CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Is It Safe to Fly?
Aired October 9, 2001 - 21:00 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.
LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, a third round of strikes against terrorist targets: The U.S. claims essential air supremacy over Afghanistan. Close to home, a scare in the D.C. subway system adds to many Americans' fears about the threat of bioterrorism.
Joining us, the assistant editor-in-chief of Al Jazeera, the TV network that's broadcast messages from Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda network -- from Qatar, Ahmed Sheikh.
Then, in Washington, Senator John Warner, ranking member of the Armed Forces Services Committee and former Navy secretary. With him is Senator Bob Graham, chairman of Select Intelligence, and former U.S. Senator Warren Rudman, co-chair of the United States Commission on National Security in the 21st Century.
And then bioterrorism: Is the United States ready? We'll talk with Senator Max Cleland, a member of Armed Services Committee, Dr. Mohammad Akhter, executive director of the American Public Health Association, Dr. Tara O'Toole, senior fellow of the Center for Civilian Biodefense Studies at Johns Hopkins, and homeland security expert Colonel Randy Larsen, U.S. Air Force retired, plus aviation security expert Mary Schiavo with us from Columbus.
We'll talk about a frightening cockpit breach on an American Airline jetliner. We'll also hear from the president of the Airline Pilots Association, Captain Duane Woerth, in Minneapolis. And then, Gary Lutnick did not make it out of the World Trade Center on September 11. His girlfriend, Ann De Sollar, shares her story and his final phone message.
And it's all next on LARRY KING LIVE.
We begin with Ahmed Sheikh. He's the assistant editor in chief of Al Jazeera. He comes to us from Doha, Qatar. The Al Jazeera satellite channel is a five-year-old television network broadcasting to an estimated 35 million Arab-world viewers, broadcasting from Qatar.
What's the latest on developments today, Ahmed?
AHMED SHEIKH, ASSISTANT EDITOR IN CHIEF, AL JAZEERA: Well, Larry, tonight, actually, as you said before, we had the third wave of strike against -- strikes against Afghanistan. And during the course of the day, I kept in constant touch with Tesiro Lonia (ph), our bureau chief there, our correspondent there. And he told us that certain targets were hit again in Kabul tonight. And also -- there were also other strikes against targets in Kandahar, where the Taliban leader, Mullah Mohammed Omar, was based. And it seemed that they were able to hit his offices directly.
And the Taliban people say that several people were killed there in the offices of the Mullah Omar. And also other targets were hit in Herat, another city in Afghanistan. We also got some -- about a seven minute -- yes.
KING: I'm sorry. Go ahead.
SHEIKH: Seven-minute footage from Tesiro about the target that was hit yesterday, the U.N. demining workers who were killed, the four of them. And the footage scenes that we saw there is really very saddening. And also that place was just a few hundred meters away from where our offices -- I was last year there in Kabul in the base.
SHEIKH: So -- we keep...
KING: Earlier today -- OK, I know you're right on top of it, but we've got a lot of guests and a lot of time problems here.
Earlier today, Ahmed, you played a tape from a message from al Qaeda, a very threatening message. How did you get that tape?
SHEIKH: Well, as we got the other tapes. The tapes are sent to us, to the office, to the bureau there in Kabul. They bring them to us. We don't know the people who bring them. They just deliver them there to us and then we reviewed them. And then we decide whether to put them on air or not.
So we do not know when they were taped. We don't know the people who bring them to the office there in Kabul. The only thing is that we know that this is a tape, we review it and we put it on air.
KING: Do you have any concerns about airing some of the tapes? Have there any you held back?
SHEIKH: Actually, before we put them on air, we review them. And then we decide whether this can be put on air or not. But we found that all of that thing, that it is the right of our viewers if you have -- if we have information, to put what we have on air for them to know of it.
So I don't think there are any concerns as long as we see them before we put them on air.
KING: And you are definitely confirming that an al Qaeda camp was taken out, right, by the bombers.
SHEIKH: Well, the report didn't really say anything about that, because, I don't think in Kabul you can find any camps for the al Qaeda (UNINTELLIGIBLE) They must be -- if there are any, they must be outside the city.
And he is not allowed to go outside the city, I think. We are expecting him to go today, after daybreak, try to get us some footage of the damage, the aftermath of the third round of strikes.
KING: We'll see more tomorrow. Thank you, Ahmed -- Ahmed Sheikh of Al Jazeera, broadcasting from Doha, Qatar in the region.
We welcome now, from Washington, Senator John Warner, Republican of Virginia, Senator Bob Graham, Democrat of Florida, and former U.S. Senator Warren Rudman, who is, along with former Senator Gary Hart, is on U.S. Commission of National Security in the 21st Century -- certainly well named before its time.
Senator Warner, what do you make of developments today, first, on the strikes and their success?
SEN. JOHN WARNER (R), VIRGINIA: Larry, it's going according to plan. And while the number of flights are varied from day-to-day, that's a pattern that helps keep them off guard. They never know quite what's coming by night or by day.
And I think that as the damage reports are coming in, the whole world can take pride in the professionalism of the men and women who are operating those missions and carrying them out with great courage. Yes, we regret the loss of four lives, but throughout the history of war, accidents will happen, innocents will be killed. But every time I heard some criticism today of that operation of four lives, I thought when I stood at ground zero in New York, where there were upwards of 5,000 there, as a consequence of this cruel terrorist attack.
KING: Senator Graham, are you concerned by that tape that was released offering more threats? Does that bother you at all?
SEN. BOB GRAHAM (D), FLORIDA: It does not surprise me, Larry.
There has been an expectation that, as we moved into the military phase, that there would be an increase number of threats and credible threats against the United States in our homeland, U.S. interests abroad, and our allies.
We must be prepared to protect ourselves to the best of our ability against the wide range of threats that are out there. And an area that I'm particularly concerned about are attacks against our seaports, where every day, there are tens of thousands of containers, with only a minuscule number of those being inspected.
There are so many threats that the only way we can really defend ourselves is to go in the offensive by taking out the terrorists where they live.
KING: Warren Rudman, former senator, it's always good to see you, Warren. Good to have you back on that he program. (CROSSTALK)
KING: You were warning of this some time back. It might well be asked: Why didn't they listen?
WARREN RUDMAN, FORMER U.S. SENATOR: Oh, I don't think it is a question of not listening. In fact, I think people were listening.
Up on the Hill, there are pieces of legislation, both in the Senate and the House, that are working their way through. When you look at President Bush's appointment of Tom Ridge, the model is one that we spoke about. The name is one that is in our report. They were looking at that since last March.
But, even if everyone had done everything we suggested, starting in day that we suggested it, you would not have prevented what happened in New York. This is going to take a long pull, a lot of reorganization.
I think Tom Ridge's job is a terrific, important job. But, let me add, I hope eventually Congress and the president decide to make it a Cabinet-level agency, with the kind of clout and budget authority it needs to really pull all of this together.
KING: And a permanent agency, Senator?
RUDMAN: Oh, absolutely. I mean, I think that John Warner and Bob Graham would agree that we have a Department of Defense to take care of our foreign problems. They are an overseas outfit, the Department of Defense.
We need a department of Homeland Security. We've got to defend our homeland, because we have a great Navy and a great Army and a great Marine Corps and a great Air Force. But when it comes to defending America from terrorists, they can respond for us, but here in this country, defending against people like we are dealing with, that is not what we need. We need other formulations.
KING: Senator Warner, then, this is not temporary, this job?
WARNER: Oh, by no means. And I think our president has made it very clear that this country, together with other free countries in the coalition today, are to be engaged in a prolonged -- and he used the term, "war" -- against terrorism. It may be, to use his words today, days, weeks, months, a decade, that may be necessary.
And I'm proud that our committee, the Armed Services Committee, established three years ago, when I was chairman a special subcommittee on emerging threats. Listening to Warren who did pioneer work in this area, and Bob, who has done a lot of work in this area, we have done some things on Capitol Hill, and indeed, we have made some progress.
But this is an important step forward, with Tom Ridge as a new remember of the cabinet, and I think in due course there will be legislation, assuming the president will want it, which will make it an official department or agency of our government.
KING: The president, by the way, is complaining, and we will ask about that after the break, about the classified information given to Congress being leaked to the media. Also, later, an incredible story near the end of the program, of love and loss. Please stay around for it. Among the guests tomorrow night will be the secretary of the Air Force, James Roach. We will be right back, don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD RUMSFELD, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: We have struck several terrorist training camps. We have damaged most of the airfields, I believe all but one, as well as their antiaircraft radars and launchers and with the success of previous raids, we believe we are now able to carry out strikes more or less around the clock, as we wish.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I want the Congress to hear loud and clear, it is unacceptable behavior to leak classified information when we have troops at risk!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Senator Graham, you are on the Intel -- you are chairman of Select Intelligence, do you know who is doing the leaking?
GRAHAM: No, I do not. But it -- I agree with the president. It is unacceptable to have whoever did it, whether it was a member of Congress, staff, or some other person who came into contact with this classified information, to then leak it, particularly during the kind of days that we are now living through.
I think the president took the right action. I imagine that there are going to have to be some modifications of his executive order, for instance, John Warner is going to have to have access to classified information in order to carry out his responsibility as the ranking member of the Armed Services Committee. The Appropriations Committee will have to have access to classified information in order to make good judgments, as to the resources that are required.
WARNER: Larry, today the president, as Bob said, stepped right up at the time he was with our visitor from Germany and said Senate Armed Services Committee, House Armed Services Committee would continue as we have done in the past. Sunday afternoon I went to the Pentagon where Secretary Rumsfeld and Secretary Wolfowitz and the chairman briefed four or five of us who were chairmen and ranking members.
But I remember in the closing days of World War II when I was a 17-year-old sailor, every morning, when we got up, we were told "loose lips sink ships." And that has been a maxim throughout our history in the military and it has guided my actions all these many years I have been privileged to work with the men and women of armed forces.
KING: Let me include a phone call. Clearwater, Florida, Hello.
CALLER: Hello, my question and my comment would be, to Senator Graham regarding his comments earlier about the vulnerability of our seaports, and talking about how it -- the inspections there were not sufficient. And I just wonder how wise it is for our politicians to go on the air. And it seems to me that we are giving out way too much information, there.
Were I a terrorist at that point and didn't have that information, I think I would think that was a very good thing for me to have. So I would like to know...
KING: All right, why, Senator Graham, why say there is a problem at the seaport?
GRAHAM: Well, first, because there is a problem at the seaport. And it is not a secret, there was a major presidential commission three years ago which did a comprehensive study of our seaports and pointed out the number of vulnerabilities that we had.
There is now legislation before the Congress to begin to fill some of those gaps, and I anticipate that legislation will be even strengthened as a result of what happened on September 11. We need to give the American people accurate candid information. Our people are smart. They are resilient. They are patriotic. And given the right information, they will make good decisions for themselves.
This is a time in which we need to practice qualities such as patience, and also caution.
KING: Senator Rudman, you agree?
RUDMAN: Yes, I not only agree, but let me just add that these terrorists are very smart. They are very informed. They are paying a lot of attention, have for years. They probably know a lot more about America and its weaknesses in terms of security, than the average American citizen.
The average American citizen is not interested in that fact, but I guarantee you that they know about the containers, they know about the borders, they know about the unguarded borders. That is their business, and Bob Graham is absolutely right to speak out on the issue because it needs to be remedied promptly by the authorities, and I expect Tom Ridge will address that as one of his first challenges.
KING: Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, hello.
CALLER: Mr. King? KING: Go ahead.
CALLER: I have a question for Senator Bob Graham.
KING: Go ahead.
CALLER: I would like to know if he thinks that it is possible that Osama bin Laden has already left Afghanistan, and might be in Iraq and might have left even before the World Trade bombings?
GRAHAM: The answer is it is possible but it is unlikely. I have -- all of the evidence that is currently available points towards his still being in Afghanistan and I anticipate that once we finish this first wave of air attacks and have blinded the Afghanistan military, then you will see a very targeted effort aimed at bin Laden.
KING: Senator Warner, were you were concerned by the threats levied in that tape played earlier?
WARNER: Oh, I think we always have to be very vigilant. But as our president has reminded us, I think from day one, and I commend him, America must move forward. We must go out and meet our challenges of life, and carry on, and that we will do. But be mindful that there are lurking, today, as Bob Graham, and Warren have said, people ready to do harm against the United States.
KING: Austin, Texas, hello.
CALLER: Hi. I was wondering if anybody could tell us the status of the women that are in jail over there, those women missionaries? There were, I think there was another man over there, too, that was in jail.
KING: Does anyone know? Do you know, Senator Graham?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They are still in custody, according to the news reports which is all that I know.
GRAHAM: I was in Pakistan about a month ago, just before September 11. The families of these Americans and Europeans were shuttling between Islamabad and Kabul, anxious to get their relatives out. It is my understanding that in light of what's just happened, they have ceased whatever passes for a judicial process in Afghanistan, and they continue to be in jail.
KING: Thank you, Senators. We will be calling upon you again. We'll take a break and when we come back, a major discussion on bioterrorism. It was the topic at the Senate today. It will be the topic on LARRY KING LIVE next. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: These are extraordinary times. Our nation has put troops at risk. And, therefore, I felt it was important to send a clear signal to Congress that classified information must be held dear. That there is a responsibility that if you receive a briefing of classified information, you have a responsibility, and some members did not accept that responsibility.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Bioterrorism was the topic of a major discussion in the Senate today. Two of our guests were there. They were Senator Max Cleland, Democrat of Georgia, Dr. Mohamed Akhter, executive director of the American Public Health Association. We are joined by Dr. Tara O'Toole, senior fellow of the Center for Civilian Biodefense Studies at Johns Hopkins. And Colonel Randy Larsen. Randall was a guest last night, United States Air Force (Ret.), director of the Anser Institute for Homeland Security.
What did you learn today, Senator Cleland? What hit you? What came out at you most at that session?
SEN. MAX CLELAND (D-GA), ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE: That America is really unprepared for massive attack against our citizens, of a biological or chemical nature. That is one reason why I was promoting today the dramatic upgrade, I called it really, a Marshall plan for the CDC, in Atlanta, to be the lead agent in helping this country defend itself against biological chemical warfare.
Unless we give this agency the kind of support that it really needs in terms of facilities, in terms of security, expanded capabilities, I think we will continue to be on defensive in terms of bioterrorism.
KING: Dr. Akhter, what's the role of American Public Health Association in this, vis-a-vis the CDC?
DR. MOHAMMAD AKHTER, AMERICAN PUBLIC HEALTH ASSOCIATION: Larry, our members work at the federal government, state government, and the local government protecting the health of the American people. These are the front line people, these are the people who keep watch on the disease elements within the -- within our environment and how disease spread from one person to another.
They are the people who have been monitoring day in and day out, about the occurrence of disease, and it is only by monitoring the disease, the people going to the clinics, to the hospital, to the doctors offices, and seeing unusual occurrences of disease that we can spot early on, detect the disease, provide the right treatment, so that we can save the life of the individual who is affected, but more importantly, prevent the spread of disease.
KING: Dr. O'Toole, what do you do what do you say to the public to keep them not from panicking but at the same time being alert?
DR. TARA O'TOOLE, CIVILIAN BIODEFENSE STUDIES CENTER: Well, we are used to thinking of disease as an individual problem, as something that individuals can solve or that families can deal with. Bioterrorism is not a problem that individuals can deal with. This is something that government has to work on. We are either all safe or none of us are safe.
KING: And, Colonel Larsen, are we now -- has it hit hard enough to make this happen? Do you think these hearings the like and do you think the ideas of Senator Cleland and others will bear fruit?
RET. COLONEL RANDALL LARSEN, HOMELAND SECURITY EXPERT: I clearly think so, Larry. Obviously, my background is military, so when I talk about readiness I think about the three things we look at: Personnel, training, and resources. Those are three things we need to focus our efforts on. Public health is now an important part of national security. It is just as important as the Department of Defense. And we need to understand that. That is something new in the 21st century.
KING: What about the anthrax scare, Senator Cleland? The director of the DCD says the evidence is stacking up that that strain involved is not environmental. In other words, it was manufactured.
CLELAND: Well the good thing about it is we do have the CDC to look at these kind of things. And I think we see in the anthrax scare, the fact that we need rely on the CDC more than ever.
And in terms of resources, in terms of facilities, in terms of security, that agency is not where it ought to be. I'm confident that I can help, with other members of the Senate, add about $100 million to the president's request. We can get about a quarter of a billion dollars this coming year for the CDC. But We need more than that. We need to be part of that $1.4 billion that Senator Kennedy and others are looking for, for Anti-terrorism activities.
The key point is as Dr. Akhter mentioned, if you don't have the CDC out there identifying the stuff, and able to get down to the hospital level and treat those and identify what's going on, we got a real problem.
KING: Dr. Akhter, you said that only half the states have federal experts specifically trained to prevent this, only 32 states employ their own public health veterinarians and about 10 percent of public health departments don't even have e-mails. So, we are way under here, right?
AKHTER: Oh, absolutely. That is the understatement, Larry. I think we are not -- in some areas of our country we are unprepared. But overall as a nation we are underprepared. And, you know, there is so much you can do to really ask for help from the neighbors or from the CDC.
You must have local resources at home. You must have a fire hydrant near to your home to be able to put out the fire. And, in many places we are not in that situation to have that in place at the moment.
KING: Let's include some calls. Gadsden, Alabama, hello.
CALLER: Hi. I was wondering what the average person can do to protect himself, if anything.
KING: Excellent question. Dr. O'Toole, what can the average person -- what would you say to a friend, a neighbor, a relative, do tomorrow that you didn't do today?
O'TOOLE: There really isn't anything much that an average person can do to protect themselves. This is really a job for government. As has been said, we have to invest in public health over the long term. We have to increase the capacity to deal with mass casualties in our hospital system. Financial pressures have removed excess capacity from our medical care system. We have turned it into a business, and there is no payer for disaster preparedness.
We also need to invest as a country in biomedical research and development and production so that we have the drugs and the vaccines, the diagnostic tests we need to make this problem go away at least as a weapon of mass terror. Finally, we need to think about preventing a new biological arms race as we move into the future.
KING: Colonel Larson, one witness today said someone out there did grow anthrax. We can't hide behind the explanation that it is too tough to develop as a weapon anymore. Was that statement correct?
LARSEN: Absolutely. We have been saying that for a number of years, Larry. It is possible with modern biotechnology, for nations states, such as Iraq, to make modern biological weapons. Some folks think that well-financed terrorist organizations can do that. Biological warfare and biological terrorism is a reality in the 21st century. We need to be better prepared for it.
KING: We will take a break and be right back with our panel. And still to come we will discuss air safety, an incredible incident with American Airlines yesterday. And then, a story of love and loss you will not want to miss. Don't go away.
KING: We're back.
Senator Cleland, how quick can we know -- how can the United States have the ability to detect immediately if there is a bioterror attack in the air?
CLELAND: Well, I think Dr. Akhter mentioned it. I think the people on the front lines of this, the people out there the hospitals and the community centers, they have to be able to recognize this. That's why the CDC is so important. It's the missing link. It can train these workers out there around the country for a mass attack, not just one or two episodes.
And all of this is part of Homeland Defense, which now has to be coordinated among some 47, 48 different agencies. It's a daunting challenge, but it can be done.
KING: But what about right now, Dr. Akhter, on scale of one to 10, how prepared is this country?
AKHTER: I would say that we are prepared to deal with a smaller incident where there are few people involved, like what happened in Florida. We were remarkably prepared, we dealt with it. And we are dealing with it at the moment. But, if, say, hundreds of thousands of people get involved, then we are in great difficulty. We don't have the capacity to deal with it.
So my answer to you is, on a small scale we can pull our resources together and could deal with it. But if the incidents take place in multiple places or there is a large incident, then our capacity isn't there to really deal with it. So what we need is surge capacity -- places where they have the capacity, and those places where we don't have the capacity, we need to build it.
KING: By the way, the president and CEO of American Media, David Pecker, will make his first media appearance to discuss all this tomorrow night. The anthrax occurred, of course, at his plant.
Dr. O'Toole, the Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson insists that federal doctors are ready to combat any bioterrorist attack, but a lot of lawmakers openly question this. Where do you stand?
O'TOOLE: I think I would agree with Dr. Akhter. We are underprepared, in most areas of the country. We need to train physicians to be alert to the symptoms of possible bioweapons pathogens. We need to infuse a lot more capacity into the public health system. And we need to do some things in the short term, and other things in the longer term, to better detect and be able to respond to a bioterrorist attack.
For example, if we had the technology right now to rapidly detect anthrax infections before people became symptomatic, we would be better off in Florida today. We wouldn't have 700 people taking Cipro and getting nasal swabs and waiting to see if they grew bacteria or not. We could tell them within a matter of hours: You've been infected, you haven't been.
That kind of technology is doable, if we put our minds to it. We need to think about what we need immediately, and what we need do in the longer term to become better prepared. This is a manageable situation, but we have to invest and we have to invest over the long term in building the systems we need. We don't have it now.
KING: Margate, Florida, hello.
CALLER: Hi, Larry. I'm calling from Florida and I want to know what the American people can do to protect themselves about smallpox. We have all been vaccinated, many of us, in our younger years, and it's no longer any good.
KING: Colonel Larsen, smallpox. What's the danger?
LARSEN: Well, we looked at smallpox in dark winter scenario, and it's correct that we haven't -- no one in this country under the age 29 has been vaccinated, and those of my age and the baby boomer group, we haven't been vaccinated in about 30, 40 years, so it's highly ineffective.
There is nothing that the average citizen can do about it right now. We have 15 million doses of vaccine in stockpile right now, and we are rapidly accelerating production of 40 million new doses. The most important thing is, we need to remember, smallpox is the least likely biological warfare scenario. It's a threat, it's something we need to take very seriously, and that's why we're rapidly increasing our production capability. We'll now have that new 40,000 supply -- or 40 million supply -- at the end of 2002, instead of the originally planned 2004.
KING: Senator Cleland, where is all the money going to come from? Are we going to have to cut a lot of things to pay for all these other things?
CLELAND: Larry, I think it's part of the commitment of this country to do what it takes to defend our country. I mean, defend our nation. This is homeland defense. I mean, we all have one homeland. This is it. We're not going anywhere.
KING: It's the No. 1 priority, but I mean is -- are people not going to get welfare checks? Are people not going to -- you know...
CLELAND: I don't think that's what we're talking about here, Larry. But I do think that the surplus is pretty much gone. I think we're probably going to be in a deficit situation in another few months. The point being, though, we don't have any choice. We have to defend our homeland. We have to prepare our people for the possibility of germ warfare -- not that we all are going to be shaking in our boots, but that we have to upgrade the CDC, we have to train our people at the local level. And we have to be prepared, at least, for something of this nature.
KING: Dr. Akhter, distribution of treatment in case of an attack -- are we quickly set up for that?
AKHTER: No, Larry, not at all. I think we all saw the pictures on the television in Florida, where people have lined up around the health department. And they're only talking about 500, 700 people. Think about this if there were 5,000 people in the building. You know, we don't have that capacity. We don't have that mechanism worked out to really be able to distribute the drug in a timely fashion.
And more importantly, the front line workers, the people who really go in there and deal with these people -- the brave firemen, the brave EMTs, paramedics, the policemen -- they need to have the access to these drugs. So they shouldn't be standing in line to really take the drugs. They should be able to take it themselves. It should be part of their toolkit.
Just like we give every fireman a hard hat and a coat to protect themselves from the heat, we need to give them really the medication so they have it, so they are protected, so they go in fearless. They're not worried about their own protection.
KING: This a new kind of training, Dr. O'Toole, for American doctors? Are they going to have to go back to school in some senses? O'TOOLE: Well, it certainly is a new kind of training and a new world. I would hope that they wouldn't have to go back to school, that we could use modern technology, such as distant learning, to get people up to speed very quickly, Larry.
KING: Would you agree to that, Colonel Larsen? Are we on the right map?
LARSEN: I think training is very important. And from the military perspective that I come from, we place a very high value on training, and on surge capacity, we've been talking about. I used to be stationed at Andrews Air Force Base. We have covered tennis courts out there. Well, those are nice to play tennis in the winter, but that's not why the American taxpayers paid for that. In a matter of hours, that becomes a 400-bed hospital.
Now, we can't expect private hospitals that need to make a profit to do that. That's why we need a partnership with the federal government and the private sector, so that we can have that surge capacity and to pay for the training that is required.
KING: We are not here to scare. We are here to report, ask the best questions we can and enable you to do what you wish with the answers. We thank our guests and we expect to do a lot more on this in the nights ahead. Among the guests tomorrow night will be secretary of the Air Force, James Roche, David Pecker, the president and CEO of American Media -- that's where the anthrax scare occurred. Senators Lieberman and Shelby will be aboard as well.
When we come back, aviation safety and then that special story. Don't go away.
KING: Joining us now in Columbus, Ohio, is Mary Schiavo, aviation safety expert, former inspector general, Department of transportation. And in Minneapolis, Duane Woerth, president of Airline Pilots Association.
Let me get you up to date with this. As we know, two American Airlines planes were involved in the September 11 attack. And yesterday a man penetrated the cockpit of another American Airline plane. There you see a picture of him being apprehended. American Airlines, by the way, declined our request to appear on tonight's show, declined to send a representative.
Now, security is supposed to be very tight, Captain Woerth. How did this guy get into the cockpit?
DUANE WOERTH, PRESIDENT, AIRLINE PILOTS ASSOCIATION.: Even before September 11th, we had a problem with unruly passengers. Alaskan Airlines, we had a similar incident. British Airways had one not long ago. As we have said to Congress, both the Senate and the House, and our report to Secretary Mineta, the current door is not a secure door. You don't have to be an NFL linebacker to burst through that door. That's why we're installing deadbolt locks, why these steel bars are being installed. And about 5 percent of the fleet a day is being -- that's being done to. So I think, hopefully, within 30 days a very high percentage of the fleet -- that will no longer be possible.
KING: Mary, if there were a marshal on this plane, might they have shot someone? I'm talking, seriously now, who was mentally incompetent, but not a hijacker?
MARY SCHIAVO, AVIATION SAFETY EXPERT: Well, yes, that is entirely possible, because the marshals, the U.S. air marshals, are trained to use only lethal force, and trained to shoot to kill, not to warn or to maim. And Captain Woerth is right. There have been five such incidents just in the year 2000 alone -- three on U.S. carriers, two on overseas carriers,
In one of the cases, they bloodied the passengers, or the pilot, and in four of the cases they were actually able to get to the controls. So this is a very serious problem, but a marshal might have shot.
KING: F-16s escorted the plane to Chicago. Will that be the case, in all cases, Captain Woerth, to your knowledge?
WOERTH: Well, I think that certainly with air defense they have now and the high profile that we have today, that they will respond immediately, and they have a capability to respond that fast in every incidence.
KING: Mary, do you see any fault with American Airlines?
SCHIAVO: Well, again, we had a problem of a delay. Before the incident, obviously, the FAA had given the carriers 90 days to reinforce their doors, and it's a pattern that we see over and over again. Now that we've had yet another breaking in to the cockpit, they have reduced the time they have to respond to 30 days.
And remember, carriers can always do it quicker and can do it better than the federal government. So I think that probably once again we're seeing a case of, "we wish we would have acted faster," so yes, they'll be under criticism. But they do have 30 days.
KING: Duane, isn't there an assumption that there are marshals on almost all the planes now?
WOERTH: I don't think so. I know we have 35,000 flights a day -- at least, we did prior to September 11 -- so we know we don't have that many marshals. I just flew out of National Airport this evening to come to Minneapolis, and the crew I was with has been flying out of National regularly. And almost every flight out of National has had a federal marshal, more than two.
But I don't think the American public thinks we're going to have that many marshals immediately, although their anticipation is -- and we hope a very many marshals will be on the way soon.
KING: Now, they're assuring us it's OK to fly, Mary, but doesn't an incident like this give you pause?
SCHIAVO: Well, certainly it does, because we have not only to worry about the terrorists from foreign countries, but we have our own concerns right here with domestic aviation and copycat terrorists. And the fact of the matter is, is we are busy responding to the last threat, which is the terrorist threat.
And there are other issues to be concerned about, including our domestic threats and also other threat vectors that we haven't really addressed yet. So once again, we're getting a piecemeal response, and we really have to look at the entire system.
KING: What's the role of the pilot in a case like this, Duane?
WOERTH: I think the American pilot should be commended. They were prepared for this. At our task force in Herndon, the American pilots called in and they briefed all of our people. In event of an intrusion, they knew they didn't have a secure door. The captain and copilot had already worked out who was going to fly the airplane, who was going to work communication. Copilot was going to be assigned to confront the threat.
So the crews, I think, did a marvelous job in coordination with the flight attendants. So we're prepared as we can be to handle these kind of threats. And we get that new door -- frankly right now, I think the safest place in America is in an airport or an airplane, because what Mary just said, the threats are a lot of other places you don't have national guard and all the other deterrents that we have right now.
KING: Mary, in the current "New Yorker," there is an article written by David Remnick and I'm going to quote just part of it. "A pilot on United Airlines flight 564, two days after the incident, bound for Washington Dulles, came on the intercom leaving Denver and said 'Here is our plan and the rules.'" He announces this to the plane.
"'If someone or several people stand up and say they are hijacking the plane, I want you to all stand up together, take whatever you have available with you and throw it at them. Throw it at their faces and heads so they'll have to raise their hands to protect themselves. The very best protection you have against knives are pillows and blankets. Whoever is close to these people should try to get a blanket over their heads, pull them down to the floor.
And I'll land the plane at the closest place, and then we'll take care of them. After all, there are usually only a few of them, and we are 200 plus strong and we'll not allow them to take over this plane.'"
What do you make of that, that kind of announcement?
SCHIAVO: Well, it's a sad reality. The pilots have taken to calling the situation "yo-yo," you're on your own, because literally, once you seal that plane go up there, it's the pilot and the passengers and the flight attendant. And I think they're being very realistic.
Right now, we are on our own up there, and we're looking to the government to provide answers, but things like air marshals are going to take more than weeks. They're going to take months and years, as Captain Woerth said. The president was fairly honest. We only have about three dozen. And so for now, that pilot was being brutally honest. He probably didn't make the passengers feel any better, but that's really the situation: yo-yo.
KING: Duane, you're a pilot. What do you make of what he said?
WOERTH: Well, I heard from a lot of those passengers. They actually wrote me and they all applauded him. They were comforted by a captain's taking charge. It may have been nonconventional, but they knew he had a plan, he was prepared to deal with it. And they were comforted by the fact that it wasn't going to happen again, certainly not on their flight.
So until we get all those new measures and the new doors, the federal marshals, better security screening identification, I guarantee you the captains are going to be in charge of their airplane.
KING: By the way, it was a pretty good idea, wasn't it, Duane?
WOERTH: I think it worked great, and I think -- like I said, I heard from an awful lot of those passengers on that flight and I didn't hear any complaints. Just total support for that crew.
KING: Mary, obviously, this, through tragedy comes plus. We're getting more in line with things, aren't we?
SCHIAVO: Well, hopefully we are. We can't lose our national resolve, with the attention now turning to things like anthrax, et cetera. Already we see some of the measures stalled in the House and the Senate. They're arguing over whether the employees that do this should be federal, who is going to pay for it, can't they be contract employees -- so we don't want to lose our way.
And there's a great problem of getting lost in woods here, with all the measures being proposed. We've got to steadily pound forward on this security, and that's the most important thing to do right now.
KING: Thank you, Mary Schiavo and Duane Woerth.
As we go to break and we show you scenes from ground zero in New York, Ann De Sollar will join us. Her boyfriend was Gary Lutnick. He died in the World Trade Center terror attack. He was the brother of Cantor Fitzgerald's CEO, Howard Lutnick, and we have a very dramatic love and loss story to tell you. Don't leave us. We'll be right back.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) KING: And now a story of love and loss. Joining us from New York is Ann De Sollar. Her boyfriend was the late Gary Lutnick. She was the former CEO of the duchess of York's nonprofit foundation Chances for Children.
How did you and Gary meet?
ANN DE SOLLAR, BOYFRIEND DIED AT WTC: It was interesting, Larry. I had been asked to go to New York by the duchess of York, to be the CEO of her nonprofit organization, Chances for Children, as you had mentioned, and had met the directors of Chances for Children. And Gary's sister-in-law was the director.
Before I had accepted the position, I was still living in Boston, and she passed my number along to Gary. He called me in Boston and wanted to fly up for a blind date and I said, "absolutely not." I was actually mourning the death of someone who had asked me to marry them six months prior.
KING: You had lost a fiance, right?
DE SOLLAR: Well, he had asked me to marry him, and after he passed away I found the engagement ring. And that was six months prior to meeting Gary.
KING: So how did it develop with Gary?
DE SOLLAR: Well, he was real persistent. He finally called back and said, you know, I have business in Boston on Friday, and I'd love to fly up on Thursday so we could have dinner beforehand. And it was, I think, fate, because there was a horrible snowstorm and Gary got snowed in for three days. So we had a long first date, and it got very serious very quickly.
KING: So serious that you were converting to Judaism, right?
DE SOLLAR: Yes, we were taking Derekh Torah classes. I wasn't a very good student, but we were definitely talking about that.
KING: But you did not get engaged. Why?
DE SOLLAR: We did not get engaged, because I was having a lot of trouble, living in the past. Living in the past.
KING: Over your lost boyfriend.
DE SOLLAR: Yes, yes, yes, over the loss that I had before Gary. And Gary had said, going into the relationship, that he wanted to be engaged within a year. He wanted to move forward and have children. And I couldn't do that, because I was living in the past.
And -- I had done a lot of traveling on my own after I had left the duchess of York's nonprofit organization, and it was kind of a joke we had because each time I would do this traveling on my own, Gary would break up with me because he didn't want me to go.
KING: So you go to Hawaii, right?
DE SOLLAR: Yes.
KING: To attend a Tony Robbins seminar on Thursday -- this is before the tragedy of Tuesday.
DE SOLLAR: Correct.
KING: And you talked to Tony and he advises to you to what?
DE SOLLAR: Well, I got there and I was having hesitation about being there, because I had just broken up with Gary. And Tony said something to the whole audience -- it wasn't just to me. But he said, "you cannot dance in the present if you're carrying around a ball and chain from the past."
And it clicked. And so I got on the phone right then and there, and I called Gary, and I realized it was 4:00 in the morning New York time, so I left a message at his office saying, "I understand, I've been living in the past. I haven't been living in the present. I'm ready to commit to you, I'm ready to get married. I'm ready to have those three little boys we talked about."
KING: So you brought him the happiest news of his life, and you leave it on his machine, right?
DE SOLLAR: At the office. I left it on his voice mail at the office.
KING: You didn't want to wake him up at home.
DE SOLLAR: I knew he wouldn't make any sense of it.
KING: He gets into office in the morning. You're sleeping in Hawaii. right?
DE SOLLAR: Correct.
KING: OK, how do you know there's a message on your machine?
DE SOLLAR: Oh, on my machine?
KING: Yeah. You got a message from him, right?
DE SOLLAR: Well, then Tuesday morning I got a message on my voice mail -- he had called at 8:56 in the morning, which was 2:56 in the morning Hawaii time, and I couldn't find my phone. It was in the dark. And then he went into voice mail and left me a message from the Trade Center.
KING: Did you hear that message before you were watching television to see the accident at the Trade center?
DE SOLLAR: I wasn't watching any television for probably at least a week, but I had a friend, friends call me. It was a couple that we actually did a lot of things with, and they told me what had happened. And then I checked my messages.
KING: And we now have that message, and we're going play it for the audience. This is Gary Lutnick calling Hawaii and leaving a message for our guest, Ann. Listen.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
GARY LUTNICK, VICTIM OF WTC: Hey, baby. It's me. I'm in the World Trade Center and -- a plane hit this building and I'm on the 104th floor and it's filling up with smoke. I love you very much, and I'm sorry that we had to go through what it is that we went through. Oh, my God. My life is probably going to end very, very shortly. I love you, baby. Bye-bye.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's go. Hold the vents. Is there any vents in here?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. Close the door.
LUTNICK: Bye, baby. Bye.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
KING: He said, "my life is going to end very, very shortly," and then that pause, and, "goodbye." How on earth did you handle that?
DE SOLLAR: Well, I have to first say, Larry, that I couldn't listen to that right now. So that was the only way I could -- can keep my composure right now.
The thing that really struck me about Gary's message, as so many other people who left messages to those who they loved, is the fact that in Gary's last moment of his life, he had the composure to make the choice to call those who he loved. And we need to take that example and tell people how much we care about them every day, as Gary did. And use those messages that were left to people as an example that we've got to reach out and tell people how much we care about them.
And, Larry, I think that if -- if people crumble, like those buildings did, then the terrorism has won. And what we've got to do is focus on the positive attributes of people like Gary and the other victims, incorporate that in ourselves and move forward. And one of Gary's positive attributes was that he told people how much he cared about them all the time.
KING: There was a service for him yesterday, right?
DE SOLLAR: Yes, there was. It was...
KING: What was that like for you?
DE SOLLAR: Very hard, Gary -- Larry, I'm sorry. Very, very hard. It was very emotional. I was trembling the entire time, but I think that you've got to experience those emotions. You can't bottle them up inside, because they explode like a volcano. KING: Ann, I thank you very much for sharing with us and for making available the tape. I think you have helped thousands of people.
DE SOLLAR: I hope so.
KING: Ann De Sollar in New York.
We're going to close tonight and I'll come back and tell you about tomorrow night, with images courtesy of "Vanity Fair." A supplement will be released in the magazine in the November issue tomorrow. The man who took these extraordinary pictures is photographer Jonas Carlson. We'll be right back.
KING: Tomorrow night the secretary of the air force, James Roche, will join us. So will David Pecker, president and CEO of American Media -- that's where the anthrax occurrence took place. Senators Lieberman and Shelby will be aboard as well.
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