Author Bill Gertz Discusses ‘Treachery: How America’s Friends and Foes Are Secretly Arming Our Enemies’
Bill Gertz, the national security reporter for The Washington Times, recently appeared on “Your Turn — Meeting Nonsense with Common Sense,” hosted by the Center for Individual Freedom’s Corporate Counsel Renee Giachino. In the interview, Gertz discussed the themes of his latest bestselling book, Treachery: How America’s Friends and Foes Are Secretly Arming Our Enemies.
What follows are excerpts from the interview that aired on WEBY 1330 AM Northwest Florida’s Talk Radio.
GIACHINO: Now let’s talk about the greatest threat to our national security. What do you think it is? Is it this terrorist group or that terrorist group? Well, I think you may be surprised to learn that the greatest threat to our national security is not what you think it is.
Joining me now is author Bill Gertz who wrote the book Treachery: How America’s Friends and Foes Are Secretly Arming Our Enemies. In this book, he exposes brand new information about how
Bill Gertz is an acclaimed national security reporter for The Washington Times.
Mr. Gertz thank you for joining us.
GERTZ: Hello, good to be with you.
GIACHINO: In your book, Treachery — you recently re-released it in paperback and it includes brand new information about how
GERTZ: Well, I am not too worried about that. My view of that is to tell the truth and let the chips fall where they may. I wrote the book because I felt it was important to highlight this issue of arms proliferation and the growing danger that terrorists are eventually going to get a hold of chemical, nuclear and biological weapons. My hope is that by presenting this stark picture and exposé I can get some public debate going on the issue and try to get people focused on it because I think right now we are focused on the War on Terror and this is the next level of the War on Terrorism — which is going to be dealing with this issue of deadly arms in the hands of rogue states and terrorists.
GIACHINO: In the book you write that, “While many Americans have condemned nations like
GERTZ: Unless you read the whole book — in which case you can figure that out — I think that since the first edition came out there has been ample evidence to prove the issue of treachery on the part of these nations. For example, the Oil-for-Food scandal has mushroomed into the revelations that I have in the book — more details have come up and more corruption has been found. Take
GIACHINO: In the book, Treachery, you reveal that intelligence shows that Iraq did have deadly weapons but paid Russian special forces to move them to Syria, Lebanon and probably Iran in the weeks before Operation Iraqi Freedom — probably while we were at the U.N. trying to get this all figured out.
GERTZ: This was information that was supplied to me by a Pentagon official by the name of Jack Shaw who spoke to senior European intelligence officials who had the documents on this showing that there was a systematic program on the part of Russian military intelligence and Russian special forces to first destroy documents and hide evidence of Russian WMD and advanced weapons sales to Iraq and then to actually organize the transfer and movement of that material out of the country in truck convoys.
After this story first broke, the Pentagon released satellite photos of the truck convoys at these buildings. The bottom line is that nobody knows what was in these trucks, and nobody knows where in
GIACHINO: I know that when I read the book Treachery my eyes kept opening wider and wider because you disclosed a lot of information in this book. Why don’t we read about this in our daily papers or hear about it on the nightly news?
GERTZ: You know, it’s becoming quite obvious now that there are two general news media in the
The old media is not interested in highlighting these issues, and it has taken people on the Internet and talk radio to highlight the problem. That is why I am talking with you now — to hopefully get more debate going on these issues so that people will know what is going on.
GIACHINO: In the book you have a chapter devoted to the U.N.’s failures. Frankly, you could probably write an entire book about that subject — but that’s the subject of another interview. You write about how Roland missiles had been sold to
GERTZ: No. I have a whole chapter on the U.N., and it is titled “Failure of an International Organization.” The U.N. is just not able to do that kind of enforcement. In fact, they cannot even do the most basic element of their job which would be to shine the light of day on a lot of these problems and arms sales. It is a huge problem. My view is that we have got to tell the truth about what is going on. Otherwise, if we don’t, we won’t get our political leaders to hold these nations and this organization accountable for its failure to do just that.
GIACHINO: In the chapter about
GERTZ: I don’t think they are not, but it is clear that they were one of the largest arms sellers to Saddam Hussein’s
GIACHINO: I think your book is extremely comprehensive and for years our eyes have been on the conflicts in the Middle East, and rightly so. But at what expense? When I read the chapter you have in here about
GERTZ: Well, it is a very difficult problem but the answer is that, no, I don’t think that we are doing the right thing. The whole topic of discussion has been, look, we did bilateral negotiations in the 90s and we ended up with an agreement which the North Koreans violated. We failed to understand one of the fundamental lessons with negotiating with communist regimes which we should have learned during the Cold War — which is that communist regimes do not negotiate sincerely, they negotiate with the sole purpose of gaining their own selfish advantage of it. That is what happened in the case of
The solution in the case of
That’s why I think that we played out the negotiations part of this and it is time to start to look at the alternatives. I am not advocating military action because I do not think there is a good military solution. My view is that we need to rebuild our covert intelligence capabilities and work to undermine that regime from within as the President said in his State of the Union speech and Inaugural Speech — we are out to help the oppressed people of the world and I think that is a huge step in the right direction.
GIACHINO: I encourage the listeners out there who did not have any opportunity to pick up the book before the interview to go out and get the book Treachery: How America’s Friends and Foes are Secretly Arming Our Enemies. It is written by Bill Gertz and is published by Three Rivers Press. In the book, as he just briefly outlined, you can learn more about the plan of attack that he sets forth in this book.
We have a caller on hold, but before we get to that call I do want to ask you one more quick question because I know that our time is almost up. In the back of the book you include in the appendix copies of documents — most of which are classified
GERTZ: Well, it is a tough call. As a newspaper reporter, I just want the facts to come out. That said, I am also concerned that by doing that I could undermine national security, so I voluntarily submitted these documents — not the book, but the documents — and followed the recommendations of the intelligence community to withhold some of the material.
GIACHINO: Do you mind if we take a call?
GIACHINO: Go ahead caller, it’s your turn.
CALLER: Yes, I would like his take on why he thinks Saddam would move weapons instead of using them?
GERTZ: That’s a good question. Basically Saddam’s strategy was to build his missile delivery capabilities. He basically put his nuclear, chemical and biological programs on hold because he understood that he was not going to be able to do that in the current environment. And that environment included surveillance and U.N. inspection teams — at least until 1998 — and
And then he was using the Oil-for-Food program to gain millions of dollars — you know upwards of $10 billion — and he was using that to pay off Western governments to try to lift sanctions. And once the sanctions were lifted, his plan was then to resume the WMD programs and match those weapons with his missiles.
CALLER: So why did he not use those weapons if he had them?
GERTZ: They were at an early stage where he had not put them together. They were on hold and he did not have stockpiles.
CALLER: If you are going to be attacked, you are going to use the weapons you have. It makes no sense not to use the weapons that you have.
GIACHINO: Although, if I can interrupt, I think that if you read the book, Mr. Gertz makes an excellent case in the book that Saddam really did not think that we would be able to overtake Baghdad, and I think he had reassurance from
GERTZ: Yes, I was going to make that point. We learned from the Iraqi Prime Minister under Saddam that one of the reasons Saddam was not prepared was that he was being told by French government representatives and Russian government officials that the
GIACHINO: We do need to take a break and I thank the caller for her call. I do encourage the listeners to buy the book — it is now available in hard and soft copy. The book is Treachery: How America’s Friends and Foes Are Secretly Arming Our Enemies” by Bill Gertz.
Bill, I have lots of other questions for you and I would like to have you back on the program. I encourage the listeners to e-mail me with their questions and when we get the questions together I hope that you will come on the program again.
GIACHINO: We have been talking with Bill Gertz, the author of an updated re-released book called Treachery: How America’s Friends and Foes Are Secretly Arming Our Enemies.
Thank you again for joining us this afternoon Mr. Gertz.
GERTZ: Thank you, Renee.July 7, 2005