A guest on Fox Business Network touted torture as an effective way to extract information from prisoners, claiming it “worked” on Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).
“The fact is ... it worked on John [McCain],” Retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Tom McInerney told FBN’s Charles Payne on Tuesday. “That’s why they call him ‘Songbird John.’”
“The fact is those methods can work and they’re effective as former Vice President [Dick] Cheney said,” McInerney continued. “And if we have to use ’em to save a million American lives, we will do whatever we have to.”
Payne apologized hours later for not confronting McInerney about his comments on McCain during the interview.
“I regret I did not catch this remark, as it should have been challenged,” Payne tweeted. “As a proud military veteran and son of a Vietnam Vet, these words neither reflect my or the network’s feelings about Senator McCain.”
McCain was a prisoner of war for over five years in North Vietnam while serving in the Navy during the Vietnam War. His captors repeatedly broke his arms, leaving him without the ability to raise them over his head today.
Not only are “enhanced interrogation techniques” immoral, according to McCain and many other lawmakers, but they do not extract accurate information.
On Wednesday, McCain urged the Senate to reject President Donald Trump’s nomination of Gina Haspel to head the Central Intelligence Agency, given her reported role in overseeing the torture of an al Qaeda terror suspect in 2002 at a clandestine base in Thailand.
“Like many Americans, I understand the urgency that drove the decision to resort to so-called enhanced interrogation methods after our country was attacked,” McCain said in his statement. “But as I have argued many times, the methods we employ to keep our nation safe must be as right and just as the values we aspire to live up to and promote in the world.
“I believe Gina Haspel is a patriot who loves our country and has devoted her professional life to its service and defense,” he continued. “However, Ms. Haspel’s role in overseeing the use of torture by Americans is disturbing. Her refusal to acknowledge torture’s immorality is disqualifying.”
A representative of McCain did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.
McInerney has come under fire in the past for promoting conspiracy theories, including the racist myth that former President Barack Obama wasn’t born in the United States and that terrorists hijacked missing Malaysia flight 370 in 2014.
Cindy McCain, John McCain’s wife and a businesswoman, scolded Payne and Fox Business Network for having McInerney on the show.
This article has been updated to include comments from Cindy McCain.