This is a partial transcript from On the Record with Greta Van Susteren, May 27, 2004 that has been edited for clarity.
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GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, HOST:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN ASHCROFT, ATTORNEY GENERAL: The maximum sentence for hostage-taking, the charges directed towards Hamza, is death penalty or life imprisonment. Hamza also faces a maximum sentence of up to 100 years in prison on the additional charges contained in the indictment.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: Will the U.S. government ever gets its hands on a Muslim cleric arrested today in London? He's accused of trying to build a terrorist training camp in Oregon. Joining us is national security reporter for "The Washington Times," Bill Gertz.
Bill, who is Hamza?
BILL GERTZ, "THE WASHINGTON TIMES": Well, he's the founder of a radical Islamist sect that operates outside of London, a mosque north of London. And he has -- he's a number one bad guy, according to U.S. officials. They have a lot of information. The two big things that they're looking at related to an indictment has to do with a hostage-taking in Yemen that involved -- that ended up with the murder of some tourist, and secondly he's been linked to the establishment of a jihad training camp in Bly, Oregon. So those are the two main things.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Now we just heard the sound from the attorney general where he said the maximum penalty is the death penalty. He didn't say he was going to seek it, but he said the death penalty. And it has gotten the British up in arms about this. Why?
GERTZ: Extradition is always a dicey matter when the death penalty is involved. They're going to have to do some diplomatic dancing to get around this. Perhaps they'll have to do some kind of written agreement or something.
VAN SUSTEREN: So we're going to -- under the statute, Britain can't extradite him to the -- Britain will not extradite him to the United States to face his indictment if we seek the death penalty, so we're going to have to give him a wash on the death penalty in order to get him.
GERTZ: Right, and Ashcroft said that was the maximum penalty he could get. It wasn't necessarily that they were going to seek that. But now that that has been raised, there will have to be some back and forth, where the U.S. side will have to declare that it won't seek the death penalty.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. What's the latest on terrorism?
GERTZ: Well, Greta, I talked to U.S. intelligence and national security officials who are looking at the possible targets and methods of attack. Now, again, there's nothing specific in this latest threat. But they are worried about vehicle bombs and the use of airliners as missiles.
VAN SUSTEREN: Still? They're still thinking of airliners like 9/11?
GERTZ: Yes. Yes. There is some intelligence to that effect. They know that al Qaeda has been continuing to take pilot training, and that this is one of the avenues that they could pursue.
VAN SUSTEREN: In terms of the car bombs or truck bombs, are they suspicious -- is it going to be a conventional bomb, or are they suspicious that it's going to be wrapped in some sort of radioactive material, the dirty bomb?
GERTZ: The intelligence is that they may try that. But again, that would be unprecedented. They haven't done it before. But officials know that bin Laden is interested in doing that, some kind of an enhanced explosive. Now that may not create mass casualties, but it could certainly sow panic.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, why is there so much discussion or thought that he's going to do a truck bomb. I mean, Timothy McVeigh, who killed over 168 people in Oklahoma City, I mean, that was quite an easy, easy thing for him to do. I mean, it was one or two or three persons, whatever, depending on what theory you think. Why are they thinking a truck bomb?
GERTZ: Well, first of all, that is probably the easiest for al Qaeda to do in this country. Basically with fertilizer and diesel fuel, you can create a bomb a huge bomb.
VAN SUSTEREN: But why didn't he do it so far? If it's so easy, why -- you know, why not so far?.
GERTZ: Well, that's the question everybody is asking, why they haven't attacked us since - again in a major way by 9/11. This latest intelligence seems to think something is up and they're very worried about that.
VAN SUSTEREN: And I suspect that the American people are very vigilant, we're sort of self-policing. If somebody came in and bought a lot of fertilizer, we're now pretty hip that that's pretty suspicious..
GERTZ: Yes, and of course, this weekend this could be a target. The Memorial Day weekend. But although some officials think that Al Qaeda will not strike during a holiday because then our security stance has been heightened. So it's -- I think the next few months are going to be very worrisome.
VAN SUSTEREN: Right. Well, we're all going to keep watching, because we're not going to let this one happen. Bill, thank you.
GERTZ: Thank you.
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