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CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Aired August 14, 2006 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
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CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Tonight, Target USA, the British manage to stop the biggest terror plot since 9/11 last week. Airline security has been tightened. But, if that scares you, you may be shocked when you see where else America is vulnerable. How safe is the USA?
It's all next on LARRY KING LIVE.
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AMANPOUR: Good evening and welcome. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London for Larry tonight. We'll get to our coverage of potential terrorism in the U.S. in just a moment; but first, breaking news out of the Middle East tonight.
AMANPOUR: The Israeli military reports ten rockets were fired inside southern Lebanon late Monday hours after a cease-fire between Israel and Hezbollah went into effect. Those rockets, though, landed inside Lebanese territory and, for now, Israeli forces say they will not respond to their firing. We have reporters in the Middle East and we'll bring you more on that story later in the program.
But now on to our main subject tonight with reporters across the United States to answer some crucial questions about terrorism and safety; Kareen Wynter at the Port of Los Angeles; Ted Rowlands at a private air terminal in Van Nuys, California; Allan Chernoff at New York's world famous Grand Central Station; Sean Callebs at a Gulf of Mexico drilling rig; and Brianna Keilar at a packed baseball stadium in Chicago.
But first, joining me here in London, Dan Rivers with the latest on the massive plot foiled last week to blow up America-bound jetliners in flight, Dan, what is the latest? Where does the investigation stand?
DAN RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I've been talking to security sources here in the U.K. This investigation is continuing a pace. They are continuing to search a number of locations.
One house that they are looking into whether that was, in fact, a bomb-making factory in east London. They're looking at a woodlands in the middle of Britain, which they're checking out to see if explosives were being tested there. They have expressed confidence to me that they will find materials that were used to make bombs.
AMANPOUR: Have they yet?
RIVERS: They haven't yet as far as I'm aware but they are continuing. There's a large area of woodland they're searching. It's pretty thick undergrowth. They've got this house. There are unconfirmed reports that they have found some weapons at one of the houses. I haven't been able to confirm that.
But certainly this is a fast-paced inquiry and the picture that they are painting is a bleak one. It must be said that although the terror threat has been downgraded they are saying, you know, there is no room for complacency here. They are watching lots of other cells in Britain.
AMANPOUR: And how many? I mean we've heard rather enormous numbers of people being monitored.
RIVERS: Yes, I mean they're saying there are dozens of other potential plots that they're looking at in Britain. They wouldn't put a specific figure on it but dozens certainly. They're at full stretch, the security service here, MI5. They say that there are 1,200 people of concern in this country...
AMANPOUR: That's enormous.
RIVERS: ...which is an enormous number of people. You know, to monitor one person, you know, you're talking several surveillance teams. You're talking an enormous amount of manpower to monitor phone calls, to check e-mails. So, you can scale that up to 1,200 people. You can just get an ideal of scale.
AMANPOUR: And do they have the manpower?
RIVERS: Well, MI5 at the moment is going through a massive process of enlargement. They've asked for more funds. They're going to be increasing up to about 3,000 staff but that takes time.
AMANPOUR: A lot of focus on whether these plotters, alleged plotters, had any formal links or proved links to al Qaeda. Where does that stand?
RIVERS: They are looking into that. That is not proven at the moment. They are pouring doubts on reports that there is a link to this character, Maser Rehman (ph), in Pakistan, one of Pakistan's most wanted men, a man who has supposedly got firm al Qaeda links. At the moment, that link is not proven and they are urging caution on that front.
AMANPOUR: And what does this mean right now in terms of plane safety, practical traveler experience, if you like, at the airports in England?
RIVERS: There is a massive backlog still here in Britain of passengers trying to get on planes. The fact that the level has been reduced, the threat level has been reduced will mean that as of tomorrow it will be easier for people to get on planes. They're going to start to allow people to take on hand baggage again but there is a big backlog.
So, things should ease up but the main message from all the people we've been talking to is there is no room for complacency here. The public must be vigilant.
AMANPOUR: Thank you.
And we're going to turn now to the U.S. and ask about vigilance and complacency or lack of it there. Kareen Wynter, who is at the Port of Los Angeles, what makes that a potential vulnerable site?
KAREEN WYNTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What's so vulnerable about this site, Christiane, is the fact that so many vessels pass through this port each year. This is the nation's premiere port.
We're talking 43 miles of waterfront. Fifteen million cargo containers come through here each year. And, get this, $150 billion worth of goods pass through this port each year.
We're talking huge numbers but officials say along with being number one comes with a lot of responsibilities. You know, after 9/11 there were a number of security enhancements put in place.
For starters, the port police increased their manpower from 20 to 40. They've doubled that. They also, Christiane, shifted their focus from a counter narcotics mission to a terrorism mission.
And, finally, they implemented what's called sea marshals. Now that's similar to sky marshals, what we would find on airplanes. But what these sea marshals do is they inspect the passenger vessels that pass through here.
A short time ago there was a cruise line that came through here. About a million passengers on cruise lines come through this very port each year. So, again, you can see the ramifications in the event of a huge threat.
That being said, the port police chief, who we spent quite a bit of time with today, was really candid in what he said are some loopholes in terms of security threats.
And he says, you know, security personnel it's of utmost importance. Again with 43 miles here to cover anything can happens when it comes with -- comes to the vessels and the cargo containers coming through here each day. And so that's what they're trying to increase.
Another thing pilot programs, now in any case that would be a good thing but the police chief, Christiane, said five years after 9/11 they should be moving away from the testing phase and that right now they should be implementing more permanent, more long-term security reforms and it's just not happening quickly enough here and that it comes down to funding.
AMANPOUR: I was just going to ask you is it precisely that? Why isn't that being stepped up all these years after 9/11?
WYNTER: The bottom line is funding. They're waiting for a lot of money, more grants to come in from agencies and different departments, such as the federal government.
One thing that they did talk about is it's critical right now but it always is critical just in the day and age that we live in but, for example, last week's security threat I asked, Christiane, "How did you respond to that?" And they said, well what they tried to do was beef up manpower here.
But it also calls attention to at any given time when there is a threat to our national order that anything can happen. Ports here are vulnerable. There are so many ships that come in each day.
We saw dive teams that were out earlier today and some of the new grants that came in just recently allowed for more police dive teams. And what they do is they go below the surface here and they inspect not only visually but they have equipment that just they actually received that has infrared and other sonar devices.
And so they said if there is some suspicious package, several feet below, several miles below or maybe there is someone hiding out thanks to this equipment that they can now detect that, something that they didn't have before. But again it's thank in part to this new funding that's coming in but they say it's just not enough coming in quickly enough -- Christiane.
AMANPOUR: Kareen, thank you.
We're going to take a break.
And afterwards, we'll go to a private airport in California.
AMANPOUR: Welcome back.
So much focus is on those big commercial passenger heavy jets but what about private planes and private terminals?
CNN's Ted Rowlands is at one in Van Nuys, California. Ted, what are the security concerns at the terminals, like the one you're at now?
TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Christiane, one would think that this would be a gaping hole in terms of potential threats for terrorism. There are 18,000 private airports, general aviation airports in the United States alone.
This one here in Van Nuys, California is the busiest. And here they have a police force, same force that patrols LAX. They have a group that patrols this one. But as you get through those 18,000 many of them have absolutely no security at all. You could put whatever you want on any of these planes. If you're a passenger, you bring your bags. They are not checked. It's up to the pilot if he thinks something is suspicious to check a bag.
Let's say you wanted to purchase a plane. You could do that on the open market obviously, house it here. What would stop someone from filling that with explosives and flying it into a building or trying to coordinate an effort?
All those questions we put to the officials and they say the number one defense for all of that is the eyes and ears in these relatively small communities. You stick out like a sore thumb if you don't belong here.
If you don't fly here normally or you don't fly normally, it won't take long for someone's radar to get you and, at that point, there is a vested interest in these communities to alert authorities.
And, there are campaigns put out by the TSA to push people and put them on alert at all times and they say that has been successful. The FAA gave up the responsibility of security after 9/11 and gave it to the TSA. But, because there are so many of these airports there are no guidelines or there are no rules, there are simply guidelines because they can't go out and police it.
They say it is a low, relatively low probability in terms of threat, even though if you let your imagination run wild you can come up with all kinds of scenarios. They say because of those eyes and ears it really isn't that big a threat in their estimation.
AMANPOUR: So, what about government and formal supervision and security? Is there just none at those private terminals obviously compared to the commercial ones?
ROWLANDS: There are guidelines, yes. There are no set rules because you can't police it. So, if you had set rules, you'd have to go out to every one of these 18,000 airports and make sure that those rules have been enacted.
So, any pilot can stop a flight. Any pilot can question a passenger if someone comes on with bags or seems suspicious. It's up to that pilot really to make sure his aircraft, his or her aircraft and those passengers are not a safety concern.
They say that the bottom line is those eyes and ears which are everywhere at each one of these little airports is enough really to have a self sufficient force in place, if you will, to prevent against it. Of course, there is a possibility and they are fearful and ever vigilant of that opening of somebody using a private plane as a weapon.
The other thing to think of if they use a smaller jet that weapon is not nearly as lethal obviously as a commercial airliner so the damage that someone could do they don't think is worth the trouble of going through all of this. You could have the same result with a car bomb or other means which doesn't include aviation.
AMANPOUR: Ted, thank you.
We're going to go to Mary Schiavo now elsewhere in our studio system and set up in the United States. She is the former inspector general with the U.S. Department of Transportation. Thank you for joining us.
It sounds a bit apocalyptic. We're hearing gaping holes and lack of security. I mean but what is the probability? What do you think is the real security concern at a place like the one Ted is at?
MARY SCHIAVO, AVIATION SAFETY EXPERT: Well, the real security concern is what people don't realize is the majority of the U.S. airports are not controlled. They don't have control towers. There are 450 passenger airports but there are about 16,000 airports.
So, the theory that the eyes and ears will watch really doesn't hold up because a good part of the time those airports are completely without eyes and ears and certainly the eyes and ears of the community.
The biggest risk is, of course, for non-U.S. pilots. It's very easy to get into this country and now when they say that a pilot would question, well yes a pilot who is an American citizen, who's had at least a rudimentary background check by the FAA and has fingerprints on file with the TSA, yes, we can count on them to be reasonable.
But the risk is that citizens or that non-citizens who don't have that screening can use our airports. All you have to do is get into this country and basically it's wide open.
AMANPOUR: And you've basically suggested that if the security process in the commercial airline situation becomes way too onerous people will start flocking, I suppose obviously if they can afford it, to the private terminals. What kind of a burden might that create?
SCHIAVO: Well, and it's inevitable. It's coming. The FAA predicts that in the next ten years we will probably see 5,000 more small private jets. The problem will be not only congestion but will be policing them if we have that system we desperately need to increase security so we can ferret out who are just persons trying to make things work, find a way to do their business, if they can afford a plane and afford a pilot, they should be able to do it if it's secure.
But the problem is going to be policing it. With that many planes entering the system our security, our TSA, our FAA are going to be strapped to the limit and we really have to invest in some sort of a security system, probably a citizenship based and a background check based, as well as what you call a registry number on your airplane. And literally all of them are going to have to be accounted for.
AMANPOUR: Mary Schiavo, thank you very much indeed for joining us.
We're going to take a break and we'll be back with much more.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think there could be another terrorist attack. I mean I certainly hope there isn't one but I think we have to be vigilant and take all precautions to make sure it doesn't happen again.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If we start worrying about the terrorist attacks or anything, then they've already won and I just refuse to live my life that way.
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AMANPOUR: Welcome back from London where we are here just in front of the Tower Bridge and we're discussing security. There was a big scare here in England this last week. We're now discussing the potential possibilities in the United States.
And we go now to New York, Allan Chernoff is at the Grand Central train terminal. Do New Yorkers fear, obviously after the terror of 9/11, do they fear that the transit system, the mass transport system there could be vulnerable this many years later?
ALLAN CHERNOFF, CNN SR. CORRESPONDENT: No question, Christiane, every New Yorker riding the subways, the busses here, everybody recognizes it is a possibility.
I wouldn't say necessarily that New Yorkers are riding with fear every single day but everyone acknowledges and everybody recognizes it's certainly a possibility. Native New Yorkers feel that New York is still most definitely a potential target.
AMANPOUR: And when they look at what's happened, let's just say in Mumbai, Bombay, not so long ago in London last year, I mean New Yorkers are also, you know, get on with it really like many people in England. But do they -- does that resonate there?
CHERNOFF: Certainly. I mean, of course, 9/11 that was right here at home so that still has the most impact but nonetheless the attacks that we've seen on train systems elsewhere reinforced the idea that certainly it could happen here so people in fact feel, some feel that they're surprised, in fact, that it hasn't happened just yet. But certainly there are a lot of measures being taken here to reduce the risk, to certainly tighten security. It is much, much tighter now than it was prior to 9/11.
AMANPOUR: I was going to ask you do people visibly see more security or is it something that's not so visible to the passengers?
CHERNOFF: It's visible without question. As a matter of fact, right behind me on the floor of the terminal you can see easily six armed guards right now from the National Guard, also from the MTA Police here, Metropolitan Transit Authority. The MTA is in charge of Grand Central terminal but the New York City Police Department oversees the subways here.
So, certainly you see much more security and there are many things that you don't see as well. There are cameras all over. You need to know exactly where to look for them. There are also devices that check the air quality to make sure there are no biological or chemical agents actually seeping into the air here as well. So, there are many steps that have been taken, some visible to the eye, others not.
AMANPOUR: Allan, thank you.
And we're going to go now to former governor of New Jersey, Thomas Kean, who also served as the chairman of the 9/11 Commission. Governor Kean, are we scaring people unnecessarily or how do you assess the security risks at the kinds of mass transit that we've been talking about over the last several minutes?
THOMAS KEAN, 9/11 COMMISSION CHAIRMAN: Well, we're never going to be completely safe. The question is are people in government at every level doing everything they can to make us safer? I think that's all we can expect of people and the transit system is always a worry but in New York City in particular the mayor and the transit authority I think are doing a pretty good job with trying to keep it safe.
AMANPOUR: And, in general, you say all we can expect is for government to do its utmost, in general at private air terminals and ports, at the various locations that may be vulnerable and on the mass transit around the country what is your grade that you would give?
KEAN: Well, we did grade people and the 9/11 Commission has met and gave people grades and our 41 recommendations and unfortunately there were more Ds and Fs than there were Bs and Cs or even -- only one A. So, the answer is government is not doing in our opinion everything it should to make this country as safe as it should be.
AMANPOUR: But and since your report came out what's changed?
KEAN: Well, certain things have changed. Our intelligence agencies are talking to each other more. That was one of the failures in 9/11. There is more security at airports, although there still isn't a unified watch list. You still can't say all the agencies have put the names together of the bad guys.
We haven't got modern technology yet in the airports as far as passenger screening or baggage screening. A lot of that is a matter of money. So, there are a number of things in almost all these areas.
Government, actually one thing that government really should be doing, we're still not giving homeland security funds to the areas that are most risk, most at risk. We just sort of distribute them sort of in a political pot and give some to everybody. That's not the way it should be. Areas like New York City and Washington and Los Angeles they should get the majority of the funds.
AMANPOUR: And, sorry, why is that? I mean it sounds completely out of whack that.
KEAN: Well, it is our of whack and I'll tell you, if you had told us in the 9/11 Commission that five years after 9/11, over two years after we made our report that one simple recommendation to give out money to people who were at greatest risk still wasn't being done, I would have said you were crazy. And I think it's crazy we're not doing it yet.
There's a bill that passed the House of Representatives and it got stuck in the Senate because there are Senators who say "Well my area should get something. My area should get something." And they've stopped the whole bill, so we're still not giving out funds to the areas most at risk.
AMANPOUR: Governor Kean, thank you.
Stand by, we'll be back with you for more on this issue. First, we're going to take a break.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Security is as good as it's going to get. We can't do much more but I mean I do feel like there probably will be an attack because you can't stop these people if they're that dead set on it.
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AMANPOUR: Welcome back.
We're in London near Tower Bridge. But we're discussing security and what can be done to make our country here and the United States safer. We're concentrating on the U.S.
And we go now to Sean Callebs in Louisiana, Port Fourchon. It doesn't sound a very familiar name, Sean. Not many people will know what exactly it is. Where exactly are you? What is it? And what are its vulnerabilities?
SEAN CALLEBS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's a very good question. I mean when you think about port safety you think about Miami, L.A., the New York area. Port Fourchon is actually down on the southeastern tip of Louisiana. And the reason it is so significant the amount of crude oil and the amount of natural gas that comes through this area.
Of course, the Gulf of Mexico a key area off the U.S. coast where the companies drill for oil and natural gas and also there's an entity out there where tankers from around the world come. They unload millions of barrels of crude a day and it comes through here.
Now, the big concern there's only one road leading in here. If there would be some kind of terrorist activity and they could disrupt the natural gas or crude oil coming in here, it could be devastating to the U.S. economy, severing a very critical energy artery. Get this, Christiane. Nearly one fifth of all the crude oil used in the U.S. every day comes through this small, nondescript port that you probably never heard of until today.
AMANPOUR: You're precisely right. I've never heard of it before. I'm sure it's extremely important. So what kind of security is there and what kind of measures do they take on a daily basis?
CALLEBS: This is an entity that started up as a very small facility about 35 years ago. It has grown over the years, and after 9/11 they really ramped up security here as best they could. They receive a little more than a million dollars from a federal grant, security grant, after 9/11 from the Department of Homeland Security. Basically, they were able to buy a patrol boat. That one boat is responsible for checking an area about, within three miles of the Louisiana coast. Those are the state waters.
So you can tell that the officers with the harbor police are completely overwhelmed. They also now have a series of 16 cameras on this sprawling 700-acre facility. Those cameras, security cameras, are designed to monitor every nook and cranny on this site. But you can't look at every place all the time. So it is vulnerable. And it's the kind of thing that keeps the port commission, the people who operate this port, up at night.
They would like to get more help from DHS, but there have been changes over the past several years the way the money for the security grants are doled out. And this facility, where 1/5 of the crude oil, close to 30 percent of the natural gas the U.S. use, comes through, it no longer qualifies for any kind of grant support from the Department of Homeland Security.
AMANPOUR: So what makes up the shortfall, then? How do they pay for it?
CALLEBS: Well, basically, they don't pay for it. They would like to get more officers. They only have 14. And these officers only basically work about three officers to a shift. They are concerned about what would happen. There's been a great deal of discussion in the United States about the Alaskan Pipeline. For years everybody knew it was corroding, it was eroding and that there needed to be maintenance on that. Well, it didn't happen and now we see what's going on up there. It's going to be shut down for weeks, possibly months.
What people here have been carping about, talking about for years on end, the possibility of a terrorist attack. Now, what if measures aren't taken and it does happen? The only solace that the port commission is going to have is to be able to point a finger and say we told you so.
AMANPOUR: Sean, we're going to move on now to Brianna Keilar who's in Chicago, at the stadium there where the White Sox are playing. I think they're playing tonight. Brianna, what are people feeling there about this issue?
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We talked with some people, and most people, it's not even on their mind at all. They're really not concerned about security despite this latest terror plot. It's perhaps fresh in their mind if they're traveling by air. But when it comes to coming into this ballpark tonight, they are just all about having fun, they're all about seeing the White Sox play, and they're not really concerned, Christiane.
AMANPOUR: There seems to be a lot of noise behind you. But obviously, this has happened once before at a stadium, and it happened in Atlanta during the Olympics. What kind of security measures are there, and what are the people there responsible for security saying to you today?
KEILAR: Well, here at U.S. Cellular Field to get into the park you need to go through a bag search. You're only allowed to have small bags. You're only allowed to bring small bags in. There's security at every gate. There are also armed security guards who generally are off-duty state troopers as well as police. But there are no metal detectors.
In talking to one terrorism expert, he told me that this is not going to be enough to deter terrorists, that mostly this is to deter crime, things like theft, things like people who are just going to get rowdy, perhaps trying to bring their own beer into the stadium or something like that. Even so, he said that could help deter some terrorism, but he said the real way to deter terrorism would be through intelligence, that you couldn't rely on something like what you see visibly outside of a sports arena to really be that last line of defense. He said that would be a very poor choice and that intelligence is the answer.
AMANPOUR: And a stadium like that takes how many people? What are the challenges for securing that many people?
KEILAR: This stadium in particular holds about 40,000 people, and this game tonight between the White Sox and Kansas City is sold out. So obviously, tens of thousands of people. Some of the challenges obviously when you think of how many people are coming through with bags. How do you check that many bags thoroughly? And you can tell that perhaps they're checking for something like a firearm, perhaps they're checking for something like beer. But you couldn't necessarily see everything in someone's bag.
And also, people here, in particular this ball field, do not go through a pat down search. We did speak with one terrorism expert who said, well, it seems like, in terms of soft targets, terrorists are turning away from sports arenas, they're more interested in mass transit and large public gatherings like religious ceremonies but not necessarily inside stadiums. He did say that, pardon me. He did say that while big events are very attractive that they're moving away from something like stadiums. Christiane?
AMANPOUR: Well, that's good news. Brianna, we're going to take a break, and we will come back with more of the big picture with Governor Thomas Kean.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's too many ways that terrorists can carry out these attacks, and I can't believe that the government is going to be able to detect everything. I can't go around worrying about terrorist attack or other enemy attacks. I just have to live my life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Welcome back. And we're joined again by the former governor of New Jersey, Thomas Kean. And also he served as the chairman of the 9/11 commission. Governor Kean, continuing where we left off a little while ago, you've also said despite the fact that not enough and resources aren't going to the places you think they should be going that people are safer and America is safer since 9/11. How so?
KEAN: Well, there are a number of things that happened. For instance, we've reorganized our whole intelligence services. They're talking to each other now much better than they used to. The failure to communicate was one of the things that led to 9/11. There is more security. Well, we think that a lot more needs to be done at airports. There has been a lot more now than there was on 9/11. We think there is more security a the borders. Fifteen of the nineteen hijackers got in to this country with phony documents, with documents that should have been supported. We think the borders are, well not as secure as we'd like them to be, are more secure than they used to be.
People are safer in this country. Our argument with the government is we're not as safe as we should be. There's a lot more the government should be doing.
AMANPOUR: And briefly, again, when you say there's a lot more, is it about money? Is it about personnel? Is it about a general reorganization of security? What specifically is it that -- the more that should be done?
KEAN: Well, to lead from the general into the specific, the first thing is that I think it has to be a higher priority. One of the great arguments we had before 9/11 was that it's not that the Clinton administration, the Bush administration didn't understand the worry about bin Laden, but they didn't put it high enough on the priority list.
We think now since 9/11 that, again, it's been lowered. We're very distracted when we're fighting two wars in the United States, in Afghanistan and Iraq, and our eyes have been taken off the ball. We think the first obligation of government in this country or any country is to keep the citizens safe. That means you put the attention there and you put the resources there. And we've identified, in our 41 recommendations, a number of areas where we think a lot more resources and a lot more attention should be put, and not all of them take money.
AMANPOUR: Can you say some -- those things that you've identified, can you tell us a few of those? KEAN: Yes. Going to the United States Congress. The United States Congress now has dysfunctional oversight of intelligence agencies. There's no question that we should have really good oversight, because the Congress is the only one who can do it.
The intelligence is our first warning. I mean, if MI-5 hadn't gotten those moles into this last operation, this wouldn't have been prevented very possibly, and maybe 3,000, 4,000 people would have been dead.
We need the best kind of intelligence operation. If you have a best kind of intelligence operation, you also need oversight. And the Congress has got to reform its oversight because it's -- and it's their words, not mine -- it's dysfunctional right now.
There's no question we shouldn't be doing more -- if you want to know what my nightmare is, my nightmare is a terrorist with a nuclear weapon. And we are not doing enough to contain those sites which contain enriched uranium, about 100 of them around the world -- we're not doing enough to contain those sites and stop terrorists from getting hold of enriched uranium. Because once they get hold of it, you can read on the Internet how to build a bomb, and, you know, our borders and a lot of other borders are pretty porous. So we're not doing enough in that area.
And I can go on. In fact, we've got 41 recommendations. I don't know how many of them you want.
AMANPOUR: Governor Kean, you said that's your nightmare. But what is the likelihood -- I mean, look, many people said that the intelligence agents were delinquent in not following up on all the warnings we were told they had been given about bin Laden, about his plots against America, about his messages. Is there any such warning out there, is there any such evidence out there that there may be this problem with enriched uranium?
KEAN: Well, yes. We know from bin Laden's own words what he wants to do, and he's said this. He said, the best thing to do to get the United States and its allies out of the Middle East is to do the same thing, as he puts it, that the United States did to Japan, to drop a couple of nuclear devices. And he thinks if that happened, we will get out of the Middle East, which is stop supporting Israel, which of course is one of bin Laden's aims.
So, he's said it. I mean, you don't have to search for that. He's said that was one of his aims, and he's been trying to acquire nuclear materials for 25 years.
AMANPOUR: And there are -- there is the Nunn-Lugar group. There is the nuclear threat initiative. There are all sorts of things that are in place in the United States to try precisely to secure those kinds of sites and to prevent that kind of thing happening. Are they just not working well enough? Are you saying they don't get enough priority, enough funding?
KEAN: Yes. They're working too slowly. If Nunn-Lugar and all those initiatives work, we can get these sites secured in about 14 years. Well, our argument is that we don't have 14 years. We think if it was the top priority, if you had the president and the Congress and the newspapers and everybody talking about it, we could do this in two to three years. And if we did it in two to three years, it would be a much safer world.
AMANPOUR: You know, I have to say it's kind of mind-boggling to me that -- it's hard to understand how this is not a priority and how something that you say could be secured in three years is not being done. I mean, you've used the word dysfunctional. But why? I mean, why after 9/11, when basically everything is about security these days?
KEAN: Well, we think it should be under commission. In fact, we've made the statement, and I believe it, that there is no higher obligation of any government than the safety of its own citizens. No matter what the priorities are out there, that always should be number one. And whether it's our Congress or your parliament or what have you, that should be a higher priority and you shouldn't get distracted.
We think we've been distracted. And we think the funds aren't being spent properly. We think the funds are not going to the right areas. And we also think that we're just not really paying attention and not making it the number one priority, whether it's at the airports or whether it's at some of the areas you looked at, the ports, any number of other areas areas.
AMANPOUR: And what will it take to make it the highest priority?
KEAN: Well, my real worry is that what it would take is a successful terrorist attack. And there's no question if that happened, it would again be the number one priority. But the point is to stop that attack. Do everything we can now to make sure government is in place, we don't make the mistakes the American government made before, we correct the problems that are out there, and we put in place the kind of shield, which has every possibility of preventing another attack. And that's why we made 41 recommendations on the 9/11 Commission. And by the way, nobody disagrees with those recommendations.
AMANPOUR: And do you take any comfort in what the administration will claim as a success record since 9/11, that there have not been any further attacks on U.S. soil since then?
KEAN: Well, of course that's good. But remember, these are very clever people, and they take a long time to plan. It took five or six years for them to plan the event on 9/11. We know from this latest event that was stopped, that these people are ingenious and they want to do us harm, and they want to kill as many innocent people as possible. That's their goal.
So we can't be complacent. We've got to do everything we can, and we're just not doing everything we can right now.
AMANPOUR: Governor Kean, thank you very much for joining us with those sobering words.
KEAN: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: And we're going to take a break, and when we come back we're going to talk about the Middle East and find out the latest there.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just think the fact that they were able to catch these guys before anything happened, obviously the people in the security are doing their jobs.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think things are stepping up. I think that we're one of the targets.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Welcome back. We're in London, and we turn our attention now to the Middle East, where there is a cease-fire in effect but there has been some violation, at least that's what we think, just earlier tonight.
We're joined in Beirut, Lebanon by Jim Clancy, and in Israel by Chris Lawrence. First, to Jim in Beirut. What can you tell us about those rockets that were fired that didn't land in Israel but went to southern Lebanon?
JIM CLANCY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Christiane, great to be with you tonight.
Well, this is the first major hiccup that we have seen. We have not been able to contact Hezbollah. Their cell phones still off. Security reasons. There's no offices left for us to approach there. But I am expecting we're going to hear from Hezbollah, and they're going to be straightforward about this.
I don't think it was a rogue unit. Hezbollah doesn't have any. I don't think the rockets were intended to go into Israel, because if they had been, they would have.
I think that the situation here may be one of a tit-for-tat exchange, a warning to the Israelis after the killing of six Hezbollah fighters in the south in that general area that resulted from IDF fire. I think this may have been a warning to the Israeli forces there that Hezbollah can fire back.
But they too, if I'm correct in -- or my sources are correct, they too want to see the cease-fire work, at least in the short term. If it were not to work, Hassan Nasrallah has been very clear that if there's one Israeli soldier on Lebanese soil, he's going to fight them.
AMANPOUR: But what exactly does that mean, if there's one Israeli soldier he's going to fight them? Because there are Israeli soldiers. They've made it clear that they're not going to move out until the Lebanese army and a beefed-up U.N. force or an international force comes in. Do you think that Hassan Nasrallah is saying we're going to engage them during this interim period?
CLANCY: I don't think he means -- you know, I should make it very clear here, we don't have a clarification from him on that. But I don't think that when he said he was going to engage the Israelis if they remained on Lebanese soil, he was talking about this interim period.
He is hoping for a very quick deployment of the Lebanese army and United Nations peacekeepers to see the Israelis pull out. I think if they were to remain beyond that, he would very quickly make good on his threat to attack the Israeli soldiers, to engage them.
I think this may be a one-off, it may be tit-for-tat. We're going to have to wait and hear his side of it, though, hear the Hezbollah side, to really understand what their perception is.
AMANPOUR: We know there's bound to be some skirmishes. But the mood there, we've seen you reporting all day, is very upbeat, isn't it? Amongst the people. I mean, it is incredible that the minute the guns fall silent, they rush back to their homes in convoys, traffic jams. What are people saying?
CLANCY: Well, you get a wide variety here. I think now that the war has ended, or at least we have a truce in place, we're beginning to see the surfacing of a bit of resentment on the side of all of those other confessions in Lebanon that didn't have anything to do with this basically Shia Muslim movement here.
The Shia, who really bore the brunt of the Israeli air strikes, are still very supportive. But they too are wondering about the wisdom of starting up this conflict, because they have paid such a heavy price.
Now, tonight, Hassan Nasrallah said he was going to get apartments for all these people, repair their homes if they were damaged, give them a year's free rent, a year's free furniture. This is going to come to a bill of about $1 billion. A lot of questions about where he's going to get the money.
What's really important is when he spoke on television, he was really speaking like a government inside a government, saying your government can't take care of this that fast. And I've seen it, Christiane, on the streets today -- people out with clipboards, taking notes from shop owners, home owners. How much damage do you have? He says he's going to pay up right away.
Very powerful, you know, assertion there of authority within the Lebanese state, but leaving this huge bill, the other bill for infrastructure, to the government itself.
And keep one thing in mind. If Iran comes up with this estimated $1 billion -- go ahead, Christiane. AMANPOUR: Jim, thank you very much indeed. We're going to -- I want to pick up on something you just said -- a government within a government -- and ask Chris Lawrence in Israel about that. I mean, that is precisely what the Israelis don't want, to see Hezbollah remain as a state within a state, a government within a government. What is the mood there, the feeling there, with this cease-fire? Have they achieved their aim?
CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you talk to some Israeli officers, and they feel that they are claiming victory. They said one of their major aims was to push Hezbollah out of southern Lebanon, past the Litani River. They say they accomplished that objective.
Now, you talk to some individual Israeli soldiers, and they will tell you that they feel like no victory could ever truly be claimed until two of their comrades who were captured to start -- that actually sparked some of this battle, until they are returned to their families here in Israel, that the Israeli government in no way could claim any sort of victory.
AMANPOUR: Chris, do they expect, as has happened so many times in the past, that there will be negotiations, some kind of indirect negotiations, that those two soldiers will be returned, and potentially Hezbollah or other prisoners that Israel is holding?
LAWRENCE: Well, there are some expectations that eventually Israel may have to work through a third-party mediator. That it would not directly negotiate with Hezbollah leadership, but that a third- party mediator would have to negotiate some sort of settlement, perhaps a trade of Hezbollah prisoners for those two captured Israeli soldiers.
But Israeli officials would not go on record as saying that, only reiterating their point that they expect to get those two soldiers safely returned to Israel.
AMANPOUR: Chris, Jim, thank you. We'll be back with more of LARRY KING LIVE after this.
AMANPOUR: I'm Christiane Amanpour back again here in London. That's it for LARRY KING LIVE tonight. And "ANDERSON COOPER 360" is next. We'll be talking with Wolf Blitzer in Jerusalem about the Middle East, the latest potential violation of the cease-fire, or the fracas (ph), and the continued terror threats and the investigation here in London and the concerns of what may or may not be vulnerabilities in the United States.
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