Adm. Stansfield Turner: U.S. Will Be Hit with Smuggled Nuclear Bomb in 10-15 Years

This is a partial transcript from "Your World with Neil Cavuto," October 16, 2006, that was edited for clarity.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Meantime, sanctions on North Korea may be in place, but my next guest says, no matter what is done, a nuke will eventually be smuggled into this country, and it will be detonated.

Former CIA Director Admiral Stansfield Turner is the guy saying that could happen in as little as 10 years. With us as well is James Lilley, the former ambassador to China and South Korea. He is not quite as pessimistic as the admiral, but does not rule out this dire prediction.

Gentlemen, welcome to both of you.



CAVUTO: So, Admiral, what you’re saying is, no matter what we do now, it’s just a matter of time before something from North Korea gets here and is detonated here. What do you mean?

TURNER: That is a little stronger than I had really spoken about.

But I think there’s a real danger here, because the North Koreans are so irresponsible, and the fact that they apparently now have such a weapon. We have just got to be very, very alert.

CAVUTO: All right. But you are saying that it is possible that, if they — they can’t use it for their own uses, maybe someone who pays them a lot of money could?

TURNER: Well, they certainly are not above selling this to terrorists or to — to others. The North Korean regime has got to be one of the most irresponsible on the face of the — of the globe today. So, we have to be very diligent under these circumstances.

CAVUTO: What do you make of — of — of all of this, Ambassador, that, no matter what we do now, it is just a matter of time before North Korea just thumbs its nose at us, and maybe has one of these weapons right on our soil?

LILLEY: The Achilles' heel of North Korea is its economy. And this is exactly where we are putting our emphasis right now in this U.N. Resolution 1618 — 1718.

Hit them in the economy. The Chinese are working with the South Koreans. This is — this is what is going to really bring about policy changes, and, if not policy changes, regime changes, because that is the way you are going to get this problem solved.


CAVUTO: But, Ambassador, they are already a basket case, right? I mean, and, so, how much more can you hit a basket case?

LILLEY: They are stumbling. They are desperate. You look at the — talk to the Chinese about this. They’re in terrible shape. They can maintain power, but somebody is going to knock this guy off, if he can’t produce.

CAVUTO: All right.

LILLEY: And he’s going to be down.

CAVUTO: Admiral, I’m — I am wondering whether, in a flip sense, our sanctions, the push the global community is making to try to isolate North Korea, whether that feeds these terrorist groups that might pay big money to get that technology from North Korea?

TURNER: Well, we have no option here. If we, the free world, the responsible world, don’t take some action about this proliferation in North Korea, it is going to happen all over the world. And, so, we have got to do this. And the sanctions are the best way to go about it.

CAVUTO: Ambassador, do you worry, though, that the fact that this has been such a hard-fought victory in the Security Council, that North Korea knows it has got time, even before they, the — the members who recommended tough sanctions, can agree on what those sanctions are?

LILLEY: No, but this is done on two levels.

First, you have the U.N. level. You have a very tough resolution, which is a strong resolution, watered down a little bit for the Chinese and Russians. But the real fight is underneath, is getting the intelligence on the shipments, being able to bring your ships in to interdict them, to get them on their links with Al Qaeda or with the Triads or the mafia.

This is where you get them. This is where the struggle is going to be taking place, below the level of the resolution. And this is where you turn the squeeze on them on the economy. South Korea is doing it. Japan is doing it. China is doing it. This, again, brings about some kind of a change in the policies, if not the regime.

CAVUTO: Admiral, your old boss Jimmy Carter had met with Kim Jong Il and — and some of the other high authorities in North Korea. In retrospect, sir, do you think that that meeting was a waste of time?

TURNER: No. I think that every attempt to explore with these people, who we don’t have much contact with, is very, very worthwhile. We don’t want to give anything up in those.

And, of course, President Carter went as an unofficial representative of the United States, so, he did not give anything up, or couldn’t give anything up. I don’t think we can overestimate the value of trying to understand each other in this kind of a situation.

CAVUTO: Admiral, Ambassador, thank you both.

LILLEY: Thank you.

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