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CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Aftermath of London Terror Attacks
Aired July 8, 2005 - 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, the day after the terror in London. The death toll rises, and the questions remain. Who's behind the worst attack on the British capital since World War II? How safe is London now? How safe is travel to Europe? And how safe is America?
Next on LARRY KING LIVE. We have an outstanding panel joining us in a little while. We'll also be hearing from the first and former secretary of homeland security, Tom Ridge. But we begin with Christiane Amanpour in London, Abigail Milner in London and Sean Baran in New York. Sean and Abigail, eyewitnesses. Christiane, what's the day after report?
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, there's been a lot of really return to business as usual. Those who could, went to work and took the tubes -- the tubes that were still working today, the underground stations, that is. Those who could took buses. There was no sense that today people were too afraid to get up and to go about their business. They did it and some did it with defiance. They said they simply would not be cowed into changing their routine.
The death toll was ratcheted up and it will probably go even higher because right where I am, at King's Cross, there are still bodies trapped in the carriage below ground and officials say it's hard to reach that carriage because of an unstable tunnel, they say, where the carriage is. In terms of the investigation, they say that the bombs that were used were quite small, about 10 pounds worth of explosive that could be fitted into a backpack, so they were quite small. They believed they were laid on the floor of the train carriages.
They also tell us that they have no evidence to suggest at this point that they were suicide bombers. However they say they bore the hallmarks of the al Qaeda attack, the coordinated nature of them and the targeting of civilians and the fact they were in a western capital. So the investigation and the search getting under way in earnest for who could possibly have done it and whether the perpetrators can be caught.
KING: In New York is Sean Baran. Sean was an eyewitness to yesterday's terror. In fact, he helped treat the injured. What were you doing -- You are an American, right, Sean?
SEAN BARAN, AMERICAN EYEWITNESS AND EMT: Yes, Larry.
KING: What were you doing in London?
BARAN: I was there for the summer for an internship with a small company called British American Business Incorporated.
KING: So tell me, where were you when it happened? What did you do?
BARAN: I was about 15 minutes late getting out the door, and I went to go get on the tube. They told me it was closed. I didn't realize what happened at the time. So I hopped on a bus and as I was driving down towards my office, we approached Edgware Station and I saw people coming out, they had soot around their nose and mouth and burns and cuts on their face, and being an EMT, I got off the bus, went up to one of the police officers and I offered to help people out.
KING: Were you planning to come home today or did you come home because of this?
BARAN: Actually, yesterday was my last day of work. I was planning to come home today, but after the events, and talking to peoples or one of the news agencies offered to fly me home. So I was home 14 hours earlier than planned.
KING: Were you a little concerned about the airport?
BARAN: There was heightened security at the airport at Heathrow, but for the most part, I think people felt very secure at the airport.
KING: We're told by everyone that the Britons were amazingly resourceful here and ready for this. Would you agree?
BARAN: They absolutely were. I was incredibly impressed by the way they managed their resources and the fact that, well, in the specific location where I was at Edgware, they were able to take 60 people and process them so quickly and get them to the hospitals. It took about three hours, which is extremely impressive for an accident -- a tragedy of this size.
KING: Did you see any bodies?
BARAN: No, I didn't. All the fatalities were down in the tube station, and they were usually transported out of there directly to the hospital, over to the morgues.
KING: Abigail Milner is in London, she was an eyewitness to the bus explosion. Left her quite traumatized. Where were you, Abigail?
ABIGAIL MILNER, EYEWITNESS TO BUS EXPLOSION: I was about 30 meters on the opposite side of the road, diagonally from the bus when it exploded.
KING: What did you see?
MILNER: Just -- sorry, it was -- umm, just huge, just an explosion, smoke, metal flying, and I just knew there were people on that bus, and people around. I just -- yeah, just -- just smoke and things flying everywhere. Yeah.
KING: What did you do?
MILNER: My first thought was -- shrapnel, just to get away and to protect myself from that. I realized as soon as it happened what it was, that it was a bomb. I didn't know how big it was, how much of the shrapnel, how much would -- how far it would go. I put my jacket over my head, and ran in the opposite direction, just to get away from anything that might harm me.
KING: How are you today?
MILNER: I think I'm a little bit more shaken up today. Obviously yesterday just running on adrenalin, and -- kind of kept me going, and I think today, it's the shock of waking up and realizing that I was there, and I mean, I just thank God I'm not hurt. I wasn't hit by anything. I am fine, but it just -- it just was something I never thought in a million years that I would experience or see. Yeah.
KING: Sean, how are you today?
BARAN: I'm fine. I'm glad to be back home with my family.
KING: But it's something that's going to live with you for a long time, isn't it?
BARAN: It definitely is. I'm never going to forget the events that happened yesterday. I think the week as a whole, it was a big week for London, England, just with all the things going on.
KING: Did you treat people as well?
BARAN: Yes, I did. In the staging area of the Hilton, the people who were able to walk out under their own power were coming in and we were treating them and organizing them, and I was helping people who had burns on their arms, legs and hands, and lacerations to the face and arms.
KING: How were they handling it?
BARAN: They were very subdued. A lot of them described a ringing in their ears, so with the sound of the explosion, it made a lot -- it made it very difficult for a lot of them to hear, so I imagine it was a very surreal experience, just kind of taking everything in and seeing what was going on with the current state they were in.
KING: Christiane, it was amazing how prepared London was for this, wasn't it?
AMANPOUR: Well, yes, and we were told yesterday at the first press conference by all the heads of the emergency services that this is something that they had been planning and in fact rehearsing ever since 9/11 that, they knew that inevitably it would come, and that they had really been planning their responses, and they say that they kicked in almost exactly, if not exactly as planned, and some are crediting that response with actually saving lives, and helping the critically injured, and those other injured to hospital very quickly.
KING: Sean Baran and Abigail Milner, thank you so much. Christiane will remain with us for one segment more. And we'll be joined by an outstanding panel of Peter Bergen, Gary Hart, Congressman Chris Shays and terrorism expert Larry Johnson, then Tom Tidge will join us and our panel will resume and we'll take your phone calls. You're watching LARRY KING LIVE. We'll be right back.
KING: Remaining with us through this segment is Christiane Amanpour in London and then we'll give her the rest of the day off to get some rest. In Washington is Peter Bergen, author of "Holy War, Inc., Inside the Secret World of Osama bin Laden," wrote an op-ed piece in today today's "New York Times."
In Denver is Gary Hart, the former senator from Colorado, former Democratic candidate for the -- former presidential candidate for the Democratic nomination. He co-chaired the U.S. commission on national security and he co-chaired the commission that forecast 9/11.
Congressman Chris Shays, Republican of Connecticut, chairman of the Subcommittee on National Security out in Washington, he's in Stamford, Connecticut is Larry Johnson, terrorism expert, works with U.S. military special operation forces in counterterrorism.
Peter Bergen, is this a tailor made Osama bin Laden operation?
PETER BERGEN, TERRORISM EXPERT: Well, certainly it appears to be an operation inspired by Osama bin Laden. You know, bin laden has called for attacks on members of the coalition in Iraq repeatedly. And we saw with the attacks in Madrid there was a result of that. There's also been attacks on British banks and consulates in Turkey back in 2003 and now this. And I think obviously he had no operational role but the ideological message keeps getting repeated. He's released something like 18 videotapes and audiotapes since 9/11 calling for all sorts of things, including attacks on the coalition and remains in the game as sort of an ideological figure.
KING: Gary Hart, is this the start of more? Are we going to see a lot more?
GARY HART, FORMER SENATOR FROM COLORADO: Well, I think the other panelists are much more expert at forecasting than I am. I have been saying for some time that America would be attacked again. It's not a question of whether, but when, and I don't think the attacks are going to come where they've come before. The thing that concerns me is that by personalizing this to bin Laden and to one organization, we may be missing a point, and that is the metastasizing of terrorist cells that are not hierarchically directed by one man or one group. I think we're increasingly seeing independent or autonomous cells planning their own attacks whether they're in touch with bin Laden or not.
KING: Congressman Shays, the police chief, Bill Bratton of Los Angeles said yesterday if I asked him if this were preventable, he said no, do you agree? REP. CHRIS SHAYS, (R) CT: Well, I agree we're not going to be able to prevent all attacks. But what I feel strongly about is that the Cold War is over. It's not containment and reaction, it's detect and prevent. And we need to put a lot more resources into detecting so we can prevent. So when people attack the PATRIOT Act and say we don't need it or it's too strong, what they're doing is weakening our ability to detect and therefore prevent attacks.
KING: Larry Johnson, is terrorism ever going to be logically defeated? Isn't some terrorist born today?
LARRY JOHNSON, TERRORISM EXPERT: As Arnold Schwarzenegger once said, if it bleeds you can kill it. The people carrying out the incidents are human beings, they are subject to -- if they don't get enough sleep, don't do well, don't get enough to eat, they have to have money. So yes, you can defeat it and you've got to go after the human network. I think the reality here is we've got to go back to look back what happened June 17th when Ayman Zawahari, the number two guy associated with Osama bin Laden issued another statement and in the statement he called for attacking the economy of the west and for attacking Egypt. What we saw yesterday was an attack at the start of the Group of Eight, an economic summit, as well as the execution by al Qaeda in Iraq of the Egyptian ambassador and I think these two incidents are clearly related.
I agree with Senator Hart. We don't want to personalize this. But I disagree on the issue, we cannot afford to pretend that people like bin Laden and Ayman Zawahari don't matter. That's like saying Joe Montana didn't matter to the 49ers. These folks may not be the actual planners but they're the visionaries, there the emotional heart and soul of the organization and telling people that God is with them in the effort and that's why the West can't catch them. I think we need to catch them and bring them to justice.
KING: Is -- go ahead, Gary.
HART: I did not suggest bin laden was not relevant. He is very relevant. And I think we should have power sued him rather than invade Iraq.
KING: Christiane Amanpour, is Great Britain now doubling its efforts? Is it now on a higher security alert?
AMANPOUR: Yes it is on high security alert and so is a lot of Europe. They went on high alert right after these bombings and what has been a matter of some analysis and comment, and even criticism here is what the police told us yesterday, and that is that in the last month, they had notched down the security alert, the security level to the second highest ranking, and people are wondering why on earth that happened, particularly around G-8 summit time, and you know you talk to some security experts and say you can never remain at the maximum highest alert all the time constantly. And yet, people are saying why was it taken down just ahead of the G-8 summit. The home secretary called what happened an intelligence failure although he refused to say it was a failure of the intelligence services.
KING: Christiane thank you very much for your yeoman-like work. We'll be talking to you lots in the nights ahead. Christiane Amanpour, who has been with us almost around the clock.
Our panel of Peter Bergen, Gary Hart, Congressman Chris Shays and Larry Johnson will remain. We'll spend a segment talking with Tom Ridge, the former secretary of homeland security and then return with the panel of four and we'll include your phone calls. We'll be right back with former governor of Pennsylvania and the former secretary of homeland security, Tom Ridge, right after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ELIZABETH II, QUEEN OF ENGLAND: I want to express my admiration for the people of our capital city, who, in the aftermath of yesterday's bombings, are calmly determined to resume their normal lives. That is the answer to this outrage.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Joining us now from Washington, old friend, Tom Ridge, the former secretary of homeland security, former governor of Pennsylvania. You were in London the day before this?
TOM RIDGE, FORMER SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY: Yes, I was Larry. Tremendous swing of emotions, the excitement, the exhilaration around getting awarded and quickly dissipated obviously quickly with the savage attack the next morning. Quite a sea change.
As I've said many times, we don't have a better or stronger ally. So we kneel in prayer and stand in solidarity with our friends in Great Britain on this one.
KING: How surprised were you?
RIDGE: Well, you know, interesting, part of the conversation that I had with some of my former counterparts on the previous day was that the world's attention, much of it had shifted to Iraq, and yet those who were in the business of dealing with al Qaeda and all of the al Qaeda wannabes, the multiple organizations that potentially may have different aspirations but would use the same means to an end, we were no less intense in the united states and they were no less intense in Great Britain. And the fact they have a strong domestic intelligence gathering capacity and have actually stopped, prevented some attacks but somehow this one slipped under the radar it was an enormous surprise to everyone.
KING: Do you think Americans have gotten complacent?
RIDGE: I don't believe Americans have gotten complacent. I think frankly the globalization of information, the globalization of television, instantaneous reporting, it happens in Madrid, in London, it happens in Bali, it happens in the Soviet Union, it happens, it seems like every other day in Iraq. So I think there's a notion that this is part of the new norm that we live with around the world, and I would certainly say that the security and the law enforcement professionals in the United States are certainly on guard, and are as tense today -- as intense today in their efforts to prevent terrorist attacks as they were the day after September 11th.
KING: Do you think, as some of our guests last night suggested we might see this more represented in acts of more daily living, rather than big buildings or airports, buses, subway stations.
RIDGE: I think a couple of your previous panelists alluded to that fact, and I think it's important to thank we note that the strategic direction that bin Laden gave to 9/11, the chain of command, a fairly rigorous control, I think that there are a lot of reasons that we're going to see less and less of that. It will be more and more the inspiration leader. Remember, he's called on all Muslims who believe in his way to use to attack the infidels, the Jews, the Christians, and so I think you're going to see the franchising, potential franchising of terrorist activity, and perhaps not quite the strategic. They're not going to get the strategic direction and guidance from bin Laden, but certainly he'll be the motivating factor and inspirational leader.
KING: How improved is our intelligence since 9/11?
RIDGE: Well, I think since 9/11 there have been some fundamental structural changes. They've improved their communications in the intelligence community, certainly dramatically improved the distribution of that intelligence. When the president began by aggregating, creating the terrorist screening center for the first time in this country's history, where everyone in the intelligence community had potential access to information in that venue and then now it's become the National Counterterrorism Center, that's a huge plus up.
But the real challenge is to make sure that those who may have information outside the Beltway, outside the National Counterterrorism Center make sure they hit the send button so somebody up there can take a look at it. And that's one of the challenges we had 9/11, as pointed out by the 9/11 commission, there was potential information being held in district offices and regional offices. Had it been sent to a central point so other people could have looked at it, I'm not saying they could have avoided it but it would have been nice analyzing potential threats would have had access to that kind of information.
KING: Governor, are there al Qaeda cells in the United States now?
RIDGE: I think we have to operate that they are. We've got 500 million people coming across our borders every year, we're one of the most open countries and democracies in the world. I think it's been pretty clear that since 9/11, at the direction of the president, the FBI has become basically the counterterrorism unit within the United States, they constantly have their eyes on individuals and groups, and so I think we should operate and do operate every single day that there are people here in the United States who would be part of a logistic chain, a support chain and potentially part of an operational plan down the road. These people are strategic actors and we'd be foolish to assume that around this vast, wonderful country of ours there aren't people plotting and planning against us now as you and I are having this conversation.
KING: Do you think the color-coded threat system is still a good idea?
RIDGE: I think there's probably disagreement in this panel. I think the color-coded threat system is a good way to do two things. One, to indicate to America that the threat is potentially higher but secondly to indicate that the security forces that at this time, when they move from one stage to the next, they have to add additional security precautionary measures. It's really a signal to two bodies. When we have more information, I think the public would like to hear it. I think it would improve the sensitivity and improve our relationship and credibility of the government with the general public, but the security professionals know that when you raise it, there are additional steps they take.
We couldn't have done this a year, year and a half ago, but since that time, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Transportation developed a pretty good network of contacts within the transportation community, and they knew that there were other things they need to do, more police, undercover, more K-9 teams, added vigilance, when we went from yellow to orange, that's precisely what they did.
KING: And finally, governor, has going into Iraq made us safer?
RIDGE: Going to Iraq, I'm sorry, I didn't hear?
KING: Did it make us safer?
RIDGE: Yes, I think it is. There are a lot of people trying to draw the conclusion that going into Iraq has generated additional terrorist cells around the country.
RIDGE: Around the world. I don't accept that notion. There are a lot of reasons that additional terrorist cells were going to evolve over time. They were going to evolve as separate and independent entities because there were a lot of them out there in addition to al Qaeda to start with. But because we've dislocated some of their leadership and made financing a little bit more difficult, and fairly extensive list of what we've done to that old organization as Senator Hart pointed out, you now have a variety of other organizations are evolving and developing their own cells and their own goals and frankly, whether we go to Iraq or not, I think that was a situation we had to deal with since we disrupted the basic organization within al Qaeda.
KING: Tom, thank you, as always.
RIDGE: Good to be with you again. Thank you.
KING: Governor Tom Ridge, the former secretary of homeland security, former governor of Pennsylvania. Our panel of Peter Bergen, Gary Hart, Congressman Chris Shays and Larry Johnson returns. Your phone calls will be included. Don't go away.
KING: Our panel has reassembled. Before we go to some calls, Peter Bergen, our CNN terrorism analyst, in "The New York Times" today you say the problem may be Britain and you talk about many British Muslims that are angry. Why?
BERGEN: You know, disproportionately unemployed. They feel that the war on terrorism is a war on Islam. 13 percent of British Muslims have been polled by "The Guardian" newspaper suggested that they were look favorably on another al Qaeda-style attack on the United States. A pretty astonishing figure if you think about it.
We've seen British suicide bombers in Iraq -- in Israel two years ago. We've seen Richard Reid, the so-called shoe bomber was a Brit. Omar Sheikh, who killed Danny Pearl, the American journalist killed in Pakistan was also a Brit.
So, we're seeing British citizens engaged in anti-American terrorism and they benefit from something called the visa waiver program, all European countries do. It means you can come to this country without a talk with an embassy official, a face to face interview. I'm not saying we should change it, but we should look at it carefully.
Because the people who are likely to do damage to us, are people from Europe. For instance, the 9/11 pilots came from Germany, they didn't come from Pakistan.
So, it's really what's happening in Europe, not only Britain but also places like Spain, and Italy and Germany, where your seeing radicalized young men who have an al Qaeda agenda, some of them are going to fight in Iraq we're seeing now.
KING: What's your read on that, Larry Johnson?
JOHNSON: Peter is exactly right. I've had personal experience over in London. We were working with a client whose daughter had basically been taken over by a local Muslim cell. And these guys were jihadists. And it's quite disconcerting from the standpoint of Americans to see this level of venom and animosity that exists in that society. And it exists below the surface.
But the saving grace for the United States is while there may be sympathizers of the al Qaeda network, we don't have the same deep- seeded radical communities here. And I think that's been one of the factors that's prevented a recurrence of those attacks in the United States.
KING: Congressman Shays? SHAYS: Well, I mean, it points out the reluctance of frankly, Europe to confront this issue. Because they have a large Muslim population. And they think basically, if they can, you know, feed the alligator, they'll get eaten last. They haven't been willing to confront what we have seen for decades.
The 9/11 commission was very clear, and I think very brave. They said, we're not fighting terrorism. This isn't some ethereal being. These are real people. They are Islamist terrorists who are angry. They exist in communities in the Arab nations, particularly, where Arab government leaders and Muslim religious leaders do not speak out and condemn it. And that speaks volumes.
KING: And Gary Hart, before we take some calls, your thoughts on Peter Bergen's theory and the comments of the Congressman and Larry Johnson?
HART: Well, I would only say that my understanding was that the operatives in Europe were working very closely with us up to and through the Afghanistan war. And that when the political alliance shattered over Iraq, that a lot of that cooperation ceased. I think it would be wrong to say that the law enforcement and intelligence services throughout Europe are not tracking as assiduously as we are terrorists in their own territory. I think that's absolutely wrong.
SHAYS: No, but they're treating it as a crime. They're not recognizing where it's originating, they're not willing to confront the oil-rich nations that are condoning it.
HART: Well, that's a separate issue. That's a political issue.
KING: Scotsdale, Arizona. Is that you? Nobody there.
Columbus, Ohio. Hello.
CALLER: Hi, Larry. Thanks for taking the call.
CALLER: My question to the panel is, is there any dialogue of any kind taking place between al Qaeda and the west? And if not, why not?
JOHNSON: You can't have -- there's no basis is for dialogue. It's not a matter that there are things if we stop doing them they would like us. You got to understand, these are Salafi jihadists, the Salafis are people who believe we can return to the poor roots of Islam and have all life governed by Islamic principles.
Now, within the Islamic world, these folks are a minority. But the ones that are carrying out these terrorist attacks believe that they are empowered by God to bring this about.
So, they view the west -- they don't dislike us because we have freedom. They dislike us because we have child pornography, we have homosexuality, we have drug use, we have corrupt lifestyles as they perceive it. And they are empowered and called by God to try to come clean us up. So there's no negotiation there.
KING: So, this to them is a moral issue?
JOHNSON: Yes, sir.
KING: And their answer is killing?
JOHNSON: Well, yes. And look, they even kill Muslims. The murder of this Egyptian ambassador, who was a Muslim, from their standpoint, he is a heretic. And I know it sounds counterintuitive, but you know, we've seen -- not to draw the parallel, but we have seen in this country there were some extremist Christians in the pro-life movement who were willing to kill abortion doctors and willing to use violence to save babies. So I mean, understand, it's that kind of mind-set, but it's on a much more powerful level over there.
KING: Austin, Texas, hello.
CALLER: Larry, you are an extraordinary person. Has your panel ever thought that the French were responsible for this? Because they lost the Olympics 2012?
KING: Peter is that a stretch?
BERGEN: I think so.
KING: I think that's a stretch, sir.
You heard them all. We'll take a break and be back. And we'll be back -- what? Someone want to say something, Chris?
SHAYS: I just want to say this attack was planned over weeks and months, if not a year. That's the nature of the enemy we're dealing with. And I think we need to recognize why detection is so important.
KING: We'll be right back with more. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TONY BLAIR, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: I think it's just important for people to realize that the values that we espouse, our values that cross all races and all religious divides, and those people who would inflict the politics of terror on people have no support in any Democratic way at all, which is why they engage in terrorism.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Orange, California, hello.
CALLER: Hi, Larry. You have a great show.
KING: Thank you.
CALLER: I was just wondering if anyone considered this more than a coincidence that Mayor Giuliani happened to be in London at the site of the first explosion, after being charged with New York City, during the 9/11 event?
KING: You think that would be a coincidence, wouldn't it, Gary?
HART: It would be a coincidence. I'm not quite sure what the implication is.
KING: Unless than someone after Giuliani.
Raleigh, North Carolina, hello.
CALLER: Good evening Larry and good evening to your panel. My question is, due to the time that it takes to move human intelligence assets into the theater, what would intelligence people value most, electronic intelligence or imagery intelligence?
JOHNSON: Actually, you value more human intelligence. Imagery is not very useful. The electronic stuff can be useful. But at the end of the day, you have to got to have human beings, living, breathing human beings to tell you what's going on on the inside.
KING: Peter, how good is our intelligence?
BERGEN: Historically, it's not been very good. Obviously, these are very difficult groups to penetrate. The people in these groups have known each other for a long time. You'd have to have a working knowledge of all sorts of, you know, Arabic, Islam, you'd have to have perhaps have fought in Afghanistan. I mean, they're very hard to penetrate. We've done a terrible job. Obviously, John Walker Lindh, the so-called American Taliban, actually was able to get into a camp where bin Laden spoke, so it's not impossible, but it's not easy.
I think that we may be doing all right with sort of groups like the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, groups that are sort of related, a little less harder to penetrate, but the hard core of al Qaeda is very hard to penetrate. And even if you look at the 9/11 report, the number of people who knew what was actually going to happen on 9/11 was probably about 10 people. Even within al Qaeda, that was incredibly tightly held. So even if you get penetrate inside, these are groups that operate in secrecy and discipline, and you might not even find out rather important stuff.
KING: Chris, are you surprised at how well London handled this?
SHAYS: Well, I'm not surprised, but I sure have a lot of admiration. They've had a lot of practice. They deal with consequence management well. They're very good at dissecting what happened. But it does point out, if they can't detect it, how difficult it is.
KING: Gary, you mentioned Iraq before. You think that Iraq has hurt this war on terrorism?
HART: No, I would fundamentally disagree with Congressman Shays and others on this. I think this is turning out to be a training ground for terrorists, and that we will suffer repercussions for a long, long time.
I don't -- this obviously isn't the forum in which to debate the Iraqi war, but as Mr. Johnson said earlier, part of the problem is globalization, the exportation of America's popular culture into traditional cultures. That's alienating traditionalists and partly feeding the flame. And also the feeling, because of our heavy dependence on oil, and it's amazing to me -- we've had 40 minutes of discussion and that word hasn't been raised -- that virtually everybody in the region, I think Mr. Bergen would agree, believes we're there, whether we are or not, believers we're there because we're importing 60 percent of our oil from abroad, and a lot of that from that region, and that we intend to create a permanent military presence in the region to protect those oil supplies.
KING: Before Chris responds, Peter, is he right?
BERGEN: Well, I mean we can just -- there is a set of facts that we I think we can all agree on. Anti-Americanism is at record levels around the world. We've had a huge amount of polling data on this around the Muslim world in the last three years. If you look at the terrorism figures for 2003, it was the largest number of significant terrorist attacks since 1982. Those figures then tripled for 2004. So it's just simply a statement of fact that there's been a great deal more terrorism right at the same time the Iraq war has happened.
That doesn't -- whether you agree with the Iraq war or not, it's simply a fact. So if you look at the question of just simply the war on terrorism, it has not been particularly successful so far, this Iraq project. If the Iraq project works in the long-term, democratization in the Middle East is the way to go, I think we'll all sit around this table 10 years from now and say, great, but unfortunately, we're not going to know that for some period of time.
KING: Congressman Shays, you want to respond?
SHAYS: Oh, I sure do. You know, the old Cold War process of supporting whatever government can promise stability has been replaced by a government that now is supporting democracy. And when you see a democracy take place in Iraq, in elections that were stunning, elections in the West Bank, elections in Lebanon, when you see our ability to force Syria out, and the rest of the world, to force them out of Lebanon, you are seeing things that are magical. And the press seems to want to overlook that continually. It blows me away.
KING: We'll take a break and be back with more and more phone calls for our panel on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: To those who suffered loss of life, we pray for God's blessings. For those who were injured, we pray for fast healing. The British people are steadfastly strong. I've always admired the great spirit of the Londoners and people of Great Britain.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: That was President Bush at the British embassy today, having returned from the G-8 conference.
Toronto, Canada, for our panel. Hello.
CALLER: Hi there.
CALLER: Larry, I love your show.
KING: Thank you.
CALLER: OK, my question is, as soon as the bombings occurred in London, al Qaeda seem to have been blamed right away. Has any thought been given that the IRA may have been involved in the bombings? Thank you.
KING: Larry Johnson, want to take that?
JOHNSON: Yeah, it just doesn't fit an IRA pattern. There are a number of things, characteristics of al Qaeda, starting first with the statement by Ayman Zawahiri that came on June 17th. Historically, when they make those kinds of statement, there's a fairly significant terrorist attack that occurs shortly thereafter. The simultaneous nature of the bombings, or the coordinated fashion of the bombings is the second major one.
I agree, at the end of the day, they have to look at the explosives and to find out really who did it. I think one of the indicators will be if it's TATP, a particular explosive that al Qaeda favors, that could be manufactured locally from items that you can procure at most general stores, then that would be further confirmation this was of an al Qaeda cell, if not a direct al Qaeda operation.
KING: To Shell Beach, California, hello.
CALLER: Yes, Larry, I love your show.
KING: Thank you.
CALLER: To any of the panelist members, my thought is, I really think, are we ever going to change these people? They're third world country people, and that's how they live, they kill people. I mean, that's what their motive is. Are we ever going to change them?
KING: I'd like to have everybody comment. Peter Bergen? BERGEN: I mean changing -- I mean, terrorism is a tactic that's been used for a long time, and whether it's by Christians, in some cases, or by Islamic groups, how to change that is quite complicated. It's not something that could be done overnight. I mean, Mohammed Atta, the lead pilot, after all in 9/11 hijackings, is somebody who had a doctorate, ironically enough, in urban preservation. This is a guy who seemed to have everything to live for. How do you explain this guy killing himself along with 3,000 other people? It's really sort of -- it's almost the problem of evil, and it's very complicated. How do you change murderers is another question? I have no answer. I can't really answer that.
KING: Gary Hart?
HART: Well, I think it's certainly been documented that the first attack on this country was carried out by middle-class, well- educated people who had spent time in the country, and therefore were totally outside the profile that we had expected. And I gather from news reports and other sources that some of the volunteers coming in, a good number of the volunteers coming into Iraq to fight there, are coming from Saudi Arabia, directly or indirectly, and that they are basically of the same profile.
So even though some of us have been trying to get more attention to the refugee camps and the social conditions that foster some of this behavior, certainly the activists and the leaders -- again, I think people like Mr. Bergen and Mr. Johnson are much more qualified to comment on this than I -- are not impoverished 14-years-old out of the Palestinian refugee camps.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Correct.
KING: Larry Johnson?
JOHNSON: I think we have to recognize that the vast majority of Muslims, the vast majority of Arabs don't subscribe to, don't support, don't endorse the terrorist attacks. I think what we really need -- I hope what takes place here is this has provided a strategic opening for the world, not just for the United States, to shift the focus from a war that's perceived in the Muslim and Arab world as between the United States and Muslims, back to what the consensus that existed in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, in which you have world leaders united as occurred yesterday, where you had Tony Blair there surrounded by the Germans, the French, the Russians, Mexicans, Indians, all saying that this was an attack not upon England, but an attack upon civilization.
And if we can organize and harness that feeling and press it forward, where the United States doesn't have to go it alone in the world, we can shift this away from a western Arab, western Muslim battle. Because remember, these terrorists believe that they can kill Muslims as well and that it's OK by God and it's not OK.
KING: Congressman Shays?
SHAYS: I'd love to jump in on this. First, we had three commissions, the one most notable, the Hart- Rudman commission, said we need -- there's a terrorist threat out there. We need an assessment of this threat, a strategy to deal with it and we need to reorganize our government. We're starting to do those things.
But one of the assessments of the threat, is we're not getting attacked by Belgium. We are being attacked by Islamist terrorists. That is a fact. The Islamic world is silent to it. And so to pretend that this isn't the threat I think would be a mistake.
The Jews have a saying that if someone says they're going to do you harm, pay attention. And we finally paid attention after September 11. And we responded in Afghanistan. And I would argue with anyone that had we never gone into Iraq, merely gone into Afghanistan, finally confronting this terrorist threat, has brought out the kind of counter result that we see.
JOHNSON: Congressman I'd be happy to argue that with you because you're wrong.
SHAYS: Let me just conclude. Let me just conclude The strategy has to be militarily, it has to be economic and it has to be diplomatic, and this administration deserves a lot of credit for their focus on democracy.
JOHNSON: I mean, the primary sponsor of Islamic radical terrorism was Iran, not Iraq. Iraq's sponsor of terrorism was confined primarily to the mujahideen al-Khalq, who are attacking Iranians, as well as to the Palestinian Liberation Front and the Arab Liberation Front. Those were the main groups.
Saddam was not directly supported the Islamic extremists. In fact, he was containing them. But it was Iran that was involved with that activity. And what we've seen -- and I'm not saying that terrorism is not streaming, coming from Islamic extremists, but the thing we've got to avoid is personalizing this to all Arabs, all Muslims, because all Arabs and all Muslims are not terrorists. And I think sending that message from the United States hurts us.
SHAYS: I agree with that, it's not all. But the problem is that the Islamic world is not speaking out against it. And by not speaking out against the very people...
JOHNSON: That's not true either. The Islamic world is speaking out against it. And we've seen Saudi Arabia over the last several months, they've been mounting an aggressive campaign against the al Qaeda network and they've been losing soldiers in the process.
KING: Let me get a break, guys. I've got to get a break. We'll come right back. Pick right up where we left off. Don't go away.
KING: We're back. Before we take our last call, did you want to add something, Congressman Shays, to what Larry said?
SHAYS: No, I was just making one point. Whether or not we went into Iraq we would still be seeing these attacks. They preceded 9/11. They accelerated after September 11. But I submit, once we went into Afghanistan, once we went after al Qaeda, war broke out.
HART: Mr. King, could I make a point also?
KING: Call me Larry, Gary. We've known each other long enough.
HART: We are not exporting democracy to Egypt, to Saudi Arabia or to Pakistan, three very critical countries for one simple reason, elections there could produce radical right wing or extremist theocracies very much opposed to the United States.
KING: Palm Coast, Florida, hello.
CALLER: Hello. We've spent billions on a new counter intelligence center in Virginia. We've spent more billions on homeland security and fighting war in Iraq. But wouldn't it have made more sense to have immediately secured our borders right after 9/11?
BERGEN: I think we have secured our borders to a much greater degree. It's quite hard to get into this country now. People wait a long time for visas. I think that has changed.
KING: Do you agree, Larry?
JOHNSON: I think if we focus too much on taking defensive measures, we'll wind up locked in our homes afraid to go out. I think thankfully, the threat of Islamic terrorism, while real, while deadly, is relatively confined still. And that we can target it like a surgeon -- you know, we need more of a surgeon's knife than a bludgeon to go after it. And we need to be smart about it. And it requires international cooperation.
It can't be carried out strictly with military might. We need intelligence, we need law enforcement, we need intelligence, we need diplomacy, all together in a coordinated strategy. And unfortunately right now that's not happening.
KING: Senator, are you pessimistic?
HART: I'm not pessimistic, but I am realistic. And this country is going to be attacked again and we are not fully prepared.
KING: And how do you react to that, Congressman Shays?
SHAYS: Well, the 9/11 commission said we're a lot safer today than we were yesterday and the day before that, but we're still not safe. And I agree with that.
KING: Are we ever going to be safe, Peter? We only have 30 seconds. BERGEN: Well, I mean, you can't protect yourself from everything. And by the law of averages, they're going to get one through.
KING: You agree, Larry?
JOHNSON: Yeah. Listen. I think we can be safe. I don't think we have to hide out. These guys aren't 10 feet tall. They're not supermen. They're living, breathing human beings. We can take care of them. We can deal with it. But it requires a concentrated international focus.
KING: Thank you all very much. Peter Bergen, Gary Hart, Congressman Chris Shays and Larry Johnson and Tom Ridge earlier and Christiane Amanpour and our two eyewitnesses to the tragic events in London yesterday.
Tomorrow night we'll have a repeat of a highlight show, lots of coverage of that oncoming hurricane on Sunday. And Monday night, Bob Woodward and a discussion of his new book on the revelations of "Deep Throat."
Right now it's time to go to New York. It's time for "NEWSNIGHT" and the yeoman like work -- he did two hours last night. Yes he did.
AARON BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, he did.
KING: Aaron Brown, steadfast and alert. There he is. Carry on.
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