CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Interview With Joseph Lieberman; Interview With Paul Wellstone; Interview With Christopher Shays
Aired November 29, 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, should Saddam Hussein be America's next target?
Joining us to debate the options for action against Iraq, Senator Joseph Lieberman, chairman of the Governmental Affairs Committee and member of Armed Services; Senator Paul Wellstone, member of Foreign Relations; Congressman Christopher Shays, chairman of the Government Reform Subcommittee on National Security; and former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell.
Then, on the hunt for Osama bin Laden: Will he be caught and if he is then what? Joining us from Kabul, Afghanistan, CNN's Christiane Amanpour; in New York, ABC News law and justice correspondent John Miller who has interviewed bin Laden; and with him, ABC News chief investigative correspondent Brian Ross; and back in Washington, CNN's own Peter Bergen, author of the runway best seller "Holy War Incorporated".
We'll also talk later with the prime minister of Spain, Jose Maria Aznar. His nation is holding eight suspects accused in the September 11 attacks.
And then later on, country music star Martina McBride sings "Blessed".
All next on LARRY KING LIVE.
The topic of our opening section tonight could be should we or shouldn't we? And we will start with Senator Lieberman in Washington. Should we go to Iraq?
SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN (D-CT), GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS COMMITTEE: Well, Larry, we should eventually. The timing is up to president as commander in chief.
But I think President Bush was absolutely right in his speech to us in Congress on September 20 when he said we were beginning not just the battle to destroy bin Laden and al Qaeda, but to end terrorism. And the reason for that is that we didn't want to just take revenge on those who attacked us so brutally on September 11. We wanted to prevent such a terrorist attack from happening to America ever again.
And if you look at the list of suspects, it is not only Saddam, but he looms large as a terrorist himself and as one who has supported terrorism and who obviously has a desire, a burning desire, for revenge against the United States. So I would say, Saddam should be right there on the list. And if he is not, we will not have achieved genuine security in this war against terrorism.
KING: Senator Wellstone, what thinketh you?
SEN. PAUL WELLSTONE (D-MN), FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE: Well, what I think is the world would be a better place without Saddam Hussein. But I think that Secretary Powell is right when he says there is no good short-term options for getting rid of him. And I think right now the focus has to be on Afghanistan. And we've got a lot of challenges that have not been met yet, whether it be bin Laden and bringing justice to -- or to bin Laden or bin Laden to justice, or whether it be the al Qaeda network or whether it be the task of political and economic reconstruction, and also, Larry, humanitarian relief.
People think that because the Northern Alliance is doing so well militarily, we are doing fine on the ground and getting food to people. Actually, it has become more difficult. The security situation is very problematical. If there is one place where I think I would disagree with Defense Secretary Rumsfeld. I think we do need some stabilization forces coming in to get food to people.
And then I think, also, as Senator Mitchell can speak to this, but I wrote a piece in the "Christian Science Monitor" in August arguing that we needed to become involved in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. There has to be some settlement. There just can't continue to be a river of blood. I don't think our government can be a good peacemaker there if, at the same time, we are going into Iraq militarily with no evidence linking Saddam Hussein to September 11.
KING: Congressman Shays, Iraq: yea or nay?
REP. CHRISTOPHER SHAYS (R-CT), NATIONAL SECURITY SUBCOMMITTEE: We have to go in it. And it would be absurd, I think, to have to link anything to September 11. That was our wake-up call from a hell, as Benjamin Netanyahu said. But the bottom line is we had the attack on the Cole and Beirut. We can get a list about 11 attacks, some of which they were definitely involved in.
In Afghanistan, there a nest to the terrorists. The al Qaeda has had a place to eat, to sleep and to train. But in Iraq, that's where the biological, chemical and nuclear work is being undertaken to give to the terrorists. And he has used them. He has used some of these weapons of mass destruction. He has to be on our list, and soon.
KING: And, former Senator Mitchell, your thoughts?
GEORGE MITCHELL, FORMER SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: Well, Larry, I think it clearly must remain an option. Saddam Hussein deserves all of the condemnation that Joe Lieberman and others have heaped upon him.
But I think it is premature to make such a decision now for several reasons. Let me just mention three of them. First, of course, the president has done so well so far because it has been a tightly focused, organized operation. He has said and his team have said first things first. And the first step is not yet complete. Let's get the job done in Afghanistan before we start in on something else.
Second, as we all know, the president himself said al Qaeda operates in 60 countries. When we finish in Afghanistan, that leaves 59 to go. The most effective way to deal with them is through aggressive action by the governments and police in those countries. What is the effect on that effort if we go into Iraq without consultation and support from their governments.
And, finally, the congressional authorization which permitted the military action in Afghanistan is explicitly limited to those involved in the September 11 event. There has been no evidence of Iraqi participation so far. That is according to our own government. Unless such evidence surfaces, then there must be a new congressional authorization or it must use the U.N. Resolutions on which we've previously relied for military action in Iraq. And if it is going to be an U.N. action, then the U.N. must be involved. For a lot of reasons, let's wait and see what happens in Afghanistan.
KING: Senator Lieberman, Chris Matthews in his column today writes: To topple Saddam would take a half million to a million U.S. troops. It will require an occupying force capable of policing a civilian population embittered by a brutal bombing campaign and it would cast us in the role of the aggressor. Comment?
LIEBERMAN: I don't agree.
I think that what's happened in Afghanistan may well be what is not over, as my colleagues have said here, a precedent, a model for what can happen in Iraq. The fact is that the people of Iraq have been oppressed and enslaved and victimized by Saddam Hussein's leadership. I have no reason to believe, no one has any reason to believe, that they would not be as happy if we overthrew Saddam as the people of Afghanistan obviously are as we have overthrown Taliban.
You know, Larry, in terms of law: In 1998, Congress passed the Iraq Liberation Act. That says that the American policy should be to get Saddam Hussein out of control of Iraq. And it authorized our government to spend over a $100 million in aiding the Iraqi opposition to begin to get ready, hopefully at some point, to work with us to overthrow Saddam. Neither the last administration or this one has implemented that law. In fact, the Bush administration offered $8 million to the Iraqi opposition a few weeks ago, but said they couldn't spend it in Iraq.
I agree with George Mitchell. It's not time for us to go to war in Iraq. But it is time for us to begin to support the Iraqi opposition. And they are strong and they have strength within Iraq. And they can play the same role that the Northern Alliance played in Afghanistan, and then we can have democracy in Iraq, which is what the people there deserve and I believe want.
WELLSTONE: Larry can I...
KING: Senator Wellstone...
WELLSTONE: ... on just what Joe just said -- I mean, I think that these are, I think, two different issues. I think trying to support the Iraqi opposition makes a lot of sense.
Right now there is no strong internal opposition. I think also that we can do a much better job in terms of beginning to build that kind of opposition in Iraq. But the problem right now with trying to think of what kind of short-term options to take militarily is the very coalition we need to keep together to meet all of the challenges before us in Afghanistan, I think would be very much in danger of breaking apart with precipitous military action in Iraq. That is the point.
KING: What, Senator Wellstone, if they refuse to readmit the inspectors?
WELLSTONE: Well, I think, number one, we all agree that they should agree to U.N. inspectors. And, number two...
KING: I'm saying what if they don't?
WELLSTONE: I understand. This is a guy who violates human rights of the citizens, has used chemical warfare on his own people. But the point is you figure out a way of eventually of changing the situation there, but I think there is no good short-term options. That doesn't mean you don't build internal opposition to Saddam Hussein. That doesn't mean you try to figure out other things to do. But in the here and now, I think it would be a big mistake to go in militarily.
KING: Congressman Shays, the other night on this program, Secretary Powell said they were not wrong years ago when they did not go into Baghdad. Do you think they should have?
SHAYS: Well, they weren't wrong in this sense: They made an agreement with our allies not to. And they had to live up to the agreement. And the important thing about this president is he is not going make those kinds of agreements. He is not going to tie our hands because we really should have gone in, but we couldn't because of the agreement.
You know, before I was elected in '87, Israel did something I think we'd forgotten. They bombed a nuclear electric generating plant that the outcome of it was to make high explosive nuclear material. When they bombed it, before I was a member of Congress, I was somewhat surprised and almost shocked. When it go elected, my first briefing was about that incident. I figuratively got down on my hands and knees in gratitude to the Israelis for bombing that plant. This war on terrorism began a long time ago. We just didn't realize it.
KING: Let me get a break and we will come back with more of our distinguished panel and lots more to come on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE. More debate tomorrow night on the question of using a military tribunal in a nondeclared war. We will be right back.
KING: Senator Mitchell, a new "Washington Post," "ABC News" poll, 78 percent of Americans support military action against Saddam Hussein now. Are they wrong?
MITCHELL: Well, it is certainly not surprising. I think at any time in the past 10 years, that you'd get that or perhaps even a higher margin. As I said, I think it is premature for such a decision. I think we should keep the option open. The notion that this is analogous to Afghanistan, I believe, is incorrect. The Northern Alliance is an army. They have been fighting the Taliban for five years. They once ruled the country, although in chaotic fashion. And they control large amounts of territory prior to the onset of American military intervention.
None of that exists at this time in Iraq, and so I think we may well end up there militarily, but if we do, we are not going to encounter the same situation that exists in Afghanistan.
KING: Grand Junction, Colorado, as we include some phone calls for our panel, Hello.
CALLER: Larry, first of all, I wanted to give you a compliment. You are a very thoughtful, considerate (UNINTELLIGIBLE) .
KING: Thank you. Get to the question, I appreciate that.
CALLER: And my question now, is...
KING: And you are a great judge of talent.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We all agree.
CALLER: All right, governor of -- George Mitchell, is correct...
KING: What's the question?
CALLER: My question is, why are you digging into the Iraqi situation now? Why shouldn't we take care of what is going on in Afghanistan?
KING: Senator Lieberman, we are premature?
LIEBERMAN: It is not premature to talk about it. But obviously we have to finish where we started, in Afghanistan, that means, eliminating the Taliban from the remaining parts of that country where they still exercise control, and capturing bin Laden and incapacitating al Qaeda.
But it is not too early to begin to support the Iraqi opposition. If we started to do that in 1998, when we passed the law I talked about, maybe they would be ready, George, to give us support on the ground now, and unfortunately it is going to take them a while to get them to do that.
KING: Senator Wellstone, but what if they are, Senator Wellstone, building weapons of mass destruction and biological warfare?
WELLSTONE: Well they are, I think.
KING: So, we let them go on with it?
WELLSTONE: I think -- I think what we -- look, there are -- all -- unfortunately, too many -- are there other governments as well that may be doing this. I think what we know right now is they are not very far along, if at all, on nuclear. They have some capacity with chemical, probably not too advanced. And on biological, I think there is reason to believe they are going forward and unfortunately I think there are some other governments as well.
But the point is, right now, I mean, you can't rule out any option in the future, but I think what I'm saying, and Senator Mitchell may be saying the same thing, maybe better, is that we've got, right now, still, huge challenges ahead. Joe mentioned some of them, al Qaeda and bin Laden, also, the whole task of economic and political reconstruction in Afghanistan.
We can't cut and leave again. We've got a lot of challenges right now. And I would suggest that that be our focus.
KING: Congressman Shays, would you add to that, agree with it?
SHAYS: I would just say to you, that Saddam Hussein is fiendish, that he has been in this business longer than anyone else. He has shown that he will use these weapons of mass destruction, and in a hearing we had today it was pointed out by one of our witnesses, that the thing we have to fear the most is the annihilation of the human rice by biological agents, which he is doing.
Isn't it absurd to think that since he kicked us out, he stopped doing the biological agents, the chemical agents, and his research on nuclear weapons? You mean we assume that he stopped, and now that he kicked out the inspectors -- the inspectors need to go in, and they need to go in soon, and there can't be a lot of negotiations among lawyers as to when and where.
We need to be certain he is not involved in any of these three activities.
KING: Elljay (ph), Georgia, hello.
CALLER: Yes what would be the cost of an Iraq invasion and would Saddam Hussein have to be killed to make the mission successful?
KING: Senator Mitchell, you want to take that?
MITCHELL: I don't know what the cost would be, but you have just cited one report that said would it be an army of 500,000 to a million men and the cost would obviously be very high, and plainly, the objective as stated by all of those who support such action, is that he would have to be killed.
Larry, could I make just one other point here about this whole discussion? This is all premised on the assumption that the only way to fight terrorism is through military action. That is to say, no other actions have been discussed here. The president himself here has said many times, and I believe most Americans believe this, that you do it in a variety of ways.
You include military action where necessary and appropriate, but you also have economic, financial, legal, political, diplomatic and other actions. We have to think carefully about the effect of any action we take on those who are our allies, the United Nations and many others. I agree with Joe, that we should be working to build up the Iraqi opposition. I think, Joe, you will agree, that three presidents, going back to President Bush, president Clinton and current President Bush, have tried to do so in some ways, some of them overt, some covert without much success, perhaps not as well as you and I would have liked. But nonetheless, we ought not leave the impression that nobody has done anything about this over the past decade.
KING: Senator Lieberman?
LIEBERMAN: I'll just respond briefly, and remember, again about Saddam, he tried to assassinate the former President Bush. I mean, he has a -- there is no reconciliation with him. I just don't believe that anything but his elimination from power in Iraq will protect the United States from terrible suffering that he will impose on us at some point if he remains in power.
And my own feeling is that there have been various attempts, covertly, to find just the right person within Iraq, to assassinate Saddam Hussein. It hasn't worked, and I think the way to go is to the people. Certainly the Kurds in the north, and the Shia Muslims in south have tried at various times, without sufficient help from us, to rebel against Saddam. I think now is the time to join with them, to help them, to liberate themselves, and also to protect us, Americans, from another September 11 type tragedy, this time, brought to us by Saddam.
I don't know how much it would cost, but whatever it would cost -- incidentally, I don't believe it will take a half million or a million soldiers. I think it will take support on the ground from Iraqis, some presence of American troops, special forces on the ground there, and American airpower, which we have seen in Iraq, in Afghanistan, can do terrible damage to an enemy. So, whatever it costs, it is worth it, to prevent another September 11.
KING: Brandon, Manitoba -- hello.
CALLER: Hi, Larry. How are you and the panel doing tonight?
CALLER: Larry, my question is tonight, do you think with all the hype and media attention that we are giving to this possible military action against Saddam Hussein and Iraq, that it is not giving him a heads up, or even a reason to go ahead and do something before this goes ahead.
KING: Senator Wellstone, is it self-fulfilling prophecy?
WELLSTONE: I certainly hope it won't be. Again, it is fine to hold all options out there, but again, I will say it one more time. We have built up, and I think the administration deserves a lot of credit, Secretary Powell, I think, has been masterful in doing this, a strong international coalition, which is going to be critically important.
Nobody should believe that the journey we are taking in Afghanistan is going to be a smooth, easy journey. Lots of challenges to meet. I think if we were to now take military action against Iraq that that coalition would break apart, I think would make it very difficult for us to do what we need to do right now in Afghanistan, that is critically important. And I think that point needs to be made over and over again.
KING: Thank all very much, Senators Lieberman and Wellstone, former Senator Mitchell and Congressman Christopher Shays.
When we come back, Osama bin Laden is the topic, we have panel of four. They're next, on LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.
We welcome our next panel to LARRY KING LIVE, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Christiane Amanpour, CNN's chief international correspondent, who is endlessly on the scene; in New York, John Miller ABC News law and justice correspondent, he interviewed Osama bin Laden back in May of '98; also in New York is Brian Ross, he's ABC News chief investigative correspondent, been at it a long time -- and he's featured in a Court TV documentary that imagines the trial of Osama bin Laden, that's airing tonight and I imagine will be repeated; and in Washington it's Peter Bergen CNN terrorism analyst, author of the new bestseller "Holy War Inc.: Inside the Secret World of Osama bin Laden," he also has interviewed bin Laden.
Let's start with Christiane in Kabul, what's the latest on the operation in Kandahar?
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the U.S., as you know, is stepping up its presence the ground, more and more Marines there. They appear to be there to put pressure on the last stand there of the Taliban. And also, Northern Alliance and other anti- Taliban forces are saying that they, too, are preparing to put pressure on the Taliban's bastion of Kandahar. They don't believe yet, according to the Northern Alliance defense minister, that Mullah Omar is ready to defect or surrender. But they believe that eventually that might happen. And they believe that eventually, Osama bin Laden and Mullah Omar will be captured.
KING: Brian Ross, now, on Court TV tonight they are doing an imaginary trial. What's the concept of the idea the show?
BRIAN ROSS, INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT, ABC NEWS: Well, there aren't actors portraying the defendants or the lawyers. But there are views about what would happen in the far-fetched notion that Osama bin Laden would be put on trial in this country, with a military tribunal that might all change. But the notion is could he be charged, say as the godfather of a criminal group, like John Gotti was? What kind of charges would be brought, could there be defense that he could possibly mount against what's known about him?
It seems unlikely, but it's an interesting exercise in what's known about him, and how it stands up in a court of law.
KING: Does it come to conclusions?
ROSS: I don't think so, in fact some of the defense lawyers I've talked to say they hope that he is tracked down and killed. That his presence in an American courtroom would simply infect the American judicial system with all the information that might be secret, all the rules that would have to be imposed. Many lawyers think this is not a good idea to begin with.
KING: What would it be like, John Miller, do you think? If Osama bin Laden were capture and brought to New York, and wasn't a military tribunal, but a federal trial in the first district?
JOHN MILLER, LAW AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT, ABC NEWS: Well, I think it would certainly be a very dramatic trial. And I think you would also, of course, see some of the -- not some of, the tightest security for any trial on American soil in the history of time.
But not with standing that, I think if the process acted within the normal bounds that it would be very much like an organized crime trial, meaning that in a RICO case, racketeering, influence, corrupt, organization statute, the one they use against the Mafia -- you generally target the entity, in this case that would be al Qaeda and the boss of the entity in this case it would be bin Laden, and the soldiers and captains -- again very much like a mob family -- and I think that for prosecutors the case would be fairly routine that way. There are certainly already the Sammy Gravanos of the case, the witnesses from al Qaeda who have already testified, lined up ready to talk and, of course, bin Laden's own statements on tape. Very much like John Gotti.
KING: Peter Bergen, therefore, could the court connect the dots? That's what they say has always been difficult in RICO trials and other kinds, to take it to the top?
PETER BERGEN, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: I think there is actually some quite good evidence, I mean bin Laden's own statements and the statements of spokesman come very, very close to taking full responsibility for the Trade Center events. But also, don't forget there are other cases against bin Laden, for instance U.S. embassy attacks in Africa in 98, there's extremely good evidence there. The man who cased the embassy showed bin Laden a photograph as early as 1993 of the embassy in Nairobi, Kenya. Bin Laden pointed that's where we'll put the truck bomb and that's how we'll blow up the embassy, so there's quite a good case there.
But I mean, I think the whole notion of a trial, while an interesting exercise -- and I wish there were a trial, because a lot of things would be revealed -- I think the notion of that we'll have a trial is extremely unlikely.
BERGEN: Because bin Laden, I think, has decided to die in this struggle. I think he is preparing for his final battle, he's made a number of statements, saying that you know you Americans love life as much as we value death. He is somebody who is being prepared in the past to put his life on the line in holy wars against the Soviet Union, he fought on the frontlines himself, so this is a man who's not afraid of death. And I believe is willing to die in this final battle.
KING: Christiane, do we know what the orders are, if someone of the United States military comes upon bin Laden? Are they ordered to shoot or to take him or to what?
AMANPOUR: Well, you have heard your own president, the president of the United States say dead or alive, and there is -- I'm sure if one would ask the military commanders and the people on the ground what would be less risky, what would be the easier, if you can use that way, to go they would probably suggest to you that capturing would be more difficult than actually killing.
And there's certainly people who when they think about the kind of trial that you are talking about, believe very sincerely that any attempt to bring bin Laden to an American courthouse would simply raise the specter of the possibility of followers, people who believe in him, doing things like hostage taking or threatening, all sorts of terrorist threats and things like that, until he is released. And that is something that worries people very, very much when they consider, some people certainly, the possibility of him being captured and brought to trial in a western country, in the United States or wherever else.
KING: Brian, if Peter Bergen is right, if he just wants to go out his way, would you imagine he would go out not quietly?
ROSS: Well, that's the big fear that he may have a grand gesture, for the final act of this play he's been running and it could be something that was nuclear, it could be any sort of things that he would not go quietly, he would not want to die, a death in isolation by a couple of U.S. marines. And the fear is that he has something planned here and who knows what, the possibilities are endless, and they're often quite scary when you hear American intelligence and law enforcement people talk about what he might have planned as his final act.
KING: John Miller, if you were in charge of the group that came upon him would you say shoot, as the president said, dead or alive? What would you say personally if faced with that.
MILLER: I would, I mean -- it's a very interesting dynamic here, because we are a country that comes from a long background of kind of bringing people to justice, and putting them through process. You are not really getting that tone here, I think that the country and the establishment in Washington has awakened to the reality -- just my analysis -- that this was an act of war, that this is no longer a criminal matter. And that they're treating it as such.
So if you look at what they're doing now, which is sending bunker buster bombs into the caves where they think bin Laden may be, but with his associates, where they're sending missiles into these locations, they're already taking the approach that they want to kill the people there first. As in the case of his aid, Mohammed Atef, when they learned there was a meeting going on at that location, first they blew up the building. Then they went in to see who they got.
The skew is decidedly now towards not just shoot first but, kill first, and ask questions later. Questions like. who did we get this time?
KING: Peter Bergen, when the Israelis and the most wanted man ever in Israel was Adolf Eichmann, when they got him in South America, those two or three agents could have killed him right there, but they brought him back and not easy to do that, get him out to airports, and brought him back to Israel for a public trial. Was that the right thing to do?
BERGEN: Well the Eichmann trial was tremendous service to history, because it was really the first time that we saw the way that the Nazi enterprise had really been conducted in a proper court situation.
I think it would be a tremendous advantage if we did bring bin Laden to trial. I just think it's extremely unlikely because Eichmann was a man by himself. We didn't have a cadre of well armed body guards, and also the people willing to martyr themselves in this kind of a battle. So I think it's very unlikely that you'd see an Eichmann style trial. But if there was such a trial, there's a very nice court cell in the Hague, right next door to Milosevic, that would be, I think, an appropriate venue to bring bin Laden.
KING: We'll be right back with Christiane Amanpour, John Miller, Brian Ross, and Peter Bergen. We'll include some phone calls as well. The prime minister of Spain will join us as well tonight. Don't go away.
KING: Brian Ross, you're a longtime investigative journalist. What's the bin Laden network in the United States?
ROSS: Well, that's the big question. There are several people who are here with Mohamed Atta, who have not been accounted for. The FBI doesn't know where they are. They know they were in Florida at one point, some of them going to flight school, some of them living in the same apartment building with Atta, who are somewhere at large in this country, it is believed. We have all these people now detained. The FBI did not have a good handle on what was happening before September 11. And because of that, they've had to scoop up everybody they can find.
KING: Does he have a best friend in jail in this country?
ROSS: Yes, he does. A man by the name of Mahmoud Saleem, who was being held in the Metropolitan Correctional Center here in New York. He stabbed one of the guards. He had saved up, along with others, the tobasco sauce served in his meals, saved up little tiny packages over several months, and then blinded the guard temporarily, then took a comb he had sharpened over a period of months and stabbed the guard right through the guy, into his brain.
The poor man who was the one guard there, who was regarded as a friend of these people and treated them kindly, is now paralyzed. And this man, Saleem, even his own lawyer says is a devil when you meet him in person. And it's his lawyer who says Saleem should have been hunted down by military and killed. He has no business being put on trial in this country because our system, he says, this is what the lawyer says, his own lawyer, simply can't handle him.
KING: Christiane, who is next in line if bin Laden falls?
AMANPOUR: Well, there are, as people who have been reporting on bin Laden, there are obviously, lieutenants of his. There is the Egyptians, al-Zawahiri. If Atef has been killed, that's one less person to take over.
But we have found, journalists here have found an incredible trail of intent at least in a lot of these places that we were told were given over to "the Arab friends of the Taliban" who came here, a lot of evidence that leads to terrorist intent, at least.
Also, U.S. intelligence officials who've been combing these houses, have been taking a lot of the evidence that journalists have found and also that they found independently. And there's a great deal of evidence that links, certainly links the Arab people here and the mercenaries and bin Laden to the desire, at least, to form all sorts of deadly attacks with interests in nuclear weapons, with interests in deadly nerve gases and things like that.
And we've also found a lot of links that suggest that in the last few years, it was bin Laden and his Arab or mercenaries here who were calling shots to the Taliban leadership and not vice versa. So it's a very intertwined thing and a long trail of documents and passports, and immigration stamps, and all sorts of things that journalists and Northern Alliance forces here are finding in the trail to try to figure out what these people were up to. KING: Let's take a call. Mount Pleasant, Texas, hello.
CALLER: Hello, Larry.
CALLER: I wanted to ask, doesn't capturing Osama bin Laden or the al Qaeda leaders and bringing them back, putting them on trial, risking a possible prison sentence of life do more damage or harm to us in way of future terrorism or hijacking?
MILLER: I think you have to look at the double edge of that sword, meaning we've had Sheik Abdel Rackman, a spiritual leader to the World Trade Center bombers from 1993, and a key figure that bin Laden has looked up to and spoken of in U.S. prison for a long time. And no one has done anything to break him out.
On the other hand, as we've debriefed informants that we've developed at ABC News, who have been in the al Qaeda camps, they've talked about the discussion of plans there to hijack a plane with a U.S. senator or with a U.S. ambassador on it to Afghanistan, and demand a trade for Sheik Rackman. So you know that thing is -- you know that those kinds of things can be an issue.
With bin Laden, it could be an issue. If he was in jail, he would have a collateral value there to those who would seek to break him out. The flip side, of course, is if you kill him, then you automatically make him a martyr. And someone will seek to avenge that. There's no easy answer there.
KING: Well put. Peter, do you have any idea -- thoughts as to where you think he might be?
BERGEN: Well, the general view is he's either southwest of Jalalabad, about 35 miles to the southwest in the area which is known as Tora Bora, which I think may also be a place called Jagi, which is a place he fought a rather significant battle against the Soviets in 1986. It's in that area.
Also an area in Jagi, where he built a rather large complex in 1989. Also, there are other reports that he possibly might be in a part of Oruzgan, which is a province just north of Kandahar. But either way, in a way, I think that it doesn't really matter where he is. I mean, in a sense that I think that he will now make a selection of the place that he wants his final battle. He'll have that final battle on his own terms. So he'll select the place that is best suited for that purpose.
KING: Brian, you've been in the investigative business a long time. How has he been able to evade capture or death all these years?
ROSS: Well, for the most part, he was not really given much attention. When my good friend John went after bin Laden and got that key interview, he was introduced as the best known terrorist no one's ever heard of. Bin Laden was under the radar for a long time, primarily, I think, because the attacks, while they were against U.S. targets, were never in this country. And we didn't have the sharp focus that was definitely needed at the time on bin Laden. He was yet another threat overseas. And at a time when country was not paying much attention to what was happening overseas. And we've paid the price for that.
KING: Christiane, you've covered lots of action in lots of places. How tough is this as a war to cover?
AMANPOUR: Well, for the most part, it's not really a war to cover. For the most, the frontlines have not really been frontlines. And most of the battles have involved bombings and one side walking in, as the other side walks out.
Of course, in the Konduz and Mazar-e Sharif area for a brief period, there was some action there. But what is difficult for journalists, in terms of the danger of this situation, is the insecurity in many of the locations.
And what's happened over the last couple weeks, since territory has been, if you like, liberated from the Taliban, eight journalists have been killed in a combination of one section -- one set, three people, were killed in an ambush in the north early on after Mazar-e Sharif fell. And then you had four who were executed after being pulled from their vehicles. We don't know by who yet, whether they were just bandits, whether they were pockets of fighters that had fallen back and wanted to take revenge on the first Western faces they saw.
And then of course, this journalist, a colleague, who was basically murdered in his home in a robbery attempt. So the insecurity in certain areas is what's causing a great deal of danger for journalists covering this at the moment.
KING: We thank you all very much. We'll be doing lots more on this Christiane Amanpour in Kabul, John Miller New York, Brian Ross in New York. And again, that Court TV documentary airs tonight on the possible trial of Osama bin Laden. And in Washington, Peter Bergen. His book is "Holy War, Inc.: Inside the Secret World of Osama bin Laden."
We'll come back with Jose Maria Aznar, the prime minister of Spain, next on LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.
KING: It's now our honor to welcome to LARRY KING LIVE, another world leader, the prime minister of Spain, Jose Marie Aznar. He met with President Bush yesterday, with Vice President Cheney this morning. It is known that eight people charged with ties to al Qaeda are being held in Spain. Has the United States, Mr. prime minister, requested anything of you regarding these eight people?
JOSE MARIE AZNAR, PRIME MINISTER, SPAIN: Well, these people are -- eight detained in Spain at present. And United States hasn't requested anything else at present. They haven't asked for extradition yet.
KING: What have they said about it in your meetings?
AZNAR: These terrorists were working under the orders of bin Laden's number two. They had direct links with the attacks of the 11 of September. So I am delighted that they have been caught and detained. And clearly, we are going to cooperate politically to the fullest level with the United States. We don't have any reservations as regards that cooperation at all. We are going cooperate fully. And we will help the United States to the end in trying to eradicate terrorism. We have a lot of experience, regrettably, in the terrorism front.
KING: I know. Does that mean, Mr. prime minister, that if the United States were to request their return, that would be expedited?
AZNAR: We will study the matter fully if the United States requests their extradition, if they request extradition of people related to the attacks of the 11 of September. We would look at it in conformity with Spanish law. But we respect fully all the decisions taken by the United States within its jurisdiction. There are two basic premises, respect for Spanish law and secondly, we would have to make sure it conforms to the extradition treaty between the United States and Spain. But our desire to cooperate is full, I must stress.
KING: And also, Mr. prime minister, Spain has committed, what, 13 transport planes for humanitarian aid in Afghanistan? Would Spain go even further regarding military help?
AZNAR: Absolutely. I really don't think we have to talk about this very much in public at present. But we are fighting terrorism at present. And there is no differentiation between terrorists. Terrorists are the same worldwide.
We aim to be as effective and efficient as possible within international law, and bearing in mind, the law of each country. Spain is providing logistic support, political support, and diplomatic support. It's also providing its own collaboration because of its vast experience in the fight against terrorism.
We have always done what has been asked of us. And we are delighted that those terrorists are being held at present. And we think that that is a contribution. And we are prepared to provide military contribution, whether it be for humanitarian issues or whatever, we are willing to do so.
KING: Would you say that Spain has been successful in its war on terrorism?
AZNAR: I think that the fight has been very hard. It's a long struggle. It requires tremendous patience, tremendous determination, and one has to be very cold in taking the decisions.
However, I must point out that terrorists will be eradicated. And terrorists will be brought to justice before the courts. I think the worst possible scenario is for a terrorist anywhere in the world to feel that he will get off scot-free. Because if that does happen, then our freedoms and democracies will start losing their long and very complex battle. And in that battle, we need cooperation from everybody.
KING: We welcome you to United States. And it's been an honor having you. Next time, we'll spend more time. Thank you for joining us, Mr. prime minister.
AZNAR: Thank you.
KING: Our guest has been the prime minister of Spain. And we thank him very much for being with us, Jose Marie Aznar. He met yesterday with the President, today with the Vice President.
We close it out musically and we'll do that with a great talent. Martina McBride is next. There she is. Not too hard to take. We'll be right back. Don't go away.
KING: The lovely and talented Martina McBride is in our New York bureau. This is a return visit for her. Tell me about this song "Blessed?"
MARTINA MCBRIDE, SINGER: Well, this is a song that when I first heard it, I thought this song written for me because I say it all the time I am so blessed. And I think we're all counting our blessings a little bit more now these days. So it just is appropriate.
KING: She took part in the freedom concert in Nashville in October. A portion of the proceeds of her new album, the greatest hits, has been earmarked for the Red Cross. She also will sing "God Bless America" at the Rose Bowl parade. And this song is one of four new songs in the greatest hits album.
So it's a great pleasure to have her do it for us tonight, as we end every night, with a musical tribute. Here is the lovely Martina McBride, chart-topping, award-winning country music star, and "Blessed."
MCBRIDE: Thank you.
(MUSIC, MARTINA MCBRIDE, "BLESSED")
KING: One want to learn more about upcoming guests, log on to our Web site, www.cnn.com/larryking.
Tomorrow night, we'll have a major debate about this question of the use of a military tribunal for those people not residents in the United States who might come under suspicion or arrest or indictment.
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