Beck to purported torturer: "I appreciate your service"October 7, 2005 6:48 PM EDT ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF
After devoting a portion of the October 6 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio show to discussing pending legislation that would prohibit "cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment" of detainees held by the U.S. government, Glenn Beck interviewed a caller who claimed to have worked as an "intelligence officer" and to have "extracted intelligence" from U.S.-held prisoners by torturing them. The caller said his preferred methods of torture included burning the retinas of prisoners' eyes with high-powered halogen lamps and blowing out prisoners' eardrums with high-pressure water and air. He also claimed to have known "a contractor that did drilling on live teeth." After hearing the caller describe these torture techniques, Beck responded, "I've got to tell you, I appreciate your service." During the interview, Beck asked the caller if he ever had trouble sleeping at night. When the caller answered, "No," Beck responded, "Good for you." He later added, "[W]hen all is said and done, I'm glad people like you are on our side."
The caller identified himself only as "Mitch," a name he later admitted was false.
From the October 6 broadcast of The Glenn Beck Program:
BECK: And what would you -- like, what kind of tools would you use? What was your method and what worked the best?
"MITCH": Well, I had three or four that worked the best. I mean -- you've had your eyes dilated before?
"MITCH": Well, with simple masking tape or duct tape, you dilate the eyes, and they you use halogen lamps, and a person is placed in a rigid position where they cannot move. Their eyes are opened and the halogen lamps, you know, they're producing 40,000 watts. It's intense. And that breaks them down. High-pressure water -- I mean, you've heard the term "drinking from a fire hose." I wouldn't do that. That generally wouldn't extract what you want, and usually would drown somebody quickly. But you can use high-water pressure into one ear, and when that first ear drum is broken with, you know, 14 or 15 hundred pounds of water pressure going in, the don't -- they will talk before that second ear drum is broken.
BECK: Mitch, I've got to tell you I appreciate your service. I don't know your circumstances at all. I, you know, I have to assume that, because we wear the white hats that we're not doing this at the drop of a hat.
BECK: So in other words -- let me ask you this. So, you know, you always see, like, they'll come in with this, like, briefcase, and they'll open it up and there will be all these tools in there.
BECK: That doesn't happen either?
"MITCH": No. No. I did know a contractor that did drilling on live teeth. You know, well teeth. And you've seen that before in different movies.
BECK: Did you ever accidentally kill somebody?
"MITCH": No. I made them wish they were dead. You know, when you have -- like I was saying the, the best -- my most successful use of any technique was high-pressure air. You just think of a small [high] velocity hose with 1,200 PSI [pounds per square inch] of air coming through it. I don't know if you've ever heard a hose with that much pressure go off, but once -- your ears immediately bleed. One ear blown completely out, and you don't have to do the other one.
BECK: Wow. Mitch?
"MITCH": It's like your head exploding inside is what we always thought --
BECK: Do you ever have a hard time sleeping at night?
BECK: Good for you. Good for -- I mean, good for you. Is it because you did it for the country?
"MITCH": Yeah. I knew what we -- how important it was.
BECK: I've got to tell you, Mitch, it's -- you know, you tell one of these stories, you -- I don't know. If you're comfortable telling this kind of -- it's not something that when you first meet -- say, "Hey, by the way, for 30 years I tortured people." I mean, it's kind of an awkward, weird, kind of thing. But I have to tell you, when all is said and done, I'm glad people like you are on our side.
"MITCH": Well, I'm glad I was on my side, too. I -- but, you know...
"MITCH": But this is something my family doesn't know -- has no idea what I did. My closest friends didn't know.
BECK: They do know now?
"MITCH": No. Not unless they can tell who this is speaking.
BECK: So Mitch is not your real name?
BECK: You've never told your family this stuff?
BECK: What do they think you did all these years?
"MITCH": Worked with intelligence.
"MITCH": I mean, they ask. I was an intelligence officer. "What did you do?" You know, I extracted intelligence.