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Discussing the arrest warrants a German court had issued that day for 13 CIA agents in connection with the kidnapping of German citizen Khaled El-Masri and his lawsuit against former CIA Director George Tenet and others, filed with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Bill O'Reilly asked CBS News terrorism analyst Michael Scheuer on the January 31 edition of Fox News' The O'Reillly Factor: "Do you think these people are traitors, the ACLU? Are they putting us all in danger?" Scheuer replied that "they have a right to their opinion" but asserted, "[T]hey're very lucky that most Americans are willing to fight to protect their ability to denigrate America." O'Reilly then stated that the ACLU "go[es] beyond that" and that, actually, "they put us in danger." Scheuer agreed, saying: "Oh, I think they do. I think that's certainly true, sir."
As Media Matters for America previously noted, Scheuer, a former CIA analyst, was head of the CIA's Osama bin Laden unit during the Clinton administration. Scheuer anonymously authored Imperial Hubris: Why the West is Losing the War on Terror (Potomac Books, July 2004).
From the January 31 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:
O'REILLY: People are going to be rounded up, and they shouldn't be. This is what happens in a war.
But Angela Merkel's supposed to be a friend -- the chancellor of Germany -- is supposed to be a friend of the USA. Do you think this was some overzealous left-wing prosecutor doing this?
SCHEUER: Well, that's what it turned out to be in Italy. I'm not sure what the game plan is in Germany, sir. I don't -- I really don't know that much about German politics.
But I think, at the end of the day, the duplicity of the Germans will come through. Most of the Europeans are rather duplicitous. They're more than willing to take the information the CIA has gathered from these people to protect their countries, but they're not willing to avoid playing politics with the career of CIA officers who risk their lives.
O'REILLY: Yeah. I mean, I think it's outrageous myself, unless there is a clear pattern of abuse here.
Final question -- ACLU, of course, behind all of this al-Masri business: Do you think these people are traitors, the ACLU? Are they putting us all in danger?
SCHEUER: Well, I think they're like pacifists, sir. They have a right to their opinion. They have a right to do and think what they say. But they're very lucky that most Americans are willing to fight to protect their ability to denigrate America.
O'REILLY: You bet. But I think they go beyond that. I think they put us in danger. I really do.
SCHEUER: Oh, I think they do. I think that's certainly true, sir.
O'REILLY: I do. Mr. Scheuer, always a pleasure. Thanks very much.