VICE PRES. CHENEY: The president’s going to address the General Assembly of the United Nations this week. He will lay out his concerns at that point. We have begun to share, as much as we can, with committees of Congress. A lot of this, I hope, eventually will be in the public arena so that we’ll be able to discuss it not only with our allies overseas, but also with the American people here at home. They have a right to know and understand what it is that’s happened here.
It’s also important not to focus just on the nuclear threat. I mean, that sort of grabs everybody’s attention, and that’s what we’re used to dealing with. But come back to 9/11 again, and one of the real concerns about Saddam Hussein, as well, is his biological weapons capability; the fact that he may, at some point, try to use smallpox, anthrax, plague, some other kind of biological agent against other nations, possibly including even the United States. So this is not just a one-dimensional threat. This just isn’t a guy who’s now back trying once again to build nuclear weapons. It’s the fact that we’ve also seen him in these other areas, in chemicals, but also especially in biological weapons, increase his capacity to produce and deliver these weapons upon his enemies.
MR. RUSSERT: But if he ever did that, would we not wipe him off the face of the Earth?
VICE PRES. CHENEY: Who did the anthrax attack last fall, Tim? We don’t know.
MR. RUSSERT: Could it have been Saddam?
VICE PRES. CHENEY: I don’t know. I don’t know who did it. I’m not here today to speculate on or to suggest that he did. My point is that it’s the nature of terrorist attacks of these unconventional warfare methods, that it’s very hard sometimes to identify who’s responsible. Who’s the source? We were able to come fairly quickly to the conclusion after 9/11 that Osama bin Laden was, in fact, the individual behind the 9/11 attacks. But, like I say, I point out the anthrax example just to remind everybody that it is very hard sometimes, especially when we’re dealing with something like a biological weapon that could conceivably be misconstrued, at least for some period, as a naturally occurring event, that we may not know who launches the next attack. And that’s what makes it doubly difficult. And that’s why it’s so important for us when we do identify the kind of threat that we see emerging now in Iraq, when we do see the capabilities of that regime and the way Saddam Hussein has operated over the years that we have to give serious consideration to how we’re going to address it before he can launch an attack, not wait until after he’s launched an attack.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Dick Cheney on Meet the Press, 8 September 2002: