Lt. Col. Ralph Peters, a Fox News security analyst, could not have disagreed more with the host of "The O'Reilly Factor" on the issue of Trump campaign surveillance, calling the story "BS" and a distraction.
Bill O'Reilly wanted his guest on Thursday night to validate the concerns President Donald Trump and his supporters have expressed about unmasking and incidental collection. Peters refused to play along with O'Reilly's game, instead directing his criticism at House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes.
"There is a sort-of scandal here in the fact that this wasn't the national security council surfacing these documents. It was a couple of Trump appointees assigned to the national security council," Peters said. "This wasn't H.R. McMaster."
"It was clearly another attempt to divert attention from the main issue which is a question of whether or not Vladimir Putin's regime was able to penetrate the Trump campaign and potentially the administration," Peters added.
O'Reilly pressed further on the matter, refusing to drop the subject without a eliciting a condemnation from Peters on the unmasking.
"If Donald Trump and some high member of his transition team are caught on wiretaps and, as you know, their names are supposed to blanked out, and now they are on transcripts in our intel agencies," O'Reilly said. "I think that is an important story, is it not?"
"I think it is a BS story," Peters responded. "And it's phony and nobody has released those. We don't know what was on it. Unlike so many of the instant pundits out there, I actually worked in the intelligence world for two decades. We take great care not to include the names of U.S. citizens unless they are under some sort of serious investigation."
"So, if those names were not blacked out in the transcripts that tells me these people were under serious investigation," Peters continued. "But as another red herring, it diverts attention from the primary issue."