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America at War

Interrogator on Use of Waterboarding: ‘We Would Just Have to Man Up’

Megyn Kelly is on the move. She’s headed to the White House Christmas party tonight, and will anchor “Kelly File” from DC. Tomorrow she’ll head to Hollywood for first appearance on ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live.”

On her show tonight, Kelly airs the final portions of a 4-part interview with Dr. James Mitchell, among those who interrogated 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. The interview, Mitchell’s first since the release of the Senate report on post-9/11 CIA tactics, was confirmed just before last night’s show. Kelly continued the interview after her show ended and it’s those sections that will air tonight.

Dr. Mitchell talked about the use of waterboarding during interrogations: “Those techniques are so harsh that it’s emotionally distressing to the people who are administering them. Even though you don’t want to do it, you’re doing it in order to save lives in the country, and we would just have to man up for lack of a better term.”

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That Time Richard Engel Was Going to be a Human Shield for Saddam Hussein

NBC’s chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel is back in New York this week and last night was on “Late Night with Seth Meyers.” Engel talked about the Senate report on CIA torture, and his experience covering the Middle East for the last 10+ years.

Engel talked about a reporting trip to Iraq before the U.S. invasion when he “volunteered to be a human shield” for former dictator Saddam Hussein in exchange for a visa to enter the country. He got in, and told Meyers what happened next:

CPJ Condemns Murder of Luke Somers

LukeSomersThe Committee to Protect Journalists is calling for all journalists to “rally to continue the work of our fallen colleagues,” following the murder of American freelance photojournalist Luke Somers in Yemen.

Somers and fellow hostage Pierre Korkie were killed during a failed rescue attempt by U.S. special forces early this morning. The two were being held by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. Somers was adducted in Sept. 2013.

“Luke Somers went to Yemen to bring us the news. Instead he became the news at the hands of militants who increasingly use journalists as pawns in a murderous political game,” said CPJ Deputy Director Robert Mahoney. “As journalists we must rally to continue the work of our fallen colleagues, to seek justice in their names, and to protect all those who go out in the field every day despite the danger.”

Somers is the third American freelance journalist killed this year while being held captive. In August, James Foley was beheaded by ISIS militants. Two weeks later, ISIS killed Steven Sotloff.

FNC Navy SEAL Special Tops with Viewers

SealDoocyFox News Channel’s debut of “The Man Who Killed Usama Bin Laden” was the most-watched show on Fox News in the A25-45 demo, and second-most watched (behind O’Reilly) in total viewers for all of Tuesday. The first part of the Peter Doocy special topped CNN, MSNBC and HLN combined in total viewers and the demo.The special gave the hour a double digit increase (88% in total viewers / 77% in the demo) vs. the quarter-to-date ratings. Part II of the special airs tonight at 10pmET.

  • Nov. 11, 10pmET Total Viewers/A25-54

FNC: 2,697,000 / 532,000
CNN: 513,000 / 144,000
MSNBC: 561,000 / 98,000
HLN: 398,000 / 164,000

NBC’s Richard Engel in Syria: ‘The Most Dangerous, Unpredictable War I’ve Covered’


TVNewser caught up with NBC’s chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel, who is filing a series of reports this week for NBC News programs from the Syrian town of Kobane, a symbol of the U.S.-led fight against ISIS in Syria and Iraq. “It continues to be the most dangerous, unpredictable war I’ve covered,” Engel tells TVNewser. “In this case, however, everyone on our team felt the risk was worth the trip because what’s happening in Kobane is critical to understanding the U.S. strategy in the war on ISIS. It is also an amazing story of people standing up to a vicious enemy.”

One of those people is a 26-year-old female Kurdish fighter, Viyan Peyman, who is fighting to defend Kobane from ISIS. Her story is rich and human, but as with every person in Syria, there is intense risk anytime an American journalist ventures into the warzone and starts asking questions. “We felt comfortable with our contacts,” said Engel. “It takes time to build those relationships. No one just should pack a bag, grab a camera and go to Syria.”

After several days embedded with a group of Kurdish fighters in Kobane, Engel and his crew have safely returned to Turkey. We asked about the logistics of making such dangerous reporting trips, and how he avoids kidnapping or violence.

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With Navy SEAL Audio Interview, CNN Gets Ahead of Fox News Special

Billing it as an exclusive, CNN’s Anderson Cooper interviewed freelance journalist Alex Quade on his show last night and played excerpts of audio interviews Quade conducted over the last year with Navy SEAL Rob O’Neill, who claims he fired the shots that killed Osama bin Laden. O’Neill — then called “The Shooter” – was he subject of an Esquire article last year, and next week will be featured in a two-night, two-hour special on Fox News Channel.

Cooper didn’t mention Fox News by name, but rather that O’Neill tells his story “in a TV documentary.”

O’Neill is the second SEAL to speak out about the raid. The first was Matt Bissonette, who “60 Minutes” called Mark Owen in two interviews — including a follow-up last month. Cooper talked with former Navy SEAL Jonathan Gilliam, who says O’Neill could, and should be charged by the military for speaking out. “It’s time to start setting an example. The guy’s my SEAL brother, but he’s gone far beyond where I can support my brother.”

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Navy Seal Under Criminal Investigation Following ’60 Minutes’ Interview

PelleySeal2Mark Owen — not his real name — is under investigation by the government for telling “60 Minutes” the story of the 2011 mission to kill Osama bin Laden.

Owen talks to CBS again, this Sunday, about how the government has come after him in the two years since his interview aired.

Owen says his then-lawyer advised him he did not need to clear his book, “No Easy Day,” or his “60 Minutes” interview, with the military. But eight weeks ago, as part of a newly-opened investigation, Owen was questioned for 10 hours by government investigators.

“I would go back overseas today and deal with fighting ISIS rather than deal with the last two years,” Owen tells Scott Pelley.

In the end, Owen is apologetic about how things played out. “I did not set out to bypass any rules. I felt that I was doing everything the right way, legally. Obviously that was a mistake…I’m very sorry about that.”

The make-up artist used to disguise Owen’s appearance for his first “60 Minutes” interview was used again for Sunday’s sit-down.

Fox News Most-Watched For Airstrikes Coverage

SmithISISFox News was the first cable news channel to report U.S.-led airstrikes had begun in Syria. It was also the most-watched. Fox News beat CNN and MSNBC combined in both total viewers and the A25-54 demo last night. Coverage peaked in viewers at 9pmET during Megyn Kelly‘s show and in the demo at 10pmET during Shepard Smith’s special coverage.

CNN showed the most primetime growth of the networks compared to last Monday. CNN was up +57% in viewers and up +62% in the demo; MSNBC was up +29% in viewers and up +60% in the demo and Fox News was up +6% in viewers and up +12% in the demo.

  • Primetime (8-11pmET) 9/23/14

Total Viewers / A25-54 demo

FNC:  2,041,000 / 452,000
CNN:  587,000 / 206,000
MSNBC:  646,000 / 174,000

Bill O’Reilly Says a Mercenary Army is the way to Defeat ISIS

BORCTMBill O’Reilly is making the rounds promoting the latest in his “Killing” series. “Killing Patton”  looks at WWII General George Patton who died under mysterious circumstances just after the war ended. But in an effort to defeat the current global threat, on his show last night O’Reilly called for the formation of a mercenary army to defeat ISIS.

“The United States would pay well mercenary troops from all over the world,” O’Reilly said on “CBS This Morning.” “We would select them. Special forces would train them. 25,000-man force to be deployed to fight on the ground against worldwide terrorism, not just ISIS and that would be a permanent force and take the politics out of it.”

Up next for O’Reilly, “Live with Kelly & Michael.” He’ll be a guest on today’s show.

U.S. Begins Airstrikes Against ISIS Targets

The broadcast and cable news networks broke in with special coverage tonight as U.S.-led airstrikes against ISIS targets in Syria began.

Brian Williams, David Muir and Scott Pelley all updated the west coast editions of their evening newscasts tonight. ABC broke in with a network-wide special report at 9:30pmET, NBC broke in at 9:38pmET. CBS News ran a crawl during primetime programming at 9:30pmET.

Cable news has been in non-stop coverage. Fox News was first with the news. Megyn Kelly broke into her own pre-taped interview with Alan Colmes at 9:26pmET as Jennifer Griffin reported that military operations had begun. Shepard Smith picked up coverage on Fox News at 10pmET and will continue until MidnightET when Kelly picks up. CNN’s Anderson Cooper broke in with the news at 9:30pmET with Jim Sciutto reporting the news. Don Lemon and Alisyn Camerota anchored from 10pmET until Midnight. MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow reported the news at 9:34pmET. Lawrence O’Donnell anchored at 10 and Chris Hayes picks up at 11pmET with live coverage on MSNBC. FBN has been in live coverage as well and will simulcast Megyn Kelly‘s coverage at Midnight.