• This is a partial transcript from "Your World with Neil Cavuto," January 19, 2006, that was edited for clarity.

    NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: The vice president of the United States commenting on that new audiotape from Usama bin Laden.

    The audiotape, airing on Al-Jazeera today, on it, bin Laden promising new attacks on American soil and much more.

    Here now, the vice president of the United States, Dick Cheney.

    (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

    CAVUTO: Mr. Vice President. First off, this tape, it appears to be official from Usama bin Laden. The CIA is saying as such. What do you make of it?

    DICK CHENEY, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, I'm sure it will be an interesting development, partly because we hadn't heard anything from him in over a year.

    And if this is authentic, it will be the first indication that we have had from him. The other key question, in addition to authenticity, is, when was it made? And that will be important, too.

    Was it a recent production in the last few days, a month ago, or, you know, something pieced together from the past? All of that will be relevant, in terms of trying to assess what its significance is and what it means.

    CAVUTO: What do you make of the fact that it's an audiotape?

    CHENEY: Probably low production values. They didn't have the ability to do anything on video.

    They have some difficulty, given the extent to which they have had to go underground, in terms of producing this kind of message and then getting it to an outlet. But, they go through Al-Jazeera. And it's not easy for them, given the fact that we're all over that part of the world, obviously, and aggressively going after them wherever we find them.

    No, if you're living deep in a cave some place, which may be where he is, it is a little hard to get a message like that out.

    CAVUTO: The tape notwithstanding, there's a wide camp out there that believes he's dead.

    CHENEY: Well, this tape may give us an answer to that. If it's authentic, and if it's recent, then, obviously, it would indicate that the rumors that he was dead were invalid.

    CAVUTO: Or that it's an old tape, that it could be such an old tape that he made a batch of them before he did.

    CHENEY: That's a possibility, too.

    But, at this stage, I would say we just don't know. We will find out here in the next few days. I think we will be able to make that assessment.

    CAVUTO: What do you make, sir, of this talk of a truce?

    CHENEY: Well, it's interesting.

    I'm not sure what he's offering by way of a truce. I don't think anybody would believe him. It sounds to me like it's some kind of a ploy. But, again, not having seen the entire text or validated the tape and the timing of it, I'm reluctant to draw any conclusions.

    CAVUTO: Would you, would the administration ever entertain a truce with Al Qaeda?

    CHENEY: We don't negotiate with terrorists.

    CAVUTO: What about this idea that he promises, on the same tape he talks about a truce, that there will be follow-up attacks on our soil?

    CHENEY: Well, based on what we have seen him do, based on what we have seen the organization do, I don't think it's possible to negotiate any kind of a settlement with terrorists like this.

    Not only have they struck here in the United States, but we have had attacks all over the world in places like Madrid and Casablanca and Istanbul and Bali and Jakarta. This is not an organization that is ever going to sit down and sign a truce. I think you have to destroy them. It's the only way to deal with them.

    CAVUTO: If he were dead, if he were captured, would there be any difference in the ferocity of Al Qaeda?

    CHENEY: Difficult to say.

    It's not a strong hierarchical organization. And we have done a lot of damage to their senior leadership. We have captured and killed a good portion of them. But it's also the kind of situation where you will see a cell off in some other country, maybe with a very tenuous connection to the center, maybe people who have been to the training camps and then returned back to their home country, who then, on their own, go off and launch an attack of some kind.

    So, it's a decentralized organization, more like a franchise, if you will, than a hierarchical structure or a traditional military organization, with a commander in chief kind of thing.

    So, I think the threat's still there. We see ample evidence of continued plotting against the United States. We continue to work aggressively against the organization, I think with considerable success. But I think we have to assume that the threat is going to continue for a considerable period of time. Even if bin Laden were no longer to be a factor, I still think we would have problems with Al Qaeda.

    CAVUTO: Mr. Vice President, what do you think of the timing of the release of this, just after news of maybe three, four, maybe five top Al Qaeda bigwigs who were taken out in Pakistan a few days ago?

    CHENEY: Well, we don't know whether or not there's any relationship between what happened in Pakistan and what happened here.

    We may be able to tell more once we can check out, you know, how did the tape arrive, how was it delivered, who was it delivered to. The extent we can learn more about that, you might be able to make a judgment that this was in response to that.

    On the other hand, it may be that it was already in the works and that it's just a coincidence. We don't know.

    CAVUTO: You're just back from the Middle East. How do they feel about Usama bin Laden out there?

    CHENEY: I think there's a sense in places like Egypt and Saudi Arabia that they have come to recognize the serious nature of the threat. Certainly, the Saudis have.

    I would say, three years ago, that wasn't necessarily the case. But, after the attacks in Riyadh in the spring of '03, and, subsequent to that, they clearly have gotten the message that they're a target. They have been very effective and very aggressive in going after Al Qaeda remnants inside Saudi Arabia itself and after those who finance and have supported Al Qaeda.

    So, they have become very effective, in terms of their counterterrorism operations since then.

    But I think they also feel that, you know, they have gotten on top of it, to some extent. And that may be true, but the threat is still very much there, still very much exists.