Cheney: No Truce With al Qaeda


Jan. 19, 2006 — -- Vice President Dick Cheney dismissed Osama bin Laden's offer of a truce today -- calling it "some kind of a ploy" -- and said it is not possible to sit down and negotiate a settlement with al Qaeda.

"I'm not sure what he's offering by way of a truce," Cheney said. "I don't think anybody would believe him. [I]t sounds to me like it's some kind of a ploy, but again, not having seen the entire text or validated the tape and the timing of it, I'm reluctant to draw any conclusions.

In an interview with Fox News' Neil Cavuto this afternoon, Cheney said the United States does not negotiate with terrorists and dismissed any offer of a truce with al Qaeda.

"Well, based on what we've seen him do, based on what we've seen the organization do, I don't think it's possible to negotiate any kind of a settlement with terrorists like this," he said. "This is not an organization that's ever going to sit down and sign a truce. I think you have to destroy them. It's the only way to deal with them."

The vice president said the bin Laden tape serves as a good reminder of the terrorist threat that is out there.

"The fact of the matter is we have not been attacked in more than four years," Cheney said. "That is not an accident. It's not just dumb luck."

In a separate television interview with CNBC's Larry Kudlow, he said: "It's been more than four years since we've been attacked. I think a lot of people have sort of let down their guard and relaxed."

Bin Laden warned that security measures in the United States would not prevent future attacks. "As for the delay of inflicting similar operations, in America has not been due to any impossibility of breaking through your security measures, for those operations are under way and you will see them in your midst as soon as they are done," bin Laden said on the tape.

Speaking to a conservative think tank in New York today, Cheney also launched a strong defense of the Bush administration's surveillance program of al Qaeda associates.

Cheney also had strong words for former Vice President Al Gore, who on Monday said President Bush was breaking the law "repeatedly and insistently" with his administration's tactics on terrorism and surveillance since the Sept. 11 attacks.

"[L]isten, I don't have a lot of confidence in Al Gore's judgments or commentary about these kinds of issues," Cheney said on Fox News. "I didn't see his particular statement. I've heard about it."

Cheney came back to the former vice president once again in the interview and said it was a good thing Gore didn't get elected in 2000.

"The fact is, knowing what I know and having been involved from the very beginning, I would want to be absolutely certain that the man who was making the key decisions to safeguard the nation would do exactly what George Bush did," Cheney said. "And frankly, I hear Al Gore make those kinds of comments, I'm just reminded of how fortunate we are that he didn't get elected in 2000."