This is a partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," July 18, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.
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BILL O'REILLY, HOST:In the "Impact" segment tonight, the ACLU has filed a Freedom of Information lawsuit against the federal government to get files the FBI has assembled on it, Green Peace, the American Arab Anti-discrimination Committee, PETA, and the group United for Peace and Justice. The ACLU is charging the Bush administration was trying to interfere with free speech by watching all those groups.
Joining us now from San Diego is Harold Copus, a former FBI agent and current partner of Investigative Solutions, Inc.
So what's going on here, Mr. Copus? Why is the FBI watching the ACLU and the others?
HAROLD COPUS, FORMER FBI AGENT: Well, they're really not watching them. What happened is that when the FBI is doing interviews with individuals who are plotting potential acts of violence, and they bring up that name, then that's put into the files. ACLU comes back and says, listen, we want a Freedom of Information. You tell me every time you've had something written about us. And that comes up. It means nothing. There's nothing there.
O'REILLY: Then why won't the government just give up the documents? The government says, well, they're not of any importance, blah, blah, blah, but I'd like to see them.
See, I want to know who the ACLU is hanging around with. I want to know all this stuff. I think it could work against the ACLU.
COPUS: Well, I think it could work against them. And I think, honestly, the reason there's a delay is because there are some documents that are very sensitive.
O'REILLY: Oh, they can redact them. You know how they play the game. We file Freedom of Information all the time here. And we get it back, and it's blacked out and all that game.
COPUS: Well, you do. And you have to read between the lines. And we've all been there. I'll give you two examples.
There was a situation that came up for the -- in Boston for the Democratic National Committee. Credible information about potential threats there, disruption, including something about baseball bats embedded with nails to take out police officers.
Obviously, the FBI is going to check into this. They had another situation in New York with the subways, where a group is going in trying to figure out how to throw off bomb-sniffing dogs after the situation in London. Obviously, that's important.
O'REILLY: Yes, but how does that tie in with the ACLU?
COPUS: Well, these people then, when they're interviewed, they'll throw out names. And some of them are -- have used ACLU lawyers to assist them. And so you get that name in there. And all of a sudden, ACLU says...
O'REILLY: That's what I want to see, all this. See, I'm rooting for the ACLU to win this Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, because I want to see all the people that are using ACLU lawyers, who the ACLU's hanging with.
Now PETA, we understand and Green Peace we understand because of eco-terrorism. And there have been...
O'REILLY: ...you know, violent acts committed in this country in the name of freeing the animals and leaving the trees alone. So we understand that all terrorism has to be watched by the FBI. So that would be.
Now the Muslim group, you know, we understand that, too. The FBI is watching all the Muslim groups. And this Center for Peace and Justice is just a radical group. We assume they're watching all radical groups as well. Right wing as well, like the militias, correct?
COPUS: Oh, correct. You know, everyone thinks of Muslims and whatever. Right wing groups are just as harmful to our country as anyone else.
Obviously, they're under surveillance or investigation. They're trying to do harm. You expect the FBI to connect the dots. They're not going to put themselves back in that September 11 situation where they're accused of not following through.
O'REILLY: But it makes a good sound bite for the ACLU's director to come out and say he's shocked that the agency is being investigated by the FBI. This sends a chilling freedom of expression message.
When you read that in The New York Times as it was printed today, what went through your mind?
COPUS: Sounds like the guy's trying to stir up something from the '70s, going back to some old tactics that's being used. It absolutely has no merit. But unfortunately, the bureau's hands are tied behind their back. They can't let the word out about really what's going on. It's going to depend on folks like yourself and others to say hey, this is phony. This is false.
O'REILLY: All right. Well, I don't know if it's phony. I suspect it is. I believe you that the FBI is not trying to put the ACLU out of business.
But I would really like to see those documents, Mr. Copus. If you can tell those FBI big shots, Mueller and the boys, kick them over to me, they'll get a fair description of what it is, you know. Because I want to know who the ACLU's hanging with. I don't trust those people at all. I'll give you the last word.
COPUS: Well, I tell you. I think it will be interesting when that comes out and those documents are released. It'll shock the American public, some of the faults of what these people are planning.
O'REILLY: Do you really think it will shock the American public? You really do?
COPUS: Oh, I think so. I think when some of this stuff comes out, people will be surprised what's going on underneath our very noses.
O'REILLY: All right. Well, that's another good reason to get those documents out. Mr. Copus, thanks as always. We appreciate it.
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