Friend or Foe?

This is a partial transcript of "The Big Story With John Gibson," July 22, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.

JOHN GIBSON, HOST: Pakistan is often praised as one of our allies in the War on Terror (search). But intelligence analysts say the country continues to be a main recruiting center for attacks around the world.

Let's ask Bob Baer, a former CIA case officer and author of "Sleeping With the Devil."

Bob, it's good to see you. Thanks for coming on.

(CROSSTALK)

GIBSON: What are we supposed to do about Pakistan? There's some discussion that these attacks in London were planned in a mud hut in Pakistan. And Musharraf (search) is supposed to be on our side. What are we supposed to do?

ROBERT BAER, FORMER CIA OFFICER: I think they probably were planned, at least from the initial evidence, from Pakistan. We know that Al Qaeda is still getting training in the mountains in the northwest Frontier Province, Waziristan.

You have got a large part of the Pakistani army and intelligence service that is sympathetic to bin Laden and the Taliban. And let's not forget that a large part of the planning for 9/11 was done out of Karachi. And this was after the African bombings. And the Pakistani government couldn't do anything about it.

GIBSON: These riots Friday were following the suggestion that there was some kind of Pakistani connection to the bombings. But Musharraf can't do anything about it, you say. Is the "can't" politically? Or is he just really "can't" in a realistic way, "can't" send troops in?

BAER: I think he can't send troops in to large parts of Pakistan. He tried earlier this year in the spring. And they got repulsed. He can't count on the loyalty of his military. There's a couple coup attempts against him, a couple assassination attempts. And he's afraid to alienate the Islamic wing of his political support.

And so, he gives lip service to counterterrorism. He has made some arrests, the mastermind of 9/11. But, other than that, he's afraid to go too far.

GIBSON: Well, what do you think that — why do you think there was a — what and why — when it comes to a connection between Pakistan and these bombings in London.

BAER: The Muslims in Pakistan are heavily influenced by Saudi Arabia, by Wahabist law (search), uncompromising, that advocate jihad. There's a large Pakistani community in the London area and other British cities around there.

And they are connected. They are connected by phone everyday. They go back and forth. They are British subjects. They are easy to get to, easily influenced. And you also have a lot of clerics in London who advocate jihad openly. And the British have not closed them down since 9/11, which has turned out to be a mistake, of course.

GIBSON: Why do you think they haven't? I mean, we're all scratching our head about that. We just put one in jail for life for preaching jihad in Virginia. Why have the Brits been so accommodating?

BAER: They didn't get hit on September 11. They didn't have the shock that we got. They have basically been untouched by terrorism — except for the IRA (search) — for many, many years.

And it's finally come home to them that, if you have a cleric in a mosque in London preaching murder and death, that people will follow his word. Even though he may not be involved in planning individual operations, he's still inciting violence and needs to be expelled or put in jail.

GIBSON: Bob, you've been retired for a while. You miss the spook business?

BAER: Not at all.

GIBSON: OK. Bob Baer, a former CIA operative.

BAER: Thanks very much, John.

GIBSON: He did some incredible, brave stuff. Bob driving a cab in the Bekaa Valley, imagine that.

Bob Baer, thanks very much. Appreciate it.

BAER: Thanks, John.

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