05/29/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Joe Scarborough: Blame Dana Priest "If Planes Go Into Buildings" Because She Reported On Waterboarding [UPDATED: Scarborough Responds]

UPDATE: Joe Scarborough has issued the following statement:

Earlier today on Morning Joe, a guest suggested that President Obama might shoulder the blame for any future terror attacks on the United States because the CIA would not be using enhanced interrogation techniques adopted following September 11th. I took that opportunity to defend Barack Obama by saying the CIA's counterterrorism program was compromised long before the President was inaugurated this year.

I stated that the blame for any future attacks on the United States by terrorists should not be blamed on President Obama, but instead on a reporter who revealed highly classified material regarding CIA counterterrorism programs beginning in 2004. I found the reporting of that classified material to be reckless and irresponsible. I also believe it compromised the CIA's ability to carry out its mission of defending our homeland while damaging relations with countries who dared to aid the United States in its war against al Qaeda.

Because I broadcast for five hours a day, five days a week, I sometimes phrase things in ways that I later regret. It is inevitable. Still, I have regularly used my TV and radio platforms to encourage members of both parties to tone down their rhetoric and speak responsibility.

For that reason, I feel a responsibility to correct my earlier statement.

If the United States is attacked in the future, it will be for a variety of reasons. Feckless politicians will share a greater responsibility for future loss of life due to terrorist strikes than a reporter who revealed the most sensitive of state secrets. After reading the statement I made earlier today, I realize it does not accurately reflect my feelings. I regret making that statement. Such are the dangers of discussing complex policies for five hours a day without the aid of a teleprompter.


Joe Scarborough seems to think that the sadistic use of waterboarding has been an essential and successful component of our national security apparatus, when in truth, it's a fantastic boon to terrorist recruiters. Apparently, however, these programs - torture, rendition, secret prisons -- are so dear to him, that he'll be holding Washington Post reporter Dana Priest responsible for any further deaths related to terrorism. This is, as they say, bonkers:

SCARBOROUGH: The second Dana Priest wrote her article and we had this debate on waterboarding, we were moving towards not using waterboarding again. We don't - these techniques are worthless now anyways, so if planes go into buildings, well don't blame Barack Obama, blame Dana Priest and the chaos that occurred after that cause that was - when her article came out, from that point forward, this secret CIA program was dead on arrival.

It's been suggested to me that Scarborough should apologize for this, but what strikes me as sad is that no one felt compelled to defend Dana Priest on this regard. The guy just suggested that Dana Priest should be considered complicit in any future mass-murders, because she did her job and told the truth to her readers. And no one was on hand at an organization, ostensibly dedicated to journalism, to defend a journalist. That's pathetic.


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