OTR Interviews

Congressman: Beware Qaddafi's Chemical Weapons Stockpile

Chairman of the House Select Intelligence Committee warns that U.S. must ensure that Qaddafi's weapons don't fall into the wrong hands

 

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," August 23, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Joining us is Congressman Mike Rogers, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. Nice to see you, sir.

REP. MIKE ROGERS, R-MICH., INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE CHAIR: Greta, thanks for having me.

VAN SUSTEREN: What happens to Qaddafi when he is grabbed, if he's grabbed alive?

ROGERS: Well, there's a lot of different scenarios. I think the Libyan people have talked openly, at least the rebels have talked openly about immediately meeting justice with Colonel Qaddafi, meaning they're going to kill him. There is some hope that there could be a deal worked by many in NATO. I'm less optimistic about that.

And there's also the possibility that he could be held for justice. Given the attitude of the mob, if you can see how undisciplined those rebels are in the footage that you have, tells you that his -- the odds of him surviving a direct contact with the rebels is not very good.

VAN SUSTEREN: What I find significant is that everyone thinks that he has weapons of mass destruction or mustard gas or other weapons, much like we did with Saddam Hussein. But none of it's been used against these people, which makes me think either it hasn't been weaponized, what he does have, or he really doesn't have it. I mean, why wouldn't he be -- with all the threats and calling people rats and doing what he's done for the last 42 years, you know, why has he not unleashed it on these people?

ROGERS: Well, I've seen it. I know it exists. We know in 2004, he gave us his nuclear weapon program. Remember, after the invasion of Iraq, he picked up the phone and said, I don't want to be next.

VAN SUSTEREN: And he got off the list, the state sponsor of terrorism list.

ROGERS: He did get off the list. But he maintained these chemical stockpiles because there negotiations going on about how we...

VAN SUSTEREN: So why hasn't he used them?

ROGERS: Well, a couple of reasons. A, I think the weaponization of it is more difficult than people think. And B, access to them is limited. And I do believe he thinks, to some degree, he's still going to be the ruler and doesn't want to be the ruler who used mustard gas on his own people.

VAN SUSTEREN: It's hard to think, though, a guy who -- I mean, look, he must feel desperate tonight with all the clamor in the streets. I mean, it doesn't look very good for him. And you'd think that he would have at least been -- planned for this. This didn't just start yesterday. This has been going on since February or March. So I'm just so suspicious why he's not using it.

ROGERS: Well, his stability is not good. And so he -- the information that he gets and the information that we get are two very different things. So the folks that you see fighting in the compounds are people that are very fiercely loyal, highly trained, pretty lethal troops. So they're going to continue that fight.

And he is not getting the information. He still probably, passionately believes that the people of Libya are with him, does not see the whole story and is not getting the whole story. And his mental condition, I will tell you, from somebody who has been to Libya...

VAN SUSTEREN: You met him?

ROGERS: I have.

VAN SUSTEREN: What's he like?

ROGERS: Odd, is the best description I can give you.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, what -- you met him under what circumstances? "Nice to see you, I'm a congressman, you're the colonel?"

ROGERS: Well, it was during the course of the chemical weapons -- I did an inspection of the biological, nuclear and chemical weapons programs as a part of that drawdown of our taking custody of most of it. And it was out in the middle of the desert in a tent. And he walked out on -- from the horizon, it was like a bad movie, that he walked from the horizon for a great distance, kept us waiting for hours to reinforce his Bedouin, or you know, nomad roots out in the desert. And it was clear then that he had, you know, some mental issues that...

VAN SUSTEREN: In what way? Why do you think he had mental issues?

ROGERS: You know, he was very, very, very, very disconnected from reality.

VAN SUSTEREN: What, did you have a conversation with him? Does he speak English?

ROGERS: Yes. No, he did speak English, and he went long. You know, he had a lot of Castro in him, and as I argue...

(LAUGHTER)

ROGERS: ... he (INAUDIBLE) for a very long time. But he was a little bit disconnected from the reality of what was happening on the ground. So I can completely see how he might be just very disconnected from what's actually happening in Libya today.

VAN SUSTEREN: When you walked away from the conversation, was it sort of, like, you know, What's wrong with him? I mean, was it that bad? Was he that bizarre?

ROGERS: There's a lot of glances amongst the folks who were there, like, "Really?"

VAN SUSTEREN: What's up? Really, what's up, that kind of thing?

ROGERS: Really? This is the leader of Libya? Yes, he clearly was disconnected from reality then. The concerning and the worrisome part of this is we do know he has this chemical stockpile. And if it's not him that's using it, does it get legs and walk away? He also -- if you remember, most of his defenses are built on the fact that he was attacked by missiles and aircraft in the '80s. So he built that underground infrastructure. All of that was built with this notion of his survival. And he has all these anti-aircraft missiles that concern us a lot that we do have, I think, great concern that we ought to be aggressive about trying to get custody of those.

VAN SUSTEREN: Congressman, thank you, sir.

ROGERS: Thanks, Greta.