Families of murdered journalists angry with the White House

This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," September 12, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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BOLLING: In the "Personal Story Segment" tonight, the families of both James Foley and Steven Sotloff are lashing out at the Obama administration for not doing enough to make sure the men got home safely. Foley and Sotloff were the journalists who were kidnapped and beheaded by ISIS.

James Foley's brother pulled no punches.


MICHAEL FOLEY, BROTHER OF JAMES FOLEY: We're appalled by the situation. You know, it went past not doing everything they could they were actually an impedence -- they got in our way. And that's what -- that is what really, you know, bothers me to the core, you know. We were -- I was specifically threatened by the Department of State about raising funds towards, you know, ransom demands for my brother. You know, we were smart enough to look past it but it slowed us down. We lost a lot of time trying to regroup.


BOLLING: Joining us now with his take on this, Fox News senior correspondent, Geraldo Rivera. Geraldo, surely -- surely you would agree the Obama administration bungled this whole deal?

GERALDO RIVERA, FOX NEWS SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: Well, I certainly relate to that brother. If it were my brother, God forbid, I would do everything I could to negotiate with anybody I could to save his life. I totally relate to this family.

The country has a policy that the nation doesn't negotiate with terrorists. That's the headline. Of course the headline is a lie also. We negotiate with terrorists. We have at various times throughout our history. When you have a war -- a declared war against someone like the United States against Germany or Japan, you have prisoners of war, you have prisoner exchanges.

BOLLING: Fair enough. But talk about what Foley's brother said right there. He was specifically threatened by the State Department if he were going to go ahead and raise money to try to get his brother back.

RIVERA: I'm not going to defend that. I totally believe him. I think that the bureaucracy is blind.

BOLLING: Can you imagine that though?

RIVERA: I think it's really low down and dirty. And it's a symbol really of the arrogance, I think, of the yuppies that they have in the State Department.

BOLLING: Right. Josh Earnest was asked about that today, by the way, at the White House. He kind pushed it over to the Department of Justice and asked them about that. They kind of denied it but man, here's a young guy going I wanted my brother back. I wanted to raise money, we were going to do it and the state pushed back.

Let's talk a little bit about what you just touched on. They say don't negotiate with terrorists. We don't, they don't -- you shouldn't. However, trading Bowe Bergdahl for five Gitmo Taliban commanders -- that would be a negotiation, wouldn't it?

RIVERA: Definitely. I think you and I, you know, are on the same side in this particular -- I think that, first of all, I would have negotiated to get the sergeant back because I don' believe that we can leave a GI behind, so I supported that negotiation even though it seems to violate their own principle about not negotiating with terrorists.

BOLLING: You would have given back five.

RIVERA: I would have given back five, whatever it takes. The Israelis have given back 700 for one. You do what you have to, to get them back. I'm not sure how effective those five, you know, aged out, they have been in Gitmo for 11 years.

BOLLNG: So what's the difference? Because it was a military personnel versus --

Rivera: -- I'm not defending the policy. What I'm saying is the policy is hypocritical because the government does negotiate with terrorists. They tell you not to but they do when it suits them. It is purely pragmatism --

BOLLING: So you think it's ok to negotiate with terrorists? Because this sounds like a terrible -- I mean if you -- the minute you give a terrorist -- what did they want, $132 million for Foley?

RIVERA: Whatever number they came up with --

BOLLING: You just put a price on every single American who's overseas and made them vulnerable.

RIVERA: Here is what happened to us, Eric. We have an undeclared war, ok? So when you have an undeclared war, you don't have prisoners of war because you don't have war. So you don't have POWs. POWs are protected by the Geneva Convention of the 1929, I think, that said if you have a POW and is he incapacitated or whatever, you can exchange him for another POW. We have done it since time immemorial. That's why we have some civilized rules.


BOLLING: These Taliban weren't covered by that.

RIVERA: But why -- I think that it is preposterous that they are not. This is the war of the 21st century -- it's against these irregular gangs. ISIS I maintain is a de facto state. We should have a declaration of war. We should have a Congressional declaration of war against ISIS. I want the United States to be at war with ISIS. I want to destroy ISIS. I want to rain hell and death from above on to ISIS.

I want us to declare war and if one of our prisoners is taken and we have prisoners to exchange, then I'm all for that, too.

BOLLING: So, the question -- last before we go, President Obama called ISIS JV before he saw the light. Joe Biden said we are going to drive them back to the gates of hell, ISIS. I'm trying to figure out how many JV members have we driven back to the gates of hell?

RIVERA: I don't know. All I know is ISIS declared war on the United States. ISIS cut the heads off two of our journalists including Foley there whose brother you just saw. By doing that, by defiling our nation, our nation's citizens, our national pride, by spitting on us as with their contempt, we now can do whatever we can to destroy them, to hurt them, to kill them. I advocated -- I hate to sound so blood thirsty on a Friday night but I want ISIS to bleed for what they did to us.

BOLLING: Very good. Geraldo Rivera, thank you so much.

RIVERA: Thank you.

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