This is a partial transcript from On the Record with Greta Van Susteren, April 26, 2004 that has been edited for clarity.
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GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, HOST: An Al Qaeda chemical bomb plot was just narrowly averted. Ten Al Qaeda suspects in detention have admitted that they planned to carry out a deadly chemical attack in Jordan. And officials believe that if their plan had been carried out, it could have left at least 80,000 people dead. Could they carry out a similar attack here?
Bill, first to you. In terms of this plot in Jordan, how far down the road did they get on this plot?
BILL GERTZ, "WASHINGTON TIMES": Well, this was the result of the arrest of these Al Qaeda suspects. They believe they were linked to al Zarqawi. They believe that this -- the material -- there was a lot of explosives, some chemicals. It's not exactly clear if the chemicals could have created the kind of large poison gas cloud, as the terrorists claim they were doing, but there's no question that they were attempting to do that. The chemicals were like sulfuric acid, hydrochloric acid, which may be used for some kind of phosgene -- type chemical. And they did declare that this was going to be Al Qaeda's first chemical attack.
VAN SUSTEREN: Ambassador, why Jordan, because they're our friends?
MARC GINSBERG, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO MOROCCO: Several reasons. First of all, Musaab al Zarqawi is largely probably behind this plot. This master terrorist, Greta, was training most of these people in the Ansar al Islam camp in northern Iraq, which was the Kurdish territory which we destroyed at the beginning of the war. The Ansar al Islam camp apparently was also a chemical training camp. And Abu Musaab al Zarqawi is interested in destroying the Hashemite monarchy in Jordan and overthrowing our friend, King Abdullah.
It's quite clear that this is a continuing pattern by possibly him to recruit those members of Ansar to attack inside Jordan. He is responsible for already the assassination just two years ago of an AID official, Mr. Foley. He is responsible for the Radisson aborted millennium attack, where he was going to destroy that hotel during the millennium, filled with Americans and Israelis. So he is constantly targeting Jordan.
VAN SUSTEREN: Where is he?
GINSBERG: We don't know. I mean, some of us believe that perhaps -- Bill and I were just talking about this -- that he may be in Fallujah. He was the person whose letter was famously disclosed by us just a few months ago calling for a civil war between the Shi'ite and the Sunni. He is the link between Al Qaeda and the assorted terrorist cells that he himself has been able to propagate around the Middle East. He's the perfect illustration of the type of sub-cell franchise organization of Al Qaeda that he himself started and is linked loosely to Al Qaeda.
VAN SUSTEREN: But it almost seems he's as big, Bill, as Usama bin Laden. I mean, we want Usama bin Laden because of what he did here on our land, but he sound as dangerous and threatening as Usama bin Laden.
GERTZ: In Iraq, he is. And U.S. officials believe he is the main guy behind a lot of the recent big suicide terrorists attacks. That's his method of operation. They're out to get him. There's a $10 million reward on his head. It's going to be a tough challenge to find a single person, but they're definitely stepping up the hunt for al Zarqawi.
VAN SUSTEREN: But you agree with the ambassador, Fallujah probably?
GERTZ: There are some intelligence reports indicating that he may be there. In fact, this is one reason why they think that the fighting has been so fierce there. There are some 2,000 -- up to 2,000 fighters in Fallujah, and a good percentage of them are foreign fighters, possibly including Zarqawi.
VAN SUSTEREN: You know what's interesting, Ambassador? He, unlike Usama bin Laden, takes credit.
GINSBERG: Absolutely. And in reading the statement that he issued on the Moqtada -- al Ansar Web site tonight -- look -- the wording that he used -- he attacked -- this is in connection with the Basra attack that he equated to the attack on the USS Cole. In effect, what he's saying is that, You see? We're not only able to attack the Cole, we're able to, in effect, attack American tankers. We are going to attack the economic interests on which the United States is dependent. And indeed, as I was mentioning to Bill, several -- about 18 months ago, we uncovered information to the effect that Al Qaeda and perhaps al Zarqawi has stationed Zodiac boats around the Middle East in different coves. You know they're inflatable. Even though they used the dhow boats recently, in this attack, to, in effect, use them against American naval interests.
VAN SUSTEREN: But alas, he's not as successful as Bin Laden. That's the good news, so far.
GERTZ: Well, let's hope so, yes. Let's hope so.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Thank you both, gentlemen, very much. Appreciate it.
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