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MORNINGS WITH PAULA ZAHN

Mayor Giuliani Gives His Reaction to Bin laden Tape

Aired December 14, 2001 - 07:40   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.
PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back at just about 45 minutes after the hour. Since September 11th New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani has been applauded for his leadership in the middle of incredible horror. Some say New York's mayor became America's mayor. Well this morning we turn to the mayor for his reaction to the bin Laden tape. His Honor joins me now a few blocks north of here in Manhattan. Good morning Mr. Giuliani. How are you this morning?

MAYOR RUDY GIULIANI, NEW YORK: Good morning. I'm OK.

ZAHN: All right, we wanted to start off with getting your reaction to a very specific part of this tape and I know you're not going to be able to see it, so I'm going to actually read the subtitles that our viewers will see. Let's roll that tape now and this is the excerpt when Osama bin Laden basically says they were overjoyed when the first plane hit the building, so I said to them be patient - alluding to the fact that he knew that a second attack was about to occur. When you saw these - when you saw this tape for the first time, what did you think?

GIULIANI: Maybe I thought back to the time I was a prosecutor and tried a lot of criminal cases. And it seemed to me that what I was listening to and watching was one of the most detailed descriptions of a premeditated murder - a mass murder in this case that I had ever heard. And it gives you a sense of how fiendish and how dangerous this man is and continues to be. It's probably one of the most horrendous descriptions of a crime and a reaction to a crime that I've ever heard.

(CROSSTALK)

GIULIANI: And I tried to actually think back at had I - had I ever heard a more evil or worse description of a crime than that. I'm not sure that I ever have.

ZAHN: What was the most surprising thing about this tape in your judgment?

GIULIANI: I think his claim that he didn't realize how much damage it was going to do, and I'm not sure I accept that completely. I wasn't surprised by his claim that a number of the people involved in the mission didn't know the full import of the mission as they were carrying it out. I had pretty much figured out and I think a lot of people had that probably was the way it was organized. But this idea that they didn't realize that it would do as much damage, I'm not sure that that's true or that's the kind of boast that sometimes the sick criminal minds engage in. I've listened to that kind of boast before by people on tape, about how they ended up doing more damage than they - than they thought they would.

ZAHN: So you're basically saying maybe because of what happened in '93, he knew exactly what was going to happen this time around.

GIULIANI: Well yes. I just don't know. You need - I think you need more evidence to and more of an analysis of it and know him and the people around him better to know whether or not you want to accept that. But in any event, what it demonstrates is you know beyond any doubt in the world that he is responsible for this and that this is a man who engaged in one of the worst premeditated mass murders in the history of - in the history of the world.

ZAHN: I'm sure you have heard from some of the families, the victims that were very upset that this tape was made public. I don't think they had a big - as big of a problem of just the transcript being released, but they thought in airing the tape that you gave Osama bin Laden the platform to air his evil views.

GIULIANI: I ...

ZAHN: What do you say to them this morning?

GIULIANI: I think there have been - I think there are very different reactions to it and I can understand how people may not want to watch it and may not want to listen to it, and they don't want to deal with it and it's all understandable. I mean the pain and suffering and the grieving process is very different for different people and you have to allow lots of room for people to do it in different ways.

I also heard from people including some of the firefighters that were very, very satisfied that this was put out because they feel that this ends up making sure that America has to support to do what has to be done to find him; to find the people that are involved with him; to hold responsible the countries that support and sponsor terrorism and that allow terrorism to go forward. This is very important to continuing the support for our policy that is necessary if we're going to protect our children from the kind of thing that he was able to bring about on September 11th.

ZAHN: Mayor do you have 30 seconds left on you? I can't tell ...

GIULIANI: Sure.

ZAHN: ... we're seeing a wall here right now. Just a final question about the reports this morning that are encouraging that Osama bin Laden is being surrounded by U.S. Special Forces and opposition forces. And as you know, the British Defense Minister last week basically said if the British troops got there first they wouldn't extradite Osama bin Laden to the United States because of the death penalty. Just a final thought for us some of us to ponder this morning.

GIULIANI: Yes I'm hopeful that concentrating on this tape, any civilized country would understand that we should - that they should allow us to apply American law, even if they object to the death penalty. Look, I'm a supporter of the death penalty under the right circumstances. I can't imagine there being any circumstances more compelling for the application of the death penalty than this one.

ZAHN: We're going to have to leave it ...

GIULIANI: If you can't support the death penalty here, I guess you can never support it.

ZAHN: I guess we're going to have to leave it there this morning. Rudy Giuliani, thanks so much for your time and ...

GIULIANI: Thank you.

ZAHN: ... if we don't see you before the holidays, we hope you have a safe and peaceful one.

GIULIANI: Thank you.

ZAHN: Still to come ...

GIULIANI: Same to you.

ZAHN: Thank you very much.

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