2004 Transcript

Adel Al-Jubeir on CBS on U.S. hostage case

Crown Prince Abdullah's Foreign Policy Advisor Adel Al-Jubeir was interviewed on CBS’s ‘Early Show’ on June 21, concerning the investigation into the murder of U.S. hostage Paul Johnson.


HANNAH STORM:  The body of murdered American hostage Paul Johnson is still missing, despite a widespread search in Saudi Arabia's capital.  Meanwhile, al Qaeda now claims that members of the Saudi security forces helped in Johnson's kidnapping. Adel Al-Jubeir is foreign affairs adviser to Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah. Good morning.
MR. AL-JUBEIR:  Good morning, Hannah.
MS. STORM:  With Mr. Johnson's killers dead now, is there anyone with knowledge of where his body might be?  What's the latest in the search?
MR. AL-JUBEIR:  We're still searching.  We're still asking questions and we're still combing through neighborhoods and locations in Riyadh, and we hope that we will be able to find the body and restore it to his family soon.
MS. STORM:  Al Qaeda, the cell now claims its sympathizers in the Saudi security forces provided uniforms, they provided vehicles, they set up a fake checkpoint, all to help assist in the kidnapping of Mr. Johnson.  Can you comment on this?  Have militants infiltrated the Saudi security forces?
MR. AL-JUBEIR:  We don't believe so.  We believe that it's very easy to obtain military uniforms.  It's very easy to take cars and paint them to look like police cars.  I believe that al Qaeda is trying, through its web site, to project an image that they have support among the security services and among our public that they really do not have.
MS. STORM:  The new leader of al Qaeda is a former government employee in the ministry of the interior.  Can you confirm that?  Do you have any fears that there are people in the government who are supporting terrorist activities?
MR. AL-JUBEIR:  Well, Hannah, we want to be careful here and we also want to be fair.  Yes, he used to work in the Saudi prison system and he was fired 10 years ago.  But that doesn't mean that the systems have been infiltrated.  Remember that Mr. McVeigh used to be in the U.S. Army or the U.S. military.  That doesn't mean that every person who served in the military is a potential terrorist.
MS. STORM:  Well, the U.S. State Department is urging American workers to leave Saudi Arabia.  Are Americans unsafe there?  Are you unable to protect them?
MR. AL-JUBEIR:  We believe that our citizens and our residents, including Americans, are safe in Saudi Arabia.  We are going through a difficult time.  We will weather this storm.  We don't believe that it has reached a crisis level yet. We believe that the objective of the terrorists is to force people to leave Saudi Arabia, in particular westerners, and that if Americans were to leave, it would be serving the interests of the terrorists.  And I believe this is a point that Secretary of State Colin Powell made last week.
MS. STORM:  Could you also clarify the timing of this gun battle in Riyadh that killed the militants that were responsible for Mr. Johnson's death?  Was there something about the murder that led you to these men?  How did you find them almost immediately after he was beheaded and not before?
MR. AL-JUBEIR:  In most cases, you have situations where you have a lucky break.  The security forces had over 15,000 people combing through the city of Riyadh.  We have thousands of others throughout Saudi Arabia.  They systematically went from neighborhood to another. And things happen when you do this, when you are engaged in a manhunt like this.  You get lucky.  You get tips.  And they were able to locate the individuals at a gas station in the neighborhood of Al-Maalaz and they ended up engaging them in gun battles and killing four of them.
MS. STORM:  All right, Adel Al-Jubeir, thank you for joining us this morning.
MR. AL-JUBEIR:  You're welcome.