RUSH: — those are the two countries that everybody associates with the allies we should have but don’t.
GERTZ: Sure. Well, you know, we all remember back last year when the efforts prior to the Iraq war, how France and Russia and Germany and China were opposing the United States in its efforts to try to resolve the thing peacefully. This is really an expos?. It’s an important book because it highlights how these so-called friends and allies were really helping our enemies. It focuses a lot on Iraq but it also looks at other rogue states — namely North Korea, Iran, Syria — and how these states were able to align themselves with our so-called friends and get valuable weapons and weapons technology, which has been or can be used against us. In the case of France, I think this is the most egregious example. I report on the story</a> of an A-10, Air Force A-10 pilot, who was shot down by a Roland missile, a French-made Roland missile.
GERTZ: This was near Baghdad in April of 2003 as he was flying close air support for our troops.
RUSH: Yeah, the A-10 is the Warthog.
GERTZ: Yeah, and you can imagine his “disgust.” That was the word that a lot of military people I talked to used in describing how they kept finding all of this French military equipment that was in new condition, and another big story was the fact that the French government provided passports to Saddam’s henchmen. This was based on some military intelligence —
RUSH: What, to get out of the country?
GERTZ: Yeah, to help. They helped Saddam’s henchmen flee the country, and they found about a dozen blank French passports in one of the burned-out ministries in Baghdad and then later on —
RUSH: What route? Did they go through Syria? How did they get out?
GERTZ: Yes, they were in Damascus. They were seen in Damascus with their mustaches shaved off —
GERTZ: — having these French — passports and it got them into just about any EU country and they’re still looking for these people.
RUSH: How hard was it for you? I don’t mean this, Bill, to reflect on your reporting. Your reporting is renowned and well documented. How hard was it for you to learn this stuff?
GERTZ: Well, we say in the news business, “You’re only as good as your sources,” and I’ve been very lucky over the years to have a lot of good sources in government who feel it’s important that a lot of this stuff which was being swept under the rug for a number of diplomatic reasons to get this information out, and I was very lucky to get some of that and track it down and get the full story.
RUSH: When you say there “were government sources trying to protect this for diplomatic reasons,” I’m assuming… When I hear “diplomatic,” I hear “state department.”
GERTZ: Yes. For the most part it was the state department. They came down hard on other branches of the government, particularly the Pentagon, not to make an issue of the fact that France, Russia, Germany and China were helping Saddam’s military arm itself.
RUSH: Now, Bill, you are predominantly, your source is predominantly in the Pentagon. You’re a great defense reporter, but you branch out. You know, based on what I’ve learned from reading your books and just from paying attention, the state department — I will use this term loosely to make the point — but the state department almost appears at times to be a rogue department or rogue agency in that it is seemingly at odds with the administration, this administration’s policy, since Bush has been in office. I remember many leaks about war plans prior to Iraq showing up in the New York Times, Washington Post, can be traced back to the state department, some of them the personal injury Pentagon, but is this correct? Is the state department still an obstacle for President Bush?
GERTZ: Yes, pretty much. It’s the state department bureaucracy for the most part. They had their own agenda like in the case of North Korea. I point out in the book how, in the past, rather than undermine their 1994 agreement with North Korea — which the North Koreans violated and led to the current nuclear crisis — they would try to counterbalance intelligence information showing that the North Koreans were cheating by presenting it to the North Koreans and then having them say, “Oh, we didn’t do that,” and then they’d say, “Well, it’s a wash. The North Koreans say no. The intelligence community says yes.”
RUSH: Now, that just is impossible to believe. I mean, for a decent, hard-working American who gets up every day thinking everybody in America wants America to win, that’s just hard to believe.
GERTZ: Well, you know, for a lot of these people getting the agreement is the most important thing, and in the case of that ’94 agreement, they tried everything they could — that is, the state department arms control people — to keep that agreement in place, even though —
GERTZ: Well, they just — it’s the whole point of “an agreement is an end in itself.” When the intelligence showed that the North Koreans were building a uranium enrichment program outside of this agreement, it was unwelcome news and they didn’t like it. They tried —
RUSH: Unwelcome news.
RUSH: Well. Unwelcome news.
RUSH: And so what did they do? So it’s not welcome. So they had to find a way to get the North Koreans out of the jam they were in by having cheated?
GERTZ: Yeah, but in this case, this was in October of ’02. The North Koreans didn’t play along. They admitted that they were violating the agreement, and that led us to the current nuclear crisis.
RUSH: Now, what role — let me go back to the beginning of this because the North Korea thing was prominent in the debate the other night. In fact, let me ask you the question, and I gotta go to a commercial break so I don’t have enough time, I’ve decided, to get into some detail with you here, but most people think that the North Korea deal was this, that the Clinton administration decided to be good guys and compassionate as liberals are, and they saw this decrepit down-in-the-dumps country couldn’t feed its people, decided we’d be nice guys and share nuclear technology but they had to promise they would only develop that technology for the purposes and the production of power to benefit their citizenry — and then, lo and behold, we learn at some point later on that they broke that agreement and started manufacturing nuclear material with the nuclear material we gave them, and that we acted shocked and Madeleine Albright said, “We got tricked,” and that this all started in the Clinton administration. The question is: Is that an accurate summary of what happened?
RUSH: We’re now back joined by Bill Gertz speaking to us from a secret location in Washington. He’s a reporter for the Washington Times. What about this North Korea story? Is it that simple as I just summarized it for you?
GERTZ: Well, you know, it was. The fact is, even after the ’94 agreement which had no verification procedures at all, which was really an effort to try and buy off the North Koreans to try to prevent them from making nuclear weapons, and —
RUSH: Now, Bill, wait, wait. I know you’re not in government, but you know these people better than any of us do. How in the world…? You’re dealing with communists! We know through experience that communists lie, and we know who they are. We know it’s a small country that is vulnerable. It doesn’t have really any military other than these marching guys that run around, and they’re the only ones that eat over there. So we give them nuclear material, ostensibly for a power program with no verification they’re going to keep their promise?
GERTZ: That’s exactly what happened. I mean, it really went against everything we learned in the Cold War, that you cannot trust communist governments to abide by agreements. You know, the U.S. abides by them, but the communist agreements are violated from the beginning, and in fact, I even got hold of a CIA report from the late 90s which said that, estimated that they were not going to abide by the agreement and that’s exactly what happened, and —
RUSH: Well, I coulda told them that! They didn’t need the CIA for it. You could have told them.
GERTZ: Yes, exactly. So, anyway, in the debate the other night this came up and, you know, they tried to talk about how the Chinese were helping us, but, you know, that’s another myth, too, is that the Chinese are not really helping us. They’re helping their fraternal communist allies in North Korea under the guise of pretending to be an honest broker in the nuclear talks.
RUSH: Well, so now the North Koreans are producing nukes and have whatever quantity, four to seven missiles that are capable of being launched some distance, calling on you for an opinion here. What is the solution to this now?
GERTZ: Well, you know, that is a big question, and my view is that this notion that we’re going to provide them with some kind of security guarantees. That’s what the North Koreans have been asking for, somehow a promise that they won’t be attacked. You know, that would be totally foolish and contrary to all of our values. People in the Pentagon have the right —
RUSH: Wait. What would they give up for that? I mean if —
GERTZ: Well, they would again pretend to give up their nuclear program for a second time.
RUSH: (Laughing.) “Pretend.” Okay, good.
GERTZ: But a lot of people in the Pentagon are pushing this idea that we need regime change, and this, you know, fits into with my solution to the proliferation problem. We need better covert capabilities, you know, the middle ground between having to send in the 82nd Airborne or, on the other end, using ineffective diplomacy. Whether it’s ineffective sanctions or agreements that are violated, we need to develop a much better covert action capability, and kind of use the same tools that our military is using in the war on terrorism, use it against proliferators like North Korea.
RUSH: They are one of the original Axis of Evil countries —
GERTZ: Yes, absolutely.
RUSH: — and as such, need to be dealt with in the same fashion. Well, clearly, based on what you’ve described, the John Kerry proposal of “bilateral talks” meaning just them and us will lead to more of the same deception?
GERTZ: Yes, it would be a disaster. I mean, Bill Clinton’s administration was working on a summit right toward the end of his term. We all remember how Madeleine Albright went to Pyongyang and was feted by Kim Jong ll at these big banquets, and all the while this is a regime that has starved its people and is selling nuclear and missile technology. You know, I interviewed the commander of U.S. military forces in South Korea, General Leon LaPorte. He made an amazing observation. He said, “It’s been his observation that North Korea would not hesitate to sell a nuclear device to Al-Qaeda terrorists” That’s the nature of the regime up there in Pyongyang.
RUSH: Well, it’s the nature of all of them. I mean, they all look at us as the #1 enemy they have, and anybody that’s an enemy of us is a friend of theirs. See, that’s the thing. We knew that Al-Qaeda was in Singapore; they’re in the Philippines; Al-Qaeda was in Tora Bora; Al-Qaeda was in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Al-Qaeda is in Iran. Al-Qaeda is in Saudi Arabia. Al-Qaeda is in south Florida — but they were never in Iraq?
RUSH: What about Germany? Let’s go back to the treachery business here. Germany.
RUSH: What kind of aid and comfort, say, to Iraq did Germany provide?
GERTZ: Well, Germany it turns out — and I highlight this in the book — was really the shopping mart for rogue states, and Iraq was no exception. The Iraqis obtained some incredibly valuable military technology from the Germans, including technology from our Stinger missiles that was obtained by some German contractors who were working for U.S. military in Germany, and that technology was passed along to the Iraqis and it helped to develop a surface-to-air missile, kind of a hybrid missile that the Pentagon found after the major combat ended, and it had our own technology in it, compliments of lax German export controls.
RUSH: (Exhale) Well, how many pages is this book, Bill?
RUSH: And it’s filled with this kind of stuff — and again, I don’t mean this — and I need to hold you through the break here if you have time.
RUSH: But I just… The fact that this, in what I consider to be a — I don’t know what I consider, but after your book comes out, this seems to me to be the kind of stuff that ought to be popularized, broadcast all over the place. The fact it’s only still in your book is quite telling.
RUSH: We continue our conversation with Bill Gertz. His new book: ‘Treachery, How America’s Friends and Foes are Secretly Arming Our Enemies.’ Bill, when are your three days on the Today Show scheduled?
GERTZ: I haven’t made it on any of the broadcast shows, unfortunately.
RUSH: See, that’s what I mean. I don’t know if you’ve had a chance to be listening today, but it seems to me that more and more elements of what we call the — what I call the — partisan media become more a transcript service than actually journalists. I mean, AP just basically regurgitates whatever Kerry-Edwards says. This book is blockbuster, is dynamite. It undermines virtually every charge made when Kerry starts talking about how we need to build alliances with these countries that are selling us out and actually working against our interests in the war on terror. It seems like this would be big news to people who are generally interested in big news, but none of the broadcast networks have even called you?
GERTZ: No. No. Been on a few cable shows, but it’s hard to get this there. Of course, they seem more than willing to have the left on there like Seymour Hirsch who has some pretty wild and unverified claims about the Abu Ghraib prison scandal on, but of course he gets an open door to a lot of the liberal media.
RUSH: I’m sure your publisher, though, contacts these people and offers you as a guest and they don’t get any takers obviously?
GERTZ: Yeah. Yeah. It’s getting out there by word-of-mouth and, you know, I kind of describe it as ‘red meat for the red part of the country,’ and a lot of people out the there are really interested in this. You know, I could say the Bush administration has tried to sweep a lot of this under the rug. They don’t want to point the finger at our allies, and I think if we
RUSH: Now, explain to people, because this audience is comprised of a lot of people that love George Bush, and hope to see him reelected, and as such have a lot of animus toward France and Germany. When they hear you say that this administration is trying to sweep a lot of this under the rug, I’m sure they’re scratching their heads and screaming, ‘Why?’
GERTZ: Well, like I said, I think it’s the diplomats get the upper hand and in this case the state department has kind of put out the word. You know, Rumsfeld has been kind of muzzled on this. A lot of the military people, even during the conflict with Iraq in the early part, you know, I had information about how the Russians were supplying electronic jammers to the Iraqis and were actually working with the Iraqi military during the March 2003 invasion, and they didn’t want to make a point of highlighting what the Russians were doing, and, you know, it’s a big problem because, you know, like I said: If we don’t hold these governments accountable they’re just going to ignore the efforts to try to stop these arms sales in the future.
RUSH: What do you think the thinking is? Is it perhaps the administration thinks Iraq is something we’ll eventually prevail on, and it’s not worth making enemies over that? We’re going to need Russia, France, and Germany down the road, years and years down the road, and it’s not worth arranging them permanently over something like this? I can’t —
GERTZ: Yeah, I think that’s it, and particularly in the political campaign season is here you have, you know, John — Senator Kerry talking about having “a more sensitive war against terrorism.” Now, he didn’t mean being more sensitive to the terrorists. He meant being more sensitive to these countries, and I think that maybe perhaps the Bush administration is reluctant to take on these allies and try to pretend that they didn’t really oppose us in the weeks and months leading up to the Iraq war.
RUSH: One of the things about the state department that I have to ask you, because every time I’ve spoken to you about one of your books, the state department seems to figure prominently in the problems that we have around world and some of these skirmishes where it seems to me our national security is the on the line. Why is it — and I’ve heard this about the state department as long as I’ve been alive — why is it that no administration, Republican or Democrat, can get a handle on the state department and bring them under control, for lack of a better phrase?
GERTZ: Well, one word: bureaucracy. This is a big problem, and it’s the problem in the intelligence community and it’s the problem at the state department. The bureaucracy loses sight in many respects of its overall mission, which is to support the United States and its foreign policy —
RUSH: How can that happen?
GERTZ: — security objectives. Bureaucracies tend to turn in themselves. They focus more on their own personnel. They focus on the tough turf, and in the case of the diplomats it’s always, “Let’s get along with other nations rather than holding them accountable for selling weapons and technology to rogue states.”
RUSH: Well, now, that — you know, when I watch Richard Holbrooke, that makes total sense what you’ve just said. That seems to be his objective. Let’s not make anybody mad. Let’s make sure that we sought peaceful relations when I go talk to them. Let’s make sure that I can come out of there and say, “I got an agreement.” But he’s an appointed guy.
RUSH: By “bureaucracy” you’re talking about career people who are there regardless of who’s in the White House.
GERTZ: And the other thing is there’s this liberal notion of “multipolarity.” It’s big in France. It’s big in Russia. It’s big in China.
RUSH: What is it?
GERTZ: Multipolarity is this idea that you need to have several centers of power in the world, and the fact of the matter is we are it. We’re the only superpower in the world today, and they don’t like that, and they’re working against us, and the reason that they’re working against us — that often translates into supporting our enemies, including with arms transfers, and —
RUSH: Okay, so when Madeleine Albright laments that we are the lone superpower and that this causes an imbalance, this is what she’s talking about, multipolarity?
GERTZ: Exactly, and mind you, thank God we’re the only superpower. The alternative would be: “Would we want China to be that or Russia?” Absolutely not.
RUSH: Well, then you’ve got to come up with some distorted concept of moral equivalence.
GERTZ: Yes, and it doesn’t matter who’s right or wrong to the multipolarity view. It’s just the point is that stability requires that there be many centers of power. So that that’s really at the core of the anti-Americanism of the French in particular and the Chinese as well.
RUSH: Well, now, I really don’t mean to be partisan with this, but I know that among conservatives that’s
GERTZ: Yes, absolutely, there’s no question, and that’s true also for the intelligence community, as we’re seeing this vociferous battling going on with the White House. You know, recently the Washington Post had <a target=new href=”http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A63481-2004Sep30.html”>an article</a> complaining about how the new CIA director brought some Hill staffers. Of course they never complained about that when John Deutsch, the Clinton administration CIA director, brought over a number of Hill staffers when
RUSH: So Porter Goss, that makes sense, then. The moment he was nominated, the cry he was, “He’s partisan!” You can’t have somebody partisan in the CIA because the partisans are already there and they didn’t like his partisanship because it was at odds with theirs.
GERTZ: That’s exactly right, and in the case of Porter Goss, the bureaucracy kind of breathed a sigh of relief when he got the nod for the CIA job because among Capitol Hill people, he was seen as among the most sympathetic to the CIA. I mean, you know, I knew people who told me that he would even try to change things in legislation so that the CIA wouldn’t have to do even the most rudimentary things like having to standardize the Arabic spellings of names, which would make it a lot easier to track these terrorists when they try to get in our country.
RUSH: Well, this doesn’t sound like we have much of a chance in the long haul.
GERTZ: Well, I think we’re making progress. In the war on terrorism, I think the biggest deficiency right now is the war of ideas. You know, we’ve got to get a handle on that. We’re doing good on the military side; we’re doing okay on the law enforcement and intelligence side, but using ideas against the Islamist extremists is what we really need to improve on.
RUSH: Before I let you go, you got <a target=new href=”http://washingtontimes.com/national/20041005-022528-7849r.htm”>a story today</a> in the paper about Saddam’s misuse of the oil-for-food program, and it specifically states that materiel that he purchased actually now ends up now being used militarily by the Fedayeen — the terrorists that are called the insurgents —
RUSH: — against our troops. So oil-for-food scandal has now bled over and money generated by that program is being used against us.
GERTZ: Huge scandal and there’s a hearing today on this that’s bringing out that information —
RUSH: Is that the Chris Shays committee?
GERTZ: Yes and it’s showing how the French and the Russians blocked the United States from trying to get a diplomatic solution to the Iraq problem, because Saddam owed them, you know, four billion in the case of France and eight billion in the case of Russia for all the weapons. So they were basically backing Saddam because they wanted to get their money back.
RUSH: How were they going to pay that, with oil futures or something?
GERTZ: Exactly. Saddam had a scam where he gave vouchers to his friends that allowed them to buy, say, a million barrels of oil, and of course they couldn’t use that so they’d sell that voucher to an oil broker and make upwards of 200,000. The scandal was in the billions of dollars that he was able to use. In one case, new information that I had in the paper today showed that the Fedayeen Saddam, the terrorists loyal to Saddam actually purchased motorcycles that they used in attacks on our forces.
RUSH: Well, now, this story is bleeding beyond the pages of the Washington Times.
RUSH: Finally. This story. Chris Shays is on this. Now, where do you expect, regardless… I mean, I don’t know if this — does the future of this story have any tie to who wins the presidential election?
GERTZ: Well, I think it certainly does, especially when, you know, the Kerry policy and all the Kerry advisors have been saying that the U.S. needs some kind of “global test” and that infers that they have to go along with what the United Nations wants. I think the UN — this oil-for-food scandal has put the UN in a crisis. I mean, their credibility and integrity is on the line because —
RUSH: When has it not been? See, but when has it not been? The UN has had no credibility to most reasonable people in I don’t know how long. This is only going to make it worse but —
GERTZ: They did one thing well and that was during the Korean War. They came to the aid of the South Koreans.
RUSH: Well, great, how long ago was that?
GERTZ: ’53. Fifty years ago.
RUSH: Yes. (Laughs) That’s quite a record. Bill, before I let you go, just divorced from everything we talked about, do you have a feel for the debate tonight?
GERTZ: You know, I traveled with the vice president to China last April, and I think it’s going to be a donnybrook because both the vice presidential candidates are feisty, and I know that Cheney is going to come out swinging and, of course, Edwards is going to try his best to land some blows, and I think it should be an interesting debate.
RUSH: Yeah, well, I hope they follow through, the Edwards people, on their pledge to bring up Halliburton, Halliburton, Halliburton, Halliburton, Halliburton, because this oil-for-food program alone — and also to try to say, Tad “Perhaps a Tad Too” Devine was asked about it. “You going to bring up Halliburton?” He said, “Yeah, probably not as much as Cheney brings up 9/11,” as though they’re comparable!
GERTZ: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, it should be real interesting to see how Edwards is going to try to use that. You know, they’ve been trying to make Halliburton into some kind of evil empire when in fact, you know, for several administrations Halliburton has supported the military as part of the whole outsourcing and logistics support.
RUSH: Yeah. Clinton gave a bunch of no-bid deals, too, didn’t he?
RUSH: I mean, they’re the only ones that do what they do.
RUSH: You can’t farm it out to anybody in France. Well, France does have a Halliburton type, but it doesn’t compare. Bill, I’ve got to run. I appreciate your time. Best of luck to you.
GERTZ: Thank you very much, Rush.
RUSH: Bill Gertz, the author of “Treachery: How America’s Friends and Foes are Secretly Arming Our Enemies.” You need courage to read this book.