Sen. Rand Paul: US negotiating from position of weakness in hero Pakistani doctor's plight

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," May 30, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: The controversy over the imprisoned Pakistani doctor who helped us get bin Laden has just heated up. It's so heated that one U.S. senator is threatening Pakistan. What is the threat? And will he carry it out. Senator Rand Paul is here to tell us.

Senator, what -- what's your -- I understand that your -- you say that the money should be off the table with Pakistan. Tell me what you intend to do, sir.

SEN. RAND PAUL, R-KY.: Well, you know, I have a lot of sympathy for Dr. Afridi. I'm a physician. I'm about the same age. It's hard for me to imagine, you know, what courage it must have taken in his society to turn bin Laden in. You know, bin Laden's one of the world's worst mass murderers, and he was turned in.

At one point, we offered $50 million for ransom for any information. This doctor was brave enough to turn him in and to help our CIA, and Pakistan's now imprisoning him for 33 years. I don't think we should give any taxpayer money to a government that's imprisoning a guy who really ought to be treated as a hero.

So I have a legislation that would cut off the Pakistani aid and would also grant U.S. citizenship to this doctor and let him and his family come to our country.

VAN SUSTEREN: How popular is it? Have you so far had a chance to sort of get an idea, take the pulse of how it will resonate in the U.S. Senate?

PAUL: We're going to try next week. We're out of session this week. But next week, I will try to attach it to a bill. And I'm going to try to draw attention to this because I don't think there's any U.S. taxpayers out there that want their money being sent to Pakistan when Pakistan treats their people this way.

Pakistan also has a woman in jail. She's threatened with execution for blasphemy. She says she didn't say it, but her co-worker said she said something about the Prophet. That's not the kind of society we should be sending U.S. taxpayer dollars to.

VAN SUSTEREN: One of the sort of complicated and controversial aspects about diplomacy and money is that we are often in the rather unattractive position of trying to buy our friends. They have nuclear weapons. I don't know how secure they are. They're route to Afghanistan. They certainly have been lousy (INAUDIBLE). I'm not -- I'm not suggesting I'm a big fan.

But one of the things that we have traditionally tried to do is at least use the money as a way to the extent we can to manipulate them to stop doing horrible things like terrorism. So where do you fall in that discussion?

PAUL: I think just practically, it doesn't work. We've been trying to buy dictators throughout the world for the last 50, 60 years. We paid Mubarak $60 billion over time. What did he do? He and his family stole it. And we did it with Mobutu in Congo. We did the same with Mugabe in Rhodesia and Zimbabwe. So I don't think it really works.

And these people steal from their people, and even from a humanitarian perspective, it doesn't get to the people. Their leaders steal it immediately once it gets there.

But in this case, it's really just insulting to the American people to send it to the Pakistani regime which is threatening Christians with execution, threatening this man with 33 years in prison.

My question to President Obama's administration is, where's the $50 million ransom you promised? We promised under George Bush and President Obama, I believe it was $50 million for any information leading to the arrest or capture of bin Laden.

This doctor helped us, and now we're letting him languish in jail and giving money to the government that is holding him in prison.

VAN SUSTEREN: Is -- you know, a lot of people, I assume, are helping us around the world in our war on terror and to get these people. Obviously, bin Laden was the one we really wanted to get more than anybody else. But I think a lot of people think we hung this guy out to dry.

I'm sort of curious, are there any sort of efforts internally being done so that we don't do that to others who are likewise helping us? Because if this man, if we did hang him out to dry and he's now sitting in prison, languishing, I wonder, you know, are we not being -- are we not being smart and preventing it from happening in the future?

PAUL: Well, I don't think we're strong enough. I think we negotiate from a position of weakness. I think right now, Pakistan would release him tomorrow if we threatened not to give them the $1 billion in foreign aid we're going to give them.

Now, we did reduce it, but at the same time, I think they would understand a position of strength. I think if we had a president who tomorrow said, You don't get one penny of U.S. taxpayer money unless you release this gentleman, unless you start treating Christians with compassion, unless you start talking about having religious freedom in your country.

VAN SUSTEREN: I don't think -- the Senate voted not to -- to cut their -- to cut the amount we give to Pakistan by $33 million. With the amount of money that we give Pakistan, $33 million is meaningless. It's symbolic. But that's not going to impinge at all. I'm curious what you think will happen if we do simply cut the money. What happens? Who does Pakistan turn to?

PAUL: Well, I think what happens when we negotiate from a position of strength is they react. In Egypt, I threatened to cut off Egypt's aid, and the 16 Americans who were there were released. So I think when you do threaten their aid, you get results.

When you give them their money and try to buy their friendship and just look the other way, you get more of the same. We did this for decade after decade with Mobutu in Congo. He was torturing his rivals. His people had no running water, had no electricity, and he was living in palaces.

It doesn't work. Besides, it makes no sense anymore because we're borrowing the money from China to send it to Pakistan or to send it to Egypt. We don't have money to be sending around the world. We shouldn't be doing it. Seventy-five percent of the American people are opposed to this. So I think things should change. This should be a wake-up call for people.

VAN SUSTEREN: Senator, thank you, sir.

PAUL: Thanks, Greta.