CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Interview with Trent Lott, Bob Graham
Aired December 12, 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: Tonight, the hunt for bin Laden continues, but is he still in Afghanistan? And a chilling warning from American Taliban fighter, John Walker. He says more attacks on America are planned.
Live from Kandahar, CNN Chief International Correspondent Christiane Amanpour. In Kabul, "Newsweek" reporter Colin Soloway. He's interviewed John Walker.
And then, the politics of waging war. In Washington, Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott.
Also, what's delaying the release of the bin Laden tape? Senator Bob Graham, Chairman of the Select Intelligence Committee and with him the Vice-Chairman of that committee, Senator Richard Shelby.
And the Washington Post Pulitzer Prize winning writer, Bob Woodward. Plus, in Los Angeles an amazing talent, Josh Grogan. They're all next on LARRY KING LIVE.
We begin with Christiane Amanpour on the ground in Kandahar. The Christian Science Monitor today reporting today, Christiane, that bin Laden escaped to Pakistan ten days ago. They cite a senior al Qaeda operative. What are you hearing there?
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well you know, we have heard this welter of different reports about the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden for the last two months, and certainly everybody that has been following the story has asked all their contacts and sources and many people get many different answers.
What we've been told and what we've heard officials of the Northern Alliance say is they have "reason to believe that Osama bin Laden is still in Afghanistan."
What we don't know is whether he is or is he not. The U.S. is not putting much credibility by this Christian Science Monitor report, so we're not entirely sure of where they're getting it and how credible that information is.
The Pakistanis whose border is in question here have told us that they have, and we've witnessed as well, stepped up border patrols. It's a very difficult border to control as you can imagine, but they put more people on the ground and more people in the air. We've seen even helicopter gun ships over the weekend certainly, patrolling the border. But it is difficult and there is sympathy on the sort of porous cross border area for not only the Taliban, but for Osama bin Laden as well. And the Pakistanis are telling us that they have a very difficult job, but one that they're committed to, to trying to make sure that no al Qaeda people get across, no Taliban leaders, and of course no Osama bin Laden gets across. But they acknowledge that it is difficult.
KING: I know, Christiane, you did an interview with Hamid Karzai. What can you tell us he had to say?
AMANPOUR: Well, in terms of this particular issue, he told us very clearly that any al Qaeda member, if ever his forces were to get hold of Osama bin Laden or indeed Mullah Omar or any Taliban officials that he said were "involved in any criminal activity during the regime here, that they would be brought to justice." And he was very animated about this. He said "the people of Afghanistan want that." He said he had been talking to tribal and religious leaders who actually came to him and he said "begged me not to be lenient."
He said "these al Qaeda people have been in Afghanistan and have brought so much pain to the people of Afghanistan." This is what he's saying the tribal leaders are telling him. So he's making a very public demonstration of his commitment should he come across any of these wanted people, to bring them to trial, to justice, bring them to book in some way or another. The question is, will they ever be caught?
KING: Does he see any permanency to his position in the future of Afghanistan?
AMANPOUR: He is very optimistic and very excited. We had quite a lengthy interview with him on the eve of his departure for the capitol, Kabul, and you could sense this man who had slipped into Afghanistan shortly before the U.S. air campaign started had had quite a risky travel around the area on foot much of it, sometimes in cars, sometimes on motor bikes, rallying anti-Taliban support.
He said he had given himself and his colleagues a 60/40 percent chance of dying. He said the 40 percent won out and they lived to tell the story, and they lived to now be the new leaders of this interim government for Afghanistan.
So he's very excited. He believes that this is a very special moment for Afghanistan, that this is a crucial moment when both the international community, the United States, and Afghanistan has learned a very profound lesson on September 11th and he believes that something good could come out of that in terms of stability for this country.
KING: What is being made of the reported warnings of John Walker, the American supporter of the Taliban, telling interrogators that al Qaeda plans other attacks in the United States? Are they buying that? AMANPOUR: Well, we're not able to get any firsthand confirmation or contact with that side of things. John Walker is at Camp Rhino as far as we know, still there being housed and interrogated and kept by the U.S. military officials who are there, and presumably intelligence officials as well.
Here, what he's saying is not really resonating. That's something that very much the U.s. is in charge of that. They are plenty of U.S. Special Forces that we've seen in Kandahar. They've been in the various areas where the new leaders of this area have been, protecting, gathering you know information, and doing that kind of thing.
We are also told that the U.S. Marines may soon, if they haven't already started, to move their base from Camp Rhino to the airport at Kandahar, which is not far from where we are right now.
So there's a heavy U.S. presence in the region, but in terms of what John Walker is saying and threatening, we have no independent confirmation and the people here don't really know what to make of that.
KING: One other quick thing. I understand a well-known female news anchor has returned to the air. What can you tell us?
AMANPOUR: Well yes, she was a broadcaster before the Taliban took over in Kabul, both radio and television, and she was the first person who sort of came rushing back into the radio station and sat behind the microphone and broadcast the news of the fall of Kabul, the fall of the Taliban back earlier in November, November 13th if I remember.
And of course, there's great excitement about that because it's another sign of the way things are changing and you know that under the Taliban not only were women prevented from working, but certainly there was no television, and the only radio station was essentially the one, the Taliban's official voice if you like. It was called Radio Sharia (ph).
But now, slowly but surely, sort of a lively broadcast is sort of starting up again.
KING: Thank you as always, Christiane Amanpour, CNN Chief International Correspondent, on the scene in Kandahar. When we come back on this edition of "Larry King Live," the Minority Leader of the United States Senate, Trent Lott. Don't go away.
KING: A couple of hours ago, we taped an interview with the Minority Leader of the Senate, Trent Lott of Mississippi, and I began by asking him how he felt about the upcoming retirement from Congress of Dick Army.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) SEN. TRENT LOTT (R), MISSISSIPPI: We're going to miss Dick. He's an interesting guy. I served with him in the House of Representatives and I never will forget one time when he was in his like, second term. He came to me on the floor of the Senate when I was the whip, and on the Rules Committee, and said "I got this idea about a base closure commission, ABRAC (ph)."
And I said "I don't like the sound of that. I don't think I'd be for it. But if I were you and wanted to make some progress with it, this is how I would proceed through the Rules Committee" thinking I'd never hear from him again. Well, he didn't let go of it, and as you recall, we did have three rounds of base closure commissions.
Dick is a guy that really does have some very strongly held ideas that he believes in that's important for our country, and he has affected the debates and moved the agenda over the past few years. He's done a great job and he can go home and feel like he's been in the arena and made a contribution.
At the same time, I can understand why he'd want to go back to his beloved Texas and be with his family and teach Economics.
KING: OK, current things, have you seen the bin Laden tape which reportedly will be released tomorrow?
LOTT: I have not seen it Larry, and I haven't asked to see it. I know this morning the Speaker indicated he looked at it and it was in Arabic, and I guess it had some English translations at the bottom.
I think the administration wants to be very careful about getting accurate translation, but I think they also feel somewhat sort of a need to make it available to the public, and also to show it as further evidence of just how sinister and how much he was involved in what happened on September 11th.
KING: So you favor it showing?
LOTT: It's hard for me to say that without, you know, knowing all the details of how it was acquired, and making sure that we're not, you know, giving, disclosing anything that we shouldn't with regard to how we get things like this, and making sure that the translation is accurate.
But generally speaking, my attitude is, unless there's some overwhelming reason, you should disclose to the American people. This is America. We're an open democracy and if you don't need to keep it sacred for security reasons or intelligence reasons, you ought to make it available.
KING: The Christian Science Monitor reporting today that bin Laden escaped to Pakistan ten days ago. Any thoughts?
LOTT: Well I wouldn't be surprised with that, but I don't think he's going to be able to escape for good very long anywhere. Pakistan has been being very cooperative with us and that complicates things because you do have some bin Laden/al Qaeda supporters in Pakistan. But the Pakis have been very helpful, and I believe that we will be able to find a way to get him, whether he's in Pakistan or Sudan or wherever he tries to flee.
This man has killed and been responsible for the deaths for an awful lot of people and the world is after him. He can not escape for very long.
KING: Senator, you were quite critical of John Walker, the young man captured as a Taliban supporter. He is now apparently telling interrogators a lot, including that al Qaeda plans another attack. Have you changed your views on your judgment of him?
LOTT: Well first of all, Larry, I think I should say as I've always said, I don't know the details of what has gone on with him or how much involved he was.
If in fact he is trying to be helpful, that's something that we should factor in our thinking, but he looks very bad. I mean he was in with some pretty hardcore people, and he was in a rat's nest. He was involved in a prison uprising, or he appears to have been there, and he was flushed out of a basement by water. He was shot in the process. An American that interviewed him was subsequently killed.
Now maybe he was sort of in the wrong place at the wrong time, but it looks very bad and I think we're going to have to be very sure that if he is guilty as he appears to be, that he's properly tried.
KING: How seriously do you think we take his warning?
LOTT: How seriously do we take -
KING: That he says they're planning another attack.
LOTT: I think we have to take it seriously, because they have shown on more than one occasion that they had the ability to follow up, that they have more than one cell, that you've got people that are willing to give their own lives to kill other - in our case recently, innocent men, women and children.
Now I don't think we can just crawl into a shell and get to be totally paranoid, but I do think we have to do everything we can through the Justice Department, the FBI, the CIA, DEA, Customs, everybody to try to intercept these threats, weigh them when they're credible, and do everything we can to stop them.
KING: Yesterday, they indicted the terrorist, accused terrorist Zacarius Moussaoui, and they've decided on no military tribunal. Senator Lieberman today criticized that decision. He said "if we don't try him before a military tribunal, a non-citizen accused of being a co-conspirator that killed 4,000 people, who will we try?"
LOTT: Well, I think that it proves the point that Attorney General Ashcroft and others have made that this military tribunal idea is not going to be something that's going to be overused or abused. It's going to be used in unique and particular circumstances, and I can envision, you know, bin Laden and Mullah Omar and some of the really high up members of al Qaeda, and maybe all the cell groups.
I think that this particular case, you could have justified taking him before a military tribunal. But I think they're going to hold it out for those most egregious, heinous cases where a military tribunal would have lots of advantages.
And, one of the critical things is, you want to be sure that when you try these people in a civil court, that you're not divulging intelligence and techniques. I was assured - I have reason to believe that they didn't feel that anything was going to come out by taking this one through a traditional court by indicting him in civil court.
In other instances where evidence could reveal our methods and techniques, we would not want to do it in an American Court. You know, when they tried the guys that were responsible for the bombing of the Twin Towers last time, they found out that some of the - in the process of the trial, some of the techniques that were used to get information revealed how that was done and the al Qaeda, the terrorists, were then able to take action so we couldn't get that evidence in the future.
KING: The war and how it's going, are you pleasantly surprised?
LOTT: I am pleasantly surprised. I knew that our military men and women were very capable. I had confidence in the President and his advisers, and Secretary Rumsfeld to develop a plan, and his uniformed military personnel to develop a plan.
I think a lot of us underestimated the impact that air power can have. I think a lot of people in the world underestimated the Northern Alliance and the tribal leaders there in Afghanistan, and they had been referred to, I remember sort of Gucci types, that really wouldn't go out and fight.
Well, they did. They still are doing some things that are a little unusual to us. You know, when it really gets hot, they tend to "okay well, surrender and by the way, you can keep your gun and we'll see you in the next town" which is a little unnerving to us.
But I think it has gone well, but again as the President has continued to remind us, this is not over. We still haven't secured really, you know, total peace in Afghanistan. Bin Laden is still at large. A number of the al Qaeda high leaders have either not been seized or executed.
We still have cells in countries all over the world that are very dangerous, and some of them right now are holding innocent people. So we've got a way to go, but I think people have been surprised how effective the bombing has been.
KING: The word we get, Senator, is that the President tomorrow will pull us out of the ABM Treaty. Your thoughts?
LOTT: I appreciate the fact that the President has been proceeding very carefully on that, that he has been communicating with the leaders of Congress. I had occasion this morning to talk to Condoleezza Rice to respond or give answers, or get answers to any questions I might have. I urged her and frankly the President, to be sure that key members of Congress were consulted as this process goes forward.
I'm not confirming what you're saying, I'm just - I am saying that there's a lot of consulting going on and I believe that the President is working with President Putin in a way that he will be comfortable with whatever decision is forthcoming.
The Soviet Union doesn't exist anymore. Russia is different. Putin is different. They too are threatened by terrorists. They have the Chechnya problem.
Now we think that they have been abusive in that instance, but they can make an argument that, you know, they were being hit by terrorists there. They are vulnerable to a missile attack perhaps from Iran or Iraq or other countries. So times have changed, and you have to be prepared to update and modernize your relationship with an evolving country like Russia.
Am I saying that we don't have to worry about them anymore, they're safe, we can trust them? No, I'm not saying that. I still trust by verify applies today just as it did when Reagan said it. But I believe that President Reagan and President Putin have been working together, making progress, and this is about the future, not about old alliances or non alliances.
KING: The President, White House made some - well they made some concessions to the democrats in the stimulus package. Do you think that new kind of more moderate approach will pass?
LOTT: Well it certainly is a, you know, very strong gesture by the President that he is willing to consider different options and make changes and reduce some of the things he'd like to have and move up in others. It's called a negotiated process, a negotiating process that leads to a compromise.
But here's the point. The President says the economy in America needs a boost. We need to do it. He says to Congress, you know, quit finding a way not to do this. Come together, work with me and do it now. Christmas is coming down the road here very soon, and delay is denial. Delay in getting people their unemployment and the health insurance coverage they need while they're unemployed is denial.
People need that help now, and delay in giving a jump start to the economy, whether it's in accelerated depreciation or expensing for business, or rate cuts for individuals, that will help move the economy forward sooner.
So the President's doing all he can. I have been meeting today with the Speaker in the House and with Tom Daschle in the Senate and I'm urging everybody to find a way to say yes, and I do think we've made progress. We were fighting this battle, frankly, on a 100-yard field. I think now it's between the 40s, and it would be good for America if we did this, and that's why the President has shown movement.
KING: And finally, last time you were with us, you accurately predicted that there would be the deal over the Airlines Security and you hit it on the nose. Will there be a stimulus package passed before Christmas?
LOTT: Larry, I think it's a close call, 50/50, but I believe there will be a deal tomorrow.
KING: There you have it from Trent Lott, Minority Leader of the Senate. When we come back, Senators Bob Graham and Richard Shelby, Colin Soloway of "Newsweek" magazine, the man who interviewed John Walker. He's in Kabul. And the brilliant writer and Pulitzer Prize winner Bob Woodward of the Washington Post. They're all next. Don't go away.
KING: We welcome now from Kabul, Afghanistan Colin Soloway, of "Newsweek" magazine, the man who interviewed John Walker and who wrote that terrific piece in this week's "Newsweek."
In Washington is Senator Bob Graham, democrat of Florida, and Chairman of the Select Intelligence Committee. He has seen the controversial, by the way, bin Laden tape.
So has Senator Richard Shelby, the Vice Chairman of that committee. And also in Washington is Bob Woodward, the Pulitzer Prize winner of the Washington Post, who's been atop this story from the get-go.
Let's start with Colin and the John Walker warning, apparently telling interrogators that al Qaeda plans another attack. You spent moments with John Walker, do you buy that?
COLIN SOLOWAY, "NEWSWEEK": Well it's really difficult to say for sure, Larry, you know, because I don't know who exactly he was with. You know, I suppose it's possible he may have met some senior people, but frankly I find it pretty unlikely that a 20-year-old kid, who'd only been involved in these training camps for a couple months, and had only been on apparently, you know sort of, very sort of peripheral sort of operations in Kashmir, would somehow have access to the planning from senior al Qaeda operatives.
You know, again people have said this sounds like sort of talk around the campfire and that's certainly possible. You also have to think that right now he's in U.S. custody. He's probably a little bit concerned about his future and probably doing his best to ingratiate himself with the CIA and possibly FBI people who he's talking to.
Again, they may also be pressing him as well, saying "look do you know anything about any attacks? Is there anything coming?" And he may be trying to give them what they want to hear.
KING: John Walker Lindh, the last name is Lindh and the father was on this program, has sent a letter to his family. I'm going to read portions of it. We'll show it on the screen as well.
"I apologize for not contacting you in such a long time. I realize this must have cost you a lot of grief. I am currently alive and well in Afghanistan. I'm in safe hands. I can not give you many details about my situation, but it would be good to hear from you all."
Bob Woodward, what do you make of this whole story?
BOB WOODWARD, "WASHINGTON POST": Well, I tend to agree with the "Newsweek" correspondent. This is somebody at a very, very low level who would not have the kind of information, prior knowledge of the attacks that are planned.
I think, the Senators can confirm this if this is the case, but on the famous soon-to-be-released bin Laden tape, apparently bin Laden at one point jokes that even his spokesman did not know that these 9/11 attacks were planned.
So obviously it's compartmentalized at a high level, and for a 20-year-old out in the field at the fighting level to know this, is most unlikely.
KING: Senator Graham, do you think it's probably just rumors among Taliban?
SEN. BOB GRAHAM (D-FL), SELECT INTELLIGENCE CMTE. CHMN.: It might be rumors, but it might also have some additional substance. You know, we've recently had a series of threat warnings delivered by the Attorney General, the head of Homeland Security. Those are based on specific pieces of information of varying levels of credibility, which have come to their attention.
It may be that some of those same kinds of generalized pieces of information fell into the hands of Walker in one of his various positions, and that's what he's relying on.
KING: And Senator Shelby, what do you think?
SEN. RICHARD SHELBY (R-AL), SELECT INTELLIGENCE CMTE. VICE CHMN.: I would doubt that he would know about any upcoming attacks, other than trying to ingratiate himself probably with his interrogators. But, having said that, you never know. We do have Ramadan coming to an end and we thought for a long time there could be something about that. There could be a terrorist attack somewhere against our interests because of that ending of it.
But on the other hand, if you look at the tape, as was said just a minute ago, of Osama bin Laden you will see how compartmented his information is. It has to be. You can't leave it around the campfire because it will spread fast.
KING: Colin, before we lose you, what are you hearing in Kabul about this bin Laden story? The Christian Science Monitor says he's in Pakistan. What are they saying there? SOLOWAY: Well it's pretty early in the morning here, so I haven't exactly been able to get any confirmation or any response here in Kabul. Everybody's asleep, but you know, again it's very difficult to say.
As Christiane was saying earlier, there are always a lot of rumors flying around, I think particularly in that area in Pakistan, and in Jalalabad.
But, you know, I wish I could tell you one way or the other, but from here we've got no response so far. I think it's possible, but then again it could also be reporters going on some pretty exciting rumors.
KING: Bob Woodward, what do you make of this bin Laden in Pakistan story?
WOODWARD: I think one part of it is probably not true, mainly that he's been there for ten days or something like that. I think there apparently is some evidence that he was in Afghanistan in that period. But again, you never know and the picture that gets painted in all of this is, we are dealing with lots of shadows and ghosts and deep uncertainties in all of this.
As Senator Shelby was talking about the threat warnings, which I've heard people say "well because nothing happened after the first warning or the second one, maybe we shouldn't take the third one seriously." The people I've talked to who look at this information, take it deadly seriously, and you just never know where they're going to hit us, and there are people who know an awful lot about this who really say they are coming at us again at some time.
That doesn't mean at the end of the week or next month, because one of the imponderables in all of this is, we do not know what the timetable of these people is. Do they expect - we look at things like a football game. You have the first quarter and the second quarter begins right away.
For bin Laden and his associates, that may not be the case. They may be willing to wait six months or a year as they have in the past.
KING: We'll take a break and we'll ask about the bin Laden tapes and what our guests think about their release or not release on this edition of "Larry King Live."
Tomorrow night on this program, we're going to have the Secretary of the Navy, the Chief of Naval Operations, the Commandant of the Marine Corps, and a former Navy man, President Jimmy Carter. It's Navy talk tomorrow night on "Larry King Live." We'll be right back.
KING: Senator Bob Graham, you have seen the bin Laden tapes. Should we see it?
GRAHAM: Yes, Larry. The tape is a smoking gun. It is self- incriminating of bin Laden. But more than that, it gives you a sense of the demeanor the person of bin Laden. He speaks as if he were an engineer describing a structural failure, rather than a person who has just planned, orchestrated and directed one of the most horrific acts in history.
You see in this tape, a smirking person without remorse, without compassion, I think you are looking at the face of international terrorism. And you are seeing the people that we're going to be dealing with after we finish with bin Laden, after we have left Afghanistan, to go on to what I suspect are going to be the much more difficult chapters in the war on terrorism.
KING: Senator Shelby, should we see it? And by the way, will we see it tomorrow do you know?
SHELBY: I don't know if we'll see it tomorrow, but I believe we will see it. I think you should see it. It's got a lot in it, but it's laced with cynicism at the highest level. Until the American people, and perhaps the world hopefully sees it, they will not really put it all together.
But this is a man with obviously, no feelings at all. Otherwise, you can read all this in from his gestures and his own language. It's central to his culpability here. It shows, without a doubt, I believe, his culpability as to -- in his complicity in the whole September 11 deal. This is a damnable piece of evidence against Osama bin Laden.
KING: Bob Woodward, as an esteemed member of the fourth estate, can we safely guess you are absolutely in favor of everybody seeing this?
WOODWARD: Well I don't see why not. Obviously, the more evidence, the better.
The question -- one of the questions I have about it, excepting what the senators say about the conclusions somebody would draw, is why did bin Laden let this tape be made? As I understand, it's kind of an amateur home video at a dinner. And it kind of swings around. Because previously, all of his communications have been very directed, very focused, very much concerned with the image, and the ideas he is trying to convey. And this is kind of -- it seems almost reminiscent of Nixon's famous taping system. You are catching somebody in a moment of -- or series of moments of ultimate candor that are incriminating. And it's bizarre that he would let this happen.
KING: Colin Soloway in Kabul, is there any interest in this at all, this tape, where you are?
SOLOWAY: Well, again, it's pretty early in the morning here. And no one's seen it yet. Not a lot of people here in Kabul, at least normal people, have satellite TV. But I think, you know, once the tape is out, you know, the news will go out over the radio.
Again, in Kabul, I don't think people need a lot of convincing that bin Laden is a bad guy. I think where this tape will actually be more useful, certainly for the administration, is if it in fact says and provides the evidence that the senators say it does, I think in the rest of the -- particularly in Arab world and the rest of the Islamic world, perhaps it might change some minds of people, since you know, there is a feeling on the street in a lot of Arab and Muslim countries, that perhaps there's not evidence against bin Laden. So if this provides more evidence or is some convincing evidence, then it certainly would probably help the United States and the coalition's case against bin Laden.
KING: What kind of job, Bob Woodward, you've covered this, has the CIA done in this whole story?
WOODWARD: Well, there was a lot of expectation that people had, that maybe they could not make a large contribution. In fact, to date based on what I believe is known, they have been instrumental in the positive progress and the war in Afghanistan, and have done some rather amazing things.
It turns out they had highly secret paramilitary units that have been operating in Afghanistan for years, that the CIA units were the first to go into Afghanistan, I think on September 27, that in many ways, it is not an accident that the first casualty in this was a CIA man, because the CIA people on the ground had been doing the close-in, dangerous work in many cases.
And you could kind of tick off four or five areas where they've done some very positive things. At the same time, it really is chapter one in this war. And chapter one is not over, Afghanistan. So we don't know how long the book is, but we know there are additional chapters.
KING: Senator Shelby, are you surprised that President Bush has kept Mr. Tenet, who is Clinton's man, in at CIA?
SHELBY: Well, I was surprised, to begin with. But you know, I've always said that's a decision that the President would make. And obviously, he's elected to keep him on. But I have to join Bob Woodward on this. I believe the CIA has, in chapter one where we are today, has played a good role, a positive role, and looks like, I hope, will be a decisive role.
And why? Because they were turned loose. They knew what they could do if we would back them. And by that by money and also by policy. The CIA has a lot of great people, not just the analysts, but the people they can put in the field, just like, Michael Spann, who lost his life, over there. The CIA can make a difference, will make a difference in the future, but we're going to have to give it the tools to do it.
KING: Senator Graham, what's your assessment of the job they've done?
GRAHAM: I think they've done an excellent job. And there are a couple of things they've done, which I think are harbingers of what we'll be doing in the future. One, the use of the predator. This is that unmanned aircraft that can fly for very long periods of time and has tremendous capability of gathering useful and immediately operational information.
Second is the relationship, which they have established over time, with the Pakistani Intelligence Service. As you know, for the last 10 years, we've had a very chilly relationship with Pakistan, but our intelligence agencies have tried to continue to work together.
We were concerned that some of the Pakistani agents maybe were too close to the Taliban. We brought that information to the leadership of Pakistan. They've started a house cleaning. They withdrew their support from the Taliban. And I believe that has contributed maybe second only to the U.S. air bombardments to the rapid collapse of the Taliban military and political capabilities.
KING: We'll take a break, come back include, include some phone calls for our panel. We're going to close off the show tonight with a brilliant voice. If you haven't heard it, you're going to flip. Josh Groban with us and David Foster, the amazing conductor and composer and arranger will accompany him. We always end every show on a high note, we hope. We'll be right back with more. Don't go away.
KING: Let's take a call. Haughten (ph) Lake, Michigan, hello.
CALLER: Hello, Larry.
CALLER: My question is, hypothetically, if Osama bin Laden was brought up in front of a world tribunal, and hypothetically sentenced to execution, how would that affect him as a martyr in the Muslim world, in terrorist groups in general?
KING: Senator Shelby?
SHELBY: Well, that's a good question. That's why, I believe, that if we happen to capture Osama bin Laden, that he be tried in a military tribunal and we dispense with him. That's a risk, but we cannot be intimidated by what would happen after we got to, in my judgment, we got to deal with what we have. And we're dealing with a real hardened criminal that's violated, I believe, just about every international law.
KING: Before I ask Bob Woodward another thing about the CIA, Colin, I want to get your thoughts on how important is the thinking in Kabul about getting bin Laden? Is that an essential part of this story?
SOLOWAY: Well, in terms of the future of Afghanistan, or the political developments, I'm not sure that's top on people's lists. But as I was saying before, people in Afghanistan, in Kabul, don't need a whole lot of persuading that bin Laden's a bad guy and should be brought to justice.
You know, anybody you talk to in the government would say, you know, this country was wrecked by al Qaeda and bin Laden. I was speaking actually yesterday with the former deputy interior minister of the Taliban of Afghanistan. And he himself was saying that basically, our regime and their collaboration with bin Laden with al Qaeda basically destroyed this country, and had -- not only that, but had defamed Islam.
So you know, he's not a particularly popular character with Afghans, even with former Taliban here, many of them. So, you know, I think they'd be very happy to see him, first of all, leave the country and never come back. And secondly, be brought to justice in some way.
KING: Bob Woodward, the CIA's come under a lot of criticism over the years in various areas. How do you explain their adroitness in this particular area of the world?
WOODWARD: Well, they were working on it for a number of years. And I think -- and Senator Shelby pointed at this. They've been turned loose. We've written in "The Washington Post" that President Bush has signed an intelligence order, that essentially says destroy bin Laden and al Qaeda, and use essentially, any means necessary. That was the kind of language and attitude that did not exist pre- September 11.
And I think also, on the international front, the CIA has looked at and said what's job one here? And I think job one is preventing or warning about another attack. And they have made a massive effort. And as I understand it, had the intelligence services, or local police and over 50 countries round up, arrest or detain nearly 500 people, who may have terrorist connections or connections to bin Laden. Whether that has stopped a future attack, I guess no one knows, but it certainly has disrupted this network and this apparatus.
KING: Great reporting, too. New York City, hello?
CALLER: Yes, regarding the John Walker issue, I wondered if the panel found it at all odd that the Taliban would allow an American to join the group?
KING: Yes, Senator Graham, good question. Didn't they suspect him?
GRAHAM: No, in fact, the Taliban and al Qaeda have been very international with almost every major country in the world represented in those people who have come to train in the camps. They thought of themselves, not as a regional organization, but as an organization which would eventually extend their extreme version of Islam on a global basis.
KING: I see. Senator Shelby, are you -- we asked this of Trent Lott. Are you surprised at how well things have gone?
SHELBY: Not surprised. I thought once they got going, in a big way, we'd been briefed on a lot of this, as to the measured response that our military, led by the Secretary of Defense and our troops, would play. I believe that Secretary Rumsfeld has paved the way, by his leadership over at the Pentagon, for where we are today. He's not bashful. He's smart. He's tough, and he's out there.
KING: Senator Graham, are you surprised?
GRAHAM: No, I'm not surprised. I think this was a war that we have been anticipating. You asked about why the CIA had been so successful. One of the reasons is they've been on the ground for a long time, developing the kinds of knowledge and relationships that have now paid such rich dividends.
This is, again, going to be a requirement of the next chapters of the war on terrorism. We, today, should be identifying where our next strikes will be and be at the same level of preparation to execute, as we have just seen in the last 90 days in Afghanistan.
KING: Bob Woodward, it is, as you said, only chapter one. Did you expect it to be as well written a chapter as it is?
WOODWARD: Well, again, I remember Cheney saying, the Vice President saying there will be good days and bad days. And we seem to have seen a good number of good days. I think he's probably right. There are going to be bad days in this. And they're going to be unexpected turns.
And you have to focus, and I'm sorry to return to this. I feel a little bit like Chicken Little, but the possibility of another attack is very, very real. The people who did these attacks in September are very sophisticated, know how to send money around, know how to pre- plan, know how to be diabolical and focused in their purpose. And they've taken a battering in the last 2.5 months. And I doubt if they're sitting around saying, "let's give up."
KING: Do you have that fear, Senator Graham?
GRAHAM: I'm afraid that Bob is right, that the chances of there being another at least attempted terrorist attack, it probably won't be a hijacking of airplanes. It might be putting a weapon of mass destruction in a container that has come across the oceans and is about to be unloaded in a major American city. We don't know the form that it will take.
But these people have been engaged in major terrorist acts in about 12 to 24 month intervals since the late 1990s. There also are other terrorist groups, in addition to al Qaeda, that have operatives the United States, who assumedly are waiting for directions to carry out some horrific act against the United States. So while these have been good days, for most of the last 90, we still have to maintain a high level of awareness.
KING: Thank you all very much. We're out of time, but thanks. We're going to have all of you back. Bob Woodward, Colin Soloway, Senator Bob Graham, and Senator Richard Shelby and Trent Lott earlier, as well as Christiane Amanpour. As we go to break leading up to our close for tonight with Josh Groban, Captain Charles Burlingame was buried today at Arlington Cemetery. He's the captain of American Airline flight 77 that went into the Pentagon. However, there was a great deal of fuss over whether he would be buried there. He was today. Here's the scene.
KING: The man behind me on the piano is David Foster, who has sent so many famous people and recorded for them. He's a producer, writer, director, arranger. And he discovered our young man here, Josh Groban.
Where? Where were you when he found you?
JOSH GROBAN, SINGER: I was at a voice teacher in Los Angeles. And he called him up and said I need singer for an event. And he sent him a tape. And it all kind of started from there.
KING: And the song you're going to sing for us is "To Where You Are."
GROBAN: That's right.
KING: What is it about?
GROBAN: Well, it's a song about lost love, about loss in general. And it was written about a year ago. And we sat back and listened to it again. It just seems to have so much more meaning now.
KING: We're very proud to have you with us tonight. I think you're going to have a great career. You're going to be with Charlotte Church here on PBS in November, when they have the big pledge drive.
GROBAN: Exactly. Yes, this month, they're airing that show. And we're also going to be doing another thing on CBS on the 21st. So that was exciting.
KING: And you're going to hear a great voice. Thanks very much. David Foster accompanies Josh Groban on LARRY KING LIVE. Watch.
(JOSH GROBAN SINGS "TO WHERE YOU ARE.")
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