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CNN Larry King Live
Interview With Tom Daschle
Aired October 31, 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, a fourth anthrax death. The most mysterious one yet! The latest from a medical man on the front line of the fight against this lethal disease. Dr. David Satcher, surgeon general of the United States.
And then, how does it feel be the target of anthrax take? Senate majority leader Tom Daschle knows firsthand and we'll have a rare one- on-one with him. Then from New York, an exclusive interview with the Sinn Fein president, Gerry Adams. Has the I.R.A. disarming become a fallout from September 11.
And then in Washington, Senator Tom Harkin, chairman of the Agriculture Committee and the Appropriations Subcommittee for Health and Human Services. And with him, Senator Pete Domenici member of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, an early advocate of preparing the United States for the threat of bioterrorism.
Plus, singer-songwriter Paul Anka. His musical message: Freedom for the World. They are all next on LARRY KING LIVE.
Good evening. We begin tonight with the surgeon general of the United States, coming to us from our bureau in Washington, Dr. David Satcher. We want to get an immediate comment on the death of that 61- year-old Vietnamese immigrant worker who was an employee of a hospital that died of inhalated anthrax.
DR. DAVID SATCHER, UNITED STATES SURGEON GENERAL: Well, as you know, Larry, this is the fourth death that we've had from inhalation anthrax, and we feel that that's four too many. This is a very sad case.
We're very concerned that we really don't know how this person was infected, and the reason we're so concerned about that is because that will tell us who else might have been exposed in the same situation at the same time or near the same time.
So our major concern now and our major investigations are surrounding trying to understand how this person became infected.
KING: And she worked, as I understand it, in a stockroom...
KING: ... next to the mailroom. SATCHER: Exactly.
KING: And they've swept it for anthrax and haven't found any, right?
SATCHER: It's very strange. They have not found any evidence yet as to the nature of her exposure. They haven't found any in that mailroom.
So, hopefully, very soon we will discover where she contracted anthrax, because that means that other people have been or are being exposed probably in the same place.
KING: And there is no apparent link between her and either the Postal Service, the media or the Congress?
SATCHER: There is no link, and that's what really has us concerned. We need to find out how she was infected. A lot of investigations are going on as we speak. The epidemiologists from CDC, and working with the local health department, are looking very intensely into this case. We need to find out exactly where and how she was exposed.
KING: Does this give us the thought, Doctor, that this may be wider than we thought?
SATCHER: Yes. I think every time a new person is infected, especially, as you imply, if it's outside of the Postal Service system, we become very concerned that there might well be some other strategy involved here. There might well be other letters than the ones that we've been familiar with already. So, yes, it is a source of great concern.
KING: And cross-contamination as well?
SATCHER: Yes. And we're not prepared yet to say that. We're not prepared to say that this is evidence of cross-contamination. But certainly we have to keep looking at that possibility.
KING: What, in simplest forms, Doctor, and we thank you for all the time you've given us, what do we know about this and what don't we know?
SATCHER: Well, I think we know a lot about anthrax. We know that, you know, there are three ways that people can be infected, cutaneous, inhalation and gastrointestinal. We know that inhalation anthrax goes very fast. From the beginning of the first symptoms to death can be within 48 hours or so sometimes. So we've got to try to identify people who are exposed and get them on treatment to prevent the development of inhalation anthrax. That's been our strategy all along. We believe that we've saved a lot of lives, but we've lost four lives too many.
But there is a lot we don't know about what the attacker is doing, and that's the difficult part. We don't know what the attacker is doing or what the attacker is going to do next in terms of strategy. We're used to dealing with infectious diseases, but we don't have a lot of experience dealing with terrorists.
KING: The anthrax had to be made somewhere, right?
SATCHER: Exactly. And the FBI, of course, is looking into that very closely as to what is the source of this anthrax and who is behind it. And hopefully, with all of the work that they're doing, we will know that answer soon. That is the only way we can prevent a continuation of this.
KING: The death of this poor lady happened quickly, didn't it? She checked in and was gone.
SATCHER: Well, that's the story with inhalation anthrax. And we've really been fortunate in the other cases that we have as many people who have survived to date with inhalation anthrax as we have. Most people would have estimated that the death rate would have been 80 to 90 percent. I hope that doesn't turn out to be true, it doesn't seem to be.
It can go very fast. I mean, from the first symptoms until death can be very rapid.
KING: Can you tell us, Doctor, without being too medical, what kills you?
SATCHER: Well, the spores get into the lungs and they end up in the lymph nodes, in the chest, what we call the mediastinum (ph). They get into cells that are supposed to protect us from bacteria, the microphages (ph), and it's in there that they're able to produce this toxin. And when the cells explode and release the bacteria, it also releases the toxin. It's that poison, that toxin, that damages the blood vessels and creates the bleeding and the shock.
So very key to this is the toxin that's released by the bacteria. The spores get in, they release the bacteria, the bacteria causes the development of toxins in our own cells, and that is what attacks us.
KING: It goes to war on the body and the body doesn't have antiaircraft?
SATCHER: Exactly. That's exactly what we're dealing with.
KING: All right. I want you to comment on this. In a congressional hearing this morning, Dr. Dan Henfling (ph) of Inova Fairfax Hospital said, "What is ironic in all of this is that if this were a major snowstorm barreling up the East Coast we'd get so much more information than we did this past week, and in large part because a mechanism for conveying that information would have been utilized." He's saying that there's not good sharing of information. What's your response?
SATCHER: Well, I imagine if this were a major snowstorm we would probably know more information to share than we know now. I think we have tried to be very forthcoming with information. CDC is reporting as rapidly as it can, as we get new information, but we're very careful not to give information that would be misleading, that's inaccurate.
So I know that people would like to know more sooner, but I think people want accurate information. And people must understand that we're learning together. This is new. We have not faced a bioterrorist attack before with anthrax or bioterrorist attack at all, so we are learning together.
We are sharing a lot of information here, and I don't believe that people would want information that's not reliable.
KING: As we speak, children are out trick or treating. How worried are you?
SATCHER: Well, we have no reason to be worried beyond what we've said, that everybody should be on high alert. We're talking about a very small percentage of people that's been impacted so far. We have 10 confirmed cases of inhalation anthrax. We have six confirmed cases of cutaneous. We have several more that we're looking at, I think four suspected cases.
So as a rule the American people should go on with their lives, but be on great alert as to how we handle anything that's foreign. And I think we ought to be very careful with children in terms of handling foreign items here.
So we've tried to share that information. We don't expect people to shut themselves into their homes and not be active -- just as President Bush was out at the game last night.
KING: What, Doctor, to you, is the most puzzling aspect of all of this?
SATCHER: Well, I think what's most puzzling is the way the mail is being used, Larry, and especially now that we know it seems as if a sealed envelope passing through a post office can infect people within that post office.
What's really puzzling is how did they get infected from that envelope. Did something happen in the post office with the sorting machines? We don't know those answers, and that's what's most puzzling to us. We do know we have to find a way to sanitize the mail to protect the people in the post office, as well as other people who get mail. But we don't know actually what happened in that post office in Brentwood, for example.
KING: Always good having you with us. Thanks so much, Doctor.
SATCHER: Thank you, Larry. Good to be with you.
KING: Dr. David Satcher, the surgeon general of the United States.
When we come back, the majority leader of the U.S. Senate, Senator Tom Daschle is next. Don't go away.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) KING: We now welcome to LARRY KING LIVE Senator Tom Daschle, the Senate majority leader. He comes to us from the radio-TV gallery in the Senate and we thank him for giving us this time.
What has this been like for you, personally?
SEN. TOM DASCHLE (D-SD), MAJORITY LEADER: Well, Larry, it's been horrific. I don't know how you begin to describe what has happened over the last couple of weeks. I think the good news is that my staff is doing well. They're healthy. They're not infected. We got this under control almost immediately. But it's been a nightmare. You can't describe it in any other way than that.
I think because it was handled so well, we've been able to get through it in reasonably good shape, but it's not something that I hope we ever have to repeat again.
KING: Do you ever say to yourself, why me? Why us? Why the Senate?
DASCHLE: Well, for a while I was wondering if it was a "Tom" thing -- Tom Brokaw, Tom Daschle, or a South Dakota thing. But you do have to wonder that -- why us, what was it that caused whomever to trigger his passion and his anger towards us? But however it happened, I'm just glad he wasn't successful, or she.
KING: How are the people in the office?
DASCHLE: They're doing well. I'm so proud of them. Every one of them is doing well. We've gotten through the worst of it. There was that period where you had to really worry about exposure and the incubation of the spores. But at least as we speak -- knock on wood -- everybody is doing great. Their attitudes are good. They're ready to come back to work. We still have a lot of work to do in the Hart Building. It will be a couple of weeks yet before we get into the Hart Building. But they're working from their homes and in cubicles around the Capitol, and I couldn't be prouder of them -- every one of them. They're just an inspiration to me and I think to a lot of people who know them.
KING: Now, the majority leader needs more than just an office because he's got so many other things to deal with. How are you operating?
DASCHLE: Well, the South Dakota office was the office that was attacked. My Capitol office, my leader office, was not affected directly by it. So we're still working out of the Capitol office complex that I have in my so-called "leader" office.
But for the most part, all of my staff who work out of the Hart Building are working out of their homes. They're working, as I say, in cubicles in other locations. But without the advantage of our computers and our database or telephones it's a lot more difficult.
KING: What about mail? Are you getting mail, because in testimony yesterday an FBI official said that quarantined congressional mail has not yet been tested for anthrax?
DASCHLE: We're not getting any mail at all, Larry. We're only getting what is sent within the system itself, that is, within the Capitol. But no outside mail has come through for two weeks. It's all being stored at an undisclosed location and that's as it should be. We won't get mail until it has all been tested, until it has all been treated, probably irradiated, and that could be some time.
KING: So how do people who want to reach you or need to reach you, reach you?
DASCHLE: Well, when I say we're not getting mail, what I should say is we're not getting mail in Washington. Our South Dakota offices, our home offices are still getting mail, and they can certainly send mail to our South Dakota offices or our home office wherever it may be.
KING: Or e-mail.
DASCHLE: Or e-mail, of course.
KING: What has been the state of the Senate? I mean, we concentrate so much on anthrax and Afghanistan, what goes on every day?
DASCHLE: Well, we really -- that's a good question. We want as much as possible, to make sure that this republic continues to work, and that this democracy continues to function as you would expect it would under adversity. And that's what we have hopefully been able to demonstrate.
We've been meeting. In fact, as we speak, we're debating the appropriations bill on Health and Human Services. We're having a vigorous debate on a number of issues. We're working on the so-called economic recovery or stimulus package. We're working on airport safety. There are a lot of things. We've got to work on food safety and make sure that we address the array of real serious questions dealing with imported food and food safety and food labeling -- all of those things have to be brought before the Senate at some point. It's just harder to do it.
KING: Is there a pall over the Senate?
DASCHLE: I wouldn't say there's a pall. I would say that there is a grave concern. There is a good deal of anxiety. People are worried for their staffs and for these alerts that are being issued. And I think you wouldn't be human if you weren't concerned. Everybody's concerned, but I'm proud of them. You know, this has brought us together in ways that in all my years in the Congress we've never worked before. I've never worked this closely with a Republican leader as we worked in the last six weeks.
So in many respects, there have been, even though we've paid a very high price, some good things to come out of it.
KING: What's your response, Senator, to the complaints of postal workers that the Senate got treated better?
DASCHLE: Well, I don't think we got treated better. I think our circumstances were different. We actually opened an envelope where two grams of anthrax poured out in front of a lot of people. We didn't have the definite experience, that triggering moment in the postal service.
And so because the circumstances were different, I think for a lot of reasons the government was slower to act. But the same tests, the same procedures, the same way of remediating the locations where anthrax evidence has been found is being used in the Postal Service as it has in the Senate.
KING: How well is the investigation going into who sent this?
DASCHLE: Well, I wish I could tell you how well it's going. I don't know anything that you don't know. At this point, I think that it's wide open. I think we have a lot more questions than we do answers. At this point, I think that it's a mystery.
What we don't know, for example, is what happened to the woman in New York who had no direct exposure, necessarily, to mail or to the Postal Service or the Senate or anything, and apparently contracted anthrax infection and now has died. That's the biggest mystery of all of this so far.
KING: And in that case, she wasn't a media person or a Senate person.
KING: But the stockroom she was in was next to the mail room.
DASCHLE: Well, that's right. And so there may have been some degree of exposure indirectly that we still haven't been able to calculate. But that one is far more a mystery than the others have been so far.
KING: And how about the confusion and the contradictory information -- apparently contradictory information -- about anthrax itself? You hear one thing, then you hear another thing.
DASCHLE: Well, we've not been exposed to this before, as you know. This is the first and extraordinarily consequential experience and exposure that is unprecedented. In all of American history, this has not happened.
So there's bound to be uncertainty and confusion as we try to sort out the facts. I think in some cases the media has jumped to conclusions that they probably should not have. Statements have been made by public officials that may have been premature. So we've probably exacerbated the uncertainty.
But nonetheless, I think we have to accept the fact that when you have something of this magnitude, this unprecedented, you're going to have confusion and uncertainty that hopefully can be rectified in the shortest period of time.
KING: Are you satisfied with the domestic leadership -- Thompson, Ridge and the others -- to this point?
DASCHLE: I am. I don't think we can second-guess these people. I think they're going through some very challenging days, and everybody could do it better from their armchairs, I'm sure. But this is real. This is a very, very complicated set of circumstances. And I don't think there's anything to be gained, politically, by taking cheap political shots at this point. I think we've got to do the right thing. In the face of adversity, I think we have to pull together, and that's what we're trying to do.
We'll keep the politics for later. Let's get this job done right. Let's face these adverse circumstances as united as we can, knowing that there are going to be differences, but let's see if we can get through it.
KING: I'm going to take a quick break. We'll come right back with Senator Tom Daschle, and I'll ask him about the terrorism alert and other things, and we'll pause for this word and be right back with the majority leader. Don't go away.
KING: We're back with the majority leader of the United States Senate, Senator Tom Daschle of South Dakota.
What do you make of the non-specific terrorism alerts? We've had two now.
DASCHLE: Well, I don't know that the administration had much choice. I think that they are concerned about the intelligence information that has been provided them. They needed to alert law enforcement officials about the importance of increasing to an even more heightened degree the alert status. I know that as soon as they made the first contact with law enforcement at some point, that information was bound to get out.
So I don't know that they had much choice. It's aggravating. It's frustrating to be told to be on a heightened state of alert without any specifics, but that's the reality of the world we're living in right now. So I don't fault them, Larry. I think that they probably did the right thing, as frustrating as it is.
KING: How about aviation security? There are differences in the House and Senate. Yesterday, the Secretary of Transportation, Norman Mineta, said an unacceptable number of deficiencies continue to occur. What kind of bill is the president going to be asked to sign regarding this?
DASCHLE: I'm not going to speak for the president, but I'll say this. I am absolutely convinced he'll sign the bill that we send him. There aren't -- as important as the differences are, I can't imagine that he would veto a bill that would not be completely to his liking. The bottom line is, we've got to get this job done. We should have had it done three weeks ago. There are people that do not yet feel secure about flying on airplanes. They are not as secure as they want to be when they walk through airports. We've got Thanksgiving and Christmas coming up. We've got to put this in place. The sooner we do it, the better.
KING: And you think it should be federal all the way?
DASCHLE: I do think that's the preferred approach. There is no doubt that we would have a far greater degree of confidence. We have a far more sophisticated approach to ensuring discipline and the level of security that is going to be required if we did it at the federal level.
Federalization and professionalization go hand-in-glove. We've done that with air traffic controllers. We do it in so many other instances. We ought to do it with regard to security and safety, too.
KING: Before I ask you about Afghanistan, the economic stimulus plan, the president said today, failure to pass a bill by the end of this year would be playing with fire. Do you agree?
DASCHLE: I agree. I think we've got to get it done. I think what we have to be sure of, Larry, is that we address not only stimulus, but recovery. There are hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people, even this week, who are going without even any help with regard to unemployment insurance and access to health care. We've got to address all of those unemployed workers who have paid a terribly high price already, that have gone, so far, ignored.
We can't ignore them. We've got to address them. We've got to address their needs. That has to be part of any economic recovery plan. And if the president will agree with us on that point, we can get the rest of the package completed, too.
KING: Now, your thoughts overseas and Afghanistan -- Senator McCain said on this program the other night that we've got to go all the way -- Ramadan, forget about it -- you do everything you can to win the war. Do you agree?
DASCHLE: Well, I think he's right that we've got to do everything we can. I'll leave it to those who are in a more sensitive position with regard to Ramadan to decide whether you do it during the holy season. My guess is war is war, and you've got to recognize that the terrorists aren't going to stop attacking us or finding ways to thwart us.
And so I think this has got to be reciprocal. But if the decision is made to respect at least certain days in Ramadan, I respect that, too. My feeling is, John McCain is right. Let's keep going. Let's get this job done, the sooner the better.
KING: Senator, is there going to be a victory day? Is there going to be a parade? DASCHLE: Well, I think there is going to be a successful conclusion, and we'll leave it to a later time, Larry, to decide what kind of celebration will happen. I think we've got to break this cycle, this incredible terrorist effort that is under way in so many ways, and I'm not sure that it will happen in one decisive blow. I think that it may happen incrementally. It may happen piece by piece.
When it does, of course there's going to be cause for jubilation and some relief, but I'm not sure there will ever be a VE or a VJ day in that context. I think this is something that will happen over a period of time, with victories that we can count, but maybe that fall short of the need for a real celebration.
KING: If the president were to go to Iraq, would he have to clear that with the Senate?
DASCHLE: No, he certainly wouldn't have to clear it with us. He's an independent branch of government. But I'm sure he'd want to consult with us, advise us, and we'd want to talk about any action prior to the time something like that would be done.
KING: Do you have any thoughts about it now?
DASCHLE: I think it would be premature to do something like that right now. I think we've got to take this one step at a time. My view is, let's focus on Afghanistan. Let's get that job done first. Let's get into these terrorist camps wherever we find them. Let's break them up. Let's arrest those that we can arrest. Let's bring those to justice that must be addressed. And I don't think there's anything more important than getting that done. Let's deal with the Taliban.
We've got a lot of pieces to this that are still left to be done, and I think it's important we do them.
KING: And how well will the alliance hold, do you think?
DASCHLE: I think the alliance will hold well. I am encouraged by the reports I've been given, almost on a daily basis, some more than others. We owe a huge debt of gratitude, of course, to our friends in Britain especially, but also there are heroes in the Middle East. King Abdullah in Jordan deserves special recognition. But there are many who have been stalwart friends who deserve our praise and our gratitude, and I hope they'll get it.
KING: Are you optimistic, Senator?
DASCHLE: I am optimistic. I am absolutely convinced, Larry, that we're going to win this. We're going to get this job done, as we have on so many occasions. We've risen to the level of expectation. We've risen to the occasion. I think we've got a lot to do. I know this is going to take time. But I'm convinced we're going to do it.
KING: Thank you, Senator. Thanks for giving us the time. Always good having you with us.
DASCHLE: Thank you, Larry. My pleasure.
KING: Senator Tom Daschle of South Dakota, Democrat and majority leader of the United States Senate.
Another major effort at getting at this story is terrorism elsewhere. We're going to talk about that right after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have got to put aside political differences and act swiftly and strongly on behalf of the American worker and the American business person. And so my call to Congress is get to work. And get something done. The American people expect us to do just that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Gerry Adams, the president of Sinn Fein. Last week, after years of vowing it wouldn't up a bullet or an ounce of explosives, the I.R.A., the Irish Republican Army, announced that it was beginning to dismantle its arsenal. Why now, Gerry?
GERRY ADAMS, PRESIDENT, SINN FEIN: Well, I think the peace process risked collapse. I think clearly all of the signals, if you reflected there have been 300 bomb attacks by loyalists upon Catholic families. If you can picture for a moment the nearly (UNINTELLIGIBLE) has been erected around little Catholic school children in their (UNINTELLIGIBLE) area.
The huge remilitarization by the British and I know the British are allies of the U.S. in this latest international effort, but in my country there, there is an occupation force. And the suspense of the political institutions would have meant that eventually, the process would have collapsed back into conflict and I think the I.R.A. in their statement made it clear that they took this action to save the process.
KING: Were you affected at all, Gerry, by the incidents of September 11?
ADAMS: Absolutely. My response, and I was actually, in the windows of the world at a "Friend's of Sinn Fein" event two years ago, and some of the people involved in that event were very badly affected. One person is since missing and presumed dead, and I knew father Michael Judge, and when I heard and saw the planes crashing into the twin towers, and then heard the stories, especially particularly of people phoning their families and their loved ones before they died. I think everyone in Ireland was moved.
There was a national day of mourning, of remembrance in Ireland. So people were affected and maybe it is some very small consolation to those who lost loved ones, to know that the nature of their loss was an encouragement to the peace process back in Ireland. I, myself, said that the contribution which people in Ireland could make toward peace and to showing people there is another way of sorting out difficulties was by making our own peace process work.
I think those that have tried to present this as the I.R.A. been pressurized are missing the point.
KING: Was the I.R.A. ever, or did you ever consider it as its president, or involved as its member, involved in terrorism?
ADAMS: No. I -- I -- believe that the I.R.A. are patriots. Tomorrow was the anniversary of the execution of a man called Kevin Barry. You may -- most people know the song of this young man of 18 summers, who was executed by British only two weeks ago. He and nine of his comrades were given state funerals with all the pomp and ceremony that that deserved. I don't believe for one moment that Bobby Sands was a terrorist.
I don't believe George Washington was a terrorist either. I think it is dreadful that there are wars and that there are conflicts. But I -- I believe that people have their right to defend themselves and nations have the right to defend themselves. And what politicians have is a responsibility, and a political imperative to actually try to cherish everyone equally, to try to have conversations, discussions, negotiations try to shape a future in which there isn't conflict.
And I know that may be a little bit utopian, yet where I live, on an island which is partitioned, an island which (UNINTELLIGIBLE) , an island which deserves to be free and united. It is hardly you know, it is hardly a matter of imagination to think conflict for so long, we now have an opportunity to continue building peace.
KING: Don't all people, though, who commit acts, violence or otherwise, consider themselves patriots of some form or another? Wouldn't bin Laden say that he is, if not a patriot, a believer in his God, and it was God he was speaking for?
ADAMS: Well, I don't know what he may -- or would say. Clearly, there are people from his part of the world who support him. But I don't think there is any justification for what happened in the twin towers. Or for what happened at the Pentagon, or for what happened to people who died when the plane plunged to the ground in Pennsylvania. I don't think there is any justification for that type of fundamentalist approach.
But you are right of course, one person's freedom fighter, one person's patriot, is another person's terrorist.
KING: So the I.R.A. or others or even the British on the other hand, or defend when they have had to resort to violence, as an act of either self-defense or patriotism, correct.
KING: When is it all going to stop.
ADAMS: In my country, we are making a start to making it stop. We have been engaged in quite lengthy process against huge difficulties. The I.R.A. has had two cessations, the second one, that brings to it an accumulation of almost eight years. You did, as you have mentioned at the top of your program, have the move last week of the I.R.A., putting arms beyond use, the human rights issues need sorted out, the justice issue needs sorted out, people need to have a sense of ownership.
And the argument, although it is an interesting argument, of, you know, who is a terrorist and who is a -- a freedom fighter, probably will never be answered to everyone's satisfaction because people will be in different sides of conflict. All I know is that there is a chance in Ireland of building justice, and of building peace, and if Republicans, Sinn Fein and others are in forefront of trying to bring that about, and our commitment is to keep doing it.
KING: Gerry, have you ever had to deal with bioterrorism? Chemical, biological terrorism?
ADAMS: No. There was rumors in the South (UNINTELLIGIBLE) area of the British Army spraying the vegetation and the area around their big encampments with chemicals. But not to my knowledge, anything which was aimed at human beings, and I'm not even sure myself. I am no expert in any of this whether the anthrax threat comes from outside America, or from inside America. But I don't know of anything of that magnitude or of that nature in the whole Anglo-Irish conflict as long as that has lasted.
KING: Does the I.R.A. publicly support this American-British led coalition?
ADAMS: Well I think that what we and Sinn Fein support is that those who are responsible for the atrocities committed in America, that they should be brought to justice, and we defend absolutely the right of the people in the states or indeed of any nation to defend its citizens.
I think there has to be a humanitarian strategy as well. I'm reminded of the people in Afghanistan who are not terrorists, who are not responsible, the ordinary citizens who are women and children, who are not responsible for what happened here, seven and a half million of them are now facing into a winter on the cusp of starvation. And as someone who comes from a very small island which has also faced starvation, in the past, I'm mindful of the need and I appreciate that the president, President Bush and British Prime Minister Blair have acknowledged the need for humanitarian strategy. So I would like to see that put in place.
KING: And when are we going to see peace in your neck of the woods, true peace?
ADAMS: Well I think we are, you know, peace needs justice. And peace is, you know, a two-way street. It is a collective responsibility. It means a lot of players to get together, it is very difficult. It is actually much easier to make war than it is to make peace, and I think that when we see what's happening in other parts of the world, when we see the situation in Middle East, even though our situation is bad it is not as dire as that. And I do believe that it is the efforts of people here in the states, the president himself, others in the administration, former president Clinton, Irish America, that whole strata of opinion here which has helped to bring what was apparently an intractable conflict, going back hundreds of years, to bring it to the point of all party talks, to bring it to the point of an agreement, and now what we are laboring with is the implementation of that agreement. It is very slow. It is very difficult. It takes an awful lot of patience and a huge amount of commitment. It doesn't make the big headlines except on the back of some atrocity, or indeed in the back of some (UNINTELLIGIBLE) , but at least in this program, we have good news from Ireland which needs to be built upon.
KING: Thank you, Gerry. It is good seeing you.
ADAMS: Thank you, Larry. Good luck.
KING: Good luck to you. The president of Sinn Fein.
When we come back, Senators Tom Harkin and Pete Domenici, and then Paul Anka has our musical selection for the night. Don't go away.
KING: We now welcome to LARRY KING LIVE, from our studios in Washington, two prominent members of the United States Senate, Senator Tom Harkin Democrat of Iowa, chairman Agriculture Committee, Senator Pete Domenici Republican of New Mexico, member of Defense Appropriations Subcommittee.
Senator Harkin since your chairman of the Agriculture Committee, do you have any fear about the food supply in this country?
SEN. TOM HARKIN (D-IA), CHAIRMAN, AGRICULTURE COMMITTEE: Larry, we have the safest food supply anywhere in the world, but there are some gaps in it. And there are some holes that need to be plugged. For example, right now, only one percent of our food imported into United States is inspected.
Also, look at it this way, there are two inspection regimes: One under the Department of Agriculture an one under the Food and Drug Administration. Under the Department of Agriculture there is 7,700 inspectors for 6,500 establishments. Under FDA, there are 770 inspectors for over 66,000 establishments.
Eighty-five percent of the food-borne illnesses in America come from foods that are under the jurisdiction of FDA and not the Department of Agriculture.
KING: Right. Senator Domenici, the latest anthrax anxiety, the young woman who passed away and the situation in the Senate and the Hart Building and the growing fears on the part of Americans: What's your reaction?
SEN. PETE DOMENICI (R-NM), DEFENSE APPROPRIATIONS SUBCOMMITTEE: I don't think any of us ever thought we would be living in the United States when this would happen, for starters. Secondly, we have never had anything like this in terms of anthrax and its use and its effect on people. We have never had anything like this happen in the world.
Not that it is the most serious attack, but the nature of the spore and the difficulty in determining where it came from, these are very, very unique to our country and to this problem. From what I can tell, we've got our best people on it. We probably have learned some things, because the it is taking too much time to arrive at decisions, and I think that is because we are not unified yet. We still have five or six or seven departments and agencies that have to pass judgment.
And I think part of this reorganization will clarify some of that, but in the meantime, I believe we are doing the right thing. We are not short of resources. We are not sparing the new equipment. So the kinds of things that should be done are being done. I hope we find out how it is getting distributed, disseminated, as soon as possible. That would be very, very important to our future.
KING: Senator Harkin, did you agree with the idea of issuing high alerts?
HARKIN: Well, the only fault I find in that is that I think the American people should have been given more information. We found out only later on that this came from an intercepted radio broadcast of some sort from another country that informed us of it. I think if the attorney general is going to issue some kind of high alert, I think the American people have the right to know, and we should know, what that means.
I can't tell you how many people contacted me in desperation, saying what should we do? Should we fly? Should we drive? Should we go to the theater? Should we go out to eat? Can I go to the grocery store? I think -- I think if we are going to have these high alerts in the future, I think it is incumbent on the attorney general to give us more information.
DOMENICI: I don't agree.
KING: You don't agree, Senator, why?
DOMENICI: I don't agree. First of all, I think they ought to have as much information as possible. And if we would like to know whether they had enough, then we ought to go have an oversight hearing and find out where it all -- what did you really have.
Because it is something that they ought -- that is, the executive branch -- ought to be concerned about and we ought to. And it is a question of balance. How much do you tell the public that is indeed secret and yet, how much do you keep from them by way of factual -- factually telling them and whether or not you give them the high alert signal.
From my standpoint, I think they are going to learn here, too, that high alert -- the public has to understand what it means -- not the facts -- but what does it mean. And I think that will come about within the next two or three weeks, we'll get better at it.
HARKIN: I think Pete -- I disagree with that -- I think that in this last alert, for example, if the attorney general said look, here is the information we have, it was from intercepted radio broadcast, that another country intercepted and gave it to us. We don't know what it means, all they said was that there may be an attack somewhere in the United States.
I just think that little bit of information, given to American public, I think, would be sufficient to calm a lot of fears.
DOMENICI: Well, I don't want to disagree with that. I'm not sure that is all the information they had. If that is the extent of it. I would think they ought to be looking very carefully, but I think they had some other information.
HARKIN: That is what was reported in newspapers the next day.
DOMENICI: So they don't tell the newspapers what is secret. That is why I don't think this is the entire set of facts.
KING: Senator Harkin, the Senate knows, apparently, what it wants with regard to airline security and a lot of federal controls. The House has some differences. Are you going to get a bill compromised?
HARKIN: I sure hope so. I called for federalizing the airport security people 1996, five years ago, because I believed at that time, that it was necessary for security. I still believe that. And the Senate passed it 100 to nothing, and I don't see why the House can't act on it.
KING: Senator do you think the -- Senator Domenici -- do you think you will come together and the president will sign a bill?
DOMENICI: No question about it. Got to find a way. It doesn't have to be all the United States government employees. We could come to a compromise where the government stays in control and there is some options in terms of how you go on and carry out the particular decisions that are made. I think that is what's going to happen.
We are going to have overall government control, government guidelines, and some options available as to how it is enforced and implemented.
KING: Same question for both of you starting with Senator Harkin. What's your assessment of the war effort thus far?
HARKIN: Well, look, I don't think I'm in a position to be qualified to respond to that, Larry. I'm not on the Defense Committee. I want to get back, if I can just use my little time, to get back to this food security. I think we've got to pay attention to that. And we haven't in the past.
We have the technology right now to ensure that our food is free of pathogens. We have the technology now to make sure that all of the food imported into the United States is pathogen free. This technology, which I worked on for a long time, is called electronic pasteurization, as you know now, can be used also to make sure that all of the mail is pathogen free. That technology is there.
HARKIN: And we ought to get it in place as soon as possible.
KING: And Senator Domenici, your thoughts. I know that you are not on the -- well you are on Defense Appropriation, so it is more proper for you. How do you assess the effort?
DOMENICI: First let me say I agree that we have technology and techniques to make sure our mail is safe in future. We have the same to make sure that our food is safe. The question is, do you put all that in in the next couple months, or will it take longer? I think we are not going have the equipment do it real quick. I think the war is being waged exactly the way the generals and the president planned it.
If one questions it, one wonders whether it has been too slow at the beginning. But I tend to think they are right on the path that they intended to be. America's power was showing up much more yesterday and today, and I think it is going to show up even more with the combination of air, and men on ground, not invasion, not permanent, not large numbers, but I think that is the way they are going to do it.
I think right now they are getting information so they can do the job very skillfully and right.
KING: Senator, do you think the public will show amount of patience that it is so far continuing to show?
HARKIN: Well, I sure hope so. I mean, this going to take a long time. We are not going to have anything happen overnight. I think the president has been absolutely forthright in telling the American people that this is this is going to be, for the second time in our lifetimes a long twilight struggle, I believe. And we are going to have to have patience and perseverance to see it through.
DOMENICI: I think they are going to. They are more united than they have ever been. We are more united in the Congress than we have ever been. We do more things together than we ever have. And I believe there will be some little victories that are clearly understood along the way.
I think some will come in Afghanistan, which will make us very proud and pleased. And frankly, we have -- the military has plenty of strength and plenty manpower and what they don't have we will give them in the appropriation process before we get out of here.
KING: To two outstanding members of the Senate. Quickly, Senator Harkin. I've got to run.
HARKIN: Just on informing the American people, I believe the administration ought to appoint no more than two people to speak on this anthrax and on the bioterrorism: The surgeon general of the United States, and Dr. Koplan the head of the Center for Disease Control. Those two individuals ought to be the ones who give us the word. There are too many people out there saying too many different things and it is confusing a lot of our people.
KING: Senators Harkin and Domenici, we thank you both very much.
DOMENICI: Thank you.
KING: We close every program each night with an uplifting musical note. We have received so many comments on this for which we thank you. Paul Anka is our special guest in studio tonight and boy has he got something. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN ASHCROFT, ATTORNEY GENERAL: We will arrest and detain any suspected terrorists who has violated the law. If suspects are found not to have links to terrorism, or not to have violated the law, they will be released. But terrorists who are in violation of the law will be convicted, in some cases be deported, and in all cases be prevented from doing further harm to Americans.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: He is a great entertainer, and a great songwriter. He is Paul Anka. And we end our shows on musical notes every night. Thank you, Paul, for doing this.
PAUL ANKA, SINGER, SONGWRITER: Pleasure, Larry.
KING: You have got the whole group behind you. Tell me about this song.
ANKA: Well, it started back in the 80s. President Clinton asked me to come down to Miami for the concert of the Americas for all the leaders from around the world. We recently did it up at Montreal for the solidarity for the Americas. It was introduced quite a few years ago for a benefit for a hospital in Israel called Tel Hash Amir (ph) .
KING: And it certainly fits this occasion.
ANKA: Very indigenous to, unfortunately, what is going on, yes.
KING: Are you going to put it back out again?
ANKA: Got a call from the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and they want me to record this next week and I'm thinking about doing that.
KING: And you have, behind you, a chorus.
ANKA: We have a wonderful chorus, all local friends who have worked with me before, and they have come along to contribute.
KING: Great pleasure having you here.
ANKA: Thank you, Larry, good to see you.
KING: You know how much I admire you.
ANKA: Thank you. I appreciate it.
KING: Paul Anka. His own composition, his own group and here is a terrific composition composed, of course, by him, "Freedom for the World."
(MUSIC, PAUL ANKA SINGS "FREEDOM FOR THE WORLD")
KING: We will be back tomorrow night. We are running out of time so it is time for a special report and of course the host is Aaron Brown.
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