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CNN CROSSFIRE

Interviews With Senator James Inhofe, Khidhir Hamza, Author, "Saddam's Bombmaker"

Aired March 10, 2003 - 19:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
ANNOUNCER: CROSSFIRE.

On the left James Carville and Paul Begala.

On the right Robert Novak and Tucker Carlson.

In the CROSSFIRE tonight: High noon for high diplomacy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Members of the Security Council now face a great task.

ANNOUNCER: Do you round up votes at the U.N. the same way you do on Capitol Hill?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They are negotiating -- negotiations still going on

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And the administration probably never wanted this thing in the first place.

ANNOUNCER: What does Saddam Hussein have up his sleeve?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I fully recognize the tell taking to believe that inspections are working and that all that is needed is more time.

ANNOUNCER: Tonight, Saddam Hussein's former bomb maker explains why more time is the last thing Iraq needs.

Plus, does President Bush really need advice from the peanut gallery?

ANNOUNCER: Tonight on CROSSFIRE.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANNOUNCER: Live from the George Washington University, James Carville and Robert Novak.

JAMES CARVILLE, CO-HOST: Welcome to CROSSFIRE.

Tonight, should the U.S. President twist arms at the U.N. the same way he does for legislation he wants on Capitol Hill? We'll talk with the U.S. senator who had his arm twisted countless time. We'll also talk to a scientist who helped Saddam Hussein pursue nuclear weapons. And should former U.S. presidents jump into a nation's political debate. But first, our chance to debate about whether we want the CROSSFIRE "Political Alert."

ROBERT NOVAK, CO-HOST: President Jacques Chirac, today confirmed that France will veto the resolution authorizing war against Iraq. The U.S. has made clear it will launch the attack against Baghdad with or without approval by the U.N. Security Council. Still, Colin Powell is working hard to get the nine votes necessary for a Security Council majority. The secretary of state is pointing to disclosure over the weekend that Iraq had developed drone aircraft. The real motive to vote with the U.S. however is to prevent the United Nations from go the way of the League of Nations.

CARVILLE: There it is. We don't want the League of Nations, the United Nations, might as well have no nations. We'll do what we want to do.

OK. We'll take a break and we'll take a "News Alert."

Hans Blix in New York.

(INTERUPTED BY LIVE EVENT)

NOVAK: What Hans Blix is talking about is a reference in his document to illegal drone by the Iraqi regime, that he didn't mention in his oral presentation to the U.N. Security Council last week and the U.S. is criticizing him for it, and he was responding today -- James.

CARVILLE: OK, today's "Wall Street Journal" reports the U.S. government is prepared for a war of $9 million contract to help rebuild post war Iraq. Dick Cheney's old company Halliburton was among those asked to bid. The same newspaper the administration may be requesting up to 59 billion to fight such a war. Over the weekend the "Los Angeles Times" reported that all the new tax cuts and defense spending will not only ring up huge deficits, it will also cost the largest roll back in federal responsibility ever.

So, let's do some math that isn't fuzzy. War with Iraq, $59 billion so far. We rebuilding Iraq, $900 million at least. Privatizing Social Security One trillion. Tax cuts that have been passed 1.3 trillion. Tax cuts bush wants to pass, $700 billion. Turning record surpluses into deficits and leaving our children to clean up the mess, priceless.

NOVAK: James, you don't need a truth squad, you need a truth battalion. Because you're mixing one-year projections with ten-year projections on tax cuts, things that haven't even been passed. Your a just a typical political smear, taking all kinds of numbers and throwing them together.

CARVILLE: You know what, Bob, I believe -- I believe that what we're doing to young people is taxation without representation. We're passing tax increases on to young people in America because they can't vote. They give people like me a tax cut so young people out there have to pay for it in the future. We ought to pay our bills now.

NOVAK: All you got to do is cut down the size of government.

Congressman Dick Gephardt of Missouri seeking the Democratic nomination of president had -- has indicated a change of heart when it comes to applying the confederate battle flag in South Carolina. A state with an important early presidential primary. He had said the flag should not fly anytime, anywhere. That cheered the NAACP conducting a boycott of the state of South Carolina because of the flag. But, over the weekend, Gephardt said he can't stop people from flying the flag on private property. I guess that pleased the state's unreconstructed confederates.

CARVILLE: You know what, I think what Dick Gephardt did is a recognition in naming any public property. Obviously, I think an individual wants to fly a Confederate flag, the Nazi flag or any flag, the Iraqi flag, anything they want to. I would never tell someone what kind of flag they had to fly. But, what I would say is over a public building, you fly the flag of the United States of America. Not the Confederate states of America, not anybody else. I am for first amendment and the constitution of the United States of America, and I think Dick Gephardt is...

NOVAK: Was I incorrect that he said anytime, anywhere.

(CROSSTALK)

CARVILLE: No. I bet you what he was talking about over any public building. Sonny Perdue, the new Republican governor of Georgia asked former President Jimmy Carter to help Georgia find a compromise on the Confederate flag issue that deeply divided the state. Perdue's request is just the latest proof when that it comes to race, Republicans just don't get it.

Yesterday the "New York Times Magazine" reported more evidence reported in 1999 Chief Justice William Rehnquist lead a judicial conference in Singing "Dixie." Here's how that song begins, "I wish I was in the land of cotton, old times there not forgotten." Republicans wonder why they don't get more of the black vote. Well, when you got the chief justice of the Supreme Court singing "Dixie" in the former Republican leader of the United States Senate reminiscing fondly about -- I said I would never criticize him for that right now. Somebody put that in, and didn't realize it. And Republican governor happens to call a democratic ex-president to help deal with tough racial issue it' shouldn't be that hard to figure out. Maybe African- American voters hadn't forgotten the old times in the land of cotton neither.

NOVAK: Let me just give you a little piece of political (UNINTELLIGIBLE), which you're smart enough to know already, the Democrats are relying so heavily on the African-American vote in the south that they're losing elections. That's how they lost the governorship.

(CROSSTALK) NOVAK: Just a minute let me finish. That's how they lost the governorship of South Carolina, lost the governorship of Georgia. They're going to lose the...

(CROSSTALK)

NOVAK: Just a minute -- wait minute. Let me finish and then you can talk. That's how they -- that's how they'll lose a lot more races in the South because they cannot win those elections if they alienate the white vote.

CARVILLE: Let me and you the question. Do you think the Confederate flag should fly over the capital of South Carolina?

NOVAK: That's up to the -- wait a minute you asked me a question and you don't want the answer.

CARVILLE: Would you be for it? Would you before it if you lived in South Carolina?

NOVAK: Sure. Absolutely. Yes.

CARVILLE: All right.

NOVAK: Saturday night marked Washington's annual gridiron dinner where newspaper reporters roast politicians. President Bush spoke but on the verge of war, did not join the fun. The Republican speaker, senator and doctor, Bill Frist compared legislation to the human digestive process and he called Senator Pat Leahy a human kidney stone. The Democratic speaker, senator and presidential hopeful John Edwards made fun of himself after he was lampooned in a skit as a pretty senator. In another skit, a Dr. Frist gave me a heart, but I said I just don't know how to use it.

CARVILLE: They should have given you a Confederate flag so you can wave it. Corporate CBS is reeling under criticism that it's planned to make fun of the poor people by staging a real life "Beverly Hillbilly" show.

And now unable to produce an interesting debate between two of the most fascinating people in politics, former president Clinton and his former political opponent Bob Dole, today, "60 Minutes" executive prodcuer, Don Hewitt, tried to deflect attention from his abysmal showing by taking on you guessed it, "CROSSFIRE. He told "The Philadelphia Enquirer" -- quote -- "CNN's boxing match of James Carville and Novak is a crime against TV."

Well, Mr. Hewitt, if "60 minutes" wants to take on CROSSFIRE, I say bring it on. By the age of 81, you haven't figured out how to produce a television debate. We're happy to give you some tips. If, on the other hand you just want to insult CROSSFIRE, as we say in Platland, you can, (SPEAKING IN CREOLE). In coonass, that means kiss my ass.

NOVAK: You know, maybe even for us senior citizens -- maybe even for us senior citizens, James, there does come a time for retirement and Don Hewitt reached it. But I have to say, in all candor, for those of us watch the Clinton/Dole debates in 1996, to think that's entertainment is a lot of trouble.

CARVILLE: Let me tell you...

NOVAK: Wait a minute -- James -- James...

CARVILLE: Bob Dole is 79 and he's the second-youngest person on "60 Minutes."

(BELL RINGING)

NOVAK: We got to go back for another breaking news to the U.N.

(INTERRUPTED BY LIVE EVENT)

NOVAK: That was the British ambassador to the U.N., Jeremy Greenstock.

A few moments before he spoke, the chief U.N. weapons inspector, Hans Blix, was asked about the controversial drone plane that he did not brief the U.N. Security Council about but was mentioned in the report, and this is what Dr. Blix said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

QUESTION: The fact about the drone, I mean, you say it was test flown. To what range are you aware that it was test flown? Where is it and what on what date was it discovered?

HANS BLIX, CHIEF U.N. WEAPONS INSPECTOR: Well, I don't think I can give you all the details about the range, I think, was given by the -- we know from the Iraqi side, I think they stated about 55 kilometers. They had been flying it for 10 minutes, if I remember rightly. The rest will -- sir?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NOVAK: That was Dr. Blix just a few moments ago.

President Bush may be ready to fight a war with Iraq, but is Congress ready to pay for it as well as rebuilding Iraq? In a minute, we'll ask a member of the Senate Arms Services Committee.

Later, a man who spent decades trying to help Saddam Hussein get the bomb.

And it's been more than 20 years since the voters said they didn't want to hear any more from Jimmy Carter. Will he ever get the message?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARVILLE: It looks like the proposed U.N. Security Council resolution authorizing war in Iraq is in trouble. France, which has veto power, says it will vote no. So may Russia and China. In fact, French President Jacques Chirac, says the resolution may not even get a majority.

What are the consequences for the U.S. and the U.N. and the world peace if President Bush doesn't get his way?

First in the CROSSFIRE is Republican United States Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma. He's a member of the Senate Arms Services Committee.

Welcome to CROSSFIRE, Senator Inhofe.

NOVAK: Senator Inhofe, let's be realistic. We are going to war against Iraq, whether or not the United Nations passes a resolution or not. If we go to war without a U.N. resolution or with the resolution being defeated, this would be a blow to the United Nations. From your standpoint, sir, is that a good thing or a bad thing?

SEN. JAMES INHOFE (R), OKLAHOMA: Well, you know, I told a crowd last weekend, I'm not a United Nations senator, I'm a United States senator. I wonder what happened to sovereignty in this country. I think of our forefathers rolling over in their graves thinking before a president can defend America, he has to get permission from some multinational organization.

So I think the president will do what his constitutional of oath tells him to do, defend America with or without the United Nations or any other group.

NOVAK: I understand that, sir. But what I'm asking you is do you welcome a loss in prestige by the United Nations or do you think that is a bad thing to happen?

INHOFE: I don't think it's a loss in prestige. I think we know what we have to do. I mean, let's look at what happened in 1983 and 1986 and Panama and Grenada. 1986 when President Reagan had to send 29 F-111s over to Libya because of what Muammar Qadhafi did. We couldn't even get overflight permission from the French. And yet, he went in there with 29 F-111s, you haven't heard from them since.

I think we have a responsibility to the American people and it's easy for us to talk about what the United Nations or NATO or some others may say. But the president's going to do what he was elected to do.

CARVILLE: OK. Let me -- I want to continue on Bob's question here and I'll show you what Kofi Annan, secretary-general of the United Nations had to say today about this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KOFI ANNAN, U.N. SECRETARY-GENERAL: The members of the Security Council now face a grim choice. If they fail to agree on a common position and action is taken without the authority of the Security Council, the legitimacy and support for any such action will be seriously impaired.

(END VIDEO CLIP) CARVILLE: OK. Senator Imhofe (sic)...

INHOFE: Inhofe with an "n."

CARVILLE: Inhofe?

INHOFE: Yes.

CARVILLE: OK, Senator Inhofe, if in fact we go with the U.S. resolution, we don't get it, we go to war anyway, would you be in favor of the United States withdrawing from the United Nations?

INHOFE: No, I don't think so. I think that they know we're going to do what we have to do what we have to do. And, you know, a lot of these countries that are sitting around right now saying they may not be supporting us, it'll be almost like Afghanistan when the dancing in the streets start, these people are going to know that they're a lot safer today or after this than before.

CARVILLE: So, let me -- did somebody -- the administration -- why did they go if they're not going to pay attention? Why didn't we just attack them? Why did we go in the first place? Why are we subjecting ourselves to this kind of ridicule in the world? Why are we subjecting ourselves to having the secretary-general of the U.N. basically say we'd be an outlaw nation? Why did we -- if we didn't need the authority in first place, why didn't...

(CROSSTALK)

INHOFE: ... an argument could be made that it would have been better if we did it in October, done it in November, done it before now. But you got to keep in mind that this president inherited a military that Bill Clinton had decimated for eight years. We had to build up our smart bombs, our J-dams and it took some time. I think we're more prepared now than we were...

(CROSSTALK)

CARVILLE: ... I asked you why we went to the U.N. and you start attacking Bill Clinton. If we didn't need to go in the first place, why did we sit around and do it? If your position is the U.N. has no authority...

INHOFE: No, that's not my position. We needed time to rebuild what has -- our arsenal...

(CROSSTALK)

CARVILLE: Why do we have to go to the U.N.? If -- I mean, we didn't have to...

INHOFE: Well, now, if we hadn't gone to the U.N. you'd be crying about that, wouldn't you?

(CROSSTALK) NOVAK: Senator, the Pakistani ambassador to the United Nations, and I think Pakistani has been a good ally of the United States and the war against terrorism. He said on CNN this morning, he said, quote, "We would want to exhaust every possible means for a peaceful solution and I think that is the vocation of the Security Council," end quote.

Since war -- there'll be lives lost, damage done. Don't you think that there's no rush to do this? That every peaceful mean should be exhausted through the Security Council?

INHOFE: Bob, we've done this now for 12 years, almost 13 years. He has violated, what, some 16, 17 resolutions. Why do we have a U.N. passing resolutions if we're going to let someone violate the resolutions and do nothing?

Now, something's happening. This isn't all happening in a vacuum. All the time that he is hiding his stuff, and keep in mind we're not supposed to be out there trying to find it. We're supposed to be out there accepting what he is proving to us that he has done in the way of destroying weapons of mass destruction.

NOVAK: Senator, some people I talked to in the military...

(CROSSTALK)

INHOFE: So each month that goes by, we don't know what he has. You and I sat at this table just about two months ago and I told you that when the weapons inspectors were kicked out in 1998, we asked them a question, all the weapons inspectors. How long would it be -- how long could it be before Saddam Hussein has all three weapons of mass destruction and the missile means of delivering it intercontinentally? And they said six months. That's a scary thought. So time is not our friend, Bob.

NOVAK: Senator, I have talked to some people in the military who say they really have no evidence of any of these weapons exist.

(CROSSTALK)

NOVAK: There's weapons inspectors and weapons inspectors. Let me just ask you this question, Senator. What if we have this war, we bomb hell out of Baghdad, we occupy the troops and we don't find any weapons? There's people in the military who think that may result. That would be a humiliation, wouldn't it?

INHOFE: If there's anyone in the military who believes that, I need to talk to them. We've had hearing after hearing after hearing in the Senate Arms Services Committee. We know they have a problem.

Look, go back to March 19 of 2000 when George Tenet testified and then later on it was classified for a while. He says they do have and they're increasing their supply of weapons and of chemicals.

CARVILLE: Let me (UNINTELLIGIBLE). I go back and I keep coming back to this. Let me show you the effort of our diplomacy. We're losing a battle, as to who the good guy against Saddam Hussein. I want to show you some results of some polls taken around the world.

In Canada, 512 percent say Americans are behaving like bastards. I Ireland, 60 percent say they fear Bush over Saddam. In Britain, Bush and Saddam are equal threats to world peace.

Now, my point is this, if we -- if our diplomacy has been so inept and our ability to move world opinion has been so inept and you say we didn't need this U.N. in first place, why in the hell are we doing that and getting the living crap kicked out of us?

INHOFE: You know, James, I thank the Lord every day that we have a president who is not driven by polls, but is driven by defending America.

CARVILLE: I understand that's a speech. If you say -- if he's driven about defending America and this man is an immediate threat, I want to know why are we in the U.N.? I asked a question, not for a speech.

(CROSSTALK)

CARVILLE: I can't get an answer. All I get is Bill Clinton. Bill Clinton didn't take us to the U.N. George Bush took us to the U.N.

NOVAK: OK. Go ahead. You want to answer that, Senator?

INHOFE: I think there's a big difference between whether or not we should be in the U.N. and whether or not we should let the U.N. dictate our policy in terms of defending America. A big difference.

(CROSSTALK)

CARVILLE: If it doesn't matter what they say, why did we go?

NOVAK: In a minute, we'll ask Senator Inhofe why the Bush administration won't tell us how much war is going to cost.

And later, a man who used to be up close and personal with Saddam Hussein.

Speaking of getting personal, do former U.S. presidents owe the current occupant of the White House the courtesy of some quiet respect?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARVILLE: Welcome back. Believe it or not, one of the top officials at the Treasury Department today said that the U.S. can actually afford President Bush's new proposed tax cut and a war with Iraq. We're talking with Republican United States Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma. He's a member of the Armed Services Committee.

NOVAK: Senator, I'd like you to...

INHOFE: Let me ask James something here before you do. NOVAK: No, we ask the questions. I'm sorry, Senator.

CARVILLE: You want to switch seats, that's fine.

NOVAK: Senator, the prime minister of Canada, Jean Chretien, said on ABC's "This Week" yesterday something that was interesting. Let's listen to what the prime minister said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEAN CHRETIEN, CANADIAN PRIME MINISTER: It's something that I'm not very comfortable with. And I said that in Canada, and I said that to everybody, because where do you stop?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NOVAK: The question is, if you are going to use force to remove people you don't like from power, where do you stop?

INHOFE: Well if there were not a threat, Bob, that we're facing, that perhaps ever occurred to you that maybe the intelligence in the White House might be at a level above that, which some of the rest of us have access to. If the president knows for a fact there is a threat out there, that a major city in America is in imminent danger and does nothing, then where are you going to be after that's done?

I think you need to remember what Don Rumsfeld said, and he said it over and over again. He said the consequences of doing the wrong thing now are totally different than they were during the conventional war days. If you make a bad decision then, it might cost 200 or 300 lives. You make a bad decision now, with the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, the missile means to deliver them, you may be talking about a half a million or three or four million. You don't know what it is going to be. But the consequences are far, far, greater, and that's what he was elected to protect us against.

Stop and think about the skyline of New York City, where the two airplanes went in. As tragic as that was, if that had been the weapon of choice for a terrorist it would have been a nuclear warhead on a missile. And we wouldn't be talking about 3,000 people. We would be talking about 300,000 or maybe a million people.

CARVILLE: Senator, you haven't been able to answer any of my questions, so I'm going to give you a chance to ask me one and see if...

(CROSSTALK)

INHOFE: Well, you keep bringing up this thing on the tax cuts, and I just want to remind you that a great president of the United States, who happened to have been a Democrat, John Kennedy, said back in the '60s, when he was trying to raise more money for some of the social programs, he said we've gotta have more revenues and the best way to increase revenues is to decrease the marginal rates, reduce marginal rates. He did it and it worked. In the 1980s, there has never been a decade where we reduced taxes more, and yet the total amount of revenues from marginal tax rates in 1980 was $244 billion. In 1990 it was $466 billion. Now I'm just saying that there is something to stimulate in the economy. If we get the economy going back for each one percent increase in economic activity, it translates into $26 billion of additional revenue.

CARVILLE: Senator, you said you wanted to ask me a question. You gave a speech. If you want to ask me a question, that's fine. I gave you an opportunity to ask a question.

(APPLAUSE)

CARVILLE: Now I have a question for you. All these states are in ferocious financial trouble. How many of them are cutting taxes to raise revenue? I haven't...

(CROSSTALK)

INHOFE: Wait, wait, wait, stop. Our real good friend Bill Richardson in New Mexico...

CARVILLE: He's not raising revenue.

INHOFE: Oh, yes he is. He is reducing taxes -- listen to me now, James. I'm answering your question. He's reducing taxes to increase revenue.

NOVAK: Absolutely.

(CROSSTALK)

CARVILLE: You know what? In 1980, Ronald Reagan cut the top marginal rate. Do you know how long it took to make up the revenue? 1986.

INHOFE: That's wrong.

CARVILLE: No I'm not. I'm right.

(APPLAUSE)

CARVILLE: Total revenues went up because they raised Social Security taxes.

INHOFE: Total revenues went up because they reduced rates...

NOVAK: Could I get back to the war for a moment? Senator, everybody, I think, agrees there is no nuclear bomb or close to it in Iraq right now.

INHOFE: No, everyone doesn't agree with that.

NOVAK: You think there is a nuclear bomb? INHOFE: Don't you remember -- well, let's ask the weapons inspectors. The weapons inspectors came back, they had been spending months, years over there. They came back and said he could have it within six months. Now you know that, don't you?

NOVAK: All right. We're running out of time. The question I was going to ask you was, Iran is ahead of Iraq and North Korea is way ahead. North Korea is to the point of getting ready to produce one bomb a month. Why aren't we getting ready to go to war against North Korea?

INHOFE: And north Korea, if you remember, in August 31 of 1998, when our intelligence said that they weren't going to have a multiple stage rocket capable of reaching the United States of America, ended up firing one on August 31.

NOVAK: Why aren't we going after them?

INHOFE: And they -- and so we know what they have. We know the capability that they have. We have two things that are working here. No. 1: We have a mentality and a culture that is totally different in North Korea, as you know, than it is with Saddam Hussein. Retaliation means nothing to Saddam Hussein. It means a lot to Kim Jong Il.

NOVAK: I'm afraid we're out of time.

INHOFE: And secondly, we, right now, are not equipped to do this type of war on two different fronts.

NOVAK: Senator James Inhofe, thank you very much. We appreciate you being here.

CARVILLE: Please come back any time.

INHOFE: I will.

(APPLAUSE)

NOVAK: If the U.S. goes to war in Iraq, it may finally find out how many illegal weapons Saddam Hussein has up his sleeve. In a minute we'll talk to a man who says he tried to help Saddam acquire the ultimate weapon.

Later, a new round of sniping from a know it all Nobel laureate who you all know. You're watching CROSSFIRE on CNN, the most trusted name in news.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARVILLE: Welcome back to CROSSFIRE. We're coming to you live from the George Washington University in downtown Washington, D.C.

In a new written report, U.N. inspectors say Iraq will have an unarmed drone aircraft that could deliver chemical and biological agents. Inspectors also run across a videotape showing Iraq once tested cluster bombs that could disperse chemical weapons over a wide area. And if that isn't scary enough, our next guest's story might curl your hair.

How is he going to do that? Khidhir Hamza is the former head of Iraq's nuclear program. He's written about his life in his book called "Saddam's Bombmaker: The Terrifying Inside Story of the Iraqi Nuclear and Biological Weapons Agenda. Welcome to CROSSFIRE, sir.

(APPLAUSE)

NOVAK: Dr. Hamza, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Dr. ElBaradei, reported to the United Nations last Friday there was no weapons development going on. I can't find anybody who is serious who thinks so. It has been seven years since you were involved in these programs. You surely don't have any evidence that there is nuclear bomb development going on in Iraq today, do you?

KHIDIR HAMZA, AUTHOR, "SADDAM'S BOMBMAKER": Now, if there are none, I mean, Iraq -- of course, you were talking about Iran is far ahead, actually is not the case. Iraq is far ahead of Iran.

One, Iraq already produced uranium in the amount of 161 tons, which it delivered to the International Atomic Energy Agency long ago. Iran is now in the stage of developing its own uranium mines. So Iraq has the engineering and science infrastructure that could build seven sites for nuclear weapon work.

Iran (UNINTELLIGIBLE) trying to negotiate with the Russians and the Chinese to give them some equipment to enrich uranium with. Iraq worked on five technologies and mastered two of them for enriching uranium. Now the Germans sold us one and we developed one ourselves. So we are far ahead of Iran.

NOVAK: But, sir, with all due respect, you didn't respond to my question. Dr. ElBaradei is not a -- just let me ask it again since I don't think you listened the first time, because you surely didn't answer it. Dr. ElBaradei is not a charlatan. He says there is no development. And you have not been associated with this program for seven or eight years, isn't that correct?

HAMZA: That's correct. Then why isn't Iraq allowing the scientists to let them to be interviewed outside Iraq? Why chaperoning the scientists inside Iraq? Why all the listening devices and the taping of the scientists' interviews? Why not open the door and let the scientists go anywhere to be interviewed by inspectors and clean the whole slate for Iraq? Why all these games?

(APPLAUSE)

CARVILLE: OK. Let me just go -- when is the last time that you worked for Saddam Hussein, what year?

HAMZA: 1994.

CARVILLE: You were working for him in 1994, OK. The U.N. says -- what is wrong with the U.N.? Are they just lying or what?

HAMZA: A year and a half ago -- or (ph) three months ago -- I went to "The New York Times," that if inspectors will go now to Iraq, they will not find anything. Not just nuclear, chemical or biological also. Iraq is just too good at the game.

It took them four years to uncover Iraq's biological and nuclear weapon program because of the defection of Saddam's son-in-law, (UNINTELLIGIBLE), my former boss, the head of the Iraqi military industry (ph) to Jordan. Four years and they found nothing. And that's in the early stages, where Iraq really did not spread the program thin and wide all over the country. It was already -- the biological program was only three sites and they still had...

CARVILLE: Are there nuclear plants in Iraq making bombs right now?

HAMZA: Now, according to inspectors...

CARVILLE: I'm asking you.

HAMZA: I'm telling you. OK? Also corroborated by the inspectors, Iraq has a working nuclear weapon design right now.

(CROSSTALK)

CARVILLE: Again, let me -- you wrote a book saying you were Saddam's bombmaker. Does Saddam Hussein have a nuclear bomb now?

HAMZA: Minus one component.

CARVILLE: OK.

NOVAK: But that is not in the U.N. report.

HAMZA: No, no, sir. If you talk to U.N. inspectors, the U.N. report is two levels. The one inside report and the one given to the...

NOVAK: Oh, there's an inside story. OK. But...

HAMZA: Yes. But talk to inspectors. Talk to inspectors. They'll tell you, Iraq -- actually, it is admitted by U.S. intelligence. All intelligence services estimate Iraq has now working...

NOVAK: Just a minute, James. Dr. Hamza, you were quoted as saying something really startling, and that is that the U.S. service personnel who acquired the Gulf War syndrome did it as a result of Saddam Hussein using biological weapons -- chemical weapons, I'm sorry. Chemical weapons during the Gulf War.

HAMZA: Yes.

NOVAK: Now I would tell you this, sir. I have talked to people in the Pentagon at length. There is nobody who says he used chemical weapons against U.S. troops. Surely the United States trying to get support against this person would say so if they believe it. Doesn't that question your credibility when you make an unsubstantiated allegation that you really don't know anything about?

HAMZA: No, no, it is not that. Look at Iraq hospitals in the south. Now there are one chemical weapons depot in (UNINTELLIGIBLE) that was blown up. Iraq blew it up and claimed the U.S. blew it up. That created a lot of contaminated dust around in the area. That settled around U.S. and Iraqi troops.

The southern part of Iraq now is -- hospitals are full of people with all kinds of strange diseases, including cancer, skin diseases, stomach diseases, all kinds of diseases. This is chronicled by all doctors who visit Iraq.

NOVAK: This allegation has never been made by the United States.

HAMZA: The U.S. government has a story. I have another. And many people have another. And there are reasons for this.

CARVILLE: I want to come back to this, because I think everybody watching this show here -- you're a man that lived in Iraq, you worked on this program. And I really want to know this. Does he have an A- bomb? I mean that's what people want to know.

Does this guy have a nuclear weapon? Does he or doesn't he?

HAMZA: If he has it, he would be in the same category as North Korea right now. And...

CARVILLE: Again, I just -- I don't want a category he is in. Does he have one or he doesn't have one?

HAMZA: Not right now, no.

CARVILLE: OK. That's all I want to know. It's as simple as that. He has the bomb or he doesn't have the bomb.

HAMZA: In two years he'll have one. Do you want to wait, though?

CARVILLE: I didn't say I wanted to wait. I just wanted to know if he had it.

HAMZA: Do you want to wait until he has it? That's what I'm asking.

(APPLAUSE)

NOVAK: Are you -- do you feel, yourself, you're in danger? Why are you still alive if you know this much about the weapons program, and are such a danger to Saddam Hussein? Why hasn't he tried to get you?

HAMZA: The value of getting rid of me is long gone. I already talked. You see?

NOVAK: And you don't really know what's going on now, do you? HAMZA: No. And aside from that, we are getting some defectors information. But, again, once you talk, I mean what is the point in getting rid of him? Also, President Bush would love to have Saddam now do a hit on U.S. soils. That's all he needs now to go in. I mean this is...

CARVILLE: Do you think the president actually would like to have an attack on U.S. soil so he could go to war? I'll attack this president if anything. I actually will not say that he wants a hit on United States soil.

HAMZA: Terrorism on your soil?

CARVILLE: I do not think this president wants terrorism on U.S. soil.

HAMZA: Exactly.

CARVILLE: So I don't think he's looking for a hit.

HAMZA: He's not, I said.

NOVAK: I just want to get one thing straight, Dr. Hamza. Your position is -- your analysis is so far different than Dr. ElBaradei. Do you think that he is...

HAMZA: So did he twice before 1990 and 1994.

NOVAK: Do you think that he's incompetent? That he's in the grass with Iraqis? Is that what you're saying?

HAMZA: The International Atomic Energy failed twice in the past to divulge the extent of the Iraqi nuclear weapons program. This is the third time they failed. And this is a known failure in that kind of agency.

NOVAK: OK. Dr. Hamza, thank you very much. We appreciate you being here.

(APPLAUSE)

NOVAK: Who needs the French? We've got the Canadians behind us. A little bit later in our Fireback, a viewer explains just how much that will -- how much help that will mean. But next, our Quote of the Day comes from a sanctimonious little lecture that we didn't request.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

NOVAK: There was a time when ex presidents acted like elder statesmen, rarely seen, almost never heard. But on "60 Minutes" this past weekend, there was Bill Clinton, basking in the spotlight of big money and criticizing President Bush's proposed tax cut. Even that wasn't as grading as yesterday's sanctimonious op-ed column in "The New York Times" by Sunday school teacher and ex-President Jimmy Carter. "As a Christian and as a president who was severely provoked by international crises, I became thoroughly familiar with the principles of a just war, and it is clear that a substantial unilateral attack on Iraq does not meet these standards."

(APPLAUSE)

CARVILLE: I mean, it is odd. You guys are criticizing him for offering an opinion, and then you've got your Republican governor in Georgia asking him to come down there and get involved. I mean so what do you want the man to do?

The truth of the matter is he's involved in international peace issues. He won a Nobel prize. He is by ever account the most devout president we ever had. And you know what? The man is an American, he's a graduate of the United States Naval Academy. And I'm going to tell you he's entitled to his opinion.

NOVAK: And I'll tell you why...

(APPLAUSE)

CARVILLE: And when this patriot police...

NOVAK: What I really believe is something you wouldn't understand, James. Is that former presidents do not attack their successors.

CARVILLE: Well, again, he is entitled to his opinion. I'm not -- you know I don't have to agree with it.

NOVAK: You said that. Next on Fireback, another happy recruit for the Republican Party thanks to James Carville.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARVILLE: Welcome back to CROSSFIRE. Well tonight we've gone through everything from Saddam Hussein to Bill Clinton to George W. Bush to Saddam's bomb maker to Bob Dole to "60 Minutes" to god knows what now. Now we go to you and your part, Fireback.

All right. "If political leaders in the U.S. wish to sell the benefits of democracy and capitalism, the message would be better accepted if it isn't tainted by military force, fiscal blackmail and questionable evidence of wrongdoing." -- Steve Bareham, Nelson, British Columbia, Canada.

NOVAK: Well, as an old non-interventionist -- and I come from a Midwestern tradition -- I don't believe it is the purpose of the United States to sell democracy all over the world. Some people just aren't suited for democracy. You don't believe that, though, do you, James?

CARVILLE: Yes, I would like to think that by now that most people would be. And I think the only way that you can get started is to get started and it might take people a long time.

(CROSSTALK)

CARVILLE: But, Bob, let's face it. You don't think that the United States government ought to be involved in providing health care for people or school vouchers or democracy or anything else, do you?

NOVAK: No, I don't. Elaine McKallips of San Luis Obispo, California said, "Mr. Carville, I want you to know that my experience in meeting you turned me into a Republican."

Elaine, millions and millions of Americans who listen to Carville had the same experience -- just a minute -- had the same experience, and that's why they voted that way last November.

CARVILLE: You know what really gratifies me? That here I am, the son of a rural Louisiana postmaster and encyclopedia salesperson from the humble village of Carville, Louisiana, and that I can grow up to actually shape people's political views does my heart more good. And if this poor woman is so vapid and vacuous in her political ideology that she would change parties based on meeting me, then go ahead.

(APPLAUSE)

NOVAK: Go ahead.

CARVILLE: "I've been against this war from the beginning. But since I've been out of work over a year now, I'm almost getting to the point where I'd personally drive a tank into downtown Baghdad just to get this war over and get myself and the president back to work." -- Raymond Costello, Arlington Heights, Illinois.

NOVAK: Well, Raymond, we made arrange that for you.

And Linda from Dallas, Texas, says, "It was announced today that Canada is willing to support the United States in this war against terrorism. They've agreed to send two of their largest battleships, 6,000 of their finest troops, and 60 fighter jets. However, after the exchange rate, it comes out to a canoe, to mounties and a flying squirrel."

It takes a Texan to understand Canada. Question from the audience.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi. I'm Brian Kampner (ph) from Dupo, Illinois. And I was just wondering, with the current deficits -- in the first Gulf War, they -- our allies picked up a large portion of the cost. And with the current deficit -- and just how are we going to end up paying for this war, and then how are we going to pay for the extended stay that we'll have in Iraq after the war?

NOVAK: Where are you from, Dupo?

KAMPNER: Dupo, Illinois.

NOVAK: Where the hell is that?

KAMPNER: It's about 10 miles southeast of St. Louis.

NOVAK: Oh, I see. OK. Well, the way we'll pay for it is we'll borrow it, to give you the answer. CARVILLE: And there's just one thing to remember. In the '91 war, 85 percent of the costs of that war were picked up by nations other than the United States.

NOVAK: That's what he said.

CARVILLE: And in this war, probably less than one percent will be picked up. So your children are going to pay for it.

NOVAK: Next question.

LILY CANON: I'm Lily Canon (ph) from Clarksdale, Mississippi. And I want to know, why do you think that this administration does not listen to the American people pertaining to the war with Iraq?

(APPLAUSE)

NOVAK: Isn't Charlie Connerly (ph) from Clarksdale?

(CROSSTALK)

NOVAK: Isn't Charlie Connerly (ph) from Clarksdale?

CANON: Yes.

NOVAK: He was a great quarterback for the New York Giants, yes. The answer is, ma'am, that if you read the polls, and we have to go by that, a majority of the American people favor this war.

CARVILLE: All right. Only Bob and I are the only people to remember Charlie Connerly (ph).

From the left, I'm James Carville. Goodnight for CROSSFIRE.

NOVAK: From the right, I'm Robert Novak. Join us again next time for another edition of CROSSFIRE.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com



Author, "Saddam's Bombmaker">


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