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Defending Cynthia McKinney
[Editors' Note: What follows is a transcript of an April 12 debate on Fox News's Hannity and Colmes show between Rep. Mark Foley and CounterPunch contributor Wayne Madsen over Rep. Cynthia McKinney's suggestion that the US government knew more about the 9/11 attacks than it had been letting on. One out of four was right. Guess which one?]
Hannity & Colmes
April 12, 2002
COLMES: Joining us tonight is Florida Congressman Mark Foley and Wayne Madsen, an investigative journalist who has worked with Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney for three years.
Now, before I defend Cynthia McKinney’s right to say what she said, Mr. Madsen, would you agree that to suggest that the United States or anybody in this country knew or — in the government had advance knowledge of this is preposterous?
Wayne Madsen, FRIEND OF REP. CYNTHIA MCKINNEY: I don’t think so.
I think what the congresswoman is asking is that, with the worst intelligence failure in the history of the United States, why cannot we have in this country a full independent congressional investigation of who knew what when. How was all this intelligence…
COLMES: I agree there should be.
COLMES: But she went further than that. She accused the Bush administration, if not Bush himself, of knowing in advance, because he or his father would benefit because of The Carlyle Group, which we’ll get to in a moment. She accused him of having advance knowledge of this. Do you concur?
MADSEN: Well, you know who else is calling for an investigation in the financial
COLMES: But I’m not talking about an investigation. I’m talking about the accusation that the president — forget the investigation for the moment. I want to talk about an accusation that President Bush had advance knowledge. Do you agree with that?
MADSEN: Judicial Watch is asking for the same investigation of
COLMES: I didn’t say investigation, sir.
With all due respect, my question had to do with whether you concur that President Bush had advance knowledge of what happened on September 11. Do not use the word investigation, I beg of you, in your answer.
MADSEN: I won’t use it. All I’ll say is, let the facts come out. And that’s all Congresswoman McKinney is asking for at this point in time.
COLMES: Well, that’s not all she’s asking for. I would disagree that that’s all she’s saying.
HANNITY: Well, Mr. Madsen, I’ll go to you here. And I expect a direct answer to a very simple question. What evidence do you have that our president was, in any way, had any knowledge of these attacks? Do you have any evidence at all?
MADSEN: Sean, the evidence is out there. It was –
HANNITY: Wait a minute.
MADSEN: One place reported Salman Rushdie had been warned two weeks before September 11 not to fly. It was your paper, Mr. Murdoch’s paper, "The Times of London."
HANNITY: What evidence, sir, do you have that links our president to that knowledge? Do you have any direct evidence, yes or no?
MADSEN: There is ample evidence out there reported in the media about advance knowledge of what happened on September 11.
Mr. Madsen, look, I don’t want you to tell me evidence is out there. This charge is against the president of the United States of America at a time we’re at war in a conflict. You’re making a charge that he has knowledge, prior knowledge of the September 11 attack. And I ask you, sir, specifically, what evidence do you have?
MADSEN: There was a warning that the congresswoman referred to from President Putin before the attack. ..
HANNITY: A warning to who?
MADSEN: … warnings from French intelligence, Israeli, to the United States, FBI and to the CIA. And I find it strange that, here we suffered the worst intelligence failure in the country’s history and George Tenet is still director of the CIA. Can you imagine if they were airliners that crashed into buildings in downtown Tokyo?
HANNITY: That’s a different issue, Mr. Madsen.
But, Mr. Madsen, an intelligence link or survey or something that came in does not represent — in any court of law, sir, does not represent…
MADSEN: Why does…
HANNITY: Hang on — enough evidence to convict — see, this is what’s going on here.
Congressman, I’ll throw it to you. This is just an irresponsible, irrational political assault on the president while we’re at war. That’s what’s so offensive here to me.
FOLEY: Well, in "The Washington Post" today, Cynthia says she has no evidence. However, if they would investigate, maybe some evidence would be turned up. So it’s like, what is she saying?
MADSEN: Why is the Bush administration against an investigation?
HANNITY: Mr. Madsen, you’re a journalist, sir. Would you even print this on this flimsy amount of evidence that you have here?
MADSEN: I’ve read the work of many journalists: "The Times of London," the BBC, "Der Spiegel" in Germany. They have all been reporting the same thing about advance knowledge. Is everybody crazy? Are all these journalists not allowed to express their opinion?
COLMES: I agree with that. But the investigation aspect of it I think is something — maybe she has a point on that one.
I know you want to respond, Wayne. Go ahead.
MADSEN: Well, it’s typical. Attack the messenger.
I mean, isn’t it funny? The Republicans, when Bill Clinton was president, they dragged him into every possible conspiracy theory, except for linking him to the Lindbergh baby kidnapping. I mean, now we see the same people saying Cynthia McKinney has no right to her opinion. She’s out there. I think it’s nonsense.
FOLEY: Wayne, let me just say this. When they said that President Clinton launched the war simply to take away the Monica Lewinsky story, I absolutely refuted that and said that was absolutely wrong and unnecessary. I have not let false statements stand, whether they were Democratically directed or Republican directed. I think, in this particular instance, she has a fiduciary, as a member of Congress, to tell the facts and not lie.
HANNITY: Absolutely. Good line.
MADSEN: I think the Congress has a responsibility to investigate.
HANNITY: Congressman Foley — we’re going to give you the last word. Thank you for being with us, Mr. Madsen. Appreciate your time tonight.