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[casi] FOX NEWS, June 2 :Weapons of Mass Destruction,2933,88337,00.html

Monday, June 02, 2003
Matter of the Weapons of Mass Destruction

This is a partial transcript of Special Report with Brit Hume, May 30, that
has been edited for clarity. Click here to order the complete transcript.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We found the weapons of mass
destruction (search). You know, we found biological laboratories. Remember
when Colin Powell (search) stood up in front of the world, and said Iraq has
got laboratories, mobile labs to build biological weapons. They're illegal.
They're against the United Nations resolutions, and we've so far discovered
two. And we'll find more weapons as time goes on. But for those who say we
haven't found the banned manufacturing devices or banned weapons, they're
wrong. We found them.


TONY SNOW, GUEST HOST: Well, maybe or maybe not. There is still some
ambiguity about whether those facilities, which many people say those mobile
facilities are useful only for creating prohibitive weapons. There's still
no direct proof that they were actually used in their manufacture.

Meanwhile, the U.S. military says it has yet to find concrete evidence of
Iraq's weapons of mass destruction since the end of war. But British Prime
Minister Tony Blair (search) says he has absolutely no doubt the weapons are
there: and he councils a little patience.

Greg Copley, president of the International Strategic Studies Association,
joins us now to discuss the matter.

SNOW :  No.1, is it possible after the war, or even during the war, that
Iraq could have either moved or destroyed all weapons of mass destruction,
so there's nothing there right now?

there's still a lot of Iraq to search. However, in August-September last
year, they moved huge amounts of fissile material, chemical, and biological
material to a Comishly, a town in Syria, just across the border, from Iraq,
to the Hishishi compound there. So, they -- they consistently moved weapons,
laboratories, documents, and so on there for safekeeping during the war.

SNOW: All right. So, you're absolutely persuaded that there were extensive
weapons of mass destruction before the fact. There is no possibility, in
your mind that the weapons simply did not exist ever?

COPLEY: There is -- there is no possibility of that at all. In fact, Iraq
has also had a program with about 10,000 to 20,000 engineers, scientists,
and so on, and specialists in Libya working on delivery systems for these
weapons; or working on modifications to No-Dong missiles, which...

SNOW: Which are the North Korean missiles?

COPLEY: The North Korean missiles, which were procured by Iraq, but - -
went -- were shipped to Libya for work there. So, virtually all of the
Libyan heavy strategic weapons work was moved out of the country some time
ago. The laboratories for the actual weapons and warheads themselves was
being done in Iraq and moved out, let's say, in August-September, last year.
We've tracked that definitively to the Hishishi compound in el Comishly.

SNOW: Is it -- is it, your sense the stuff is still there...


SNOW: ... or are the Syrians now worried about the possibility of U.S.
military action? Would it not be in their best interest to figure out some
way to get it out of there as well?

COPLEY: I'm sure they're worried about it. And they're even more worried
until some moderates inside the administration persuaded the president not
to pursue Syria on this matter, and to handle it through negotiations.

Right now, we know that a lot of it is still sitting there, in -- in
Comishly. The Scuds and so on, which were separately moved across the border
just before the war started. They're still sitting there; and a lot of them
were tracked by the Australians.

SNOW: Now, you knew about this before the war began?

COPLEY: Correct.

SNOW: Then, why didn't the American public hear about it?

COPLEY: I'm not sure why the American public didn't hear about it.  We told
the U.S. intelligence services, and they -- they're aware of it. I believe
that it's because both the British Prime Minister and the White House wanted
to have a very, very clean, simple argument to take to the American
population, and to the U.N. to say let us go into Iraq.

If you started to widen the argument to say, well, there's a bit in Syria,
there's a bit in Libya, it becomes very muddy. And there would certainly
have been no consensus for widening the war to that extent.

SNOW: How at this time, would it be possible for the United States --
clearly we're not going to get the U.N. to go along with this -- for the
United States somehow to get access to sites or facilities in Syria or Libya
so they can confirm this?

COPLEY: I think that the United States has to take a sovereign decision on
this, and serve notice to the Syrian president that they're going to pursue
this. They're monitoring the situation through satellites and through aerial
surveillance. So they're going to know if the stuff is moved. Now, they need
to take strong action to pressure Syria to allowing those inspections.

SNOW: Now, we have heard today that Abu Mazen, the Palestinian prime
minister, says he is going to take care of terrorist groups. Now that would
be Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, Palestinian Popular Front for Liberation
of Palestine and others. Is it your fear that the government of Syria may in
fact, be trying to transfer this weaponry into the hands of terrorists?

COPLEY: I think that they've always had a program of transferring weapons
into the hands of terrorists, Hezbollah, particularly. Weapons have come
from Iran on a consistent basis. So, yes, they are continuing to provide
them to Hezbollah and Hamas.

SNOW: But I'm talking about now about chemical or biological weapons of mass
destruction. That's a different thing.

COPLEY: That's right. Now, I don't think the Syrians would necessarily do
that. You know, I think that it would be too dangerous.  However, the links
between the Syrians and the Baathist administration, and Al Qaeda, that's
another matter, all together. We know that al Qaeda was given chemical
weapons by the Saddam administration in the past couple of years. So,
there's a chance that they could get their hands on some of it.  And that
would affect the Palestinian situation as well.

SNOW: Now, how would this be in the Syrian's interest right now?  They knew
the United States was going to war. It seems, at least on the outside, it's
kind of a foolish thing to do. Why on earth would they agree to store
weapons from a doomed regime?

COPLEY: Well, there's several reasons. One is money going to various people.
And the -- the web of financial transactions between Saddam and his family
and -- and the Bashir's administration were extensive. Bashir actually, went
to a lot of risk to get a lot of Saddam's family out through an airfield at
Damascus into Libya during the war. So, we know he's taken these risks.

Secondly, it was in the Iranian's interests to see Saddam constrained, but
not defeated, so they put pressure on Syria; which is it's -- which is
basically an Iranian surrogate to -- to help Iraq in this regard. And
thirdly, Bashir's advisers basically told him, he needs to appear like a
strong nationalist leader, as his father was, in order to gain control,
total control, over Syria. And that means -- if that means risking war, he
is prepared to do it.

SNOW: All right Greg Copley, a sobering picture. Thanks for joining us.

COPLEY: Thank you.

Click here to order the complete transcript.

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