Is Al Qaeda Planning to Contaminate Your Drinking Water?

This is a partial transcript from On the Record with Greta Van Susteren, December 1, 2003.

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Is al Qaeda planning to contaminate your drinking water? Joining us in Washington is Bill Gertz, [FOX News Contributor] and National Security reporter for The Washington Times.

Bill, people on alert tonight about drinking water.

BILL GERTZ, THE WASHINGTON TIMES: Well, this is pretty scary. The FBI has alerted law enforcement to be on the lookout for anyone possibly casing water reservoirs and places like that, where it's possible they could try to contaminate the water supply. This is obviously a nightmare scenario. They don't have any real solid intelligence, but there is some intelligence indicating that this is a target.

VAN SUSTEREN: There's a bulletin that's been put out, right?

GERTZ: Yes. The FBI sends their regular law enforcement bulletins to law enforcement agencies, saying, This is a heads up. Be on alert for this. Keep your eyes open. It's in the context of heightened alerts around the world. There is a lot of fears. Especially, there's been recent chatter in the Arabic press indicating that Al Qaeda is preparing for an attack, a big attack in the United States. So all the intelligence and law enforcement people are on their toes and on the lookout.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. In terms of contamination, is there any information we're getting out of the FBI or intelligence organizations about what the form of contamination, the methodology and what would be used to contaminate it?

GERTZ: No, it's not clear what the agent would be. Again, it's very difficult to do that kind of a thing. You know, putting a biological agent in a large body of water has the immediate effect of diluting it and making it more difficult. However, there may be some unique way to do this. You know, this Al Qaeda terrorist group is very resourceful, and that's what has a lot of people worried. What kind of thing could they do? How could they do it? Could they put some kind of a container near an opening that would be used for water? Those are the kinds of things that they're looking for.

VAN SUSTEREN: And what are we supposed to do, just be on the alert for anything suspicious? We see someone casing a dam or...

GERTZ: Well, that is really the only indicator that we have. Barring the ability to penetrate al Qaeda, which the intelligence community has not yet been able to do, surveillance and reconnaissance of targets is one of the key indicators that they look for. So obviously, they're probably going to step up patrols around waterways and reservoirs and things like that.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, switch gears. Saddam Hussein looking for weapons from North Korea before the war.

GERTZ: This has been one of the big surprises of the Iraq Survey Group. This was first disclosed by David Kay back in October. There's been some additional intelligence. Basically, what you have is that Saddam Hussein was looking to North Korea to purchase 620-mile-range No-Dong missiles.

VAN SUSTEREN: Are those a violation of the agreement, those 620 miles?

GERTZ: Oh, absolutely. The U.N. says only 150 kilometers.

VAN SUSTEREN: For him, for Saddam.

GERTZ: Right. And that was under the U.N. sanctions. Apparently, the Iraqis put a down payment on this. Then, all of a sudden, they got taken to the cleaners by the North Koreans. There were discussions back and forth. "The New York Times" reported today that they found a computer hard drive that had information about how the Iraqis planned to meet with the North Koreans and try to get their down payment of $1.2 million back. It doesn't look like they were going to get it. Looks like they may have been trying to get an entire turnkey factory to make No-Dong missiles.

VAN SUSTEREN: And while North Korea's stiffing Saddam Hussein, for lack of a better word, this was being done in Syria, and Syria knew about these negotiations?

GERTZ: Yes. There is an indication that there was a Syrian connection. This really highlights Iraq's covert procurement networks that worked throughout the neighboring countries of the region, into Jordan, into Syria, into Saudi Arabia, and all the way to Europe, as well. For the North Koreans, their cut-outs were usually in places like Macao or Singapore or Malaysia, where they have been doing a lot of deals that were designed to circumvent the sanctions or that have been put in place on North Korea.

VAN SUSTEREN: Meanwhile, the Syrians are voting on -- voting for the resolution for war. Or voting against Iraq, essentially.

GERTZ: Basically. That's -- the Syrians are...

VAN SUSTEREN: I guess it falls under the category if it weren't so serious, it's never dull.

GERTZ: Really.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, Bill, thank you very much.

GERTZ: Thank you.

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