This is a partial transcript of "The Big Story With John Gibson," August 23, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.


REV. PAT ROBERTSON, FOUNDER, CHRISTIAN BROADCASTING NETWORK: We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability.


JOHN GIBSON, HOST: Reverend Pat Robertson (search) is calling for the U.S. to assassinate Venezuela's president, Hugo Chavez (search). The White House is distancing itself from the remark and Venezuela's president says he doesn't know who Robertson is.

We're joined now by syndicated radio host G. Gordon Liddy.

So Mr. Liddy, Robertson may have said, you know, what's on the minds of a lot of people, many people in the American government, maybe. You know about the insights of the spook world. Do you think we're planning to, "do something" about Hugo Chavez?

G. GORDON LIDDY, SYNDICATED RADIO HOST: Well, we're not planning to assassinate him. It would not surprise me if the Central Intelligence Agency did not have at least contingency plans to destabilize him and perhaps even eject him from office, but not to assassinate him. I usually am in agreement with Rev. Robertson, whom I know and whom I respect, but in this case we differ.

GIBSON: Well, what is it that — I mean, look, we all know, and I think Donald Rumsfeld (search) Tuesday said in the briefing, "Look, we don't do that because it's against the law."

But we've done it in the past. Is the reason we don't do it because it doesn't work out so good and it back fires on us?

LIDDY: No. If we were at war with Venezuela, as I said, he'd be legitimate fair game. Remember, President Kennedy engineered the overthrow of Xiem. Xiem was assassinated and President Kennedy, by all accounts, had not intended that and he was rather horrified. So I don't think we want to do that. I think you've got a moral problem.

And I think the difficulty that Reverend Robertson has is you can be a political leader, you can be a religious leader. It's very difficult to be both and not get into difficulty.

GIBSON: What about Chavez? I mean, he has declared his hostility, if not his enmity, for the United States. How much of a problem is he?

LIDDY: I think he's a very serious problem. He's worthy of the CIA deposing him, if we have the assets to do that. I don't know that we do.

But if he misbehaves to the extent that he justifies our going to war against him, then declare war and that's a different situation. But we really just can't go around the world killing foreign leaders with whom we disagree, however strongly.

GIBSON: There is this issue of oil with Venezuela. So because of Venezuela's vast or substantial oil reserves, he might be a little more troublesome than even, let's say, Fidel Castro. How does that complicate the equation?

LIDDY: It doesn't really. The oil is fungible, just as Saudi oil is fungible and our oil is fungible, and it goes on the world market and it's there for anyone to buy it.

The oil situation should be left to the market, supply and demand. Any time you get the government involved in trying to artificially tinker with things like that, you usually have a disaster, as we had in the Carter administration.

GIBSON: So what do you think ought to happen to your friend, the Rev. Robertson, for speaking these words that shall not be spoken?

LIDDY: That's up to his constituents who, I think for the most part, are religious. I don't think that he really represents a large political constituency now, but certainly, he has a religious one, and he's answerable to them and not to me.

GIBSON: But I mean, should he be chastised publicly for saying these things?

LIDDY: Well, it's a free country. He's free to say we should assassinate Gordon Liddy if he wants to, but I don't think he wants to. And Gordon Liddy is free to say, you know, "I don't think he should say that, because I don't think we should do that."

GIBSON: Gordon Liddy, a syndicated radio talk show host. Mr. Liddy, it's always good to see you. Thanks.

LIDDY: Thank you.

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