This is a rush transcript from "On the Record ," December 27, 2007. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, HOST: Arnaud de Borchgrave is the director of transnational threats at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and a close friend of Benazir Bhutto since 1974. Arnaud joins us live in Florida.
Good evening, Arnaud.
ARNAUD DE BORCHGRAVE, CSIS, FRIEND OF BENAZIR BHUTTO: Hi, Greta.
VAN SUSTEREN: Arnaud, I know from speaking to you just in the Green Room at FOX that you were very close to her. So I assume that this is a particularly troubling last few hours and few hours to come.
DE BORCHGRAVE: Yes. But at the same time, I think we all expected it to happen sooner or later. As a matter of fact, the last message I got as she was taking off from Dubai to go home to Karachi after eight years of self-imposed exile, she said, I don't want you to be with me because I think it would be too dangerous for you. So she had murderous premonitions, as anybody who knew her well and knew Pakistan well, too, would expect.
It reminded me very much of President Sadat when he went to Jerusalem, which stunned the world. But at that time, I remember saying to myself, He has just signed his death warrant. And of course, he was assassinated in 1981.
There were so many tens of thousands of people in Pakistan who would love to see Benazir Bhutto dead. If you just take the number of extremists in that country — I asked President Musharraf once how many extremists he has in his country. He said it's about 1 percent. Well, that's 1.6 million people.
You have Taliban and Al Qaeda now, who have reinforced their privileged sanctuaries along the border in the federally administered tribal areas, where the army is no longer fighting Taliban because Taliban controls at least three of the seven tribal agencies. And there's no way we can prevail in Afghanistan over the next few years until that border is secure.
VAN SUSTEREN: Arnaud, let me ask you a question.
DE BORCHGRAVE: You have also...
VAN SUSTEREN: Let me ask you a question. All of us expected this — you know, we hoped that it wasn't going to happen, but you didn't have to be a psychic to know that it was going to happen. Do you — was she — do we think of her as brave or reckless, or both?
DE BORCHGRAVE: No, I don't think she was reckless. She was a very courageous, very tough woman, very determined, a great deal of charisma, a formidable personality. And she felt that by returning home, she could push the process, the democratic process forward, where it had been stuck since President Musharraf staged the coup in 1999 to get rid of the other formidable personality in that country, Nawaz Sharif.
So what I wanted to point out, too, is that you still have the madrassas, those Quranic schools that teach one discipline only, and that is to learn the Quran by heart. Five million of these kids since 9/11 have been graduated. Nothing has changed. And so many of them become suicide bombers. They volunteer for suicide missions. Their whole culture is, We live to die, whereas in the Western world, we live to live in freedom. That's where the clash comes in.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, isn't it — wasn't her party — didn't her party stand for the proposition that Islam was her religion but democracy was her government, a real separation of church and state?
DE BORCHGRAVE: Absolutely. The MMA Coalition — that's six political religious parties, extremists — they control two of Pakistan's four provinces today. I've talked to the chief minister in the Northwest Frontier province. He's very proud of the fact that he's a friend of Mullah Omar, the still elusive Taliban leader, and he admires Usama bin Laden. That's two of Pakistan's four provinces are governed by people who hate our guts and admire Usama bin Laden.
VAN SUSTEREN: So who wanted her dead most? I mean, who stands to benefit from her assassination?
DE BORCHGRAVE: I would say anybody from that political religious extremist fringe, also Al Qaeda and Taliban. Al Qaeda, after all, through number two there to Usama bin Laden, Zawahiri, has even urged Pakistanis to assassinate President Musharraf. He has survived not the two that have been reported, but nine assassination attempts since 1999. And if they're capable of ordering the assassination of Musharraf, they're certainly capable of ordering the assassination of Benazir Bhutto.
And they came very close to it on the day she returned, last October 18, when she flew in from Dubai. We all remember what happened. Within hours of her arrival in her motorcade, there was a suicide bomber, 141 people were killed and over 350 were injured. So we've known since then that they were out to get her and that the order to assassinate her had already been given. As a matter of fact, she sent us messages before she took off from Dubai with the names of three people who had actually ordered her — ordered her — their followers to execute Benazir.
VAN SUSTEREN: And those names are?
DE BORCHGRAVE: Oh, I don't remember the names. They're Urdu names. One is a Taliban leader. Another is an extremist religious leader. But the names are well known. I'm sorry I don't have them on the tip of my tongue.
VAN SUSTEREN: We only have 20 seconds left. Do you trust Musharraf?
DE BORCHGRAVE: Well, I think he's a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde character, in that when he is talking to his American interlocutors, whether it's President Bush or the American ambassador, he means exactly what he's saying. But then when he's sitting with MMA religious leaders, political religious leaders, he talks a totally different language. He is always in a very tricky situation, trying to maneuver between the two.
The army now is convinced — up in the tribal areas, the army is convinced that he's taking orders directly from President Bush and that's why they've been sent up there to fight the Taliban, who have, as I said, secured their privileged sanctuaries. So it's very difficult to say whether you can trust him or not because he's caught between two very two conflicting trends.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Thank you. Thank you, Arnaud.
Content and Programming Copyright 2007 FOX News Network, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Transcription Copyright 2007 Voxant, Inc. (www.voxant.com), which takes sole responsibility for the accuracy of the transcription. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No license is granted to the user of this material except for the user's personal or internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may infringe upon FOX News Network, LLC'S and Voxant, Inc.'s copyrights or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.