Times Square Suspect's Pakistan Ties: How Does It Affect U.S. Relations?

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," May 4, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: So what are we going to do about Pakistan? The Times Square terror suspect says he went to a terror training camp in Pakistan. Is there anything we can do, should do? Joining us live is former U.S. ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton.

Good evening, Ambassador. Now, the fact that the Pakistanis have detained somebody or arrested someone, is that a sign that they truly are on board, helping us, or is this -- or is it a ploy, is it just an act? What's your thought?

JOHN BOLTON, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N.: Well, I think there are definitely elements in the Pakistani government that want to help us, but there are also elements, particularly in the intelligence services, that have been assisting Taliban in Afghanistan and perhaps even in their own country for some time. So it could be that we're going to get some help, but not necessarily get all the way to the bottom of this.

VAN SUSTEREN: You know, the last guest we had on said that there was -- that the street was essentially quiet about this. That surprised me. When we were in Pakistan, I was stunned at how much Pakistanis at that time were extremely hostile to Americans. It was scandalous. I'm surprised that this is, quote, "quiet."

BOLTON: Well, maybe it just hasn't gotten much attention yet. But I think there's already some reporting of Pakistanis saying this is another excuse for more American military involvement in Pakistan, more American attacks. I think we need to be very aggressive in our diplomacy on this to explain why we're seeking law enforcement cooperation in Pakistan and why - - this explains why there is a threat to the Pakistani government itself from Islamic extremists in their own country.

VAN SUSTEREN: I should add they were hostile to the United States because at the time, the United States had just given them $7 billion, and the people were...

BOLTON: Well, that usually makes people hostile.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, no, no. They were -- they were hostile, which (INAUDIBLE) you know, I felt like (INAUDIBLE) go figure. They were mad because we wanted to know how they were going to spend the money because the Indian...

BOLTON: Heaven forbid.

VAN SUSTEREN: ... the Indian government didn't want -- didn't want them to spend it on items to terrorize -- to bomb India. And I was actually quite surprised that they were so hostile to us when we were giving them $7 billion. But that's a whole 'nother story.

All right, in terms of -- in terms of this man, is this something that, you know -- that you expected, or I mean, I -- you know, this whole sort of going back to Pakistan, training and coming here?

BOLTON: I think it's not at all surprising. We've known for some time that the al Qaeda leadership is likely in the Waziristan area. That's certainly where the Afghan Taliban fled after we attacked after 9/11. And it's why there's a threat to the Pakistani government. This is one of the reasons, perhaps the critical reason why we're in Afghanistan militarily and working with the Pakistanis. Imagine the people who trained this terrorist taking control of the Pakistani government and getting their hands on a very substantial arsenal of nuclear weapons. And imagine that coming to New York, not some IED in a car.

VAN SUSTEREN: You know, he's a naturalized American. I mean, that to me is -- I mean, is -- is so -- is so -- is such a bizarre element to this. Like, why did he bother?

BOLTON: Well, I would worry about -- about whether there's more like that. You know, on your citizenship application, you're supposed to indicate that you've renounced all other loyalties, that you're not a member of a terrorist group. I wonder if people have gotten the idea maybe if they acquire American citizenship, they might fly under the radar a little bit more easily.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, it seems like, you know, so many people are trying to get American citizenship. I thought it was at least a little bit harder than -- I mean, this -- you know, he came here, went to school here, got two degrees in here Connecticut. And it seems that, you know, he -- I mean, he got -- became a citizen I guess the regular path. But it seemed - - it doesn't seem like it was a huge obstacle.

BOLTON: But it's very interesting that he engages in this act of terrorism within one year of getting the citizenship. This is not somebody who's been here 20 years and been radicalized. You have to ask yourself if he didn't come here radicalized, with the objective of getting citizenship to help facilitate a terrorist act. I think that's at least worth looking at.

VAN SUSTEREN: Unless he went back for five months and something really happened in that five months that made him all of a sudden come on a mission.

BOLTON: That he went immediately back to Waziristan to a terrorist training camp. I mean, it's possible, but I think this -- that, you know, somebody with an American passport's not going receive as much scrutiny as somebody from -- a passport from a terror-sponsoring state or a problematic region, no doubt about that

VAN SUSTEREN: Is it -- from a -- from an American standpoint, can we trust Pakistan more now than we could, let's say, two years ago?

BOLTON: I think -- I think it's very difficult. I don't think we have any choice. It is critical, from our security perspective, that Pakistan not be taken over by Islamic radicals. And it's one of the, I think, mistakes the Obama administration is making by not wanting to talk about the war on terror because they're afraid it will offend Muslims. Muslims know better than anybody else the threat extremists cause to them, as well as to us.

So for all the reasons you mentioned -- the hostility about the United States -- it's very difficult now to work with Pakistan. But I think we've just got to grit our teeth and keep doing it. We cannot allow al Qaeda, Taliban or any other terrorists to have a safe haven there or in Afghanistan.

VAN SUSTEREN: Ambassador, thank you, sir.

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