All-Star Panel: Syria behind on getting rid of chemical weapons

'Special Report' All-Star panel weighs in


This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," January 30, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: American diplomacy, backed by the threat of force, is why Syria's chemical weapons are being eliminated.


OBAMA: And we will continue to work with the international community to usher in the future that the Syrian people deserve, a future free of dictatorship, terror, and fear.

JEN PSAKI, STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESWOMAN: And all of this time, the Syrian regime has moved less than five percent of the chemicals to the port.

CHUCK HAGEL, DEFENSE SECRETARY: The United States is concerned that the Syrian government is behind in delivering these chemical weapons, precursor materials, on time and with the schedule that was agreed to.


BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: Behind, 4.1 percent of the 1,300-ton stockpile is not going to make the deadline to get the chemical weapons and precursor material out of Syria, the deal. We're back with the panel. Charles?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST:  Surprise, surprise that Assad isn't being honest and he's holding back over 90 percent of his chemical -- and remember, this is over 90 percent of his declared inventory. You can be sure there's all kinds of stuff that's hidden. Even Qaddafi who was almost honest in turning over his stuff had stuff that we are now discovering hidden in the desert.

So, I mean, look, this was always a farce from the beginning. We are getting a trickle of his stuff coming out, and his own director of national intelligence, Obama's, today said to the Congress that the deal that the Russians had arranged, which was the chemical weapons deal, essentially established the legitimacy of Assad in the middle of a civil war where he had been on the run. So, is the American stamp of approval on Assad? The Russians are now the brokers, and the authority in the area, unlike in the last 50 years, and Assad is ensconced, and the chemical weapons are still there.

BAIER: And Syria, talking about Director Clapper, A.B., who testified yesterday about also the threat of foreign terrorists in Syria, saying it's really a concern for the intelligence community. You add this all together with chemical weapons still on the ground, it's an ugly mix there.

A.B. STODDARD, ASSOCIATE EDITOR, THE HILL: Right. You know, Secretary Kerry at the start of the Syria talks, which have gone nowhere, they are literally hoping that they can find another time to talk, but nothing has been -- nothing has happened.  Emphatically said last week that Assad must go and there has to be a government of the opposition.

Everyone, every stakeholder knows that this has bought time for Al Qaeda to cement its influence there while Assad continues to kill with a conventional arsenal. And then we, our own intelligence tells us that he likely has the capability to weaponize biological agents, which means this fake hunt for chemical weapons is really a distraction because the war goes, he cements his position. Meanwhile, insurgents cement theirs, and there's no way for the opposition to go.

BAIER: Judge?

JUDGE ANDREW NAPOLITANO, FOX NEWS SENIOR JUDICIAL ANALYST: When Charles said "Surprise, surprise," I thought he would get into, oh, the president has lied again. He has shown an incredible willingness and facility at lying. The clip you ran was from the State of the Union address on Tuesday night. It was less than 45 hours from this very moment. Since that time, all the senior people in his administration have profoundly, directly, at least two of them under oath, defied what he said about Syria is complying with this agreement. Russia dominates the area, as Charles said. The American people have no appetite, zero appetite for American military intervention. What is he going to do?  He is stuck.

BAIER: Right.

NAPOLITANO: John Kerry created this.

BAIER: To that latter point, though, the U.S. population doesn't have an appetite to get involved.


BAIER: Yet, the place seems to be going down the tubes as far as a place that potentially is a terrorist threat for the U.S.

NAPOLITANO: I actually think that Director Clapper, whom you know I've criticized extensively, was being conservative in his estimate that 20 percent of the rebels are Al Qaeda. I think other members of the intelligence community will tell you it's a higher number, and it's a dominant number.

BAIER: Charles?

KRAUTHAMMER: Look, in telling untruths about weapons in the state of the union address, Obama also said, and I noted at the time, that Iran was eliminating its highly enriched uranium. It's not. It's turning it into uranium oxide. It's a chemical process that you can reverse. It's like putting it in a safe where Iran has the key. So, all of this stuff, he's pretending Iran is getting rid of its nukes. He's pretending that Syria is getting rid of its chemical weapons. Essentially, Russia is in control of this situation.

And since Henry Kissinger succeeded in expelling the Russians half a century ago, this is Russia's return and it's America's retreat.

BAIER: Is there a wake-up call on Capitol Hill about all of this in the wake of all of this info?

STODDARD: The problem is that there are very few people making the case that we have strategic interests in the Middle East right now because things are changing so rapidly. You see a divided Republican party where you no longer have any hawks out there, except for Senators McCain and Lindsey Graham. You have the president pretty much refusing to really speak to the American people about what's going on in the Middle East. And so, there isn't a voice.

KRAUTHAMMER: That's the case that a president has to make, and that's what he's not doing.

BAIER: That is it for the panel, but stay tuned for a look at an itch that just couldn't be scratched.

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