OTR Interviews

Former CIA Director: We Still Have Unfinished Business Following Bin Laden's Death

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," May 2, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Check out this picture. President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and many others. It's in the situation room, and they are watching in real time.

Joining us is former CIA director Porter Goss. Good evening, sir, nice to see you. And I'm curious whether you were surprised to hear Usama bin Laden was even alive. Many suspected he may be dead.

PORTER GOSS, FORMER CIA DIRECTOR: I was not surprised to hear he was alive. I believed he has been alive this whole time and I think we have had a pretty good handle of about where he was. We didn't exactly get the building right but we got the area right and developed the capability that brought us the critical intelligence and finally brought this thing to a close.

We hopefully could have gotten it done sooner and perhaps could have if we operated in a different way. But in a free, open, democratic society, we went carefully and debated our way dealing with unconventional war fare and we did the honorable thing the whole way and I think came up with the right answer and showed the world an amazing capability and we now have the respect of the world for that capability and how we used it.

VAN SUSTEREN: When you say operate in a different way, what are you talking about? Are you talking about enhanced interrogation or talking about eliminating the so-called cooperation of Pakistan because they obviously seem to be iced out of the last operation? What do you mean by that?

GOSS: I guess I could say that we started sort of way behind the starting blocks in 2001 after the event. Our intelligence capabilities were pretty bare. We haven't done a lot of building.

We've rebuilt that capability, and in the process of rebuilding that capability we had to ask ourselves exactly what are the tools we need. What are the things that are legal and proper use when dealing with unconventional people and an unconventional war?

And as you know, some of those questions still aren't answered. Where do we try KSM? Would it be Guantanamo or New York or civilian or military? Some of that debate is still going on. To our credit, those are the kinds of debates you should have in a free open democratic society.

You always want to preserve the protection of the people, and the protection of America is the first base at the same time as protecting the civil rights. I think we have done that in a very open way and a way I'm very proud of.

VAN SUSTEREN: We obviously he struck gold when we discovered that, indeed, it was Usama bin Laden in that home. I'm curious another way to strike gold is if we got an incredible amount of information about Al Qaeda inside there. What would be sort of your wish list of what we got inside that compound?

GOSS: Well, my understanding is that we have gotten quite a bit of material and we have the analysts who have the background to deal with it and we will undoubtedly uncover a lot more as we go along and that will raise questions about how we go out and appearance apprehend the people that we do catch and whether we interrogate them and what the rules are in fair interrogation will be for those people.

So this is not finished business yet. It has been a great day. We got an evil guy off the playing field. We've created a huge amount of structural problem for them. They will have trouble with recruiting and financing. They will have trouble with who is giving the orders. There are all kinds of associate groups spread around as we know, and those people h be wondering what to do next. And I think we will be there exploiting this information very dramatically with the capability we have shown the world we actually have.

VAN SUSTEREN: Director Goss, thank you very much for joining us.

GOSS: My pleasure.