On May 25, 2011, James Foley, the journalist brutally beheaded by ISIS was a guest on Fox News Channel’s “The O’Reilly Factor.”
Transcript as follows:
O’REILLY: So let’s pick it up in Brega which was rebel-held in Libya, right? So you’re there reporting on the rebels holding the town and then what happens?
JAMES FOLEY, GLOBALPOST.COM: We were coming from Benghazi. There was a dispute whether the rebels were holding it or whether the Gadhafi loyalists were holding it. And it was a very fluid war.
So we wanted to go up there that day and see. We took basically a taxi up to the frontlines.
O’REILLY: A taxi.
FOLEY: A kind of —
O’REILLY: That’s pretty (INAUDIBLE). You hired some guy and said take me to the war.
FOLEY: That was happening a lot. And from there we got in a small rebel convoy. We stopped, passed the checkpoint; heard Gadhafi forces were very close. Not a minute later two heavily armed Gadhafi pickup trucks came over the hill.
O’REILLY: All right. You stand there and identify yourself.
FOLEY: No. What you do in that minute is — the fire was so heavy we pressed ourselves as far as we could to the ground.
O’REILLY: All right. So they were shooting at you.
FOLEY: Our colleague Anton Hammer (ph) was killed. And the Libyan government continue to spread misinformation about —
O’REILLY: Who did he work for, Anton?
FOLEY: Anton was a freelancer but he had a lot of experience with South African papers, based in London.
O’REILLY: That’s too bad.
Now, what did the rebels do?
FOLEY: The rebels quickly turned around got out of there.
O’REILLY: Go out of there.
So you are on the ground and the rebels split, Gadhafi’s guys come and they take you captive.
FOLEY: That’s exactly what happened.
O’REILLY: So they put you in the truck and where did they take you?
FOLEY: They took us to a safe house in Brega; basically a house they occupied. Tied us up and told us look, you going to go to Tripoli. Based on what had happen to the “New York Times” reporters we knew basically we can go to Tripoli and be detained for some time.
O’REILLY: And how long did it take them to get you to Tripoli?
FOLEY: We spent two days in Sirte, Gadhafi’s hometown, at a base there. And then we were in a military detention center.
O’REILLY: Now, along the way they roughed you up.
FOLEY: No. Initially — when we were initially captured, struck with the butt of an AK-47, punched; very young soldiers, very aggressive. But once we were actually captured the tension calmed way down.
O’REILLY: Ok. So they didn’t abuse you. Did they interrogate you?
FOLEY: They interrogated me for six hours initially and that was — kind of felt like a mind game. One guy would be playing kind of good cop. One guy would come in yelling and saying we think you are a spy. And eventually figured out look, I just got to stick to my story and make sure I tell the absolute truth that I’m a journalist. That is my only chance.
O’REILLY: What did they feed and what about that kind of stuff?
FOLEY: Food — macaroni was a big Italian influence; a lot of macaroni. And we’re in the general prison, big bowl and everyone kind of scooped their hand in. They saw me as a western journalist trying to report on their revolution. And they —
O’REILLY: So they were nice to you, the fellow prisoners.
FOLEY: Yes. Yes. Yes.
O’REILLY: Ok. But the Libyan captives — the Gadhafi guys, they give you enough food?
FOLEY: They gave us enough food.
O’REILLY: All right. Did they do anything else that was untoward?
FOLEY: No, it was just the question of is it mind games or is it complete bureaucratic incompetence saying you will be leaving in two or three days.
O’REILLY: How long were you there altogether in captivity?
FOLEY: 44 days.
O’REILLY: That’s a long time.
FOLEY: Yes. It was a long time.
O’REILLY: They let you make a couple of calls though, I understand.
FOLEY: They let me make one call to my mother and after that a tremendous feeling of relief —
O’REILLY: Yes. Let her know you’re alive.
FOLEY: Right. First time I heard the rest of the world knew about me.
O’REILLY: Ok. So why did they release you?
FOLEY: You know, my family, friends, Global Post worked so hard and pressed so many diplomatic immediate channels. I think Saadi Gadhafi, one of the younger sons wants to have a reformist reputation.
O’REILLY: One of Gadhafi’s sons probably pulled a few strings and let you go. They drive you to the border of Tunisia? Is that what they did?
FOLEY: The Hungarians were very instrumental. They came in and took care of us until we reached the border and we got out.
O’REILLY: All in all, you’ve been to Afghanistan, Iraq, now Libya; what is the most dangerous place?
FOLEY: Libya because these revolutionaries are not trained yet.
O’REILLY: And you don’t have any U.S. troops there.
FOLEY: That is for sure.
O’REILLY: Right. When I was covering El Salvador, it was the same way. There were no U.S. troops there and these kids were 16, 17 years old with these giant guns.
O’REILLY: If they hit you anywhere they’d be (INAUDIBLE).
Well James, I’m glad you’re safe. And Global Post, we do business with them on billoreilly.com. It’s a fine operation. So thanks for coming in.
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