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Interview With Ted Olson; Interview With Richard Ben-Veniste, Slade Gorton

Aired April 14, 2004 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, Ted Olson, solicitor-general of the United States, his wife, Barbara Olson was murdered on September 11 in the plane that hit the Pentagon. What does he make of the 9/11 commission and then we'll go over today's commission testimony by CIA director George Tenet and FBI director Robert Mueller with commission members Slade Gorton, the former Republican senator from Washington and Democratic commission member Richard Ben-Veniste.

Also joining us Steve Kroft of "60 Minutes" with Judith Miller, Pulitzer Prize-winning "New York Times" correspondent. Senator Richard Shelby on the defense sub-committee and Senator Evan Bayh on the armed services and select intelligence committees.

Plus the latest on Thomas Hamill, the U.S. civilian taken hostage in Iraq last Friday. We'll talk with his friend, the mayor of his Mississippi hometown, Dorothy Baker-Hines. And charges are brought today against Audrey Seiler, the Wisconsin student accused of faking her own abduction last month. We'll hear from her attorney Randy Hopper. They're all next on LARRY KING LIVE.


KING: We welcome to LARRY KING LIVE an old friend, the solicitor-general of the United States, Ted Olson. His wife, Barbara Olson, was killed aboard Flight 77, which crashed into the Pentagon on September 11.

Does this bring back, these hearings, bring back all the memories of that, Ted?

TED OLSON, SOLICITOR-GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, of course, it does. It's true also that I think about it all of the time. I think that all of the families that were connected directly with September 11 have that same feeling. You really cannot get away from it, but of course it's true that when this commission pores over that territory again and again, it does bring back those memories.

KING: Why were you at the hearings?

OLSON: Well, I had been intending to go to watch some of it anyway. They do reserve places for family members of victims of September 11, but I have been just too busy to do it. But I wanted to go along with John Ashcroft. I think that John Ashcroft is an outstanding public servant. He's been working extraordinarily hard to protect the American people from terrorism, and he's come in for a lot of criticism because the things he's doing are easy to criticize, because when he's successful and doesn't prevent -- when he's successful and prevents things from happening, no one knows that that's happened, and I wanted just to be there, to show him, and to the extent, people noticed that the American public, how much I support what he's been doing.

KING: Could any of this have an effect eventually on the solicitor-general?

OLSON: Well, not -- it's conceivable, I suppose, that some case might get to the Supreme Court, but I can't -- I had not thought of that before. I can't imagine the circumstances where that would occur.

KING: All right. Do you understand the pain of those angry with government over the loss of their loved ones?

OLSON: Well, I understand that people may be angry because they lost loved ones, but terrorists, al Qaeda network of terrorists brought about these terrible events. It's not helpful, it seems to me, to be angry at government or angry at individuals unless we're sure that they did something that was derelict in their duty. And yes, people might feel the same way who's had sailors on the ships at Pearl Harbor, but that kind of anger, it seems to me, is not constructive. In a way, it's a destructive emotion. What we must think about is channeling our energies into constructive measures, things that might help prevent this sort of thing from happening again.

KING: When you learned, though, of non-communication between FBI and CIA, of lack of movement, of antiquated measures, doesn't that frustrate you?

OLSON: It's very frustrating. I learned very early on, Larry, in the Justice Department -- because my responsibility's more than just the Supreme Court. I handle other types of litigation, and I fill in sometimes for the attorney general when he's out of town, as he is today. What was going on with respect to terrorism and efforts to investigate crimes? We were all shocked that this wall that had come up in the 70s, particularly in the 70s, between intelligence gathering and law enforcement really prevented these people from communicating with one another at all. Law enforcement people were not allowed to give suggestions to intelligence agents. Intelligence agents weren't allowed to give information to law enforcement people.

It took us after September 11 a full year to both get the law changed, the U.S.A. Patriot Act helped somewhat, and then we had to convince the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review to change the rules, and that took until November of 2002, to break down that barrier.

Yes, that sort of thing is very frustrating, but government isn't perfect. There are funding concerns that everyone wish would have been done better, but all of this is with the benefit of hindsight. I think we have to understand that conscientious public servants in this administration and the previous eight years of the Clinton administration were doing the best they could with resources they had, and being angry at them does not serve any purpose.

And I must say the name-calling and finger-pointing and blame asserting is not constructive. I think it's destructive to what this commission is supposed to be doing, which is to protect us from this happening again.

KING: Was it a little unnerving, Ted, to hear George Tenet say today that it's really going to take five years to get the house in order?

OLSON: Well, this is a -- people have to understand that we are at war with a concealed, resourceful, well-financed, well-armed enemy that is located all over the world. They use very sophisticated communication techniques. They speak in languages that many of us -- most of us don't understand. They're well-embedded in other, various different parts of the world, and including this country. They care nothing about rules. They don't obey any rules of war or procedure. They are anxious to kill as many people as possible, and they don't care about their own lives. This is an insidious enemy. We are at war.

In a way, I was glad to hear him say that, because the American people need to understand that we need to be committed, we need to be resourceful, we need to be determined, and we need to be resolute. It's going to take a long time.

KING: What do you make of the disagreement between the former acting director of the FBI, Thomas Pickard, and the current attorney general, John Ashcroft? Pickard saying that Ashcroft rejected further briefings on terrorist attacks.

OLSON: Well, I saw that, and I was disappointed. I don't think it's true. The deputy attorney general, Larry Thompson, the former deputy attorney general, Larry Thompson, was in all of those meetings. He has said publicly, and he said to me privately, he never heard anything like that.

John Ashcroft has become a bit of a punching bag for people, but I'll tell you this. He is conscientious, he is dedicated, he is committed to the law, but he's committed to routing out terrorism, and people that would do damage to the American people. If you wanted to select someone to be an attorney general, both before September 11 and particularly after September 11, John Ashcroft would be the person to do it. I've seen him day in and day out. I know how committed and dedicated he is to solving this problem.

I'm sorry to see that kind of controversy develop between people, because I don't think it's constructive. I think that some members of the commission have attempted to exploit that sort of thing, for partisan purposes or for purposes that relate to their own opportunity to be in the spotlight, and I think that's very destructive, it's very unfortunate. We have got to be united. We have got to focus on the future and how to solve the problem that this war has created for us. KING: Ted, you're a man of the law. Is it a slippery slope between keeping the peace and tranquility and still keeping your constitutional rights?

OLSON: I think that we -- it is not a slippery slope. You know, in this country, we have very, very careful protections. The laws that we have in effect, almost in every case require us to go to courts, to get warrants to do various different things. Almost every day, a development occurs where we have to talk to a federal judge, or the federal -- federal Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to get authority to do certain things. Everybody that's in the government that's responsible for executing these responsibilities is very sensitive to the legal requirements.

And bear in mind that 99 percent of the people discharging these responsibilities are dedicated career public servants, who are not interested in violating the law, and they're dedicated to keeping the law and to keeping the constitution.

But to secure liberty is to secure people's rights to go about freely, and to be free of terrorism and the kind of vicious murderous attacks that they could be subjected to, and the fear of those attacks. So part of our job as public servants in the Justice Department and the intelligence agencies is to protect people's lives, to give them the freedom of movement and the freedom to have the liberty that the constitution protects. We must not forget that.

KING: We'll take a break, be back with some more moments with Ted Olson, and then our panel. Tomorrow night, Senator John McCain joins us. By the way, next week among the guests will be Bob Woodward and Senator Hillary Clinton. Right back with the solicitor-general of the United States. Don't go away.


GEORGE TENET, CIA DIRECTOR: It will take us another five years to have the kind of clandestine service our country needs. There is a creative, innovate strategy to get us there that requires sustained commitment, leadership and...




TENET: Years to have the kind of clandestine service our country needs. There is a creative innovative strategy to get us there that requires sustained commitment, leadership and funding.

THOMAS KEAN, 9/11 COMMISSION CHAIRMAN: When you tell me -- you said it a second time now, five years to rebuild, I wonder whether we have five years. And that's -- when you say five years to rebuild the agency, that worries me a little bit.


KING: We're back with the solicitor-general of the United States, Ted Olson. In testimony today, FBI Director Mueller, a recent guest on this show, called the idea of a domestic agency collecting intelligence in this country "a grave mistake." Do you share that view?

OLSON: I don't think it's up to me to have an opinion about that. I think it's up to the policy persons to decide what sort of agencies would be best suited to do this sort of thing. It's really not within my domain, and I think, Larry, that reminds me that there -- everybody is out expressing opinions, the members of this commission seemed to have formed their opinions before they finished collecting the facts. They're on television, they're writing op-ed pieces, they're being interviewed timeless -- endlessly. It seems to me that it might be worthwhile for people to sit back, let the facts develop and be collected, and then form opinions, before -- form opinions after the facts have been collected.

KING: Are you surprised that they've been so media conscious?

OLSON: I don't understand why that is, and first -- the other part of it, Larry, goes with this, look at the format that was set up. I mean, you have a format set up so that you have these people arrayed above the witnesses, they're looking down at the witnesses, they each get their own five, 10 or 15 minutes of personal time to ask questions, to be as -- to be interlocutors, to use the benefit of hindsight to make them sound wise. Now, I am not saying this about every one of them, but there is a tendency to be partisan and there is a tendency to feel that they must be on television or in the newspapers explaining their own personal views all the time.

I would think that one of the things that they would want to do is not to appear to be partisan, not to appear to be divided, and to be patient and cautious before forming opinions and before calling witnesses or implying that witnesses aren't telling the truth. I think that's very destructive. It's unfortunate that it's inconsistent, in my judgment, with their mission.

KING: Last night on this show, both the chairman and the vice chairman assured the viewers that this would be a united commission, and that the emphasis would be on tomorrow and not looking back at yesterday. Does that encourage you?

OLSON: Well, that is encouraging, but I must say that anyone who's watched what happened, particularly last week with National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, who is a fantastic, fantastic, dedicated, able, committed person -- I was appalled at some of the things that were going on, both during the hearing and afterwards. There was a lot of grandstanding and showboating and clever cross- examination. I thought there was no place for that sort of thing, and it did not appear that they were focusing on the future; they were focusing on the past.

It doesn't do a lot of good to accuse a former attorney general or the present attorney general for failing to put together patterns of facts that were not discernible to anybody. Making those kinds of accusations might make someone feel good, but it doesn't make our nation more safe, it doesn't protect us from terrorism, and that's where we must have our focus.

KING: Was it a mistake for the administration to attack Dick Clarke so harshly, when he was trying, as many said, as a good American, to offer his thoughts?

OLSON: Well, Dick Clarke was promoting a book, let's not forget about that. Dick Clarke said a lot of things that were not justified by the facts. He made a lot of accusations. For the administration and officials in the administration to defend themselves from that sort of attack, I think they had to do that. I thought that was a very, very unfortunate process, especially timing the testimony before this very, very serious commission with the publication of a book, and all of that went on that week. I thought that was -- that was not the beginning, but that was a very unfortunate turn for the work of this commission.

KING: Couple of moments left. What would you recommend off the top to this commission to prevent another 9/11?

OLSON: Well, I think the most important thing, and the president was doing it last night, is to make -- to make sure that the people of this country understand that there are thousands of well armed, secure -- secluded people out there that want to maim and destroy as many parts of America or as many Americans as possible. They hate our freedom. They hate our liberty. They can't exist in a world where Americans are free, and we're attempting to provide that kind of freedom to other parts of the world.

We must fight this battle in the same way that we fought World War II. United, and with all of our resources, and it's going to take a long time. We must understand that. And then we must improve our intelligence gathering and coordination techniques, and our ability to respond quickly and preemptively where we see a threat to Americans, like that existed before September 11.

KING: World War II had an end in sight, and the president last night even said other presidents are going to be fighting other wars on terrorism. Terrorism is not going away, right?

OLSON: Well, we hope that terrorism will go away, that when we route out the people that are committed to this kind of conduct -- remember, World War II took two presidents too, and it really started before America's entry into World War II, and in a way it was a continuation of the battles that occurred in the first World War.

The fact is that there is evil in the world, and we must cope with it and we cannot relax. There is not, I guess, Larry, a time when people can totally relax from fanatics who would rather kill someone than live themselves.

KING: Thanks so much, Ted, always good seeing you.

OLSON: Larry, it's very nice to be on your program, thank you.

KING: The solicitor-general of the United States, Ted Olson. We'll be back with our panel right after this. Don't go away.


TENET: We made mistakes. Our failure to watch in a timely manner or the FBI's inability to find them in the narrow window of the time afford them showed systemic weaknesses and the lack of redundancy. There were at least four separate terrorist identity databases at the state, CIA, the Department of Defense and the FBI. None were broadly operable or broadly accessible.



KING: Now let's spend some moments now with Slade Gorton the former Republican Senator from Washington, a member of the commission. He's now of counsel at Preston, Gates and Ellis.

And in Philadelphia, Richard Ben-Veniste. A Democratic member of the commission and a former Watergate prosecutor, partner in the D.C. Law firm of Mayor, Brown, Rowe and Mau.

Senator Gorton, what do you make about of what Ted Olson said about you and your fellow commissioners doing to much television, going on the media. He's surprised at that.

SLADE GORTON (R) 9/11 COMMISSION: I would divide Ted's comments into two. First, his the description of the wall and the fact that it came into existence in the 1970s and 1980s, through several administration, both Republicans and Democrat was entirely correct. It was created by a statute, it was created by court decisions, not by the desire of the people in the Department of Justice.

And as a consequence, it lasted a year into the current administration, until 9/11 persuaded Congress to pass the PATRIOT Act and the courts to change their minds. So he's right about that.

So, it was wrong to attack individuals, especially a member of the commission, for creating something that was not their creation, but was required by an outside force.

On the other hand, his statements about the commission being partisan, being publicity hungry, I think are totally off base. First, one of our specific statutory authorities, and I think duties, is to bring this out in front of the American people. Just tonight, here in your studios in Washington D.C., one of the young men told me this was the greatest educational experience he could remember. That he watches it with absolute fascination, that it's a great exercise in how our government works. And I don't think that we've been partisan. We have questioned witnesses harshly, but I think always fairly and always in a search for the truth.

KING: Richard, what about his criticism of going on the media? He saw no sense of that. For the members to go on?

RICHARD BEN-VENISTE, (D) 9/11 COMMISSION: First of all, Larry, I want to say how much we all miss Barbara Olson. You'll remember that she and I were on your program many times.

KING: Many times.

BEN-VENISTE: During the Clinton years. We always had a lot of fun. She had a great sense of humor, never took herself too seriously. So we miss her.

As far as the comments about being on television, our chairman has asked us to do it. I've accepted about 10 percent of the requests that I've had. As you know, I've got a day job. I'm in the middle of a trial here in Camden County, New Jersey.

So, we're doing the best we can. You'll remember that the criticisms of the Warren Commission was that it was opaque, nobody knew what was going on behind closed doors. With respect to the commission set up to investigate Pearl Harbor, that was a -- that was a commission that failed. It didn't get the facts out.

We're determined not to make those mistakes. We're going to be as open as we can. We've had public hearings. The fact that one witness contradicts another witness is just a matter of getting to the facts. We'll have to make determinations there.

We didn't make it up. We haven't accused anybody of lying. If the former head of the FBI says that the Attorney General didn't want to hear anything anymore about terrorism, that's -- that's a matter for them to sort out. It's our job to find the facts.

KING: Senator Gorton, we have limited time tonight. So, one other question for you is what has surprised you?

GORTON: I have been surprised by the fact that law enforcement agencies and intelligence agencies like the CIA and FBI, who of course, always feel that they have too little in the way of resources, nonetheless, have so often been so inadequate in providing us with the information that we need for our national security. I think that we have been pleasantly surprised by the changes that have taken place since 9/11, but I am convinced that we're going to recommend even more dramatic changes.

KING: And what has surprised you Richard?

BEN-VENISTE: I would say that the amount of intelligence that we actually had in our possession prior to 9/11 has surprised me, and our inability to use it effectively to protect our homeland. It's true that our intelligence agencies were looking overseas, and yet with this PDB, someone, I think, with a great deal of prescience pointed the president to the direction of the American homeland, and pointed out that the attack could well come here.

Unfortunately, the information that we had in our possession was not utilized. In fact, today we went through this with Director Tenet, who had the Moussaoui information. But instead of utilizing it to try to thwart what might have been an attempt to use airplanes which he was trying to learn how to fly, to do harm to us, we knew about G-8 and the fact they had closed off the air space in Genoa, we knew all these things, but we couldn't put them together effectively. That's what...

KING: Thank you all very much. We'll be calling on you both frequently. Senator Slade Gorton, outstanding member of Congress and now in retirement in the law field. And Richard Ben-Veniste the Democratic member of the 9/11 commission.

When we come back. Steve Kroft, Judith Miller, Senator Richard Shelby and Senator Evan Bayh will join us. Don't go away.


ROBERT MUELLER, FBI DIRECTOR: Let me take a moment before addressing the specifics of the FBI's reformed efforts to reflect on the losses suffered on September 11, 2001. I also want to acknowledge the pain and the anguish of the friends and family whose were lost on that day. And I want to assure them that we in the FBI are committed to doing everything in our power to ensure that America never again suffers such a loss.


KING: One note, Bob Woodward's supposedly explosive new book will be released this weekend. He'll be on our show Monday night live with your phone calls. Next Tuesday, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton.

We now welcome Steve Kroft, the co-editor of "60 Minutes." He's done numerous reports on vulnerabilities in domestic security.

Judith Miller the Pulitzer winning correspondent for the "New York Times." Who covers security issues, and authored the best selling book "Germs, Biological Weapons and America's Secret War."

In Birmingham, Alabama, Senator Richard Shelby, Republican of Alabama.

Member of the Subcommittee on Defense and the former vice- chairman Select Subcommittee on Intelligence.

And in San Francisco, Senator Evan Bayh. Democrat of Indiana, Member of the Arms Services Committee and the Select Committee on Intelligence.

Steve, you covered this so much, are these hearings surprising you?

STEVE KROFT, CBS NEWS "60 MINUTES": I think they're incredibly interesting. I would have to agree they're incredibly educational. Any time you have a tragedy like this, I think it's important to try and analyze your mistakes. And I agree with Ted Olson, where it goes wrong is when you try and place blame, because I think the problems were systemic. It's easy to overlook the huge holes that existed in the national security/domestic security system at the time. You had the problem with airport security. You had the problem -- major problem with airport or with him gration controls. You had no real screening of people who were applying for visas at foreign embassies. We had no way of knowing who was coming and going from the country and who we were allowing in and really, whether even they were in the United States. Even if some of these leads had been pursued, I'm not sure we would have been able to find Al Haslmi (ph) or Almidar (ph) or whether we would have been able at the INS to do a search of all the people who had visas in the United States who were at aviation schools. Those capabilities exist now hopefully, but they didn't exist back in September of 2001.

KING: So Judith, based on that, is no one really blameful?

JUDITH MILLER, "NEW YORK TIMES": Well, I know once again, we said again and again on this show, Larry, hindsight is perfect. But when you look at both the systemic failure that Steve has just talked about, I think you also have to look at individuals. I remember John McCain saying just yesterday it is amazing to him that in all of this time, not a single person was fired, not a single person at a high level was replaced for what happened on 9/11, so if the senior officials who direct these agencies have to with stand a few moments of discomfort and harsh questioning from a panel that the administration resisted forming in the first place, I think that it is nevertheless a very good thing to happen and part of our Democratic process.

KING: Senator McCain by the way will be our guest tomorrow night.

Senator Shelby, has this gone along -- are you surprised at anything?

SEN. RICHARD SHELBY (R-AL), DEFENSE SUB COMMITTEE: I'm not really surprised but it just tells me again that there were a lot of structural problems in the intelligence community, all of it, especially in the FBI and the CIA. And no one has been accountable as Judith just said. We have accountability in school. We have accountability in the military. But it seems in the intelligence community we have not had a lot of accountability. Somebody is accountable to the American people. And I think a lot of the people who are testifying and have testified should look in the mirror. Maybe that's where accountability will begin.

KING: Senator Evan Bayh, why is it hard for people to say maybe I goofed?

SEN. EVAN BAYH (D-IN), ARMED SERVICES, SEL. INTEL. COMMITTEES: Maybe it is human nature when there is tragic life involved. I think Judith and Steve put their finger on it, Richard as well, there's been a systemic failure here. We need to hold individual accountable not for the purpose of finding scapegoats but for the purpose of determining how we keep this from happening again. So I think we had a situation where we had good people doing their best. The best wasn't good enough. And we need to be resolved in a bipartisan way to do better next time. KING: Steve, do you expect major changes?

KROFT: We've seen major changes in a lot of areas. I think it's for the policy makers to sit down and figure out exactly what we're going to do about the intelligence area. But there was a lot of talk today about structuring intelligence gathering, and coordinating intelligence gathering, and the real problem seems to have been lack of intelligence.

KING: What do you make -- I'm sorry go ahead, Steve.

KROFT: That's the big problem. As Lee Hampton said late in the day, there has to be a major effort, particularly in linguistics to develop personal intelligence sources. We've had for a long time too much reliance on signals technology and it's the best there is, but it's not good enough in fighting this war. We have to have people we can put on the ground to infiltrate cells. And that requires a major effort

KING: Judith what about the idea of a domestic intelligence agency like Britain's M15. Director Mueller opposes that. What do you think?

MILLER: Almost everyone who's testified, almost everyone, has also opposed that. And I think it is one of those very ambitious and audacious idea that has to be examined very, very closely. There are pluses and minuses to such enormous change. A secret police in America for the first time versus the kind of intelligence we need, marshals, centralized, acted upon that can keep us safe. This is a very difficult trade-off, Larry. Some of the statistics we heard today are just shocking. For example the FBI has hired 653 linguists since 9/11 and still they're shorthand. That shows you the dimension of the problem and why George Tenet says it's going take five years at least, I think that's optimistic to correct and improve the clandestine service of this country.

KING: I'll pick up the questioning with Senator Shelby right after this break. We'll be right back. Don't go away.


KING: Senator Shelby, are we on the right road here?

Are you optimistic?

SHELBY: Well, I'm not real optimistic because I've been down this road before, Larry. There've been calls for reform in the past and no one listened. I'm hoping that coming out of the 9/11 commission will be some recommendations similar what we came out of the joint inquiry. But we have got to make some fundamental changes. I'm not sure we have five years, as George Tenet suggested today. Five years is a long time. They've already had nearly three years. That's eight years. Do we have that long.

KING: Senator Bayh, what's your thought on that five-year idea? BAYH: Larry, I don't know whether five years is the right figure or not. We need to get on with this as quickly as we can. I suspect there are some things we can do right now that will improve things. For example, the fact that the databases that the FBI, CIA, the State Department and elsewhere weren't coordinated, that's totally unacceptable. We need to give the DCI, George Tenet greater authority over the rest of the intelligence arena in terms of the budget.

He declared war on al Qaeda in 1998, Larry, the NSA didn't think it applied to them. We can do those things today now in terms of improving our human intelligence, that takes time and unfortunately we got out of a lot of that business a couple of decades ago in order to recruit the right people who speak the right languages, belonged to the right ethnic groups, they can work their ways into positions to be helpful to us. That does take some time and until we get that done we're going to be more reliant than we should be on people like the Egyptians, the Jordanians and others, and that's not a very comforting fact.

KING: Steve, do we have here, as -- quoting the famous movie, had a failure to communicate?

KROFT: I think that's part of it. But in the intelligence field we have to have the basic information. I think that -- and that's what's lacking. We just don't seem to be able to come up with the information. There is definitely a failure to communicate. That is one of the areas where I think that there has been a lot of improvement, at least in theory and in policy. I think breaking down the walls, and improving the databases will help immeasurably.

KING: Do you feel safer now?

MILLER: Well, I guess I always worry because my beat has been covering weapons of mass destruction. While I know all of the tremendous progress that this administration has really made in biodefense and defending us against chemical attacks and dirty bombs and nuclear weapons, the knowledge to make such weapons is spreading so fast, and al Qaeda and other groups like it are learning so quickly, that the issue is can we, as Americans and in the government, can they, as our elected representatives, learn as fast as al Qaeda is learning. It's now become a cliche, the defenders have to be lucky all of the time. The attackers just have to be lucky once. That leaves me with a permanent feeling of anxiety.

KING: Senator Shelby, practically, does the war on terror ever end?

SHELBY: Larry, that's an excellent question. I think it's going to be with us for another generation or perhaps two. There's no negotiated settlement to it. We have to stay strong and we have to win this battle. I agree with the president last night. I thought he was very strong.

KING: Senator Bayh, does it ever -- there's always going to be a terrorist somewhere, right? BAYH: Larry, I hate to say it, but I agree with Richard. I'm afraid my sons who are only eight years old may still be fighting this fight. Because it has its roots in some of these dysfunctional societies in the Middle East where you have a tremendous surge of young people coming along who have no economic prospects, they have no political freedom, they are resentful of our culture and many of their religious leaders are instilling them with anger and hatred which those regimes that are supposed to be our allies are redirecting outward toward the west and so we have to get at the root causes of this. It's going to take a long time but at least, Larry, the good news is we're being more proactive, more aggressive. As a result, we will make progress but it's going to take time.

KING: Steve, do terrorists learn a lot watching the openness of these get-togethers, these commissions?

KROFT: I don't think so. I think, obviously, they knew an awful lot before 9/11. I think that every time someone does a story on domestic security weaknesses, I think the press, for the most part is very careful to make sure that all of this information is available if somebody wanted to take the trouble to find it. I think we haven't given them enough -- we certainly didn't give them enough credit for patience and imagination prior to 9/11.

I think that there are a lot of still weaknesses in the system, there are a lot of targets that are very vulnerable in this country. Our borders are huge and expansive and not nearly as secure as they should be. It's very difficult, as the Israelis have demonstrated, to stop terrorists once they make up their mind that they're going to carry out and attack. I think we have to be prepared for more of them and hopefully we will get lucky from time-to-time.

I also think that we don't really know the full effect we've had yet of taking out some of the leadership of this organization. There's not been an attack on the United States, not since September 11. We don't know exactly what their capabilities are. I do think that you, by capturing people, by killing people, by making arrests, by interrogations, you can learn a lot. I think you have the ability, maybe not to wipe it out, but certainly to slow it down and to buy us some time. I think time is very important right now.

KING: Thank you all very much. We'll be calling on you all again. Steve Kroft, the co-editor of CBS News "60 Minutes," Judith Miller, the Pulitzer Prize-winning correspondent for the "New York Times," Senator Richard Shelby, Republican of Alabama, who always calls them as he sees them and Senator Evan Bayh, Democrat of Indiana from a great, by the way political family.

One reminder, Senator John McCain will be here tomorrow night and an unusual program Friday night is Dick Clark, the other Dick Clark comes on to reveal something about his own health. We'll be right back. Don't go away.


TENET: The implication of the intelligence community can't talk to each other is wrong. There is architecture, data flow, and movement of data across our agencies every single day.



KING: The fate of the abducted American contractor, Thomas Hamill, remains unknown. He was taken in Iraq last Friday by gunmen who attacked the fuel convoy he was part of. Rejoining us for another visit is Mayor Baker-Hines, of Mississippi, a family friend. Before we ask Ms. Hines some questions, let's hear from Kelly, his wife, she's a 911 operator recovering from open heart surgery. She read a statement to reporters yesterday. Here's a part of it.


KELLIE HAMILL, WIFE HOSTAGE THOMAS HAMILL: Hello. My name is Kellie Hamill. I would first like to say to my husband, Tommy, we love and miss you very much. We would also like to say to the persons holding him captive, our hopes are that you will release him unharmed as soon as possible. Last, we would like to say to the persons of the community and all across America who have been praying for us, we thank you very much from the bottom of our heart. We would also like to extend our love and prayers to all the KBR families and other people in our situation. Thank you very much.


KING: Mayor Hines, have you heard anything at all about your friend from anyone?

MAYOR DOROTHY BAKER-HINES, MACON, MISSISSIPPI: No, sir. We haven't heard anything about Mr. Hamill. I did talk to kelly a couple of hours ago, and I told her I would be on your show tonight. Did she have any words again? And she was terribly tired. She just said that she just again appreciates everything that everyone is doing for them. And they're just overwhelmed with the outpour of love and concern. But we're still just waiting, you know, to hear some good news.

KING: What's the emotion in the community? Four bodies were found yesterday, they're unidentified. What's the feeling in Macon?

HINES: Well, yes, sir. When that news came out, of course, we all kind of, you know just held our breath. Really, just was waiting, you know, to hear something. You know, we didn't hear anything, you know, negative, so we still are just hoping and praying and starting tomorrow night at 7:00, we will be holding a nightly vigil at this courthouse that's right behind me. Several of the churches have gotten together. We will be doing that until Mr. Hamill comes home. So, we're just continuing to be optimistic, and continually praying for him and his family.

KING: Thank you, mayor. As always good talking with you. And we'll stay in constant touch.

HINES: Yes, sir. Thank you.

KING: Mayor Dorothy Baker-Hines, family friend of the Iraqi kidnapped victim Thomas Hamill. Still no word.

Let's go to Madison, Wisconsin. Standing by is Randy Hopper, the attorney for Audrey Seiler, the college student accused of faking her own abduction last month, charged with 2 misdemeanor counts of obstructing officers. Each charge carries nine months in jail and $10,000 fine. How will she plea, Randy?

RANDY HOPPER, ATTY. FOR AUDREY SEILER: I'm not ready to talk about that yet on national television tonight, Larry. So, everybody will have to stay tuned until we get to court tomorrow morning.

But we've had a very positive dialogue with the district attorney, Mr. Blanchard, starting last week, even before I met with him last week. And then we had a very positive meeting last week. I'm happy to say we had another very positive meeting with him today. The police, we've also had very positive meetings with them.

But the dialogue is continuing. And I think that's probably the most important thing for my client right now.

KING: Randy, does that indicate that we're leaning towards some sort of plea agreement here?

HOPPER: Well, Larry, tomorrow is what they call the IA, the initial appearance, so it's too early in the overall proceedings of the case like this, to start making predictions.

I think the most important thing is for people to understand that we do have good dialogue in place with the district attorney's office. This Madison community has been incredible. My client's asked me to come forward to speak to you and others in the media, because the media and the police department and the students and everybody in this entire community has been so supportive. As you know, the family's been through one crisis now with another major crisis on top of it. They asked me to come forward to speak so they can stay focused on Audrey's care.

KING: How is she doing?

HOPPER: Well, under the circumstances not too well. She's receiving the best medical care that her parents can provide for her. We're trying to -- we're trying to provide the best legal advice to her that we possibly can. And we're just going to continue to take it a step at a time.

KING: Randy, authorities have quoted her as saying, I set up everything, I'm just so messed up, I'm sorry. She then apparently recanted this and maintained she had been abducted. Is there anything you can tell us about the incident?

HOPPER: Not yet, Larry. And I appreciate you and the media wanting to know more and more. The facts are still unfolding. We don't even have all the facts in front of us yet. The police department are still continuing their investigation.

But I will tell you that I think that the facts are crystallizing everyday. We're going to know more and more in the days and weeks to come. And some of these things are going to maybe make a little bit more sense.

Obviously, Audrey was dealing with some very difficult issues coming into this whole situation. As you probably come to learn in the last week or so, this is a circumstance that we're finding is increasing among college students. Audrey's no different than many others in that regard.

KING: Is she under good medical care?

HOPPER: She certainly is, Larry. Audrey's a straight A student. She was president of her National Honor Society chapter. She has one of the best most supportive families you could ever want. She's a model daughter. So, there are a lot of things about this case uncharacteristic of Audrey.

KING: Boy, you're not kidding. There were some reports in some media she was in a psychiatric facility. Can you straighten that out for us?

HOPPER: You know, healthcare and medical treatment is probably one of the most private things that any of us ever have to deal with. And as her lawyer, with the privileged communication I share, it's probably not appropriate for me to talk about that right now.

KING: But you're not denying it?


KING: Will she plead tomorrow? Will there be a plea of guilty, not guilty, will that occur tomorrow? Will we hear her in court?

HOPPER: Yes. She will not be there. She's dealing with a number of different issues, as we've said. She's not -- she's not going to be available in court tomorrow, but her lawyers are going to be there and representing her, and she will enter her plea tomorrow.

KING: Thank you very much, Randy. We'll be calling on you again. We appreciate you giving us the time.

HOPPER: You're quite welcome, Larry.

KING: Randy Hopper, the attorney for Audrey Seiler, the college student accused of faking her own abduction. There's a hearing tomorrow in Madison, Wisconsin.

We'll come right back and tell you about exciting guests coming up on LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.


KING: Tomorrow night, Senator John McCain. On Friday night, Dick Clark, not that Dick Clark, the broadcaster Dick Clark. Saturday night, Heather McCartney will host this program. Her guest, Paul Newman. Sunday night, Linda Evans. Monday we're in Washington (AUDIO GAP). And Tuesday night with Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton. Other than that, how are we doing so far.

Let's turn it over now to New York, where my man, Mr. Aaron Brown, who landed last night with zero visibility, but was brave and bombed. Only kidding. He hung on. He made it.

AARON BROWN, HOST NEWSNIGHT: I have zero visibility...

KING: Good to have you back.

BROWN: ...thank you...

KING: Zero visibility.

BROWN: Thank you Mr. King.


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