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CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Senate Office Building Evacuated in Bioweapon Scare; Capitol Police Press Conference
Aired February 8, 2006 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LARRY KING, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks, Paula.
Tonight, a Senate office building in Washington is evacuated when a possible nerve agent is detected, one test positive, another negative, more testing underway. Eight senators, 200 staffers now holed up in a parking garage.
This is a special edition of LARRY KING LIVE.
Let's begin with Ed Henry, our congressional correspondent. By the way, you're in a tuxedo. Where were you going tonight? Where were you going when you got diverted here?
ED HENRY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is the congressional, Annual Congressional Press Dinner is going on as we speak right now and I understand some of the senators, including Jeff Sessions of Alabama, they're being held in a parking garage right now in their tuxedos in their formal clothes because they're supposed to be at this dinner as well.
It's an annual event and we're obviously not there because this all started, Larry, at about 6:30 p.m. Eastern Time when a hazardous material alarm went off in the Senate Russell Building. It's the oldest Senate office building on Capitol Hill.
Basically they were told, police, senators, staffers were told to get out of the building right away. Tests were being conducted. We're told the first test tested positive for some sort of nerve agent in the Russell Building, second test came back negative. They're conducting a third test as we speak. We're expecting that within the next hour, some sort of results there.
To bring some clarity to why there were conflicting tests, we're being told right now, in fact in the last few minutes I was told that the senators and staffers were just brought some bottled water. They're all getting quite hungry.
They've been in this parking garage adjacent to the Russell Building for a few hours now. They're getting hungry. They're getting thirsty. So, they've just gotten water. But the good news so far is that none of those senators, none of those staffers have exhibited any signs of being ill.
Among the senators, we're told, eight senators there, Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, Richard Burr of North Carolina, Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, John Thune of South Dakota, Gordon Smith of Oregon, Mike Enzi of Wyoming, Jeff Sessions of Alabama, who I mentioned, and Chris Dodd of Connecticut -- Larry.
KING: Where are you? Where is your location?
HENRY: Well, normally my camera position is actually in that very building. I happened to not be in the building at the time because I was headed to the dinner. I got a tip from a staffer who was quite alarmed and said he had not heard this alarm, this detector for hazardous material go off before.
Given the speed with which the police threw all these senators and staffers into the parking garage, he called me and said that he thought it was a much more serious situation than he had seen.
Because, as you know, Larry, there are a lot of false alarms on the Hill, especially post 9/11 where there are fears of something like this, fears of a nerve agent, fear of anthrax and fortunately it's usually a false alarm. And so, now I'm in our bureau here on Capitol Hill but not actually in the capital -- Larry.
KING: Kelli Arena, why are they being held, the senators and the staffers?
KELLI ARENA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Out of an abundance of caution. The law enforcement officials that I've spoken to are very cautiously optimistic that the more definitive testing that's taking place right now will show that this was indeed a false alarm but until they have that definitive answer, Larry, they cannot let those people leave in case they have been contaminated in any way.
As Ed said, and as several law enforcement officials have confirmed, no one is exhibiting any signs of contamination but they do -- this is the procedure that's been laid out and they are following it by the book -- Larry.
KING: Are signs usually quickly evident?
ARENA: If you've been exposed to a chemical agent, I am told that those signs -- that you would -- you would respond very quickly. I happened to be in Tokyo, Larry, during the sarin gas attacks and was on the scene very quickly and saw people physically reacting immediately after being exposed to that sarin, so at least from my firsthand experience it was very noticeable right away.
KING: On the phone is Dean Wilkening. He is director of science programs for CISAC. Dean, from your vantage point, what does this look like to you?
DEAN WILKENING, STANFORD CENTER FOR INTERNATIONAL SECURITY: Well, from everything that I can tell, it looks like it's going to be a false alarm of some sort. I say that with some caution because here at my desk in sunny California it's a little hard to know exactly what's going on.
But, we understand there's a hazardous material alarm that's gone off that apparently gave an indication of nerve agent. If it was nerve agent as was just mentioned, it does tend to react fairly quickly and people react fairly quickly to it, especially if the concentration is high, stinging eyes, meiosis, runny nose, difficulty breathing.
And, again, the Aum Shinrikyo attack on the Tokyo subway when they released sarin was a classic chemical agent exposure. Often these chemicals have a very noxious smell to them, if not because of the chemical agent because some of the contaminants that are in the liquids that they produce.
And so, given that none of that's happening, it sounds like either it's a very low level exposure or it's a false alarm that something else tripped off the sensor and we'll find out within a day or so that this was nothing more than a false alarm.
KING: What, Dean, could have tripped off the sensor?
WILKENING: Well there sometimes are other chemicals, cleaning fluids and the like that can be in a building that might mimic a nerve agent or at least fool a detector into thinking that or sometimes it's just a malfunction of the electronics and whatnot. It depends on the details of the technology embedded in the sensor and I'm not quite sure what the hazardous material alarms what technology they have.
But with any detector of any sort you can always get false alarms where the sensor indicates the presence of something even though it's not there and this tends to happen the more sensitive the detector or the sensor becomes.
So, when you're trying to detect very, very low levels of in this case a chemical agent, you can get noise in the system that will trip it off and give you what we call a false positive.
KING: You stay with us Dean.
At the bottom of the hour the Washington Police will have another kind of mini press conference.
Eileen McMenamin is with us on the phone. She works in Senator McCain's office. What do you do there Eileen?
EILEEN MCMENAMIN, SEN. MCCAIN'S COMMUNICATIONS DIR.: Yes, I'm communications director for Senator McCain.
KING: All right, what happened and give me the scenario tonight.
MCMENAMIN: Sure. We were in our offices and we have an alarm system, an internal alarm system that goes off and it goes off, you know, with some frequency. I think since 9/11 everyone is, you know, particularly cautious so sometimes they will say that there's a suspicious package in the building or, you know, to avoid a certain area, something like that, which could just end up being like, you know, a lost backpack or something like that.
But tonight when the call came it was a little bit more urgent. They said there should be immediate evacuation of the Russell Senate Office Building and this means everyone. This means senators, staff, Capitol Police. So, we all just grabbed our bags and basically started running down the hall, you know, a little bit alarmed as you would be.
And, we got down into the garage here where we still are and they would not let anyone leave, I think for fear that if we are contaminated with, you know, anything they didn't want us going out into the world at large to spread whatever it may be.
KING: Where's the Senator?
MCMENAMIN: Luckily, Senator McCain had already left for the day, so he was not here. There are a few senators down here and a bunch of staffers. They've just brought in bottled water for us here and now police, U.S. Capitol Police are circulating through the crowd getting everyone's information, everyone's names, offices, contact information in case, you know, there were to be any symptoms that would arise later I suppose.
KING: Describe the scene in the garage.
MCMENAMIN: Well, you know it's just people milling around. I think there is a congressional dinner tonight. I've seen a man in a tuxedo here. He obviously had someplace else to go and is not probably going to make it.
There's a medical tent set up in case anyone had any medical problems and I don't think that anyone has visited that tent over there. People are sort of milling around a lot, people on their cell phones, a lot of people on their Blackberry's talking to folks at home trying to get an update because, you know, we have no television or really any way to get news down here, so people are just getting what they can from the outside world.
KING: Anybody getting panicky?
MCMENAMIN: No, no, not at all. It's been very calm and, you know, people are joking and, you know, pretty lighthearted I think but, you know, getting antsy to go home. We've been down here for, you know, two hours now.
KING: Good luck, Eileen and thanks for reporting for us.
MCMENAMIN: Thanks, Larry.
KING: Eileen McMenamin of Senator McCain's office.
Let's check in with Sanjay Gupta if he's available. Sanjay, our chief medical correspondent, what is nerve gas?
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: You know a nerve gas, Larry, is an agent that basically disrupts all the nerve impulses in your body and typically the way that somebody knows they've been contaminated with this, they start to drool. Their eyes may become quite blurry. Their vision might become quite blurry. There may be some tightness in their chest. That's typically what happens. In very high concentrations this is a weapon and it could actually kill somebody within a few minutes. There are different types, sarin gas, you were just talking about, Larry, there's also VX gas, which is a weaponized gas actually created by the United States military in the 1950s, has been used as a weapon but that's basically what they are and what they do.
KING: Haven't they, a lot of them, been banned?
GUPTA: Yes, sir. They've absolutely been banned in many countries and, in fact, that's what's a little bit concerning when you hear about a nerve agent release. I know I was just listening to Dean saying there are things that can mimic nerve agents like, for example, fertilizer can but it's different when you talk about the nerve gas sensor going off.
You know if it's a release of an actual nerve agent, it would be hard for this to be an accident or some sort of mimicking thing. This would have to be a deliberate thing because these agents really aren't supposed to exist and are not around so it would have to be more of a -- you'd have to think that it was more of a deliberate thing -- Larry.
KING: Could it wipe out a whole building?
GUPTA: Well, you know, the tricky thing with nerve agents and I think that they learned a lot after the subway attack in Tokyo is that it's not a very effective sort of weapon of mass destruction, meaning that it aerosolizes and get into the air but it becomes very diffuse. It becomes very low concentration very quickly.
So, in terms of wiping, it could make a lot of people very sick for a period of time but it's unlikely to wipe out a whole building in terms of actually costing lives. It could make people sick. It could frighten people but unlikely to actually be a very effective weapon of mass destruction.
KING: Why do you keep people isolated? Why are all these people in the garage?
GUPTA: Well that's a good question. I mean it's not a contagious thing and that's an important point.
KING: Yes, that's why I asked.
GUPTA: But you can get contaminated. You can get it on your clothes for example and then you subsequently go shake somebody's hand, for example. It can be something that can actually be spread through the skin. It can be spread through your clothes to someone else, for example, so that's part of the decontamination.
If it were present for sure, a couple of things would happen. Probably the clothes that the people were wearing would have to be removed for that very purpose. Their skin would have to be thoroughly flushed so they couldn't carry it out on their skin and they might even be given some medication prophylactically so they don't develop any of the symptoms that are associated with a nerve agent poisoning.
KING: Mike Buttry joins on the phone. He's in Chuck Hagel's office, works in Chuck Hagel's office. What do you do there Mike?
MIKE BUTTRY, COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR FOR SEN. CHUCH HAGEL (by telephone): I'm his communications director, Larry.
KING: You also. All we have is communications directors. Are you in the garage too?
BUTTRY: I am.
KING: All right what happened?
BUTTRY: I'm trying to find Eileen. I heard she was just on.
KING: Yes, she was. What happened in the office?
BUTTRY: Well, we were actually all just getting ready to leave. We had all packed up our bags and the alarm started going off and we were on our way out anyway so we thought that wouldn't be much of a problem.
But when we got to the door they told us we needed to come down into the garage and it was very orderly. Capitol Police did a great job and everybody just kind of walked in the garage and they've been giving us updates pretty regularly about the situation.
KING: Were you scared?
BUTTRY: No, Larry, you know, this is the kind of thing, we haven't been sent to the garage before but every couple of months there's an evacuation or a drill. Ever since September 11th and the anthrax scare this is -- you know people learn to take this in stride and Capitol Hill Police do a world class job of keeping everybody calm and informed.
KING: Chuck Hagel must be with you huh? He was in the office.
BUTTRY: Yes, Senator Hagel is down here.
KING: How's he doing? Is he close to you?
BUTTRY: He's not. He's over, he's got a bunch of people around him right now.
KING: Did he lead the procession down?
BUTTRY: No, I don't want to get...
KING: I mean he's a Vietnam veteran. He's used to panic.
BUTTRY: Yes, well there wasn't a lot of panic and he's awfully calm. He's awfully calm. Everybody down here is awfully calm. He's not unique in that. Everybody is kind of taking this in stride.
KING: All right, thanks very much Mike. Thanks for checking with us.
BUTTRY: No problem, Larry.
KING: Ed Henry, there's going to be a conference, police conference at the bottom of the hour. Can we expect something definitive?
HENRY: Well, we don't know for sure, Larry, but I tell you I've been getting e-mails the last couple minutes from the U.S. Capitol Police that they're distributing to Senate offices that say they hope to have these results in in about a half hour. I don't know if that's that third test.
I don't know if that's coinciding with this press conference. We can certainly hope for the benefit of the people in that parking garage that have been waiting for so long that they will have some final answer there but we don't know for sure.
Again, the first test came back positive for the nerve agent and second test saying it's negative. They're all waiting for that third test to get some sort of a verdict, if you will, Larry.
KING: Let's check in with Jonathan Tucker. He's with the Center for Non-Proliferation. What's the feeling of the center with something like this?
JONATHAN TUCKER, CHEMICAL AND BOLOGICAL WEAPONS EXPERT (by telephone): Well, it does look like a false alarm. I think if it was nerve agent you would see some pretty dramatic symptoms, people with pinpoint pupils, shortness of breath, runny nose, all very clear signs of nerve agent exposure.
KING: What's your expertise, Jon?
TUCKER: I'm a specialist in chemical and biological weapons and chemical and biological arms control.
KING: Does this concern you?
TUCKER: It does. I mean this is -- it's a very real possibility so we have to take these situations seriously even if it does appear to be a false alarm in this case. But I think it is responsible on the part of the Capitol Police to take it seriously.
KING: Dean Wilkening, do you have any fears or are you pretty much, pretty sure nothing is going to happen here? Is Dean Wilkening there? I asked him to hold on.
WILKENING: Yes, I think that it most likely is a false alarm. The one note of caution I would add, earlier in the evening there was confusion about whether it might have been a biological agent or a chemical agent and I think it's an important distinction to make because if, in fact, it was a biological agent then we would not be seeing symptoms. We would not be seeing any indication that these people had been exposed. Of course that begs the question of why the sensors then went off but I think it's good that they are checking for both the presence of chemical or biological agents. But given that most of the evidence seems to suggest a nerve agent and that we're not seeing any reactions of the various sorts that have been described by the people, the potential victims, then it looks like it's a benign event.
KING: Could we get a delayed reaction?
WILKENING: Well, with chemical agents you don't get the delays. They're in minutes to hours. You could if it's a very low dose exposure. Remember the Gulf War syndrome was thought to be a very, very low dose exposure to some chemical agents and then you might have some very difficult to detect symptoms like memory loss, things like that, showing up weeks, months, maybe years after the exposure.
But for high dose exposures, which was what most people are concerned about and that's what those sensors are usually designed to detect medium to high dose exposure, you would see very rapid reactions on the part of people exposed to those agents runny nose, like we say, meiosis, chest, coughing, things like that.
KING: Sanjay Gupta wanted to add something to that -- Sanjay.
GUPTA: You know it's been a little bit confusing. It sort of brought up the point that Eileen was just on the phone a little while ago saying, from Senator McCain's office saying she was told that it could be a few days before they could develop any symptoms and I think that immediately raises some red flags, I'm sure with Dean as well.
If they're being told that, that argues against a nerve agent for the most part with nerve agents you're going to develop symptoms very quickly, the drooling, the runny nose, all that.
I'm curious about that, the fact that she was told that and also, you know, these tests are designed to be so sensitive. When you talk about a false alarm you mean a false positive. It went off when it shouldn't have but I also get the sense they're not as specific for exactly what type of agent and I think it just -- I think the terms become somewhat important here.
KING: Kelli Arena, since there is a comparison can you tell us what you observed in Japan?
ARENA: Well, what I observed was people coughing, eyes watering. Some people were falling on the ground. I don't know if that was just, you know, out of fear and confusion but people were definitely sort of, you know, gripping their chests and gasping for air, like I said lots of eyes burning and you could, you knew that something was sort of in the air. It was sort of a foul smell -- Larry.
KING: How many deaths resulted from that?
ARENA: You know I don't remember. I don't think -- I'm not sure anybody died from that. I think a lot of people got sick but it was quickly dispersed. The wind was blowing. As we heard before it's not -- it's not a very effective weapon when it's used in a situation like that. Of course it was on the subway but once the doors were open and air got in, you know, it sort of dispersed very quickly.
KING: Ed Henry, do you want to add something?
HENRY: Yes, Larry. We're getting a little bit of new information from one senior leadership source on Capitol Hill saying that "Things are looking good" adding that they're expecting that for the release of people being held in that garage to begin soon.
This information coming into our producer Steve Turham (ph), who's saying that then the people in that parking garage will be asked to monitor their own health over the next few days, so that's obviously a very positive sign.
We can now report that they're expecting fairly shortly, and as you said there's a press conference at 9:30, so perhaps it would be announced there that people in the parking garage, we are told over 200 Senate staffers, about eight U.S. senators, are about to be released and told that things are looking good. So, we're expecting that third test result we've been waiting for, for hours now, to be coming in any moment now -- Larry.
KING: What should they monitor Sanjay?
GUPTA: Well, again, we're not exactly sure which agent we're talking about here. With, you know, nerve agents you could develop some very sort of vague symptoms over time, as Dean mentioned memory loss. You might have some problems with runny nose, itchiness of the skin, some chest tightness. Again most of that should have developed if there had been any exposure.
If we're talking about biological agents, you know, such as anthrax, botulism that sort of stuff, you could develop skin rashes. You could develop difficulties with breathing. It could be all sorts of different symptoms with these. But, you know, the agents themselves, you know, there's a wide variety in terms of the symptoms depending on the type of agent that it is.
KING: Mike Brooks, security analyst for CNN, joins us on the phone. Will they make after -- well let's assume everything goes well the rest of the night, will they make afterward tests on why this rang off?
MIKE BROOKS, CNN SECURITY ANALYST: Absolutely, Larry. They'll go back and they'll take a look at the monitoring system there in the Russell Senate Office Building and see why if, in fact, this was a false positive.
You know there could be cleaning materials, other things that could set this off to be a false positive but as we're seeing on the air we see people in different, in Level B suits with self-contained breathing apparatus. These are all precautionary measures. They have decontamination tents set up. If, in fact, the tests do come back positive, which my sources are telling me right now, Larry, that it's just basically a conclusion that it will not and it just looks like a false positive at the Russell Senate Office Building.
KING: How big, Mike, a security fear is gas?
BROOKS: Gas is one of the most severe things that could happen. You know, we look back at the Aum Shinrikyo back in Japan and when they used sarin and it was instantaneous. That's why we're not hearing anybody having fallen with any instantaneous symptoms of a nerve agent.
We've heard Sanjay talk about nerve agents, biological agents but that is one of the most severe threats if it does happen that law enforcement and first responders could encounter.
KING: Can you protect a building from having it put in?
BROOKS: Well, Larry, there are a number of different secure things there at the U.S. Capitol Building that are in place. I don't want to give away any secrets but they are -- they have a system that is -- that has different redundancies and, you know, this is one the sensors that is in the attic of the Russell Building. You know if it's a false positive, they're taking the right thing. They're doing the right precautions.
A number of years ago, as you know, Larry, I was with the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force for six years and during that time during one of the State of the Union messages, back a number of years ago, everything was shut down and then they stopped everybody because we had a false positive for a nerve agent at the U.S. Capitol. So, this is not the first time this has happened and my sources up there tell me that it does happen on a regular basis.
KING: But you can't take any of it lightly.
BROOKS: No, you can't, Larry. You can't take anything at all lightly, you know, especially after the anthrax incident, you know, there on Capitol Hill. They are not taking anything lightly.
They are taking the people to put them in the garage just basically, if you will, a shelter in place just until they find out what the results are from the samples they've taken from the sensors that they are sending to a lab.
So, after that they'll come back. Hopefully it will be within the hour. They'll be able to say this is a false positive and everyone will be free to go about their business.
KING: Thanks, Mike. We'll check back with you.
On the phone is Terrence Gainer, police chief of the Capitol Police. Terrence, what can you tell -- I know there's going to be some sort of press conference in about seven minutes. What can you tell us now? Are you there? Chief Gainer are you there? Apparently he is not there.
Ed Henry, do you expect a positive -- do you expect a conclusion at 9:30?
HENRY: We don't know for certain. That's what we're all waiting on. Again, there had been that one test basically saying that it was positive for a nerve agent, a second one saying that it was not and they're waiting for that third one. We're expecting it to be soon but we just don't know for certain. I know Kelli Arena has also been pursing that angle so you might want to ask her.
ARENA: Larry, I have one source, one law enforcement official from the field saying that the plan at least was to try to make sure that they had a definitive answer on that, those test results, before they held their press conference. At least that was the strategy about five minutes ago, so we'll see if that's doable.
The lab, as I'm told, right here in Washington, very close. There are several Capitol Hill police labs and FBI labs scattered throughout the Washington area, so they were able to get those samples, those air samples from the filters there very quickly and at least the plan was to be able to tell us something for sure when they had their press conference, so we'll see.
KING: Ed Henry, do you think people might be nervous about going to work tomorrow?
HENRY: No, I think as you heard from Mike Buttry with Senator Hagel, unfortunately it's become a fact of life on Capitol Hill and this is -- these types of incidents frankly come up far too often. As has been reported though, this one has gone on much longer. It's certainly going to alarm people that it went on this long.
But since we're getting some encouraging reports about the fact that there's an expectation at least from this one Senate leadership source that we just spoke to saying that they think people will be released very shortly, that it's going to turn out to be negative, I think obviously that will reassure people.
There will be some people obviously who will always be a bit frightened about the situation. Let's face it the U.S. Capitol is one of the top targets in the world. That is never going to change from here on out. And, in the war on terror, that's just something that people who go to work every day under that dome it's a fact of life that they have to face -- Larry.
KING: Sanjay Gupta, what would happen just hypothetically if someone shows some reaction tomorrow?
GUPTA: Well, you know, there are some good antidotes available so if the test comes back and there was a nerve agent present and someone starts to develop some symptoms, which again could be blurriness of vision, could be chest tightness, they'd have to be treated as if they'd had an exposure, delayed exposure to nerve agent, delayed reaction I should say to the nerve agent.
They'd probably be given a medication known as Atropine, an appropriate dose of that basically to try and restore those nerve impulses, Larry that we were talking about earlier. If they -- if the breathing became labored and they had trouble with that they might need to be on a breathing machine to sustain their breathing.
But in today's day and age, Larry, with quick treatment, with quick triage, people don't necessarily die from nerve agent exposures anymore if they can get to a hospital quickly and be given these medications.
My guess is, Larry, looking at those ambulances and those tents they probably have those medications and that equipment on standby just in case someone does develop any symptoms.
KING: Kelli Arena, are you out and about?
ARENA: No, Larry, I'm here at the bureau but I have my trusty Blackberry here and I have contacts in the field who are updating me as information comes in.
KING: And what are they telling you about the mood of the folks?
ARENA: You know, at least on the law enforcement side, Larry, this is something that they're very used to here in Washington and some of the concern actually is that, you know, sometimes you get too used to things that you automatically downplay it from the very beginning.
And, you know, when we first made our phone calls out to our sources everyone said, "Ah, you know, well hold your horses, you know, this is probably nothing." But, you know, there will be the day that, you know, God forbid there is something and several supervisors in the field just worry that that sort of malaise kicks in after a while because there are so many false alarms here.
Our viewers don't know that but there are many times at the end of the day I'll talk to a source and they'll say, "Oh, yes, you know, we had three white powder events here in Washington" and, you know, those are, you know, people open up letters or packages come in with suspicious substances and it turns out to be, you know, baking soda or something. So, there sort of is that danger of, you know, expecting that everything will be nothing.
KING: Ed Henry, you're there every day. Is there a secure feeling there?
HENRY: Yes, I think there is. As you heard from Mike Buttry earlier, one of the Senate staffers you've been speaking to, there really is a lot of confidence in the U.S. Capitol Police and a feeling that this is such a big target. You can't protect it 1,000 percent. There are always going to be vulnerabilities and it's a fact of life to deal with those potential threats.
And to give you a sense of the mood of the people there that you asked about I've been getting e-mails from staffers, one Kyle Downey (ph) with Senator John Thune of South Dakota.
Senator Thune is one of the people there who's been stuck. He's been trying to get to the same press dinner I was supposed to go to and Kyle Downey jokingly asked me whether CNN could send some pizza over there because they're just getting hungry and they got some bottled water from the Capitol Police.
But people are almost joking about, you know, dealing with this because it's a fact of life for them. It's where they work. They work in one of the top terror targets in the world.
That's not to say they're not taking it seriously. I can tell you the initial phone calls I got from some of these same people were great alarm, even though they deal with this all the time. They had not quite heard the kind of announcement they heard about the police saying get out of the building immediately. Get to that garage.
And, frankly, they've never been told to get to, you know, a so- called safe zone like this even though they're told to evacuate the building that there was a sort of safe zone set up to go to this parking garage. It was something that alarmed a lot of people -- Larry.
KING: By the way, can we send pizza over? Is that allowed?
HENRY: You know I've been kind of tied up but I think, you know, probably there are so many new ethics rules they're talking about, Larry, we probably should be careful.
KING: With us on the phone is Sergeant Kimberly Schneider, Public Information Officer for the Capitol Police. Is there going to be a press conference, sergeant?
SGT. KIMBERLY SCHNEIDER, U.S. CAPITOL POLICE SPOKESWOMAN (by telephone): Absolutely, Larry. There's going to be a press conference in about ten to 15 minutes.
KING: OK, so instead of 9:30 it will be about a quarter to 10:00?
KING: Can you give us a little advance of what we're going to hear?
SCHNEIDER: Well, everything is looking really good for us right now. We're pretty optimistic about the outcome. Our third test result we're still waiting on but test results so far have proved that this is a negative for nerve agents so we're feeling very good about this right now.
KING: What's the role of the Capitol Police in this?
SCHNEIDER: The Capitol Police is actually the primary law enforcement agency in charge of this event right now. It happened in our grounds, in our building and we have the primary responsibility of protecting the congressional community and the visitors.
KING: So the public should understand, the Washington Police Force is not in charge of something that occurs on the Senate or Capitol grounds, right?
SCHNEIDER: That's correct, Larry. I think that would be an accurate statement. This occurred exactly in the Capitol campus, in the Russell Building on Capitol grounds. Capitol police, we're the first agency to respond. Clearly, this is clearly our home and this is what we do.
KING: But the FBI could come in, couldn't it?
SCHNEIDER: They could certainly assist us. They can come in if they wish, absolutely.
KING: And the press conference, you say, will take place in about 15 minutes?
SCHNEIDER: Exactly, Larry, about 9:45.
KING: Thank you very much, sergeant.
SCHNEIDER: You're welcome, Larry.
KING: All right. If you just joined us, all of this happened just about three hours ago at 6:30 Eastern time. And we've been on top of it ever since starting with the end of Wolf Blitzer tonight and through Paula Zahn and now with LARRY KING LIVE.
And I want to check in now with Ed Henry.
If Ed would get us up-to-date on the story for late tuners in, people who have been out.
What happened, Ed?
HENRY: Larry, about 6:30 Eastern standard time tonight in the Senate Russell Office Building, that's the oldest office building on the Senate side of the Capitol, a hazardous material alarm went off. An enunciator went off as well telling all senators, staffers as well as U.S. Capitol Police personnel to evacuate the Russell Building immediately.
We are told that an initial test suggested that it was a positive test for a nerve agent in the Russell Building. So, all of these senators, staffers and others were sent to a parking garage.
You can see that live picture there. That's some of the glass garage doors leading to the parking garage adjacent to the Russell Building on Capitol Hill. That's where a lot of senators, staffers park their cars every day. It's an underground parking garage.
They were told to go there. It would be a so-called safe zone in case they had been contaminated by this nerve agent. Then we're told a second test was conducted and that came up negative. But unfortunately, it's been inclusive. And that's why this has been going on for at least three hours now.
They've sent out for a third test. We've been expecting those results for well over an hour now. And we're still waiting.
And in terms of recapping what's going on in that parking garage, we've had all kinds of eyewitness accounts suggesting it's very calm in there. We've been told there are eight U.S. senators in there, as well as over 200 U.S. Senate staffers.
Among the Senate names we've heard, Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, Richard Burr of North Carolina, Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, John Thune of South Dakota, Gordon Smith of Oregon, Mike Enzi of Wyoming, Jeff Sessions of Alabama and Chris Dodd of Connecticut.
But the big news, I think, is that so far none of those senators, none of those staffers that have been in that safe zone have shown any signs suggesting they've gotten sick, suggesting they actually have been contaminated or exposed to a nerve agent--Larry.
KING: And Sanjay Gupta wants to add something to that, as we bring you up-to-date on this story--Sanjay.
GUPTA: Yes, the sequence of events as I heard them as well, listening to Ed as well as that presser before was that so far my understanding is there has been two different things have happened.
A sensor went off and then there was a test as opposed to a sensor going off, then a first test, then a second test. That's the way I understand things listening to the earlier press conference. So the only thing that's been positive so far is that sensor is my understanding. There hasn't been a confirmed test, again, my understanding, that's been positive.
So I think that's a point of clarification certainly arguing more for a possible faulty sensor or false positive sensor--Larry.
KING: Now, Eileen McMenamin of Senator McCain's office is still with us.
Are you still in the garage?
MCMENAMIN: Yes, we're still here Larry.
KING: Any word as to when they are going to let you out?
MCMENAMIN: No word. We're hoping that we will get some sort of an update within the hour. People are sort of getting restless here and really want to go home.
KING: How about hunger?
MCMENAMIN: Oh, yes. We're hungry too. They brought in bottles of water for us, but no food yet. So we're still waiting on those pizzas.
KING: Can you ask why people can't bring in pizzas?
MCMENAMIN: I think they're probably just trying to deal with the security situation right now and hoping to get us out of here as soon as possible so that everyone can get home to their families.
One of the medical staffers here or a member of the Capitol Police was telling me earlier that if it had been anthrax, we might not exhibit any symptoms until about, you know, up to three days from now, but that they're thinking now -- the thinking is that it's more a nerve agent problem, at least that's what the first test confirmed and the second test, as you've been reporting, was negative.
So, you know, it's falling on what Dr. Sanjay Gupta said. It sounds like, you know--if it really was a nerve agent here, we would be seeing people exhibiting some sort of symptoms. And I can tell you, I have not seen that at all.
KING: Obviously, the cell phones work well, huh?
MCMENAMIN: Yes. Cell phones and Blackberries have been our saving grace down here.
KING: What, Kelli Arena, would you add to this story tonight? What has puzzled you the most?
ARENA: Well, I actually have not been puzzled, Larry. I have been through enough of these false positive situations to almost expect it.
But I can tell you that the federal law enforcement officials that I have been able to communicate with are cautiously optimistic that there really is not a problem.
And Jeanne Meserve, our homeland security correspondent, earlier had spoken to some fire department officials who say that they went in with handheld detectors and did not pick up any trace of anything.
So, they at least were very optimistic that this was going to turn out to be negative, that the tests will come back negative and that everyone would be safe to go home.
But, again, I mean, this is just protocol. And this is different, Larry, because there was a nerve agent sensor that went off. And that's why people were shuffled over into an area. It wasn't a package. It wasn't powder.
This was something that was in the air that, you know, possibly was causing a problem. And that's why the reaction has been so different than we've seen most of the time here in Washington.
KING: Was CNN correct in staying with it, in your journalistic position?
ARENA: I think that everything CNN does is correct, Larry. No, I mean, I think sure. I mean, look. You have a Senate office building with senators and staffers, over 200 people locked in a garage for hours trying to figure out, you know, whether or not you've got a nerve agent at work.
I think, sure. I mean, I think that's something that people care about and I think that it shows that, A. Washington remains one of the top targets, according to all of the counter terrorism officials that we speak to.
Two, it does show you that the concern about chemical and biological agents is very real, Larry. That's the one thing that you continually hear from counterterrorism officials, that they are extremely concerned about al Qaeda or other terrorist groups using chemical or biological agents to attack.
And also, I owe you an accurate answer on a question you asked me before. You asked me about the sarin gas attacks in Tokyo back in 1995. And I can tell you that 12 people were killed in that attack, Larry.
KING: Ed Henry, we understand they're leaving the garage.
HENRY: That's right.
KING: Can you spot this?
HENRY: Yes, we can see that from our live cameras also. E-mails I'm getting from people there saying they were just told by the U.S. Capitol Police all clear. So good news there.
But, as we've been reporting, they are obviously going to want to make sure over the next few days medically that everyone is OK as a final precaution.
But you can see right there, the all clear drama of some three hours or so now. A lot of relief. People leaving that parking garage. U.S. senators among them who were in sort of a confusing situation for at least three hours--Larry.
KING: Chief Terrance Gainer of the Capitol Police is with us on the phone.
Are you going to do that press conference in six minutes, Chief?
CHIEF TERRANCE GAINER, U.S. CAPITOL POLICE: Yes, Terry Gainer.
KING: Are you going to do the press conference?
GAINER: Oh, I hadn't thought that far ahead, Larry.
KING: Of course they are telling me they're doing it in six minutes.
GAINER: I won't be doing it. I'm still finishing up getting control.
KING: OK. Do you think we're going to be all clear?
GAINER: We are all clear. We just gave the all clear about six minutes ago, and the building will be emptied -- be allowed to reenter at 9:40.
KING: 9:40 tonight?
What we did, Larry, is we completed the last of the tests. We had sent our response people in and took some samples. We were getting negative samples, negative readings, from our sensors, but we wanted to take samples from inside the building. We've done that. And it's been cleared.
So, we just notified the people in the legislative garage with the pending position that it's all negative. If anybody were to have any symptoms, they would contact the doctor tonight or in the morning.
But the good news about this is, notwithstanding that some of the senators or some of the sensors were initially positive, they've all come negative now. And I've got to jump off of this sir.
KING: Oh, I understand.
So there you have it. I guess we don't even need the press conference because Chief Terrance Gainer has already informed us that it is all clear.
Ed Henry, good news.
HENRY: Right. And, in fact, one of our many producers has been fantastic work tonight, Ted Barrett (ph), one of my congressional producers on the hill, just spoke to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist saying much the same that the police chief said about the good news, Senator Frist adding that they're expecting the test to officially come in negative in the next few minutes. That might be when we finally get that press conference we've been waiting for.
KING: There's the presser. Let's take it.
KIMBERLY SCHNEIDER, SPOKESWOMAN FOR U.S. CAPITOL POLICE: Probably shouldn't look directly into that, huh?
KING: You're looking at Kimberly Schneider who just spoke with us about ten minutes ago. Obviously, she's waiting for the OK for all the TV channels and newspaper men to be clicked in. Here she goes, I think. Someone just said hold on. As you know, the press controls things.
SCHNEIDER: The life of a Schneider.
KING: The life of a Schneider. Kimberly, whenever you're ready, CNN is ready.
My name is Kimberly Schneider, public spokeswoman for the United States Capitol police.
QUESTION: What's your name again?
SCHNEIDER: Sergeant Kimberly Schneider. The first name is K-I- M-B-E-R-L-Y the last name is S-C-H-N-E-I-D-E-R. Sergeant Kimberly Schneider.
I do have some good news to report tonight. We are preparing for re-entry into the Russell Building. Test results have been cleared. All the test results are actually negative. That's very good news. We're preparing for reentry right now. Everyone who is in the garage will be allowed to go back into the building shortly.
Are there any questions? We have a good outcome tonight. We're all very happy about this.
QUESTION: How many tests did you wind up running?
SCHNEIDER: Several tests we did run tonight, at least two. We ran at least two tests this evening to make sure we got the correct test results.
QUESTION: In the past with suspicious substances happening, the tents, the decon tents are quite abnormal. What accounts for setting them up this time?
SCHNEIDER: We will set the decon tents up once we know we are testing for something out of the ordinary. For example, if we have an alert for a nerve agent, which is what we had this evening. We want to make sure that everyone who has entered the building and who comes out of the building is protected and decontaminated in the proper fashion.
QUESTION: What was behind sequestering the senators and staffers in the garage?
SCHNEIDER: In the event it was a nerve agent, we want to make sure that anyone who was present in the building can be accounted for. It's a routine security measure when you have something of this magnitude.
QUESTION: Can you tell us what nerve agent you were testing for, Sergeant?
SCHNEIDER: The test that we run will tell us what type of nerve agent it is. We are not testing for a specific nerve agent.
QUESTION: What was the indication it was a nerve agent? There was some sort of alarm?
SCHNEIDER: We had an initial alarm in the Russell Attic Building that indicated we may have a possible nerve agent. After that, we did several tests to determine what the nerve agent was and the tests came up with negative results. The end result, as I said, is that we don't have a nerve agent. And right now, people are preparing for reentry into the Russell building. QUESTION: Do you have any idea what it is?
SCHNEIDER: Don't have that information at this time.
QUESTION: Are there any safety measures that anyone needs to take?
SCHNEIDER: Right now, we have also worked with the office of the attending physician. No reported symptoms. And if there are any reported symptoms, people would be treated as if they have been exposed to a nerve agent.
We don't have any indication of that at this time. We have very good news all around.
QUESTION: You say the alarms were going off in the whole attic area or --
SCHNEIDER: The alarm indicated that we had a suspicious substance in the attic area of the Russell Building.
QUESTION: Does that tell you at all if there's a higher concentration in one area as opposed to another?
SCHNEIDER: It simply indicated for the attic. So, we are directed to a certain area of the building. This is where we know we can find if there is a concentration this is where the concentration would be, in the Russell attic. That's where it initially indicated.
QUESTION: You're talking about a single monitor in this case?
QUESTION: So, at this point, you believe there was no nerve agent at all?
SCHNEIDER: That's correct.
QUESTION: This single alarm, does it indicate it would be a nerve agent, give you some information specifically or do you have to go and test, go physically to the attic and test and say we think it might be a nerve agent?
SCHNEIDER: We have our experts who physically have gone into the attic, which is why you'll see the decon tents, which is why you'll see level b protection suits. We have our experts who have actually gone to the area where the initial alarm indicated to determine what the alarm was indicating on.
QUESTION: How many people were evacuated to the garage?
SCHNEIDER: It was roughly 200 people were evacuated from the Russell Building and sent to the garage.
QUESTION: Do you know how many senators are included in that?
SCHNEIDER: Roughly a dozen members of Congress, roughly a dozen senators.
QUESTION: Do you know how many people suited up?
SCHNEIDER: I don't have that number at this time.
QUESTION: You are saying the results were negative. What sort of harmless substances would set these alarms off?
SCHNEIDER: Sometimes you might have a cleaning solvent which may set off a false alarm. It may not necessarily be a nerve agent. It may just be a suspicious substance that, for whatever reason, the signature of whatever the solvent may be may set off a nerve alarm. It maybe a false alarm. That may have been what happened tonight. We're still investigating that.
QUESTION: Are there people in the attic routinely? Sorry, ma'am?
SCHNEIDER: The attic is actually -- much of it is consisting of storage spaces. We do have a small offices up there. They're not routinely staffed or routinely manned. There are no offices that belong to any members in the attic. It's rather a storage area.
QUESTION: The testing facility, is that what we're seeing first over there?
SCHNEIDER: The testing facility is in the Washington, D.C. area. That's where we'll take additional samples to.
QUESTION: So, samples are gathered here and brought to a lab?
SCHNEIDER: Correct. That's right.
QUESTION: Do you know what senators were involved?
SCHNEIDER: That information is not available at this time.
QUESTION: Were they senators and members of The House of Representatives?
SCHNEIDER: The number I was given was roughly about a dozen members. That would include some senators and I don't know if there were congressmen there as well from The House of Representatives.
QUESTION: Does the attic get cleaned daily?
SCHNEIDER: I'm sure it does. They have a quite large cleaning staff and it does get cleaned on a regular basis. It's not an area that's off limits to staffers. It's not an area that's off limit to officers. In fact, we do perform routine security checks of the attic. So, we do visit the attic on a regular basis.
QUESTION: Was there any maintenance work being done up there?
SCHNEIDER: I don't have that information at this time.
QUESTION: From your point of view, was everything done by protocol, everything done right, all the proper steps taken?
SCHNEIDER: Absolutely. We had a wonderful outcome this evening. We're very happy that right now we're actually able to go back into a building that a few hours ago we weren't sure what the outcome would be tonight. We're pretty happy about that.
QUESTION: Can you describe the scene for us of the evacuation, 200 people leaving the scene. Can you give us a sense of how they were all notified?
SCHNEIDER: The folks in the building were initially notified through an enunciator, which is an indoor paging system used throughout the Capitol campus. Very orderly evacuation. Haven't heard anything to the contrary. Initially, I'm sure that people may have been alarmed at hearing that they had to evacuate the building immediately. But understanding that we work on Capitol Hill, it is for our security. And it's only in our best interest that we are given the instructions that we are by the Capitol Police.
QUESTION: Do you know if the evacuation notice told them that there was a gas suspected or just leave the building?
SCHNEIDER: I don't know at this time.
KING: That was Sergeant Kimberly Schneider the public information office for the Capitol Police giving a press conference, going over what we knew before she went on because earlier, Captain Gainer of that same police department told us that it was all clear and everything was fine.
Let's check in with Senator Judd Gregg, Republican of New Hampshire, one of those gentlemen who was in the garage all night. Senator Gregg, what was it like? Hold on. I'm hearing Sergeant Schneider. What was it like, Senator Greg?
SEN. JUDD GREGG (R-NH) WAS IN SENATE PARKING GARAGE: It was interesting. It was sort of a bonding experience. A number of my colleagues were there, a lot of staff. We had a few hours to talk about things and we got a few things done and it was a very -- everybody handled themselves very professionally, especially the Capitol Hill Police, who are doing a superb job.
KING: What was it like in the office at 6:30?
GREGG: Well, we got the notice, there was an alarm that went off around 7:00. I was actually headed out, I was in my car. The officer said we should go to this gathering area in the garage. It was sort of interesting to end up in the garage. I started off the morning on Air Force One and I ended up in the garage this evening as the president was headed up to New Hampshire. It's been an interesting day.
KING: You began the day with the president and ended the day at the garage?
GREGG: That's right. It's a great job. KING: Were you ever nervous?
GREGG: Not really. We've been through a lot of these here in the Capitol. It's unfortunate. It's a sign of the times. Obviously, a very serious problem we had was the Anthrax, was real. But in most instances, they have been false alarms. But, you know you should err on the side of caution. We respect the professionalism of the police here. And they're there to protect us. They make these decisions and we do what they say.
KING: Do you feel, as a senator, well protected in your own office? Do you feel well-protected in the Russell Building?
GREGG: Well, yes, as well as could be. You know, the important thing is to keep the government as an open government so that people who want to come and see you can. And that's critical. And obviously, that's -- that makes the type of protection that you might get somewhere else a little more difficult.
But anybody who's in public life understands that. And, really, the police do a superb job here, as do the various law enforcement communicates that basically support them, like the FBI. So, yes, I do feel fairly confident that we've got good protection.
KING: Did you bond with your fellow senators?
GREGG: Oh, yes, very closely. We got to talk about a lot of good things. We talked about biannual budgeting and a lot of very important subjects.
KING: Now, did you really talk business?
GREGG: A little bit. But mostly we just kidded each other and had a good time. And most of the time was spent actually talking with folks on our staff or other staffs. And actually there were some interns here from Australia and they came over, we talked with them and sort of -- that's the ultimate intern experience, to be stuck in a garage with three or four members of the Senate.
KING: Were you concerned that no food was delivered?
GREGG: You know, that's something we've got to fix next time we do this, no question about it. There were actually a couple of kids there. And fortunately somebody found some crackers in their car, so they were able to get something to eat. But if we're going to have a gathering place like this, I think I'm sure the police are going to take a look at what they have there for resources to support 200 people sitting in a room for three or four hours.
KING: While I've got you, a couple of quick things. What were you doing in New Hampshire with the president?
GREGG: Well the president came out to talk about the budget and the need to discipline federal spending, something I very much support. He gave an excellent speech, a very substantive speech to a group of folks in the state. And we very much appreciate him picking New Hampshire as the place to talk about fiscal responsibility because that's very high on the agenda of most people from New Hampshire.
KING: And then you flew back and went back to the -- were you in the Senate today or were you in the office all day?
GREGG: Well, back and forth. We had a lot of different meetings going on. So, I've been on the floor and back and forth. We're doing the asbestos bill, which is a fairly significant piece of legislation, about $140 billion. Obviously, a very big piece of legislation. And so I'm involved in that as budget chairman.
KING: One other thing, Senator. Back at work tomorrow right on the dot?
GREGG: Absolutely. That's our job and we enjoy doing it. You know, you've got to respect the staff here for doing it and especially the law enforcement people who protect us.
KING: Thanks, Senator Gregg, always good talking to you.
GREGG: Thank you, Larry.
KING: Senator Judd Gregg, Republican of New Hampshire, begins the day on Air Force One with the president in New Hampshire, ends the day in the garage of the Senate office building with a threat. So Ed Henry, was it much ado about nothing or did we learn something?
HENRY: Well there certainly was something in the sense that there was a scare and obviously they had to go through all of this and make sure that it was a false alarm. I think maybe we learned that the Capitol Police obviously has a lot of procedures in place, post 9/11, especially, to deal with just this type of situation.
The fact that there was such a scare, the potential that so many people were -- had been exposed to nerve agents, the fact that everyone stayed calm, as you heard from the senator, they were joking. Various reports we heard from people in that parking garage suggested that everybody was treating it fairly well and taking it in stride and that the U.S. Capitol Police did it in a professional manner might suggest that -- God forbid, something actually real happened and God forbid there was a nerve agent, that maybe they would be prepared to actually deal with it, because it seems like the procedures were in place and that actually people followed it.
There was no panic. People were not trying to run out of that garage. They listened to authority and they stayed well. And that's -- everyone is better for that, obviously, Larry.
KING: Kelli Arena, are you surprised that there was no panic at all?
ARENA: We are battle hardened, Larry. We live here at the nation's capital for crying out loud. No, I'm not, I'm not. I mean, these are very professional people and as you heard, lots of false alarms that take place in the Capitol and around the Capitol in those various buildings.
So these are people that are used to situations like this. I think the one important lesson that we all learned is that they need to be fed. There you go.
KING: Senator Gregg said it. Put down pizza stands, something in the garage.
KING: Sanjay Gupta, now what should the people, in and around those who are in the garage, look for, just as a precaution in the next few days?
GUPTA: Well it sounds like probably nothing really to look for. If this had come back positive in any way, a nerve agent exposure. The things that we had been talking about, runny nose, coughing, chest tightness, blurry vision, but it just sounds like none of that is going to happen. So, probably nothing. I think everyone can just really breathe a sigh of relief, Larry.
KING: Ed Henry, are you going to get to go to that dinner or not?
HENRY: Well I'm trying to find out, Larry. I haven't been able to get out of this chair. Maybe you'll give me an answer. No.
But I assume the dinner is already over, and there were a lot of senators who were planning to attend. And life goes on. There are more important stories going on, obviously. And I think that people realize, as Kelli made the point, Washington is one of the targets, one of the top targets, the Capitol in particular.
You heard it from Senator Gregg. You sometimes take for granted the fact that there are so many thousands, over 20,000 staffers in the Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives who go to work every day with the possibility that something like this or something much worse, catastrophic like a 9/11 could happen, not just on the Capitol, not to focus too much.
That's where we are tonight, but all over Washington, all over some of the major cities and smaller cities across the United States. It's just something that people have grown to deal with and they take it in stride post 9/11, Larry.
KING: Kelli Arena, anything they might do, starting tomorrow that might be a little different?
ARENA: Well, I think that first they're going to want to find out what caused that sensor to go off. And, as you know, we've heard from several officials that our greatest strength is our greatest weakness in that they are very sensitive and that they will pick up anything that is in the air.
But of course, what ends up happening is that you get a lot of false positives. So I think that that's No. 1, find out why this happened. Second, they always do an after-action report to find out what worked, what didn't.
You know, did people arrive where they need to in time? Was equipment where it needed to be? So, that is something that happens after every episode, whether it's a false alarm or not. And so there will be a lot of people busy with that tomorrow as well, Larry.
KING: By the way, I might add that guests who were booked for tonight have been rebooked for Monday night because tomorrow night we have a very special show dealing with the United 93 crash on 9/11. And we urge you to watch that. It will really be a very, very, very special hour. And Sanjay, any precautions they can take with regard to getting this stuff in the building?
GUPTA: That's a difficult one. I mean, this sort of agent that we're talking about here can be transported in very small vials, and that can be concerning. Obviously you see that with nerve agents, possibly with biological agents as well.
The good news, Larry -- and we talked about this earlier, is that these are not effective weapons of mass destruction, like Kelli Arena mentioned, the Aum Shinrikyo attacks, 12 people died, 6,000 people I believe were injured by it.
Ultimately, they wanted to knock out the whole subway system. That didn't happen and that probably wouldn't happen in a building like this as well. So, it's not a very effective weapon of mass destruction, but it's hard to detect, Larry. I mean, you've probably walked into that Capitol building. You go through the metal detectors and things like that. But if you have a little non-metallic vial in your pocket or something, I think it's incredibly hard to detect.
KING: Ed Henry, I thank you for noble service tonight. I don't know if they're going to keep you or let you go, but I must say this, you sure looked the part.
HENRY: Well glad to do it, Larry.
KING: You've changed the role of all congressional correspondents in the future.
HENRY: I might have to start this, this is a new trend. I might go with it.
KING: Breaking news will be covered by black tie. And Kelli Arena, you were superb as usual, it's always great having you with us. And Sanjay Gupta, what can we say? You are at the top of your game in the area of medical coverage on this network.
GUPTA: Can I just say Larry, despite the fact that Ed Henry's wearing a tuxedo, you with your shiny suspenders, still able to outdress him.
KING: No, not the way Henry looked tonight. I'm so glad this threat all ended well. Thank you all and thanks to all the other people that checked in with us, too. And we as you noticed, did not have any commercials during this hour, nor did Paula Zahn before us, so that we give you total coverage here on CNN.
Tomorrow night, we'll look at the crash of United Airlines flight 93 on 9/11 in the fields of Pennsylvania. Right now, it's time to go to New York and "A.C. 360" with Anderson Cooper. And I guess you're on the same story, Anderson.
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