The Fate of Daniel Pearl

This is a partial transcript from The War on Terror: The Hunt for the Killers. For a complete transcript of the entire broadcast click here.


MARIANNE PEARL, WIFE OF KIDNAPPED JOURNALIST: I'm not desperate because if I stop believing in creating this dialogue, then I stop believing in everything else. So I can't do that. I'm pregnant.

UNIDENTIFIED INTERVIEWER: And if you could speak to your husband now, what would you tell him?

PEARL: I love you.


RITA COSBY, HOST: Marianne Pearl, the wife of the American journalist, Daniel Pearl, kidnapped in Pakistan. The group claiming to hold the Wall Street Journal reporter is now threatening to kill him within 24 hours if its demands are not met.

Joining us from Los Angeles is one of the last people Danny Pearl spoke to, Larry Johnson, a former CIA officer, counterterrorism expert and also Fox News security analyst.

Larry, thank you so much for joining us.


COSBY: I know you can't go into great detail, but give us sort of a generality of the last discussion you had with him. What was it about, what kind of spirits he was in?

JOHNSON: Well, it wasn't an actual discussion. It was an e-mail exchange with him. I was simply complimenting him on an excellent piece he did on cigarette smuggling and the smuggling of consumer electronics into Pakistan because I'm working on a separate case related to those issues. And it was in that context that we had the exchange. And serendipitously, you know, I find out a few days later that he was missing. So you know, it's unfortunate that he's been tarred with being a CIA agent or operative. He's not. He's a Wall Street Journal reporter, pure and simple.

COSBY: The group is claiming, in fact, that first they were saying he was a CIA agent. Now they're saying that he was a member of the Israeli Mossad, which is the Israeli intelligence. Is this just sort of a common tactic used by those people? Is this a normal tactic they use, those groups?

JOHNSON: It strikes me that this group is very crude, very inexperienced and very desperate, from that standpoint. They're making it up as they go along. They don't really know what they're doing. And that was evident in their first demands, which were all over the board, everything from release or free the prisoners, give them better conditions, and also free up the F-16 fighters. You know, that makes no sense.

I think the advantage we have in this, or the advantage Mr. Pearl's family has is that the Pakistani government, I believe, is aggressively pursuing this, and they've got the resources to find and locate him.

COSBY: Today there was a disturbing e-mail. There's been a series of e-mails, and then this picture that we're looking at now on the screen. But there was a written e-mail that was sent to a number of news organizations, and I'm going to put that now on the screen. And this is sort of a threat that came from this group. And it says, "We have interrogated Mr. D. Pearl" — Danny Pearl — "and have come to the conclusion that contrary to what we thought earlier, he is not working for the CIA. In fact, he is working for Israel's Mossad. Therefore, we will execute him within 24 hours unless America fulfills our demands."

What's your reaction to this? And do you think they'll carry this through?

JOHNSON: Well, I have no way of knowing what they're going to do. They sound so desperate. I find that concerning. But on the other hand, I think they've recognized he is the only leverage they have in this, and if they want to get out of this alive, they're going to have to keep him alive.

COSBY: In fact...

JOHNSON: And so...

COSBY: Go ahead, Larry.

JOHNSON: Well, I think, in interrogating him, I think they rapidly came to the conclusion this is not CIA. And because, you know, I think they perceived him as Jewish, they're just going to jump to a conclusion if you're Jewish, you obviously work for Mossad. And I think, The Wall Street Journal has been doing appropriately with this, emphasizing over and over, as has the U.S. government, this man is a journalist. And as a journalist, he was entitled to cover the stories there, and he needs to be protected.

COSBY: You bring up the comments by The Wall Street Journal. I'm going to put that up also for our viewers because they continue to release statements, as they should do, to try to protect their journalists there on the ground.

And the latest one says, "Nothing will be served by continuing to hold him. Killing or harming Danny will only discredit the cause of the people holding him. Releasing him would permit him to tell their story as they have related it to him. We request that he be released immediately."

Is this the appropriate response? And do you think it'll be effective?

JOHNSON: Well, I think it's absolutely appropriate. And the key to the effectiveness here is a joint effort by the U.S. government and the government of Pakistan. The U.S. government's trying to get this man released not because he's involved with intelligence activities but he's a citizen of the United States. He was there doing his job, and he's being unfairly and unjustly held. And he needs to be freed.

COSBY: And Larry, the FBI agents are already en route there, some probably already on the ground. What role could they play in this?

JOHNSON: Well, they coordinate both with the Pakistani authorities, they will collect evidence independently. I'm sure there's been a full-court effort across the board to talk to everybody that had any contact with Mr. Pearl of any kind, find out what phone numbers he was calling, to pull all information together and look for leads because you don't want to jump to the conclusions that the initial people that have been detained are the ones. It may actually be someone else. So no stone goes unturned.

COSBY: All right, Larry Johnson, we thank you very much for your insights and appreciate it tonight. Thank you.

JOHNSON: Thanks, Rita.

Be sure to watch The War on Terror: The Hunt for the Killers every weeknight live at 10 p.m. ET on the Fox News Channel for all the very latest news on America at War.