SNOW:  Senator Inhofe joins us now from Washington with reaction to the gruesome treatment of American businessman, Nick Berg (search).

Senator, you said those words several hours before any of us knew about Nick Berg's execution.  They seem almost prophetic.  You had a lot of crocodile tears in the United States Senate.  First, I want to get your reaction to the execution.

INHOFE:  Well, it was just a horrible thing.  But keep in mind that it was done before.  You remember [slain Wall Street Journal reporter] Danny Pearl (search), a very similar type of execution.

It's a horrible thing.  But I think that the American people realize that this is something that's just unspeakable.  And that just lends urgency to our getting this thing over with.  And to do that, Tony, you've got to make information out of these guys.

It's very important that we let the interrogators do their work, get information.  And when you do that, you're going to save American lives.

SNOW:  Senator, do you believe for a moment the argument that he was executed because of the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal?

INHOFE:  Not for a moment.  You know, they're doing this, this is happening on a daily basis.  Even similar types of executions have taken place.  The things that they're doing is just unimaginable by those of us who are trying to fight these terrorists.

SNOW:  Let's talk about Abu Ghraib prison.  You have seen the latest batch of photos and videos.  Describe them.

INHOFE:  Well, they're not any different, really, than what you've already seen.  I was expecting to see things a lot worse.  And they're not.

Let's keep in mind, though, that we have a handful of seven prison guards that are really, in my opinion, bad people.  They're being right now adjudicated in the Uniform Code of Military Justice.  And so that's being done.

That was being done before the public got involved in this thing, I might want to -- I might add.  But as far as the pictures are concerned, they weren't supposed to take pictures anyway.  Under our code, and under the Geneva Convention, you cannot take pictures of prisoners, except the administration taking a picture as they're incarcerated.  So that should not have happened.

But as far as the pictures are concerned, I think we had already -- I was not surprised.  They're very similar to what we have already seen.

SNOW:  Are you surprised at the stupidity of the whole thing?

INHOFE:  Yes, I really am.  And, you know, I do believe that there are some problems in the chain of command that these kids that were guilty of doing things they should not have been doing, they were not properly supervised.  And I think, you know, you can tell that by the expressions on their faces.

But, nonetheless, let's keep in mind we're dealing with the hardest core of individuals, which I've described, those that are in that cell block, and we've got to get busy and get them interrogated and do what's necessary.  Because, you know, we've got to keep in mind, we've got American lives depending on this.  This is a big deal.

SNOW:  I want to get to the importance of interrogation, but let's wrap up a couple of pieces of business with regard to the latest tapes and videos.  I have heard it said by one member of your committee that these guys, these seven people, could not possibly have thought up all the tortures.  Just didn't think that they had the mental power to do it.

And, as a result, there is some suspicion that they were urged on to do certain things to the prisoners, maybe by military intelligence, maybe by people higher up in the food chain.  What do you think?

INHOFE:  I just don't believe that.  I really don't.  And I've seen -- it shows that two people can look at the same information and come to different conclusions.  But these people, you see the same faces over and over again, and they were enjoying what they were doing.

And I think that one thing led to another and, you know, each day, we did that yesterday, let's try something else today.  And that's the problem that we have.  And I think it's confined to seven people.  I really honestly believe that.

And as I talked to the various generals that were before our committee in the public hearing, I just became convinced that we had a chain of command problem that didn't quite reach them.  And these people were left to their own discretion to do things they should not have done, and things that were not consistent with our code, or the uniform -- or the Geneva Convention.

SNOW:  Let me ask you a couple of political questions.  The Kerry campaign has been using this, in some ways, to use funds, both to get rid of Donald Rumsfeld and otherwise.  What do you think about that?

INHOFE:  I think it's -- that's why I said, you know, yesterday, in that public hearing that was live on C-SPAN, I held it up.  This is being done for political reasons.  I read a solicitation for funds that John Kerry had, and I think it's very, very improper.  But it does demonstrate that a lot of this is done for political purposes.

SNOW:  Speaking of which, Senator Kennedy has also said that the prison, in effect, operates as it did under Saddam Hussein (search).  Do you think he owes the U.S. military an apology?

INHOFE:  I really believe he does.  In 18 years of serving in the House and the Senate, I've never heard a statement that is so repulsive as that statement.  I think he really needs to do that.

I mean, what was being done, maybe people don't like the idea, maybe it was a process of breaking down, and some of the things should not have been done.  But we need to interrogate these people.

Now, you contrast that -- I think I said this in the public hearing.  They should wake up every morning and praise Allah that Saddam Hussein's not in charge.  He would be dropping them in vats of acid, cutting their tongues out, doing all these things.  There's no comparison.  Kennedy should not have said what he said.

SNOW:  All right.  Senator Inhofe, thank you very much.

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