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CNN Larry King Live
Interview With Trent Lott
Aired November 07, 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, as the U.S. puts the financial squeeze on Osama bin Laden, George W. Bush and Tony Blair promise victory in the war against terrorism. We'll have a one-on-one with Senate Minority Leader, Republican Trent Lott.
Also from Washington, Democratic Senator Chris Dodd, member of THE Foreign Relations Committee, and chairman of the Subcommittee on Children and Family -- he is pushing bioterrorism protection for kids.
And joining him in that effort is GOP Senator Mike DeWine, a member of the Select Intelligence Committee and the Judiciary Subcommittee. That committee got an earful from major airlines earlier today.
And then, special ops -- in Chicago, retired Major General David Grange, former Ranger and Green Beret. In London and in shadow because some terrorist groups want him dead, former SAS member and best-selling author Andy McNabb.
And back in Washington, former Marine special operation special mission officer J. Kelly McCann, president and CEO of Crucible Security Specialists.
And then the Reverend Billy Graham is 83 years old today. His daughter, Anne Graham Lotz, joins us from Phoenix. And from Charlotte, his son, Franklin, CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
And then the incredible Bernadette Peters, her musical message "You'll Never Walk Alone."
They're all next on LARRY KING LIVE.
It's a great pleasure to welcome to LARRY KING LIVE an old friend, Senator Trent Lott, the minority leader of the United States Senate -- hasn't been with us since September 11.
So we will begin with where were you that day? And what's your assessment since, generally?
SEN. TRENT LOTT (R-MS), MINORITY LEADER: Well, first of all, Larry, thank you very much for the opportunity to be on your show again. I enjoy watching you almost every night. On September the 11th, I was here in Washington and came to the office about the time of the first strike, but I didn't turn on my television, and my staff came in and said, "You won't believe, but we were just watching the screen and we saw the second plane hit the other tower." Then we turned it on, and about that time we got the word that the Pentagon had been hit.
I went to my window in the Capitol, because my office is there on the west front of the Capitol, and looked off to the south, and I could see the very dark plume of smoke from the Pentagon. And I said, "You know, I don't like the looks of this, let's evacuate the building." Made one call to Tom Daschle, and we were then moved to the police headquarters and on from there.
It's been a very interesting experience, Larry, one filled with grief and sadness and pride, unity and a lot of work. Here in the Congress we have cooperated more on a bipartisan, nonpartisan basis than I've ever seen it in my 29 years as a member of Congress. It's getting more difficult, but we still have a reservoir of desire to do what's necessary to help the president carry out this effort to stop terrorism here in America, but also to, you know, get access to bin Laden and Al Qaeda.
KING: But at the same time, we're wary of what's going on. Would you bring us up to date on the Hart Building?
LOTT: Well, you know, we had to deal with the anthrax matter, and it hit the Senate first. And it's continued to be a problem. The Hart Building that senators use, half of the senators have their staffs and their offices in that building, it's still closed.
We had thought that we were going to go with a chloride dioxide gas to make sure that all of that anthrax that was there and had been found in two or three different hot spots had been eliminated from the building, and then EPA indicated that, well, perhaps that was not the best way to go because of some concerns about it's, you know, liquid state before it is made into a gas on the site.
We're looking at other options as to how to make sure that building is clean. In the meantime, we're taking steps, through our sergeant at arms, to make sure that our mail is, I guess, microwaved and checked, and then we begin to get additional mail that we have not been receiving for almost a month. But we're beginning -- I think Monday, we will begin to have a steady stream of our mail back in the Senate offices.
KING: Are you personally, Trent Lott, worried?
LOTT: Larry, no, I don't look at it that way. You know, faith in, you know, what we're doing and our role in life trumps fear.
But you have to be concerned about the safety of your constituents, of your staff, of our national monuments, like the Capitol, that dome, that citadel of freedom. We want to make sure that it is secure. We are, you know, getting these threat assessments weekly, which are pretty scary. Sometime they turn out to be true, sometime they're interdicted before they occur.
But we're dealing with some very irresponsible, crazy people, Larry, that don't care anything about their own lives or about the lives of innocent men, women and children. That challenge to the maximum the human ability to stop them under any and all conditions.
We're working with the president, we're working with Tom Ridge, the new home security director, to try to, you know, find out what might happen, take actions to protect everything: water, to food supply, to nuclear facilities, and anything else we can think of that might be at risk.
KING: Aviation security, we're got two different bills. Are we going to work out a compromise? Are we going to have a bill soon?
LOTT: We absolutely should work out a compromise, it's eminently achievable, and we should have it by early next week. I have spoken today with Senator John McCain, who's chairman of the committee of jurisdiction in the Senate, with Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison. Both of them, both Republicans, worked with Fritz Hollings, the chairman of the committee now, a Democrat, and worked on the bill that we passed through the Senate overwhelmingly.
But it wasn't supported, you know, unanimously, even though that was the vote. The expression was, "We need to get this done," and we were not going to let it die on a procedural vote or process. The House acted in a different way.
But now, you know, I have urged the administration, discussed it directly with Andy Card, the chief of staff. I have urged the Transportation Department to talk to these key people. Let's come up with some compromise language.
And here it is; it's very simple really, Larry. There are some good things in the House bill. Let's take those. There are some good things in the Senate bill. Let's take those, where they differ.
And then we've got to make a couple of fundamental questions. Number one, what department's going to be in charge, Justice Department or Transportation? I had preferred Justice. That is what's in the Senate bill. But the administration, Secretary Mineta, the House -- they all feel very strongly that Transportation should do it. Hey, OK. Let's let Transportation do it. The important thing is do it.
And then the other question is, give the president some flexibility. We can't go from the current system to a more perfect system in a month. Let's give some flexibility and some time to make sure we do it right. But yes, we will get it done and we will get it done before we go home for Thanksgiving.
KING: So that's the forecast from the minority leader: done before Thanksgiving, probably early next week.
LOTT: Right, sir.
KING: That's good to hear.
Now, the president is warning there'll be no additional emergency funds released beyond the $40 billion already committed. Do you agree with that?
LOTT: I do agree with that. The president has made it very clear. If the indications are at any point that more money is needed, that if we need additional funds for the Defense Department, the secretary of defense or the secretary of HHS will ask for that, or whatever Cabinet secretary, and the president and his office will massage it and the request will be made. The president has made it very clear that he will work with us. He has worked with us, as we have with him.
And next spring, if we get to that point and we need additional money for ordnance for our military or additional money for whatever -- the Postal Service -- he will make that request. Does anybody believe that Secretary Don Rumsfeld and President George W. Bush would not ask for additional funds for defense when and if it's needed? That's just not believable.
And I don't think that Congress should force that on the president. He has told us, he has told me personally, he has told the key appropriators, with the $686 billion we agreed to October 5, by the way, which is about a $20 billion increase over earlier in the year, plus the $40 billion, plus, of course, $15 billion for loan guarantees for the airlines, that they have the funds that are needed in the foreseeable future, recognizing that could change in a week or a month or early next year.
But I think we should make sure that we don't use this as an excuse to just start spending money on, you know, things we have been wanting for years or things that are not directly related just because we like them.
Some people are seeing we need to do more for roads and bridges. Larry, I agree. But, you know, we've done a significant amount in this year's budget, and I don't think we ought to use the September 11 events and the subsequent events as an excuse to add even more money at this time, but work through it in an orderly, methodical, commonsense way. And I think we'll get the job done.
KING: We will be back with some more moments with Senator Trent Lott, Republican of Mississippi, the minority leader of the United States Senate.
Don't go away.
KING: We're back with Senator Trent Lott, minority leader of the Senate, on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE. Tomorrow night, of course, we'll be on following the president's speech to the nation.
The federal agents in Boston, Minneapolis, Seattle and Columbus turning down financial accounts, confiscating accounts of Al Qaeda and bin Laden; the president puts this high on his list. Do you? And is it going to work?
LOTT: Well, certainly we've got to do it. One of the ways to stop their terrorism and to stop their activities all over the world is to get at their money. And we have been working on that. Our allies have helped some, but not as aggressively in some instances as they should have. They are beginning now to turn up the heat. And I think the president is doing the right thing in aggressively pursuing this.
You know, there's a great quote that I heard, as a matter of fact, from Senator Bob Byrd about how there's no fort that can't be taken with money. And if we stop the access of bin Laden's money, both from where he's getting it and where he has transferred it, if we get into that network and control that money, that will be a major step in controlling their future terrorist activities.
KING: Are you satisfied, Senator, with the progress of the fighting?
LOTT: You know, Larry, I just came from a briefing with Secretary of Defense Don Rumsfeld. He was briefing some 80 or more senators in a secure room. He was very candid. He was telling us, you know, the difficulties of this assignment. I mean, this is a country that has just been pummeled, and it's very barren and bad weather. There are not a log of so-called enriched targets to go after. I mean, they have hit the airports. They've taken out the air defense mechanisms. They're going after tanks, personnel carriers. And they're down now to identifying caves and trying to blow those up. I understand that some of those perhaps are even filled with munitions, and you get a response when you put a missile or a bomb into that area. They are also going after the front-line troops.
But this is a very difficult, very slow process. I think they're doing everything they can. They've got a plan. They're also working simultaneously with the different groups in Afghanistan, the different tribes, so that hopefully they will help with and lead the ground effort, but also be involved in forming a government when the Taliban are gone.
It will happen. The Taliban will be removed. The Al Qaeda will be seized. We'll get at their leaders. And we'll get bin Laden.
But it's not going to be like an Easter egg hunt. This is even more difficult than that. We are looking for the needle in the haystack.
But we're committed. We're being very methodical about it. And I have ultimate faith in our uniformed personnel and our equipment that our men and women use, and in Don Rumsfeld. He's doing an excellent job.
KING: Now, at the same time we have terror and fear at home, we're fighting a war, and we have a semi- if not a full recession. They cut the interest rates again yesterday. The House has a stimulus package. You're considering a stimulus package. You going to get through this? LOTT: I believe we can, and we certainly should. Lower interest rates, that's good. And I was pleased to see Alan Greenspan and the Fed do that.
But that alone is not enough. We have seen in Japan, where they've lowered their interest rates to basically zero, that that alone won't do it. You've got to have liquidity in the monetary system. You've got to have financial institutions that will, in fact, make loans. You've got to have sound fiscal policy.
That's why we got to be careful about spending too much money too fast that takes us into a deep deficit and has long-term negative effect on interest rates and the overall strength of the economy.
And we need to put in some stimulus. The president has asked for some changes in the law, some incentives for jobs creation and for economic security. The House passed a bill. The Senate Democrats have a different bill. Unfortunately, so far, they've not been willing to make it a bipartisan bill, even though I've been talking to senators like John Breaux on the other side of the aisle. So far, we haven't been able to come together yet on that package.
But we will work through it in the Senate. It may take a little more time. And then we'll get into conference with the House.
And the solution, again, very simple: They want some additional funds for unemployment compensation, health care; we're going to have to do that. But we got to make sure that at least, you know, more than half of the package is aimed at economic growth, spurring the economy. We need more than just a check today, even though that's important, we need a job for the future.
And so we have our part to play in the economic recovery. And so I believe that before this year is out -- I'm not going to predict next week -- but we will get through this and we'll have a job security package that will stimulate the economy also.
KING: One prediction for next week is enough.
LOTT: That's right.
KING: Do you support the McCain-Bayh effort on national service?
LOTT: You know, for years I have been attracted to that idea, going back to when I was in the House of Representatives in the '70s and '80s. There was a congressman named McCloskey from California, maybe you remember him.
KING: Know him well.
LOTT: And he had advocated a national service program, and I was attracted to it then.
I haven't studied what Senator McCain and Senator Bayh have proposed, but let me just say the general concept is one I've always been attracted to. And we see now in America there is, you know, a feeling that, "Look, I want to do my part. How can I help?" By serving in the military or doing the right thing in the government or making a charitable contribution.
I think that some sort of program like this is certainly worth considering.
KING: We'll getting old, Senator Lott. That was Pete McCloskey.
LOTT: Yes, Pete McCloskey.
KING: And I think he was running for president once, wasn't he?
KING: Yes. Quite a guy.
LOTT: He didn't do very well.
KING: All right, the elections yesterday -- you lost governorships in Virginia and in New Jersey and win a mayoralty in New York. What's your assessment?
LOTT: Well, I don't think we should read too much into it for one party or the other.
I must tell you that I have a concern, though, out of this election, and that is the pattern of super-wealthy people being able to put, you know, $10 billion, $40 billion, $60 billion (sic) of their own money in the races, in many instances where they have no prior experience or government leadership positions. That is troubling to me. And I feel I can say it in this instance because one is a Democrat and one's a Republican.
LOTT: Now, I don't think you should -- you know, you can't condemn them on that basis alone. But that is one thing that came out of that race, those races yesterday, two out of the three of them put in millions of their own money and they had never held elective office. That is a pattern that seems to be growing that I don't think is healthy.
KING: Giuliani: Should he have a federal post of some kind?
LOTT: Well, Mayor Bloomberg may want to make him executive director or, you know, ghost mayor or something like that.
Rudy has done a fantastic job. I mean, his personality is just so perfectly suited for New York City. But he also has got guts. He shows leadership. He's got courage, you know. He has just done such a fabulous job in New York. He cleaned it up, he cut the crime. In the aftermath of, you know, our famous September 11 date, I don't know how he could have been any better. And you saw the power that he had when he came out two weeks ago and endorsed Bloomberg. He was 20 points or more down. He got elected mayor. Jeez, I may want him to come down to Mississippi and lay hands on me before this is over.
KING: One other thing...
LOTT: But yes, I want to give a direct answer to your question. I think...
KING: Yes, if he wants to..
LOTT: I think the president ought to look for position for him. I don't know what he wants to do, but he has certainly exhibited true leadership.
KING: And one other thing, Senator, you expect an important speech tomorrow night, or a reaffirmation speech?
LOTT: You know, I don't know what exactly what the plan for tomorrow night is. The president has done extraordinarily well in his presentations to the American people and to the Congress and to our allies around the world since September 11. He has just exhibited such growth and such leadership and such resoluteness that it has been very, very healthful and very reassuring to the American people.
So I'm pleased that he's, you know, not viewing this as a one- shot deal. You know, two weeks ago he had, you know, the full-blown press conference. Before that, two weeks or three weeks before that they addressed the joint session.
This is important. Now we've got a lot at stake. People are unsettled. We are investing a lot of money. America is still being threatened. I think to hear from him as, sort of, report of what we're doing and how we're going to be doing in proceeding in the days and weeks ahead would be very reassuring to the American people.
KING: Senator, thanks again. Not so long between the next visit. It's always good having you with us.
LOTT: I look forward to it, Larry. Thank you.
KING: On October 21, six days after an anthrax-tainted letter was discovered on Capitol Hill, a postal worker named Thomas Morris phoned 911. It was a little after 4:30 in the morning, Morris, who worked at a postal facility in Washington, D.C., was sick and fearing the worst.
A recording of his grim conversation was released today. We have an excerpt. Something to think about: 55-year-old Thomas Morris died of inhaled anthrax hours after placing this call.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED OPERATOR: What's the problem?
THOMAS MORRIS JR., ANTHRAX VICTIM: My bleeding is very, very labored.
UNIDENTIFIED OPERATOR: And how old are you?
MORRIS: I'm 55.
I don't know if I have the anthrax. I suspect that I might have been exposed to anthrax.
UNIDENTIFIED OPERATOR: Do you know when or...
MORRIS: It was last -- what -- last Saturday, a week ago last Saturday morning at work. I work for the postal service.
I had been to the doctor, went to the doctor Thursday. He took a culture but he never got back to me with the results. I guess there was some hangup over the weekend, I'm not sure.
But in the meantime, I went through achiness, sneeze, headachiness -- this was starting Tuesday.
Now I'm having difficulty breathing. And just to move any distance, I feel like I'm going to pass out.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
KING: We now welcome to LARRY KING LIVE, both in Washington, Senator Chris Dodd, a Democrat of Connecticut, a member of Foreign Relations and chairman of the Children and Family Subcommittee of the Health Education, Labor and Pensions Committee; and Senator Mike DeWine, a Republican of Ohio, a member of the Select Intelligence Committee and a ranking member of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust Business Rights and Competition, They are both pushing proposals for protecting children from bioterrorism.
Before I ask about that, Senator Dodd, any comment on the tape we just heard of the late postal worker, Mr. Morris?
SEN. CHRISTOPHER DODD (D-CT), CHAIRMAN, CHILDREN & FAMILIES SUBCOMMITTEE: Well, I heard it this morning, Larry, for the first time. And first of all, let me express what I'm sure all Americans feel and that is a deep, deep sense of sadness over what happened to this man, what happened to the other victims of the anthrax attack.
It is also, obviously, deeply disturbing that he would have gone to a doctor, reported these symptoms and didn't hear back from his physician. I don't know all the details of that. But, it would trouble me deeply to think that someone would have those symptoms, report them and that he would not get the kind of treatment that one should have received, particularly in this -- so much news about the symptoms that he reported. So I'm saddened by it and I'm angered, frankly, by the apparent reaction he received.
KING: Senator DeWine? SEN. MIKE DEWINE (R-OH), SELECT INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: Well, Larry, it is a very sobering thing that we just heard. I just heard it actually for the first time. Your heart goes out to Mr. Morris and his family.
I think we have to resolve to do whatever we can to prevent this in the future. And I think we have to continue to try to learn more about this. What's been troubling is we have gone, day after day, is that every day we learn something new about this anthrax and how to try to deal with it, and how it actually is hitting people.
So it is very troubling and I think we have to resolve to do the best that we can to make sure that postal employees are as safe as we can humanly make them.
KING: Can you tell me, Senator Dodd, what you're proposing in the way of legislation with regard to bioterrorism -- and both of you in favor this -- and children?
DODD: Well, thanks for asking us about it. And Mike and I are -- have worked together on this along with Susan Collins, Paul Wellstone and others. Senator Kennedy and Senator Frist are working on a larger bill dealing with bioterrorism. And we feel strongly this ought to be a part of it, confident it will be. Both Senator Kennedy and Senator Frist, I think, agree with this, that we ought to do something about the 20 to 30 percent of America's population that are children, somewhere between 50 and 60 million of our population.
And what Mike and I are proposing, along with our other colleagues, is to try and provide some additional resources to local communities, to our EMS services, ambulance services, police and fire so that their equipment and their training will be geared to deal with children; and secondly, that we see to it that any vaccines or antibiotics that we develop to deal with any of these problems such as anthrax, that these vaccines and antibiotics be tested so that there can be dosages that are applicable and appropriate for children.
As we all know, children are not just smaller versions of adults -- that physiologically, they respond very differently. Their skin texture is very different and so children need to be thought of when we're talking about this problem in very special ways. And lastly, mental health is the third major area we are talking about because, obviously, they are less well prepared to respond to the trauma of September 11 and the anthrax stories that have appeared. That is what we are trying to achieve.
KING: And, Senator DeWine, in another one in your bailiwick, you held a hearing today to examine international aviation. What were you looking for?
DEWINE: Well, Senator Cole and I held this hearing today. And, frankly, we were looking to see whether or not the proposed alliance between British Airways and American Airlines should go through.
Four years ago, Senator Cole and I did not think it should go through. We think it hurts competition. And we held the hearing today to look at that. But we also got into, of course, the issue of safety. You can't have six CEOs, top people from airlines, in front of you and not talk about safety.
And the point that we tried to make with them today is look -- and I asked them. I said, how -- excuse me -- how much is your business down? It's basically down 25 to 30 percent. It is not coming back very strong at all. I said: Look, you have to assure the public that when they get on that airplane, they are going to be safe. And the only way to do it is to do absolutely everything you can to get up to speed on this.
We have to do our job in Congress. We have to get to the president the bill to protect, basically, make sure that we begin treating our airlines' safety issue from a law enforcement point of view in a security issue.
But the airlines have the obligation to do everything that they can, as well. And we told them, "Look, you are not going to get the public's confidence back unless you start doing the things that need to be done, whether it is hand screening of bags, whether it is making sure that every single bag has been checked to make sure there is not a bomb in it. These are things that have to be done.
KING: Senator Lott predicted, Senator Dodd, tonight on this program -- you may have heard him say -- that you are going to have a compromise bill on airline security by Monday or Tuesday, signed before Thanksgiving. Do you agree? You hear about it?
DODD: Well, I hope so.
In the Senate, we voted 100-0 to federalize this work force. The division occurred in the House. And my hope is that the compromise -- you have to get it done and I understand that -- but I hope we don't compromise security, and just what Mike said here, I understand when everything else being neutral or equal, allowing private enterprise to operate, their profit margins and so forth.
But as Mike just said, we've got the airline services are way down here. I feel, frankly, secure when I walk into an airport. I never thought I would say this, but to see National Guard people with M16s, I feel better about flying as a result of that. And I don't want people that got a job there because they were the low bidder.
I want to know that those bags are being checked. I wouldn't want my police department, I don't want the INS, to be low bid. I want the best people, well trained, to do the job and, frankly, that ought to be what we are guaranteeing with this bill.
KING: Senator DeWine, Senator Lott did say it is going to happen Monday or Tuesday. Do you expect it?
DEWINE: As far as the bill?
DEWINE: We are going to get a bill and it is going to get to the president. We have to do it. The American people need to have it done. And we are going to get it done.
I think the key is that no longer are we going to rely on our airlines to provide our security. We are going to say that this is a function of the federal government to set the standards, to enforce the standards, to look at it from a law enforcement point of view.
One of the reasons that I worked in the Senate to, along with Conrad Burns, to try to make sure that we had the Justice Department in charge is because this is what they do. They deal with security. They deal with law enforcement issues. And these are law enforcement and security issues.
KING: Scottsdale, Arizona, let's include a phone call for Senators Dodd and DeWine. Hello.
CALLER: Yes. Isn't it time that we have some type of U.S. identification card instead of using driver's licenses that any high school kid or college kid gets to drink at 21?
KING: Senator Dodd?
DODD: Well, it getting to that. A lot of people are beginning to talk like that. It better be one, if you're going to do it, that's going to be very secure. A lot of these identification cards can be duplicated, forgeries made of them and so forth. So I'm not opposed to the idea of coming up with some means by which we can check people rather than just relying on someone showing any piece of plastic that you can have laminated as sort of a verification as to who they are.
When you do that, I think you've also got to keep in mind some particular sensitivities in how it's going to be used, what information gets collected. There are real concerns in our country about that, and obviously, we want to be more secure, but we don't want to invade people's privacy. So I think you can strike that balance, and I hope -- I'm sure we'll get to it.
DEWINE: Larry, you know, we can take, use technology for many different things. We held a hearing the other day and looked at the whole immigration issue and people who come over here with visas. And there is absolutely no reason that we cannot plug people into a national database. People from foreign countries who go to our consulates, get a visa, and come into the United States, we ought to get their fingerprints right then, we ought to put it into a database and compare that when they get to the United States to make sure it's the same person. No reason we can't do that.
DODD: Mike makes a very good point, Larry. The fact is some of our major federal agencies -- and I know they're working at this -- don't have computers that can speak to each other. I mean, it's hard to imagine we're in the 21st century, and the computers cannot absolutely, between the INS and the FBI, are incapable of talking to one another. And that's unacceptable.
DEWINE: It's so bad, Larry, that when you -- to have information about someone who is a bad person and who may do harm to U.S. citizens, and one branch of the government has that information and you can't get it over to the people who really need it, that's a crime. That's wrong.
DODD: We ought to do that first I think before you get to some of the other stuff.
KING: Senator DeWine, do you support the president on no more emergency spending?
DEWINE: I think -- yes, I absolutely do. What we have to do is focus, I think, on spending this money correctly. The president has never said that if we didn't -- if we needed more money in the future that he wouldn't go back and get more money from the United States Congress. He is certainly willing to do that. The question is how we spend it.
And we are -- we are moving forward and we are doing things, quite candidly, Larry, that we should have done years and years ago in the whole area of intelligence, in the area of the judiciary, law enforcement, the FBI working together with our other agencies. A lot of things that we have -- should have done many, many years before we're doing it today.
KING: Thank you, both. We'll be calling on you again. It's always great seeing you.
DODD: Thank you.
KING: Senators Chris Dodd of Connecticut and Mike DeWine of Ohio. And bipartisanship reigns supreme.
When we come back, special ops: three gentlemen uniquely involved to talk about it. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We know he hides in caves, and we're shutting down caves. We know he moves around at night, and we're looking for him. We know that slowly but surely the Taliban is crumbling. Its defenses are crumbling. Its folks are defecting. We know that if you're on the front line and if you're a Taliban soldier, you're likely to get injured, because we're relentless in our pursuit of the mission.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We welcome to LARRY KING LIVE, in Chicago, Major General David Grange, U.S. Army retired, former Army Ranger, Green Beret, former commanding general of the 1st Infantry Division, known as Big Red One. He's also a CNN military analyst. In London is Andy McNab. He's in shadows for security reasons. He's wanted by a number of world terrorist groups. Highly decorated and former member of the SAS. That's Britain's elite special air service. Best-selling author of the fiction thriller "Firewall," and his autobiography, "Immediate Action." And in Washington, J. Kelly McCann, president and CEO of the Fredericksburg, Virginia-based Crucible Security Specialists. Former special operations -- special missions officer in the U.S. Marines. He's an expert on high-risk environmental tactics.
We'll talk with Major Grange: Special operations, how are they being used? How will they be used?
RETIRED MAJOR GENERAL DAVID GRANGE, FORMER RANGER AND GREEN BERET: Well, I believe that special operations right now is being used to bring together some of the tribal units, like the Tajiks, the Uzbeks, the Hazari tribes to try to get some kind of coordinated effort or report a coordinated effort to the higher command on future operations, unconventional warfare in nature.
They're experts at unconventional warfare. It's their doctrine. They're showing trust with these other fighters on the ground of American presence, along with British and maybe Turkish or other allied forces on the ground for future operations.
KING: Andy, as you know in your read of this territory, what's the most difficult thing that the special ops people face?
ANDY MCNAB, FORMER SPECIAL AIR SERVICE MEMBER: I think certainly at the moment it's -- it's getting that information to getting to these caves and physically make contact with the enemy, with bin Laden, with the Taliban. Information is the biggest problem.
Certainly at the moment, you know, it's good that there's more special forces going on the ground, because they can certainly act as sort of forward air controllers to direct the air attacks so that they kill Taliban instead of civilians. Obviously, a good thing.
But what they also can show is certainly the alliance, ways of how to tactically on the ground, how to use certainly the new weapons that the Russians are giving them, using the men and the weapons to the best ability so we can make some ground. And hopefully, at that stage, once we've got some ground, we can then hopefully put in sort of a forward projection of troops, so when that information is there and we know where the likes of bin Laden is, we've got an immediate action, an immediate response to get into these caves and dig him out.
KING: Kelly, do the -- does the other side have kind of special forces of their own to retaliate?
KELLY MCCANN, FORMER MARINE SPECIAL OPS OFFICER: They do, and in fact, they've released some videotape of those folks. The al Qaeda, basically the armed portion of the Taliban government -- of course, they have ground forces there. But we know that the real special people, the people who were blooded in Chechnya and also in Bosnia and in other places, they're here, Larry. They're here domestically. We know that the cells are here.
And so, you know, they do have specialists. They do have well- trained people. They're not organized to Western standard or anything like that. But we need to tip our hat to them. We are better than them, but we certainly need tip our hat to them.
KING: Major General, what did you make of this Seymour Hersh piece in "The New Yorker" in which the prize-winning reporter reported that a special operations mission into Afghanistan turned into a near disaster?
GRANGE: Well, I don't really believe it. I think if there was a disaster where we had soldiers wounded or killed -- in this case it was some severely wounded in a bad firefight -- that that would have been reported by the Department of Defense. I don't think that would have been held back from the American people.
I'm sure there was a tough fight. There may have been some people injured slightly. But if we had wounded soldiers, my experience with 30 years is that that's always been reported. It's a requirement that you must report that.
KING: Andy, how does the SAS -- that's the special, your unit, the special air force services, work with these ground folks, British and American together, in a place like Afghanistan?
MCNAB: Yeah, there would be certainly coordination, because if you -- the way that classically special forces would work with indigenous troops is, you know, sort of within maybe groups of four special forces soldiers in with the indigenous force. So you live with them, you work with them, you fight with them. But because they'll be fragmented groups, there has to be that coordination between the groups so they act, hopefully, as a unified force, because that's the only way that they're actually going to be effective.
KING: Kelly, these are very specialized people. Are there enough of them?
MCCANN: Well, certainly, there are enough of them to do the tactical incident. In other words, let's say that they're in country. You know, Afghan -- there's really three battlefields. Afghanistan is fixed in place, and they have no ability to project power beyond the borders. So regardless of what anyone thinks about what we have going on in country, the United States has done a fantastic job thus far in just kind of fixing them and controlling them.
Then you've got the global kind of battlefield where we know in Central and South America they move through the porous borders, and they can move contraband, some are saying now nuclear artillery rounds and chem-bio types of things. So you have that battleground analogous to the Cold War in the '50s. And then we have the domestic battlefield here.
And you know, so it doesn't take an awful lot of people in order to make a big impact, and of course, the problem is that doctrinally special forces cannot win a war. I mean, doctrinally they support conventional operations. The trouble is, is making them mass so conventional people can close with and destroy. And there's a lot of complexities in this war. It's not as easy as everybody would think.
KING: Major General, how well do they work with the Northern Alliance?
GRANGE: I think they probably work very well. We've used special forces in this role before. Not quite as -- an ideal conventional warfare situation, which this really is. This is just the perfect situation to employ special forces soldiers.
They are ambassadors to the United States. These small teams have great impact on dealing with allies on the ground, especially indigenous forces, as we're discussing in this case. So I think they're a perfect choice for this operation.
KING: Historically, Andy, based on the nature of the risk, do they face a lot of injury and death?
MCNAB: Yes, they do, purely because of the small groups that they work in, because you're not going to have that backup. This scenario is slightly different, because what you've got, you've got faster air support to get in if there is a lot of trouble.
But historically, certainly in our experiences in fighting these sorts of wars in the Middle East, we tend to sustain a lot of casualties.
But this is a different situation now. We've a lot of air support and a lot of backup as opposed to these small covert wars that we've been used to fighting.
KING: Kelly, how do you train for caves?
MCCANN: Well, remember, that when we landed in World War II on Iwo Jima we didn't have any previous cave training. We figured that out pretty well. There were 22,000 Japanese that were dug in the caves, and it didn't take us long to figure out, and leave 21,000 dead, suffocated and buried -- burned.
So, I mean, you know, the resolve of the American people will figure a lot of this out. But technology we have today, we have thermal imagery so that we can look deep into these spaces. Their night is our day. There's been several people talking about like tunnel (UNINTELLIGIBLE), where it was totally dark and you were feeling your way along. It's been 30 years since that happened. We have high technology now.
We'll probably address part of it with overpressure weapons, like fuel-air explosives where we'll be able to suck the oxygen out of the air vent shafts and what-not.
And we need to remember that the construction of these caves wasn't done specifically for us. They weren't hurriedly put up. These are engineered caves with internal barricades, redundant booby traps and that kind of situation. So it's a technical challenge. But we do have the capability, and we have the ability to fight this thing asymmetrically to achieve our goals.
KING: Thank you all very much. We'll call on you again, of course. Mayor General -- Major General David Grange, Andy McNab and J. Kelly McCann.
Are these Osama bin Laden's sons? Al-Jazeera TV says they are. The Arab-language network has been airing these images today. CNN has not been able to independently verify the boy's identities. On the tape, by the way, one of the youngsters is heard saying Kabul will not fall to a U.S. military campaign. The boy also says that Afghan citizens will stand behind the Taliban supreme leader, Mullah Mohammad Omar.
We'll be right back with the Graham kids after this.
KING: Billy Graham is 83 years old today. Joining us in Phoenix is Anne Graham Lotz. She's Billy and Ruth Graham's daughter. She preaches through the Angel Ministries, is in Phoenix for one of her Just Give Me Jesus revivals, has a new book coming December 11th. It's called "Heaven: My Father's House," written in the wake of the September 11 attacks.
And in Charlotte is Franklin Graham. That's the Grahams' son, first vice chairman and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, chairman and CEO of Samaritans Purse, a Christian relief and development organization -- helps people all over the world.
Before we talk briefly with them, here was their father on the morning of September 14th at that special service we'll all remember at the National Cathedral. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILLY GRAHAM, EVANGELIST: This event reminds us of the brevity and the uncertainty of life. We never know when we, too, will be called into eternity.
I doubt if even one of those people who got on those planes or walked into the World Trade Center or the Pentagon last Tuesday morning thought it would be the last day of their lives. They didn't, it didn't occur to them.
And that's why each of us needs to face our own spiritual need and commit ourselves to God and His will now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: And the family had dinner at the White House last night with the president. What was the mood?
ANNE GRAHAM LOTZ, BILLY GRAHAM'S DAUGHTER: It was wonderful. The president and Mrs. Bush seemed so relaxed. They were as gracious as any host and hostess I've ever been in the home of. And mother and daddy, daddy looked handsome. Mother looked beautiful. It was real special. All of my siblings and their husbands were there, their spouses. And it was a life moment.
I told Mrs. Bush it was just a memory for a lifetime.
KING: Franklin, what was it like for you?
FRANKLIN GRAHAM, BILLY GRAHAM'S SON: It was a very special occasion, Larry. And of course, very proud of my father. You know, all of his 83 years he has given his life to one cause, and that is to share with men and women how they can have peace with God through faith in his son, Jesus Christ. And if he had another 83 years to live, I think he would do exactly the same way he has done his past 83 years.
And we're proud of him and we love him. And of course, when you're with the Bushes, they are such easy people to be with. They're just kind of very kind of down-home kind of folks.
KING: And what do you say to people who obviously must ask you the endless why?
LOTZ: You know, when we get to heaven, I expect a lot of people will be asking God that: Why? And I believe one of the reasons is, you know, it's a wake-up call, Larry. And I feel like we've seen some wonderful things come out of this tragedy on September 11th. And one of the things is that I think it was "The Wall Street Journal" said that God has shown up.
You know, we've turned back to God in a way. We're calling on Him. We have a little phrase "God Bless America" everywhere, which is refreshing, because after 1963, basically we've told God to get out of our schools, and we've told Him to get out of the marketplace, get out of our businesses, get out of our government. And you know, it's all right if he stays in church or in a synagogue, but we've not wanted Him on the streets.
And so God who is gracious just, I believe, has backed out of our lives, and I think it's time we invited him back in.
So one of the positive things for me after September 11th has been that we've called on God and asked Him to come back and be a part of our national life.
And I want to refer to something Franklin said, because I was at home last week with daddy, and he told me a story that he didn't mean to apply to himself but, it was, I believe, Sir Edmund Hillary, who was a mountain climber, of course, and the story is told about him. I am not sure it was him, but he was climbing one of the peaks in the Himalayas, and the group he have a with lost sight of him. And they came back to the camp and they said they lost him, but the last they saw he was disappearing into the clouds and still reaching for the peak.
I think of my father at 83, in a sense just because of his age, he is getting close to disappearing in the clouds of heaven, but he is still reaching for the peak and still trying to bring peace on earth, by bringing peace in people's hearts, you know, because until we have peace in hearts we won't have peace in the world.
KING: Frank, we have less than a minute. Do you -- when you see something like September 11, do you ever have a doubt of your faith?
GRAHAM: No, Larry, I don't. This was not God's plan. I think this makes God very sad. It makes him angry, it hurts him. When he sees these kinds of things take place. It is called sin, Larry. The Bible says that we have all sinned. We have all come short of God's glory. And that the penalty of sin is death, but yet God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeeth in him, should not perish, but should have everlasting life, and as a minister, Larry, I want to be able to tell others about God, who loves him and cares for them, and who has made a way for them to be with him in heaven.
KING: Give your father our best, thank you both so much.
GRAHAM: Thank you, Larry.
KING: Anne Graham Lotz and Franklin Graham. We close on a musical -- thank you. We close on a musical high note and Bernadette Peters will supply it next. Don't go away.
KING: She is a two-time Tony winner, she is the wonderful actress and singer Bernadette Peters. Got a new album coming called "Bernadette Peters Sings An Album of Rogers and Hammerstein Songs." She is going to do one tonight. You love them, right?
BERNADETTE PETERS, SINGER; I love them. I just think that I was supposed to record September 12 and of course we didn't. And we went in a week later and the musicians said, this feels so good. It is so soothing and it is uplifting (UNINTELLIGIBLE) . It makes you feel good.
KING: This song, which was the close the "Carousel" is a hard song to sing, isn't it?
PETERS: Uh, yes.
KING: I mean, because it is emotional and you have got to hit new notes, and...
PETERS: Yes, that is right, but is a lovely song, and...
KING: Thank you so much for doing this.
PETERS: My pleasure.
KING: She is great. Bernadette Peters closes it out tonight with "You Will Never Walk Alone" from "Carousel."
(BERNADETTE PETERS SINGS "YOU WILL NEVER WALK ALONE")
KING: Tomorrow night, George Bush addresses the nation at 8:00 Eastern. We will be here at 9:00 with a major program following that address.
We turn the proceedings over now to Aaron Brown, who hosts NEWS NIGHT in New York. We will be with Aaron all next week. It will be nice seeing him up close and personal. "NEWS NIGHT" is next. TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com