Contradicting Bush Justice Dept., Angle equated waterboarding of terrorists, trainees
Fox's Jim Angle stated that President Obama considers waterboarding "too harsh to use on terrorists," and contrasted this with its use in training some U.S. military members. However, a Bush Justice Department memo noted that individuals undergoing waterboarding for military training are "obviously in a very different situation from detainees undergoing interrogation."
On the April 20 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, Fox News chief Washington correspondent Jim Angle asserted that "the odd thing ... is that President Obama has decided that waterboarding, which we have done, by the way, to thousands of our own people in the military -- pilots and Special Forces are often trained by being waterboarded. We've done it to thousands of our own people. He has decided it is too harsh to use on terrorists." However, according to a recently released May 2005 Office of Legal Counsel memo  by Steven G. Bradbury, the Bush administration's principal deputy assistant attorney general at the time, individuals undergoing waterboarding as part of the U.S. military's Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE) training are "obviously in a very different situation from detainees undergoing interrogation; SERE trainees know it is part of a training program, not a real-life interrogation regime, they presumably know it will last only a short time, and they presumably have assurances that they will not be significantly harmed by the training." The memo further states that the waterboard technique was used "quite sparingly" in SERE training -- "at most two times on a trainee for at most 40 seconds each time" -- whereas the CIA used the tactic at least 83 times on Abu Zubaydah in August 2002 and 183 times on Khalid Shaikh Mohammed in March 2003.
From the May 30, 2005, Office of Legal Counsel memo:
From the April 20 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:
BILL O'REILLY (host): Now, what -- what is the prevailing wisdom within the CIA? Not just the former directors and the big shots but among the rank and file?
ANGLE: Well, look, they -- this is a very difficult job. And President Obama went out there today to tell them that, that he understands what a predicament they are in, that they have to do some very difficult things and to sort of reassure them that releasing these memos was not an attack on them. Now, he says he released them because they were mostly public. That is not entirely true, because a lot of the details weren't public.
And there was an interesting -- another interesting development today, Bill. And that is that Vice President Cheney is upping the ante here. He is saying, "Look, if you're going to declassify all the legal documents that justify these harsh interrogation techniques while arguing that these interrogation techniques did not help, then you should also declassify a lot of the reports I saw, which showed that they did, indeed, help, that they kept us from being attacked again, that they were extremely useful. So if you're going to declassify the other thing, how about declassifying the reports I'm talking about?"
O'REILLY: And also, I think there's criticism about President Obama, you know, sending drones in and blowing up people, sometimes civilians. But then making a big deal out of this.
ANGLE: Well, you know, the odd thing about this, Bill, is that President Obama has decided that waterboarding, which we have done, by the way, to thousands of our own people in the military -- pilots and Special Forces are often trained by being waterboarded. We've done it to thousands of our own people. He has decided it is too harsh to use on terrorists.
On the other hand, days after he took office, he approved air strikes on terrorists in their homes and in Pakistan, for instance. And they're in their homes, presumably with their wives and children, so you get a lot of civilians who were killed. You certainly get the terrorists who were killed. One could argue that waterboarding isn't nearly as bad as being blown up. But that is not the position that President Obama has taken.
O'REILLY: All right. Jim, we appreciate it. Thanks very much, as always.