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 You are in: Bureaus/Offices Reporting Directly to the Secretary > Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism > Releases > Remarks > 2006

Interview on the Charlie Rose Show

Henry A. Crumpton, Coordinator for Counterterrorism
Washington, DC
February 14, 2006

(11:00 p.m. EST)

QUESTION: We want to talk about counter-terrorism this evening. Joining me is ambassador Henry Crumpton. He is the State Department’s new coordinator for counter-terrorism. He comes to that position after 24 years of service at the CIA. He also led the CIA’s Afghan campaign in 2001 and 2002. I am pleased to have him here to talk about his mission and how he sees the efforts so far. Welcome.

HENRY CRUMPTON: Thank you, sir. Good to be here.

QUESTION: Great to have you here. Tell me what - tell me what you think our single best asset is in fighting terrorism.

HENRY CRUMPTON: Our partnerships around the world, with nations, with non-state actors. You look at the success we’ve had in counter-terrorism, invariably it’s because of the success of our partnerships, whether in Afghanistan or whether in the Middle East, in Southeast Asia, and I think that will continue to be the case.

QUESTION: And some of the best - some of the best highest-ranking al Qaeda people have been captured in Pakistan.

HENRY CRUMPTON: Right.

QUESTION: …which I assume came from some cooperation with the Pakistani government.

HENRY CRUMPTON: That’s correct.

QUESTION: Any exceptions to that, where there’s no cooperation or not enough?

HENRY CRUMPTON: Well, the most obvious exceptions are those state sponsors of terrorism. Iran.

QUESTION: That would be Iran and Syria.

HENRY CRUMPTON: Iran and Syria -- those two primarily.

QUESTION: Anyone else?

HENRY CRUMPTON: Well, you still have Sudan on the list, North Korea and Libya, although I must note Libya has made a lot of progress in the last year. We’re encouraged by what we’ve seen in that regard. Other countries participate or cooperate to varying degrees, but ultimately I think it will be in all of their interest and our collective interest to work more closely with us.

QUESTION: My impression is that right after 2001, Syria was cooperating. Wrong?

HENRY CRUMPTON: They looked at issues in a different light, given their own concerns about Sunni extremists, but more recently they have clearly made a decision to ally themselves with Iran and their support to Palestinian rejectionist groups, supports to Hezbollah. Clearly that places them on the wrong side.

QUESTION: And what are they doing other than allowing jihadists to come through Syria and through Damascus and go into Iraq?

HENRY CRUMPTON: We see them offering political and logistical support to terrorist groups. You look at Hezbollah in particular. They rely heavily on Syria as a transit point and also as a political partner.

QUESTION: And financing come -- coming from Iran.

HENRY CRUMPTON: Correct.

QUESTION: What are the three biggest obstacles you have? That would be surely one of them.

HENRY CRUMPTON: Right.

QUESTION: I mean, you find nation states that are supporting terrorism.

HENRY CRUMPTON: Um-hum.

QUESTION: What else?

HENRY CRUMPTON: I think some aspects of globalization, although an overwhelmingly positive force, I think, in terms of economic growth and - and bringing us closer together, but there are aspects of that that have created a global battlefield. And that gives us challenges we never really faced before. And the enemy uses this battlefield, this global interchange, in which to hide, in which to move money, in which to move personnel, arms, and how we deal with this on a global scale is a major challenge.

A third area might be the asymmetric aspects of this conflict. Al Qaeda and affiliates, they’re sidestepping our conventional power, and they’re coming at us in different ways, perhaps most obvious simply in terms of their size. You have very small teams, even individuals that are packing a lot of punch. And they’re coming at us from the soft side, using our underbelly. And I think that’s a big challenge for us in how we collect intelligence, how we wage war.

QUESTION: What do you think is the connection between whatever terrorist activities that are taking place today and some kind of communication with bin Laden and al-Zawahiri? I mean, are they sending out instructions and are they sitting in Afghanistan and Pakistan creating plans and creating attack strategies?

HENRY CRUMPTON: They’re planning to the extent that they can. They are under enormous pressure. And we do think they’re in the Pakistan- Afghanistan border area.

QUESTION: And on the run, I would assume.

HENRY CRUMPTON: And on the run and under increasing pressure. I think they’re more concerned about their own survival than planning attacks, although there is an element that’s focused on this. They clearly want to have command and control of a global network. But because of our measures, because of the activities of our partners, they’re having trouble. Probably the best example is the letter from Zawahiri to Zarqawi.

QUESTION: Right.

HENRY CRUMPTON: …in Iraq. In which he, Zawahiri, is complaining about an inability to control and criticizing Zarqawi and asking him for money. That’s probably the best example of the strain which they’re under.

QUESTION: How much -- I talked to the Saudi ambassador, who formerly headed up intelligence in Saudi Arabia, as you well know; Turki al-Faisal was here. And - and he said that there’s a real evidence now of a split between those nationalist insurgents, those former Baathists who are opposed to the United States being there, and the jihadists. Do you see that in your own counter-terrorism efforts?

HENRY CRUMPTON: Certainly, I.

QUESTION: Is it on the - is it on the rise?

HENRY CRUMPTON: Yes. In December, I was in Iraq. And the Iraqi defense minister invited me to join him and meet with the tribal chiefs from Al Anbar province.

QUESTION: Yeah.

HENRY CRUMPTON: We had a long discussion, and I learned in that meeting that they want to govern. They want to take care of their own constituents. They want to be part of the Iraqi nation-state. And the defense minister communicated to them that if indeed that was the case, they’re going to have to play a role in this. And I think that these tribal leaders in Al Anbar and elsewhere, they don’t want foreign fighters on their turf. And I think you’re beginning to see them engage them, and - and eventually this will be one of the key elements in victory there.

QUESTION: And they will in fact take it on to themselves to expel them?

HENRY CRUMPTON: They’re already working toward that.

QUESTION: How would - how are they doing that? Simply engaging them in battle and cutting off their access to Iraq?

HENRY CRUMPTON: Yes, I’ll give you an example. In fact, the "New York Times" covered this. Al Qaeda in Iraq killed a Shia leader who was married into a powerful Sunni clan. And that clan responded with lethal force. And al Qaeda is suffering. And that’s one example of many that you see in Al Anbar and elsewhere in the western part of Iraq.

QUESTION: But do you see any efforts now that the - the jihadists recognize that they -- that this is a problem for them and they’re beginning to change anything in terms of their own tactics?

HENRY CRUMPTON: Well, one of the great vulnerabilities in al Qaeda and affiliated organizations is their absolute view of the world. They offer no room for political discourse or for debate, even with erstwhile allies like indigenous Iraqi insurgents. You see this elsewhere. Jemaah Islamiya in Indonesia.

QUESTION: Yes.

HENRY CRUMPTON: …and other parts of the world.

QUESTION: And do you see that around the world where there are cells of al Qaeda or affiliated organizations that are - that are on the run in your judgment?

HENRY CRUMPTON: Yes. And I think not only do you have much weaker command-and-control, in some cases no command-and-control from al Qaeda central to these regional actors, but increasingly they’re isolated and they’re under pressure, because local governments and nation states are taking more of an active role with our support and our encouragement.

QUESTION: The funding -- where is it coming from?

HENRY CRUMPTON: A lot of it is self-generated. You look at an act of terrorism. In many cases, it doesn’t take much money. And cells can generate some of this on their own through work, through illegal activity. Other money flows from donors. Other money flows from extortion. One point that’s especially disconcerting is the ransoms that we see being paid in Iraq. We think this is generating funds for terrorist groups, both Iraqi insurgents but also al Qaeda.

QUESTION: And in fact, I mean I’ve read that they will pay people, local people in Iraq to go bring somebody to them, and then they will make a larger demand for ransom.

HENRY CRUMPTON: That’s correct.

QUESTION: . from outside groups.

HENRY CRUMPTON: That’s correct.

QUESTION: Yes. How about from Saudi Arabia?

HENRY CRUMPTON: We still have concerns about funds flowing from individual Saudis. We’ve raised this with the Saudi government. We’re working with them. And there’s been some progress, but we need to see more, frankly.

QUESTION: What’s your judgment of what they’re doing?

HENRY CRUMPTON: I think inside their borders after May of ‘03, when they were attacked, they have responded with vigor, with a degree of precision and determination that frankly is very encouraging. Outside of their borders, they’ve taken some steps, but we believe more needs to be done. We’ve - we’ve communicated this to them. And indeed, in terms of working with us on tracking terrorist financing, they are helpful. And they’re increasingly a good partner. But we think more needs to be done.

QUESTION: Yes, and they’re more aware today than they were, say, right after 2001 with the infliction of terrorist acts within Saudi Arabia, within their own borders that brought home the…

HENRY CRUMPTON: Clearly.

QUESTION: …horror of it all.

HENRY CRUMPTON: Clearly.

QUESTION: …to them.

HENRY CRUMPTON: After May of ‘03 for them that -- that was a turning point for them. But also...

QUESTION: But did they wake up and say we now know what you mean or...

HENRY CRUMPTON: I think when it hits close to home like that, yes, there is a greater realization.

QUESTION: Yes.

HENRY CRUMPTON: …of the threat. And frankly, it wasn’t until 9/11 that I believe the U.S. as a society understood how serious this threat is.

QUESTION: And immediately everybody said take the gloves off.

HENRY CRUMPTON: Um-huh.

QUESTION: Yeah. That was five years ago or no, four-and-a-half years ago.

HENRY CRUMPTON: Right, right.

QUESTION: Take the gloves off, from the CIA director to your predecessor, to everybody else. Has the learning curve taught you to change strategies? Over the intervening years to say, look, this is what we have learned and this is what we have to do.

HENRY CRUMPTON: I think that we are changing strategies. And I think we will continue, because the battlefield is evolving. The enemy’s strategy and tactics are evolving. The nature of war I think is evolving at a rapid pace, perhaps at the pace of globalization itself. And therefore our strategy has to keep up.

QUESTION: When you say the nature of war, you mean the nature of a conflict between nation states and groups that are -- that are - that - that don’t have a nation state?

HENRY CRUMPTON: Yes. Still, we’ll have to deal with foreign armies, I think, as potential threats. But more and more our adversaries, they’re going to sidestep our conventional power. They will come at us using asymmetrical means, and how we engage them is going to be a challenge, in terms of our intelligence collection, in terms of how we respond, in terms of our policy, our law, our philosophy of conflict. I think this is a fundamental shift in how we wage war.

QUESTION: When you sit down with - you know, there was an interesting story about someone from French intelligence coming in over to meet with Steve Hadley. You may have seen it in David Ignatius’ column. You know, and the French have been pretty good about intelligence, I’m...

HENRY CRUMPTON: Yes.

QUESTION: I’m told. That.

HENRY CRUMPTON: That is correct. That is correct.

QUESTION: When you - when you sit down with your colleagues in Europe or in Asia, is there a debate about strategy and what’s it about? I mean, what is the great debate among smart people about counter-terrorism?

HENRY CRUMPTON: It’s increasingly -- it’s increasingly broad, I think. And not just intelligence collection, not just law enforcement response, not just a military response, but ideology -- the rule of law, economic development, hope. How do we engage civil society to provide an enduring answer to this problem? We can capture and kill terrorists day after day. And in fact, I think we’re doing a very good job of that. But there’s much more to this. And I think these are some of the enduring questions. And secretary .

QUESTION: But how do you get at sort of the root causes of terrorism?

HENRY CRUMPTON: Right. I think...

QUESTION: In terms of rage, in terms of indoctrination, in terms of education, and -- help me.

HENRY CRUMPTON: Right. I think that if you look to Secretary Rice’s recent speech at Georgetown University, she outlined how you can’t separate national security issues, counter-terrorism, from democracy, from economic development. All this is interwoven. And I think we have to look at it in its totality and use the whole of government and the whole of our partnerships to direct this.

QUESTION: The president put one of his closest colleagues, Karen Hughes, in charge of sort of public diplomacy.

HENRY CRUMPTON: Right.

QUESTION: …to sell America in part. Tell me how more difficult it is today to do your job because of whatever reaction there is against the United States, because it’s powerful and global, because of the Iraq war, because of perceived notions of American alliances, whatever they may be. How -- what is it you have to overcome?

HENRY CRUMPTON: I think there are a range of perceptions and misperceptions and some degree, honest ignorance. And this is critical to us, because the best way to forge partnerships is through trust and interdependence. And it makes our job more difficult in every respect. Paradoxically, you see some of the most enduring bonds of trust and cooperation among intelligence services, among military forces, among law enforcement. It’s in the public arena that we have more work to do.

QUESTION: Yes.

HENRY CRUMPTON: And I’ve talked to my European partners about this.

QUESTION: When you operate overseas.

HENRY CRUMPTON: Yes.

QUESTION: I mean, is the image issue a serious impediment to getting things done?

HENRY CRUMPTON: Yes, because to the degree it constrains our foreign partners, that it constrains our operations?

QUESTION: They say we can’t do this because...

HENRY CRUMPTON: Of domestic political pressure.

QUESTION: Yeah, the pressure on us.

HENRY CRUMPTON: Yes.

QUESTION: It’s the Pakistani issue.

HENRY CRUMPTON: That’s a piece of it, yes.

QUESTION: Yeah. What can you tell us about what happened when those drones attacked looking for Zawahiri?

HENRY CRUMPTON: I’ll give you a general answer to that. Obviously I can’t go into any kind of operational detail. The Pakistanis, one of our best partners, you look at the hundreds of al Qaeda operatives that they have captured over the years. You look at the 200 to 300 men that they’ve lost in the tribal areas fighting al Qaeda in the last 18 months. They are working with us, but they have not been able to gain a foothold, gain sovereign control over those tribal areas, despite our help.

QUESTION: But is there - is there the will to do it? The will to do it?

HENRY CRUMPTON: I believe that Musharraf, General Musharraf has the will.

QUESTION: But do the people who report to him and the people in the region have the will?

HENRY CRUMPTON: The people in the region, in fact, the answer I think to some degree is no. And this is a...

QUESTION: But I mean those -- not just those that live there, the villagers.

HENRY CRUMPTON: Yes.

QUESTION: …but the people who are operating in the region because they’re part of the national government and because they are sent there from Islamabad?

HENRY CRUMPTON: I think the will probably grows weaker the further away you get from Islamabad.

QUESTION: Right, exactly.

HENRY CRUMPTON: I think there’s a piece of this. And bear in mind, this is a part of the world that Alexander the Great said, this is too hard, I think I’ll just avoid this.

QUESTION: Yes. Yes.

HENRY CRUMPTON: The British said, no thank you, we’ll just govern this by remote control.

QUESTION: This is Afghanistan and Pakistan.

HENRY CRUMPTON: This is on this border area.

QUESTION: Yeah.

HENRY CRUMPTON: Well, the Pakistani government is - is facing the same problem. And we’re working with them to engage. But we, of course, have an obligation to defend our country and our citizens and to defend our partners around the world. And we reserve the right, of course, the obligation to strike at our enemies if our partners are either unwilling or incapable of doing so.

QUESTION: September 2001. September, 9/11, 2001, where were you?

HENRY CRUMPTON: I was overseas. I had just been assigned overseas to a post. I had been there for about two months.

QUESTION: In the region?

HENRY CRUMPTON: No. It was not in the Middle East. It was elsewhere. It was - it was a great assignment. And I had been there, in fact, 70 days when I was asked to come back.

QUESTION: To come back because of your experience in Afghanistan?

HENRY CRUMPTON: After 9/11, Cofer Black called me and asked me to ...

QUESTION: He was then running -- who was your predecessor at State.

HENRY CRUMPTON: Right. Right. But in this incarnation, he was the director of the Counter-Terrorism Center at CIA.

QUESTION: Right.

HENRY CRUMPTON: And he asked me to come back and to organize the CIA’s response in Afghanistan to al Qaeda.

QUESTION: It is said -- this is history -- I mean, that that was some of the best moments for the CIA, in terms of what you guys were able to do in Afghanistan. In fact, for a while there, CIA was operating alone before...

HENRY CRUMPTON: Yes.

QUESTION: ... the militaries came in.

HENRY CRUMPTON: Starting in ‘99, we had sent teams into Afghanistan. I think from ‘99 to the summer of ‘01, we had sent five teams in order into parts of Afghanistan, to work with local allies to collect intelligence and try to locate bin Laden and al Qaeda leadership. And we had some degree of success, and it positioned us, I think, to engage rather quickly right after 9/11.

QUESTION: Because you were on the ground and you were the only people on the ground?

HENRY CRUMPTON: Correct.

QUESTION: Do you think it would have been -- made a big difference if Massoud had not been killed?

HENRY CRUMPTON: That was a great tragedy and a great loss. I consider him a friend. And it was a shock when he was - when he was killed.

QUESTION: Al Qaeda related.

HENRY CRUMPTON: Yes.

QUESTION: Ordered probably by Osama bin Laden, because...

HENRY CRUMPTON: I have no doubt.

QUESTION: Right.

HENRY CRUMPTON: I have no doubt. And also, the timing with 9/11, I think this was, you know, part of their larger plan thinking that if Massoud was not in place, the CIA and the U.S. government would not have a partner in which to wage war. Fortunately, some of Massoud’s subordinates stepped forward, and we were able to reenergize our partnership. But it was a loss for Afghanistan.

QUESTION: Always after 9/11 and events like that, you know, there is something like the fog of war.

HENRY CRUMPTON: Right.

QUESTION: And nobody is perfect. If what the CIA did is remarkable act of success, and it was in terms of you defeated the Taliban in how long?

HENRY CRUMPTON: Well, by December 7th, Kandahar had fallen, so three months from 9/11.

QUESTION: If we had not been distracted by Iraq, do you think we’d have Osama bin Laden by now?

HENRY CRUMPTON: I don’t know if I would call Iraq a distraction for point one. Point two, man hunting is tough business.

QUESTION: Especially in that region.

HENRY CRUMPTON: Especially in that region. Alexander the Great, he never did catch...

QUESTION: Yes.

HENRY CRUMPTON: King Darius.

QUESTION: Yes.

HENRY CRUMPTON: General Pershing never caught Poncho Villa. But we will catch bin Laden, working with out partners.

QUESTION: How can you be so sure?

HENRY CRUMPTON: Because today in this global society, if you want to be part of the community of nations, you’re going to have to help us and - and themselves -- I’m talking about Pakistan now and Afghanistan. Our cooperation will grow. And I think that - that eventually we will get him.

QUESTION: OK, I’ll come back to distraction, because you look at what happened in Iraq and believe it has enhanced the ability to fight terrorism, or not?

HENRY CRUMPTON: I think Iraq in the broader strategic sense is going to change the Middle East geo-politically. If you have a new democracy there, they’ve just chosen their prime minister and they’ve just had - had three elections.

QUESTION: The former prime minister.

HENRY CRUMPTON: Right. What that does for the region, Mr. Rose, is it fundamentally shifts the thoughts and the political process despite the bumps in the road ahead. And I think in the long term that this is going to be a good thing for the Middle East. In Cairo last summer, Secretary ...

QUESTION: But because they are going to be a friend of the United States? Because they’re going to promote democracy in the Middle East? Because they’re going to be encouraging the Iranians to moderate? What - what is your thinking that an Iraqi government is going to do to benefit the United States in the future?

HENRY CRUMPTON: If Iraq continues on this path to democracy and they can build civic society, liberal institutions that allow their citizens to express themselves, allow their citizens to gain economically, to have some degree of hope, that’s a positive thing, because it takes away from the conditions that terrorists exploit, that al Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas, others, exploit. And I think that is the key here. It’s not just counter- terrorism over here and building democracy over here and economic development over here. We have to weave all this together.

QUESTION: Looking at the elections we’ve seen so far...

HENRY CRUMPTON: Right.

QUESTION: Hamas won.

HENRY CRUMPTON: Um-huh.

QUESTION: Fair election. Hamas won.

HENRY CRUMPTON: Um-huh.

QUESTION: In Egypt, Muslim Brotherhood could not stand as candidates but they could - they could engage in support of other candidates.

HENRY CRUMPTON: Right.

QUESTION: Significant and surprising number of people they supported won. It looks like -- it looks like when they have - we have democracy that we won, the people who are first elected are not necessarily the natural friends of the United States. And that’s the byproduct of the kind of democracy -- and we have to say, it’s OK with us, because that’s what we believe in. And in the end, we believe everything will be OK.

HENRY CRUMPTON: In the end, I don’t know where the end is. I think...

QUESTION: Well, I’m...

HENRY CRUMPTON: …in the long - in the long term, yes. It’s a positive thing. Last summer in Cairo...

QUESTION: So we can’t argue with the Hamas election. We’ve just got to figure out whether we can deal with them or not.

HENRY CRUMPTON: Right. And Hamas has got to make a decision whether they want to govern or not. I think in some respects, they’re in a pickle. Because they’re trying to figure out how do we govern and what does this mean? Do we join the community of nations, or do we hold fast and condemn Israel, the very existence of Israel and continue to support terrorist acts? Well, if they choose that path, they’re not going to go very far, I don’t think.

QUESTION: What’s the relationship, you think, between our oil addiction and - and this - and terrorism? In other words, many people -- some people, not many -- but - but an increasing number because the president spoke to the oil addiction as an issue.

HENRY CRUMPTON: Right.

QUESTION: The fact that so much American and otherwise money from around the world goes into dictators which are fueled by their oil reserves and riches -- Iranians, Saudis, you know. And some of that money, because they’re not a democratic state, is used to prevent or stop or pacify people that might be hostile to the state.

HENRY CRUMPTON: I think that ...

QUESTION: Who have a rage against.

HENRY CRUMPTON: Right.

QUESTION: You’ve thought about this.

HENRY CRUMPTON: Yes, sir. I have thought about it. The president has got it just right to the degree that we can achieve some flexibility in our energy requirements. I think that’s important. And let me give you - let me give you an example. Energy infrastructure. You look at the increase of our imports from West Africa -- Nigeria and Angola and other countries. You look at these states and their needs in terms of infrastructure protection, in terms of the needs of their citizens, that’s important to us. And I think we need to be thinking in those terms, both in acquiring alternative energy sources here, but also working with our African partners to help them, to help them protect their infrastructure and provide for their citizens.

QUESTION: What’s your nightmare?

HENRY CRUMPTON: Bio-weapons.

QUESTION: Bio?

HENRY CRUMPTON: Yes.

QUESTION: Give me an example. Give me a scenario.

HENRY CRUMPTON: As horrible as a nuclear weapon would be, it would be contained. You look at a bio-weapon, worst-case scenario, how do you -- how do you contain it?

QUESTION: But what -- give me an example of bio-weapon, so that we know.

HENRY CRUMPTON: You look at a weapon, a pathogen that has been genetically engineered, in which there is no antidote, in which it is self- replicating, how do you stop it?

QUESTION: How would it be delivered?

HENRY CRUMPTON: Well, I’m certainly no scientist, no expert on this.

QUESTION: Yes, but if it is your nightmare, then you...

HENRY CRUMPTON: Right.

QUESTION: …need to know as much as you possibly can.

HENRY CRUMPTON: Right, right. The delivery system would be person to person.

QUESTION: But how -- I mean - I mean, we’ve seen lots of movies.

HENRY CRUMPTON: Yes.

QUESTION: You know, you release it in an underground railroad, you release it through the exhaust system of building, you release it.

HENRY CRUMPTON: It can be a variety of ways.

QUESTION: Yes.

HENRY CRUMPTON: It can be very simple. It could be put into the air conditioning system of a building, released on an aircraft, and people might not even know they’re affected -- infected. You might not see any symptoms for two or three days. We might not even know -- in fact, we probably won’t know -- if it is a bio-attack or if it’s naturally occurring. And how long will that take to determine? And how do you trace the attack back to the point of origin? Who is responsible? That’s the challenge we face in this anthrax investigation.

QUESTION: Right.

HENRY CRUMPTON: in the Washington D.C. area.

QUESTION: We have yet to discover who did it.

HENRY CRUMPTON: That’s correct. That’s correct.

QUESTION: Because we couldn’t trace it back.

HENRY CRUMPTON: Right. That’s the worst scenario - worst-case scenario in my view.

QUESTION: Have we had some narrow escapes on that dimension?

HENRY CRUMPTON: Clearly you see the enemy’s intent. Al Qaeda .

QUESTION: Right.

HENRY CRUMPTON: Specifically, but there are other groups that are exploring this. In Afghanistan, late ‘01 and ‘02, the anthrax laboratories that we uncovered.

QUESTION: In Afghanistan?

HENRY CRUMPTON: Yes, al Qaeda.

QUESTION: They had them in their...

HENRY CRUMPTON: Yes.

QUESTION: …training camps.

HENRY CRUMPTON: Yes. Camp - Camp Darunta was a place where they were testing biological and chemical weapons. They were taking animals, and they would kill animals to see the effects of the weapons and the dispersal agents. They recruited a man who has a degree in biology from the University of California. His - his mission was bio-attacks against American targets. Malaysian government with our help has captured him. He’s currently incarcerated there. But that was his role. And I have no reason to believe al Qaeda has abandoned that.

QUESTION: Are you surprised they haven’t used it?

HENRY CRUMPTON: I think ...

QUESTION: But what makes it so hard to get it, I guess is the question, and use it, if it’s that -- I mean, you could put all you need right here in this, couldn’t you?

HENRY CRUMPTON: Yes. And you can manufacture it in a kitchen if you’ve got .

QUESTION: Yeah.

HENRY CRUMPTON: …the right expertise and the right ingredients.

QUESTION: I mean, it would seem -- you know, we all talk about how surprising it is there has been no suicide bomber attack in New York City. And that may be because of good police work, it may be because of a whole lot of things that you would know and I wouldn’t.

HENRY CRUMPTON: Um-huh.

QUESTION: Right? But at the same time I’m surprised, based on what you’ve said, and I suspect you are too, that somewhere in the world where there may be less security it would have happened.

HENRY CRUMPTON: I think there are several reasons for this, but I should note that I think at some point in time, it will happen. We will be attacked again here in the homeland. We can only be successful for so long. And the success to date is a combination of factors. I met with Commissioner Kelly today.

QUESTION: Right.

HENRY CRUMPTON: …and had a good conversation with him. They’re doing some good work here.

QUESTION: Are we talking about a war 25 years?

HENRY CRUMPTON: Maybe longer.

QUESTION: It’s an ongoing struggle.

HENRY CRUMPTON: Right.

QUESTION: Without a term.

HENRY CRUMPTON: Right.

QUESTION: And how will we know when victory comes?

HENRY CRUMPTON: That’s hard, because I know we won’t have a V.E. Day.

QUESTION: Right.

HENRY CRUMPTON: But like the...

QUESTION: No surrender on the battleship Missouri.

HENRY CRUMPTON: That’s right. But like the Cold War, at some point we will win, but how do we mark it?

QUESTION: Yeah.

HENRY CRUMPTON: You know, I’m not sure.

QUESTION: You’re not even sure how to keep score, are you?

HENRY CRUMPTON: That’s tough also, because it’s not just about killing and capturing the enemy. It’s about those enduring conditions that we must address, in terms of advancing democracy, in terms of economic opportunities, in terms of building interdependent partnerships. That ultimately will be the answer.

QUESTION: Well, you come back to that all the time. I mean, you really - I mean if nothing - if nothing is clear to me today in this conversation, one is - is the nightmare is biological and, two, the strategy is global and interdependent.

HENRY CRUMPTON: That’s right.

QUESTION: We cannot win this alone.

HENRY CRUMPTON: Mr. Rose, it must be global. It must be regional, national and also at a local level. We’ve got to engage on all four levels simultaneously.

QUESTION: In every way?

HENRY CRUMPTON: In every way.

QUESTION: (INAUDIBLE) a lot of the people and everything else.

HENRY CRUMPTON: That - that is correct.

QUESTION: You know, giving people -- making people stakeholders.

HENRY CRUMPTON: Correct.

QUESTION: …in the battle.

HENRY CRUMPTON: And as the president has said, we must use all the instruments of statecraft. And that means everybody from our Special Operations warriors to people in USAID, to multinational companies, to investors, to NGOs, foreign partners. They’ve all got to be a part of this.

QUESTION: When we talk about this global struggle, I want to come to one country that I’m interested in and have been to and would like to go back. It is Iran, and their link to Hezbollah. Tell me what you think. We know that the president has talked about there wasn’t such a thing as the Holocaust. You know he talks about all the things that, you know, the efforts they’re making on the nuclear front. It seems clear to everybody, and that’s the burning issue for Washington and Moscow and Beijing and...

HENRY CRUMPTON: Right.

QUESTION: …all the capitals of Europe. Tell me what you think they’re up to, and what kind of issue they pose for the United States in this battle and in the future?

HENRY CRUMPTON: I think the Iranian leadership is intent on acquiring nuclear weapons through their actions. When they talk about...

QUESTION: Let me interrupt you one second on that.

HENRY CRUMPTON: Please.

QUESTION: Because John Negroponte testified before Congress. They don’t have them yet. Do we have - do we have an intelligence estimate as to how far away they are?

HENRY CRUMPTON: I don’t have a timeline. But I am convinced they are intent on acquiring weapons. And that depends on a lot of factors, in terms of how quickly they can develop a system, not only the weapons but also a delivery system. So I don’t know exactly.

QUESTION: What else about Iran?

HENRY CRUMPTON: They talk about wiping Israel off the map. I think that is their intent. And I think we need to take those threats seriously. I think in terms of their support to terrorist organizations, specifically Hezbollah, they have complete command-and-control of Hezbollah. Imad Mugniyah works for Tehran. And you can’t talk about Hezbollah and not think about Iran. They really are part and parcel of the same problem, I believe.

QUESTION: They report to not elected officials but those people that - that are - that are part of the mullahs.

HENRY CRUMPTON: Right, the IRGC.

QUESTION: Right.

HENRY CRUMPTON: . and the intelligence services. And they really are proxies of Iran. I know they have -- Hezbollah hasn’t any members in parliament, but the Islamic Jihad, the operational element of Hezbollah, they - they work for the Iranian government for most -- and - and they are global. They’re not just in Lebanon. Hezbollah cells are scattered throughout the world.

QUESTION: And what do they do?

HENRY CRUMPTON: They are raising money. They are training. They’re engaged in supporting Hamas and other terrorist organizations. And as Prime Minister Blair noted, you’ve seen technology being used in IEDs in southern Iraq against coalition forces that’s coming from Iran and Hezbollah.

QUESTION: And what’s their connection, if any, to al Qaeda? They’re just a parallel organization, not a ...

HENRY CRUMPTON: You don’t see an alliance between al Qaeda and Hezbollah. But you certainly see ...

QUESTION: Is there - is there a hostility, an animosity, a competition?

HENRY CRUMPTON: Yes, in some cases. You see Zarqawi killing Shia in Iraq. Iran, Hezbollah they’re not happy with this, of course, but you also see areas where they could collude. I would not exclude that. As an example, the Iranians are holding, they claim, under house arrest some al Qaeda leaders that fled Afghanistan. We don’t have visibility into what role this al Qaeda leadership might be playing. Are they able to communicate outside of Iran? We don’t know that.

QUESTION: They won’t even acknowledge that they’re holding them, will they? I mean, I’ve asked the foreign minister and even the president about that on interviews here.

HENRY CRUMPTON: Yes.

QUESTION: They don’t acknowledge that they have them.

HENRY CRUMPTON: Right. They do. They are.

QUESTION: They have them but they don’t acknowledge it.

HENRY CRUMPTON: That’s correct.

QUESTION: Including pretty high up.

HENRY CRUMPTON: Yes.

QUESTION: …former al Qaeda.

HENRY CRUMPTON: Yes.

QUESTION: And - and you can’t find out whether those officials are contacting with al Qaeda operatives in the field.

HENRY CRUMPTON: We think they’re trying to, to some degree, but what control the Iranians have on them, we’re not - we’re not sure of.

QUESTION: And what was the relationship between -- and the Iranians are very strong about -- they hated the Taliban.

HENRY CRUMPTON: Yes.

QUESTION: Are the Taliban in a resurgence in Afghanistan?

HENRY CRUMPTON: The Taliban, because they have safe haven in parts of Pakistan.

QUESTION: Right.

HENRY CRUMPTON: …and because they are able to generate some income, perhaps from increased poppy production, they are coming back into Afghanistan in certain areas. And you’ve had some pretty major conflict in - in some parts of Afghanistan just in the last few weeks. I think that in the long run, they will be defeated, but you can’t just do it from one side of the border. You’ve got to have help from the Pakistanis also.

QUESTION: I mean, it seems to me you’re saying that there’s no more significant foreign policy issue for America than Iran.

HENRY CRUMPTON: In terms of a particular nation state, I think they pose unique challenges because of their sponsorship.

QUESTION: The nature...

HENRY CRUMPTON: …of terrorist groups.

QUESTION: Yes, the nature of their present leadership.

HENRY CRUMPTON: Yes, and their intent to acquire weapons of mass destruction.

QUESTION: And their support -- as you said, support of Hezbollah.

HENRY CRUMPTON: Right.

QUESTION: When you look at the options, what are they?

HENRY CRUMPTON: Options regarding Iran?

QUESTION: Yes.

HENRY CRUMPTON: I think again it goes back to the power of partnerships. Working with the Russians, the Chinese ...

QUESTION: Hasn’t gotten us very far so far, has it?

HENRY CRUMPTON: We’ll continue to push. The Europeans are certainly with us now when they weren’t as closely allied as we would have liked.

QUESTION: Yes.

HENRY CRUMPTON: …six months ago. But there’s progress there.

QUESTION: But if it comes to the U.N. Security Council, we don’t know whether China, which has significant ties, will veto any sanctions.

HENRY CRUMPTON: We’re engaged with our Chinese partners on this. And we’re hopeful that they will support our referral. We will see.

QUESTION: But you’re hopeful that there will be support there. And that -- this is under consideration, obviously.

HENRY CRUMPTON: Yes. And you look at what Iran poses to the community of nations, in terms of terrorism, weapons of mass destruction and the intent of their leadership. We have got to take this on.

QUESTION: There was a report out of London that the Pentagon is working on plans to -- for a strike if it’s necessary.

HENRY CRUMPTON: I think we can’t take any option off the table.

QUESTION: Yes. The president’s position. Tough times we live in.

HENRY CRUMPTON: Yes, sir.

QUESTION: Thank you.

HENRY CRUMPTON: Thank you, Mr. Rose.

QUESTION: Henry Crumpton is head of counter-terrorism at the State Department. You report to the secretary of state or...

HENRY CRUMPTON: Secretary Rice.

QUESTION: …to John Negroponte?

HENRY CRUMPTON: Secretary Rice. Yes.

QUESTION: Thank you again for coming.

HENRY CRUMPTON: You’re welcome.



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