Last week, the media went into a frenzy after Fox News’s Bill O’Reilly released footage of Rev. Jesse Jackson criticizing Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) before an interview. Yesterday, TV Newser released a leaked portion of the Jackson transcript that O’Reilly and Fox News had chosen to not make public.
Appearing on Shepard Smith’s Fox News show yesterday, O’Reilly explained that he “held it back” because “it was not relevant to the general subject — one civil rights leader disparaging another, over policy.” Towards the end of the interview, Smith asked O’Reilly, “do we know leaked it?” “No,” replied O’Reilly, adding that he would find out because he had “the waterboard over here”:
O’REILLY: So, we held it back, and then, some weasel got the whole thing, leaked it out to the internet, and here we are.
SMITH: Do we know who leaked it and what’s happened to that person?
O’REILLY: No, but I have the waterboard over here, and we have a couple of people that, you know, we’ll dunk. We’ll find out.
When Smith said, “we don’t allow torture here,” O’Reilly replied, “well, you talk to some of my guests.” Watch it:
It’s not surprising that O’Reilly would so casually joke about using waterboarding as an interrogation technique. In February, O’Reilly defended the Bush administration’s use of the tactic by claiming that “it’s not fatal” and “it doesn’t leave a lasting physical injury.”
O’Reilly doesn’t know what he’s talking about when he downplays the effects of waterboarding. In 2007, former Navy survival instructor Malcolm Nance described waterboarding to Congress, saying “It is an overwhelming experience that induces horror and triggers frantic survival instincts.” Nance concluded of his experience being waterboarded, “I was being tortured.”