Fox News host Bill O'Reilly labeled the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) a “terrorist group” for filing a lawsuit against Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld and for opposing Bush administration anti-terrorism measures that the group believes are unconstitutional. The lawsuit accuses Rumsfeld of approving illegal interrogation methods that led to the torture and abuse of detainees in U.S. military custody; the ACLU also believes that measures such as federal “no-fly” lists and expanded investigative and surveillance powers for federal law enforcement under the USA Patriot Act are unconstitutional. O'Reilly added: “They're terrorizin' me and my family. They're terrorizing me. I think they're terrorists.”
From the March 1 broadcast of Westwood One's The Radio Factor with Bill O'Reilly:
O'REILLY: This ACLU has no strategy to fight the war on terror at all. Everything the United States government does -- everything -- they oppose. Everything! Nothing they like in defending ourselves against terrorists -- nothing. ...
No-fly list, remember that? National Transportation Safety Administration put a no-fly list of travelers who they considered a threat. ACLU sued, challenged it. Can't have a “no-fly” list. Okay? That's number one. Airline discrimination. So there were some people that were saying, “Well, look, if we have these guys and they just came in from Jordan or they came in from Oman, we're gonna watch 'em closely, pull 'em aside, detain 'em, talk to 'em.” ACLU sued. “No, can't do that.”
Patriot Act? Uh-uh. No Patriot Act. Can't be listening on floating wiretaps like you do on drug dealers -- uh-uh. Can't try to catch terrorists like that. Can't be lookin' at people checkin' out weird things in the library -- uh-uh. Okay? Nope, sued.
Immigration, all right? ACLU sued, filed a federal lawsuit challenging an initiative by [former Attorney Geneal John] Ashcroft to enlist state and local police in the routine enforcement of federal immigration laws. No, no, can't do that. Can't have the local police or the state police; help the feds enforce immigration laws -- no way! Can't do it!
Guantánamo Bay -- all of 'em have to have civilian lawyers. No enemy combatants -- no way, uh-uh. Come on. Come on. Every single thing the United States government tries to do to protect us against terrorism, these people oppose and they'll sue -- just like Christmas. Same thing. Same thing. “We'll sue you -- put the crèche in the main part of town, sing a Christmas carol -- we'll sue you.” Sue, sue, sue, sue, sue.
So look, I'm declarin' war on the ACLU. I think they're a terrorist group. They're terrorizin' me and my family. They're terrorizing me. I think they're terrorists. Can I get some lawyers to help me out here? Can we sue 'em? They're puttin' us all in danger.
In the past, O'Reilly has called the ACLU “the most dangerous organization in the United States of America right now ... second next to Al Qaeda” and “a fascist organization.” He has also said that “Hitler would be a card-carrying ACLU member. So would Stalin.”