Following Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge's August 1 announcement that the U.S. government raised the threat advisory level for financial centers in New York, New Jersey, and Washington, DC, radio host Rush Limbaugh mocked Democrats who had expressed outrage over the Abu Ghraib prison scandal, suggesting that they would worry that the intelligence leading to the announcement may have been acquired through interrogation methods resembling the abuse of Iraqi prisoners.
From the August 2 edition of the nationally syndicated Rush Limbaugh Show:
LIMBAUGH: Of course, now, part of that first thought is, this [heightened threat advisory level] is serious. And it's real. I believe it. But my first thought was Democrats are going to try to make this out to be something it wasn't.
What was your first thought? Did you think thank goodness that we intercepted the information? Did you think whew, God. And did you think, well, they're mentioning specific targets.
Or -- or did you think did we have to use torture as in Abu Ghraib to secure this information and therefore the information is invalid? Did you wonder this computer geek that we found, this Al Qaeda, do you wonder whether or not he was read his rights before he was tortured to give us this information?
Did you wonder whether his interrogation was supervised by the International Red Cross? Did you hope there were photos of the torture so they could be plastered on the front page of The New York Times so we could discredit the information and say that Bush got this by torturing this guy just like Abu Ghraib and therefore it's not real information?
Did you ask if there wasn't any torture, maybe this computer geek was influenced by fear of Abu Ghraib torture and went ahead and told us what he knows because he was scared he was going to be tortured even though he wasn't tortured and therefore the information is not valid?
I think I've probably covered all the bases, especially for you Abu Ghraib people. I'm not a psychiatrist and I -- I don't play one on radio, although I'm getting more and more qualified as I watch these Democrats.
As Media Matters for America has noted, while Limbaugh has continued to downplay, dismiss, and even endorse the prisoner abuse scandal, numerous Bush administration officials have denounced the abuse of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib. President George W. Bush has apologized "for the humiliation suffered by the Iraqi prisoners and the humiliation suffered by their families" and said that the actions of the U.S. soldiers who committed the abuse "brought discredit to their uniform and embarrassment to our country." Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld offered his "deepest apology" to the Iraqi detainees who "suffered grievous and brutal abuse and cruelty." Secretary of State Colin Powell condemned the abuse of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib as "immoral" and "despicable." And national security adviser Condoleezza Rice said, "It's simply unacceptable that anyone would engage in the abuse of Iraqi prisoners."