On Salem Radio Network's nationally syndicated program The Hugh Hewitt Show, Chris Wallace, host of Fox Broadcasting Co.'s Fox News Sunday, claimed that abusive treatment of prisoners held at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, "would be considered a day at the beach in the Soviet gulag." Wallace was reacting to a recent Senate floor statement by Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-IL), who quoted several memos, released under a Freedom of Information Act request, in which FBI agents expressed concern over abusive treatment they witnessed by military and Pentagon interrogators. Durbin noted that the accounts of prisoner abuse at Guantánamo recall the treatment of those held by the Nazis and in the Soviet gulags. After selectively summarizing the treatment described in one such memo, according to the weblog RadioBlogger.com, to which Hewitt also links on his own blog, Wallace erupted: "Excuse me? I mean, you know, Auschwitz? Bergen Belsen? The Soviet gulag? I think they would have been very happy to be allowed to defecate on themselves."
From the June 17 edition of the The Hugh Hewitt Show:
HEWITT: The Senator went on Chicago radio this morning. We got the tape just about 20 minutes ago. I'd like to play you a couple of exerpts, get your reaction, Chris.
HEWITT: Because I think it's the sound of digging deeper. Here's his first one:
SPIKE O'DELL (Chicago radio host, audio clip): No regrets on the statement you made?
DURBIN (audio clip): No, I don't. And I'll tell you why. I went to the floor and read a memo from the FBI. This isn't something I made up.
HEWITT: Do you think he gets out of this by saying, you know, it's an FBI memo, Chris Wallace?
WALLACE: Well, he gets out of it in terms of the fact that there's an allegation of mistreatment. But what the FBI memo alleges, and it is an allegation, is, you know, would be considered a day at the beach in the Soviet gulag or Nazi ... I mean, what was so horrific in the memo? And I'm not saying, you know, there aren't legitimate questions there, is that someone is chained to a floor and forced to defecate on themselves, and has loud rock music playing. Excuse me? I mean, you know, Auschwitz? Bergen Belsen? The Soviet gulag? I think they would have been very happy to be allowed to defecate on themselves.
While Media Matters for America does not have a recording of the show, Hewitt links to the transcript to which we also link above on his own weblog.