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State Dept. Decries Robertson Nuke Quote

October 12, 2003 GMT

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (AP) _ The U.S. State Department has condemned an on-air suggestion by religious broadcaster Pat Robertson that the agency ought to be blown up with a nuclear device.

Robertson, who heads the Virginia Beach-based Christian Broadcasting Network, made the remark while interviewing author Joel Mowbray on ``The 700 Club″ television program last week. Mowbray wrote a book called ``Dangerous Diplomacy: How the State Department Endangers America’s Security.″

``I read your book. When you get through, you say, ‘If I could just get a nuclear device inside Foggy Bottom, I think that’s the answer.’ I mean, you get through this, and you say, ’We’ve got to blow that thing up,‴ Robertson said during the interview.

The State Department’s headquarters are located in Foggy Bottom, a Washington neighborhood.

Richard Boucher, the agency’s top spokesman, called the remark Thursday ``despicable.″

``I lack sufficient capabilities to express my disdain,″ Boucher said to reporters during a press briefing.

Robertson was out of town and could not be reached for comment, his spokeswoman Angell Watts said Friday.

In National Review magazine, Mowbray has written articles criticizing the way visas were issued in Saudi Arabia. Mowbray was questioned in 2002 by the State Department after disclosing at a press briefing that he had obtained a classified document about visa issues.

Robertson also advocated bombing the State Department during a June interview with Mowbray.

``Well, it looks like Congress had better do something, and maybe we need a very small nuke thrown off on Foggy Bottom to shake things up,″ Robertson said.

The Christian evangelist regularly condemns the State Department as a rogue element he says consistently undermines U.S. policies and the principles of freedom.

``It’s like an entrenched bureaucracy that has their own agenda, and it doesn’t comport with the will of the American people. How do we get rid of them?″ he said during the June interview.

In a July broadcast of ``The 700 Club,″ Robertson accused the State Department of supporting Muslim rebels who opposed the Liberian government headed by Charles Taylor.

Robertson, a Bush supporter who has financial interests in Liberia, said he believed the State Department has ``mismanaged the situation in nation after nation after nation″ in Africa.

``So we’re undermining a Christian, Baptist president to bring in Muslim rebels to take over the country,″ he said during the July broadcast.