Madeleine Albright, Former Secretary of State

This is a partial transcript from Your World with Neil Cavuto, November 14, 2003, that was edited for clarity.

Watch Your World w/Cavuto weekdays at 4 p.m. and 1 a.m. ET.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: We want to bring you up to date right now concerning explosions that are being heard in and around Baghdad, apparently coming from a refinery west of Baghdad. That is, an oil refinery west of Baghdad.

This, coming on a week we got reports from our own John Moody who has been reporting from the region, our senior vice president of editorial, that oil is almost completely back on line in the country, 2.3 million barrels a day coming out of Iraq. That is about the highest it has been in 11 years. But of course, these explosions, whether they affect any of the refinery capacity that is talked about in those oil numbers is still unclear.

But again, explosions being reported in Baghdad near an oil refinery west of Baghdad, something I want to take up with my nest guest right now, Madeleine Albright, the former secretary of state, whose book, Madam Secretary sort of chronicling her role as the secretary of state in the Clinton administration. Took a look at terror then; takes a look at terror now.

Secretary, thanks you for joining us. We appreciate it.

MADELEINE ALBRIGHT, FMR. SECRETARY OF STATE: Good to be with you. Very good.

CAVUTO: What do you make of this ongoing sporadic violence in Iraq, now these latest reports of explosions at a refinery? What do you make of that?

ALBRIGHT: Well, I think clearly there are those who are trying to sabotage every effort at trying to return Iraq to a normal life or bring it to a normal life. And these are people who are very much opposed to the kind of things that we are doing. I think it is very troubling and it clearly shows the difficulty in establishing some kind of a viable security situation there.

CAVUTO: All right. Now, the administration has come under a lot of attack from the crop of Democratic presidential candidates, ma’am, who you know, who question whether weapons of mass destruction will ever be found. Do you think they are there?

ALBRIGHT: Well, I did think they were there, frankly, because in 1998, when the inspectors were kicked out, not all the weapons had been accounted for. So, I expected some to be there. I just did not think that they were an imminent threat.

I do hope that Dr. Kay and his team are still able to find something. I can’t imagine where they are. And it could be that they are buried or, more fearfully, in the hands of some kind of terrorist groups. I think it continues to be an issue and a question of credibility.

CAVUTO: So if you knew, Secretary, that it was possible -- put yourself in Saddam Hussein’s shoes -- and you know an American attack could be imminent, you think he would have tried to get some of that stuff out to terrorist groups?

ALBRIGHT: You don’t know. I mean, I think one of the hardest parts is putting yourself into the head of Saddam Hussein. But the question is, they could have dissipated or disappeared after we had invaded. Because I’m not sure that it was the kind of weapons that could be found by even some great Marine kicking in the door. Not canisters of things, but more a matter of tracing things scientifically, or small parts that were buried somewhere.

I’m not saying they existed. All I’m saying is, logically, when in 1998 the inspectors were kicked out, we thought that some weapons had not yet been accounted for.

CAVUTO: Because they -- as you know, the long record has always been, Secretary, that, through the Clinton administration, through the early days of the Bush administration, dealing with Saddam Hussein has been dealing sort of like with a child who says he’s going to follow your orders but ultimately does not. Do you think this administration was justified in its attack?

ALBRIGHT: I have said that I understood the why of the war, because I said the same things about Saddam Hussein that President Bush has said. I just did not know why now, because I felt that he was not an imminent threat and that we should be concentrating on what was going on in Afghanistan, from whence the attackers of 9/11 came. And, to do more to secure the situation there.

CAVUTO: But how do you know, Secretary -- I’m sorry, ma’am -- but how do you know those attackers or some of those behind terrorism in general weren’t also in Iraq?

ALBRIGHT: Well, I didn’t think they were at the time. I don’t think that it was shown in a very good way that Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein and Usama bin Laden were linked. I do now think, however, that with the chaotic situation that is going on, that Iraq has in fact become kind of a gathering ground, if not a magnet for all those who hate us. So I’m now willing to believe that there are connections.

CAVUTO: What do you think, Secretary, about the criticism that Donald Rumsfeld has suffered? You mentioned that it is more important for the secretary of state to set foreign policy and to sort of be the spokesperson on foreign issues, than is the secretary of defense. That obviously seems to be sticking something to Donald Rumsfeld. What did you mean by that?

ALBRIGHT: Well, I think the following: clearly, during a war, the secretary of defense is the major player. But, classically, one would think it would be the secretary of state that dealt with the post-conflict situation, or at least that there would be more visible cooperation between the two.

Now, I would like to say that when we were in office, people were saying who was up, who was down and various disagreements that were not true. So I don’t want to get into any discussion of the internal disagreements between -- among people in the Bush administration because it may not be so. But I do think that the State Department should be having the lead role in trying to get support for the diplomatic efforts there, to try to get more help from other countries so that we are not dealing with the security situation all by ourselves.

CAVUTO: All right. Secretary Madeleine Albright, thank you very much. The book is Madam Secretary. It’s racing up best-seller lists as we speak. Thank you, ma’am.

ALBRIGHT: Thank you, Neil.

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