Skip to main content
CNN.com /TRANSCRIPTS

CNN TV
EDITIONS





CNN LARRY KING LIVE

Interview With John Walsh

Aired September 10, 2002 - 21:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight: John Walsh, one year after September 11.
The White House announced today America is on high alert for terrorism. What can the host of "America's Most Wanted" tell us about being most vigilant? Nobody knows how to track down fugitives like he does. What kind of job are we doing of hunting of down terrorists?

John Walsh for the hour, next, on LARRY KING LIVE.

His new daily syndicated show got off to a rip-roaring start yesterday on the NBC O&Os and other stations around the country. He's the host of "America's Most Wanted." The premiere of its 16th season will be this Saturday.

Let's get to first things first. What do you make of "Orange Alert?"

JOHN WALSH, HOST, "AMERICA'S MOST WANTED": Orange Alert.

KING: We went on Orange Alert today.

WALSH: Because -- you know, because it's the one-year anniversary. And you know, I think what Americans have to understand is, to us, we look back at it as a day that we should honor the heroes, we should remember the victims, all of those types of things.

I think Orange Alert is a good thing, because the Osama bin Ladens of this world revel in what happened a year ago this Wednesday. They think they had incredible success, that they hit a home run, that they, you know, cost us billions of dollars, which they did. They almost paralyzed our airline industry, which they did for a certain amount of time, and they destroyed a lot of lives.

And I think that Orange Alert is a very important thing, because it lets Americans remember one thing: A lot of these people haven't been brought to justice, and this is what we should be thinking about: justice. And we should be prepared, just like the suicide bombers haven't given up in Tel Aviv, these guys are reveling in their horrible success.

KING: But when they announced it today that we've got to be on guard, especially overseas -- embassies closed today, some in Vietnam, others closed up there where we have set up shop. What do we do? What does an average guy do? Walk down the street, spinning around? I mean, what do you do? WALSH: Absolutely not. Don't get paranoid, don't get crazy, be alert, be aware. I have learned one thing in the 15 years on "America's Most Wanted." That people can be aware of their surroundings, that they can make a difference. They are not vigilantes.

We caught our 720th guy this week. And I'm bragging about it, because this is a guy that we've been looking for, for a little while, whose license plate says "pure 666," pure evil -- he's a Satan worshiper, and he's alleged to have molested two 12-year-old girls -- because a woman spotted his car in the woods, where he was hiding, and made that phone call.

So, what should the average citizen being doing? The average citizen should be looking and saying, if I see something different, if I see something strange, if I see some Middle Eastern men -- and you and I have talked about this racial profiling. I'll tell you, if it was 15 red-haired Irish guys that flew into the Trade Towers, or if it was 15, you know, Americans Indians -- Native Americans, then we should be looking for Native American Indians on September 11. Be alert.

And you know, they have done some terrible, terrible things to us throughout the world. We forgot about the bombings in Africa, those embassy bombings; 200 people, Larry.

KING: The Cole.

WALSH: The Cole, 19 sailors. The Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia, another 17 Marines. How about the Beirut bombings, 241 Marines in Beirut? How about that Navy sailor they threw out of that plane on the runway in Beirut? They have killed a lot of Americans throughout the world. We've got to be on the alert.

KING: This may be pervertedly sad to say -- terrorism successfully?

WALSH: I don't think terrorism is successful. I think that terrorism is successful in hurting people and destroying lives.

KING: And scaring you.

WALSH: And in scaring you. But I think you know what it does -- what the other side of it is? I have never seen this country so united. You and I have talked about this. ''

KING: Reinforces.

WALSH: Reinforces. You know something? This country is aware of these people. They hate us, they hate our way of life, they hate our freedom of religions, they hate the way we do business, they are jealous of us, et cetera. And you know what? It has given us a resolve and it has given us a wake-up call.

KING: Are we, therefore, in your opinion, safer? WALSH: I think we're a little bit safer. I really think that there is a lot more things we could do. I think that without giving everything away -- because I really, in all due respect to CNN and Fox News channel and stuff -- I think that bin Laden sat in his cave for years and watched stuff on the news and knew exactly what we were doing. You don't see the Germans doing that. You don't see the Israelis doing that. They don't tell you when they've got a new aircraft, you know...

KING: Well, we're a democracy, John. It isn't easy.

WALSH: Absolutely. I just think there are some things you need to hold back. I don't think you -- you know, you and I talk about sports. You're a sports fanatic. You don't tell the other team the plays before you play the game, do you? No, I don't think so.

KING: No, but there are rules in the game.

WALSH: Yes, you know, there are rules. They don't play by the rules. They don't play by the rules.

But I think that until we really shape up the airports -- I mean, you and I travel all of the time. I mean, you can't go -- every day through London, Heathrow, every bag is X-rayed for explosives. That's not the case here in the United States.

KING: The government asked for your help in terrorism. How did that go?

WALSH: Well, first of all, they asked me to go down to ground zero, which was really, really a horrifying experience, but it was also a very uplifting experience.

KING: You were the first one down there.

WALSH: Yes, and the only one down there for a long time. And I saw a lot of heroes down there, I saw a lot of heartache, I saw a lot of sadness, I saw a lot of terrible things. But I saw a lot of heroes. I saw steel workers putting their names and their social security numbers and their blood types on their arms with magic markers in case they fell into those pits. I saw firemen that had been there for two days and never slept that were trying to get people out of there. You know, it just was a -- it was a really, really tough experience, but, you know, it gave us the resolve to continue, and we have.

KING: But we haven't gotten any of those guys yet, have we, that were on that list?

WALSH: Well, we have caught...

KING: Some have died, right?

WALSH: Some have died. We got one of them. We blew up one of the guys on the list, and it was a -- you know, it was a real honor to be asked to do that. KING: Sure.

WALSH: I mean, of all of the television shows, not only did I do the ground zero special, I went back to Washington to do something at the Pentagon. And that was when I got the call from the White House, and that was Colin Powell and Attorney General Ashcroft and George W., our president, and Director Mueller, sitting around and saying, let's reach out to one television program. Let's reach out to "America's Most Wanted."

The tough thing was -- is you and I joked about it -- I got a call on my cell phone and they said, "This is the White House," and I thought they were kidding, and I hung up. I mean, how often does the White House call you, right?

They called back and said, "Could you do a show in 24 hours?" I said, we have never done it. "Could you do it from the White House?" I said, you've got to ask Fox if they'll preempt a night -- you know network television -- which they did. And we did the "World's 22 Most Wanted Terrorists."

We've had some success. We caught five guys in Paris. They had a truck bomb. They were going to blow up the U.S. Embassy. We've caught guys in Spain. We've caught guys in Italy. We are really on the watch.

What really bothers me is that -- you know, like some of these guys, Ramsey Ben Alsheed (ph) now there may be, and I'm not exactly sure, but there may be some information that he may have snuck back into the United States. I absolutely believe that some of these guys are in this country, and they are...

KING: Asaad Hamden (ph), what about him?

WALSH: Possibly, possibly here. You know -- and some of them are back in other countries planning, you know, the next phase.

KING: And how about the biggest of all: Osama bin Laden? Where is he?

WALSH: I, you know...

KING: We haven't seen him in a long time.

WALSH: Well, a very smart. You know, Larry, this guy is a college graduate. You know, he comes from a very sophisticated family. I really believed, and I think a lot of people in the intelligence community shared my opinion, that once -- you know, once southern Afghanistan fell -- because that's where he was, down in those caves near Kandahar -- that he just made it right out of the country. That he's not going to sit there. A guy that's a college graduate with millions of dollars is not going to sit in a cave and wait for America to bomb that cave.

He is going to go to a country that's sympathetic. He could be in the Sudan. He could be in Somalia. He trained those guys in Mogadishu that took down those Black Hawk helicopters. That's the guy -- he's the guy that did that -- al Qaeda did that. He could be in a very sympathetic country, and I think that's exactly where he is.

KING: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) is you do not believe he is dead?

WALSH: I don't believe he's dead for one single minute. Al Qaeda is still operating. We're catching al Qaeda guys all of the time. And you know, he is the brains, he's the head, you know, he's the snakehead that's running al Qaeda. I don't believe for a minute that he's dead. I just believe that he's waiting somewhere else.

The question is, when we find him, and we will find him, do we have the ability to go into that country? These are autonomous countries. These are sovereign countries. When we see the world's most wanted, what if he is in the Sudan? What is Saddam Hussein has got him? I don't think he is in Iraq. Their egos are too big. I really -- these are two mega-maniac, psychopath, pathological killers.

Wherever he is, can we go in and get him? That's going to be a big test.

KING: We'll be back with more of John Walsh on the eve of 9/11. Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WALSH: Keep your eyes opened for suspected terrorist, Ramsey Ben Alsheed (ph). No one knows for sure where he is. It's possible he may be back in Spain, where "America's Most Wanted" is shown on TV. But wherever he is, he could be planning the next attack.

And don't forget, in this country, agents are looking for Asaad Hamden (ph), an accused drug dealer who may have helped funnel money to terrorist groups.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is the outpouring of America has been unbelievable.

WALSH: Words of love, hope and remembrance from all around the country.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: "This memorial is in memory of the brave men and women who gave their lives to save so many others. Their courage and love of our country will be a source of strength and comfort to our great nation. God bless America."

Jason's name should be here. Right here in the middle.

WALSH: There he is. Captain Jason Dom (ph).

Sandy (ph) added her own personal message to the memorial wall, a message for her husband.

Tell me what you wrote.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: "Jason, we will never forget. I love you, Sandy."

WALSH: How appropriate. How sweet. Wonderful.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: That scene was from John Walsh's new daily show on the NBC O&O stations, the John Walsh -- it's the "John Walsh Show," right?

WALSH: Right.

KING: And you went out to Pennsylvania there.

WALSH: You know, as much as we should honor ground zero -- and I was talking to Governor Pataki about it -- it's going to be a huge ceremony down there and, you know, almost 2,700 people died there. What about Shanksville, Pennsylvania?

I can't imagine. You and I fly all of the time. You're a businessman or a businesswoman on a plane. You see somebody's throat slit, because that's what probably happened on that plane.

KING: Yes.

WALSH: You're sitting there and you are saying, should I sit here and wait for this plane to land in case they are trading for terrorists that are in Israel or somewhere? And you go back and you call, and your wife or your loved one says, "Two planes have hit the World Trade Towers. One of them has fallen, and the Pentagon has been hit."

And you say to some other people there, you know what? This plane is probably headed for the White House or for the Capitol. Now, if they had ever hit the Capitol or the White House, you know that would have sent a message around the world to terrorists, we can bring America to its knees. These people -- I just can't image it. They got up, and took that plane down.

And when I got to Shanksville, I talked to the fire chief that was there, the assistant fire chief. He said, I saw it go over my house. No planes go over these fields here. It was upside down. It was going supersonic speed. It hit that...

KING: It went straight into the ground, right?

WALSH: It went into the ground. The box -- the voice box was 14 feet under the ground. I said, what did you find here? He says, the most I found was a necktie without any body. I said, did you find -- and he says, I found one foot. He says, most of the people were vaporized or were up in the trees, burning. So, we cut the trees down, and we shredded the trees and made mulch, and this is a sacred burial ground. But these are just average citizens who said, you know what? Good-bye, honey, I'll never see you again. Say good-bye to the kids. I'll never see you again.

KING: By the way, personally, how can you do this, doing "America's Most Wanted" and running around doing a syndicated show every day, in which you also go out for that show?

WALSH: Well, I'm...

KING: How do you do that?

WALSH: I'm not going to go out of the studio all of the time. I mean, NBC has treated me wonderfully, built me a fabulous studio at 30 Rockefeller Center. And I will have a live audience there, 100 people.

KING: So, 95 percent of the time, you're (UNINTELLIGIBLE)?

WALSH: Well, maybe 80 percent, but you know what, Larry? It's a labor of love to do both shows, and I think I'm honored to be able to work for two networks.

KING: You have worked on the anthrax matter, right?

WALSH: Absolutely.

KING: Any headway?

WALSH: No. You know, the guy that they -- you know, we all suffered through Richard Jewell. Remember the security guard that was falsely accused at Atlanta?

KING: Do you think this other guy was, too?

WALSH: I don't know if he was falsely accused, but I'll tell you what. I don't think he's the guy. And they have narrowed it down to those -- you know, those postal drops there in New Jersey. But I have been profiling and doing that. I went there to the facility, at Brentwood facility in Washington D.C., and the day after I left, two guys died there in that facility.

KING: Yes.

WALSH: And I had to take the Cipro, and you and I talked about that. And they're no closer to catching that coward.

KING: The government has got you involved in the TIPS program, the president -- that's Terrorist Information Prevention Service. Do you see any constitutional danger in that, like you know, Hitler had a TIPS service?

WALSH: Right. Well, first of all, you and I talked about this. No. 1, let me clear up some misconceptions. "America's Most Wanted" is a for-profit network prime-time television show that people call my hotline, 1-800-CRIMETV, and my people answer the phone, and we have caught 720 fugitives. We don't answer the phone for the TIPS hotline. We have nothing to do with the Justice Department. I don't believe that any television show should -- there's a fine line there.

KING: You're not a government service?

WALSH: Absolutely.

KING: Except when you went to the White House that time, but that was...

WALSH: That was a request, you know, let's catch the terrorists. Come on, let's use the power of the media, and what a great idea, and we have learned that from the "Amber Alert."

But I don't have anything to do with the TIPS hotline. Do I think it's a good idea? Absolutely. I don't think that we're creating big brother. I don't think we're violating anybody's civil liberties here. I think if you see something and you suspect something, a great thing that you could do is to call that TIPS hotline, because you know what? Those guys that blew up the Trade Towers in 1994, those guys in Jersey City, New Jersey, right?

KING: Yes.

WALSH: They snuck into the United States under bogus visas, 55- year-old guys saying they were going to junior colleges, when they were never going to go to a college. They stayed in one house. They bought all kinds of bomb equipment. They bought all kinds of stuff. They rented a truck. God, you know, probably 20, 30 people would be alive from the first bombing there if somebody had said, you know, they're not going to college. They're not doing anything. They're not working. They're not -- you know, they don't exist like everybody else. I think something is wrong.

So, you know, I don't believe in big brother. I don't believe that we will prevent terrorism by violating anybody's civil liberties. I do believe by being aware, by being alert, and if you see something wrong -- I have seen it firsthand, 720 dangerous fugitives in 31 countries.

I mean, I caught Eric Rosser, FBI top 10 pedophile, because a lady that ran a school for English-speaking children in Bangkok, Thailand -- this guy was wanted for 10 molestations in Indiana. He applied to that school to be a teacher there, so he could be next to little girls. And she made the phone call from Bangkok, Thailand. That's a hero to me.

KING: Do you carry with you your son every day? By that, I mean, as you do all of this in a kind of an intense, almost tunnel- vision fashion...

WALSH: Absolutely.

KING: ... is he with you?

WALSH: Absolutely. You and I have talked off-camera about this. You have two beautiful little boys. You said to me you never thought you could continue if something happened to one of those boys.

KING: Forget it.

WALSH: If someone grabbed Chance and murdered him the way Adam was murdered, you couldn't continue. Absolutely, I think about Adam all of the time. And you know what? He is my angel. He is my inspiration. I think he's in a better place. And I always said, you know, I'm not a vigilante, but I believe that you fight back. And you know, a lot of the things that I've been able to do is because I believe he's my inspiration. And I wanted to make sure he didn't die in vain. I mean, you know, that's the way I work through my pain. Other people do it different ways. And I figured out a way to put together the power of the medium that you and I work in, that we're so blessed to work in this medium, and the American public and law enforcement to catch creeps without ever picking up a gun.

KING: When your boy was killed, you were a critic of law enforcement...

WALSH: I was.

KING: ... and now are one of its biggest boosters.

WALSH: But they make...

KING: It changed you.

WALSH: They make mistakes. They are human beings. They make mistakes, and when they make a mistake, I call them out. Mistakes were made in the case in Oregon City, up there where those two little girls were missing.

And when Adam was murdered and missing those two weeks, the FBI refused to get involved in Adam's case. I was their No. 1 critic. I hated the FBI back in 1981. I couldn't figure out what they should be doing better. What's white collar crime? You know, what are they doing, investigating, you know, bank robbers and bank fraud? God forbid if it was an FBI agent's son that was kidnapped. They would be in the business.

But you know what? We buried the hatchet. We buried the hatchet. We work together. I've caught 15 of their 10 most wanted over the years, and I was FBI Man of the Year four years ago, and I hated it.

KING: And they came out early praising your show.

WALSH: They did. They were -- they came out before the show ever aired.

KING: John Walsh is our special guest on the eve of 9/11.

Tomorrow night, a two-hour special edition of LARRY KING LIVE that will include former first lady, now Senator Hillary Clinton, current First Lady Laura Bush, Attorney General John Ashcroft, and special songs by Celine Dion and Cher. That's all tomorrow night. Back with John Walsh tonight after this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WALSH: Agents say another recent arrest provided even more shocking evidence of al Qaeda's connections in America. Shocking, because the man they arrested was an American.

Ernest James Ujaama, a Muslim activist, helped fight drugs in a Seattle neighborhood. Then, agents say, he decided to fight against America. He set up this Web site to spread his views. But agents say he may be more than an activist. He may also be a terrorist.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WALSH: (AUDIO GAP) the fact that Elizabeth is still missing, and what's going on in this country, this incredible rash of kidnappings...

KING: Right.

WALSH: ... and how brutal they have become. I mean, look at this couple in southern Virginia are murdered. That 9-year-old beautiful daughter, that girl is still missing.

KING: Let's discuss an article about Barry Glassner in "The Wall Street Journal" of August 28. It has received a great deal of attention, and I know anger from you. He's a professor of sociology at the University of Southern California, and he wrote "Why Americans are Afraid of the Wrong Things."

And it's his contention that we are overemphasizing this, putting too much on these kinds of programs, like the show you're doing Thursday, which causes copycats and may, in fact, not help.

WALSH: He says criminologists note with the ease with which public hysteria can turn into vigilantism. I've been on the air for 15 years and caught 720 fugitives and brought back 40 missing kids. Never one instance of vigilantism.

He writes here, "And what about the naive TV viewer, who expects real news about the real world when he turns on TV news channels?" Isn't the kidnapping of a child a real thing? I mean, the media couldn't play a better role in this.

We have been trying to get the "Amber Alert" on the Emergency Broadcasting System for years now. I've got it in 18 states now, not just me, but Amber Haggerman's mother. OK? Now, we all know that you can break into radio shows -- you did radio for years -- TV, and give people warnings of tornadoes and hurricanes.

Last month, four children were saved, the two teenage girls that were kidnapped in California. They tried to get away from the kidnapper, stabbed him in the throat, broke a bottle over his face, it didn't work. He said, "I'm going to kill you and bury you in a desert in a grave." Right? Up flashes on the highway an "Amber Alert." They are saved. The cop shoots and kills the guy before he gets to kill them.

The little girl that was taken out of the car at the Wal-Mart. Four hours later, that little baby, grabbed by that psychotic woman, is brought back alive, because of the "Amber Alert." What better way could the media be used than to be using the "Amber Alert?"

What is with this creep? You know what I found out about this guy? He doesn't have any kids. And I'll tell you what, Larry. If his kid was missing, he would be calling me. No, 1, he'd be calling the FBI. He'd be calling -- and I'll say this -- every GM of every TV station and every radio station. If his kid was missing, you know where that kid's picture would be, the description of that kidnapper would be? On that radio station that day.

You know what? Who cares about who the president of Enron is? Do you know who the -- could you name him right now? I don't think I could.

KING: The current president?

WALSH: No, I don't think so. But you know what? You knew Elizabeth Smart's name, that she was taken.

KING: Children -- he writes, "Children are more likely to be struck by lightning than kidnapped by strangers."

WALSH: You know what? Last year, we had 159 kids that wound up in cases that the children were either murdered. The year before that were...

KING: Non-family.

WALSH: Non-family. This year, the pace has accelerated. You know what? If there were 300 professors missing from USC, there would be a national epidemic. And you know what? If it was this Barry Glassner, he'd be wishing his name would be everywhere.

KING: Actually, I'm not sure 100 kids were hit by lightning.

WALSH: No, I don't think so either. So he ought to check his facts, too.

KING: Considering the van Dam murder case, the penalty phase, do you have -- I know you are pro-capital punishment.

WALSH: I am only pro-capital punishment, because I have done so many guys on "America's Most Wanted" that have that murdered and got out. I did Kenneth McDuff from Texas. He murdered three teenagers. He raped a 14-year-old girl. The Parole Board let him out, and he killed five women the first week -- or the first month that he was out.

Then we did Arthur Sharcross (ph), New York State, right where we are here. Here's a guy that kidnapped a 7-year-old boy, like my little boy, sodomized him, raped him, ate part of his heart, cannibalized him, then kidnapped a 12-year-old girl, at part of her heart, after he raped and murdered her. He got out after 15 years.

Mario Cuomo and I had a big debate about capital punishment. I said, you can't let Arthur Sharcross (ph) off. He hasn't paid his time. When you kill two children and you eat their body parts, you're sick. And every prison psychologist said this guy will kill again. They paroled him to Rochester, New York. The two years that he was paroled in Rochester, New York, he kidnapped and murdered 11 women.

And I'll tell you what, the death penalty may not be a deterrent for anybody else, but those 11 women would be walking around Rochester, New York. And I'll tell you another thing, Ted Bundy is never going to kill another woman.

They get out, Larry. If life without meant life without, then that's OK.

KING: Then, you'd be in favor of it.

WALSH: But they get out.

KING: How about the van Dam case, where you have someone who has never been charged with this kind of crime before?

WALSH: So what? So what? So what? He crossed the line. He was convicted of a brutal abduction, rape of a beautiful 5-year-old girl. You know what? Send him to the next planet. He can come back as a snake or a butterfly or a dolphin or whatever. Send him to the next planet. He deserves it. He doesn't deserve to be alive on this planet.

KING: What do you think the death of Richard Ricci will have on the Smart case?

WALSH: Heartbreaking. Heartbreaking. No. 1, suspect, here's a guy that the media seems to have missed this. Here's a low-with a rap sheet a mile long. He spent 10 years in prison, tried to blow the head off of a cop with a sawed-off shotgun. Thank God, the cop lived. He's a hardened criminal. He had access to the house.

The Smarts had no idea he had a rap sheet. He worked as a handyman. He was known as a burglar who would go and burglarize in houses when people were there. You know that Elizabeth was taken at night. And so, he had no problems going in houses while people were alive -- I mean, in the houses awake.

What really bothers me is that he may have taken some real information, some crucial information to end their pain to the grave. Now, the Smarts believe that he had an accomplice or that somebody knows something. I hope so. I hope that somebody does know something, because I have said it many, many times, of the thousands of parents that I have met over the years, parents of missing children, the not knowing is the worst. The not knowing. If I didn't know Adam had been murdered, I don't think I'd be sitting here. I'd still be out there searching. You're prepared for a happy ending. You're prepared for a sad ending. That ends that chapter in your life. The Smarts are going through hell, because Richard Ricci died.

KING: Could she be alive?

WALSH: The odds, 99 percent say that she wouldn't be alive. Nobody is going to keep a beautiful girl like that this long. I think the Smarts know that.

But, you know what, we've gotten kids back after six and seven years. We've had pedophiles that have kept kids. The odds are very, very slim, but, you know, I don't ever give up hope.

The sad thing is that he put 1,000 miles on that pickup truck of his in three days. That makes me think: He's got a rap sheet, he won't talk to cops because he's a hardened criminal, he won't say anything, they don't have any evidence to force him to make a deal. I wish I'd have gotten in that cell for 15 minutes, I would have made him talk, I can tell you that.

But they may never find her. That's the sad thing.

KING: John Walsh, the host of "America's Most Wanted," host of his new daytime program, "The John Walsh Show," which premiered yesterday. Most stations are playing it either at 11:00 a.m. or 4:00 p.m. You would have to check your local newspaper for a time and station.

Tomorrow night, a two-hour edition of LARRY KING LIVE. Tomorrow, of course, being 9/11. And former first lady and United States Senator Hillary Clinton, current first lady Laura Bush will be among the guests.

We'll be right back with John Walsh.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is Milton (ph), and we know he's still alive, hopefully. His name is Milton Pistillo (ph), and he worked for Cantor Fitzgerald. Also, this was his hat, so I'm carrying it with him (sic), and I carry his picture next to my heart, so hopefully, you know, it will bring us closer to him.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: His name is Brian Monahan (ph). He was in the second building on the 98th floor, and the last time we heard from him was at 9:00 saying that the first building had got hit, and we haven't heard from him yet. (END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Those were the relatives, of course, in the streets. And we had them on -- many of them on this program showing pictures of people who eventually, of course, they found out had died.

How -- I guess you'd be an expert on this -- do you got advice on grief?

WALSH: Well, you know something, the strangest thing is that I never went to counseling for 20 years after Adam. I'm a great believer in it now. I went to see a professional.

KING: twenty years later?

WALSH: Twenty years later. I never dealt with it. You know, I was raised in that era, you know, you suck it up. You know, you're the man, you're the tough guy. You go out there, and I directed my grief toward the FBI and changing laws and testifying all over the country and doing all those things.

And now I realize that people that suffer traumatic events really should go to counseling.

And, for example, I was talking to the Smarts, and they have been going to counseling. And I talked to Ed Smart and I said, I know that you need to talk to somebody separately, your wife needs to talk to somebody separately, you should talk to somebody together.

But your five kid, you've got five other kids. And I've learned this over the years that the siblings of tragedy don't want to see mom and dad cry. They don't want to make it worse, but they're hurting just as bad. They need to see a counselor to say, hey, you're going to survive, it's going to be all right, you're going to make it.

So grief is a very personal thing. It takes people a long time to deal with it, but I'm absolutely convinced now that professional counseling is the way to go if you suffer a traumatic event.

KING: Do you think it is very different if it were an auto accident as opposed to a killing, or is death, death?

WALSH: Death is death, but the death of a child is something that nobody is prepared for. I think that we are genetically programmed to believe that our children are our immortality. You don't bury your children, they bury you.

And every parent I've ever talked to, not only of murdered children, parents who have lost children to DUI, people who have lost children to accidents...

KING: Or cancer.

WALSH: Cancer. You never get over it. You just never -- that child is with you forever, that child's spirit. And you know what I always say to people, though, that I've come to realize is, you're lucky to have that child. Celebrate that child's life.

I've got Adam's pictures all over my house. Although my three children that I have now, blessed that my wife and I have had three more children, they never met Adam, they know everything about Adam. They know that he was a joyous, loving little boy, that he was a terrific artist.

And I say, you know what, hold that memory dear. Don't think about that terrible day that it happened. Don't dwell on that. That will break your heart forever. Celebrate your child's life.

KING: There's much discussion in the media over tomorrow and what to do tomorrow. Should we show the buildings a lot, should we not? Is there a right answer?

WALSH: I don't know if there's a right answer.

You know what I say is, we should honor the heroes, which we have been, and we will. That we should -- we should celebrate the lives of the victims, not so much dwell on the tragedy, celebrate the fathers and mothers and children that died there and remember them.

And it's also, tomorrow should be a wake-up call that the people who have done this haven't been caught, most of them, that we still have to be vigilant, and it's about justice.

I think personally, for me -- and I was there, and I saw it, and I saw what went on, I've seen enough of the buildings going down. I think the media used its restraint. Now, I've been to Europe, and I've seen that they show the jumpers in Europe. That's what's really disgusting.

KING: And we don't. They do.

WALSH: We don't, thank God. Finally we've found some decorum here...

KING: Many jumped, right?

WALSH: Many people jumped; horribly jumped to their death, and jumped on other people, and jumped together, hand to hand and things like that. And I've seen the video, and it's shocking and we don't need to see it.

I think it just should be a day of remembrance, a day of honor, a day of prayer and a day of resolve. A day of resolve that we will continue; we're bent, but we're not broken, and we fight back.

KING: Speaking of remembrance, we have taped a bunch of remembrances.

As we go to break, here's one.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My dad, he had the best sense of humor. He has done so many successful, remarkable things and he never, ever boasted about them.

I always wished I was more like him. When he reached for something, he would get it, or he would reach that goal.

He adored our family. He adored my mom. My parents used to dance in the kitchen together. They used to swing each other around.

And as we got off the phone I said, I love you, dad and he said, I love you too, hon. And that was the last thing that we said to each other.

And now we just miss my dad.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was getting married this weekend, and what my fiance, Josh Rosenblum here was up in the building. He's missing with the rest of them. And all my family, my friends that were up there, I've known forever. So please, if anyone has any information...

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He called me at 10 to 9:00 and said, our building has just been hit by a plane, turn on the news.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED CNN ANCHOR: We have unconfirmed reports this morning that a plane has crashed into one of the towers.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And I changed the channel and I saw what happened. And I said, oh God John, please get out of there safely. And he said, I love you, I have to go, and we hung up.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: John, are you apprehensive about tomorrow?

(AUDIO/VIDEO GAP) KING: ... kook is going to...

WALSH: Well, I deal with that. You know, I'm probably the wrong guy to ask, because I live with that every day, and a couple guys have tried to kill me.

KING: So you would expect it?

WALSH: I wouldn't be surprised -- and I don't want to make people terrified or say that you shouldn't go out, and that you can't conduct your life. Be vigilant.

I mean, I think the people in Israel are a great example for us. They still go out. They'll go out -- you know, you can go to a pizza parlor in Tel Aviv with your kids and be blown up by a suicide bomber. They still succeed. I mean, they still exist and they still...

KING: Well, they're hard to stop.

WALSH: Yes, they're impossible to stop.

I just think people should be vigilant. I wouldn't be surprised if something happened tomorrow because these are the type of people we're dealing with. These are the people that are psychotic and obsessed...

KING: So in New York would you say, stay home?

WALSH: If you're afraid and...

KING: If you're afraid, certainly stay home.

WALSH: Stay home. So what, one day. What's one day?

If you're afraid, stay home, but continue with your life. I mean, then they've won if they've terrified us.

With the question you asked me in the beginning, does terrorism work? then we'll have conceded the fact that they have terrorized and paralyzed our way of life. You can't do that.

But tomorrow, if you don't want to go out tomorrow, that's OK. It's not a big deal, stay home than.

KING: We talk of the war.

WALSH: It is a war.

KING: There's never going to be a day of surrender, is there? There's never going to be a day the war is over. This is a never- ending war, isn't it? A terrorist was born somewhere today.

WALSH: Probably a terrorist was born somewhere today.

But I still make the analogy -- and I talked to General Schwarzkopf about this a couple times; a wonderful guy. And I've talked to Colin Powell about it. He said, you know, in the 1940s a civilized democracy, an educated country went insane and a megalomaniac named Hitler took it over and he killed 9 million innocent people just because they belong to one religion and he decided to take over the world.

And you know what? When he evaporated, when he killed himself, that country went back to becoming a democracy and a viable community in the world.

Italy, when they hung Mussolini in Rome and they threw the things at his body, Italy is now known for its great food and its great fashion from Milan.

I'm a great believer, hunt these dogs down like they are and kill them, and a lot of these different organizations will evaporate. Italy and Germany are back where they should be. The megalomaniac psychopaths that ran them either died, or they were defeated.

I say we go out there -- but it is a war. And we know that this is not an unwinnable war. This is not an unwinnable war. And I think that -- I know you're going to ask me about Iraq.

KING: It's the next question.

WALSH: And I've talked to General Schwarzkopf. you know what he said to me? The frustration of my life is that I was 45 minutes from Baghdad and the U.S. Congress said, look we've achieved our goal, we've gotten Iraq and Saddam Hussein out of...

KING: And President Bush said it.

WALSH: Yes -- mostly Congress now, mostly Congress, the mandate; and President Bush said it: We've achieved our goals and we've gotten Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait. So we have freed Kuwait, and he's run back.

And Schwarzkopf said, I was 40 minutes from Baghdad, John. And he said, I was there; you know, you've got to cut the head off of the snake. You've got to kill -- you've just got to kill the snake. And he said, this guy will come back to haunt us.

My personal opinion is, if Saddam -- and I'm not a warmonger. I don't believe invading, you know, countries where innocent people are killed.

I had that conversation -- initially I said I thought we should have put about eight countries of our allies together, gotten some of the Royal Marines, some of our paramilitary guys, some of our Delta Force guys, our Navy SEALs, some Australian Rangers, some Canadian SEALs and gone in there and killed bin Laden before we started bombing Afghanistan.

I still feel -- you know, the Moussad is great at this. You know what they did when they killed those innocent athletes at Munich? You know the Moussad hunted two of those guys down.

KING: And got them.

WALSH: They went dressed as women. They went over into Beirut, just two of them. They went in there and they killed these guys. And that was the end of that cell. They ended that.

And I really believe that if we really had the will to do it, we could partner up with our allies. And we've only got a few that really have the guts. And, I mean, it really is a gut check to go in and to do somebody.

But I believe that Saddam Hussein should have been killed a long time ago. He has chemical. He has biological weapons. We're always speculating whether he has weapons of mass destruction, nuclear weapons.

Come on, one of these days -- he made $4 billion in illegal, you know, embargoed oil that he sold in the last few years. You can't tell me that he can't buy a nuclear weapon. And the first place he's going to destroy is Israel. I think everybody has to realize that, that that's what he's vowed that he will drive Israel and kill everybody in Israel, drive them into the sea.

I say, you know what, mount a group of people that are skilled at this. Do you remember when the Israelis flew over Africa years ago to Intabi (ph) and freed that plane? That was incredible. It was a mission of mercy. It was a mission that took a huge amount of guts with commandos, and they went and they saved a whole bunch of innocent lives.

They did what they had to do, and they did it the right way. I absolutely believe...

KING: But they're a small countries surrounded. We're a big country, geographically blessed.

WALSH: Yes, geographically blessed, and people look at us as bullies.

But I'll tell you what, the old -- he's now retired head of INTERPOL, when I went there the first time back in 1996, he said to me, look at the terrorist attacks on this map at INTERPOL headquarters. You are so naive. You Americans are so naive, and you're almost arrogant about it. You think you're protected by these two oceans and Canada and Mexico. It's coming.

How prophetic could he be, when we look at tomorrow, of 9/11?

I think that we have to realize -- you know, I believe the people of Iraq are so terrified of Saddam Hussein that if we went in there -- somebody went in there and assassinated him, that country would come back to normalcy.

KING: We'll be back with John Walsh.

As we go to break, another remembrance. A husband for a wife.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This little infamous girl from Pelkhart (ph), Indiana, she changed my life forever. She just taught me how to love life. She wanted to enjoy life, and that's what we planned to do together. And we probably had the best five years of our lives together. And that's one thing that we can be happy about.

It was a beautiful, sunny, clear morning. And all of a sudden people said, look, a plane. I turn around and it slammed -- this plane crashes into the building, from what I could see, right on the floor where Karen (ph) worked. I thought, I knew in my heart she's gone, even though my mind says, you know, let's I hope she's still there.

Karen will always be in my heart. And I'll never forget her. But life goes on.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Only have a few minutes left with John Walsh. Kind of an American hero, isn't he?

Marriage working out? Last time you were on you discussed how you were seeking help.

WALSH: Thank you for the good wishes. You know, I love this woman. We're together. We've got our boys with us now. And we've moved here because of the talk show.

So I'm still going to counseling, and we're still working on it, and I'm blessed that we're together. Absolutely blessed.

KING: It's interesting that the people supporting most of the AMBER Alert system are two women, opposite sides of the political ledger, Senators Hutchinson, a Republican, and Senator Feinstein, the Democrat.

WALSH: Tough ladies. I'm telling you, it's a marriage made in heaven. A conservative Republican, a liberal Democrat. I know both of them.

Wouldn't you -- that bill should have passed yesterday. I mean, the AMBER Alert should be mandated in every...

KING: Everywhere.

How about some who are concerned that it may be overused and people will become numb to them?

WALSH: It won't be overused. No, it won't be overused.

There's very serious guidelines that the national center has developed and the Emergency Broadcasting System.

(CROSSTALK)

WALSH: Absolutely not. There are such strict guidelines that I wish that that reporter had checked in before he wrote that article. I mean, to get an AMBER Alert you have to determine that foul play is involved, police have to investigate.

It's not going to be overused.

But I've got to say it again: My God, in one month, four girls are in their beds safe because the media finally got it and started using the AMBER Alert.

KING: John, are you -- you've had so many successes, but you see a lot of crime going on, even though statistics are a little down in violent crime.

Are you optimistic or pessimistic?

WALSH: I'm a real optimist. I really believe the glass is half full.

KING: You do?

WALSH: I really -- absolutely.

KING: Despite all you've seen?

WALSH: I've seen the worst of society and I've seen the best. When I was at Ground Zero I saw the horrible homicides that were committed there and the sadness, but I saw the best of America.

Every Saturday night I'm honored to work on "America's Most Wanted" because people call up and they turn in the biggest creeps.

I saw this country united after 9/11.

I see -- you know, my talk show has only been on a couple of days, and we've had literally thousands of responses to it saying, you do something positive. You encourage people.

And you know something, I really, really am an optimist. And I think this country is really, really -- I don't know, that people are much more sophisticated, much more involved.

People used to come up to me and ask me for an autograph like they do for you -- go get them, John. You know what they say now? Let's go, we've got to make it safer for our kids. What about personal safety? Let's get that legislation changed.

You know, it's really -- it's encouraging. It is encouraging.

KING: John, you're a special guy.

WALSH: Well, thank you for having me.

KING: The host of "America's Most Wanted." It starts its 16th season this Saturday, and his new daytime program had its premier just yesterday.

"NEWSNIGHT" with Aaron Brown is next.

We thank John Walsh for joining us tonight.

To close our show, we leave you with two images of the twin towers. We call this: then and now.

See you tomorrow night.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com





 
 
 
 


 Search   

Back to the top