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Transcript: Ahmad Chalabi on Fox News Sunday

Following is a transcribed excerpt from Fox News Sunday, April 27, 2003.

SNOW: Mr. Chalabi, last week you told me you believed that Saddam Hussein is still alive and somewhere in Iraq. Do you still believe that's the case?

CHALABI: Yes, I do.

SNOW: Do you think you have a good idea of his whereabouts?

CHALABI: Saddam is still alive. We have a pretty good idea of how they are moving and where they were, and we've tried to again focus on how we can know where they will be, so that they can be apprehended, he and his sons, Saddam and his sons, Qusay and Uday.

SNOW: So you believe that....

CHALABI: They're in separate places.

SNOW: They're in separate places. You have pretty good intelligence, though, that you think you know where they have been in the last week or two?

CHALABI: Yes, we do. We know where they've been. We know their movements and we want to acquire better information so that we can know where they will be at some time in the future so that we can catch them.

SNOW: Do you feel confident you will be able to catch them, or coalition forces will be able to catch them soon?

CHALABI: Yes, I think the coalition forces will be able to catch them pretty soon. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) also will be able to catch them. Saddam, I should tell you, has before, on the first (UNINTELLIGIBLE), he sent a request to the director of the Mukhabarat, the intelligence service, for bomb belts, the kind that were carried by suicide bombs, and he and his secretary, Aboud Hamoud (ph), were trained on their use by the Mukhabarat agents when they received those suicide bomb belts.

SNOW: Do you believe Saddam actually would kill himself if coalition forces drew near?

CHALABI: I cannot tell you what decision he will make about killing himself, but he has the means to do so from our information, through the suicide vests and belts.

SNOW: You mentioned the Mukhabarat. There are reports today in The Daily Telegraph that there were official links between Al Qaeda and specifically Usama bin Laden and the Mukhabarat as recently as 1998. Do you know anything about links between Al Qaeda and the government of Saddam Hussein?

CHALABI: Yes, we have specific information about visits that leaders of Al Qaeda made to Iraq in as late as 2000, and the requests for large amounts of cash. They met with Bahar Jalil Habush (ph), the director of the Mukhabarat, and another officer. I will not say far more about this, because we want to chase down specifically the information so there will be an actionable case for international authorities, specifically the United States.

SNOW: Do you believe that Saddam Hussein was involved in any way, shape or form, or the Mukhabarat in any way, shape or form in planning the attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001?

CHALABI: I cannot say that at this time, but I believe that there was definitely some kind of knowledge about what was going on and what was going to happen, because of the nature of the meeting that I'm referring to and the person who participated in it from the side of Al Qaeda.

SNOW: You and your colleagues have been instrumental in persuading some former members of Saddam's regime to turn themselves in. Do you contemplate any more such surrenders in the next week, and can you give us any names of people you expect to turn themselves over to coalition custody soon?

CHALABI: We expect some people to come. We are negotiation with several -- we have a line to several more, and we are also watching some of them, to apprehend them. I don't want to be more specific, about (ph) giving names, because all these things are being done and -- but there is no certainty that they will come about, but there is a good probability and I think we will jeopardize the chances if I give names and be more specific now.

SNOW: How about weapons...

CHALABI: I would like to say here also that...

SNOW: Go ahead, sir.

CHALABI: I would like to say that we have captured a great many files of Saddam's services, and there is astounding information about the extent of their networks and their efforts to recruit foreign nationals, including Americans, to work in the Mukhabarat, and I think this is something that must be pursued. The files contain a great deal of information about how they compromised people, how they bought agents and how they influenced foreign leaders.

SNOW: Did it mention Scott Ritter?

CHALABI: We have not come across any such thing about Mr. Ritter, yet.

SNOW: Again, weapons of mass destruction. Have you located any evidence that Saddam was developing them, or any places where they were stored?

CHALABI: Yes, there are files -- information in the files of the Mukhabarat about locations of weapons, and we are pursuing those -- some of the scientists who worked on the weapons have come over to us, and they are working now with coalition forces to identify tunnels in various -- some of the sites, and entrances which so far (ph) have not been located.

(CROSSTALK)

CHALABI: And they are working with other scientists who have come.

SNOW: You are confident...

CHALABI: They are working there (ph) with other scientists...

SNOW: Go ahead, I'm sorry, again. Go ahead.

CHALABI: Go ahead, please. You go ahead. Go ahead.

SNOW: You're confident then that they will discover weapons of mass destruction?

CHALABI: Oh, yes, yes, Saddam was pursuing them, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) weapons of mass destruction. They've already discovered the software for this, and I'm sure they will discover some evidence of the hardware of the weapons of mass destruction. We have talked to many of the scientists and they gave information about weapons development and weapons storage. Saddam was very, very adroit and adept at concealing the structure of weapons of mass destruction. He made it one of the primary focuses of his regime, to hide and discredit people from believing that there are weapons of mass destruction here, and also to deflect any kind of monitoring service that (UNINTELLIGIBLE). We talked to officers in the National Monitoring Bureau here in Iraq, and they confirmed to us that there were 300 Mukhabarat agents assigned to the task of watching the inspectors, deceiving them and also spying on them, and at the same time, spying on Iraq's own people who were talking to the inspectors. We also uncovered evidence of intimidation attempts, which were successful, by the Mukhabarat and by leading members of the regime, to force scientists to say to the inspectors that they don't want to meet alone with them.

I should also tell you that the regime was very, very worried about the fact that scientists may be taken with their families out of Iraq. They resisted that very much. In the correspondence within the Mukhabarat, that looms very large in their minds that when the scientists go out of Iraq, then it is the beginning of the end for them.

SNOW: So can you tell us anything, if you've discovered any information about the whereabouts of Scott Speicher, an American POW who was shot down on the first day of the Gulf War?

CHALABI: No, we have not discovered anything about Mr. Speicher yet.

SNOW: Final question. Do you believe French, German and Russian companies would be welcomed back into Iraq based on what you've been able to uncover in terms of intelligence about their activities before the war?

CHALABI: From the intelligence that we found in the Mukhabarat files, we found links continuing between those European intelligence agencies, with specific reference to countries and Saddam's Mukhabarat. We found documents later (ph), the summer of 2000, about European intelligence agents at service having links with Iraqi Mukhabarat, and there is a reference to Iraqi Mukhabarat officers visiting that European country for further development and consultation. There was mention of that in that document.

So it is quite -- the Iraqi people feel very let down by such countries, especially Germany, and France, and I think it is a difficult decision for them to on how to deal with such countries. I believe that Iraq should be open for the benefit of the Iraqi people for competition among international companies, but I believe that the gratitude that the Iraqi people feel for the United States would give preference and priority for cooperation with the United States in fields of development and economic cooperation and oil. This is an overwhelming sentiment that I feel among the people who have come to see me and I have talked to in the past several weeks in Iraq.

SNOW: Mr. Chalabi, Jay Garner will be assembling a meeting of leaders from throughout Iraq tomorrow. Will you attend that meeting?

CHALABI: I have not decided whether to attend personally or not. I will make my decision later on today. I think this meeting is good in the process of setting up an internal Iraqi authority and -- internal Iraqi authority. Also, I'd like to tell you that I met with Jay Garner, and he came to visit me here last Thursday, (UNINTELLIGIBLE), and that he was there with ambassador (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and we discussed this meeting. Also we discussed the issue of a meeting of the leadership of the Iraqi opposition that was elected (ph) in Salaheddin (ph), and we will expect to have this meeting this week. This coming week. And we will have this new thing in Baghdad. It's going to be an important result in this, and Jay Garner said that he would like to see the opposition leadership expanded, and at the same time, get more responsibilities and (UNINTELLIGIBLE) a central goal in appointing the interim Iraqi authority. The issues of security in Baghdad are not getting any better. The issues of -- very vital issues of communication, electricity and repair (ph) should be improved quickly. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Saddam opened the floodgates, water is flowing very fast at the rate which would deplete the reservoirs for when summer comes and there is (UNINTELLIGIBLE) of water.

But we are still working very hard. We had had a very good day today with -- we've recovered some of the antiquities stolen from the Baghdad museum, ancient antiquities from the time of the Babylonian period and the Sumerian period. We returned them today to the officials of the Iraqi museum, accompanied by U.S. officers. I was glad to see (UNINTELLIGIBLE), a classical scholar in uniform, to lead the effort (UNINTELLIGIBLE) to help recover those artifacts.

SNOW: Ahmad Chalabi, thank you for joining us today.

CHALABI: Thank you.