Monitor Breakfast: R. James Woolsey
Selected quotations from a Monitor breakfast with former CIA Director James Woolsey.
WASHINGTON — "This is something that could conceivably be indeterminate for a long time. One might end up in a situation where you don't see any videotape from him and you don't hear from him for a long, long time and he would be presumed to be killed in some attack."
"There is no sole-source-contracting requirement for terrorism. You do not have to show -- and you are unlikely ever to find -- that Iraqi intelligence in this matter is the puppeteer and Al Qaeda is the puppet. That is not the point at all. It is assistance of any kind that may have been provided in terms of technology, documentation, training, or understanding. Any kind of assistance seems to me to quite legitimately put the Bathist regime in Iraq into a position where one can reasonably contend they have been involved in an attack on the United States."
"I think the use of American airpower from carriers in the Gulf, (hopefully) land bases in Turkey or some other nearby country, and B52s and other strategic bombers that could operate from Diego Garcia could make life very,very unpleasant for the somewhat reduced Iraqi armed forces if they ever tried to pull together and mount an offensive against either the north or the south. Keep in mind, in Iraq we are not talking about caves up in mountains. The terrain and the weather are absolutely ideal for air warfare against ground forces. Certainly you can't win everything from the air. But we have seen some success in Afghanistan of small groups of American special forces working together with local fighters. ..."
"If we do move against Iraq -- I have no idea if we are going to -- if we do move successfully against Iraq following a success in Afghanistan, I think you would see some knees start to quake among some of the authoritarian leaders in some of the Arab world and I think that is great. Ultimately our best guarantee not only for peace in the Middle East but for access to oil and the rest would be for the Mideast to move in the direction of democratization."
"There is not going to be any possibility in the current circumstance of a terrorist Gorbachev -- an Al Queda Gobachev arriving. There will not be any graceful degradation. These people are much more like some combination of the Nazis and the small group... who ran the Inquisition and murdered Muslims and Jews and tortured them. ...The President is well advised to keep using the word 'evil.' We are not talking about anyone we can have arms-control agreements with or contain or do any of the kinds of the things we did in the cold war. We are also not talking about anybody who has any legitimate claim to democratic support. One only has to look at the happy faces of the women without their burqas, and the kids with their bikes, and the men getting shaved in Afghanistan to realize that any claim of popular support by these people is really not true."
"If one's focus is very precisely on the war, I think there are only a handful of countries that really are actively supporting international terrorism. I put Iran and Syria in addition to Iraq as up front there. Sudan was; it is a little unclear right this minute . Countries such as North Korea and Cuba that are on the State Department list really kind of provide assisted living facilities for retired terrorists - that is kind of their main role. And you have countries like Greece that are not working as hard as they should. ..."
"The Saudi government has been quite relaxed about support (for) groups such as the Taliban and even for some Saudis in Al Qaeda. I think this has been extremely short sighted. It means increasing numbers of young Saudis in the kingdom -- including 15 of the 19 people who participated it the Sept. 11 bombing -- have become quite disaffected with their regime -- not only with us but with their regime. (This has) had the effect of spreading a form of attitude toward dealing with non-Muslims around the world that is very much at odds with the generally very humane and ethical tradition of Islam."
"In a sense the terrorists have kind of hit the seam between foreign intelligence and domestic law enforcement and ... this creates a situation in which we simply have to take some steps to make sure there is close cooperation and handoff and team work between foreign intelligence and various parts of domestic law enforcement. And what that is going to mean is that some information is going to go across that connection that would not go across it during the cold war... I would prefer it if extraordinary measures ... (had) some kind of sundown provision in them so there is a general understanding that once the war is over we not only can, but will, go back and take a fresh look to see if we want to go back to some of our pre-war structures."