Does The U.S. Support Torturing Terror Suspects?

This is a partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," September 12, 2006, that has been edited for clarity.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: Now for the top story tonight. Opposing point of view joining us from Washington. Katherine Newell-Bierman, a former captain in the Air Force, present counsel for Human Rights Watch. This is crazy, right? Red Hot Chili Peppers blaring in on Zubaydah? This is nuts.

KATHERINE NEWELL-BIERMAN, HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH: Not if it's long enough and loud enough. The noise sounds like that in a cold room. Things that might sound pretty minor if they're long enough and loud enough and it's cold enough can cause severe pain and suffering. That's the bottom line.

O'REILLY: Severe pain and suffering. So you consider cold room and the Chili Peppers torture?

NEWELL-BIERMAN: Let me put it this way, Bill, when an interrogator sets out to use techniques like this to talk, you're not talking a few minutes of sounds or not talking a nippy 68 degrees. They're going to use them to the extent the person is being caused pain.

O'REILLY: Discomfort. I don't know about pain but I guess you could make an argument that having to listen to the Chili Peppers blaring in a cold room could cause pain.

NEWELL-BIERMAN: Well, Bill, we've seen this in torture chambers around the world. These kinds of techniques are not uncommon.

O'REILLY: So this is a torture chamber according to you and Human Rights Watch. This is torture.

NEWELL-BIERMAN: These techniques if used a certain away can amount to torture.

O'REILLY: OK. Now that to me is just nuts. Torture is taking my fingers off, disfiguring me, taking my eye out — not keeping me in a cold room and uncomfortable with blaring rock music.

NEWELL-BIERMAN: Let me ask you this, though.

O'REILLY: This is the debate. Now you have to understand this is the debate. This guy broke, Zubaydah — according to this article. I wasn't there. According to the article he broke because of this treatment and he gave up Khalid Sheikh Muhammad.

NEWELL-BIERMAN: He told us stuff we already knew, Bill. He told us Khalid Sheikh .

O'REILLY: That's what you say. Not what the CIA says.

NEWELL-BIERMAN: President Bush used him as a poster boy for these techniques and he said that Abu Zubaydah told us Khalid Sheikh Muhammad was actually Muqtar. According to the 9/11 Commission the CIA knew that in 2001.

O'REILLY: According to this article .

NEWELL-BIERMAN: I think President Bush's speechwriters gave him the most poignant example he could use and that's the one he used. That's pretty sad.

O'REILLY: If you can read then you read this article and according to the article the government official unnamed — I will admit we don't like unnamed sources — said that they broke Zubaydah and Zubaydah gave them up all the names that they need to get to prevent further terror attacks. Now I'm going to believe that unless you can prove it differently and you can't.

NEWELL-BIERMAN: Bill, tell you what, I'm going to suggest you have another guest on your show. That's Ron Suskind, someone who has had perhaps more access to people in the CIA than anybody else and has a book called "The One Percent Solution." And he goes into exactly what happens with Abu Zubaydah and what kind of information he gave up and the fact that Abu Zubaydah was a crazy man. He was writing diaries in the voices of three different people who were all living in his head.

O'REILLY: You don't believe, then, this New York Times.

NEWELL-BIERMAN: Bottom line is President Bush described Americans abusing and coercing interrogation from a crazy man who told us stuff we already knew or told us stuff we didn't know and we had to find out that wasn't true. That's the story behind the story.

O'REILLY: You don't believe the story then, because the story makes no mention of what you just said. The story basically says the FBI wanted a soft interrogation, the CIA wanted tough. Tough included the Red Hot Chili Peppers and a cold room.

NEWELL-BIERMAN: The story said that.

O'REILLY: And then at the end of the story, which should have been the lead paragraph but The Times is going to bury that all day long, the government official says, look, we broke the guy. The guy gave us very useful information and protected Americans. You say that's bull. You're just flat out .

NEWELL-BIERMAN: Bill, I'm telling you there's more information, OK? Here is the bottom line. OK? From day one through year five the U.S. military and the FBI have been saying coercive interrogation techniques get you garbage and come at a high cost.

O'REILLY: I don't believe that at a second.

NEWELL-BIERMAN: General Timmons said it at the Pentagon.

O'REILLY: I talked to the interrogators at Guantanamo. You may have seen that. I went down there.


O'REILLY: I talked to head interrogator Bob Rum in Afghanistan. These are the hands-on guys that do it every day.

NEWELL-BIERMAN: You're saying the interrogators told you torture is an effective technique to get good information?

O'REILLY: I'm telling you that coerced interrogation, you ask any police department in the United States, it works on most, not all, but most. It works.

NEWELL-BIERMAN: Works for what? They say what they want to say to get you to stop hurting them. I'm not going to argue this point with you. Let's look at the cost of these techniques.

O'REILLY: There's no end to the argument. Let me pose a very simple question to you.

NEWELL-BIERMAN: Let's look at the costs of these techniques. It makes a big difference.

O'REILLY: All you want to protect your family and my family is name, rank, and jihad number. That's all you want. You don't want any other techniques.

NEWELL-BIERMAN: You don't know that.

O'REILLY: Set me straight.

NEWELL-BIERMAN: Come on. Let's get real here. You said you want to talk about reality? Let's talk reality, OK?

O'REILLY: No, straight-on interrogation, Captain.

NEWELL-BIERMAN: Professional interrogators say coercion gets you garbage. They don't want to use it. Go look at the Pentagon briefing when General...

O'REILLY: I talked to them face-to-face. I talked to him face-to- face. He told me a totally different story.

NEWELL-BIERMAN: Get General Timmons up here. Get the military up here to testify before Congress.

O'REILLY: Very simple, OK, name, rank, jihad number. Anything else that you require from these guys?

NEWELL-BIERMAN: Bill, that's not our position and you know it.

O'REILLY: What's your position? State it.

NEWELL-BIERMAN: Our position is that abusive interrogation techniques which cause severe mental and physical pain and suffering are unlawful and really, really stupid.

O'REILLY: Captain, you got nothing and the Red Hot Chili Peppers isn't torture. Hate to break it to you. We appreciate you coming on the program.


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