South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham on Gitmo Detainees

This is a partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," August 3, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "Personal Story" segment tonight, there's a ferocious debate going on in America over how to interrogate terror suspects. Some want no coerced interrogation. Others say that policy will cost American lives.

I favor strictly defined coerced interrogation, and I made my decision after talking with a former U.S. top interrogator in Afghanistan, who used techniques called monstering that were designed to break subjects by subjecting them to noise, no sleep and uncomfortable positions.


O'REILLY: Did you get information that was helpful to the United States by using this monstering technique?

CHRIS MACKEY, AUTHOR, "THE INTERROGATORS": Extremely helpful. The information that my extraordinary bunch of interrogators collected using that technique cannot be underestimated.

O'REILLY: Can you give us an example of it?

MACKEY: Yes. Some of the information that we got using that technique revealed plots that were going on in Europe that were foiled by civilian intelligence agencies. And another one was a couple of very important tactical plots that were being -- going to start combat soldiers on the ground, which was actually our principal responsibility of the interrogators.


O'REILLY: With us now Senator Lindsey Graham, who may be at odds with the Bush administration over our interrogation procedures but has sponsored legislation that supports holding the detainees.

All right. Let's get to the interrogation first. I mean, you just heard, that's how I formed my opinion. I mean, this guy, he wrote a book, he's the top guy. He says we roughed them up. We roughed them up and we got results by doing it.

And that belies the people that say, well, if you rough them up you'll never get anything. I don't believe that. Where do you stand?

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Well, I want to put everything that we do in one document so that the people who are implementing the interrogations won't get in trouble themselves.

So the Army Field Manual is being written right now by the Army, taking this guy's input and everyone else's input, to come up with one stop shopping to interrogate someone under the Geneva Convention and a terrorist who doesn't fall under the Geneva Convention. So there will be two parts to it. I think that would help us all.

O'REILLY: Where do you come on a terrorist who doesn't fall under, someone who's caught in civilian clothing targeting civilians? I mean, can we deprive them of sleep? Can we put them in shackles?

GRAHAM: One, they're not under the Geneva Convention, and they should never be under the Geneva Convention. We should have interrogation techniques separate for them, apart from the Geneva Convention. That would be humane and work.

O'REILLY: All right. I think you're fair with that, but you have to tell me, Senator, how far you will go, because that is the debate in this country.

John McCain was on this broadcast last week, and he says he doesn't want much of that stuff. You know where he's coming from; he was tortured in North Vietnam. And I understand where he's coming from.

But I want to protect American lives. And if you have to rough these guys up somewhat, I'm OK with it. Where are you?

GRAHAM: Yes. I'm OK with the idea that the people who are in charge are the ones that should be telling us what works and what doesn't. I'm a politician. I don't interrogate people for a living. You're a host on a television show.

O'REILLY: I do interrogate people.

GRAHAM: That's right and you do a darn good job.

O'REILLY: And I do.

GRAHAM: But I think it's humane at the end of the day. But these people -- I've been here twice, Bill. And I've asked them do you have the tools that you need in the Army Field Manual? They said yes.

Is there anything lacking in the Army Field Manual that would prevent you from doing your job to protect America? They said no.

So here's what I'm saying: if the Army Field Manual, in their opinion works, let Congress bless it.

O'REILLY: Most of us don't know what the Army Field Manual says. I want to run it right down. You've got to give me a no spin answer.


O'REILLY: Depriving people of sleep. Are you OK with it?

GRAHAM: Yes, absolutely.

O'REILLY: All right. A loud noise, are you OK with it?

GRAHAM: Yes, it's called raising a teenager.

O'REILLY: You know, gangster rap music, piping it in. You're OK with it, right?


O'REILLY: Hot and cold temperatures in the room, are you OK with it?

GRAHAM: That's part, I think, of interrogation techniques in the Army Field Manual.

O'REILLY: Shackles?

GRAHAM: They're all shackled when they're interrogated. I've been in the room...

O'REILLY: Being in a fetal position on the floor?

GRAHAM: They tell me that physical coercion has a role, but the interrogators tell me the best way to break somebody at Gitmo is to get in their head.

O'REILLY: That's for sure. That's why they brought the woman in to snap her bra. What do you think?

GRAHAM: It's not inhumane treatment, but they tell me that humiliation -- you know, most interrogators are women at Gitmo? Did you know that?

O'REILLY: I did not.

GRAHAM: And they have a very good way of relating to the detainee to get in their head, and we're getting information there that's saving lives. Keep it open.

O'REILLY: But you don't want any suggestive actions by these women?

GRAHAM: They tell me that is the worst thing you could do to get good information.

O'REILLY: OK. Dogs present?

GRAHAM: Dogs are present.

O'REILLY: Dogs present in the interrogation, some of these people fear dog?

GRAHAM: They tell me that fear and intimidation is probably the least likely way to get in somebody's head, but it's been used in Afghanistan out in the hinterland and as long as people are not violating the law, it's OK with me.

O'REILLY: All right. Now, Vice President Cheney, it was reported, doesn't really like you guys wanting to handcuff the president in demanding legislation on what he can or cannot do or order as commander in chief. Is that accurate to say?

GRAHAM: Well, I think he doesn't want the Congress to do anything that would impede the administration, nor do I. But here is what I'm proposing if you just give me a minute here.

There are 185 detainees that have lawyers in federal court. The Supreme Court has given habeas corpus rights to the foreign citizen terrorists that are undermining the interrogation that's going on. Lawyers are beginning to run the jail.

Congress needs to weigh in here. Congress needs to legitimatize interrogation techniques in the Army Field Manual by passing a congressional statute. Congress needs to say that an enemy combatant caught in a foreign land fighting this country can be kept off the battlefield forever, if necessary, at Guantanamo Bay. Congress should authorize military tribunals for these people. If we don't watch it, Bill, the courts are going to take over this business.

O'REILLY: No, I understand. I've always said that it's insane. Look at the sentence of the millennium bomber -- the sentence of the millennium bomber by this pinhead judge in Seattle. He's out in 13 years.

GRAHAM: He should be -- they should be tried in military tribunals. They should not be federal court.

O'REILLY: You're introducing legislation to say that? GRAHAM: Yes. O'REILLY: But Cheney and Bush say, look, there are going to be extraordinary circumstances where the president is going to have to order some stuff, and he doesn't want to be constrained by a law that if he orders -- say somebody knows about a nuke or something like that and you have to do extraordinary things, he's going to break the law. You understand that?

GRAHAM: The interrogators there at Guantanamo Bay tell me that if you adopt the field manual we're good to go. You know what we've done...

O'REILLY: You're dodging my question here. I mean, Bush and Cheney don't want to be constrained in extraordinary circumstances. You know that.

GRAHAM: Right. I mean, the constraints we have as a nation are our own laws. We've adopted the anti-torture statute. That is part of our own law.

O'REILLY: That's true.

GRAHAM: The Uniform Code of Military Justice makes it a crime to abuse a detainee. You can get good information, I believe, by being aggressive physically and psychologically without becoming your enemy.

The laws that we've adopted for the last 60 years to protect our own troops. You detain them, interrogate them and prosecute them and the Congress needs to get involved, because the courts are taking that jail over. And Scalia said in the dissenting opinion the courts are ill equipped to run Guantanamo Bay.

O'REILLY: That's for sure. If the judges get involved...

GRAHAM: I'm in Congress and I'm coming, and you're going to vote on whether or not they should be tried, detained and interrogated. I think they need to be done all three, tried, detained and interrogated.

O'REILLY: All right. Let us know how this legislation gets through in the fall. We appreciate it.

GRAHAM: Will do.

O'REILLY: Good to see you again, Senator.

GRAHAM: God bless.

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