September 11 Digital Archive: XML Document
Date: Friday, January 11, 2002 2:05 PM
Subject: Did you all see this?
Forwarded to me as I forward it to you.
CNN: AMERICAN MORNING WITH PAULA ZAHN
Explosive New Book Published in France Alleges that U.S. Was in
Negotiations to Do a Deal with Taliban
Aired January 8, 2002 - 07:34 ET
PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: Time to check in with ambassador-in- residence,
Richard Butler, this morning. An explosive new book published in France
alleges that the United States was in negotiations
to do a deal with the Taliban for an oil pipeline in Afghanistan.
Joining us right now is Richard Butler to shed some light on this new
book. He is the former chief U.N. weapons inspector. He is now on the
Council on Foreign Relations and our own ambassador-in-residence -- good
RICHARD BUTLER, FMR. U.N. WEAPONS INSPECTOR: Good morning, Paula.
ZAHN: Boy, if any of these charges are true...
ZAHN: ... this...
ZAHN: ... is really big news.
BUTLER: I agree.
ZAHN: Start off with what your understanding is of what is in this book
-- the most explosive charge.
BUTLER: The most explosive charge, Paula, is that the Bush administration --
the present one -- just shortly after assuming office, slowed down FBI
investigations of al Qaeda and terrorism in Afghanistan in order to do a
deal with the Taliban on oil -- an oil pipeline across Afghanistan.
ZAHN: And this book points out that the FBI's deputy director, John
O'Neill, actually resigned because he felt the U.S. administration was
BUTLER: A proper...
ZAHN: ... the prosecution of terrorism.
BUTLER: Yes, yes, a proper intelligence investigation of terrorism. Now,
you said if, and I affirmed that in responding to you. We have to be
careful here. These are allegations. They're worth airing and talking
about, because of their gravity. We don't know if they are correct. But I
believe they should be investigated, because Central Asian oil, as we were
discussing yesterday, is potentially so important. And all prior attempts to
have a pipeline had to be done through Russia. It had to be negotiated with
Now, if there is to be a pipeline through Afghanistan, obviating the need to
deal with Russia, it would also cost less than half of what a pipeline
through Russia would cost. So financially and politically, there's a big
prize to be had. A pipeline through Afghanistan down to the Pakistan coast
would bring out that Central Asian oil easier and more cheaply.
ZAHN: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) as you spoke about this yesterday, we almost
immediately got a call from "The New York Times."
ZAHN: They want you to write an op-ed piece on this over the weekend.
BUTLER: Right, and which I will do.
ZAHN: But let's come back to this whole issue of what John O'Neill, this
ZAHN: ... apparently told the authors of this book. He is alleging that --
what -- the U.S. government was trying to protect U.S. oil interests? And at
the same time, shut off the investigation of terrorism to allow for that to
BUTLER: That's the allegation, that instead of prosecuting properly an
investigation of terrorism, which has its home in Afghanistan as we now
know, or one of its main homes, that was shut down or slowed down in order
to pursue oil interests with the Taliban. The people who we have now bombed
out of existence, and this not many months ago. The book says that the
negotiators said to the Taliban, you have a choice. You have a carpet of
gold, meaning an oil deal, or a carpet of bombs. That's what the book
ZAHN: Well, I know you're going to be doing your own independent homework on
ZAHN: ... to see if you can confirm any of this. Let's move on to the
whole issue of Iraq. The deputy defense secretary, Paul Wolfowitz, at one
time was considered one of those voices within the administration...
ZAHN: ... that was pushing for moving beyond Afghanistan. He seemed to
back off a little from that yesterday.
ZAHN: What do you read through the tea leaves here?
BUTLER: A very interesting report that the administration will focus on
the Philippines, Yemen, Somalia as places where there are al Qaeda cells.
But the word Iraq wasn't used by the man who was the chief hawk -- used as
a, you know, as a future target. So what I interpret from that is this: That
very likely our allies have been saying to us, this is too hard. This is
really serious. Be careful. Saddam is essentially contained at the moment.
Don't start, you know, a bigger problem either in the Arab world or in the
coalition by going after him. And Wolfowitz, it seems, has probably accepted
ZAHN: A quick thought on the Israelis intercepting this latest armed
shipment? What that means? You've got to do it in about 15 seconds.
BUTLER: It's extraordinarily serious, because it seems to have been tied
to Yasser Arafat himself. It needs to be further investigated, but you know,
Paula, the potentiality that this could once again prove an impediment to
resume peace negotiations is really quite serious.
ZAHN: Thank you as usual for covering so much territory. Richard Butler,
see you same time, same place tomorrow morning.
ZAHN: We appreciate your insights.
"Who are we calling terrorists here? Outsiders can destroy airplanes and
buildings, but it is only we, the people, who have the power to demolish our
Email Date:Fri, 11 Jan 2002 14:27:42 EST
Email Subject:Fwd: Did you all see this?