Former Fox military analyst says torture worked on McCain: ‘They call him Songbird John’

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Former Fox News military analyst Thomas McInerney on Thursday condemned Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) rebuke of President Trump’s CIA director nominee Gina Haspel, saying that torture “worked on” McCain, whom he referred to as “Songbird John.”

“Sen. John McCain said he’s not going to endorse Haspel also in part because she believes in torture, that she thinks it works, even though she laid out at least three instances where it did work to the benefit of humankind, not just Americans, but all human beings,” McInerney said on the network.

Haspel, whose 30-year career with the CIA has largely remained in the shadows, has been criticized for her work at a CIA black site prison tied to an enhanced interrogation program during the George W. Bush administration. Many of the techniques used in that program are now widely regarded as torture.

Fox Business host Charles Payne asked McInerney whether Congress should evaluate Haspel on her feelings or on her stated commitment to avoiding enhanced interrogation programs.


“Well, she can’t use it [torture] anymore because we have determined in Congress that it’s not legal. The fact is, is John McCain, it worked on John. That’s why they call him ‘Songbird John,'” McInerney said. 

“The fact is those methods can work, and they are effective, as former Vice President Cheney said. And if we have to use them to save a million American lives, we will do whatever we have to,” he continued. 

Payne issued an apology to McCain on Thursday afternoon, saying he “did not catch” McInerney’s “very false and derogatory remark” but that his comments should have been challenged.

“As a proud military veteran and son of a Vietnam Vet these words neither reflect my or the network’s feelings about Senator McCain, or his remarkable service and sacrifice to this country,” Payne wrote.

McCain, who was a POW, was forced to falsely confess to crimes after being tortured for multiple days and having his ribs broken in a North Vietnamese prison during the Vietnam War.

Claims about McCain being a traitor have been widely debunked.

The senator urged his Senate colleagues on Wednesday to reject Haspel’s nomination, saying “her refusal to acknowledge torture’s immorality is disqualifying.”

“Like many Americans, I understand the urgency that drove the decision to resort to so-called enhanced interrogation methods after our country was attacked. I know that those who used enhanced interrogation methods and those who approved them wanted to protect Americans from harm. I appreciate their dilemma and the strain of their duty,” McCain said.

“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.”

–Updated at 3:25 p.m.

Tags CIA Donald Trump Enhanced interrogation techniques John McCain Torture
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