Tumblr Icon RSS Icon

Fox News: There ‘Really Might Be A Connection’ Between McCain’s Visit To Colombia And The Hostage Release

By Amanda Terkel  

"Fox News: There ‘Really Might Be A Connection’ Between McCain’s Visit To Colombia And The Hostage Release"

Share:

google plus icon

Today, Colombia’s Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos said that his country’s government had rescued 15 hostages — including former Colombian presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt and three U.S. military contractors — from FARC rebels.

Santos made his announcement shortly after Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) left the country, where he was visiting as part of a three-day trip to Colombia and Mexico. As soon as the good news broke, Fox News was already spinning it as a victory for McCain and speculating that it came about as a result of the senator’s short visit to the country:

SHEP SMITH: John McCain’s been over in Colombia. He was over there just yesterday. Is there a sense the timing is coincidental, or something more?

STEVE HARRIGAN: Well, you’d have to think as a former prisoner of war himself, Sen. McCain would have an intense interest in this case. It’s been played pretty low profile. A lot of people aren’t even aware of the fate of these three Americans. They were really working for a Defense Department civilian contractor. So there really might be a connection between the high-level visit of the former prisoner of war, John McCain himself, and the release now of three American prisoners here in southern Colombia.

Watch it:

Fox News’s suggestion is not only completely inaccurate, but also insulting to the years of work by the Colombian government. Today’s rescue had nothing to do with McCain. The AP describes the operation:

Santos said the military intelligence agents infiltrated the guerrilla ranks and led the local commander in charge of the hostages, alias Cesar, to believe they were going to take them by helicopter to Alfonso Cano, the guerrillas’ supreme leader.

Surrounded by military commandos, Cesar and the other guerrillas gave up without a fight as the helicopters took the hostages to a military base in Guaviare.

Santos also noted that “army commandos captured rebels manning a security ring around the hostages and got them to persuade their comrades to turn over the captives, without any loss of life.”

MSNBC reported that McCain met with Colombian President Alvaro Uribe and was informed that a rescue plan was imminent. He did not, however, seem to have any strategic role in the entire operation, despite what Fox News is trying to claim.

Digg It!

Transcript:

HARRIGAN: I can tell you here, on this base, there is a sense of elation among the soldiers and officers. They feel like they had this FARC terrorist group — a group about 10,000 strong that makes its money by kidnapping and killing people — they feel like they have the FARC on the run. Three Americans now free.

SMITH: That’s incredible, Steve. You know what, what we’re kind of wondering around here. The timing’s very interesting. You mention diplomats over there. John McCain’s been over in Colombia. He was over there just yesterday. Is there a sense the timing is coincidental, or something more?

HARRIGAN: Well, you’d have to think as a former prisoner of war himself, Sen. McCain would have an intense interest in this case. It’s been played pretty low profile. A lot of people aren’t even aware of the fate of these three Americans. They were really working for a Defense Department civilian contractor. So there really might be a connection between the high-level visit of the former prisoner of war, John McCain himself, and the release now of three American prisoners here in southern Colombia.

SMITH: Steve Harrigan, live in Colombia for us right now. He is on his way with Colombian forces to get up in the middle of this.

‹ WSJ Editorial Page Ludicrously Claims That Obama Is Running For ‘George Bush’s Third Term’

Fox News Smears Journalists Who Dare To Report A Critical Word About The Network ›

By clicking and submitting a comment I acknowledge the ThinkProgress Privacy Policy and agree to the ThinkProgress Terms of Use. I understand that my comments are also being governed by Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, or Hotmail’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policies as applicable, which can be found here.