CNN LARRY KING WEEKEND
Encore Presentation: Interview With John Walsh
Aired January 5, 2002 - 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, CNN HOST: Tonight, they are the most notorious terrorists in the world, and the White House has enlisted our guest in the global man hunt to track him down, John Walsh host of "America's Most Wanted" for the hour is next on LARRY KING WEEKEND.
Thanks for joining us. Tonight, a special and very timely guest. He's John Walsh, host of "America's Most Wanted." We talked with him a couple of weeks ago, and the agenda: A special "America's Most Wanted." It was a tribute to top cops from around the United States. I wanted to know how they were picked.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE, DECEMBER 27, 2001)
JOHN WALSH, HOST, "AMERICA'S MOST WANTED": I didn't do it, but the cops from all over the country chose the finalists, 10 of the best.
KING: They picked them from their own.
WALSH: They picked from their own, and what a tough deal, this doesn't include the September 11 cops, of this year that lost their lives, but this is all the cops that were heroes of the year 2001, up until September 11.
KING: Hour show?
WALSH: Hour show, we do recreations of what they did, how they saved people's lives, how they risked their lives. I think people will be fascinated about what a dangerous job it is. How wonderful and courageous these people are, you know what I always say, Larry, you and I go to work in the morning, anchormen go to work, editors at newspapers, their kids don't wonder if they are going to come home alive that night, these people's kids wonder is mom and dad going to come home alive that night.
KING: If something happens we can run from it, they run to it.
WALSH: They run to it, absolutely. But it is a very special tribute to some real heroes.
KING: Do you ever have every anger -- in their own personal case maybe they didn't do the job or was that nobody's fault.
WALSH: No, I do. I did, I wrote "Tears of Rage," which you talked about, was a best-seller, and still people buy it. You know --
KING: You don't know -- for those who don't know it, John Walsh has been so part of the American scene, I guess if you're a little young you don't know that this all started because of the loss of his son.
WALSH: Twenty years ago, this year.
KING: Twenty years.
WALSH: My 6-year-old son Adam was abducted and murdered in Hollywood Florida, you know ordered out of a store while his mother was two aisles away, and kidnapped and murdered by a serial pedophile who was never brought to justice. Died in prison a few years ago, but there are great, wonderful cops, and there are great doctors and great lawyers. And there are bad cops and bad doctors and lawyers, and I wrote a best-seller about how they bungled this case.
I mean they had, the main suspect they had his car, they had bloody carpet in the back. There was no DNA back in 1981. And they lost the car, and they lost the bloody carpet and kept that a secret for 15 years and didn't let the prosecutors know so I still have anger and hurt about that. But you know what, this guy died in prison he was in prison for other murders, and I believe you pay in the next life.
KING: You do?
WALSH: I do. I believe --
KING: That helps you, doesn't it?
WALSH: It does, I'm not a vigilante. I mean --
KING: I know.
WALSH: I believe in hunting these cowards down, but I'm not a vigilante.
KING: "America's Most Wanted" was canceled, wasn't it?
WALSH: Well, about six years ago, one of those geniuses.
KING: I remember that.
WALSH: Absolutely, you and I talked about it. And you said it is craziest thing Fox has ever done. Fifty-five members of Congress, 37 governors contacted Fox and they said well you know this show can't be syndicated there's no huge reward like "Friends" and "Seinfeld" can, but you know what happened 200,000 Americans took the time to write Fox. We were the canceled show in history of television, and the guy who decided to cancel us got fired, and I guess he hasn't worked since so maybe there is some justice out there.
But what an honor, for 200,000 people to say hey, this show is important, it catches dangerous fugitives, finds missing children and it needs to be on the air. And we have had our best ratings in this last year than we've had in 15 years.
KING: Now, first a little history on current events, how did this happen that you would be involved with terrorists, especially maybe terrorists in other countries, who which, I don't associate "America's Most Wanted."
WALSH: Well, you know, after the Oklahoma bombings, I got a call from the FBI and I was on the ground, the only media person allowed at the Oklahoma bombings, because they wanted to catch John Doe number 2, who was Terry Nichols, who was McVeigh's accomplice, so I saw the horror of that. And I was taken around the bomb site, went in the morgue tent and saw them piecing together little feet and hands of the 19 children that were killed in the day care center. And we profiled McVeigh and got into the domestic terrorism business.
When September 11 happened, I was in Indiana working on a case of a kidnapped coed there, and we got the call from the FBI and the NYPD, and said look get down here to ground zero. I got on a bus, and 17 hours later I was there.
KING: No plane?
WALSH: Had to go on the bus with the crew, and they hadn't started really digging through the wreckage yet, because of the heat. It was so hot, and I saw firemen laying there, the triage and cadaver dogs that go in and look for people, their partners couldn't go in, but the dogs were going in. The dogs were burnt, laying there, vets were taking care of them. Other cops that were there, and I saw some of the guys that I know from Rescue One, it's the oldest fire rescue company in the United States. They're only rescue firefighters and people trapped in buildings, and I had done a special on them 10 years ago and got to know these guys. And they said, John, it's a nightmare we estimate there's maybe 3,000 to 4,000 people in that building.
And I said well, for example one of the Rescue One guys I knew, Paddy Brown, his grandfather died in the line of duty, his father died in the line of duty, he had little kids. And I said where is Paddy? He says, John, we don't know, we've got four or five guys in there and Paddy Brown is in there. We think there's about 340 firefighters in there, and they were all coming up to me in this -- iron workers were waiting to go in, because the thing was still burning, and they had in magic marker their names and their blood type and their Social Security numbers on their arms, in case the building started to fall on them. I mean it was such...
WALSH: ... a nightmare. And I was in the morgue tent, and there was only 30 bodies, but they were saying was, saddle up, go get them -- you have caught people in 30 countries, the show is very popular in the Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. We have caught pedophiles and murderers in France, we've Ira Einhorn in France who was on the run for 24 years. So all of a sudden it was, you know, it was time for "America's Most Wanted" to look for these low lives, for these cowards. And I had been profiling bin Laden for five years, he was the guy that was the main suspect in the embassy bombings in Tanzania and Dar es Salaam.
KING: That FBI guy who died in the Twin Towers, who was just taken on the job of security chief had been warning about bin Laden -- it was like an obsession...
WALSH: He was hunting -- he was.
KING: ... with him.
WALSH: He --
KING: Riley (ph). Wasn't it Riley?
WALSH: Riley, yes. He was a terrific guy, and he had hunted down the guy whose had done the Trade bombings in '93. And they reinforced the building, if you remember, they didn't take the Towers down when they did bombing in 1993. And the command center was there. I was there at the millennium with Rudy Giuliani when they had built this command center to say if anything happens in New York, little did they ever know that command center would go down with towers. But that FBI agent had never given up looking for Osama bin Laden. Because he felt he had something to do with the '93 Trade Tower bombings, and he also knew for sure that he had something to do with our embassy bombings in Africa, which killed 227 innocent people so it is so ironic that he died in the Trade Towers, and it was bin Laden who killed him. It's Terrible.
KING: Really ironic.
WALSH: Really ironic, absolutely.
KING: Of course we are taping this a little before for holidays, so God willing maybe he was caught. What makes him so hard? Assuming he was not --
WALSH: Makes bin Laden so hard to get caught? Because first of all --
KING: You got "America's Most Wanted," and he is the most wanted person in the world. They find people for you, and they can't find him.
WALSH: Well, first of all, he's in one of the toughest parts of the world to find somebody. You know, Afghanistan is no man's land, as we are all finding out about it. And I have been over there, I have been -- not to Afghanistan, but I have been to the Middle East and the Persian Gulf, and it's dangerous territory. And there is a lot of double agents, people playing different games, and he has a lot of people helping him. He has a lot of mercenaries, as we are finding out now. He has people from other Arab countries, he has Chechens, he has people from, you know, from China, et cetera.
And he has money, Larry, money means a lot over in those places. I mean over there, $100 dollars is like $1 million here. I wouldn't be surprised, and I always thought he would probably put a burkah on, which Islamic law says you are not supposed to lift the burkah and look at the lady. I thought he is such a coward he may dress like a woman and walk over that border into Pakistan.
KING: Again, we taped this earlier, so if he was caught, allow us this.
WALSH: Let's celebrate if he is caught.
KING: We'll come right back and run down some of the other terrorists that our man John Walsh is heading the lookout for. This is LARRY KING LIVE, don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "AMERICA'S MOST WANTED")
WALSH: Tonight, "America's Most Wanted" goes to Lyon, France, to the world's foremost international crime fighting agency, Interpol. We'll take you inside the hunt for the terrorists who have targeted America, including the man on the FBI's 22 most wanted terrorists list, the man the White House asked "America's Most Wanted" to help bring down.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "AMERICA'S MOST WANTED")
WALSH: ... but there are 13 more men who have not been apprehended, 13 of the FBI's 22 most wanted terrorists. The plot, as always, begins at the top, with Osama bin Laden, his military expert, Mohamed Atef, and Ayman al-Zawahiri, the brains behind the operation. But the others working behind the scenes do the legwork.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Our guest is John Walsh, the host of "America's Most Wanted." We are going to run down a few of these, show you them close up, touch on a few others as well. These are all on his list of the 22 and we will deal with the top ones.
You mentioned Ayman Al-Zawahiri.
WALSH: Al-Zawahiri -- Al-Zawahiri, very dangerous guy. He is a physician from Egypt. He is a doctor and he is bin Laden's personal doctor. As a lot of people know, bin Laden has kidney disease. And Zawahiri is not only a really violent terrorist, he is an adviser to bin Laden, and they don't think that he is in Afghanistan with bin Laden. He has been around a long time.
And he is a suspect and wanted for the embassy bombings in Africa, which killed 227 people.
KING: And reputed to be a co-founder of al Qaeda, right?
WALSH: No. He is a co-founder of al Qaeda, but he is also the founder of the Islamic Jihad. So he has been operating within two terrorist groups for years. So he has done things against the Israelis, but he has also teamed up with bin Laden and very, very dangerous.
KING: Reports he was wounded.
WALSH: Wounded possibly, possibly.
KING: Now, your show is not seen in the Middle East, is it?
WALSH: It is. It's very popular in Saudi Arabia, and the Arab Emirates.
KING: What I mean is this could have more effect over there, than here.
WALSH: Much so. They actually believe that bin Laden, when we did the show after the World Trade Towers the two-hour special there, and then the White House special, rumors were said that bin Laden watches Saudi TV and Arab Emirates TV in the caves in Afghanistan right across the border, so he may very well...
KING: We know he watches this show.
WALSH: Yes, he may very well have seen him on "America's Most Wanted," seen himself.
KING: Ticked at you now, John...
WALSH: Well, so what?
KING: Now Mohamed Atef, we mentioned him, and you mentioned him in your opening on terrorists, there are reports he may be dead, right?
WALSH: Yes they think that he may have been killed in some of the bombing there in Kabul, and that they haven't been able to confirm it because we don't really have fingerprints of these guys and we really don't have DNA. So they believe that he was that he was killed in one of those strategic bombings there.
KING: His daughter married one of bin Laden's..
WALSH: Bin Laden's sons.
KING: Could it be possible, John, that they may say one day, bin Laden was killed and we burned the ashes?
WALSH: Oh, they could -- you know, there is speculation that he may have been killed in one of those caves and we don't -- there is not really the resources, I mean, we all see what's been going on at the World Trade Towers with America's best iron workers and steelworkers and evacuation crews and look what that has taken, over a year to do that.
I mean that is what it will probably take to clean that out. There is not -- there isn't the heavy equipment over there to go into those caves, and take down tons of rubble from those daisy-cutter bombs, those huge bombs that blow up those caves. I mean, if he is in those caves we may never know.
KING: Abdul Raman Yassin, born in Indiana?
WALSH: He was born in Indiana, taken by his family back to Pakistan. He became a Islamic fundamentalist and a follower of Osama bin Laden, and he is a definite suspect because he speaks English so well. He was here in the United States, and helped plan the World Trade Center bombings in '93. May have had a lot to do with the Trade Center bombings on September 11.
KING: Has a brother in this country, has he?
WALSH: Yes. He has some family here in this country but he was raised in Pakistan.
KING: Suffers from epilepsy.
WALSH: Suffers from epilepsy. He should be easy to catch, I mean he is probably, somewhere now, I don't think he is in Afghanistan, with bin Laden. I think he is an al Qaeda operative. He could be here in the United States.
That is why we keep looking for him. He could very easily be in Canada or the United States.
KING: On "America's Most Wanted" you say if you see this person call this number, FBI. What are you asking to do with something like this?
WALSH: Because, you know, these people have been spotted. We got a lot of information after we did the first two-hour special and we got a lot of -- information on their movements. We got a call from someone in the Arab Emirates that absolutely pinpointed one of these guys, one of the money men who came to United States, fronted the money from bin Laden to the guys who flew into the World Trade towers.
As a matter of fact, the guy who flew the first plane into the Trade Towers wired money back to Dubai, in the Arab Emirates, the day before the bombings. And we always say, if you have seen these people -- we got a call from Kuwait, we got a lead from Kuwait that the guy had flown back to his apartment in Abu Dabi, in one of the cities -- not Kuwait, I'm sorry, in the Arab Emirates, he had flown back Abu Dabi and they missed him by about a week. He got into Afghanistan. That's why I went over to the Persian Gulf to try to catch that guy, because he had been in Abu Dabi, but we just missed him.
KING: Now let's look at Imad Mugniyah -- am I pronouncing that right?
WALSH: I'm sorry?
KING: Imad Mugniyah?
WALSH: No, Mugniyah.
KING: You know all these. WALSH: Oh, yeah. This guy, this guy right here, is one of the founders of Hezbollah, and they say that he makes bin Laden look like an amateur. He is the guy that kidnapped the plane on the Beirut runway years ago.
Remember we watched that on television, Larry?
KING: I sure do.
WALSH: They went through the plane, and they found the Navy diver that had his passport and they killed him and threw him out of the plane, then they blew up the plane.
KING: Never forget that.
WALSH: This is the guy that blew up the Marine barracks in Beirut and killed 241 Marines. They believe he had something to do with the bombing of the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia, where 19 Marines were killed. This guy was a terrorist before bin Laden ever thought about being a terrorist.
And he is, as they say, around the world, not only the Israelis say that he is 10 times more dangerous than bin Laden, and he is still out there and he is going to plan some very serious things.
KING: Why don't we hear more about him?
WALSH: Because he has had plastic surgery. He is very smart. He has been hunted by the Mossad, who I think are some of the greatest manhunters in the world, the Israeli Mossad, who have been trying to get him. But he is so elusive, he has changed his looks by plastic surgery.
KING: So, we don't know if that is the way he looks.
WALSH: He may look entirely different. The Mossad is telling us, they have told "America's Most Wanted" that they feel that he has had extensive plastic surgery. But he has been in the terrorism business for almost 15 years now.
KING: Khalid Sheikh Mohamed.
WALSH: Another one of the real psycho Islamic militants. And this is what this guy did: He planned to blow up U.S. airliners before bin Laden ever thought of it. And what he did was, he had some of his guys actually test explosives. He was headquartered in the Philippines, so this shows you where these guys can be.
He actually tested his guys in explosives on a plane 10 years ago, that killed a Japanese tourist on that plane to test the amount of explosives, et cetera. But fortunately, our intelligence were able to intercept his plans to blow up these planes about eight or nine years ago, but he has been on the run since then.
KING: All right, now somebody sees one of these people or thinks they see one of these people. What do you tell them to do? WALSH: I always say to this, have the courage to do it. Call "America's Most Wanted." We have been on 15 years, we have caught 689 fugitives in 30 countries, and 15 of the FBI 10 most wanted because you know why? Cops don't answer the phone, Larry. We -- our phone operators answer the -- no lines are tapped or traced.
If you are calling and you are afraid of retribution, you know that somebody, and you want to drop a dime, the police saying "drop a dime" on somebody, call "America's Most Wanted."
KING: What's the number?
WALSH: It is 1-800-CRIME TV. And this is why we have been so successful. People are afraid of retaliation. They are either afraid of vengeance, they are afraid of the police. Whatever their reasons are, I think we have been so successful over the last 15 years because people know they can call and remain anonymous.
KING: Our guest is John Walsh, the host of "America's Most Wanted," America Strikes Back. The December 29 show Saturday night will pay tribute to the top cops from around the U.S.A., you will be sure to watch for that. Back with more of John after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WALSH: Seven years ago, a group of radicals was plotting to blow up 11 U.S. jumbo jets. The plan called for bombs to detonate in all of the planes at approximately the same moment as they traveled over the Pacific Ocean potentially killing thousands. One of the master minds behind this horrible plot was Khalid Sheikh Mohamed. He worked closely with Philippines based group Abu Sayyaf, an extremist Islamic group. Khalid Sheikh Mohamed is also said to enjoy the protection of this rogue Asian gang. He has never been caught.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "AMERICA'S MOST WANTED")
WALSH: Before bin Laden, there was Mugniyah. Of the FBI's 22 top terrorists, authorities say that he is the worst of the worst, once and perhaps still the most dangerous man in the world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We know the $25 million reward -- maybe more than that -- for bin Laden. Are there rewards connected with your show?
WALSH: No. We never announced rewards unless the FBI asks to us. Now, these guys, many of them, have $5 million rewards on their heads. You know, bin Laden has a lot of money. And $25 million is an incredible fortune in that part of the world, in Afghanistan, and those part of the world, et cetera.
KING: It ain't bad in Oklahoma either. WALSH: No. It's not bad in Oklahoma. But there is a guy in prison right now who has threatened me several times. He actually tried to hire a hitman to kill me over three months ago. But his name is Amir Amal Kanzi. And, if you remember, he is the coward who, in northern Virginia, pulled up in front of the CIA headquarters and shot those innocent secretaries going to work at the CIA.
KING: I remember that.
WALSH: Remember that? He went on the run. And I announced a reward on the show. The FBI offered a reward of $2 million for him. And he was turned in by his family members in Pakistan. And they went over and got him. And he is in federal prison, so the rewards do work. And that was wonderful that they had the guts to turn this coward killer in. Unfortunately, he is in federal prison. He is obsessed on me and he says he is going to, you know, hire a hitman to kill me. I don't think that is going to happen.
KING: They got their reward though, right?
WALSH: They got their reward. And that is what we're telling people. A lot of these guys have $5 million on their head. Of course, bin Laden, it is now $25 million.
KING: And now, there are others of lesser light. Mushin Musa Matwalli Atwah.
WALSH: Atwah, right.
KING: Linked to the embassy bombings.
WALSH: Right in Africa. Right.
KING: We're showing all the pictures here. Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah, also in that.
KING: How do you we know about all these people?
WALSH: Well, you know, over the years, our intelligence has been doing a pretty good job. We've gutted the CIA for a while there. We've gutted the FBI. And now I think we have come to our senses and realized that we are not isolated. You know, the old directors of Interpol used to say to me, you know, America is so naive. You're so arrogant. You think because you are protected by two oceans and Canada and Mexico, it won't happen to you. Bombings have been going on all over the world for 20 years, Northern Ireland, Paris, Italy, whatever.
These guys operate all over the world. And now, the intelligence forces -- its really becoming a global community. It truly is. And we are starting to exchange information with Scotland Yard, with other countries, and countries that realize that the way to catch these guys is to exchange information. And we are starting to get people to squeal on them. KING: Is it difficult for you, John, and we know about your zealotry, but you are not a vigilante.
KING: And we know how much you love the country -- to deal with this area of looking at pictures like this, and at the same time telling people not to racially profile?
WALSH: Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. It is very difficult. And I say one thing: American public has to realize what other countries do, that these people are members of radical, violent, dangerous groups. And they happen to share one religion primarily. But they are from different countries, like Mugniyah is an Egyptian. They're from different countries.
So I -- you don't paint everybody with a broad brush. But you do have to look at these people because they do share one thing: they share a perverted sense of the Muslim religion. They share the idea that Christians and Jews are their enemies, that America is the big -- you know -- horrible big brother that is trying to take over the world. And that they kill people, Larry. They kill innocent people.
I think racial profiling, you know, religious profiling is the wrong thing. But we all have to come to grips with one thing. These guys killed 3,000 innocent people in one day. This group, whether they belong to Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah, whether they belonged to al Qaeda, they all share one bad philosophy, and that is they need -- they want to force Islamic fundamentalism, their idea of Islam, which is not the Islam that the rest of the world knows, I mean, that the Muslims in the United States practice, that they want to force it on the world by killing innocent people. And they're cowards. That's what I say. They're cowards.
KING: Your feelings about John Walker.
WALSH: John Walker, you know, no matter how disturbed this young man is, and you were 20 at one time and probably had your ideas. And I remember in the '60s when, you know, my dad was a World War II bomber pilot and a hero, et cetera. And I had the hair down to here, you know, we were protesting in the '60s and stuff. And we were confused. But neither you nor I or anybody back in those days said, let's go and join up with somebody and kill other Americans.
I mean, this guy made a decision to go to Afghanistan, to join the Taliban. He was there, he was armed, and he was trying kill American citizens, American soldiers. And you know what, a lot of those Marines are 20 years old. A lot of those guys that are over there, those special ops that are on the ground, they are 20 years old too. And I think he should pay for what he did. I absolutely -- I think no matter how confused you are, I don't care what your religious beliefs are, if you are trying to take the life of somebody else, I think you should be held accountable for your actions. I absolutely do.
KING: All right. I want to run down a couple of these -- Fazul Mohammed and Mustafa Fadhil and Fahid Msalam and Ahmed Galini (ph) and Sheikh Swedan, those are all linked to the embassy bombings?
WALSH: Embassy bombings or bombings at the Khobar towers. They're all linked to, let's say, to terrorist acts, either the '93 World Trade Center bombings, the embassy bombings in Africa. And they belong to different groups. This is the hardest thing. They have all got 12 passports. They all function all over the world. You know, they are hard guys to catch, Larry.
KING: Therefore, isn't it logical to assume that they are planning something else?
WALSH: I think it's very logical...
KING: Why would they stop?
WALSH: Why would they stop? Because -- and you know what's the scary thing is they have been encouraged. We got information that they -- some of them sat around and talked and said, look at Osama with $250,000, got 15 guys to fly into, you know, three different places here in the United States and kill over 3,000 people.
The guy that I think is the scariest that everybody seems to be forgetting about is Saddam Hussein. Here is a guy that in spite of the sanctions, has probably sold two or three billion dollars worth of illegal oil to Turkey and other places, anybody that would buy his oil. He is probably sitting there saying to himself, you know, if Osama could do it with his little hundred million dollars and his fundamentalist fanatics, look what I could do. Here is a guy that has got ex-Russian scientists that we know that are living right now in Baghdad, that know everything about chemical warfare. Here is a guy that has an army and a navy that has been allowed -- no inspectors have been allowed in there. No U.N. inspectors have been allowed in there.
Look at what this psychotic domestic terrorist has done with four or five anthrax letters. I was there and exposed to that anthrax at that Brentwood facility. He's killed innocent people nobody that he is targeted -- and that is domestic terrorist. These guys can be anywhere. I'm sure they are planning other things. But I would say Saddam Hussein must be sitting there in Iraq and saying, my God, look what bin Laden did. I got to do something bigger, better.
KING: There is a danger though if you go take him out, right?
WALSH: You know something, we were this close. That is the sad thing. You know, I have talked to General Schwarzkopf. You know him. He's a good man. Colin Powell I have known for 15 years. They were this close to taking Saddam Hussein out. That is one big mistake we did. And it wasn't George Bush. It was members of Congress who said, look, we went over there to get out of Kuwait. We freed Kuwait. We should have chased him right down, the coward murderer he is, into Baghdad because he is coming back to haunt us. What General Schwarzkopf says, I agree with. He says, we cut the body off of the snake, but we didn't cut the head off.
KING: Is a terrorist different than other wanted criminals? WALSH: Oh, absolutely, in my book...
KING: They're not Dillinger.
WALSH: No. No. A lot of these criminals wouldn't go to the extremes into the violence that these guys do, although they are violent. Most of the criminals I profile in "America's Most Wanted" aren't as sophisticated. They are not as worldly. They don't have 15 passports. They don't know how to move within and out of countries. They don't have millions and millions of dollars at their access like bin Laden has. And they are not as well trained.
KING: They're probably mostly born and raised poor, right?
WALSH: No, not -- look at 15 of the guys who went into -- on the planes were Saudis.
KING: No, but I'm talking about the typical criminal.
WALSH: Oh, the guys that I do on "America's Most Wanted". Oh, absolutely. No, some of them...
KING: It's night and day, right?
WALSH: Yes. Some of them -- some are poor, some are very smart serial killers. What I'm saying is they don't have the resources. They don't have the sophistication. They can't function in the world. And what -- the one good thing that Colin Powell, the secretary of state, is doing, Larry, he is made this world aware of the fact that it has to be a global effort, that there has to be a coalition.
I have to work now with Interpol. I have to work with Scotland Yard. I have to work with the Mossad.
KING: Small place to...
KING: Back with more of John Walsh of "America's Most Wanted". You have any information on anything with regard to them, you call 1- 800-CRIME-TV. Back after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WALSH: Take one more good luck at these four fugitives. You may have seen them, heard their name, or noticed something unusual. Abdel Karin el-Nasser is the leader of the Saudi Hezbollah.
Ahmad el-Mugasil (ph) is believed to have planned and executed the Khobar Towers bombing. Ali el-Lori (ph) is a small man, just 5'2, 130 pounds. He has a mole on his face. He is an active recruiter in the Saudi Hezbollah. And Ibrahim el-Yakoub (ph) is also wanted for helping carry out the fatal bombing in Saudi Arabia.
There is a reward of up to $5 million -- that is right, $5 million for information on these suspected terrorists. (END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WALSH: Most Americans know the dead hijacker, Mohamed Atta, as the leader of the operation. But authorities say he reported to bahaji, the true leader. The second of the men, Ramsey Binal Shibh, was once a roommate of two of the suicide bombers, Mohammed Atta and Mariwan al-Shehi (ph) . The three men met when they were students at the Hamburg Technical School.
Authorities say Binal Shibh attempted to get into the United States on three different occasions. They believe he was supposed to be a suicide bomber on one of the doomed flights, but he never made it into the country. However, he disappeared from Hamburg just days before the attacks.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Back with John Walsh. Who are these guys?
WALSH: Well these are guys that helped plan those bombings. A couple of them, as you just saw there, didn't get into the country or got out of the country. And they're still at large.
KING: Only one died, right?
WALSH: Only one died, right, that we were just talking about, Atta there. The rest of them helped plan or were, you know, in and out of the country. I think that is the point that we are making tonight, is that these are sophisticated people and some of them are very educated people, and they know how to travel within the world, how to cross borders.
Everybody said, you know, all -- everybody comes through Mexico. We found out that most of these terrorists that were part of the September 11 bombings came across the Canadian border. Were smart enough just to walk across the Canadian border, got into Canada. So, you know, these guys could be anywhere in the world now and they still, some of them, still could be here. That is what I'm hoping for, is that someone watching this show will say, you know, I saw that guy. He is under a different passport or he is under a different name and make that call. And they could make $5 million.
KING: What do you make of the guys who went on those planes not knowing they were going to die? How did they pull that off?
WALSH: You have watched the tape, the bin Laden tape, pretty disgusting. I mean it is an indictment of his knowledge. Certainly the guys who went to the flight schools, who knew how to fly the planes, knew what they were going to do.
WALSH: But they had stupid naive young recruits who say...
WALSH: Who thought what?
WALSH: Who thought that they were going to land the plane like they did in Beirut, when Mugawi landed the plane there and killed the young Navy diver and what he did, was he traded those hostages on that plane for terrorists that were in jail in Israel. So I think a lot of those guys thought, you know we are going to do? We are going to hijack those planes and we are going land them somewhere in the United States and we are going to trade for our brother terrorists that are in prison in somewhere. Maybe they are in prison in Israel, maybe they are in prison, there are several guys that are doing life without, for the '93 bombings.
KING: Didn't they wonder why some were now going to take over planes and see -- if you are going to just land somewhere you have the pilot do it?
WALSH: Exactly. Exactly. I think that -- I think that when you heard the tape in the Pittsburgh one there, I think some of the terrorists were arguing amongst themselves -- what are we doing here, what are you going to do? Are you going to fly this plane into a building or are we going land and trade these hostages for some of our brothers?
KING: So these people were used? And their fanaticism was used.
WALSH: Absolutely. Their dedication, their loyalty to bin Laden, their fanaticism was used I had think it is so reprehensible that bin Laden could say in this meeting in this tape that some of my followers, some of my fanatic followers didn't know they were going to die.
And do you know something, if he keeps telling these young people, most of them are fairly educated young people -- I'm not talking about the Taliban who were very poor Afghans who followed him -- but the suicide bombers, you are going to die, and you are going to see Allah that night and you are going to sleep with 42 virgins, and all the bizarre things that he tells them, then why is he so hard to find? Why are he and all these older Islamic fundamentalists on the run all the time? Why don't they ever do anything?
KING: What do you make of the guys though, who did fly the planes? Who didn't know they were going to die?
WALSH: Fanatics. I just don't understand it. I can understand...
KING: Certainly not a typical criminal in that sense.
WALSH: Not a typical criminal, a fanatic, a brainwashed fanatic, a religious zealot who doesn't understand their religion, because if you talk to a Muslim cleric he will tell you that the Koran says that suicide is against the Koran, is against the Islamic religion -- just fanatics, absolute fanatics who believe that in this act of terrorism, taking innocent lives, that they were going to be martyrs and that they were going to be in paradise forever. I think it is -- it is impossible to understand that philosophy.
But now I think Americans are starting to realize what Jews in Israel have been up against for years, surrounded by Arab fanatics, who believe that if they walk into a disco with bombs on, and kill 17 innocent kids in a disco, that they are going to see their god that night. How do you fight that type of person? How do you fight him? It is a really, really difficult question. And I don't think anybody has the answers except to show them that you are not going take it. Just like the Israelis do.
I mean, as soon, remember, a couple weeks ago, eight Israelis were killed, innocently, older people, in a bus, shot. The bus was going up a hill, and Palestinian assassins, cowards, shot eight Israelis. But that night four F-16s were bombing Arafat's headquarters in retaliation. I think that is the only way you deal with these psychotics.
KING: With your kind of work, and your kind of job, is it more frustrating than rewarding?
WALSH: No, it is very rewarding.
KING: Most people are in court, right?
WALSH: It is very rewarding because during the week, I always say it, I get to see the worst. Whether it is an international terrorist who killed 3,000 people at the World Trade Center, at the Pentagon, whether two weeks ago I was tracking down a serial killer, a child killer who killed a five-year old child, and you've got two little boys and I know you couldn't imagine someone tracking one of them down and killing them, but on a Saturday night the American public or someone in Bangkok or someone in France watches the show and calls in and we take down a violent dangerous criminal and he is off the streets, or we bring back a missing child alive, there is no job like it. It is the most satisfying thing in the world.
KING: When you started did the FBI and other police agencies scoff at this idea?
WALSH: The FBI was a supporter from day one.
KING: They were?
WALSH: Well because they knew that I had battled with them for years. When they wouldn't enter Adam's case we went head to head until we got the missing children's bill passed.
KING: I know how relentless you are.
WALSH: And they knew it and they were fans of the show. But it took about a year, I mean, the show was successful from the beginning, and you were one of the first people that talked about the show.
KING: You were on my radio show.
WALSH: Absolutely and we caught David James Roberts, an FBI top 10 child killer who had escaped from prison the third day after the first airing of the show. He was running a homeless shelter in Staten Island. But it took a lot of time because police don't trust the media for a lot of the right reasons.
The media can be very exploitive. It can be very hurtful. And I think after September 11, we are starting to see firsthand what real heroes these cops are. I have ridden with them at night, cops by themselves being shot at, spit at, people trying to beat them up. It is the most dangerous world, firemen who run in -- like you say -- they are not -- New York City firemen, you know what their philosophy is? First one in, last one out. We keep going back, we go in, emergency, you know, services people who go out and save lives. I think we are starting to realize what real heroes they are.
KING: Was your show, at times, accused of being exploitive, too?
WALSH: I don't think so because my deal with Fox was this, I knew what the media could do to people. I will never forget the day when we got word that Adam was murdered. I had begged the media to cover his case. He was missing for two weeks, and no one would put on me on the air, no one. Because, you know, if you do it for them, you will do it for every other missing child and finally David Hartman, remember when he did "Good Morning America," he was the only guy who took a chance to put us on the 14th day.
That was the day that they found the remains of Adam floating in a canal. He was decapitated, the worst day of our life. And we flew back to our house in Hollywood, Florida, and all the media -- you are from South Florida -- all the media that I have been begging to cover Adam's case and everything, to keep it going for the two weeks, were on the front lawn.
And we had to get cops to push through, because trying to jam those microphones in my wife's face -- how do you feel -- how the hell do you think you feel when you found out your child has been murdered. I realized that day that, you know what, you can be in the media, you can get ratings. "America's Most Wanted" has been on for 15 years, made Fox a lot of money but you can treat people with dignity. You don't have to be exploitive.
I have never shown the face of a molested child. I have never shown face of a rape victim that didn't want her face shown. You can be successful, you can catch criminals, but you can treat people with dignity, absolutely. And the public perceives that, I think so.
KING: You will never forget your childhood.
WALSH: I never get over it, I'll never get over it. You know, people talk about closure. There is no such thing as closure. Justice, yes. You go out and you look for justice. You know, "America's Most Wanted" they say is the court for last resort for victims. Cops, you know, we turned gown 100 cases now, et cetera, but you don't bury your children. Your children are your immortality. You don't bury your children. I will never forget that little boy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) WALSH: February 26, 1993, the day Middle Eastern terrorism hit home. Target, New York's World Trade Center. The terrorists: Islamic militants, living and plotting right under our noses. The easily overlooked gang set up shop in Jersey City, New Jersey. Their leader, terrorist mastermind Ramzi Yousef. Under his direction an Iraqi terrorist named Abdul Yassin made the bomb by mixing 1,500 pounds of a fertilizer-based explosive. But Abdul Yassin is still on the run.
Here is where it really hit home. Investigators learned Yasin is from here. He was born in Bloomington, Indiana. His family moved back to Iraq when he was a young child. Let's bring Abdul Yasin back home to face American justice.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WALSH: Here is match book covers, two matchbook covers that caught two guys. This first guy, Ramzi Yousef, he was the mastermind of the 1993 World Trade Center bombings. He went on the run and guess what? He was caught in Pakistan because of this match book cover, and reward was given.
Here is another guy. We profiled this guy on "America's Most Wanted," Mir Amalkamdsi. This coward came to the U.S., went to the CIA headquarters in northern Virginia and killed a bunch of innocent people and went on the run. He was also caught in Pakistan, through a tip and a reward was given.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: That is guy who wants to knock you off, right?
WALSH: Yes, he tried, you know what he did, he tried to contact someone and hire a hitman and the person that he contacted said I'm a fan of "America's Most Wanted," and turned him in. Thank God.
KING: Now, on this anthrax thing, which now appears to be domestic, how do you put that on "America's Most Wanted?" Who did that? Was the mad bomber on "America's Most Wanted?"
WALSH: We did the Unabomber for almost nine years and we were the show that got the tip of when he placed -- he hated a radio disk jockey -- and he placed a 2x4 with nails in it, he was so cunning -- outside of the radio station and the poor disk jockey went out and got and it blew him up. It was a bomb and that is where he was sighted.
So we put our forensic artist Gene Boyle (ph) in and she did the first drawing of the Unabomber. Thank God his brother turned him in. I thought from day one that it was a domestic terrorist. I didn't think it had anything to do -- I went on a lot of shows and talked about it and said, I really believe the FBI should be looking at an exploitive psychopath like the Unabomber, somebody who had access, and now we know that there were 2000 or so labs in the United States that developed anthrax in the army, that this guy was mailing it from a Trenton, New Jersey mailing facility. KING: With your experience, will he be caught?
WALSH: It is going to be extremely difficult, because I believe he has gone underground. I think he stopped now. He has had great success. He put the media in a tailspin. He had Dan Rather and Tom Brokaw holding press conferences about it. He shut down Congress, which nobody has been able to do. But he knows that they are on his tail right now and he has killed 5 innocent people, people he did not target. I think he has gone underground, and maybe...
KING: Do you think he deliberately timed it because of 9-11, so people would think...
WALSH: Absolutely. You know what, I have done serial killers that have killed 18, 19 people, and two or three of the murders have been copycats where guys have read about it in the paper. I think sometimes we tell a little too much in the media and killed their ex- wife or their girlfriend just like the serial killer did it.
It always brings the worst out of society, these tragedies. It always brings the real low lives, they exploit that period.
KING: Why are these people never women?
WALSH: You know something, I think women just don't have the violent -- I mean, there are violent women and women kill. They kill their own children sometimes, they kill other people. But it...
KING: Has there ever been a woman serial killer?
WALSH: Yes, there was. Elane Warnos (ph), in the state of Florida and she is on death row in Florida, the only woman serial killer. I don't say it is an excuse that she killed those five men, but she was badly battered, badly, brutally battered. She was thrown out of her house on the street when she was 11 years old and raped six times in one week, and she killed men because she hated men.
But I have never tracked a woman serial killer of children. I have never tracked a serial pedophile of women.
KING: So you never think this anthrax person a woman, right?
WALSH: I actually believe it is someone just like the Unabomber. I think it is -- I would say, this is my assessment of 20 years of doing this, since my son was murdered -- a white male, probably between the ages of 25 and 55, someone who can't get along with society, someone who can't relate to women, someone who hates this government, someone who is very smart, like the Unabomber, who knows how to manipulate media.
Look what he did when he mailed something to Dan Rather and Tom Brokaw, and that he is sitting somewhere and he is just loving the exposure that he has gotten.
KING: With the exception of the guy in Atlanta, who still insists he is innocent, there almost always -- in fact they are always white.
WALSH: Yes, that is the strangest thing. They're almost always white. And they are almost always that weirdo that you always knew somewhere, you know, that nobody liked in high school, nobody liked at the job, and that was introverted. And I have seen so many cases broken on "America's Most Wanted" because somebody recognized something so inconsequential that they had the guts to make that phone call. And that is what I always say.
KING: Has any of these cases obsessed you, someone who is still out there that, boy, you -- top of the list.
WALSH: Now, certainly bin Laden, you know, because of being down there. Eric Rudolph, the Olympic Park bomber.
KING: Look at how long he has been loose.
WALSH: You know, I thought I was going to catch him in North Carolina. I thought our fans were going to get him. He is a real coward, he is a real coward.
KING: He could be dead, maybe.
WALSH: He could be dead. He could have died in there. But I'll tell you what, I think that he is somewhere out in the West, because a lot of the white supremacists groups and the anti-abortion groups moved these guys from North and South Dakota. I've caught several of them there that, you know, they'll move them from a state park to a trailer park, et cetera.
Remember the Texas Seven? They were heading into the -- when we caught those guys, everybody thought they were in Mexico. They were heading north so they could get up into in the wilds up there and get into Canada.
KING: You led to that, right?
WALSH: We nailed them. And I went and -- you know something, it bothered me so much that these cowards had gotten out and killed Aubrey Hawkins, this 29-year-old...
KING: They broke prison.
WALSH: Yes. They -- seven guys, murderers one child beater, three rapists. They were out there for three weeks and the Texas rangers called us. And I said, you know what, I have never done a whole show dedicated to one thing, to one group of people. I went to Irving, Texas, did the whole show, interviewed all the cops that were doing it, was allowed into the command center. That Saturday night, we got the call from fans of "America's Most Wanted" that they were hiding out in a trailer park in Colorado Springs posing as born-again Christian singers.
And that guy and that couple were so brave. In our show, we said they have got 70 automatic weapons. They have killed a cop. They took that cop on Christmas Eve and drove over his head three times with a SUV. You know what that guy did in that trailer park? He didn't know there was a reward or anything. He went and knocked on the door because he owned the trailer park. He said, I'm going to go in and see if they have any innocent people in there or anything. I'm going to go in and see how many are in there.
He came back. His wife said, honey, you sure we should do this? What if they know we are making the call? They will kill us. They've got all these weapons. He says, I'm going to do the right thing. He called "America's Most Wanted", called the cops. The seven -- Texas Seven went down. You know, the American people are wonderful people. They are good people.
KING: So is John Walsh.
WALSH: Oh, thank you.
KING: By the way, you will see his latest special this Saturday night, "Top Cops from Around the United States". We are going to close with Sarah Brightman. As we close with John Walsh, here is a clip from "Top Cops."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "AMERICA'S MOST WANTED")
WALSH: In the blink of an eye, Lieutenant Carter would be fighting to save the lives of everyone in the store. Just watch as it goes down.
The security video shows that the whole shoot-out took about eight seconds, but it is eight seconds Butch Carter will never forget. For his quick action and courage under fire, Roosevelt Butch Carter is one of this year's top cops.
KING: All the ball games may be over and the leftovers gone, but it still feels like the holidays, and in that spirit, we close tonight with the magnificent Sarah Brightman singing "Ave Maria." It's featured on her new album, "Sarah Brightman Classics." Thanks for watching. See you tomorrow night. Good night.
(MUSIC, SARAH BRIGHTMAN, "AVE MARIA")
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