TODAY   |  May 02, 2011

Rumsfeld: Intelligence may have come from Gitmo

Donald Rumsfeld, the former Secretary of Defense under George W. Bush, says that information about Osama bin Laden’s whereabouts may have come to light in interviews with detainees at Guantanamo Bay.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> was the secretary of defense of the united states twice from 1975 to 1977 and then again from 2001 until 2006 . secretary rumsfeld , good to see you. good morning.

>> thank you very much.

>> thifirst of all, how did you receive the news?

>> well, my staff called and i turned on the television and was able to see the good news and was impressed by the spontaneous demonstrations we have seen across the united states . there is clearly an understanding that this is an important event.

>> let me ask you about where he was found. he was found not in a cave along the border between pakistan and afghanistan. he was found in a rather up scale neighborhood in a town about 35 miles from islamabad. does that surprise you?

>> obviously the conventional thinking was that he was in the federally administered tribal areas in pakistan , not in the urban areas near the capitol. this is a man who called the united states a paper tiger and assumed that the united states would do nothing, that we would continue to not really react. he's a person that urged muslims to kill americans. and so the fact that he's been killed and is no longer a factor is an important one. this is an intelligence problem from the beginning, of course. we have always had the ability to kill or capture. we needed the intelligence . we had been fortunate that the intelligence was forthcoming. it may well have been partly a result of some of the -- interviews that took place in guantanamo bay , cuba.

>> we're hearing a lot, secretary rumsfeld , this morning -- questions about how the pakistanisle could not have known he was here. local police officers who had to look at this compound and see it as being very different from the surrounding buildings. do you worry that while we are calling pakistan an ally in the war of terror that they did not do their best in turning over information on the location of bin laden ?

>> i think it's fair to ask those questions and pursue the questions. we need to know the answers to those types of things. that is possible. it is also possible that hindsight is 20/20.

>> do you think now that -- what type of a blow does this deal to al qaeda -- obviously he was the founder of al qaeda . he was the leader but we also know that al qaeda has become almost a catchphrase for many types of terror organizations now. will there be other fringe groups to simplile fill the void?

>> well, we have had instances where in a given region we have killed or captured the head of al qaeda and within a matter of hours someone took his place. i think we have to assume that this isn't the end of radical islamists trying to kill americans. there are others out there. he will be replaced. and the key is the fact that the bush administration and the obama administration have put pressure on the terrorists. that's what resulted in the intelligence and the information that led to the killing of osama bin laden and over time will lead to the killing of whoever succeeds him.

>> do you worry about an uptick in violence now in this country or against western interests around the world as a result of the killing of osama bin laden ?

>> i think we have to be alert to that possibility. there has been intelligence that suggested if osama bin laden were ever captured or killed that there would be a violent attack on america or europe in one way or another. i think it's important that our intelligence organization and military around the world are very attentive during this period.

>> and finally, let me ask you to end on a comment about the u.s. military , the special forces in particular. you have obviously intimate knowledge of their workings from your time as secretary of defense. what would you say about the conducting of this operation and the success of it?

>> it certainly is an intelligence success. we had to have that information. but the young men and women in our special forces and our navy seals are amazing. they do an absolutely superb job. and they are courageous, patriotic, dedicated and determined. this is an important victory for them. ic congratulate them to be sure.

>> former secretary of defense donald rumsfeld . mr. secretary, i thank you for spending time with us this morning.

>> thank you so much.