Skip to main content
CNN.com /TRANSCRIPTS

CNN TV
EDITIONS





CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

America's New War: How Far Should Government Go to Keep People Safe?; The Military's Elite; How Feasible are Future Attacks?

Aired September 29, 2001 - 12:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JONATHAN KARL, HOST: President Bush encourages the nation to celebrate its freedom without fear. But how far should the government go to keep people safe? Two top senators discuss the shifting balance between freedom and security: Nevada Democrat Harry Reid and Pennsylvania Republican Arlen Specter.

And U.S. forces are already inside the borders of Afghanistan. We'll get a view of the secret world of the military's elite forces from two who have served.

Then, as New York and Washington pick up the pieces, the country prepares for the possibility of future attacks. We'll discuss airline security and biological terrorism. How real is the threat?

Plus, we want your questions, phone calls and e-mails, on your SATURDAY EDITION.

Hello, and welcome to SATURDAY EDITION. I'm Jonathan Karl. For the next two hours we'll explore the central issues surrounding America's new war. We'd also like to hear from you, so throughout the show we'll be taking your phone calls. Or you can also e-mail us with your questions and comments at SATURDAY.EDITION@CNN.com.

We'll get to our guests shortly, but first, the latest developments in America's new war.

President Bush has told his weekly radio audience the patience and resolve of the American people will be tested by the war against terrorism. The president said, quote, "We did not seek this conflict, but we'll win it."

U.S. and European authorities are reported closing in on a small group of men in England, Germany and the United Arab Emirates. They believe the suicide hijackings of September 11 were conceived and planned in those countries.

And the State Department has issued a worldwide caution for Americans overseas. The department cites threatening rhetoric from what it calls extremist groups.

And 5,960 people are now listed as missing and presumed dead in the ruins of the World Trade Center.

Now let's check in with CNN reporters in the region.

In Pakistan, international aid agencies are working to bring emergency supplies through dangerous terrain in northern Afghanistan.

KARL: CNN's Nic Robertson is in Quetta, Pakistan, with an update -- Nic.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jonathan, north of here in Peshawar, about 200 tons of food supplies were loaded onto trucks by the U.N. organization, UNICEF, the U.N. program for children.

Now, this food is to go by mountain passes -- some of them 4,000 meters high -- through the Hindu Kush, the foothills of the Himalaya mountains. And by the time these trucks reach those high-altitude passes, these food supplies will have to be transferred, we understand, to hundreds of mules in a big mule train.

These sacks of food each way weigh about 50 kilograms. One sack is good for one family for about a month, so the supplies going in this day are perhaps good for about 400 families for a month.

Here, in Quetta, the UNHCR, the U.N. High Commission for Refugees, flew an Aleutian aircraft in here today with 44 tons, metric tons, of plastic sheeting. That is enough tent material for about 9,800 tents. They expect to be flying in more of these supplies in the coming days. And that is about enough tenting for about 50,000 people.

UNHCR also planning to have about another 20,000 tents fabricated, as they gear up for what they fear could be a massive influx of people coming this way. The UNHCR has appealed for $268 million. So far, they say they've received about $12 million.

The World Food Program, the agency that supplies and delivers food to the region, is bringing in high-protein energy biscuits for people. This is a type of food they give to people whose conditions are absolutely desperate. They'll be flying that into this region soon.

Now, the World Food Program also says that it does have vast food reserves inside Afghanistan -- over 10,000 metric tons inside Afghanistan. The problem, however, they say that they have is that they cannot deliver it to the people they would normally deliver it to inside Afghanistan.

They normally feed 5.5 million people. At the moment, they're only reaching about a million of those people. The reason, they say, is that the security of their staff, the local staff, inside Afghanistan is no longer safe and that their communications equipment has essentially been taken away from them by the Taliban.

ROBERTSON: Jonathan?

KARL: So these relief workers, first through convoys and then by going with mules over this treacherous terrain, obviously the terrain itself is treacherous, but are they worried that they may be in danger of possible land mines or even attacks?

ROBERTSON: The routes that they will be using are routes that have been used in the past, not only by traders and smugglers but also by relief officials in desperate times.

They are going from the very north of Pakistan into the area of Afghanistan controlled by the Northern Alliance. That is the group of fighters fighting against the Taliban. They control some 5 to 10 percent of the country.

The biggest problem that these aid agencies want to beat at the moment, if you will, is to get in before the winter weather comes by the end of October. At those altitudes, they can expect these pass roads to be closed. And if they don't get the supplies in now, getting them in later will be very, very difficult -- Jonathan.

KARL: So the U.N. has asked for this money and the U.S. has pledged support to help get that, but if they get enough money to buy all of these supplies, it sounds like the biggest problem is not getting enough food for these people, but actually getting it into the area.

ROBERTSON: Absolutely. The United States provides 90 percent of the humanitarian relief that goes into Afghanistan, and the biggest problem, as you say, is getting it into Afghanistan.

The World Food Program is negotiating with the Taliban to take food supplies into Afghanistan. But without their international staff, without the full freedom on the ground for their local staff, without full security for them, without their communications apparatus, they cannot make these deliveries.

There are other food shipments coming into this region. Another 165,000 tons of food the World Food Program expects to arrive in Pakistan in the coming weeks. But it essentially cannot do anything with it unless the refugees come here to Pakistan, or in their preferred option of course is to be able to get it to the people in Afghanistan.

They imagine, they say that about 5.5 million people normally inside Afghanistan at normal times; that is one-quarter of the total population that rely -- absolutely, essentially rely on those food supplies. And they're just not getting it at this time.

And that's what derives the fear among said agencies that all these people running short of food could head for the border. Pakistan, Iran, the North, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, all these different countries could see refugees arriving on their doorstep in the coming weeks -- Jonathan.

KARL: Now, Nic, just shifting gears for a minute, you were one of the last broadcast television reporters to be in Kabul, and you've got an incredible story about how were you basically told that they could no longer guarantee your safety. What's the situation now? I mean, are you keeping safe there, and what steps are you taking? ROBERTSON: The same situation applies in Afghanistan. We speak daily with the Taliban authorities to seek to be allowed to go back into Afghanistan to cover the situation there. The reason that we are given that we cannot be there is because they cannot guarantee our safety.

We saw earlier in the week demonstrations outside of the United States embassy compound inside Kabul. Their demonstrators broke in and tore down part of the buildings there. In 1998, when the United States fired cruise missiles into Afghanistan in retaliation for the attacks on the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, a United Nations worker was shot dead and killed immediately after that, and U.N. compounds were stormed.

And that is why the Taliban say -- what the Taliban say is they are not able to protect international workers. That's why they told the international aid agencies to leave, and they're not able to protect foreign journalists and that's why they say we had to leave -- Jonathan.

KARL: Well, Nic, you're doing a great job at great personal cost, and we appreciate it. Thank you very much.

All right, in his radio address today, President Bush outlined the progress of the war. CNN's White House correspondent Major Garrett has details from just outside Camp David, Maryland, where the president is spending his weekend -- Major.

MAJOR GARRETT, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Jonathan, the president is indeed at Camp David, and we have obtained at CNN the clearest signal yet that one of the goals in this campaign against terrorism is to topple the Taliban regime in Afghanistan.

CNN has confirmed the content of a memorandum prepared jointly by key officials at the State Department and the National Security Council.

GARRETT: Let me read to you one key portion of that memorandum.

"The Taliban do not represent the Afghan people, who never elected of chose the Taliban faction," the memo says. Going on with the memo, "We do not want to choose who rules Afghanistan, but we will assist those who seek a peaceful, economically developing Afghanistan free of terrorism."

The key component there: "We do not want to chose who rules Afghanistan, but we will assist," meaning the U.S. government will assist the various factions seeking to topple the Taliban regime in Afghanistan.

The president is at Camp David. He convened a video teleconference earlier today. With him at Camp David, key advisers Condoleezza Rice, the national security adviser; George Tenet, the director of the Central Intelligence Agency; and his chief of staff, Andrew Card. And in that weekly radio address, the president did not go so far as to say "replace" the Taliban regimen; he instead chose the verb "isolate."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The United States respects the people of Afghanistan, and we are their largest provider of humanitarian aid. But we condemn the Taliban and welcome the support of other nations in isolating that regime.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GARRETT: The president, of course, publicly wants to suggest that isolating is perhaps the only goal, but clearly this internal document indicates that the United States will take a lot of efforts to encourage and possibly directly assist those -- perhaps militarily, perhaps economically, perhaps diplomatically -- those who would seek to topple the Taliban regime and replace it with something the United States would hope and certainly believes would be better and terrorism-free -- Jonathan.

KARL: Well, and, Major, this memo seems quite consistent with what we've heard publicly from the president. He even made a speech before Congress where he said that those who harbor or support those countries that harbor or support the terrorists will share their fate.

So at what point do we switch from wanting -- does the administration switch from wanting to simply isolate this regime to taking that next step of officially saying we want to change the regime, we want to topple the Taliban?

GARRETT: It's a very fine line, Jonathan. There are several diplomatic parts of this entire equation.

For example, the United States has developed a good working relationship with the Pakistani government. Yet, parts of the Pakistani government, the military intelligence services chief among them, have very close ties to the Taliban.

The Pakistani government is not eager to join or continue to support a coalition whose explicit aim is toppling the Taliban. They would be much more comfortable with a coalition campaign that simply goes after the suspected terrorist Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda terrorist organization, which they readily concede is operating out of Afghanistan and being given safe haven there.

Nevertheless, the U.S. government has made an internal determination, it's quite clear, that these forces within Afghanistan and those who are outside seeking a new government for that country should, in fact, be supported. The United States does not want to offer any conclusions about which of those factions would be preferable, only that an Afghanistan free of the Taliban would in fact be preferable -- Jonathan.

KARL: All right, Major, thank you very much for the update. Well, they were once political rivals. Now they are working together for the relief effort. Former President Bill Clinton and former Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole are teaming up to raise $100 million for the children and spouses of the September 11 attacks. Earlier today, they spoke about their joint effort.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BOB DOLE, FORMER U.S. SENATOR: This can be a living memorial, and they will understand, as they grow older, the young people, the children, that America continues to care. I mean, we care long after the TV is gone and long after we move on to the next event.

WILLIAM J. CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There is no more important long-term need than to see that the children who were affected by this tragedy, when they come of age, whether it's this year or 18 years from now, will have the opportunity to have an education.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KARL: While Congress and the country have been solidly behind President Bush since September 11, fresh concerns are now over the balance of anti-terrorism actions and constitutional freedoms.

Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor said yesterday, quote, "We're likely to experience more restrictions on personal freedom than has ever been the case in our country."

So do Americans have to trade civil liberties for more security?

Here to discuss the issue are two key members of the U.S. Senate: Nevada Senator Harry Reid, who is the Senate's second-ranking Democrat. And joining us from Philadelphia, is Pennsylvania Republican Arlen Specter. He serves on the Judiciary Committee, which held hearings on the bill this week.

So, Senator Specter, if we can start with you, Sandra Day O'Connor says possibly more restrictions on our freedom than we have ever seen in our history. I mean, we think of the alien and sedition acts. Is this an overstatement?

SEN. ARLEN SPECTER (R), PENNSYLVANIA: Jonathan, I believe that we can give the attorney general the additional law enforcement tools he is asking for if we do it very, very carefully, and still maintain a constitutional right. So it is my hope that the Judiciary Committee will report out the legislation early next week so that the Senate can act on it, and that it can be signed into law perhaps before the end of the week.

I certainly would now want to see a situation evolve where some intervening event occurred which might have been prevented had Congress acted more promptly.

KARL: So, Senator Specter, just to pin you down on this, I mean, is the Supreme Court Justice Sandra D. O'Connor basically making a wild overstatement when she says we are going to see...

SPECTER: I think Justice O'Connor was generalizing. We held hearings, and I'll be very specific, last week. And Attorney General Ashcroft said that he wanted to be able to detain aliens where there was some concern about terrorism, where there were deportation proceedings against them.

But the bill which was submitted was broader than that. It permitted aliens to be detained without any showing of probably cause, whether there were deportation proceedings or not.

And in the exchange I had with Attorney General Ashcroft on the record, I said, "We can give you want you want, but this bill has to be very carefully drawn. And there are people on the committee who have experience as prosecutors or had experience in drafting legislation, and we can give you what you want without having it so broad as to violate constitutional rights."

KARL: Well, Senator Reid, obviously there have been Democrats who have been very concerned about this, these new powers that John Ashcroft, the administration wants to give law enforcement -- some of them not directly tied to the fight against terrorism.

Are you confident that, as Senator Specter says, that this package can go through and not infringe on our civil liberties?

SEN. HARRY REID (D), NEVADA: I have no doubt that's true. I think we have to recognize that on September 11 a very bad thing happened to our country. I think we have to make sure that when September 11 is over -- and it is over, in some regards -- that the people of this country still have the basic constitutional freedoms they had before.

But having said that, Jonathan, I think we have to understand that there are certain things we need to allow police officers and prosecutors to do that they couldn't do before. I have been a police officer, I have been prosecutor, I have been a criminal defense attorney, and I know that there are gaps in the law.

For example, if you are after somebody that's accused of selling drugs, you can follow that person around to whatever telephone he's using, but if you're a terrorist, that's not true. You have to get a separate search warrant for each telephone that that person has. We're going to take care of that. We're going to close some of the loopholes.

And we've got, I think, a good balance. Arlen Specter has been a legal scholar. The chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Pat Leahy, is somebody that has always been a civil libertarian. But even these two civil libertarians, Specter and Leahy, recognize there's some things we have to improve upon, and we're going to do that.

KARL: And Ashcroft has made a forceful appeal for a couple a weeks now for these new powers. And one of the points he's making is that we've got a threat right now that we need to deal with.

Listen to what Senator Ashcroft had to say. This is before the House Judiciary Committee last week.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN ASHCROFT, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: It's our position at the Justice Department and the position of this administration that we need to unleash every possible tool in the fight against terrorism and to do so promptly, because our awareness indicates that we are vulnerable...

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KARL: All right, I would like to pose this question to both of you; first to you, Senator Specter. Ashcroft has been making the case to senators, one on one and in small groups, saying that there may be a threat out there right now. That's why he needs these powers right now.

Well, if that's the case and we have these new powers for law enforcement, why not make them temporary? Why not say we will give these powers for a year and then the Congress can revisit whether or not they need to be extended? If we have a special circumstance right in the country, why shouldn't these powers be met simply to deal with that special circumstance?

SPECTER: Jonathan, in our hearings last week, that suggestion was made, that these provisions be sunseted, that there not be a permanent provision.

Nonetheless, we have to be careful in what do here. We do not want to set up a circumstance where the legislation is so broad because it's been drafted in a hurry. And there have been a number of situations that I could detail for you if you have time where the bill which was submitted was simply too broad and it hadn't been refined enough. The provisions under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act need to be refined.

We would not want to bring one of these terrorists back to trial, Osama bin Laden for example, or others of the co-conspirators, and have some deficiency at trial. We need to be sure that this will stand up in court. And I was a prosecuting attorney, and I know you have to be careful.

And I believe that Attorney General Ashcroft is right, that this ought to be done promptly.

That's why I was pressing last week to move ahead with what we call the markup in Judiciary, and I am hopeful we will get the bill to the floor this week. The House can act on it; we can have it signed into law by the end of next weekend.

I think we have a duty to proceed very promptly but carefully, and we can do both. If there were some intervening act which occurred which could have been prevented, that would be disastrous.

REID: Jonathan, I am not in favor of temporary laws. I don't think we need to sunset laws in this instance. We have certain gaps in our laws. They need to be filled, plugged. And I think there is no reason in the world that we can't do that.

We should act expeditiously. I believe that Attorney General Ashcroft is right that we have to be prepared for anything that may come up in the immediate future. And I think that we are going to move on that legislation very, very quickly. And I think it's going to be with the constitutional protections that people need, but also to give tools to the law enforcement that they need.

KARL: So will it be on the president's desk by the end of week?

REID: I sure hope so.

SPECTER: It can be done, Jonathan. It can be done. We have sit down, as we do on the Judiciary Committee, and have the text before us. And there can be representatives from the attorney general's office, and we can work through it line by line and we can pass it out of committee. And it can go to full Senate and we can debate it and pass it while the House is doing the same thing.

It could get to the president's desk next week, providing we approach it with a sense of urgency which it requires.

KARL: Well, that's blinding speed considering many of these proposals have been kicking around Congress for about five years or so.

SPECTER: Well, we moved ahead, Jonathan, with the legislation on the airlines to provide them $5 billion and $10 billion in loan guarantees. We moved on the resolution for the use of the force one morning two weeks ago yesterday. We moved ahead with a $40 billion appropriation.

We have a spirit in Congress today that I haven't seen in the 21 years I've been there, and it's a spirit of unity, putting politics aside. We haven't had this kind of a spirit since Pearl Harbor, and we can do the job in a week if we put our minds to it.

KARL: All right, senators, switching gears: public patience about the war on terrorism.

Are these senators hearing from their constituents that's it time to let the cruise missiles fly? We'll ask them in a minute.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KARL: Welcome back to SATURDAY EDITION. We're talking to with the majority whip, Nevada Democratic Senator Harry Reid, and Pennsylvania Republican Senator Arlen Specter about the new war on terrorism.

Senator Reid, the attorney general's latest figures are that there about 500 people, 480 or so people, that are under arrest, in custody now, regarding this effort to combat terrorism. Of those 480 -- you've been getting briefed by the Justice Department -- any idea how many are of Middle Eastern descent? REID: Well, I think at this stage, we have no numbers as to how many are of Middle Eastern descent, but a number of them are and a number of them aren't.

The attorney general's had a tremendous job. There are people that have been identified as being part of these cells, some of which have been in this country for a while; some haven't been. And I think, at this stage, I have no problem with the number of people that have been arrested, no matter what their descent.

KARL: But we've had a new discussion now about racial profiling, which -- I mean, we see ordinary citizens doing, essentially, their own racial profiling. We've had a couple of incidents of people refusing to fly on planes where there have been people of Middle Eastern descent on the plane.

In this atmosphere, is racial profiling any less objectionable than it was before September 11?

REID: No. I think there has to be some reason to pick somebody up, for whatever reason.

But we've gone out of our way -- I participated in a press conference last week where we had clerics from all over the world, including Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs. And we wanted to make clear that what is happening in America has nothing to do with being anti-Muslim, anti-Afghan. We're against terrorists. We're opposed -- I personally am opposed to what the Taliban is doing, especially to women, in Afghanistan.

But this has nothing to do with racial profiling. It has everything to do with terrorism.

KARL: Senator Specter, your thoughts?

SPECTER: The Senate passed a resolution condemning racial profiling, and there is no justification for it.

There have been some reports of antagonistic activities. We're having a session tomorrow in Philadelphia with people of the Asian community and the Indian community, where there have been reports of mistreatment.

But there is no justification for racial profiling. There has to be some reason behind the detention.

And the director of the FBI responded to the reports saying that they were not questioning people about their political beliefs or philosophical beliefs, but that when these detentions were being made, that it was based upon some reason to do so, aside from the fact of somebody wearing a headband or somebody having a beard or somebody looking foreign or Arab.

KARL: Senator Specter, switching gears for a minute, are you hearing from your constituents -- and we've been almost three weeks now since the attack. Are you hearing any impatience with why we haven't seen any military action yet?

SPECTER: Very, very little. I think that President Bush has done an excellent job in setting the stage, as has Secretary Rumsfeld and Secretary Powell, that this is going to take some time.

A group of us set down with President Bush on Thursday after the Tuesday incident, and he said he was not going to send a $2 million missile to an empty tent. And there has been really a remarkable job of coalition-building going on.

And for the Security Council to have voted unanimously yesterday, condemning acts of terrorism and calling on members of the United Nations to cooperate with the United States, I think that has been a remarkable achievement.

And you can't do that if you're going to have an indiscriminate bombing. It has to be measured, it has to be proportionate.

And there are signs -- and neither Harry nor I can be in a position to give you very much detail -- that the administration is moving, but thoughtfully and in the right way.

And I do not think the American people are impatient. I think the president has done a really excellent job in keeping Americans informed and satisfied.

KARL: So, Senator Reid, how long can the president maintain this incredible level of support?

REID: You know, I've listened to a couple of talk radio shows recently out of Nevada radio stations. People are somewhat impatient. They're wondering what's going to happen.

But I would agree with Arlen. I think this administration has handled this extremely well. I think the president has done everything he can to help people along to understand this is not a war like any other war. We're not going to be on timelines. This isn't where we can go have one battle and the war is over. This is going to take some time.

And I really appreciate what's been done in keeping Congress informed and keeping the American people informed as to the movement.

And the movement -- I would agree with Arlen, I think Secretary Powell has done an outstanding job. Rumsfeld's maturity has really paid off the country. I think President Bush has risen to the occasion.

KARL: Well, strong words for the president, in favor of the president from the Senate's number-two Democrat. Senator Reid, thank you so much for joining us on the first SATURDAY EDITION.

Senator Specter, thank you as well.

SPECTER: Nice being with you. Thank you.

KARL: Great.

All right, up next on SATURDAY EDITION, American troops and the war on terrorism. Are public expectations too high? An insider's perspective from two former Green Berets.

Send us your e-mails. SATURDAY EDITION continues in just a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH: Americans should not expect one battle, but a lengthy campaign unlike any other we have ever seen. It may include dramatic strikes visible on TV, and covert operations, secret even in success.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KARL: That was President Bush telling Americans in his recent speech to Congress that they should prepare for an unconventional war.

Joining us now are two guests with inside knowledge of the special challenges facing U.S. troops in this military campaign. In Chicago, CNN military analyst and retired general, David Grange, a former Army ranger and Green Beret. And here in Washington, we're joined by Michael Vickers. He is a former Special Forces officer with the Army Green Berets and also a former CIA operations officer.

Gentlemen, welcome to SATURDAY EDITION.

We can start with you, Mr. Grange.

The latest reports that we have heard is that there are teams of special forces right now inside Afghanistan, teams of about five already working. Obviously, not talking about the truth of that report or not, what can you tell us? What can a team of five special forces accomplish in terrain like we know in Afghanistan?

GEN. DAVID GRANGE, U.S. ARMY (RET.): Yes, well, I don't know for sure that it's a team of five, but let's just say it is. They may be just doing their contacts with the local paramilitary forces to assess the terrain, the situation, what tribes will work with us on this effort.

They're doing assessments of possible airfields, re-supply points, humanitarian assistance initiatives that we may go ahead and execute fairly soon. So it's not really that they're doing reconnaissance by themselves.

KARL: So, we know they're going into a situation where it's fairly well-known where these camps are, where bin Laden's camps are. I imagine it's not going to be a surprise to him.

And, Mr. Vickers, maybe you can answer this. What is done to protect these special forces as they go in from the possibility that these places have been booby-trapped, bin Laden knowing full well that teams will be coming in?

MICHAEL VICKERS, FORMER SPECIAL OPERATIONS OFFICER: Well, Afghanistan's a big place. It's a country the size of Texas. There are a lot of land mines there, about 5 to 7 million by most accounts.

But these forces are very capable of operating at night, stealthfully infiltrating an area of special aircraft, and then operating in very small groups. They did this very successfully in the Persian Gulf War, for example, being inserted into Iraq well before the ground campaign.

KARL: And the president, you heard the bite from the president saying that there may be victories we don't know about. I mean, is that possible? Did we see that on Iraq? Were there victories by our special forces that even now we don't know about?

VICKERS: Well, this is a different kind of war than the Persian Gulf War. I think what the president was referring to was more covert operations than operations in war.

KARL: So, Mr. Grange, is it possible that we could have something such as successfully getting bin Laden and that we wouldn't know right away, it would be some time before the public was actually aware of that?

GRANGE: I believe that if bin Laden was captured or killed we would announce that immediately.

But again, we're not just focused on bin Laden. We're focused on other terrorist structures and possible terrorists individuals. So we don't want to just get wrapped up in this one terrorist.

KARL: I'd like to go right now to an e-mail that just came in. It's an e-mail from Carrie (ph). She asks, "Since the Taliban is supported by such a small percentage of Afghans, then wouldn't it be a good idea to gather and arm these citizens to overthrow the Taliban?"

Well, I guess, first, we know the president is saying officially that's not our goal, is overthrowing the Taliban. But I imagine we are also already going in and working with some people on the ground, some Afghans.

VICKERS: Well, one of the key missions for special forces is to work with the regular forces, as General Grange made clear. And President Bush has said that we're in hot pursuit of these terrorists.

Well, we have a posse ready to be deputized in Afghanistan. And as Professor Fouad Ajami, a distinguished Middle East expert at Johns Hopkins, has said, the Taliban are to our era what the Khmer Rouge were to theirs.

KARL: So would this be the work of the special forces? Would this be Green Berets and the like working with the opposition on the ground?

VICKERS: Most likely. That's the branch of the special operations forces that works with resistance movements.

KARL: OK.

General Grange, there have been some highly publicized failures of special forces. I mean, there was the efforts to free the hostages in Iran and also, of course, what happened in Somalia, where bin Laden's folks were apparently involved in terms of basically setting up the special forces.

Are we setting our expectations too high? If there too much expected from our special forces in such a difficult situation?

GRANGE: Well, from whom much is demanded, much is expected. And we demand a lot from our special operating forces. So that's OK. They're trained well. They're the best we have for this kind of operation.

If you go back to Desert One, the terrain and rescue operation, there is no other nation on the face of the earth that could have even possibly have attempted to execute that mission at that time in history. Our opponents didn't even know about that operation being launched through communication intercept, through aircraft movement, acknowledgement, until the accident occurred in the desert in Iran.

If you take the Somalia operation in '93, tactically the mission was a success. They had many successes up to that tough day in October. The mission went bad when there were a few aircraft shot down, but they totally defeated the enemy on the ground in that fight.

And the results from that fight should have been "hang in there, be tough," because I think Aideed and his paramilitary were on their knees. Yet, we didn't have the political resolve to follow through.

KARL: And I imagine that situation has changed?

GRANGE: I hope so.

KARL: We're prepared for some casualties. We're prepared to take some losses here.

VICKERS: Certainly. And also, the circumstances in Afghanistan are quite different from those in Somalia. We will use air power more in support of special forces, judiciously. But if those forces are in trouble, we'll be ready to respond. And also, there's this opposition in place, and perhaps could grow substantially, that would be on our side.

KARL: OK, great.

We have a phone call right now from Toronto. We'll see if this works.

Toronto, are you there? Caller?

CALLER: Hello?

KARL: Yes, hello. Your question, please?

CALLER: I can hardly hear you. Yes, I do have a question.

KARL: Yes?

CALLER: I want to know how come it's taken so long for your government to retaliate.

KARL: OK. Well, that -- you have a question. Why have we not acted yet?

You're starting to hear on talk radio and out in the public some concern. It's been almost three weeks. We haven't seen any military retaliation. Of course, there may be something going on on the ground. But what do you think?

VICKERS: Well, I think with a terrorist problem, revenge is a dish best served cold, as the number (ph) like to say.

And also, while there may be pressure to do a so-called "do- little raid" -- after Pearl Harbor, there was pressure to strike back Japan any way we can -- it's very important here that we not turn this into an anti-Afghan conflict, given that we potentially have a lot of the Afghan people on our side. And therefore, we can't look feckless. We don't want to strike empty camps. Nor can we look indiscriminate. We've got to use our power judiciously, but when we use it, we'll use it very effectively.

KARL: Well, General Grange, these special forces that are theoretically right now in Afghanistan -- obviously the enemy is an enemy that has proven a willingness to die for their cause. How does that complicate their efforts? And do you believe that our own special forces, the very best of our military, share that willingness to die for a cause?

GRANGE: Well, our soldiers, our armed forces will die for a cause if we think it's just, and I believe that this is the most just cause we've had at least in the last 30 years I served. However, you know, we attempt to have the enemy die for the cause, not our own people.

(LAUGHTER)

GRANGE: They're tough, there's no doubt about it. I don't think they're all that tough. I think that they have a hardcore cadre that will fight to the death. I think some others would just as soon not be a part of that organization, if they're given the opportunity for something better.

And I would imagine that through our information warfare campaign, our psychological operations, as well as our humanitarian assistance, and also direct contact with the indigenous forces, that we will convince many to go to the other side.

KARL: All right, well, David Grange, Michael Vickers, we thank you very much for giving us your unique perspective here. Thanks for joining us.

GRANGE: Thank you.

VICKERS: Pleasure to be here.

KARL: Great.

Just ahead, why did the September 11 attacks catch U.S. intelligence by surprise? Lawmakers from both sides of the Capitol weigh in, plus your e-mails and phone calls, when SATURDAY EDITION continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KARL: Welcome back to SATURDAY EDITION.

The United States intelligence methods have been under harsh scrutiny since the terrorist attacks. New Jersey Democratic Senator Robert Torricelli has proposed a board of inquiry to look into what went wrong.

I spoke with the Senator earlier and began by asking him what this proposal would accomplish.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SEN. ROBERT TORRICELLI (D), NEW JERSEY: The foundation of any policy to assure that a terror attack of this magnitude never happens again requires us understanding what went wrong.

These hijackers have been in the United States a long time. Some of them were known to the Central Intelligence Agency. Others had been told to the FBI. Obviously, the failure to infiltrate these groups to track them and to understand their methods contributed to this terrible crisis.

I think, much as we did after the Challenger accident and much as we did after Pearl Harbor and other national calamities, we need a group to step back, take a look, tell us who and what went wrong, so we understand how to avoid it.

KARL: So who is on this group?

TORRICELLI: Well, in the legislation being drafted, much as we did in these other instances in our country's past, we have the president or the leadership of Congress each make selections of distinguished Americans who understand law enforcement, understand national security, but are independent, who can give advice to the Congress and the administration about how to restructure these agencies or who did or did not perform well, so we have some accounting.

KARL: But as you bring forward the people in all the various agencies that have responsibility for intelligence into this inquisition, finding out what went wrong, isn't that distracting their attentions at the very time that they should be looking into what possible attacks may still be out there?

TORRICELLI: Well, it's not clear to me that unless we take a look at what went wrong and how our systems failed, we're going to succeed in preventing any future attacks. To have an independent group tell us whether our laws are adequate or inadequate or these agencies, who have their persistent problems of working together or there were conflicts...

We certainly have given our intelligence and law enforcement agencies the financial resources. I think we've given them much of the legal powers. Something went wrong. This isn't just money. It isn't just personnel. Structurally or procedurally or in strategy, something failed.

We need to get to the core of what that was.

And I think this board of inquiry can contribute to that, much as it did, as I suggested, after Pearl Harbor and the Challenger and other instances, all the way back to including the Kennedy assassination. You can't just move on with out understanding what went wrong.

KARL: Now, you have been in Congress almost 20 years. Some have said, "Where was Congress during all of this?" Obviously Congress has oversight over intelligence. We've had other intelligence failures, none as dramatic as this, but this has never been a top issue in the Congress. Where were you and other members of Congress before this happened?

TORRICELLI: Well, this has been a top issue in Congress. For example, the fact that the CIA says that it gave two of these names to the FBI, and they were not found in this country.

We have persistently had problems with the CIA and the FBI working together. It was our belief in the last couple of years, after the last major spy incident, that that problem had been solved, and they were working together now.

We have increased by 300 percent the amount of money to the FBI in anti-terrorism activities. So, as I say, this is not a question of resources. It's not a question that questions were not asked. But obviously the job was not done.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KARL: That was Senator Bob Torricelli.

We now get views from two members of the House of Representatives. Joining us from Connecticut is Republican Congressman Christopher Shays. And here in Washington, Democratic Congressman Harold Ford of Tennessee.

Let's start with you, Congressman Shays. You are chairman of a subcommittee in the House that deals with questions of anti-terrorism.

REP. CHRISTOPHER SHAYS (R), CALIFORNIA: Yes. KARL: What's your take on this idea of a board of inquiry? A good idea?

SHAYS: I'm a little apprehensive about it. I don't think our country ever gets it right in the midst of a crisis trying to fix blame.

And you asked Senator Torricelli a very important question: Where was Congress? Now, my committee has held 19 hearings, but in those hearings we were pointing out what three commissions have said -- the Gilmore Commission, the Hart-Rudman Commission, as well as the Bremer Commission -- they all said, we do not have a proper threat assessment of terrorism; we don't have a strategy to deal with it; and we aren't properly organized.

They have told Congress these three things, and basically Congress hasn't responded.

And that's -- you know, I think we can already tell you right now, who's at fault. We're all at fault. And we know what broke down. It won't even take a board to discover that.

KARL: Well, Congressman Ford, I don't know if you saw, but the president stood behind the CIA director George Tenet, expressed his faith in him. You've also had others say, hey, maybe Tenet should resign because of this. What's your take?

REP. HAROLD FORD (D), TENNESSEE: All of those issues will take care of themselves. I think Chris is absolutely correct in saying that Congress has a lot of responsibility and a lot of the blame should rest with us.

I do think there's some merit to what Senator Torricelli has suggested. I do think the board of inquiry, at a minimum, may demonstrate to us that we ought to streamline how information is shared between or amongst the agencies charged with gathering, collecting and acting on intelligence.

One of the chief concerns that many of us in the Congress have is ensuring that there is increased oversight and accountability for the dollars that are going to be spent in our defense and intelligence communities in the future.

As it relates to Director Tenet, I know Senator Shelby has made comments. The president has expressed his support. That's an executive decision. We in the Congress should focus on the matters that we've been charged with focusing on.

KARL: And isn't it fair to say that the Congress had never made this a top priority. We've had commission after commission. I think Congressman Shays mentioned three specific commissions. They're not the only ones.

FORD: In particular, Senator Hart's and Rudman's commission -- I think Speaker Gingrich was on that commission as well -- made some serious significant and specific recommendations, and we in the Congress have not acted. We can start with that.

KARL: Well, now we see action on those very proposals, obviously because we have a new world.

FORD: But the board of inquiry is not a bad idea. I do think Senator Torricelli is on to something when suggesting that. I hope that Chris is wrong in the sense that this commission or board of inquiry will not focus on who was wrong and where the blame ought to be affixed, but how do we plug those holes and how do we ensure that monies that are spent in the future are spent in an effective and an efficient way.

KARL: We're going to take a quick break. When we come back, our guests will take your phone calls. SATURDAY EDITION continues after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KARL: Welcome back to SATURDAY EDITION. We're continuing our conversation and also taking your phone calls and e-mails.

We have an e-mail. I'd like to go to you, actually, Chris Shays with this. This comes from Wayne in California: "What is Congress waiting for to reverse the tax cuts so this war gets financed and avoids more damage to the American economy?"

This, a point that's been raised by some. I mean, given that we've seen this...

SHAYS: We have two primary concerns. One, we have to fight terrorism. The other is we've got to get our economy moving again.

But we're not holding off spending something right now. I mean, we're going to spend whatever it takes. And we're, as we speak, debating how much of the stimulus to our economy should be tax cuts and how much should be spending. But I think you'll see that done in the next month.

The key thing is, even if we do the stimulus, people need to know it and have confidence that it's going to help or they'll just keep their money in their pockets.

FORD: I think a couple of things. I think Congressman Shays is right.

One, with regard to airlines, I think the president had a good start yesterday, got off to a good step yesterday in encouraging that National Guardsmen and others be at the airport.

But I think we have to look at federalizing those airport security systems to ensure that information can be cross-shared by the FBI, CIA and INS and other important federal agencies there at those security checkpoints.

Two, I think it's a wrong time to reverse the tax cut. As much as I did not support the tax cut... SHAYS: Yes, you opposed it.

FORD: ... this is not the time to do that. The economy is going through a very, very difficult phase, and there's nothing -- Congress should not engage in any activity or action that will breed or encourage more uncertainty or inject more uncertainty into the markets.

I think one of the things that Chris and I hope to do -- and I know that my Republican colleagues and Democratic colleagues hope to do -- is to look at a stimulus that will affect Americans that might not have been touched by the initial rebate checks that went out some several weeks ago. And I believe some Americans are still awaiting for them.

But I don't believe we ought to reverse the tax cuts. I think that's a wrong consensus.

SHAYS: Jonathan, I just want to make the point. It's not -- the key is, where are the tax cuts and where is the spending that's going to stimulate economic advancement, and that should be the question, not really who's going to get the tax cut, in my judgment.

KARL: When we've -- of course, as we make these plans, we've seen the surplus, once record projected surpluses have essentially disappeared. I mean, I've talked to budget analysts in the Congress that say we could be in deficit by the end of the year.

SHAYS: But we're going into a recession. And, you know, I'm not going to be Hoover on this one. We need to stimulate this economy. It will be some spending, and I think it will be some tax cuts.

FORD: We're going to spend $150 billion, it's estimated, in the Congress, somewhere between $150, $200 billion. We'll do it in a way that will help hopefully stimulate the economy but not raise long-term interest rates or do anything to damage this economy long term.

KARL: But the whole dispute over the lockbox is gone for now at least.

We do have a phone call I want to go to.

Phone call, caller, are you there, from New York?

CALLER: Yes I am.

KARL: Go ahead with your question.

CALLER: Yes, I would like to ask the panelist whether they think that the failure of the Clinton administration to take decisive action against acts of terrorism that occurred during his years emboldened the terrorists to see America as a paper tiger?

KARL: Well, in fact, Congressman Ford, we know, we're reported that you had the '98 attacks with the cruise missiles in response to the bombings of the embassies. There was another plan on the proposal to send special -- you know, on the table for the president to consider to put special forces on the ground in Afghanistan to go after bin Laden. It was rejected because it was deemed too dangerous.

What's your take on it? How do you respond to that?

FORD: You know, I think we have to be very careful at this moment in second guessing either president, certainly not President Bush. And President Clinton has spoken to this issue, indicating that they believed their intelligence showed that they just missed, that their target there in Sudan, which was Osama bin Laden.

And now President Bush, who has made it clear that we're going to rout out this terrorism and take on those evildoers and do all we can to eliminate global terrorism or terrorist organizations with a global reach.

SHAYS: Jonathan...

FORD: And so I don't blame President Clinton, and I certainly won't blame President Bush. We do back and blame Daddy Bush for not going after Saddam Hussein. He did the right thing.

KARL: Congressman Shays?

SHAYS: The key is you don't fight malaria by going after the mosquitoes. You have to drain the swamp. And we have to go after terrorism. And, you know, just this one-day response isn't going to do it. This has to be a long, extended effort.

It is a true war. And the question will be, will your program call it war a year from now? If it doesn't, we failed. This is truly a war. There will be attempts at biological, chemical, even perhaps nuclear or radioactive material attacks on the United States. That's the reality. It's not a question of if; it's a question of when, where and of what magnitude.

SHAYS: So we've got to go after terrorists in a big way.

KARL: Congressman Shays, if I can ask you something in response, something that we heard from Senator Reid earlier. He said that he is hearing some impatience back home with people wondering, it's been almost three weeks, why hasn't the U.S. taken action?

You're back in your district right now. What are you hearing in Connecticut? Are people saying it's time to take action?

SHAYS: I'm hearing a love for a country, a faith in both Congress, Democrat and Republicans, and the president. Happy we're working together, knowing it's going to be long-term. And they are not impatient. They know in the end we are determined and we're going to do what's right.

There are going to be a loss of American lives, but we're not going foolishly send people to demonstrate something. We want it to be backed up with success.

KARL: We only have 10 seconds. Just want to ask you, how long is President Bush's popularity maintained at this level?

FORD: As long as it takes to win. Chris is right, America's behind him. The impatience that my dear friend Mr. Reid spoke to I believe is real, but America is ready to support their president. We fought two world wars. We came through a depression. Survived freedom movements. Not only did we survive, but thrived after them. We'll do the same here.

SHAYS: Here, here!

KARL: The second Democrat I've heard say that on this show today. Thank you very much, Congressman Ford, for joining us.

FORD: Chris, I'll see you next week.

SHAYS: Take care, Harold.

KARL: Always good to see you Congressman Shays.

SHAYS: Thank you, Jonathan.

KARL: Thank you.

All right, coming up: Is the United States prepared for biological terrorism? And what should be done to keep the airlines safe? Plus, our roundtable of journalists on America's new war, and more of your e-mails and phone calls. All ahead in the next hour of SATURDAY EDITION.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KARL: Welcome back to the second hour of SATURDAY EDITION. I'm Jonathan Karl in Washington.

We'll explore the possibility of germ warfare here in the United States in just a moment, but first, here's Donna Kelley in Atlanta with the hour's headlines -- Donna.

DONNA KELLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Jonathan, thank you. Here are the latest developments at this hour in America's new war for you.

CNN has confirmed existence of an internal White House memo which offers support to any who would seek to overthrow the Taliban rulers in Afghanistan.

President Bush did not go quite that far in his weekly radio address, instead calling on the international community to isolate the Taliban regime.

The Pentagon now says it is not giving credence to a report that three U.S. commandos were captured inside Afghanistan. Both the Taliban and the Northern Alliance also cast doubt on that report.

More than 20 arrests across Europe in recent days point to a vast terror network linked to Osama bin Laden, stretching from Spain to the Netherlands. The number of people missing and presumed dead in the attacks on the World Trade Center attack now stands at 5,960; 306 deaths have been confirmed, with 238 of the victims identified.

A United Nations convoy carrying tons of food and emergency supplies is heading to northern Afghanistan today. It's the first time that humanitarian aid has left from Pakistan to Afghanistan since the September 11 terror attacks against the United States.

The opposition Northern Alliance, which controls the area, gave security clearance to the mission, but similar relief efforts are not being allowed into portions of Afghanistan that are still controlled by the ruling Taliban.

In Washington today, there was a formal mobilization ceremony for a special D.C. National Guard unit. The unit will provide administrative support to other troops already called to active duty.

And if you've been around a major airport in the last couple of days, you've probably seen some of the National Guard troops. Many states are following a recommendation by President Bush to use guard units for airport security until longer-term measures can be put in place.

Eight radio stations hosted a Unity Walk this morning in Washington. Walkers made donations to participate in the march past a makeshift memorial overlooking the Pentagon and the tent city that's set up for disaster relief. The money will go to the Clear Channel Relief Fund. That's to benefit the emergency workers and relief organizations.

And another sign that tourism in New York is trying to get back on track: The Empire State Building's observation deck reopened this morning. The 86th-floor deck had been closed to the public since the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center.

That's a look at the top stories and the latest developments for you.

Back to you, Jonathan, and SATURDAY EDITION.

KARL: All right. Thank you, Donna.

The investigation in to the September 11 attacks revealed that at least one of the hijackers made earlier inquiries about crop dusting planes. That discovery is raising questions about whether the U.S. is prepared to deal with the threat of biological terrorism.

Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson addressed that matter earlier this week.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TOMMY THOMPSON, SECRETARY OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES: I am very confident, as secretary of health, that if a terrorist attacks hits us, as far as bio-terrorism, whether it be a virus or a bacteria, we are able to respond extremely quickly and that we will be able to protect the Americans' health.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KARL: Two experts join us now to talk about the threat of germ warfare and its impact.

Dr. Anthony McIntyre is with the Department of Emergency Medicine at George Washington University Hospital here in Washington. And in Kansas City, Joseph Waeckerle. He is a professor at the University of Missouri, Kansas City, and a domestic preparedness expert with the American College of Emergency Physicians.

Mr. Waeckerle, I want to start right with you with what we just heard from the secretary of Health and Human Services, Tommy Thompson. He says if we have a biological attack, we are ready to deal with it, the U.S. is ready. Dr. Waeckerle, is that right?

JOE WAECKERLE, AMERICAN COLLEGE OF EMERGENCY PHYSICIANS: I think we are much more prepared than we were before, and that's kudos to Secretary Thompson. He's brought in a new team of personnel that have tremendous expertise and knowledge that came from the CDC and the Bio- Terrorism Preparedness and Response Group that has done some remarkably good things in a short amount of time with a limited amount of money.

Bringing those into his group at HHS and asking them to get the plan going and implement it quickly and have a focused strategy has really benefited our ability to protect ourselves from these agents.

KARL: Well, Dr. McIntyre, there's a proposal that you may be familiar with. Senators Kennedy and Frist say that they want to spend $1.6 billion to beef up our preparedness. That's essentially quintupling the money we spent on this.

Do we need that or, as Tommy Thompson said, are we already prepared?

ANTHONY MCINTYRE, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL: I think we do need it.

There are two different preparedness efforts that are going on right now. One is at the Federal level, which is, obviously, as the secretary mentioned, has been fairly extensive over the past couple of years. But at the local level, as far as hospital preparedness and public health department preparedness, I still think we have a little ways to go.

KARL: Well, one of the things in this proposal would be to bring stockpiles of vaccines up.

We have an e-mail question that I think is an interesting point on this. It's from Penny (ph). She says, "I'm concerned about the fact that we are not talking about everyone getting vaccinations against germ warfare. What can you tell me about that?"

Now, Dr. Waeckerle, if I could address that to you. We know the military has a program to eventually inoculate everybody in the military against the anthrax. Should the rest of us be involved in this?

WAECKERLE: Well, I think we'd all like to feel protected against these potential weapons, but there are some challenges.

First of all, we have to ask the pharmaceutical industry to produce them in sufficient quantities, and they have not been asked to do that yet.

Secondly, we have to make sure they're safe. As you know, there's been great controversy in the past with vaccinations in America.

And thirdly, we have to adequately supply them to the whole country so that they can receive those vaccinations. But they have to have informed consent when they do it.

The other challenge, of course, is we don't have vaccinations to all of these organisms, and they have to be developed. And the development of these vaccinations could take three to five to 10 years in some instances.

KARL: What about the supply issue? And the anthrax, there's been a lot of controversy about that anthrax vaccine.

MCINTYRE: There has been a lot of controversy about the anthrax vaccination. Currently, the military does use it. The form of anthrax that most people are concerned about is inhalational anthrax.

And the data that exists on the anthrax vaccine is really animal data. At current time, we don't have a lot of human data on that vaccine.

But I agree with Dr. Waeckerle, there are so many different agents that people have talked about potentially being used in this scenario. And that, in combination with our current production problems, it really is a tough answer to say we should be vaccinating everybody.

KARL: Well, another question, and we saw the reports about the crop dusting planes, but I haven't seen a definitive answer. Maybe you can help clear this up. Would crop dusting planes actually be an effective way of distributing a biological weapon?

MCINTYRE: There is a lot of talk about crop dusters, and it really is a lot harder than it sounds. You have to take a lot of things into consideration, not only the weather, but certain convections in air currents, and it is a very difficult thing to do.

I'm not a security expert, but I can say that most people do feel that this is not within the capability of most terrorists at the present time.

KARL: And, Dr. Waeckerle, I have seen reports, conflicting reports, but some people saying that, if you got a crop dusting plane and flew it over a major metropolitan city, conditions were right, you could kill over a million people. Is that just wildly irresponsible speculation, or is that kind of a threat possibly out there?

WAECKERLE: That's irresponsible at all. That was a study that was done by a very reputable group, and that is a major concern.

There are significant challenges when employing a biologic weapon, as Dr. McIntyre correctly stated, and they consist of a number of issues. The first is you have to obtain an organism which you can weaponize, if it's not weaponized already.

The second is you have to culture it and maintain it in sufficient quantities, because it takes a large amount of organism to contaminate a large city.

You then have to be able to get it into this country and disperse it. And as Dr. McIntyre pointed out, disbursing a biologic weapon in America that's not highly infectious, such as anthrax, will be a real challenge.

So there are considerable challenges. And I think the concern about biologic weapons is appropriate, but it needs to be put in the context of how much of a threat it is currently.

WAECKERLE: Currently, the threat in America is conventional weapons, firearms and explosives, as witnessed by the tragedies that we just went through.

Biologics are a threat, and they will be a greater threat in the future. We have time to address them. And I think the authorities are doing a good job to start with.

KARL: So it's a threat where you have lower possibility of it actually happening but far greater consequences if it were to happen?

WAECKERLE: Well, there are studies that have demonstrated that it's equal to the consequences of a nuclear bomb being set off, and it's much cheaper. So it has some great attractiveness to those countries that can't afford nuclear technology.

KARL: OK.

We have to take a quick break. But when we come back, our guests will take your phone calls. And continue to send us your e-mails at SATURDAY.EDITION@CNN.com.

SATURDAY EDITION continues after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KARL: Welcome back to SATURDAY EDITION. We're continuing our conversation and taking your phone calls about biological warfare with Dr. Anthony McIntyre of George Washington University Hospital's Department of Emergency Medicine, and Dr. Joseph Waeckerle of the University of Missouri at Kansas City.

Now, I want to pin something down because it's very important. We talked about that study that said that over a million people could be wiped out if anthrax were sprayed over a metropolitan area. Dr. Waeckerle thinks it's a legitimate study, a good study. I've seen others say that it's a questionable study.

Where do you stand on this, Dr. McIntyre?

MCINTYRE: That study was originally from the World Health Organization, and it's more of a projection. There's not a lot of hard data behind it, true research.

It is concerning. There are definitely concerns with certain weaponized biologic agents. But I think we need to be careful about things that we're quoting and not scaring the public.

KARL: OK, I'd like to take a phone call now. We have somebody on the line from Los Angeles.

Caller, are you there?

CALLER: Yes I am.

KARL: Your question please?

CALLER: We already know that Saddam was heavily involved in biological experimenting. Could he supply something to these terrorists that they could get in that's already ready to go?

MCINTYRE: Once again, not being a weapon's expert, I don't know what his program has entailed.

Getting something into the country probably could be relatively easy. A small amount could do a fair amount of damage.

KARL: Dr. Waeckerle?

WAECKERLE: I think there's significant challenge with using biologic weapons at the moment. And I think that a person that's under the scrutiny of that regime, it would be difficult for them to do. Of course it's possible. We can never say never today. But I think it's pretty difficult right now to deploy biological weapons in this country for the reasons we talked about earlier.

KARL: OK, we have another e-mail. This one comes from Rosemary in Atlanta, the Atlanta area. She writes, "My concern is bio- terrorism. I live in the Atlanta metro area, and I want to know if there will be an increase in security at the CDC."

Of course the CDC, the Center for Disease Control, which is in Atlanta and has some of those stockpiles of vaccinations. What do you know about that, Dr. Waeckerle?

WAECKERLE: I've had the privilege of being there and seeing the Level IV facilities, and I can assure you that those are some of the most secure facilities that I've ever seen.

That is one of the two Level IV centers in America and one of the two repositories of the remaining small pox virus left in the world. So I can assure you that they've addressed those issues, and they've done it very well.

KARL: So, Dr. McIntyre, if biological terrorism is something that terrorists are planning on using here, how much would the damage be, given what Dr. Waeckerle just said, if they were actually able to first take out the CDC? I mean, we would be disarmed in our ability to respond?

MCINTYRE: No, I think it's a little bit more complex than that. The CDC does maintain several stockpiles of vaccination and antibiotics, and they are distributed around the country.

KARL: So they're not all in Atlanta?

MCINTYRE: Not everything is in Atlanta. So I think it would be a little bit more difficult than that.

KARL: OK. And I want -- you two are two of the country's leading experts on this question. I'd like to pose a very personal question to both of you, starting with you, Dr. Waeckerle.

What have you done personally? I mean, some people are going out there buying gas masks. Have you taken any steps like that? Have you inoculated yourself against anthrax of anything else? Have you done anything personally to deal with this threat?

WAECKERLE: No, I think that we need to use some common sense in this country and we need to allow our government to refocus its national strategy.

And as Dr. McIntyre earlier pointed out, we need to refocus our efforts in educating the health care professionals in the emergency rooms, nurses and doctors and the EMS personnel. And we need to rebuild our public health infrastructure and our hospitals, which are severely challenged right now.

I think we need to focus on that. To personally panic would be allowing these people to beat us again, and there is no reason to panic.

You know, my concern right now for America is more the flu season coming up...

(LAUGHTER)

WAECKERLE: ... than any concern about biologic weapons in this country. I'm not going to stockpile antibiotics. And I'm certainly not going to wear a gas mask around 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It makes no sense.

I think we just have do the best we can and realize that we will be OK if we're smart and we plan ahead and take the proper course of actions.

KARL: Dr. McIntyre?

MCINTYRE: I would actually take that even a step further and say that some of the preparations of people going out and buying gas masks can even be dangerous. If they're used improperly by civilians, they can actually be harmful, and we saw that during the Gulf War in Israel where gas masks were distributed to the civilian population. So these kind of preparations can even be dangerous to a certain extent.

KARL: So have you seen, either one of you, signs of fear- mongering and attempts to profiteer off this? You know, people selling these various supplies?

MCINTYRE: I think there have been cases. I think anytime you get recommendation or information from a vendor, you need to be suspect.

KARL: Dr. Waeckerle?

WAECKERLE: Well, of course, you're going to hear about people, because of the news, wanting to go out and obtain antibiotics and keep them around. What they have to understand is there are some real concerns with antibiotics. They're expensive, they don't have a long shelf or storage life. They can needlessly sensitize you, so you can have a reaction to them if you need them again. And if you inappropriately take them, you can develop a resistance to them or you can develop a bacteria in your own body that's resistant to them that would then attack you.

So I think there's real dangers with using the antibiotics. And Dr. McIntyre has talked about the Israeli experiences. They had a number of death from using the gas masks in the civilian population.

KARL: Well, we're going to have a very interesting struggle here, trying to, on one hand, encouraging the country to get prepared, and on the other hand, not causing a panic, not telling people to panic. This is a low-probability threat, but one we need to be ready for.

I want to thank you, Dr. McIntyre...

MCINTYRE: Thank you.

KARL: ... for joining us.

Thank you, Dr. Waeckerle, in Kansas. Appreciate it very much.

WAECKERLE: Thank you.

KARL: Coming up next, airline security -- what should be done to protect you when you fly? We'll hear from a former transportation secretary and an officer with the Airline Pilots Union.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH: You stand against terror by flying the airplanes and by maintaining them. You stand against by loading a bag or serving a passenger. And by doing so, you're expressing a firm national commitment that's so important, that we will not surrender our freedom to travel.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KARL: That was President Bush speaking this week at a rally of airline workers in Chicago.

Now to discuss the president's campaign to get Americans flying again, we're joined by former Transportation Secretary Rodney Slater and, in Atlanta, Captain Dennis Dolan. He is the first vice president of the Airline Pilots Association.

Secretary Slater, right to you. Do you have faith in what the President's doing? Do you think he's done enough here?

RODNEY SLATER, FORMER SECRETARY OF TRANSPORTATION: The president is doing a very good job. His team working very well with him. I'd like to especially commend Secretary Mineta and FAA Administrator Jane Garvey and the team of aviation and transportation officials in the public and private sectors around the country. They're all doing a great job.

KARL: Well, one of the things we've seen in addition to the efforts to get Americans flying again, the whole idea of having generals, mid-level generals, in the Pentagon having the right to order a fighter pilot to actually shoot down a commercial airline if it's been taken over by terrorists and is headed towards a target.

Captain Dolan, does that give you pause, a sign of the new world we're living in?

DENNIS DOLAN, VICE PRESIDENT, AIRLINE PILOTS ASSOCIATION: Well, Jonathan, it is a sign of a new world we're living in, but we should emphasize that the president has always had this authority. He's delegated it now to a little bit lower level.

We've worked with the FAA and with the federal government on these types of procedures, intercept procedures for commercial airliners. We're confident that that is a drastic remedy and would only be used in the direst of circumstances.

KARL: We know that one of the proposals that's out there, the president's talked about it, it's been talked about in Congress, has been this idea of solidifying that cockpit door, making it solidly locked.

My understanding is that the Airline Pilots Association had opposed that in the past for safety concerns. Can you tell me where that stands now?

DOLAN: Well, it's not that we so much opposed it. There are some competing interests here. We see now that we do need to reinforce the cockpit door. We fully support where the president's headed.

There are some issues involved in airline safety with the cockpit door. DOLAN: Number one, we have to be able to get the door open in the case of an emergency, to emergency egress. You also have some issues with pressurization. You can't have a pressure barrier-type door on either side of the cockpit. So we need to take those things into consideration when we build a new door that will be much more difficult, if not impossible to penetrate.

KARL: OK, I want to go to an e-mail and have Secretary Slater, if you will respond this. This comes from Grace. She says, "Some of the hijackers tried to get or have commercial airline pilots licenses. What kind of rules to the airlines follow before they hire pilots. And should they make those rules more strict?"

SLATER: Well, Jonathan, that's a very good question, and we want to thank Grace for it.

Clearly, I think that the rules should be enhanced. There should be an extensive background check on individuals seeking a pilot's license, especially those who seek to gain a license to fly commercially.

Also, they should continue to really check on those individuals even as they continue to provide quality service. Captain Dolan and the members of the Airline Pilots Association could be very helpful in that regard as well, and could also offer suggestions as to how that end can best be achieved.

KARL: Now we also heard the question of having marshals, air marshals on the planes.

SLATER: Yes.

KARL: We've all seen now, many times, the video of the training that is now out there, of the kind of training that these air marshals go through. I want to play a little bit of that and get you both to respond. Let's hear a little bit of this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're going to kill them!

(SCREAMING AND SHOOTING)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KARL: Video of training for air marshals, a training video. This strikes me as somewhat horrifying, just watching this. And I know this is part of the training.

Captain Dolan, your thoughts as you see this? I mean, you have seen this over and over again over the last couple of days.

DOLAN: Well, Jonathan, certainly this is not what we want to see. What we want to see, what the Airline Pilots Association would like to see, are what we call zones of protection. We would like to see the zone begin at the check-in counter. Let's catch these perpetrators at the check-in counter. If we can't catch them there, then we need enhanced screening so that we can catch them there.

This is the next level that you saw in the video here that we -- you know, we feel the protection is necessary, but we hope it never has to be used.

KARL: Well, on that next level, we have another e-mail, Secretary Slater. "In the 1970s where we posted air marshals on flights, the air marshal program was cut to just about nil, as the public became reassured of their safety. Are there measures being discussed that will prevent this from happening again?"

I mean, you know full well what happened to the air marshal program. I understand there's now only about 32 air marshals on the payroll.

SLATER: Unfortunately, sir, that's true. But clearly, the president has made a commitment to expand the air marshal program. I know that the FAA, through the leadership of Administrator Garvey, has extended an invitation for applicants to express their interest to be included in the program. They have gotten about 150,000 applications. And we're going to have the resources to really beef up that program.

And it's a very important program, especially in light of the current situation we face in the aftermath...

KARL: But will it be maintained?

SLATER: It will be. It will be. It's important that we not only deal with the current situation but that we maintain the vigilance necessary to ensure the ongoing safety and security of our aviation system, and transportation as a whole.

KARL: Well, one more e-mail on the air marshal question, and a very good question -- a question I've had. It comes from Bill. "What would happen if an armed air marshal would have to fire upon a suspected hijacker while in flight at 30,000 feet? Would it crash? Would it be depressurized, or would it be able to land safely?"

Captain Dolan?

DOLAN: Well, first of all, if you're using a conventional projectile, which -- now we have what's what are called frangible bullets, which will not penetrate the fuselage.

But let's say for the sake of argument, we had one penetrate the fuselage, a small hole in the fuselage, even at high altitude, will not cause a rapid depressurization. And in an emergency situation, as such, it will begin the depressurization, but it will be a controllable depressurization.

Certainly, you don't want to have that happen but, nevertheless, it won't put the airplane out of control. It won't make it crash. It won't make it blow up.

KARL: But, Captain Dolan, you have proposed, your organization has proposed having pilots be armed but with special bullets that theoretically would not penetrate the airplane. Is that right?

DOLAN: That's what we're talking about here. Yes, that's correct.

KARL: OK, great.

We have to take a quick break. When SATURDAY EDITION returns, your phones calls, plus more of your e-mails.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KARL: We're continuing our discussion about airline safety with former Transportation Secretary Rodney Slater and Captain Dennis Nolan of the American (sic) Pilots Association.

Secretary Slater, when will we get back to normal? Flights are still way down, the number of people flying is way down. When will things get back to normal? And when we do, will we ever see the same number of planes in the skies that we saw before September 11?

SLATER: Good questions.

Jonathan, we're actually getting back to normal. Day after day after day, we see increased presence of travels at our airports. Really all of the airports across the country are now in operation as you know, but for Reagan Washington National. Hopefully we will have a decision on that, a favorable decision next week, but only after the security measures that must be in place are put in place.

SLATER: But I think that we're seeing the airlines really come back.

The Congress responded to the president's challenge last week that provided significant resources to help the industry along.

We've also had good leadership from the industry as well. Leo Mullins, who is the head of Delta Airlines and the chair of the Air Transport Association, has really been out there putting forth a very strong message, along with his colleagues.

So I think things are going back to normal. Whether we will get back to a time where we move 670 million passengers annually -- we were moving toward a billion passengers in a decade -- I'm not sure of that. It will take us a little time to get there.

But this is always been a nation on the move, the most mobile society in the world. And when the American people are ready to fly, we will have a good aviation system and program there to provide that service there.

KARL: Well, on Reagan National, I've seen reports that a plane coming in to land at Reagan National could deviate its course and hit the Capitol building or the White House within 30 seconds.

SLATER: Within 30 seconds.

KARL: Is that accurate?

SLATER: ... the Pentagon, the CIA. That's correct. But I do believe that there's security measures that can be put in place to prevent that kind of occurrence.

And we're going to hear again from the administration next week. There may be the possibility...

KARL: But, I mean, 30 seconds -- excuse me. But if it's just 30 seconds, could you ever be able to respond in such a short time?

SLATER: Oh yes, oh yes. Clearly though, as Captain Dolan mentioned earlier, there are many, many connecting circles to the security program that has to be put in place.

That really puts you in a position where, in those last 30 seconds, you are making a determination for the first time. You've been following the aircraft. You've possibly limited takeoffs and landings only to the South. You've done some other things to ensure the safety of the general public as aircraft come in and leave Reagan Washington National.

KARL: OK, we have another phone call. This one's from South Carolina.

Caller? Or Durham, North Carolina, I'm sorry. Caller, your question?

CALLER: Yes, I have a question. What is going to be done both by the government and by the airlines to stem the discrimination that is currently happening against Arab passengers on commercial airliners?

KARL: Well, Captain Dolan, we've seen essentially racial profiling by passengers in a couple of cases; passengers refusing to fly if there's somebody of Middle Eastern origin on the flight. What's being done about that?

DOLAN: Well, I think that we're all working very hard to make sure that civil liberties are maintained in this country. That's the hallmark of America. It's a free country and a free society and we accept everyone.

We just have to increase our security screening process for every passenger to ensure that we find people, if they have evil intents, we find who they are no matter what race they are.

To discriminate against one race over this terrible, terrible, horrible, tragic event is unconscionable, and we can't allow ourselves to fall into that. But we have to just increase the scrutiny of everyone to make sure that we have a safe and secure system for everyone to fly in. KARL: Rodney Slater, I mean, we do see this kind of racial profiling going on unofficially among everyday citizens. And of course we saw the 19 pictures of the hijackers, all of Middle Eastern origin. You hear a lot about this on talk radio.

Is racial profiling -- and I asked this of some senators earlier on this program -- is it any less objectionable today than it was before September 11?

SLATER: It should be. And I think Captain Dolan really expressed the sentiments of the American people.

Now, having said that, we are in a very difficult time. And it's very important for everyone to recognize that what the terrorists wanted to do was to change America into something that it's not. These kinds of activities really play into that.

This is a country that gains its strength from its diversity. We all have to be concerned about our safety, but we have to be concerned about what we stand for as a nation. And I do believe that, as we move forward, these kinds of issues will be addressed and addressed effectively.

KARL: Well, we have another e-mail. This one back to the cockpit door question, interesting question: "Why can't we just have no cockpit doors and a separate entrance to the front of the planes for pilots only?" And then I guess there'd be no way to get to the rest of the plane. That's from John (ph) in California.

Captain Dolan, I guess there'd be a problem in terms of pilots getting out to use the bathroom or get food?

DOLAN: Well, you could probably build an airplane that would isolate the cockpit.

But I think that, first of all, we don't have the luxury of that right now. We have a lot of airplanes, where we have to retrofit to make the cockpit door as strong as possible and as impenetrable as possible.

And perhaps in future designs, we can design something where there is almost an inability for anyone to access that area of the aircraft, but right now, that's really not feasible.

KARL: You've flown recently, since September 11, Mr. Slater, and we've been hearing these stories -- I haven't firsthand, but it's been all over the papers -- about pilots in the early days after September 11, coming on and giving pep talks to their passengers, essentially deputizing all them as air marshals, saying, "If there is a hijacker, I want all of you to come to our aid."

Have you seen any sign of that? Do you have any sense of how widespread that is?

SLATER: Well, I'll tell you what I have seen. I've seen the American people step forward. I've seen those in the industry, from the pilots to the attendants to the mechanics, the leaders of the industry, really step forward and start to acknowledge that this is something that we all have to be concerned about, from the pilots down. We all have to be vigilant in dealing with this issue.

Not only is that a wise thing to do, but it's reassuring for a passenger to come on board and to meet a pilot who is concerned about their safety, to see the attendants expressing concern. And it takes that kind of teamwork to ensure that the flight is a safe one. So I've been very impressed with what I've seen.

I've also been impressed with the service of Amtrak during this emergency. We've seen the entire transportation industry step forward and keep America moving.

KARL: Captain Dolan, we only have a few seconds left. But if you had flown in the days since September 11, what would you have told your passengers?

DOLAN: Well, I would try to assure them that we're doing everything possible to increase the security and safety of the environment that they're in, both from the check-in counter all the way through the actual flight.

We're coming up with a saying in the Airline Pilots Association that security is everyone's business. Everyone just needs to be aware, more aware now than they've been in the past. I think we've learned some real valuable lessons from September 11.

KARL: All right. Captain Dolan, former Transportation Secretary Rodney Slater, I thank you both for joining us.

SLATER: Thank you.

DOLAN: Thank you, as well.

KARL: Next, are reports getting shut out from the real story at the Bush war-time White House? Check out our reporters roundtable, just ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KARL: Now time for our SATURDAY EDITION roundtable. Joining me, author and journalist Danielle Crittenden; Jake Tapper, Washington correspondent for Salon.com.; and Mike Allen, White House reporter for the Washington Post.

Mike, start right off with you. You're there in the White House. Lots of questions of how much disinformation will be part of this war effort. Secretary Rumsfeld at the Pentagon says that he won't lie to reporters, but he didn't necessarily say that about anybody else in the building.

What are you -- are you getting the full story out of the White House?

MIKE ALLEN, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Oh, absolutely. You know, every day they just call up and give me the battle plans.

(LAUGHTER)

ALLEN: No, we see a lot of what you saw on one of your other big stories, and that is telling the truth slowly.

Just the fact that Secretary Rumsfeld and then the next day White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer were asked, "Would you lie," quite pointedly, with several follow-ups, tells you something about the climate that they're going into.

This White House is not giving up a lot of information. They wouldn't even say the president was addressing the nation at 8 o'clock or 9 o'clock. Simple things, they won't tell us.

KARL: But you're saying, it's telling the truth slowly; it's not lying. And I saw on Salon.com -- and I am a reader, Jake...

JAKE TAPPER, SALON.COM: Who isn't?

KARL: ... you had an article saying that basically there has been already some disinformation out of this White House.

TAPPER: Well, it's not just Salon. A lot of other networks and media organizations have talked to CBS and the Associated Press, are the ones that came forward and said that the original story that Air Force One was a target was not, in fact, the case. It was a misunderstanding by some staffers.

And I think that's one of the problems for any -- look, any White House puts out misinformation at times.

The question is, at a time like this, when the White House is saying to a large degree, "Trust us, you know, we know that Osama bin Laden did it. We can't give you the information yet, trust us." And I want to trust them. But when there are instances when there is not the forthcomingness that one would hope, it does cause some tension between the White House and the media.

KARL: But, Danielle, as a general proposition here at a time when national security is the issue, do you mind, even as a journalist, not getting the full or even the accurate story?

DANIELLE CRITTENDEN, AUTHOR AND JOURNALIST: We're under war-time measures, and in fact, I've been surprised that we've had this item on the Special Forces. Now, I don't believe that's been confirmed yet.

KARL: Unofficially, no.

CRITTENDEN: Unofficially. But, I mean, I would actually be disturbed if such information was coming out and alerting, you know, our enemy to what we're doing. And I think we all have to accept that and be patient with that as journalists. And, you know, there's only so much we're going to know and should know.

TAPPER: Well, the foreign media is often reporting on the stuff. Obviously, they don't have the same concern for our soldiers that we do. And a lot of these reports...

KARL: That story was first reported by Pakistani press.

TAPPER: Exactly. And you see that in the British press reports on our troop locations and that sort of thing. So it's not as though USA Today or other publications, media outlets, will be even the first ones to publish that.

KARL: So are you self-censoring yourself? I mean, you know where the president is at a given time, not reporting it? I mean...

ALLEN: Yes. The White House has made the request of these organizations that they not report where the president is going to be. And, at least intellectually, the White House recognizes that they don't have formal censorship powers. They have ways of making their feelings known to you. But they've made the request of these organizations not to do that.

And we've tried to be sensible about it. There are reporters who had the information about the Special Forces being in Afghanistan and held it back. And I think people want that at this moment. You know, the...

KARL: Well, in World War II journalists would actually submit their scripts for censorship review.

CRITTENDEN: Well, actually, John, and the other problem we're seeing coming out is that, because we're getting no information out of the White House, probably correctly, we have a lot of rumors and things being printed. And I think it would be nice if the White House would at least dismiss or correct the wrong information that is coming out, which I think they're attempting to do. But stories this past week that have come out just based on hearsay, because I guess reporters are desperate to report something of what is going on in the White House.

TAPPER: And one other interesting thing is that Secretary Rumsfeld, when he was asked that question, "Will you ever lie to us," the first thing he said -- before he said he never would and never had -- the first thing he did was paraphrase Winston Churchill in World War II, when he said, "Truth is so precious it often has to be accompanied by a bodyguard of lies."

(LAUGHTER)

TAPPER: That's the first thing he said. If you want to waste it on a reporter...

KARL: Well, let's switch gears. Jesse Jackson, there's all this talk about possible, you know, journey to Afghanistan to meet with the Taliban to try to broker something.

The latest on this, you probably saw, last night Jesse Jackson saying, "I am not inclined to go, but it deserves study."

Jake, does it deserve study? TAPPER: It does not deserve study. And we should not be talking about this, except for the comic value that it does provide us with an opportunity to laugh, you know, in the last three horrible weeks.

The thing I thought was the most amusing about this is Jesse Jackson says that he's been requested by the Taliban to come. The Taliban says no, Jesse's the one that initiated the contact. And everyone believes the Taliban.

(LAUGHTER)

KARL: Danielle, do you believe the Taliban?

CRITTENDEN: I mean, it almost gives you sympathy for the Taliban having to do it.

(LAUGHTER)

CRITTENDEN: I say send him. I say send him to over Afghanistan.

KARL: The White House here did the most critical thing they could do, which was gave Reverend Jackson total silence. They said, "Hook yourself up, buddy," and it went away very quickly.

CRITTENDEN: Well, but also, I mean, finding a role for people like Jesse Jackson -- it was like Bill Clinton. I mean, Bill Clinton is now reduced to walking into school rooms of children, unannounced, interrupting their math class to talk to them. And maybe, I mean, maybe we should appoint him ambassador to New Zealand or something...

ALLEN: That's not really fair though. He's trying to keep a low profile.

CRITTENDEN: ... just to do something.

ALLEN: He's trying to keep a low profile for the benefit of President Bush.

KARL: Let's take a quick break. We can talk about that when we come back.

The roundtable will continue when SATURDAY EDITION returns.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KARL: We're continuing our SATURDAY EDITION roundtable.

Now, Jake, another politician, to move from Jesse Jackson and the former president, Bill Clinton, Rudy Giuliani saying that he feels he should serve an extra few months as mayor of New York. What's your take?

TAPPER: My take is that Rudy Giuliani is the best advertisement against term limits that there is. I mean, this is a guy who was born for that job and, you know, maybe belongs there forever. But that said, he supported term limits when they didn't apply to him. And I think that, you know, just as there were elections during the Civil War and World War II, life goes on, politics goes on. And I think that there should be another election as normal would have happened.

KARL: Well, I mean, Giuliani has gotten Churhillian kind of reviews for how he's handled this. But his former friend and then rival, Ed Koch, used to say, that his biggest downfall was hubris. Is this hubris on Giuliani's part, saying that only he can lead the city over the next few months, needs an extra few months?

CRITTENDEN: Well, I think, you know, maybe there should be some sort of transitional process where he can be there helping. But, I mean, I agree, if the people of New York want a change or overturn their term limits legislation, they should do it and be allowed to do it.

It would be nice to see Giuliani take on some larger role. In many ways, he should have Tom Ridge's job or go on to do something perhaps nationally. I would love to draft him to come to Washington and help us out with our evacuation plans, but I don't think that would be likely.

ALLEN: Mayor Giuliani is the only person right now who is providing stature competition for the president. Over and over again you hear people talking about how large Giuliani looks next to the president. And right now he's the only public figure that that's being said about.

KARL: And the applause was absolutely thunderous at the speech for the joint session of Congress when Giuliani's name was mentioned, almost equal to when the president came in the chamber.

I want to move now, the New Republic, my alma mater of sorts, has a story about how, you know, basically all of the changes that we're talking about now in terms of anti-terrorism and beefing up intelligence have been in government reports before. They have been talked about, the problems, have been warned. And now, only now, are we getting around to taking some of these steps.

Jake, I mean, what's your sense on this? I mean, who's to blame? Torricelli wants a board of inquiry to find out who's the blame. Who do you think is the blame?

TAPPER: Well, there are those in the Intelligence Committee who think that Torricelli is partially to blame. He, in the '80s, when he was a member of the House, he was very, very critical of a lot of the people that the CIA got involved with in Central and South America.

And, you know, now that people talk about how the CIA was hamstrung and they weren't able to have as good intelligence because they couldn't have dirty spies on the CIA payroll, then Congressman Torricelli is, to a degree, responsible for some of those changes.

I don't think it's a time, though, for us to be saying it's Clinton's fault, it's Torricelli's fought, it's Bush's fought, whoever. It's a time for us to say, OK, we now realize that all of this stuff that the doomsdayers were saying, they were actually right. Let's take it all seriously now.

ALLEN: I think the real risk here for President Clinton is that people are going to say...

KARL: President Bush?

ALLEN: President Bush -- we have had our wake-up call. And now, when something happens again, then I think people are really going to say, where is the government? Why isn't this being stopped? And it's a very difficult position to be in.

KARL: In fact, when you look when these reports came out -- and there were several of them. I mean, there was the, obviously, the Rudman-Hart report, is one that's been talked about lot. It came out earlier this year.

I mean, you're at The Washington Post. I don't remember reading a lot about that report when it came out. I mean, it got some coverage, it got some attention. But it was not like the press was jumping all of this and saying where's the action going to come from.

CRITTENDEN: Well, I know, it's like we've been reduced to having to do in two months what we should have been doing over the past 10 years.

I think one of the other things that's coming out -- and, Jake, you wrote about it very well this week in Salon -- is how many groups have been just allowed to operate within our borders, have taken advantage of our laws.

And I think that, you know, we're hearing a lot of talk right now about civil liberties and not overreacting. But on the other hand, I would like to hear some of these organizations that denounced, for instance, the trials of the 1993 World Trade bombers come forward and denounce, not just terrorism, but these groups like Osama bin Laden's, that been operating seemingly without punishment within our boundary.

KARL: Well, how far -- well, go ahead.

ALLEN: I was interested in your conversation earlier about biological weapons, and we learned today the term "weaponize." You do hear a lot of people saying -- they realize that the terrorists are going to do something different next time. And so, there are a lot of people who now are worried about that.

KARL: I got an e-mail from a friend in California yesterday. Two headlines came up on his home page for his web, one saying, you know, "Generals given the OK to give the order to shoot down commercial aircraft"; and the other, "President Bush tries to instill confidence in the flying public."

(LAUGHTER)

KARL: I mean, what kind of a world -- where are we with this?

TAPPER: We're in the world that the rest of the world has lived in for the last, you know, for the last century. And it only just now has hit us.

You know, it is remarkable, when you look back and you think, there was a 1993 World Trade Center bombing. And why didn't anybody pay attention to that trial? Because it took place during the O.J. Simpson trial, and we were so much more concerned with that verdict. And when Sheikh Abdul Rahman was tried for conspiring to go blow up the Lincoln Tunnel and other things, we weren't paying attention.

Meanwhile, these types of activities have been going on in France, England, Israel. And it's time, finally, that -- it's not -- we're not in a new world. We just realize that we're in the one everyone else has been in.

CRITTENDEN: And also, since September 11, we're learning how ill-equipped our cities, including Washington, are to prepare.

TAPPER: Especially Washington.

KARL: Well, Danielle, Mike, Jake, thank you all for joining us on the first SATURDAY EDITION. Very much appreciate it.

Up next, some final thoughts. How will Americans adapt to their country's new war?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KARL: Now, Washington bureau chief Frank Sesno shares some final thoughts on adjusting to a different kind of war.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

FRANK SESNO, CNN WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF: Slowly, reluctantly, we are getting used to the trappings of a different way of life: heightened security at airports and many buildings; reservists called up for duty; fighter jets in skies once reserved for passengers only.

But long term, if there is a long term as many suggest, this conflict may lack the usual benchmarks of war.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD RUMSFELD, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: There is not going to be a D-Day as such, and I'm sure there will not be a signing ceremony on the Missouri as such. This is not something that begins with a significant event or ends with a significant event.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SESNO: Instead, it will be a struggle fought on many fronts with different coalitions, using military, legal, political and diplomatic weapons; some of it overt, some invisible.

All of this may make it harder to define success and to keep the public focused, vigilant, yet patient.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DEAN NATHAN BAXTER, WASHINGTON NATIONAL CATHEDRAL: It's difficult for us to deal with ambiguity. It's difficult for us to deal with the reality that is not framed in terms of time and specific benchmarks. We can tolerate a lot if we have a sense of where the end is.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SESNO: Compare it to another war, World War II, when London endured the Nazi blitz. Bombs rained from the skies, air raid sirens wailed, people ran to shelters. At some point, the "all clear" was sounded, and residents would emerge to carry on as they could.

Today, there may be no warning and no "all clear." Today the enemy wears no uniform, flies no flag, follows no rules and cannot be seen.

And so, life is filled with new contradictions -- the desire to return to normal along side the realization we never can.

Example: President Bush announces aviation safety measures plane-side at Chicago's O'Hare Airport and urges Americans to get on board.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH: Do you business around the country. Fly and enjoy America's great destination spots. Get down to Disney World and Florida. Take your families and enjoy life.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SESNO: At virtually the same time, the Pentagon confirms new rules of engagement to shoot down hijacked airliners should they threaten American cities.

A new kind of war. With it, new adversaries and allies, new strategies and tactics. As the secretary of Defense wrote this week, "The uniforms of this conflict will be bankers' pinstripes and programmers' grunge just as assuredly as desert camouflage." And a nation that's asked to prepare for the long haul, to mobilize and maybe sacrifice as it tries to get on with life.

Frank Sesno, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KARL: Thanks for tuning into SATURDAY EDITION. I'm Jonathan Karl in Washington.

Up next, CNN's continuing coverage of America's new war.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com


 
 
 
 


 Search   

Back to the top