O'Reilly again falsely accused former guest of claiming that Bush "orchestrat[ed] 9-11"

››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

On the September 21 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, host Bill O'Reilly revived his false allegation that Jeremy Glick, a former guest on the program whose father was killed in the September 11, 2001, terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, "accused the president of the United States of orchestrating 9-11" during his O'Reilly Factor appearance.

In fact, Glick did no such thing. During his February 4, 2003, appearance on The O'Reilly Factor, he argued that CIA support of anti-Soviet Afghan fighters in the late 1970s and 1980s had provided the training for what would later emerge as Al Qaeda -- the organization responsible for the terrorist attacks. Glick stated:

GLICK: [S]ix months before the Soviet invasion in Afghanistan, starting in the Carter administration and continuing and escalating while Bush's father was head of the CIA, we recruited a hundred thousand radical mujahideen to combat a democratic government in Afghanistan, the Turaki government.

[...]

Our current president now inherited a legacy from his father and inherited a political legacy that's responsible for training militarily, economically, and situating geopolitically the parties involved in the alleged assassination and the murder of my father and countless of thousands of others.

Glick was incorrect in claiming that the president's father, George H.W. Bush, was CIA director while the U.S. funneled support to the anti-Soviet Afghan forces. CIA assistance to the Afghan fighters began in 1979; Bush was CIA director from 1976 to 1977. However, Bush was vice president under President Reagan, whose administration dramatically increased aid to the anti-Soviet Afghan forces during the early 1980s. The State Department and the CIA maintain that this aid went only to ethnic Afghans, and not to "Afghan Arabs" such as Osama Bin Laden.

Despite O'Reilly's claims to the contrary, Glick never suggested during his appearance on The O'Reilly Factor that President Bush had orchestrated the September 11 terrorist attacks. Media Matters for America has documented two previous examples of O'Reilly repeating this or similar falsehoods:

  • September 19, 2003: O'Reilly stated: "Glick was saying without a shred of evidence that President Bush and Bush the elder were directly responsible for 9-11."
  • September 18, 2003: O'Reilly claimed Glick "came on the Factor and accused President Bush of knowing about 9/11 before it happened."

Media Matters has previously debunked several of O'Reilly's false claims about Glick.

From a discussion with former talk show host Phil Donahue on the September 21 edition of The O'Reilly Factor:

DONAHUE: Now listen. Listen. You wouldn't send your children to this war, Bill.

O'REILLY: My nephew just enlisted in the Army. You don't know what the hell you're talking about.

DONAHUE: Very good. Congratulations.

O'REILLY: Yeah, and he's a patriot, so don't denigrate his service or I'll boot you right off the set.

DONAHUE: I'm not -- I'm not --

O'REILLY: That boy made a decision to serve his country. Do not denigrate him or you're out of here.

DONAHUE: I'm not Jeremy Glick, Billy. You can't --

O'REILLY: That's right. You're a little bit more intelligent than he is.

[...]

DONAHUE: How many more young men and women are you going to send to have their arms and legs blown off --

O'REILLY: This is a war on terror.

DONAHUE: -- so that you can be tough and point at people in a kind of cowardly way, take people like Jeremy Glick who comes on to -- in memory of his parents --

O'REILLY: Oh, bull.

DONAHUE: -- and you go off on him like a big --

O'REILLY: Jeremy Glick --

DONAHUE: -- like a big bully. Billy, you have to be -- you have to feel sorry about that.

O'REILLY: Mr. Donohue, with all due respect --

DONAHUE: Did you apologize to him for that?

O'REILLY: Baloney. Jeremy Glick came on this program and accused the president of the United States of orchestrating 9-11. That's what he did. Right in -- after 9-11 happened. Do you know what [sic] the pain that brought the families who lost people in 9-11?

DONAHUE: This war --

O'REILLY: You buy into left-wing propaganda, and you're a mouthpiece for it.

From the February 4, 2003, edition of The O'Reilly Factor:

O'REILLY: With us now is Jeremy Glick, whose father, Barry, was a Port Authority worker at the Trade Center. Mr. Glick is a co-author of the book Another World is Possible [Garrett County Press, 2001]. I'm surprised you signed this [ad opposing military action in Iraq]. You were the only one of all of the families who signed --

GLICK: Well, actually, that's not true.

O'REILLY: Who signed the advertisement?

GLICK: Peaceful Tomorrows, which represents 9-11 families, were also involved.

O'REILLY: Hold it, hold it, hold it, Jeremy. You're the only one who signed this advertisement.

GLICK: As an individual.

O'REILLY: Yes, as -- with your name. You were the only one. I was surprised, and the reason I was surprised is that this ad equates the United States with the terrorists. And I was offended by that.

GLICK: Well, you say -- I remember earlier you said it was a moral equivalency, and it's actually a material equivalency. And just to back up for a second about your surprise, I'm actually shocked that you're surprised. If you think about it, our current president, who I feel and many feel is in this position illegitimately by neglecting the voices of Afro-Americans in the Florida coup, which, actually, somebody got impeached for during the Reconstruction period. Our current president now inherited a legacy from his father and inherited a political legacy that's responsible for training militarily, economically, and situating geopolitically the parties involved in the alleged assassination and the murder of my father and countless of thousands of others.

[...]

O'REILLY: You are mouthing a far-left position that is a marginal position in this society, which you're entitled to.

GLICK: It's marginal -- right.

O'REILLY: You're entitled to it, all right, but you're -- you see, even -- I'm sure your beliefs are sincere, but what upsets me is I don't think your father would be approving of this.

GLICK: Well, actually, my father thought that Bush's presidency was illegitimate.

O'REILLY: Maybe he did, but --

GLICK: I also didn't think that Bush --

O'REILLY: -- I don't think he'd be equating this country as a terrorist nation as you are.

GLICK: Well, I wasn't saying that it was necessarily like that.

O'REILLY: Yes, you are. You signed --

GLICK: What I'm saying is --

O'REILLY: -- this, and that absolutely said that.

GLICK: -- is that in -- six months before the Soviet invasion in Afghanistan, starting in the Carter administration and continuing and escalating while Bush's father was head of the CIA, we recruited a hundred thousand radical mujahideen to combat a democratic government in Afghanistan, the Turaki government.

[...]

O'REILLY: All right. You didn't support the action against Afghanistan to remove the Taliban. You were against it, OK.

GLICK: Why would I want to brutalize and further punish the people in Afghanistan --

O'REILLY: Who killed your father!

GLICK: The people in Afghanistan --

O'REILLY: Who killed your father.

GLICK: -- didn't kill my father.

O'REILLY: Sure they did. The Al Qaeda people were trained there.

GLICK: The Al Qaeda people? What about the Afghan people?

O'REILLY: See, I'm more angry about it than you are!

GLICK: So what about George Bush?

O'REILLY: What about George Bush? He had nothing to do with it.

GLICK: The director -- senior as director of the CIA.

O'REILLY: He had nothing to do with it.

GLICK: So the people that trained a hundred thousand mujahideen who were --

O'REILLY: Man, I hope your mom isn't watching this.

GLICK: Well, I hope she is.

O'REILLY: I hope your mother is not watching this because you -- that's it. I'm not going to say anymore.

GLICK: OK.

O'REILLY: In respect for your father --

GLICK: On September 14, do you want to know what I'm doing?

O'REILLY: Shut up. Shut up.

GLICK: Oh, please don't tell me to shut up.

O'REILLY: As respect -- as respect -- in respect for your father, who was a Port Authority worker, a fine American, who got killed unnecessarily by barbarians --

GLICK: By radical extremists who were trained by this government --

O'REILLY: Out of respect for him --

GLICK: -- not the people of America.

O'REILLY: -- I'm not going to --

GLICK: -- the people of the ruling class, the small minority.

O'REILLY: Cut his mic. I'm not going to dress you down anymore, out of respect for your father. We will be back in a moment with more of The Factor.

GLICK: That means we're done?

O'REILLY: We're done.

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