• March 23, 2016
  • Varney & Company - FOX Business

Enhanced Interrogation, Not Torture, Works to Obtain Intelligence and Develop New Targets

Robert J. O'Neill on Varney & Company

“The Best Time to Interrogate a Suspect is as Soon as You Grab Them.”

The Brussels Airport attack could have been thwarted. That’s how Donald Trump and many others see it. If only they had grabbed Brussels-born French national Salah Abdeslam when they had the chance: 48 hours after the deadly attacks in Paris.

Abdeslam slipped away to Brussels immediately after the Paris attacks. And although Brussels police soon honed in on a location for the suspected terrorist, due to a law that prohibits police operations between 9:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m., by the time they acted, Abdeslam was gone.

Some believe Abdeslam was well aware of the plan to bomb the Brussels Airport.

Now the question remains: could the interrogation of Abdeslam have saved innocent lives?

Speaking with FOX News’ Stuart Varney, former Navy SEAL Robert O’Neill, who’s interrogated many a suspected terrorist, weighs in on the interrogation argument.

Highlights of their exchange:

Varney: “Rob, is Donald Trump right?”

O’Neill: “He’s right in one aspect, Stuart. The best time to interrogate a suspect is as soon as you grab them. I’ve done it hundreds of times to hundreds of terrorists and suspected terrorists. Right when you get them there’s sort of the shock and awe of being arrested. He’s right there. The torture thing? Torture does not work. Waterboarding does.”

Varney: “So you’re drawing a distinction between old-fashioned torture, pulling out the fingernails or something, and waterboarding.”

O’Neill: “As soon as you decide to talk with waterboarding, it’s over. It’s something you can walk away from. Torture is barbaric. Torture is something ISIS does when they tie someone to a car and drag them to death over the course of hours. That’s torture. When they start bringing out the power tools. That’s torture. Waterboarding, enhanced interrogation, all that stuff does work. The point of interrogation is to get intelligence and development new targets.”

Varney: “We’re passing judgment on Belgian authorities this morning. We’re saying they really dropped the ball on this. That they are essentially incompetent. And that they are certainly overwhelmed with the threat that they’re facing. Do you share that judgment?”

O’Neill: “It’s hard to say with something like this. You’ve got to figure a lot of these terrorists grow up right there in Brussels. They know what they’re doing. It’s tough for them (the police) to be able to do what they need to do. It’s worse over there as far as political correctness. That’s the problem. Those are the handcuffs we’re putting on our law enforcement. I wouldn’t call them incompetent, but they are overwhelmed.”

Watch the Segment Here: