Fox host pushes debunked claim that waterboarding ‘basically’ helped US find Osama bin Laden
Fox News host Eric Bolling attempted to defend waterboarding on Monday by reviving a debunked claim that it aided in the killing of Osama bin Laden by US forces, Media Matters reported.
“This argument just falls flat for me always: ‘They’re monsters and so we’ll just be a little better than they are,'” guest host Kirsten Powers said during the discussion. “I mean, that’s not an argument. I think you need to make a proactive argument in favor of waterboarding.”
“What we have said is that waterboarding produces results,” Bolling argued. “We got Osama bin Laden’s bodyguard to tell us basically information that led to Osama bin Laden through waterboarding.”
However, on top of being criticized by President Barack Obama’s administration and several lawmakers, at least two former CIA directors have publicly stated that the “enhanced interrogation” technique used during George W. Bush’s presidency did not provide any key intelligence.
A Senate investigation last year also found that waterboarding did not produce any information that was crucial to the US learning bin Laden’s whereabouts before he was killed during a raid in May 2011.
Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump has already called for the practice to be re-instituted despite these findings, however.
Host Dana Perino, who worked as a spokesperson for the Bush administration, said she found it “remarkable” that discussion around the issue has been revived.
“We have come so far in just seven years,” she said. “To go from ‘It’s abhorrent, it’s never gonna happen again,’ both McCain and Obama campaigning against waterboarding. Remember, it wasn’t every terrorist that walked in the door got waterboarded. It was three terrorists. Now it can actually be a campaign platform and your numbers can go up.”
Perino’s argument that only three people were waterboarded while in US custody falls in line with past statements from Bush administration officials. However, those claims have also been questioned, though not conclusively debunked.
Watch the discussion, as posted by Media Matters on Monday, below.