What you really have to have is a coordinating mechanism that ultimately brings these pirates to court where they can be held accountable.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, but meanwhile, the owners of these ships have -- seem to be taking completely different approach over the last year, paying more than $40 million in ransom. They seem to have accepted this as a cost of doing business and they'd rather pay it than confront the pirates.
ALLEN: That's the reason I think we need to create a viable, effective, legal mechanism to hold these people accountable and so that doesn't have to be their options.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And is -- the standard line coming out of the United States government right now is that these pirates are criminals, pure and simple. But is there any concern that they are creating ties with terrorist groups or groups tied to al Qaeda?
ALLEN: Well, I wouldn't want to speculate on their ties. But these are criminal acts. These are acts -- crimes against the Law of the Sea Treaty, and they're also crimes against the 1988 convention in Rome, Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against the Safety of Maritime Navigation.
There is ample legal requirements and jurisdiction to be able to take action against these pirates. And that's what we should be doing.
STEPHANOPOULOS: OK. Admiral, thank you very much for your time this morning.
ALLEN: Thank you. thanks