Is Al Qaeda in Crisis After Zarqawi's Death?

This is a partial transcript of "The Big Story With John Gibson," June 9, 2006, that has been edited for clarity.

JUDGE ANDREW NAPOLITANO, GUEST HOST: So Al Qaeda has some serious issues. First you have the fact that someone on the inside probably tipped off the coalition about al-Zarqawi's hiding place. Then there's a search for a new leader. On top of that, Usama's right-hand man released a new videotape obviously made earlier because it doesn't make mention of the hit on al-Zarqawi.

Joining us now to talk about this is Jim Woolsey, former director of the CIA under President Clinton and currently vice president at Booz Allen Hamilton, a strategic management and technology consulting firm.

Welcome, Jim.


NAPOLITANO: Thank you.

Was it a mistake for Al Qaeda to release this tape Friday, or at least within hours of the death of Zarqawi and make no mention of him?

WOOLSEY: I haven't seen this one yet. Maybe they had it underway and couldn't stop it. But I think it won't have the major effect anyway. It's going to be largely a matter of the fact that Zarqawi is dead and I think the key thing is that it looks like there was some tip-off from the inside. That's a very good sign for the future.

NAPOLITANO: Why do you think there was a tip-off from the inside and who, without naming a proper name, what type of person is it likely to have been?

WOOLSEY: Well, we really don't know. It could well have been just someone in the neighborhood who heard something or knew this religious adviser of Zarqawi's and knew that he was going to be meeting with him at some point. Best of all, it would be someone inside the Al Qaeda in Iraq organization. But here on the outside we're unlikely to know that.

NAPOLITANO: You know there was a $25 million, which would be tax-free, reward on his head. Would that money go to someone who is on the inside with him? We wouldn't give that kind of money to someone who was against us, would we?

WOOLSEY: If we knew of somebody on the inside we might set a part or all, I suppose, of it aside or it may be that several people tipped off and that something could be divided up. But I rather imagine they will go to some substantial lengths to make sure they reward adequately the people who actually took the risk to do this tip-off.

NAPOLITANO: What kind of intelligence did we probably use to focus in on this house in the days, weeks, hours and minutes before the bombs came down?

WOOLSEY: Well, apparently we had some idea of where this Abu Rahman, the adviser, the so-called spiritual advisor, was and were trailing him at a distance in such a way he couldn't, didn't know it and once he went some place where it was isolated, the way the press stories read, it looks like they had a fairly good idea that he was going to visit Zarqawi and that was what provoked the attack.

NAPOLITANO: Jim Woolsey, former director of the CIA, thank you very much.

WOOOLSEY: Good to be with you.

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