National Security 'Expert' Joy Behar: U.S. Should Have Given Terrorists Book Deal, 'Paid Them Off' for Information

America should consider gathering important national security information by giving terrorists book deals, or paying them off, says the liberal Joy Behar. The HLN host offered her bizarre expertise on foreign intelligence Tuesday morning on ABC's The View.

"If we use these enhanced techniques, then they [the terrorists] can use them on us," Behar said of "enhanced interrogation techniques," which include the practice of "waterboarding" and are used by the U.S. military to extract information from prisoners. The panel was discussing whether America should be using the interrogation program to gather intelligence, if indeed it does produce valuable information.

(Video after the jump.)

 

"It's possible that a $6 million book deal would have worked just as well," Behar said of the interrogation program. "There are other ways – to get information out of people, pay them off. Who knows what would have worked?"

While Behar stuck to her premise of finding "alternative" ways to gather information, the other co-hosts admitted their ignorance on certain matters of national security and thus didn't completely oppose usage of the interrogation techniques.

Co-host Whoopi Goldberg first reported former vice-president Dick Cheney's claim that the "enhanced interrogation techniques" put in place by the Bush administration succeeded in drawing out information from prisoners that directly led to Bin Laden's death.

"Does that mean that waterboarding techniques should not be used, or they should be used because they do give us information?" Goldberg asked her colleagues. "We'll never know," guest co-host Betty White answered, and co-hosts Elisabeth Hasselbeck, Sherri Sheppard, and Goldberg all agreed.

"I'm a civilian. These people have seen stuff that I've never seen," Sheppard said of the military interrogators. "They've learned stuff that I don't know about....I mean there's just stuff that I cannot possibly know."

"The real bottom line to this is we don't know what got the information, we don't know whether it was the water boarding, whether it was payment. We don't know what got the information. But I will say that I am glad that we got it," Goldberg concluded.

A transcript of the segment, which aired on May 3 at 11:06 a.m. EDT, is as follows:

WHOOPI GOLDBERG: And Vice President Dick Cheney says that he assumes the enhanced interrogation program that the Bush administration put in place produced some of the results that led to bin Laden's capture. No, no, that's what he said. And if that turns out to be the case, does that mean that waterboarding techniques should not be used, or they should be used because they do give us information? How do you all feel?

ELISABETH HASSELBECK: This is a (Unintelligible) subject, I think. It's a tricky one especially for this administration, because here are the facts – there was waterboarding, there was information at some point. A new administration came in, more information was gathered without it. All those things combined then led us to bin Laden's death. Now we'll never know, there's probably one or two guys –

BETTY WHITE, guest co-host: We'll never know –

HASSELBECK: We'll never know, you're right Betty. To think that we can know is a farce, but I think that there's a risk here. Do we not use enhanced techniques if indeed they may bring us information? That's going to be the question that'll hang over us forever.

JOY BEHAR: There's a few ways to look at that. I mean, for example, if we use these enhanced techniques, then they can use them on us, so there's no international –

GOLDBERG: They do use them on us –

(Crosstalk)

BEHAR: It just encourages more of it around the world –

(Crosstalk)

BEHAR: And then our soldiers have to endure it. And then – and then the other thing is, it's possible that a $6 million book deal would have worked just as well. You know what I mean? There are other ways –

SHERRI SHEPPARD: What are you talking about? Wait, wait, what do you mean?

BEHAR: To get information out of people, pay them off. Who knows what would have worked?

SHEPPARD: No, but Joy, but this is –

(Crosstalk)

BEHAR: Maybe. I'm – what I'm saying is a lot of people are tortured, and they get a little bit of information out of it. There's no – as you just pointed out, maybe it works, maybe it doesn't. You have to decide if it's worth it to torture that many people and to take a risk that it will happen to us.

SHEPPARD: But it seems like, you know, they got the big fish with it. I mean, I just feel like – I'm a civilian. These people have seen stuff that I've never seen. They've learned stuff that I don't know about. I feel like it's telling somebody how to build a car, and you're not an engineer. And that's how I feel like, you know – I'm a mother and I know I will do everything in the world to protect my child. And I appreciate and applaud the fact that the military's treating it as such, and they're doing whatever they can to protect me. I mean there's just stuff that I cannot possibly know. You're talking about people who – they're trained to kill. They want to kill us. So me saying, you know, don't use enhanced interrogation on somebody who wants to kill me? I don't know if –

(Crosstalk)

(Applause)

(...)

HASSELBECK: I wonder too, I mean, because I don't think these guys actually want to harm somebody. I think the interrogators want to do their job, and I think that they're in a tough position because they're asked to get information –

SHEPPARD: Don't you think they're in a position where they've tried a lot of things –

HASSELBECK: Yes, yes.

SHEPPARD: We're saying "Try this. Try giving them a book deal." We tried to give them a book deal! It didn't work.

BEHAR: You know, you can pay people off.

GOLDBERG: The real bottom line to this is we don't know what got the information, we don't know whether it was the water boarding, whether it was payment. We don't know what got the information. But I will say that I am glad that we got it, I am very happy Osama is gone – (Applause) – that's one less thing we need to start thinking about –

Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro was a News Analyst for the Media Research Center's News Analysis Division from 2010 through early 2014