Covert U.S. Operations in Afghanistan

This partial transcript of The Big Story With John Gibson, April 25, 2002 was provided by the Federal Document Clearing House. Click here to order the complete transcript.

JOHN GIBSON, HOST: … covert operations in lawless areas of Pakistan. Some of our troops are putting themselves out in the open, actually hoping to draw out enemy fire. A risky route to victory or a recipe for disaster?

Joining us in Denver, Fox News military analyst, retired U.S. Army Colonel David Hunt.

So I was kind of startled by this, Colonel. Apparently, the technique our forces are employing is to walk around openly, hoping that these Al Qaeda will step out and shoot at them. Isn't there another way to go about this?

COL. DAVID HUNT (RET.), U.S. ARMY: Sure. I think what you're hearing is a couple of ways of — a couple of guys may be trying this. One, if people are really doing it — and that's a very strange, brave, reckless but possibly an effective way — they've got snipers and aircraft and other people watching them so that, if somebody does shoot at them, they can shoot back. They, obviously, must have very good intelligence to risk themselves this way.

What you've got is small teams, two to four men that — they've got interpreters with them. They're doing reconnaissance and surveillance. There'll be special personnel with them, special ops personnel with them, a joint special operations command. You hear about Delta Forces, Hill Team 6 (ph), and Task Force 160 (ph) — that's the helicopter guys — and our intelligence guys and women who are snooping and booping, trying to find bad guys.

Sometimes they expose themselves like this. My bet is it's not happening a lot.

GIBSON: Well, the way it was described in the reports this morning was that they — our people now believe that the remaining Al Qaeda are in very small groups — as you describe our people, two to four — and that the way we are drawing them out is to present a target that is just too tempting, that they can't resist stepping out and trying to take a pot shot at our guys, and I guess our guys feel they can respond quickly and have the upper hand. What is this technique called?

HUNT: Well, it's — for the guy who has to stand out there, it's called stupid. I mean, if you're the guy who has to stand out there and be a target — but I think what you've got is — they've got dummies. They've got equipment they'll leave out. They may leave a vehicle running. They leave false impressions.

You — I very — I doubt that we've got live soldiers. "By the way" —  you just tell them, "By the way, go stand out there in the open and let somebody shoot at you."

I think what you — what you're — what we're hearing a little bit of disinformation. I know of no technique in which you lull the bad guy in by using your own soldiers as a live target.

Again, you could use...

GIBSON: OK. Let me put this way then. What is the way that you know that you go out after very small groups of two to four where they're just essentially buddies — Al Qaeda buddies hanging out, armed to the teeth, looking for an opportunity to shoot somebody, and you're going to go get them. How do you do that?

HUNT: It starts out with intelligence. We've got hard-working people doing technical intelligence from the air, listening to cell phones, listening to radio conversations. We've got the human intelligence community, the Central Intelligence Agency, the defense intelligence agency, the military intelligence guys, special ops guys.

How it's done is you live day and night — you don't come home. You stay in that area. You put some money out. You have your own agents. You become part of the landscape. And you get lucky. You have to get great intelligence and have a little bit of luck and have the ability, once you find bad guys, to swarm on them, to either kill them or capture them.

So we — you have to stay in that area for enough time so that you're familiar with it and you're not new, that you don't have the people who live in that area pointing fingers at you and saying, "Oh, there's an American looking for the Taliban." You want to be part of the landscape.

GIBSON: Colonel David Hunt.

Colonel, thanks very much. Appreciate it.

HUNT: You're welcome.

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