Channel 4 News has admitted it could have "challenged more strongly" the views of an ex-CIA officer, who told the programme the best solution to violence in the Middle East was for Muslims to kill each other until they "bleed each other white".
Michael Scheuer, who was in the CIA from 1982 and 2004 and was involved in the hunt for Bin Laden, said Sunni and Shia Muslims should be left to fight each other, adding the situation was "ideal" when the brutal Islamic State (IS) was advancing on Baghdad and poised to carry out a massacre.
He also referred to "problems that have been created by multiculturalism and diversity in our own countries" but was not asked to elaborate on what he meant.
Michael Scheuer on Channel 4 News
A spokeswoman for the programme told Huffington Post UK: "We accept this could have been challenged more strongly in order to make clear that these views are in no way endorsed by Channel 4 News."
When he appeared on the show on Tuesday evening, Mr Scheuer told host Cathy Newman that the West was "being beaten hands down" in its fight against radical Islamists, such as those from IS, also known as ISIS or ISIL.
Michael Scheuer: We've never been able to beat anyone with air power. We've proven conclusively we're unable to train foreign armies to defend themselves so, we're in a real fix I think.
Cathy Newman: So you're saying 'send in Western ground troops' then?
Scheuer: No ma'am, I think we should back away from the whole thing. The thing was ideal when IS was advancing on Baghdad because Sunnis were killing Shias. That's exactly what we need. We've proven that we're just militarily incompetent or that the military is so shackled by its political leaders, that it can't defeat these people. But our best hope right now is to get the Sunnis and Shias fighting each other and let them bleed each other white.
Newman: There's no hope of that happening though is there? I mean, President Obama's talked about being involved in this war for many years.
Scheuer: No, Mr Cameron and Mr Obama and most Western leaders seem to love the idea of us being bled to death by them, rather than the other way round. And we have the problems that have been created by multiculturalism and diversity in our own countries, in Europe more severely than ours but it's coming our way too.
The segment then moved on to the issue of internet snooping powers.
Ms Newman found herself copied into angry tweets criticising her perceived failure to challenge his views.
She answered one of them, saying: "We hear all views on Channel 4 News."
— Cathy Newman (@cathynewman) January 20, 2015
Why isn't Cathy Newman challenging this CIA guy and his clash of Civilizations doomsday claptrap #c4news
— Mark Langan (@ZapaMark2014) January 20, 2015
Whoah @cathynewman - Sunni and Shia should be left to 'bleed each other white' according to your ex-CIA guest! Not sure he was appropriate!
— Thomas Waite (@TomWaite99) January 20, 2015
That CIA man @cathynewman just interviewed is/was in charge of actual things. Let's all just think about that for a moment and have a cry.
— Ms Slide (@sliderulesyou) January 20, 2015
The Channel 4 News spokeswoman said Mr Scheuer was one of "a number of speakers we have on... sharing diverse opinions on jihad over a long period of time".
She said: "As a news organisation, we always try to strike a balance between unduly sanitised and excessive information in our news programming.
"This was a live interview with a former CIA Intelligence Officer Michael Scheuer and explored the issues surrounding the new security situation post the Paris attacks, the rise of ISIS and its claim on an Islamic Caliphate.
"Michael Scheuer is one of a number of speakers we have had on the programme sharing diverse opinions on Jihad over a long period of time.
"These were the personal opinions of an individual with experience and knowledge from within the intelligence fraternity in the United States."
She added: "However, we accept this could have been challenged more strongly in order to make clear that these views are in no way endorsed by Channel 4 News.
"This subject is a matter of significant general public importance and our role as a news organisation must be primarily to inform the public on what is happening."