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CNN Larry King Live
America's New War: Healing the Wound in America's Heart
Aired October 04, 2001 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, healing the wound in America's heart and waging war against terrorism. Joining us here in New York, Dan Rather, anchor and managing editor the "CBS Evening News," then the director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Joe Allbaugh. From Berlin, the chancellor of Germany, Gerhard Schroeder, in his first international interview since the September 11th attacks. Then back in New York, one of the leaders of the state's recovery, George Pataki, governor of New York; Mideast and terrorism expert Judith Miller, senior writer for "The New York Times"; and Bob Simon of CBS News. He's gained chilling insights into a terrorist's mind by talking to failed suicide bombers.
Plus, as New York's bravest mourn hundreds of their own, they also keep risking their lives to get the job done, and we'll have compelling stories of loss and survival from four firefighters. It's all next on LARRY KING LIVE.
We begin here in New York with my buddy, Dan Rather: three weeks and two days ago, the world changed. How has it changed you?
DAN RATHER, CBS NEWS: Well, first of all, you know, I intensely want to be a journalist of integrity, and sometimes it's easy when you're on television and when you want to intensely do your job well to sort of begin to confuse yourself with your work. It's changed me of wanting to get closer in touch with my inner, real self and understand it.
You know, I'm a human, I'm an American. I had a family. Those things are every bit as important, in many ways more important, than even journalism.
KING: And we know how important journalism is to you.
RATHER: Well, to tell you the truth, it's awfully easy when you're on television every day, you know, absorbed by it to just, say, confuse who you are, what you are with your work.
KING: Are you going to Pakistan?
RATHER: Well, I'd hoped to go tonight, Larry. I do want to go, but I have to balance my responsibilities as anchor with my desires of being a reporter. So the answer is, yeah, I intended to go tonight, but obviously, I'm not going tonight. I would like to go. But this is -- I think this is a critical period. You know, history is pausing again as the wind shifts. Right at this moment, we're all waiting to sort of see what will next move at the horizon. So in that circumstance, I'm just going to stick here.
KING: So you might go, though?
KING: And you've been to Afghanistan, we know that.
RATHER: I have. I have been inside.
KING: You paroled (sic) Afghanistan, you perused it.
RATHER: Well, perused it enough to know that there are no experts on Afghanistan. But in the same way that Vietnam was a green jungle hell, that Afghanistan for anybody who has to fight there, small unit or large, it can be a brown mountainous hell. And if any of our American fighting men and women go in there, we have to be prepared for casualties. It would be irresponsible not to be prepared for that.
KING: One of the defining moments in television in the last three weeks occurred on David Letterman's show the night Letterman returned to the air after a week off. Let's watch this little clip and then ask Dan about it. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, CBS' "THE LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN")
RATHER: You know, "America the Beautiful." Who can sing now with the same meaning we had before of one stanza of that that goes: "O beautiful for patriots dream/That sees beyond the years/Thine alabaster cities gleam/ Undimmed by human tears." We can never say that song again...
... that way.
David, you've been terrific to have me on tonight. I'm so sorry for this. You know, the hour grows late.
DAVID LETTERMAN, HOST: You're fine. Yeah, you're fine. You know, you're a professional, but good Christ, you're a human being. And my god, to not...
RATHER: Thank you. Thanks. Thank you very much.
(END VIDEO CLIP) KING: Looking back at it now we're reminded of Cronkite nearly breaking up with the announcement of the Kennedy assassination.
How do you feel about that?
RATHER: It happened.
KING: It is what it is
RATHER: It is what it is. It happened. I didn't intend for it to happen. But I don't regret it, and I have no apology for it.
You know, we have about 13,000 casualties, dead, missing and wounded, including brave firefighters and policemen. And you know, I'm a New Yorker. I'm a Texan by birth and by choice in many ways, but I've never been prouder of being a New Yorker than I am now. And it happened. It's one of those things and it's behind me.
KING: Is there -- are there any rules of things like that in journalism that they teach in class? Do you say the journalist does not get emotional?
RATHER: Well, you can't say you don't get emotional. As I've said on that program, you know, I'm a pro, I get paid not to let it show. But I'm not a robot. And I'll stand on my record that most of the time I'm able to keep focused on my work, but this -- I wasn't working there. I wasn't anchoring or reporting. It was a different environment, and it just happened.
I wish, you know, I wish I could be perfect and never ever do that kind of thing.
KING: That what makes you special, though.
Everybody is now recriminating. We should have did this, we should have covered this. Did you cover enough about terrorism on "CBS Evening News" or "60 Minutes"?
RATHER: No, obviously, we did not. We did what we thought was the best we could. But my -- my hat's off those those -- there were those in our country who were warning us a long time ago. George Shultz, whom I think everybody has forgotten, I can remember a conversation with George Shultz 1989, no later than 1990, in which he said, terrorism is coming to America.
Bill Cohen, the most recently retired defense secretary -- I think he said it on this program. I've heard him say it many, many times.
KING: He did, yeah.
RATHER: There were all kinds of people. Judith, whom you're going to have on this program, was practically, you know, buying billboard space to say we have...
KING: Gary Hart. RATHER: Gary Hart as well.
KING: Warren Rudman.
RATHER: Warren Rudman, the commission...
KING: So the collective is why didn't we pay attention?
RATHER: Well, the world's a complicated place, and there are no excuses. I do not exclude myself from that criticism. We obviously just didn't pay enough attention. We were asleep and we got sucker- punched.
The question in my mind is less now, you know, why didn't we pay more attention -- and I don't have much patience with recriminations or things. I think people in government -- the FBI, CIA, DIA, all those people -- need to be held accountable, and I have no doubt that the president is holding them accountable.
We need to be looking forward. The question now is: what are we going to do about it?
KING: What do you make of your fellow Texan, Mr. Bush?
RATHER: Well, he's done a terrific job ever since September 11th. It's not to say he wasn't doing a good job before then, but I think it's very clear he has risen to the occasion.
But the difficult hours, the difficult decisions, the most difficult ones he's making right now and are ahead of him. But I think the whole country is right in saying, look, whatever arguments one may or may not have had with George Bush the younger before September 11th, he is our commander in chief, he's the man now. And we need unity, we need steadiness. I'm not preaching about it. We all know this.
And I think the country understands it, because you can hear it with people, Larry. And...
RATHER: This is -- this is like nothing we have ever gone through before.
KING: Where were you that morning?
RATHER: I was at home, just about to leave for work. The radio ran a bulletin: Something had happened at the World Trade Center. And I said, ooh, the World Trade Center, wonder what that is, could be big.
Very quickly, it was, you know, the World Trade Center has smoke, maybe fire. I said, wow, I need to pick up the pace. And just as I was about to dash out the door, Andrew Heyward, who's the president of CBS News, called me and said, better get in here. And so I, in a Texas phrase, hauled it. KING: How far do you live from where you work?
RATHER: Well, 20 minutes when I'm sort of dawdling along, but it took me about 12 minutes that morning.
KING: And what was that ride like?
RATHER: Well, I was listening to the radio, taking telephone calls, and I could see when I came to -- our broadcast center is between 10th and 11th Avenue. And 10th Avenue I did a stop to take a look, and you could see -- you couldn't see much, but you could see smoke coming out. And also, traffic was beginning to stack up and people were beginning to come back from that area, not yet in great waves, but you know, as any reporter would have said, this is huge, this is really huge.
And then, for about 3 nanoseconds, I thought, wow, you know, Dan, the best thing is to get right to the heart of the story, and I thought about going down. And I thought, no, I better get inside, because there will be a lot of anchoring to do.
KING: Because you like the street better than the desk. You've always told me that.
RATHER: I do. I do. And I consider myself a reporter-anchor, not an anchor-reporter.
KING: So your first instinct was to go down there?
RATHER: It was.
KING: Do you like covering things on the fly?
RATHER: Sure, any reporter does, as long as I can do it well. You know, we're greedy as reporters. The first prayer of anybody worthy of the name of reporter is "God, give me the big story." And because we're greedy, then you say right behind it, "And God, if you can give me the big story, please let me be at or near my best at it."
Do you know, Larry, I feel so strongly this story, on this story, it's not about us, it's not about me. It's about those, you know, 13,000 people dead, missing or wounded, and their families, and those firefighters and police and others who are doing the work. It's not about us.
KING: Dan is going to remain with us through our next guest as well. By the way, tomorrow night, both New York senators, Chuck Schumer and Hillary Clinton, will be here, as will Queen Noor of Jordan.
As we go to break, a stark picture of the shock and fear in the immediate aftermath of the attack on the Twin Towers, radio messages recorded by New York City Police dispatchers. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh my god, the building is coming down. The building just collapsed. The second building just came down.
The tower's coming down. Central, Central, Central, the building just fell. The building just fell.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The second tower just came down. The second tower just came down.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's coming down. Get away from it. Get away from it, get away from it. Everybody move away from the tower.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's a 10-4. We got a 10-13. We've got a second tower down.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Dan Rather remains through the next segment, and joining us is Joe Allbaugh, the director of FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency. As I told you all before we went on, when we were down at ground zero yesterday, everyone there -- firemen, police, emergency workers -- all praising the work of FEMA.
And I want to set something straight, because last night we reported, and Mayor Giuliani seemed to agree, that FEMA was leaving, pulling out as of Saturday because there's no more rescue. What is the story?
JOE ALLBAUGH, DIRECTOR, FEMA: Well, that's only our last urban search-and-rescue team. We've had had 21 teams come through New York City, five at the Pentagon. That mission is completed. We're now moving into the recovery, full-time recovery stage, as you both know, and we have other teams in the pipeline should they be needed by Frank Carruthers or Tommy Von Essen. We'll bring them right back here.
But we represent over 18 agencies that are on the ground right now, almost 2,500 federal employees assisting the city of New York rebound, as we should, and we'll be here until the end.
KING: How long have you been on this job now?
ALLBAUGH: Nine months next week.
KING: No way you could have -- now, Dan and I were discussing -- and I'm sure you heard it -- about being prepared for something like this.
ALLBAUGH: Nobody is prepared for this. I prayed it would never happen. I feared that it would. I understand why God gave me big shoulders: We're all being tested right now.
KING: Where were you that morning?
ALLBAUGH: I was in Big Sky, Montana. I was addressing our national emergency managers association meeting, annual meeting, talking about firefighters, who are always the first in line for budget cuts and the last in line for recognition. That has to stop. Talking about terrorism preparedness.
KING: And what happened? Who told you?
ALLBAUGH: I woke up.
KING: Oh, you were there.
ALLBAUGH: I was there and turned on CNN, actually saw the second plane hit the tower.
ALLBAUGH: I thought it was -- I thought it was a movie clip. I thought -- I didn't know...
RATHER: As we all did.
ALLBAUGH: ... and did a doublecheck, double-take like everyone else, blinked, and reality started sinking in. Learned that it was second plane, know immediately it was terrorism. And moved on to Bozeman that morning, waited a couple of hours for a plane. Planes were going down and we were trying to get a plane in. I was afraid they were going to strap me into an F-16, which would be an odd fit, to get me back to Washington. Finally, caught a KC-135 back to Washington, 4 1/2 hour flight.
KING: Talked to the president.
ALLBAUGH: Went directly to the White House, spent the rest of the evening with the president and vice president and many others, and spent the next morning, Wednesday morning, with the president, and then that afternoon flew to New York, Wednesday afternoon, with Senator Schumer and Clinton.
KING: How well had your predecessor prepared you for this?
ALLBAUGH: I don't think anyone could prepare you for this. The agency is prepared. James Lee Witt left the agency in good shape.
Unfortunately, it's now time to go the next step into the 21st century for all federal agencies, quite frankly...
... and they need to be thinking about the unthinkable.
RATHER: Speaking of the next step, for families who have lost someone in this calamity, what's the next step for them?
ALLBAUGH: Well, there are -- many thanks for bringing that up. There are many families who have not registered. Everyone needs to register, whether you are in Northern Virginia or Pennsylvania or you have relatives...
KING: Register meaning...
ALLBAUGH: Register, tele-registration. They need to call this number. I want to -- excuse me for reading it, but I want to be exact. It's 1-800-462-9029. This starts the flow of federal assistance.
And what I'm worried about -- Dan and I were talking about earlier -- is that this is going to have such a long-term effect that crisis counseling is going to be so important to all of these individuals, terrorists victims, the families of victims, the individuals who worked down at the site, whether it be at the Pentagon or at the World Trade Center.
They may live in Queens or the Bronx. We need to be able to provide them crisis-counseling.
KING: Who registers now? The wife? The...
ALLBAUGH: Any relative.
KING: Any relative...
ALLBAUGH: Close relative.
KING: ... of anybody missing?
ALLBAUGH: That's correct.
RATHER: And when they call that number, what happens, Joe?
ALLBAUGH: Well, we take down the necessary information. The most important information is their name, address, phone number. We need to be able to get in touch with those folks, to track those folks, to make sure that they're coming in, taking advantage of all the programs that are available.
I'm deeply concerned about those folks who were working there, don't know that there is assistance available to them, and they're looking for agencies to help them. They need to get registered.
We have -- Pier 94 here in New York City is a family center. That's for those family members who have victims that are missing.
KING: Do you think there's a lot of people that haven't registered?
ALLBAUGH: I do. I do indeed.
I was down at a site today, our disaster assistance service center down on Worth and Center street, and we're handling about 500 individuals a day there. And many of those people who come through the door have not registered yet.
It is so important to get registered so we can offer them the assistance that they desperately need, particularly in the crisis counseling area.
KING: You've been down to ground zero?
ALLBAUGH: I have...
KING: You naturally.
ALLBAUGH: ... every day.
RATHER: And I do think, Larry, this one of those situations -- and I'd be interested to know whether Joe agrees -- television is great about taking you there, but even that has its limits, that it's one of those things, unless you've been there, it's impossible to describe it.
KING: We've got to take a break. Do you agree?
ALLBAUGH: I agree. You all do a great job with television and shooting film and tape, but until you visit this site, you cannot grasp the gravity of the situation.
KING: We salute you, Joe.
ALLBAUGH: Thank you, Larry.
KING: We thank you, Dan.
RATHER: Good seeing you, Joe.
ALLBAUGH: Take care.
KING: Thank you, Dan.
RATHER: Thanks, Larry. Take care of yourself.
KING: We'll call on both of them again a lot in the next, oh, I'm going to say years. Joe Allbaugh and Dan Rather, the chancellor of Germany. In a moment, the chancellor of Germany. Here's more of those tapes we were playing earlier. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just told you ... across from the World Trade Center ... there's the North Pedestrian Bridge ... I think it collapsed ... building just collapsed ... I was on the street, I don't have much air.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 10-4. Manhattan to field com ... urgent...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can barely breathe ... please send somebody... UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, the person calling for help, listen to me, you need to calm down and relax. Stand by, we do have somebody on the way. Get off the air. We have somebody on the way over to you. You are to remain calm. 10-4?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We welcome to LARRY KING LIVE, from his office in Berlin, Germany, Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, chancellor of Germany. Mr. Chancellor, you have said that the United States and --you have unlimited solidarity with the United States. Does that mean what it sounds like? Everything unlimited?
GERHARD SCHROEDER, CHANCELLOR OF GERMANY (through translator): Well, that indeed does say what I have said, unreserved solidarity and unswerving solidarity. This does, of course, include the assistance of what the NATO counsel has decided today. We pushed for that, in fact, I have to say. But that explicitly does also include other forms of assistance, including military assistance, and it will be up to the U.S. American government to say and to tell us where, in fact, we can be helpful. And if we have the capabilities to do so, we're by their side.
KING: Are you concerned, Mr. Chancellor, that apparently so many of the plans and involvements were made in your country, that this activity, the planning, took place in Germany?
SCHROEDER: Well, I think, Larry, I don't think we should go into the question as to where -- the planning and plotting was done and where you find individual culprits. I mean, out of the 90 names that we know, three come from Germany, that is regrettable enough. What is now important is that we hunt these terrorists on a global scale. That we go about getting them and putting them down.
KING: Are you concerned about terrorism in your country, Mr. Chancellor?
SCHROEDER: Well of course. I mean, each and every responsible person in office will now be worried about potential assaults on their country. But it is my job to make sure that such concern does not grow into fear, because fear always paralyzes people, paralyzes politicians and paralyzes your ability to respond and react and to fight against global terrorism. And that is why concern, yes, but no fear.
KING: Mr. Chancellor, we have received reports that the German police are seeking out Islamic extremists in your country, and that there is some controversy between those who want civil liberties upheld and those who feel when terrorism occurs, extreme measures have to be taken.
SCHROEDER: Now we're obviously defending values here. The U.S. American's just as much as the Germans are doing, values such as democracy, freedom, the state of law. And we must not let the terrorists have this victory that they can destroy our values. And that is why we'll find a clear-cut balance between the readiness to defend themselves on the one hand side of state authorities and police authorities, and that will be improved on step-by-step whilst maintaining our freedom.
On the other hand, civil freedoms and civic freedom, that is a permanent balance, actually, that you need to bear in mind. We're always bearing this in mind whenever our security and law enforcement authorities get new information, and also through our cooperation with the FBI, with the CIA, will draw consequences for this, because there cannot be any freedom without security and reliability -- not in the U.S., not here, nor anywhere else in the world.
KING: Mr. Chancellor, what is your assessment of President Bush to this minute?
SCHROEDER: I have to say, I have the deepest respect for the U.S. American president. I have to say, in fact, I do deeply respect the whole of his administration, because he is faced with a tremendously difficult task here, and he goes about solving it in a fantastic way, I can only say.
So I can only congratulate him upon the way, how he and how the United States of America has dealt with this terrible situation, how they deal with their problems and how consistently, in fact, they have gone about forming a global coalition, a global alliance against these terrorists. Because we also see that military measures, as necessary as they might ever be, will not be the cure-all in this situation.
So we need political, diplomatic, economic levers as well that we need to use. Those will have to be added if we want to be successful here. And that is why I think there is no reason whatsoever here, to utter any word of criticism. On the contrary, let me repeat that the U.S. Administration has our full and unswerving support.
KING: And what about relations now with your country and Russia, with the way Mr. Putin has acted? Are we going to see closer ties there?
SCHROEDER: Well, indeed, I'd say those close ties have always been in existence. I mean the simple fact being that we as Europeans are a lot closer, geographically speaking, to the Russians. But it has also got something to do with the fact that when President Putin actually truly trying and successfully, in fact, trying to get his country closer to the West.
I mean things like democracy and the market economy are being pushed by him in Russia. And I think he has a certain degree of success already in doing so. And I think that the Russian president, in fighting terrorism, has really fully and whole-heartedly taken the side of those who have just brought together this global alliance.
I have had a lot of conversations with George W. Bush, your president, and with other senior representatives of the U.S. American Administration, and time and again, I have pointed out how necessary it is to have Russia on board, to have them not as opponents, but far rather, have a solid partnership with Russia, to start this, get into it and maintain it through the coming period.
And my impression is that the voting pattern, the voting attitude that Russia has shown and the United Nations Security Council, has been such that we have seen that it's been overly supportive, really. But I'm sure that this is also the stance adopted by President Bush and the American administration.
Larry, you'll know how important it was that President Putin and the American president met in Slovenia at the time and from there, actually, that has paved a straight forward path to what we are seeing now and we have to highlight this time and again, in the United Nations.
KING: Mr. Chancellor, in this war against terrorism, are you optimistic?
SCHROEDER: I am (AUDIO GAP) will win this war, let me tell you that. I am definite that we will lay our hands on those terrorists. We will get hold of those regimes that protect them, that feed them, give them training ground. We'll be able to isolate their regimes. I am firmly convinced that is going to happen because our principles of democracy, of the state of law, of freedom are so awe-inspiring and overly important for the vast majority of people, that we will win.
KING: Thank you so much, Mr. Chancellor. An honor to have you with us on LARRY KING LIVE.
SCHROEDER: Thank you very much. My pleasure. See you next time.
KING: We now welcome to LARRY KING LIVE finally here on his turf, the turf we grew up on, the governor of New York, George Pataki. It has been three weeks, nearly three days later. Have we -- where are we?
GOV. GEORGE PATAKI (R), NEW YORK: Larry, that is a complex question. I think we are still dealing with the tremendous grief. The funerals are endless, and they should be. We have to pay appropriate respects to those who lost their lives, particularly the heroes who lost their lives helping thousands get out. So that continues.
But on the other hand, so, too, continues the tremendous sense of unity and resolve in the spirit, not just of New Yorkers but of Americans, so, within a very short period of time we saw the most evil side of humanity and we have seen the best side of humanity. That continues, thank God.
KING: Did anything about the best side of New Yorkers, surprise you? PATAKI: Didn't surprise me.
KING: At all? PATAKI: I like to think that I know the people of New York pretty well. And I knew we were a tough resilient people. What has surprised me was the way in which the entire country rallied behind New York from day one.
I mean our problems the first two or three days were not trying to get volunteers and help for the rest of the country, it was trying to control the influx of people, literally, from one end of the country to the other who wanted to be at Ground Zero helping out. And it was just incredibly gratifying to see that all of a sudden this New York is different from the rest of the country or the northerners and the southerners are different, vanished.
We are all Americans, whether you are from New York, or Florida or California or North Dakota. And I think that to me, for all the tragedy, that is the silver lining in this tragedy, that so much of the pettiness, so much of the differences that really weren't, other than petty have disappeared and the American people are united.
KING: The controller estimates the cost of those attacks could hit $105 billion by the end of fiscal 2003. How you going to exist?
PATAKI: We are going to exist, and it is going to be more than exist. We are going to come back we are going to come back strong. We are going to rebuild the city.
PATAKI: It is going to be enormously difficult. There obviously are multiple billion dollar problems we face in the state budget and the city budget. And the national economy, as well as the local economy, has been impacted enormously, but Americans are tough, resolute people.
The president was here yesterday, meeting with business leaders about another economic stimulus package. They -- Congress has already passed $20 billion in initial assistance to help the tristate region, and we are going to get through it financially and economically the way getting through it from the standpoint of coping with disaster itself, by standing shoulder-to-shoulder, having a sense of unity and purpose, saying to the rest of the world, particularly to these evil barbarians that we are Americans we are not going give up out freedom, we are not going to giving up our way of life. I'm confident it is going to happen.
KING: Is it -- you also got to be governor, so other things are happening in the state, right?
KING: In Albany, in Utica and on Long Island.
KING: Is it hard to focus away from this event? PATAKI: It is hard. I would be less than honest if I pretended that I can go about the normal day in Albany without thinking constantly what's happened here. Because, it is not just me as governor, being distracted thinking of what's happening, what happened here. I think every American has that same sense that we are different and changed since September 11.
KING: For example, probably no thoughts about election or reelection?
PATAKI: The politics have just vanished, and that is not such a bad thing, Larry.
KING: What do you make the Giuliani decision that he would accept an extension, but he doesn't want to be on the ballot? He was here last night, doesn't want to accept things.
PATAKI: I think the mayor has provided spectacular leadership, and everybody, the whole country has gotten to see that leadership for the past three and a half weeks. I have thought that for eight years, that he has been an outstanding mayor. The city is a better city, the state is a better state. And I think it is because of that strong leadership that we have had.
But he has determined now that he is not going to seek a third term, and that was his decision. But on the other hand he said that he will be available if the candidate, the successful candidate wants to see an extended transition and I that makes enormous sense.
KING: Would you recommend that the successful candidate take him up on it?
PATAKI: I certainly would. I have seen -- the mayor and I have been in, daily, meetings, not just briefings, but work sessions and it is not just simply a question of that candidate, the mayor, the new mayor or the old mayor. It is a question of the team. Everyone from the police commissioner to the fire commissioner to the health commissioner, the people who have just done an incredibly great job.
And you have to assemble a team, you have to train that team, they have to learn. And I was very confident I was ready on day one to be the best governor the state had ever had. But it is a pretty steep learning curve, regardless of what you know. And I'm confident that all three of the candidates for mayor think January 1 they are ready to be best mayor the city ever had. Maybe they are.
But it takes time to learn the office. It takes time to assemble the team and for the team to get the experience you need.
KING: Are you going to ask him are you going to utilize him in any way?
PATAKI: Absolutely, the mayor...
KING: Any thoughts in mind? Down the road?
PATAKI: Sure, I have thoughts, and I think the president has thoughts and I have thoughts, but...
KING: You think they might ask him for something on the federal level?
PATAKI: I don't know about that, but I think the mayor has exhibited tremendous leadership skills and I think that all of us would love to see him continue to utilize the those for the public benefit in some capacity.
KING: How do you mentally get away it from? Or don't you?
PATAKI: I don't know if you mentally get away from it, but you have to just...
KING: You can't if you are here. I'm telling you that.
PATAKI: You can't.
KING: You can not.
PATAKI: And i think that is true for everyone. I turn off the television. I shouldn't say that on the LARRY KING SHOW, but I do try to do that. And Libby and I still do what we most enjoy doing, hiking in the woods.
KING: Still do that?
PATAKI: I have done it a couple times.
KING: Watch a movie?
PATAKI: Haven't done that yet. Haven't -- really I would fall asleep in first three minutes which wouldn't be all bad.
KING: Have you been able to laugh?
PATAKI: Yeah, I think you have to laugh. You know there have been a lot of tears, but among those tears you have to be able to laugh as well, and celebrate the good and give thanks for the good, so yeah. All of us, I think, should laugh. One of the things the terrorists want us to do is to live under a cloud and to live with fear, not have that confidence, that we as Americans are entitled to have, that tomorrow will be a better day.
So we have to laugh to show them that we are still Americans.
KING: A good line about you, the pleasure of his company. Thank you, Governor.
PATAKI: Larry, thank you.
KING: The governor of New York, George Pataki. As we go to break I took a roving microphone just around the city I grew up in today, and bumped into the doorman at the Plaza Hotel -- watch.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) KING: Have you noticed a kind of difference in people?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I tell you people are more -- everybody loves New York now. It's just something that...
KING: We are in.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody got together and every got friendly, and different stories I heard years ago about New York have changed. They have such good attitude about New Yorkers.
KING: That is the good part.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That is the great part.
KING: The down part is New Yorkers are a little different now, aren't they?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That is it. We are all sad. We are all very sad. And we respect now the fireman and the policemen now. It gives you a different perspective.
KING: Tomorrow night we are back in New York with Senators Chuck Schumer and Hillary Clinton, and Queen Noor of Jordan. We now welcome to LARRY KING LIVE Judith Miller, senior writer of "The New York Times" and co-author of, easy to say, the hottest book in America "Germs, Biological Weapons, and America's Secret War," And Bob Simon the famed correspondent of "60 Minutes II," contributor to 60 minutes, who has seen his way around terrorism.
I will start with you, Bob. How does -- you spent a lot of time in Israel, you have been captured by people, right? How does Israel deal with something like this, much smaller, different situation?
BOB SIMON, CBS, "60 MINUTES II": In fact, I think Israel gives us the best model of the way we have to start thinking behaving. In 1973, Israeli athletes were killed at the Munich Olympic, the Munich massacre. Golda Meir, who was prime minister then, unleashed the Mossad and said kill them all. And they did.
A few week later a guy fell down in Paris, a guy fell down in Rome a guy fell down in Cyprus, another guy fell down in Beirut.
KING: We got even, is what you are saying?
SIMON: They killed them. It wasn't a question of getting even. It was a question of eliminating that Palestinian organization, which they did. There were no headlines when a particular guy was killed in Paris: Well, it didn't take long before journalists discovered that he had very strong Palestinian ties. But it was never identified as a Mossad murder.
KING: Are you saying the United States should take a lesson from this? SIMON: I think that's the only way we can do it.
JUDITH MILLER, "NEW YORK TIMES": Well, I guess after all the violence we've seen, directed against New Yorkers, and people in Washington and our country, I would hope for a different outcome.
I would hope that -- and perhaps it's not realistic but you never know -- that Osama bin Laden and his cronies will be delivered to the United States, that they would stand trial in a country that believes in rule of law, and that they would be convicted and spend the rest of their lives in prison. That would be my hope. And it would tell the world, because they know we're strong, that we're also just and a country of laws.
KING: Are you presenting this as Bob Simon anger or this is what Israel does?
SIMON: I think this is the only strategy to follow. I think if you catch Osama bin laden and his cronies, I don't think anything changes. I think there are cells all over the place. I think that we will know that something is beginning to happen, that we're beginning to do something, not when the Kitty Hawk arrives close enough within bombing range of Afghanistan, but when a man falls down in Hamburg in a few weeks.
And that's a murder that's unexplained. Then when a guy standing online to get on a plane in Paris disappears. This how is you do it. It's the only way to do it.
KING: Judith is saying no.
MILLER: I think you have to root out cells, by cutting them off, by getting rid of their leadership, by putting those people in jail, and by making it impossible for them to function by denying them money.
KING: Do we need to any killing?
MILLER: Hopefully, you have to do as little as possible. Because "the collateral damage" is what the terrorist is looking for, something that he can turn against us.
SIMON: But that's precisely it. We're looking not for collateral damage. In the Gulf War, the objective sometimes achieved was precision bombing. Now I think we have to look at precision killing.
KING: Never seen you this strong, Simon.
Now I want to move to this other area and your book. We've had a lot of guests on in the last few weeks, saying, "Yeah, if you want to worry about it, worry about it, but it's not going to happen. Are they wrong? MILLER: Well, I hope they've right, Larry. I mean obviously, I didn't write this book because I thought that it was going to happen today, tomorrow. I wrote the book because I see the way the technology is going. And I know what the terrorists want.
They want to acquire these weapons. Rogue states want a biological weapon. They are devoting a lot of resources to getting them. And this country has to prepare itself. And that's why I wrote the book.
KING: And what do you make of that? Did you read the book?
SIMON: Not yet, but obviously it's terrifying. Anything could happen. We know that now. Anything could happen. When I went to ground zero for the first time last night, my first impression was a smell. It smells like Beirut.
SIMON: I've been to Beirut. I've been to Sarajevo. I've been to these places. Now it's in New York. Anything can happen.
KING: What do you with the fear? Judith, what are you telling citizens? Buy antibiotics, have gas masks?
MILLER: I'm telling them not to do that.
KING: Not to do that.
MILLER: Not to do that. Because, you know, if somebody takes Cipro, which is a very powerful antibiotic every time they get a sniffle thinking that they're under biological attack, Cipro is not going to work when they need to take it.
KING: But it will work if you are under biological attack and you better have it, than not have it.
MILLER: No. You have to know you're under biological attack. And that means that the government has to pour more money into research and development to give us good detectors that will tell us when and if we're being attacked and with what, because without that knowledge, all the Cipro in world won't help you.
KING: Do they study this in the Middle East?
SIMON: Of course, they do. And for the first time, America is going to be in the kind of state of alert that the Israelis and others in the Middle East have been under for ages.
I was sitting in an airport waiting room last year. And guy just got up and left. And his bag was under the chair. And all of a sudden, I just got out of that room. Nobody else in the room reacted, because the other people in the room were Americans who'd never been exposed to a terrorist threat before. Now this is going to change.
KING: You also have met with suicide bombers who didn't pull off the missions, right? You did a piece on that.
KING: What did you learn?
SIMON: First of all, what happens is the amazing thing is that these kids -- and that's what they are; and their interrogators, Israeli Secret Service interrogators, say they're nice kids. They're not fanatics. They're not psychotic. The psychiatrists agree on that.
They are usually quiet kids. And we know that Mohamed Atta from Egypt was a quiet kid.
KING: Likable, would you say?
And they let it be known that they want to be martyrs. It's -- picture Yankee Stadium filled with volunteers. And then, one of the kids is chosen by some coaches. Then he's put in a tunnel. And that tunnel can only be a few days long, but the essential thing, they get him past a point of no return.
They have him do a video with his last will and testament. They have him say good-bye to his family. They have him photographed in a heroic pose to be put up in a poster on the wall. And after that, it would be so humiliating for him to knock on his door and say, "Hi, mom, I'm home."
KING: Well, it's a great piece. What do you make of that, Judith? I mean, how do you fight something like?
MILLER: Well, it was a fabulous piece, but one way you fight it is that you make sure that the family of this young man is not rewarded by his action. Right now, money pours into the family in the West Bank.
KING: How do you stop that?
MILLER: You stop it by having Yasser Arafat be told, under no uncertain terms, that if he permits this, his Palestinian entity will pay a terrible price.
SIMON: They've already paying terrible price.
MILLER: In terms of American and world support.
I think that what Yasser Arafat ultimately wants, though we haven't seen much flexibility or imagination on his part, is still he's a man who's getting older. He wants a legacy. Eventually, I think he will accept a deal, but he's got to play by civilized rules.
KING: We're running on limited time. And I want to have both of you come back soon as maybe next week. This is a great discussion in many areas. Make much of that anthrax incident in Florida today? MILLER: There is no indication, Larry, that it's bioterrorism. However, it is very rare. We haven't had a case of pulmonary anthrax since the late '70s. It's the kind of case that raises questions in people's minds about whether or not we are protected, but the government says so far, no indication of anything untoward.
KING: Thank you both very much. Judith Miller and Bob Simon. And when we come back, four firemen, incredible stories. Don't go away.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know as time goes on you getting angry about it, because there's still -- you know, I mean the firemen, but there's 23 people in my uniform down there that they haven't found yet. And that gets you angry. Now it gets you angry. Then, you know, you reacted to the situation, but now you start to getting angry.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Let's meet four of New York's finest in the field of fire. Lee Elbi, retired firefighter, 28 years on the job. His son, Jonathan, is missing at the World Trade Center. Retired chief Jay Jonas, 22 years, was a captain at the time of the disaster, received a battlefield promotion afterwards. He and some of his men were trapped in the stairwell.
Firefighter Bill Butler, seven years in department, one of the men trapped as well, along with Jay. And Jim O'Donnell, firefighter 20 years in the department. His firehouse lost 11 men at the WTC. What was your son, Jonathan, doing, Lee?
LEE ELBI, RETIRED FIREFIGHTER: He works with squad company 288. He came in to work the day tour. As it turns out, he rode early because that's the makeup of the fire department. When they heard what they were going through, he hopped on a little early and he rode, and he rode with seven guys. And all seven are missing.
KING: Have you given up hope?
ELBI: I've done this a long time, and the spirit is always there. But in reality, 20 some odd days is a -- is beyond the scope of...
KING: How old is Jonathan?
ELBI: Jonathan is 29.
KING: Like dad, he wants to be a fireman.
ELBI: Yeah, it's been in the family. I have a son who's on the job also, probationary.
KING: Jay, you were trapped in a stairwell?
JAY JONAS, FIREFIGHTER: Yes.
KING: When did it collapse?
JONAS: The -- we were in a stairway in the North Tower, which was the first tower that got hit, which is the second tower that collapsed.
KING: Were you real close by when it happened? You got there that quick?
JONAS: Yeah, my firehouse -- my old firehouse is in Chinatown, roughly 20 blocks away. We're on Canal Street.
KING: Did you think you'd bought it?
KING: What saved you?
JONAS: We don't know. We don't know. The -- I'm sure group of engineers could probably write their thesis on what saved us: possibly the mechanical equipment, for the heating ventilation equipment was right next to the stairway. So it may have provided additional bulk for the -- to ward off the collapsing beams.
KING: You were there at the same time, Bill?
BILL BUTLER, FIREFIGHTER: Yes.
KING: What were you thinking?
BUTLER: Oh, I guess we were all just waiting to die when it began. And...
KING: Do you think it's kind of a miracle that you're here?
BUTLER: Oh, most definitely. Most definitely. Some of our brothers that were in the same stairwell with us that are now missing, we passed them, you know, we passed them or they passed us in the stairwell.
KING: And Jim, your firehouse, ladder company 35, lost 11 men?
JIM O'DONNELL, FIREFIGHTER: That's correct, Larry, 11 men missing.
KING: Were you there at the scene?
O'DONNELL: No. No. But when I saw it on TV, I got right downtown. And like every other fireman in the city, got down there just to try and do the best we could.
KING: How is the New York Fire Department going to recover from this? O'DONNELL: Larry, it's steeped in tradition. We're a big family, and now a bigger, tighter family. And somehow, some way, we'll get through. And we get inspiration from the families who are helping us. And somehow we will get through.
KING: Yes, we're showing you scenes of your firehouse.
Lee, did you ever question when you hear things like this, your own son, why am I fireman? Why was I a fireman?
ELBI: No, no. I think that all of us in the fire department have an inner feeling to help people. And I think one of the best ways to help people is a fireman. I mean, it's the next closest thing you can get to combat.
And going to a fire and trying to help somebody is probably the most rewarding thing you can do. And my son, my -- both sons, all they grew up with was me being in fire department. My son is a volunteer in town. And, no, honestly no.
KING: Ever regret it, Jay?
JONAS: I go to work and I'm surrounded by the best people on Earth. The acts of courage that -- and the heroism that I saw on September 11 were staggering. Saw members of -- we passed members of ladder company 5. We were carrying our own civilian down. And they were walking down a man with chest pains.
And I spoke to the officer, who was a friend of mine. I says, "It's time to go, the other building collapsed, let's go." "That's OK, we're working on this guy." So their last act was saving another human being.
KING: And when you go down there, have you all been down since? And you're the youngest one, right, Bill, point of service?
KING: Do you ever question why you became a fireman?
BUTLER: No, not at all. It's -- we all worked hard to become firefighters in the, you know, greatest fire department in the world in the greatest city in the world and the greatest country in this world.
KING: What do you make, Jim, of all these people coming from all over the country to help? Firefighters from L.A. and Nebraska and Michigan?
JONAS: Well, Larry.
KING: Is it a national fraternity, you guys? JONAS: National fraternity, come, want to help. And also the -- the American people, the outpouring of love, reminds me of Tom Browkaw's greatest generation. Well, I think we might be seeing the next greatest generation of this whole country pulling together. From little children to, you know last week, we had a 90-year-old woman come into our firehouse and want to volunteer with a cane. And it's very inspiring. And does help us.
KING: Your son didn't have to go, did he?
ELBI: No. No. And a lot of sons didn't have to go. When a house, when they say a house lost 11, my son's house lost 19. Squad 1 lost another 11. Those guys hopped on the rig. They rode early. They rode of because of what they heard on the radio.
They didn't have to go, but they knew like everybody else that heard it throughout the city, that there were going to be a lot of people needing help. And those guys hopped on.
KING: There's really nothing a grateful city or country can do. Maybe there's a lot of things they could do. They give money to families and everything, but to say thank you. And you feel that, don't you? You feel the love of the city?
BUTLER: Very much so.
KING: People back for you?
JONAS: I stopped at the firehouse today, I got promoted. And there's all kinds of pictures out front and drawings that people hung up on the firehouse and candles. And the Chinatown community, there's a language barrier between us and them. Every person, to a man and woman stopped by at the firehouse. And they started praying in front of the firehouse.
KING: Thank you guys. We salute you all. Sunday, September 23rd, New York held a prayer service in Yankee Stadium, one of the most emotional moments. Bette Midler singing "The Wind Beneath My Wings."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BETTE MIDLER, ENTERTAINER (singing): Did I ever tell you, you are my hero, you are everything, everything I wished I could be, now I can fly high, for you, you are the wind beneath my wings, God bless you, you are the wind beneath my wings.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We visited burn units at New York Presbyterian Hospital this morning. You'll be seeing a lot of that on Saturday night, among many other tapes we've done. Tomorrow night, Senator Schumer and Clinton and Queen Noor.
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