Are Pakistan's Nukes Safe From Falling Into the Wrong Hands?

This is a rush transcript from "America's News HQ," December 10, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

HEATHER NAUERT, HOST: Terrorists in Pakistan — the international nuclear watchdog group has expressed concerns about nuclear weapons falling into the hands of terrorists.

Here to talk about that and what is going on throughout Pakistan is Peter Brooks. He's a former deputy assistant secretary of defense and is currently a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation. Hi, Peter.


Video: Watch Heather Nauert's interview

NAUERT: OK. So Pakistan sounds like it's getting more serious in terms of cracking down on some of these terrorists.


NAUERT: You know, at first, you know, "We're not going to hand over anybody to India." They're maintaining that right now, but is this a good sign? Is this a sign that Pakistan is finally starting to take the war on terror seriously?

BROOKS: Well, I think they were taking it seriously. The implementation of it in some cases has been problematic. As you know, al Qaeda and the Taliban have found refuge in the tribal areas. This is a whole other group of people, the LET.

But it shows very positive progress. I think this comes under the new president of Pakistan, President Zardari. He had pledged full cooperation. He had peace overtures going towards India. So I think this is a very positive. We will have to see what happens now with these individuals who have been arrested. But the fact that they have been arrested is good news.

NAUERT: OK. But Peter, these are high-profile arrests so it makes me wonder if this is just a short-lived thing, if next week they're going to stop going after these guys.

BROOKS: Well, Heather, that's a very good point and that's the important thing here that the international community, especially the United States, continue to pressure Pakistan on the LET, as well as al Qaeda and the Taliban. We don't want them to turn all their attention towards the LET because we also have these issues of al Qaeda in the tribal areas and the Taliban who are killing American soldiers in Afghan soldiers in Afghanistan.

So there's a very complex issue. This LET issue just makes it tougher for the Pakistani government to deal with all of these extremists and radicals.

NAUERT: But can the LET guys help lead us to al Qaeda? They share some of the same goals, I understand. They have in the past; maybe, today, share some of the same training camps.

BROOKS: Right.

NAUERT: Can they lead us to one another?

BROOKS: That is certainly a possibility. That's something we'd really like to get our hands on, that sort of intelligence that could lead us to Ayman al-Zawahiri or Usama bin Laden, or the head of the Taliban.

So there are some possibilities there. I don't think these guys are going to talk much. But, you know, clever interrogators could get us information that could be very helpful in the war on terror.

NAUERT: Well, let's hope those interrogators are very, very clever and get good information. Peter Brooks, thanks a lot.

BROOKS: Thank you.

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