This is a partial transcript of The Big Story With John Gibson, May 26, 2004, that has been edited for clarity.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ATTORNEY GENERAL JOHN ASHCROFT: We seek unprecedented levels of cooperation with state and local law enforcement, in collecting intelligence to enable America's entire terror-fighting apparatus to act decisively to disrupt any Al Qaeda (search) presence in the United States
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN GIBSON, HOST: Al Qaeda has been recruiting new members around the world and they're looking for people able to mix in with the general population here, so where are they finding new recruits, and how far do we go to stop them?
Let's ask Fox foreign affairs analyst Mansoor Ijaz and Fox News senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano. Mansoor, you first, so what is going on in the recruitment front, especially trying to find people who sort of blend in America easier than others?
MANSOOR IJAZ, FOX NEWS FOREIGN AFFAIRS ANALYST: One of the great signs of the success in the war on terror that we've had, John, is that we have very effectively now shut down the in-flow and for that matter out- flow of inappropriate people into and out of the United States and half a dozen or so other countries around the world. In addition to that, we've been very effective, and I would say this is probably even the greater story — untold story in the war on terror — in shutting down finances through normal, traditional channels — banks, Western Union, things of that nature, Visa cards and things of that nature. As a result, Al Qaeda has been forced into going into countries and recruiting radicalized Muslims or other people that want to join their ranks who are citizens of those countries who can stay and wait for a much longer period of time without notice, and essentially operate without a great deal of scrutiny from the authorities in those countries, including the United States.
GIBSON: Judge Napolitano, isn't this where the Patriot Act (search) comes in? Here we have a guy who is an American... He's from the West Coast. Isn't this the whole point of being able to use some of those tools John Ashcroft talks about in the Patriot Act to find these guys like [this]?
JUDGE ANDREW NAPOLITANO, FOX NEWS SNR. JUDICIAL ANALSYT: I'm sure that the Justice Department would enjoy using the new tools that the Patriot Act has given it. But, in fact, it didn't in this case because none of these folks is in the United States. If the question is do they have to obey ...
GIBSON: You are sure about that?
NAPOLITANO: Well, I'm going by what John Ashcroft and Bob Mueller said this afternoon is that they're not in the US
NAPOLITANO: Not, including [the suspected American terrorist] whose new name I now forget, his new Muslim name. The federal government does not take the position and has never taken the position that it must follow the US Constitution when it is outside the United States. When chairman Tom Kane of the 9/11 Commission said to George Tenet (search), how about if we combine the FBI and the CIA, Tenet said the CIA doesn't know the first thing about following the constitution. We just go into a foreign country, get the person, get the intelligence, bring it back here, let the FBI prosecute with it.
GIBSON: Mansoor, the real problem now seems to be guys like [the suspected American terrorist] who will carry a U.S. passport, can clean themselves up and look like they did when they left the San Fernando Valley or wherever they're from and just slip back in. What is the real danger, I mean really, that Al Qaeda can recruit a sizable number of Americans that can be, you know, back inside America in a moment's notice?
IJAZ: Most Americans have forgotten that [the suspected American terrorist] lost his leaf almost two years ago now covering a story in which he was essentially uncovering and unraveling precisely what we're talking about right now. There is an organization in this country called Jamaat al-Fucra which is populated by radicalized, mostly African-Americans, many of whom have trained in the auspices of bin Laden's training camps in Afghanistan, in Pakistan under these radicalized sheikhs, Ali Jilani and people like that. And so you have a real sense of, you know, the capacity of these people to be able to recruit their own and then populate cells around the United States. The problem is the money to support them and that's where we've got to keep our focus. If we keep the money out of their hands, they can't survive for very long. If we do that, then we have a better chance of finding them before they have an opportunity to launch an attack against us.
NAPOLITANO: See, now the FBI can monitor, can watch, can infiltrate an organization like Mansoor has just talked about without violating the constitution, without even using the tools that the Patriotic Act gives it, and the FBI is excellent at doing that. We've had periods in our history when our popular culture has prevented the FBI from doing that. The Frank Church era when they didn't like what Nixon was using the FBI for. For an FBI agent to go under cover, and pretend he is a Muslim and join that organization and report back as to what's going on is classic law enforcement. It's worked.
GIBSON: What is wrong with a black bag job, put a device on a computer, follow every keystroke?
NAPOLITANO: There's nothing wrong with it if you get a search warrant from a federal judge to do it rather than doing it on your own because the constitution requires that search warrant.
GIBSON: Mansoor, before I let you go, let me ask you one quick thing. Everybody says that the war in Iraq has created way more Al Qaeda members than there were before. Is that true?
IJAZ: Nonsense. Absolute nonsense. I don't know how to put it any more clearly than that. The fact of the matter is that what has happened is we've been so effective in rooting out certain types of cells that they have had to you mutate and evolve into something else. That's essentially what has happened here.
GIBSON: Mansoor Ijaz and Judge Andrew Napolitano, thanks to you both.