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CNN LARRY KING LIVE

Interviews with Hillary Rodham Clinton, Colin Soloway, Dr. Kerry Kelly

Aired December 20, 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, some questions about that infamous Osama bin Laden video. Did the official United States translation leave out some juicy details?

Joining us with updates on the action in Afghanistan, CNN's Nic Robertson, on the ground in Islamabad. Also there, "Newsweek" correspondent Colin Soloway.

Then, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of rebuilding New York. And funding emotional help for 9-11 heroes. Also Dr. Kerry Kelly, chief medical officer for the New York Fire Department. Then we will debate what should be done with American Taliban fighter John Walker. Democratic Congresswoman Jane Harmon, ranking member of the subcommittee on terrorism and homeland security, and G.O.P. Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, head of the subcommittee on International Operations, and Human Rights.

Plus, Lieutenant Colonel Buck James of the 75th Ranger Regiment at Fort Benning, Georgia. He deployed in a special ops raid on the airfield that is now home to Camp Rhino. With him Sgt. 1st class Thomas Fuller also of the Rangers, former Army special operations command and CO of the year.

And in London, a former member of Britain's elite SAS, best- selling author Andy McNab, we hide his face because some people would like to see him dead. All that and more, next, on LARRY KING LIVE!

I want to spend a few brief moments with David Ensor, CNN's national security correspondent on deck in Washington.

What didn't we hear on the tape that we should have heard?

DAVID ENSOR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the translation was done in a hurry, Larry, as you know, and, there were some things that simply weren't translated, for whatever reason, either because they were in a hurry or because the translators didn't get the Saudi dialect or whatever.

But first of all, on that tape, you can hear Osama bin Laden, naming not just Mohammed Atta, but naming nine of the hijackers specifically. So, more evidence that he knew who these people were, he knew exactly what they were up to. Secondly, you can hear man next to him there on the tape, talking about Saudi clerics, who have put out fatwas, edicts, in favor of the attack of 9-11, including a named Abdul Rachman al Barak, who is a government employee of the Saudi government, so that is a rather embarrassing fact. That was not put on the transcript.

His name was instead listed as Al Barain, which is not a Saudi Sunni name. Finally, there is kind of an interesting quote from bin Laden himself, when he talks about the moment when he got the word, that the attack -- first attack -- was successful. He said to those near him, he says on the tape and this was not completely translated, when you hear a breaking news announcement, kneel immediately, because that means they have hit the World Trade Center.

Those were the words of bin Laden on that tape and for whatever reason those words did not get on to the English translation that U.S. government put out last week, Larry!

KING: They certainly, David, don't change the tenor of what he was saying?

ENSOR: That is right. There is no sense from any of the translators that we have worked with and talked to, that this tape shows anything other than Osama bin Laden gloating bragging about being successful and being involved in these attacks. But in fact, in a way, it shows them in an even worse light. It points out that he knew about nine of these people, not just one of them.

KING: And briefly, David, how did they goof?

ENSOR: Well, as I say, it may have been because they were in a hurry, it may have been because the translators didn't know the particular Saudi dialect. It may, in the case of the Saudi clerics's comments, have been, just possibly, I don't know, that the U.S. government didn't want to put that name on the transcript because it might have been embarrassing to the Saudi government. So, we don't know why they made these goofs but there were some.

KING: Thank you, David Ensor, CNN's national security correspondent on deck in Washington.

Now let's go to Jalalabad, Afghanistan, Nic Robertson, CNN correspondent is standing by as is Colin Soloway, "Newsweek" correspondent.

What's the latest, Nic, on this -- frustrating failure to land bin Laden?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the efforts are still underway. There have been U.S. special forces on the mountains just south of here in Tora Bora for the last number days. And they may be joined in the coming days by as many as 500 Marines. Now the importance and the reason for that is because the evidence on the mountains, that may try and locate Osama bin Laden, is time-sensitive. They need to get up there. They need to get there before more snow has fallen, they need to get up there before heavy winds may blow documents away. They need to get into the cave areas before anyone else gets there, any Eastern Alliance fighters who might decide there is something in those caves they think would be useful for their ammunition: computers, whatever it is they may find.

So it is time sensitive and from the overflights of helicopters that we were hearing when we were up there, at night, at least, an indication that the special forces are very, very active, and indeed, so active, that they have encouraged Eastern Alliance fighters on the mountainside to keep journalists away. A couple of journalists up there just yesterday had some of their camera equipment taken away by the local Afghan fighters up there, Larry.

KING: Now, Colin, we understand you toured an abandoned al Qaeda command center in Jalalabad. What did you see?

COLIN SOLOWAY, "NEWSWEEK": Well, we were taken to place which we were told, both by alliance fighters, and also by local villagers, that this was actually bin Laden's house, or bin Laden's command center in a village outside Jalalabad.

It was basic mud rooms, concrete floors, but what we found were lots and lots of documents, some of them in burn piles, documents which had not been entirely burned, and it was very interesting. We were finding stuff which maybe CIA or special forces guys had gone through but had gone through, but had discarded or not seen. You know, for example, we were finding pieces of manuals for very, very high-tech, encrypted signal hopping radios, we were finding diagrams, drawn diagrams for making radio controlled detonators for bombs, and other sorts of documentation -- individuals's documentation.

We found one document from Italy, a residence document. We found, you know, lost luggage claims, things like that with people's names on them. So, there is a lot of very interesting stuff, there. I mean if this is what we were finding left behind, I think you can imagine what the CIA and special forces guys were finding when they got in there before us.

KING: Nic Robertson, we understand -- I know there is danger facing journalists all the time -- you were robbed? What's the story?

ROBERTSON: Well, I was robbed a couple of nights ago, but it was small compared to what's been going on with many other journalists here. We were coming down the mountainside and unfortunately the brakes failed on our truck. It ran into a ravine and in the night, when trying to retrieve things from there, our guards and some others with them helped themselves to some of the luggage, but the bigger problem is some of the Eastern Alliance fighters are there now with some of the mujahedeen commanders, being pulled back off the mountains.

The countryside is turning a little bit more to the way that it was before, with some freelance banneditry. Yesterday some photographers had some of their camera equipment taken, and other people have had other items pilfered through the last week or so. It is an existence up there on the edge of the mountains, that is beyond the reach of whatever, whatever anyone in this city calls law. And, people up there are able to get away with what they couldn't get away with in the city, so there is some thievery that does go on, Larry.

KING: Colin, we understand that up to 500 Marines are going to go in Tora Bora cave this weekend searching. Why do we know that? Why was that information let out?

SOLOWAY: Well, it is not clear. You know, this information came out of the Pentagon, in terms of why these guys were -- why it was announced. It may be to try and reassure people that yes, Americans are pushing on in this fight, that they are going to be getting into these caves. They may have felt that when people back in states were concerned that there was not enough American presence there, although there are already at least a few hundred American special forces there.

But there are a lot of caves to cover. It still doesn't seem entirely confirmed that the Marines are coming in, and at the same time they may not be advertising this to the Afghans as much because there are certain sensitivities here, on the part of the local warlords, where they have been saying, well, as long as the Americans are here to help, and there is not too many of them, you know, it is OK. But if they bring in a lot and really start trying to sort of, you know, run the show, then we might have some problems.

But again, it is not clear. They may also want to use the Marines to establish some sort of perimeter security if for nothing else than to keep journalists away.

KING: Thank you both very much and by the way Nic Robertson, preceding this show tomorrow night, will host a one-hour special, "LIVE FROM AFGHANISTAN." Nic Robertson and Colin Soloway, on the scene in Jalalabad. When we come back, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, Democrat of New York, and Dr. Kerry Kelly the chief medical officer of the New York fire department.

You are watching LARRY KING LIVE. We will be right back.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm optimistic about the future of our struggle against terror. I know we have accomplished a lot so far. We have got a lot more to do. Over the past 100 days we and our British allies and others in the coalition have destroyed at least 11 terrorist training camps inside Afghanistan, terrorist factories that produced thousands of trained operatives. We have also destroyed 39 Taliban command and control sites. Senior al Qaeda and Taliban officials have been captured, or killed.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Joining us now in Washington is Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, Democrat of New York, a member of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, of course, the former first lady; and in New York, Dr. Kerry Kelly, chief medical officer of the New York Fire Department, has been with that department for 20 years. Her father and grandfather were firefighters. She testified before the Senate about the need for mental health resources for firefighters and public safety officials in the aftermath of September 11. That's what we are here to talk about.

But I want to ask one question of Senator Clinton first. What do you make of this John Walker thing? And as a lawyer, what do you make of it?

SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), NEW YORK: Well, Larry, I think that we are learning more. I don't know how reliable the information is and how accurate his own words even are as to what he experienced and what he observed. I'm pleased that he is in American custody and I hope that he is providing useful information to those who are questioning him.

You know, the president will be making a decision about how he should be treated. And we'll wait to hear that decision. But I think what's really a significant difference between what we see when we hear this young man talk about taking up arms against his country is the hundreds and thousands of young men and women who are putting their own lives at risk defending not only our country, but the rights of people to be free from terrorism. And, you know, as we go into this Christmas season, we all ought to be grateful for, you know, their commitment and service.

KING: All right, Dr. Kelly -- and we'll get the senator in on this of course -- what are the needs with regard to mental health in the aftermath of 9/11?

DR. KERRY KELLY, NEW YORK FIRE DEPARTMENT: I think you have to look at our membership and realize the experience that they have gone through. Our entire membership has really been exposed to the events of 9/11, both in their response from the initial alarm that went in. They were there during collapses. They have been there in rescue and recovery efforts 24 hours a day, seven days a week, since that event.

They have been busy trying to rescue and now recover the bodies of loved ones and civilians. And their exposure has been tremendous to really a very overwhelming event. And I think it is important that we supply the emotional follow-up for these members so that we can keep them healthy both physically and mentally.

KING: Senator Clinton, is there funding for the psychological end of this problem?

CLINTON: Well, Larry, Dr. Kelly testified before our committee. And I was very struck by her personal experience. She was there doing the work that she has done for all those years, taking care of people. And so she not only has the responsibility of taking care of those in the department, but she has firsthand experience of the real terror that was experienced by so many, in addition to the loss of life.

So I went to work to get some additional funds. You know, the fire department does take care of its own. And I think that is one of the really admirable characteristics that everyone is seeing, that this is a, you know, a real extended family, where people, you know, look out for each other and are going to be there day in and day out. But Dr. Kelly knew from her own work and from the work of others who've dealt with disasters and tragedies that there would be a lot of mental health and counseling needs. And so I was able to get some additional dollars, about two and a half million, to go to firefighters and the emergency personnel who were there working on 9/11 and who have been involved in the aftermath.

And I just have to commend Dr. Kelly and, you know, her team and the people who are working so hard to provide for all of the needs that we are seeing in this holiday season, but that we know are going to go on for months, and months afterwards.

KING: Dr. Kelly, other than the obvious, what is the biggest emotional problem people face after loss?

KELLY: I think in addition to the grief process, which has really been extended because we have had memorial services and funerals that began soon after this event and have continued and will continue through, people are dealing with their own stress reactions. They are dealing with the aftermath of being at this event and dealing with being part of a terrorist attack. And I think sleep disturbance and anxiety are not unusual after an event such as this.

KING: We often, Senator Clinton, have concentrated on the physical aspects of things and the mental aspect have generally been put aside historically. Has that changed?

CLINTON: Well, I hope it is changing. And, you know, leadership from people like Dr. Kelly and others are really helping us understand that, yes, the physical has to be dealt with, but the grieving process and the healing that has to go on not only affects those who lost loved ones and colleagues, but, you know, it really ripples out through the whole society.

The day that Dr. Kelly came to testify, we had some others on the panel who had worked in previous disasters. And they warned us that we were going to be seeing a lot of fallout from this. And I'm hearing it more and more. You know, we saw the tragic suicide of the wife of one of the victims just a little over a week ago. I have been meeting with so many of the victims' family members. And they are being brave and trying to go on, especially when they have children to care for. But they are asking for, you know, somebody to talk to. Some of them need some additional help. And what we are trying to do is provide it in appropriate ways. And that is why trying to get extra resources for the fire department to be, you know, funneled through the experts like Dr. Kelly, is one way of doing it, making it more readily available in society at large so that people can see seek it out is another.

But we have to be ready to deal with this for, you know, sometime to come. I was talking with some people from Oklahoma City who said that, you know, there are still some of the rescue workers and survivors who are just coming to grips with what happened there. And this is going to be a long-term commitment all of us have to make.

KING: Now, Dr. Kelly, you grew up in a family, your grandfather, your father are firefighters. Is any of this grief tempered by the fact that the families knew they were in a high risk occupation to begin with?

KELLY: I think people in this profession realize that they take risks. And they are fully aware of that, although this event was clearly something on an extraordinary level. But I think the family aspect of this has made the grief deeper.

We have over 65 fire houses that have lost more than one member. Some have lost 10 to 12 members. We have 60 to 70 siblings who have lost a sibling on the fire department and yet still are back at work. We have fathers that have lost sons. We have sons that have lost fathers. So the family of the fire department has really suffered a great loss. And we need to help people heal. And I think that can be done through an approach that recognizes that each firehouse has its own identity and family, and that we need to get counselors into the firehouses along with peer counselors and trained clinicians to work to address the issues as they are occurring in the firehouse and meet the needs of the individuals who need more individual counseling.

KING: Senator, how are you doing with the idea of tax relief for the widows?

CLINTON: Well, we got it through, thank goodness, Larry. The end of the day in the Senate, we were able to pass the Tax Relief Act so that families will not have to pay income tax and families that didn't make enough to pay income tax, but had, obviously, payroll tax costs are going to be given $10,000 as a way of making that up to them.

I was really pleased that we were able to get this done. A lot of people needed this money. They needed to know that they were going to be able to plan. We have lots of employers who had already written checks and had not taken any income tax out because they read that the Congress had passed it.

So this was an early Christmas present for a lot of families.

KING: And Dr. Kelly, the attorney general says the families are going to get at least 500,000, probably not more than 3 million, 50,000 immediately. Does money help in the emotional area?

KELLY: I think there is not one person that would not give up all that money to bring back their loved one. Certainly, having some financial security is important, and I think that is what helps our firefighters, when they go into a dangerous situation, know that their families will be cared for.

And that is a given that the families are important to us in the fire department, and we will make sure that they are cared for, that we have a commitment to these people. But the people are missed so greatly. KING: And Senator Clinton, are you supporting the proposal by Senators Lieberman and McCain for an independent commission to look into the events of 9-11?

CLINTON: Yes, I am. I called for that earlier this week, and I'm glad that the Senate will help put together such a commission. I'm also sending a letter to the president, because I think there are ways that the federal government could also participate from the executive branch, in this investigation. But I think everyone needs to have a professional investigation to learn what we can learn, so that, you know, if something like this doesn't happen, if it can at all be avoided, we are going to try to prevent every possible terrorist attack, but in the event of an attack we want to make sure we have taken every precaution to save every life possible

KING: Happy holidays to you both. Thanks for being with us.

CLINTON: Same to you Larry, thank you.

KING: Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton in Washington, Dr. Kerry Kelly, chief medical officer, New York fire department in New York. When we come back, we'll have two congresswomen discuss the John Walker matter.

And later, Rangers from Fort Benning, don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Joining us now in Washington, Representative Jane Harman, Democrat California, ranking member of House Intelligence Subcommittee on Terrorism and Homeland Security; and Representative Ileana Ros- Lehtinen. She is a Republican of Florida, chairman of the international operations and human rights subcommittee of the International Relations Committee. We are going to discuss the John walker matter and what's your read on all of this, Congresswoman Harman.

REP. JANE HARMAN (D-CA), SELECT INTELLIGENCE CMTE.: Well, my read that is that the administration today, I hear, postponed making any judgment in the case about what to do with him, and I think that is a good move.

Let's get him off the front pages, let's focus on the holidays and also on tracking down the al Qaeda leadership. Even in his most fanciful dreams he certainly was not a leader of al Qaeda. I think it is very important that we get to closure on where the leaders are, and if possible, bring them to justice. They may not be found alive, but that course has to be run.

KING: Congresswoman Lehtinen, what do you think?

REP. ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN (R-FL), INTL. RELATIONS CMTE.: Well, I think that it is very ironic that John walker's sorry butt is going to be saved by the very Constitution that he spit upon! He spit upon our flag! He aligned himself with the enemies of the United States! From what we know so far, maybe different facts will come out, but he said that he was part of the al Qaeda network, that he is -- he admitted that he was part of an organization who whose sworn enemy was the United States America. What participation he had? Only the facts will tell us in the future, but from what we know now, he will be saved by the United States Constitution.

He probably will not face the death penalty. And it is very ironic that the men and women of our armed forces, who are there, sacrificing themselves to save the people of Afghanistan, and they are younger than even John Walker was when he went to Afghanistan.

KING: Congresswoman Harman, does this look as open and shut as that to you?

HARMON: I think we have to be cautious. We don't know all the facts. His family has pleaded with us to withhold judgment. And regardless of the interviews that he is giving the press, I think it is necessary to find out precisely what happened, and I think public officials and newspapers should not be judging him early. I gather there was a poll in at least one paper today that said he should be executed.

Well, as Ileana pointed out, he is entitled to due process under the Constitution. He is a United States citizen. We need to know what he did first. My guess is that he has got bragging rights here, and he probably played a small role. But I don't know that. She certainly is right that -- and so is Senator Clinton, who spoke before us on this show -- that we should be thinking about the patriotic young Americans who are putting their lives on the line to keep us free and protect our values.

ROS-LEHTINEN: It is just funny to use the U.S. Constitution as a defense of John walker, because he renounced his allegiance to the United States when went to join an organization that, by its very own words, is in a holy war against the principles that founded this country, the holy war against democracy, human rights, expect for civil liberties. Those are the principles of the al Qaeda network.

They give interviews. They teach their children using text books full of hate against the United States. His very own words have said that his heart was with Taliban, and this is a terrorist organization that has killed innocent human lives.

And yet his lawyers are saying he is being denied due process. Where are the due process rights of the thousands of Americans who were killed in the World Trade Center, in the Pentagon, and in the Pittsburgh planes? So I say that he should be lucky he is an American. He is very fortunate that he is going to be saved by the very laws that he disrespected when he joined the Taliban.

KING: Just -- before Jane Harman responds -- just so we understand, Congresswoman Lehtinen, you are not complaining that the Constitution protects him, are you?

ROS-LEHTINEN: No. I'm saying that it is sadly ironic that the very Constitution that he defied when he joined the Taliban group is going to save his life. Thank goodness that we are a nation of laws. Thank goodness that we are not the Taliban.

We are country of love and respect for laws, and the Taliban is a terrorist organization who hates the American people, and they owed it September 11, and they are showing it still today.

HARMON: I am certainly not defending Taliban or the leadership of the Taliban or even this fellow, but I'm saying there is a difference between process and outcome.

This man may still be executed as the result of a constitutional process. But that process should apply. Innocent until proven guilty, I think that is part of the value system we are fighting to protect there, and if we violate it on behalf of our own citizen I think we send a message in the world that we don't value it and that would be very, very wrong.

ROS-LEHTINEN: Well, although I agree with my good friend Jane, but innocent until proven guilty, his very own words in a CNN interview that has been played on your network time and time again, he said that he made the right decision when he joined the Taliban. He said his heart was with the al Qaeda network. And he doesn't regret that decision. That decision said the United States is the enemy of the Afghan people. So he was part of that holy war. And he was part of the terrorist camp, where bin Laden himself had gone several times.

So I agree, he's innocent until proven guilty. He probably won't be tried for treason, because it is so difficult, because we are a nation of just laws. Maybe he will be tried just for supporting a terrorist organization.

KING: Yes.

ROS-LEHTINEN: But he's very lucky to be an American citizen.

KING: Congresswoman Harmon, is there any specific law you think he could be directly charged with, as you hear the facts to this minute?

HARMON: Well, I gather from press reports that treason or aiding a terrorist organization are the two things that we're looking at, but there could be something else. I mean, we may discover that he's committed war crimes. I mean, along the lines of the My Lai massacre, that kind of thing. That would be much more serious.

But my point is, we really don't know what he is going to be tried for or what precisely he did. Just because he says he did something, doesn't mean that he necessarily did it. He's a young man.

KING: We...

HARMON: I certainly don't want to defend the fellow, but I don't think we should rush to judgment here.

KING: All right. Thank you both very -- we're out of time. HARMON: But there's those young men who are fighting our war over there, as well.

KING: OK. Thank you, Congresswoman Harmon and Congresswoman Layton.

HARMON: Happy holidays, Larry.

KING: To you, too, to both of you.

And when we come back, we're going to talk with people who really take risks, two Rangers and a British former member of the SAS. That's their elite service. Why they do what they do, next. Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERT PELTON, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: And after this is all done, how do you feel? Do you feel like you were sort of -- you did the right thing or -- well, do you feel now after there's been a number of losses on the Taliban side?

WALKER: With regard to this particular incident, you mean?

PELTON: Yes.

WALKER: This was all a mistake of a handful of people.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Joining us now in Fort Benning, Georgia Lieutenant Colonel Buck James, 15 years in the military, regimental operations offices, 75th Ranger regiment. He was deployed in Afghanistan. In Fort Benning as well is Sergeant First Class Thomas Fuller, 13 years in the military. He's also a member of the 75th Ranger regiment. He was the Army special operations command, non-commissioned officer of the year in 1997, not yet been deployed in Afghanistan.

And in London, Andy McNab, the highly decorated former member of the SAS. That's Britain's elite special air service. He's the best- selling author of the fiction thriller, "Firewall," and his autobiography, "Immediate Action." He's in shadow for this his security, as he is wanted by some terrorist groups.

All right, Lieutenant Colonel James, you went in -- you were deployed on October 19 in Kandahar? What was that like, parachuting in?

BUCK JAMES, LT. COL., 75TH RANGER REGIMENT: Well, I will tell you that it was a definite attention-getter. First off, let me say, thanks for having us here tonight.

KING: Sure.

JAMES: Appreciate the opportunity to get to speak with you.

I will tell you that I was apprehensive, but very confident. The training that we do everyday here in the Ranger regiment, really prepares you for these kind of situations. And being with fellow Rangers, that as you've gone through that training with and shared hardship with, really builds that confidence.

KING: Sergeant Fuller, I know you -- I -- probably disappointed that you haven't been called there yet, right?

THOMAS FULLER, SGT. FIRST CLASS, SPECIAL OPS NCD OF 1997: Yes, everyone that doesn't go wishes they were, but we understand also there's, you know, everything doesn't just stop. And we still got training that goes on here. And the rest of the regiment, everyone can't go on every mission.

KING: What essentially, Sergeant, is the role of the Rangers?

FULLER: Well, Larry, the Rangers are always probably going to be part of a direct action force, probably serving as part of a larger force. Their job, in a nutshell, is to go in, hit hard, hit fast, overwhelm the enemy immediately, and then leave. And that's what we tried to do 48 weeks a year here at Fort Benning, as well as other bases around the country.

KING: Now Andy McNab in London, you're a former member of the SAS. And that's a special elite air service. Is that kind of equivalent to the Rangers?

ANDY MCNAB, AUTHOR, "FIREWALL": It's -- no, because we're a lot smaller force, Larry. We're more like the United States Delta Force, which the -- is based on the special air service. And basically, we work in small groups, maybe between four and six men. And our biggest weapon, until we get to the point of contact, is concealment. And then it's very much, like the rangers, where we get in, do what you got to do as quickly as possible, and get out again. Because we are such a small force. So it's maximum damage, minimum amount of risk.

KING: Now all this, of course, is volunteer. Lieutenant James, why do you do what do you?

JAMES: I would tell you I personally do it for the challenge. This organization provides you the ability, every day, to push yourself harder against a very, very strict set of standards. Every man, from the riflemen that served down in the fire teams, all the way up to the regimental commander, Colonel Votel, meet the same standards every single day.

You don't compete against each other. And you basically, the only man you have to be better than is the man that you were yesterday. And it's very exciting. It's, as I said, it's very challenging. And it's very rewarding being part of something that's larger than yourself.

KING: Sergeant Fuller, why do you? Why are you a Ranger? FULLER: Well, Larry, I think, there's an inherent desire to excel and to try push yourself to be best with all soldiers. And I think it's a natural progression that you're eventually going to attempt to try to serve in the Ranger regiment. And as Colonel James said that's for challenge.

However, I think once you become a Ranger, once you serve in the regiment, you kind of evolve in your thinking that now it's not so much about me and what I've done for myself. It's about what I could do to make the regiment better. And there's a fierce pride in the regiment as a whole. And that's why I stay here. You know, I came for the challenge, but I stay just to try to continue to contribute every day.

KING: Andy, is it -- maybe enjoy is the wrong word, but we'll try it, isn't it an enjoyment of danger that you like?

MCNAB: No, I don't think it's the enjoyment of danger, because everybody's scared. When in a contact situation, everybody's scared. And if they say they're not, they're sort of mentally deficient or they're lying.

And -- but there is a sense of a relief. There's a big adrenaline rush that you get afterwards. And you know, people get to talk about what has happened. 9 out of 10 times, it's -- you've got most of it wrong anyway until sort of the information sort of, you know, comes out a lot slower. But there is a feeling of professionalism, of a job well done.

And it's because people want to be the best that -- at what they're doing. And sometimes unfortunately. Well, that means that you've got to confront the enemy and get involved in fire fights.

KING: Lieutenant James, there's an extraordinary movie coming "Blackhawk Down." It's about the Rangers in Somalia. And one of the things that really brings home, and it's a very, very tough terrific film. You're going to enjoy it, I'm sure. Is that each Ranger stands for his fellow comrades, right? You don't go out without taking them back?

JAMES: That's correct. We live by a creed, the Ranger creed. And it's not just a set of words that we memorize and say every morning at physical training. It really is a value set that we inculcate.

And part of that is I will never leave a fallen comrade to fall into the hands of the enemy. And under no circumstances will I ever embarrass my country. We know that no matter what, we can rely on each other, regardless what the situation is.

And I think that -- I hope that the film bears that out. That was a very difficult mission.

KING: Oh, it does.

JAMES: It was very difficult mission. It -- but I will tell you, the Rangers that were on the ground, they never lost their cohesion, never lost discipline. And they accomplished all of their objectives. And they did it, because they were well trained, because they knew and trusted in each other. And they knew, that no matter what, nobody would be left behind.

KING: We'll ask these three extraordinary gentlemen their thoughts on the hunt for bin Laden, when we come back. Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: All right, Sergeant Fuller in Fort Benning, what are your thoughts on this hunt for bin Laden and the story that 500 Marines have gone into caves this weekend?

FULLER: Well, Larry, it is, you know, my heart's with those guys. And I know they're well trained. I know they're ready to go and do it. You know, the overall hunt for bin Laden, it's -- you know, it's out of my sand box right there. I don't really think much about it.

The actual mission, though, I know as we get trained to do, we're trained to do those missions as well as those Marines that are on the ground. I'm sure they'll make us all proud of them. And our hearts are with them. We just rely on them. I'm sure they'll do what's asked of them.

KING: Andy, is this the kind of operation you would have liked, to go find a person?

MCNAB: Absolutely, Larry. And, you know, at the moment we've got the American and the British forces that are out there now. They've been, you know, sort of, certainly in Tora Bora region for quite a while now. You know, taking their time, moving in on the targets, and getting in these caves to dig these people out.

And in fact, the special air service took four casualties two weeks ago. And thankfully they all lived and are back in the U.K. now. And one of them has had his leg amputated through gunshot wounds. Because it's very difficult once you get in those caves. It's very claustrophobic. You know, there's a lot of noise. There's a lot of smoke, a lot of confusion.

Yet the training, overcomes those, you know. And it's just a matter of going forward, getting into those caves. And I'm very jealous of Colonel James. I've never done an operational static line jump like that. And very much like that static line jump, I'd very much like to be there now.

KING: You guys are interesting.

Colonel James, is this the kind of operation you would like? And since you were there, what is it like there?

JAMES: I will tell you. First off, I'd like to echo what Sergeant Fuller said. I tell you, my hat's really off to the Marines that are out there on the ground. I think the whole country can be very proud of the job they're doing. They have really distinguished themselves in this operation.

I would say, my experience, the area that I operated in, very rugged terrain, very challenging. Difficult not only to operate in dismounting, but as well, the ability to move around with vehicles. So there's a lot of challenges facing them in this operation. I will tell you that I think it's going to be tough. The weather is going to be a challenge, as we've seen. But I think they're ready. I think their training will probably set them in good stead to accomplish this.

KING: Sergeant Fuller, you were in Desert Storm, right, in 82nd airborne? So you parachuted there?

FULLER: No, sir. There was no airborne operations in Desert Storm.

KING: So you didn't have to do any. What's the kick in jumping out of an airplane?

FULLER: I'm not sure. I'm not sure if it's a kick. It's just something, again, as I said earlier, it was just I think I'll try that out, you know. And you didn't like it, that you enjoyed it. It is a rush.

And -- but now, it's just kind of part of the job at this point, you know, it's just part of a way to get on the ground, a way to get there to actually do the real mission. That's just a small part of, you know, of their overall mission.

KING: Andy, what kind of person is this? The person like you and our two gentlemen in Fort Benning?

MCNAB: It's really hard to say, you know, Larry. Different people, you know, join the military for different things. But personally for me, it was the best move I ever made. You know, I joined as a -- what we call a boy soldier here in the U.K. as a 16- year-old kid. And in then served 18 years in the military. And it gave me education, it gave me a sense of being, as opposed to being in juvenile detention. It was a fantastic move for me and gave me a form of maturity.

Plus, you know, there is excitement. So I mean, you know, jumping out of airplanes is exciting. It's horrible at the time, but as soon as you land, you haven't broken your legs, it all becomes good again.

KING: What's its reward for you, Colonel James?

JAMES: Larry, I'll tell you. Jumping is a lot of fun. Hitting the ground is not. I tend to hit pretty hard. It's -- I echo probably the same things that have been said. It is exciting. It's something different. It's something you can initially go into with a little bit of trepidation because it's something to overcome.

You know, once you have done that, you -- as Sergeant Fuller said, you kind of get down to the business at hand, once you get on the ground. But again, one of the great things about being a Ranger, and I've also served in the 82nd, so I've been jumping for quite a while is it's one more thing that helps draw a unit together.

Because again, it is some form of shared danger. We all understand that we will be in harm's way, at some point in time. If you stay in the military long enough, it happens. And again, it's just one more thing that helps prepare you for the job that you have to do. When you (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

KING: Sergeant Fuller, you anxious go to Afghanistan?

FULLER: Larry, I'm ready to do whatever I have to do. And you know, if it's staying here and training to be ready for the next one, if it's not Afghanistan, that's fine, too. I mean, no one wants to feel left out, you know.

And I know all around the world right now, all our armed forces that aren't actively involved right now feel somewhat left out. But you know, we're all in it together. And as our Colonel, the regimental commanders told us all numerous times, you know, our contribution to the success of our Armed Forces of the regiment doesn't really have anything to do with our proximity to the battlefield, because there's a lot of things that have to go on to keep us ready.

KING: Yes, you're all in it together.

FULLER: And just proud to do my part.

KING: Thank you all. We salute you all very much. And happy holidays to all three.

When we come back, the extraordinary, Boys Choir of Harlem. Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Our musical theme tonight is the Boys Choir of Harlem, rather, in its 32nd year. They're assembled in our New York studios. Two new CDs coming out, The Boys Choir of Harlem sings "America" and "We Shall Overcome," the Boys Choir of Harlem sings hope and inspiration. The song they're going to sing tonight is "United We Stand. And that number is on both CDs.

Horace Turnbull is their executive vice president.

What, are they singing almost every day, Horace?

HORACE TURNBULL, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, BOYS CHOIR HARLEM: Well, they've been singing quite a bit, Larry. Not every day, but they practice every day, but they've been singing quite a bit during this period since, particularly since 9/11.

KING: And what age group are they?

TURNBULL: Well the boys range in age 9 through 18. KING: And they are -- having heard them and introduced them at events, I tell you they are -- there's nothing like them. We salute you and your brother, Dr. Walter, who's the founder and artistic director. Let's hear them, the Boys Choir of Harlem. Two new CDs out. This number in both of them. Here is "United We Stand."

(MUSIC, BOYS CHOIR OF HARLEM, "UNITED WE STAND")

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: We're late. NEWSNIGHT is next with Aaron Brown in New York -- Aaron.

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