Transcript of Cheney Interview

SAWYER You talked about intelligence being more refined now. What kinds of things have we learned that are new to us?

CHENEY I think we can think about intelligence in this conflict that's different. I think we've done a better job of tying together all of our platforms of the people on the ground. We clearly were very good in the Gulf War with certain precision-guided munitions, but now we have a much higher percentage of our weapons are precision-guided munitions. And to use those effectively, you have to have intelligence on the targets as to actually where they're located. We've done a much better job in terms of being able to fly the Predator, for example. This whole area, unmanned area of vehicles, that we can launch, keep up for hours, and have the capacity to intercept various kinds of signals as well as getting visual images of what's going on the ground and carry that by satellite back to remote locations clear outside the theater, and let us bring to bear assets, call in airstrikes. That kind of capability is much more impressive than ever before. This really goes to the area of tactical intelligence, battlefield intelligence, and let's us apply it effectively.

SAWYER And when you say we've gotten some of his key operatives, there was one report that we had an intelligence chief and a communications chief captured. True, not true?

CHENEY I haven't been able to confirm that yet. We do in fact have reporting of that, but I haven't been able to confirm it yet.

SAWYER And Sheik Rahman, known as the blind sheik, the man who is imprisoned here in this country and who is allegedly responsible for bombing attempts here, we have his son?

CHENEY His son. And again —


CHENEY — that report comes from the Northern Alliance. I think it's a credible report, but we don't have final absolute confirmation on our side yet, but I think it's probably fairly credible.

SAWYER Well, what will be done with him? Will we ask that he be —

CHENEY Well, right now he's being held by the Northern Alliance. We have been involved. We've got people on the ground who are helping interrogate and screen these folks that are being held. We are obviously interested in people that are part of the al Qaeda network, people who may have knowledge of where bin Laden is, people who may in fact have knowledge of future terrorist attacks planned against the United States, but there are a lot of reasons why we want to know what they know. And so we've got a process under way and we've got teams actively involved in trying to find out as much as we can from the prisoners that are being captured, as well as, for example, going into these sites where we've found papers, laboratories, evidence of the kinds of activities that they've been engaged in. All of that intelligence is very valuable to us.

SAWYER But will you be pushing to bring him here?

CHENEY I'm not that concerned about bringing him here. I would like to know, obviously I think all of us would involved in the effort, like to know what he knows about the al Qaeda operation and especially, of course, we're interested in people who have knowledge about pending operations or plans for future operations. That's very important to us.

SAWYER Might he be the first of the military tribunals?

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