Gibson Calls Olbermann a Liar for his Bush Criminal Conspiracy Rant

As NewsBusters reported, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann went on a ridiculously disgraceful rant during Monday's "Countdown" claiming, amongst other things, that "[T]he presidency of George W. Bush has now devolved into a criminal conspiracy to cover the ass of George W. Bush."

On Wednesday, Fox News's John Gibson, during his radio program, took issue with Olbermann's tirade, and actually called the former sportscaster a liar for misrepresenting what former acting Attorney General Daniel Levin wrote about the interrogation procedure known as waterboarding.

Gibson accurately pointed out (audio available here courtesy our friend Johnny Dollar):

Bathtub Boy [Keith Olbermann] was saying that Bush should go to prison because there was a certain official of the Justice Department whose name was Daniel Levin who had himself waterboarded, declared it to be torture - legally torture, practically torture, ethically torture - and that he wrote a report about it, and that Bush went ahead and waterboarded people, like Khalid Sheik Mohammed, who, by the way, gave up the goods when he got waterboarded within two minutes - and said that on the basis of this Mr. Levin's report, Bush was therefore a criminal.

[...]

Turns out that according to Radar Online, the original report which Bathtub Boy used to write this thing which demanded that Bush go to jail, Daniel Levin did not decide that waterboarding by the U.S. is torture. He just thought we might be doing it wrong. According to the original ABC report, "Levin, who refused to comment for the story, concluded waterboarding could be illegal torture unless performed in a highly limited way, and with close supervision."

The actual text of the November 2 "World News with Charles Gibson" report Gibson was referring to is:

JAN CRAWFORD GREENBURG (ABC NEWS) (Voiceover): Levin concluded the only way waterboarding could be done and not cross the legal line of torture was in a highly limited way with close supervision.

An ABCNews.com article concerning this segment made Levin's position on waterboarding a bit firmer (emphasis added):

The administration at the time was reeling from an August 2002 memo by Jay Bybee, then the head of the Office of Legal Counsel, which laid out possible justifications for torture. In June 2004, Levin's predecessor at the office, Jack Goldsmith, officially withdrew the Bybee memo, finding it deeply flawed.

When Levin took over from Goldsmith, he went to work on a memo that would effectively replace the Bybee memo as the administration's legal position on torture. It was during this time that he underwent waterboarding.

In December 2004, Levin released the new memo. He said, "Torture is abhorrent" but he went on to say in a footnote that the memo was not declaring the administration's previous opinions illegal. The White House, with Alberto Gonzales as the White House counsel, insisted that this footnote be included in the memo.

Clearly, this was not what Olbermann said Monday evening:

All the petulancy, all the childish threats, all the blank-stare stupidity, all the invocations of World War III, all the sophistic questions about which terrorist attacks we wanted him not to stop, all the phony secrets, all the claims of executive privilege, all the stumbling tapdancing of his nominees, all the verbal flatulence of his apologists, all of it is now, after one revelation last week, transparently clear for what it is, the pathetic and desperate manipulation of the government, the refocusing of our entire nation towards keeping this mock President and this unstable Vice President and this departed wildly self-overrating Attorney General and all the others from potential prosecution for having approved or ordered the illegal torture of prisoners being held in the name of our country. Waterboarding is torture, Daniel Levin was to write.

As such, Gibson drove the point home: "Well, no, he didn't write that...I guess he would be a liar."

In the end, this is just another example of how Olbermann says whatever he wants regardless of facts.

NBC and parent company General Electric must be so proud.

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.