This is a partial transcript of The Big Story With John Gibson, June 18, 2004, that has been edited for clarity.


JUDGE ANDREW NAPOLITANO, FNC SENIOR JUDICIAL ANALYST AND GUEST HOST: This is a Fox News Alert. Al Arabiya (search) is reporting that the Al Qaeda leader Abdulaziz al-Muqrin (search) has been killed.

First Nick Berg. Now Paul Johnson. When is this going to stop? The kidnappers are kidnapping Americans and beheading them in front of cameras and broadcasting this on Web sites throughout the world. Paul Johnson, of course, was kidnapped. President Bush commented on Johnson's execution. Here is what he said.


PRESIDENT BUSH: The murder of Paul shows the evil nature of the enemy we face. These are barbaric people. There's no justification whatsoever for his murder. Yet, they killed him in cold blood. And it should remind us that we must pursue these people and bring them to justice before they hurt other Americans. See, they're trying to intimidate America. They're trying to shake our will. They're trying to get to us retreat from the world. America will not retreat. America will not be intimated by these kinds of extremist thugs. May god bless Paul Johnson.


NAPOLITANO: President Bush, of course, responding to the brutal murder of Paul Johnson.

Joining me now is Greg Copley from the International Strategic Studies Association (search). He comes to us from our studios in Washington, DC. So, Greg, how do we find these people? How do we locate them? How do we fight them? How do we stop this?

GREG COPLEY, INTERNATIONAL STRATEGIC STUDIES ASSOCIATION: Well, as you saw, al-Muqrin has possibly been killed this afternoon, and I think we have to take it that that was a leak from inside Al Qaeda. On May 14, this year, he opposed Usama bin Laden who had asked that the jihad in Saudi Arabia be put on hold while they focused on Iraq for the time being. Al- Muqrin issued a decree rejecting that and saying that they could go after both objectives at the same time, and that they should hit U.S. installations and oil installations. And I believe that this has actually offended bin laden, and he has maybe exerted a bit of authority.

NAPOLITANO: Let me make sure I have this straight, Greg. You are telling us that the people that kidnapped and murdered Paul Johnson were a splinter group of Al Qaeda and that Al Qaeda itself didn't order this, didn't want it and, in fact, wasn't happy that it occurred?

COPLEY: Well, I think you have to say that Al Qaeda itself is all splinters. This group claimed to be devoted and loyal to bin laden and the overall Al Qaeda objectives. However, they did defy a Bin Laden order to put the Saudi Arabia jihad on hold while they focused on Iraq. It was in direct defiance of bin laden who issued a decree on May 6 saying that. On May 14, al-Muqrin basically said no, we're going to go after it because we can do both at the same time. So yes, I think they are.

NAPOLITANO: What does the average Saudi in the street — what does the average Saudi on the street think about this? Is there a culture there that would support this barbaric act, or is the average Saudi as outraged as the average American is?

COPLEY: Well, I think the average Saudi is perhaps not quite as outraged as the average American because bear in mind that the Saudis have been supporting the mujahideen and the Islamists in Bosnia and Kosovo for many, many years. And there they've been been cutting off the heads of Serbs one after another for a long time and showing pictures of them. So this is a routine form of demonstration of an Islamist form of killing. It's been going on for centuries. But it's been particularly highlighted in the Bosnian wars.

NAPOLITANO: Greg Copley, thank you very much.

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