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CNN Live Event/Special
America's New War: The Impact of the bin Laden Tape; Is Military Struggle Nearing its End?; Is U.S. Secure Against Future Terrorist Acts?
Aired December 15, 2001 - 12:00 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.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a little like looking into the face of evil.
SEN. RICHARD SHELBY (R), ALABAMA: It will show how cynical, how cold and how guilty Osama bin Laden is.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This cold-blooded videotape tells the story better than any words could tell it.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
KATE SNOW, HOST: The videotape and its impact, plus the hunt for the man and his lieutenants, the final military struggle in Afghanistan and what's next in the war against global terrorism.
Our military analyst will dissect the Afghanistan end game.
Authors Sebastian Junger and Peter Bergen offer their insights on the country they have visited. We will talk to reporters in the field about the war and the challenges ahead.
And public officials will answer the number-one domestic question, is the U.S. prepared for whatever lies down the road?
All just ahead, as we continue our special coverage of AMERICA'S NEW WAR.
I'm Kate Snow in Washington. Thanks for joining us.
We'll spend the next three hours serving up the best picture of what we can of what's happening in Afghanistan right now and the outlook for the fight against terrorism overseas and here in the United States. We'll talk to members of Congress. We'll talk to people who can tell of their own experiences on the ground in Afghanistan.
And we want to hear from you. So give us your telephone and e- mail questions. The address is email@example.com.
We'll be talking to two members of Congress in a minute and then to our military experts. But first, we start with the latest developments in the war on terrorism.
SNOW: While the military campaign in Afghanistan has been largely successful, the United States still faces some critical issues in the war against terrorism, issues that are now being debated in Congress.
Joining us from Babylon, New York, is Republican Congressman Peter King. He serves on the House International Relations Committee.
And here in Washington, Democratic Congresswoman Jane Harman of California. She's a member of the House Select Intelligence Committee.
Thanks for both of you joining us on a Saturday afternoon.
Let me start with you, Congresswoman. You've just heard the report out of Afghanistan. It seems the United States is getting closer and closer to at least getting more al Qaeda members to surrender.
REP. JANE HARMAN (D), CALIFORNIA: Right.
SNOW: How critical is it now that we capture bin Laden?
HARMAN: I think it's very important. I doubt we'll capture him alive, and it may take a while longer to find his remains. But we need to finish this piece of the war on terrorism.
This is not the only theater where there are terrorists. Al Qaeda is not the only terrorist network. I think it's very important for our standing in the world and for the future of safety in America that we finish this piece.
SNOW: Congressman, a big issue this week, the release of the tape of Osama bin Laden. I know that you had some concerns about the release of that tape. You had talked to some of the family members in New York. Were you against releasing the tape?
REP. PETER KING (R), NEW YORK: No, I believe that the tape should have been released. I think it was important to show the world exactly the evidence we had on bin Laden because, you know, there's still elements in the world who don't believe us or -- who didn't believe us before the tape came out.
Now, what I communicated to the White House, to Karl Rove and to Mary Matalin and others, there were a number of widows, especially those with young children, who were concerned about it being released.
So I asked if the secretary of defense could include a statement acknowledging the suffering these families were going to suffer and they did. I mean, that -- you know, it was put in there. They acknowledged that they realize this was going to hurt the families, but they realized that the better good or the greater good was to have it released.
And the families were reassured knowing that the White House, the administration were at least aware of their suffering. You know, These are tough calls, but we are at war and the -- you know, the right decision was to release the tape. But we should never forget the suffering that these families are going through, especially now with the holiday season on us.
SNOW: You, Congresswoman Harman, you had a different concern about this tape, from your standpoint on the intelligence committee. What was your concern?
HARMAN: Yes. I'm very sensitive to what Peter King just said. And I agree with him about that, but I thought the administration should have waited. I wrote to the president. I spoke on the House floor when the intelligence bill was debated. I think only those with a need to know should have seen this tape now, because there could be hidden clues about a second wave of attacks.
It's -- you know, if you're a little bit fidgety about this stuff, we were hit on 9/11. This tape, apparently was made on 11/9 and there were clerics there, telling Osama bin Laden that he did good things. Those could be signals to these sleeper cells out there. They could be ready to go, in any event. But having seen this tape and the language in this tape which, still some in the Arab world think may have been doctored, even though our CIA thinks it has not been, gave me pause. And I don't see why we had to do it now.
SNOW: But doesn't it give us, at least, or give the United States, rather, at least a step up in the public relations war, if you will, of trying to get other Arab countries, for example, on board?
HARMAN: Well, I'm not sure it does. Those who already think he's guilty -- I would be one -- were not persuaded by the tape, and those who think that anything like this would be fabricated evidence weren't persuaded either. So I don't know what five people we did persuade that had to be persuaded right now.
SNOW: Congressman King, you're on the International Relations Committee. I know this week you debated a measure, a resolution about Iraq and whether -- the resolution says something to the effect that if Iraq does not let monitors in, weapons monitors inside, inspectors inside their country, that will be considered an act of a mounting threat, is the language. You voted for that.
Was this a signal that you're sending to Iraq?
KING: Yes. I think it's very important to send a signal to Iraq and the rest of the world that the United States sees a real threat coming from Iraq. Now, listen, we have to finish the job in Afghanistan. This is only the first part of a very long struggle and Iraq is a clear threat to our national security. It's a clear threat to the stability of the world. And I believe that if Saddam Hussein does not comply with U.N. inspections, that the United States has the right and the responsibility, at the time of our choosing, to take action against Iraq. I'm not calling for war tomorrow or next week. But this is a prerogative I believe the president and the administration should have and I think most people in the Congress would support it. Now your timing of it, obviously, is not something I'm in a position to talk about, but I do believe it's something we have to hold. We have to hold that card because this isn't a game we're playing. Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction that could be used against us, against our allies, and we have to, if we're serious about the war on terrorism, have to find a way to negate that threat. And if he doesn't give in to inspections, then the only alternative to that is for us to take them out.
SNOW: We're going to talk more about broadening out the war and whether there's universal support in Congress for that. And when we return, we're going to take a quick break right now. We'll come back to our two members of Congress on the war in Afghanistan, the next steps for the United States both abroad and on the homefront.
They and the military experts are ready to answer your questions as well. You can telephone and you can e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We'll be right back.
SNOW: We're back with our special coverage of AMERICA'S NEW WAR.
Joining us from Babylon, New York, is Republican Congressman Peter King and here in Washington, Democratic Congresswoman Jane Harman of California.
We were talking right before the break about expanding the war and whether that's something that we see coming. Congressman King said that -- he pointed to that and said Iraq is the next step. You agreed with him. You were nodding along, but you think there's more than that?
HARMAN: Well, first of all, about Iraq, our strategy there will probably be very different than our strategy in Afghanistan. It may just be to fund the opposition within the country. And I'm not sure that bombing there makes the strategic sense it made in Afghanistan.
At any rate, the administration needs its options open. But I wanted to make the point about Iran, another dangerous country, right next to Iraq. There's a balance of terror in that region right now and we need to think through our strategy about Iran, as well. Iran is heavily armed with an indigenous missile capacity, developing nuclear capability. It has chemical and biological weapons, too, and they're targeted at Israel. And we talk about another unstable part of the world, so we need to think the whole thing through, I think, before we take the next step after Afghanistan.
SNOW: Congressman King, though, is there enough support, do you think, both out there in your district, in the country and in the Congress, to support a broader war? Are people really -- you know, OK with this going longer and broader? KING: I think what the president would have to do is lay out the case, make it clear, as he did with the war against the Taliban and against al Qaeda, show why it's important. And, you know, Jane was talking about how we have to arm the local forces and resistance forces in Iraq. It also may be important for us to use bombing against the chemical weapons installations. But again, that's up to the military people to decide. I think if the president lays out the case, the American people have shown that they are in this for the long haul, so long as we show we have a conservative plan.
And Jane is absolutely right. We have to realize that going after one country could open up issues with three or four other countries. So it has to be well though-out, well planned, well coordinated and realizing that it really is an international struggle, both as far as our enemies and also as far as our allies.
SNOW: Congresswoman, some might be to learn that you, a Democrat from California, sponsored a bill this week essentially backing up the use of military tribunals. There's been a lot of criticism of that. There's been a lot of criticism of President Bush, calling for military tribunals. Why introduce that bill?
HARMAN: Well, I think the president has a right to set them up in this context. But the bill that I introduced with Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren from California, authorizes them and...
SNOW: Another Democrat.
HARMAN: And -- another Democrat -- and limits their scope. We would only apply them to foreign nationals, not to legal residents of the United States. They would only be able to be set up outside the U.S. They would not invalidate the right of habeas corpus and they would sunset in four years. That's the same time period that we gave to the Patriot Act, those laws that we passed recently, as requested by the attorney general.
And the final thing that we did is tie them to those actions that Congress authorized on September 14, three days after the attacks in New York and the Pentagon, where we said the president could use military force for certain things and those are the only things against which these military tribunals can be used. And the constitution requires that Congress authorize them. So our view is, yes, let's have them, but let's limit their use, specifically, to what Congress thinks is appropriate.
SNOW: There's a phone call on the line from George. Are you there, caller?
CALLER: Yes. Thank you, very much, Kate. You're doing a wonderful job of covering the war. My question is for the panel, what is the cost of the war to the taxpayers, so far, and how much do you think it will cost? I know it's a tough question, but what do you think?
SNOW: Congressman King? KING: I'm not aware of the full cost. I hear numbers of a billion dollars a day. But let me tell you, whatever it takes, we have to pay it. It's money well spent. It's the best investment we can ever make, as Americans. And you know, whatever it takes, we have to pay it, so long as the money is well spent. And so far, I believe it is.
SNOW: Congressman King, though, you know very well that your president, your own Republican president, has said you can't -- the Congress can't just keep spending money willy-nilly. You can't spend over the $40 billion extra supplemental that you've already passed. How do you deal with that then, if this war is escalating in cost?
KING: The fact is, I think the president and the Congress agree that whatever the war costs will be, we will have to pay it. Now, whether it's done -- budgeted now or budgeted in a supplemental appropriation early next year, I think all of us agree that whatever money it takes to win the war will be spent, will be appropriated by the Congress and we have to maybe make cuts elsewhere or make adjustments, but we're not going to hold back, as far as spending money, as far as the personnel and machinery and equipment and technology needed to win this war.
SNOW: Should we be spending more right now, Congresswoman Harman?
HARMAN: We have to spend more. It's about a billion dollars a month? But I think we're missing a bet. I think we need a war time budget. The fiscal year started in October 1, and we're still passing appropriations bills. I think it is time for Congress to spend full time, right before the holidays, rolling back the measures we've tentatively approved, and starting over, starting with funding the war and starting with funding the homeland security effort.
There is an opportunity for Tom Ridge, the new homeland security director. I don't think he has enough legislative power and budgetary authority to do what he needs to do. But nonetheless, I think the responsible thing to do is make the war our first priority and prioritize what else we do after that.
Money doesn't grow on trees. Americans know we're going back in deficit spending, and it's very dangerous for the economy, which is in recession. And we have an opportunity that we're missing.
SNOW: Our thanks to Congressman Peter King and Congresswoman Jane Harman. We hope you will come back again.
Up next, the war and what U.S. forces gained this week and the special challenge of finding Osama bin Laden.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD RUMSFELD, DEFENSE SECRETARY: If they surrender, they may come out alive; if they don't surrender, they may not. And it's kind of their choice.
I personally would like to see people surrender. I personally would like to see us get our hands on him and to be able to interrogate him and find out about the al Qaeda networks all across the globe.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SNOW: Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld saying no deals for bin Laden and his team, as the attacks continue in Afghanistan. How is this phase of the war playing out?
What do you think? E-mail us with your questions or your comments at email@example.com.
Joining us from Little Rock, Arkansas is CNN analyst, General Wesley Clark, former NATO supreme commander. And here in Washington, former CIA senior analyst and former State Department officials, Larry Johnson.
Let's start with what's happening on the ground right now. General Clark, what do we think. Are they surrounded? Are we close to an end?
GEN. WESLEY CLARK (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: I think they're generally contained. That's a phrase Tommy Franks used yesterday. That means there may be still some access to the outside for them. They still may be getting people out of there. There were reports that a group of people tried to escape yesterday on pack horses, or on pack mules, to try to ride out over those passes.
So, no, they're not surrounded the way they would be if people were -- had their arms linked around them, but there are forces on all sides. They're under observation. They're being brought under fire, whenever they move they're going to be detected. And they're going to have a very tough time. They're being driven back into a smaller and smaller perimeter. That means there's less and less opportunity to escape later on.
So this battle is winding down.
SNOW: Mr. Johnson, this is a unique area, and from the maps that I've seen, they're essentially in between a valley, between two enormous mountain ranges. Troops on the northern side and the southern side, the Pakistani forces, but could they not get over those mountains? Could they get past those Pakistani troops?
Is there a way out?
LARRY JOHNSON, CNN ANALYST: Yes, no, anything is possible. But once they get out and you have to say, "OK, then what?" If you are hiding out in Pakistan, it's going to be easier hunting terrain from the standpoint of having a cooperative government. Would they possibly get holed up with a clan and their own version of a clan over there, that will protect them? Possibly, but you can still -- it will be more lucrative for people there. We've had people in Pakistan in the past who have sold out members of their own tribe. Miramel Konzi (ph) who murdered CIA employees here, he was given up by members of his own family for $2 million. So my view, even if he gets out, we can still get him.
SNOW: And there is a bounty on Osama bin Laden.
JOHNSON: Twenty five million, so it's a nice healthy pay check.
SNOW: General Clark, I was reading about what they call snatch and grab teams that are apparently in that area in Tora Bora now. What are they? What do we know about who's operating military-wise, U.S. military in that area?
JOHNSON: Well, everything is really speculative because the Pentagon has kept it under very tight secrecy. And I think that's very proper that they should do so.
But what I think the correspondents are referring to as snatch and grab teams is special operations forces that are trained in hostage rescue or take down of enemy terrorist teams. And these are especially trained men who can go in. They're experts at clearing rooms, entering buildings. They know how to come in from the top, come in from through the windows, whatever, clear a room, pull people out and hit the bad buys in there.
So they're people who are really good at working at close quarters against an enemy force.
SNOW: I want to mention that we're waiting, gentlemen, for the U.S. space shuttle right now. The Endeavor is just about to dock up or leave the International Space Station. So when that happens, we will bring you those pictures.
But while we continue talking here, Mr. Johnson, pick up on what General Clark was just saying. How difficult is it to coordinate a mission like that -- maybe not a mission -- but the activity in the Tora Bora region with so many different agencies and so many different units involved?
JOHNSON: Well, that's why they're -- when you bring in the special operations forces that are reported to be there on the ground, they more so than the other U.S. military forces in place have -- they practice more, they have a little bit better equipment. They're more accustomed to working in a smaller environment.
I think U.S. military, really hands down, if you've ever had the privilege of watching them plan and organize, and General Clark was a master at this, it is amazing. You know, they do stuff that U.S. corporations would be envious of. And unfortunately, sometimes, they get tarred with not being very good.
SNOW: General Clark, is most of this right now about what's happening on the ground? And how important is the air power? CLARK: Well, the air power is critical because if we didn't have the air power, we'd be going in and trying to engage in hand-to-hand combat. I mean the difference between this and Iwo Jima in the Second World War, for example, is the fact that we're totally in control of precision air power. We can put in air power. We can put bomb right into a 10-foot by 10-foot square, most of the time, using a laser designator.
So it's simply a matter of finding where the enemy is and bringing that bomb in. Those bombs can come in vertically. They can come in on an angle. They can come in almost horizontally. So they can actually go up against a cave mouth, let's say.
And this has given us tremendous flexibility. What we do is we move in, we find where the enemy is and we draw fire -- if that's the only way to find him -- and then we bring in firepower against him. Meanwhile, we probably -- although we don't know this -- but we probably would deploy sniper teams, as well, with very high-powered rifles, with excellent optics. These are specially trained marksmen, and they're able to make precision shots from a mile or more distant.
And so, if the enemy shows himself, he's gone.
Now, they just -- the enemy, they don't have a good -- you know, they don't have time to rest. You're getting pounded with bombs, you think you're going to get out in the dark. You've got people with night vision gear. They're going to be putting a bullet between your, you know, between your eyes from a thousand yards away. It's not a good place to be Taliban or al Qaeda right now.
SNOW: We got a caller on the line from Canada. Are you there? Yes, I am. I just wanted to ask the general what the possibility is is that whether or not the American would be looking to dropping any kind of nuclear device on the Tora Bora complex to break it?
CLARK: Well, I wouldn't think there's any serious consideration of the use of something like that, because it would create so much environmental catastrophe in the area, that it wouldn't be the appropriate thing to do and it's not necessary. What we're doing is we've got plenty of patience. We can stand there a lot longer on the outside, than Osama bin Laden or the al Qaeda can last on the inside.
And we're going to slowly squeeze them, as Tommy Franks said, "it's a hammer and anvil," and they're being pounded, and it is a matter of hours, days or weeks. But whatever it takes, that's what we'll do.
SNOW: Well, there is something called a "daisy cutter" bomb, that I was...
SNOW: ... hearing about. And I don't know if either of you can address. What is that?
CLARK: It's fuel-air explosive. It's a bomb that has a two- stage detonation. When it's dropped, there is a cloud of gas that goes out. The initial explosion creates a gas cloud. The secondary explosion then detonates that cloud and you get the blast effect of a nuclear weapon, without the radiation. You know, nobody wants to have those dropped on top of them. It -- you know, it make them have -- they're having a bad day, if you're in the crosshairs.
SNOW: We're going to hear a sound bite now from General Tommy Franks, something he said about whether we -- how we wait for -- how the U.S. waits for al Qaeda.
OK. Sorry, we don't have that.
CLARK: Actually, and truthfully, I learned a valuable lesson many, many years ago in Vietnam, and that is that our formations really don't count bodies. And even if I had a sense, I don't think I would give it to you. I will say that a lot of people have lost their lives in these -- in these valleys in this al Qaeda pocket.
SNOW: Well, there's a different point than what we thought we were going to hear. But, I mean, making the point about the body count, making the point that the U.S. is no longer, as they were in Vietnam, counting bodies and trying to identify how many al Qaeda. Why?
JOHNSON: That's very smart. It's this is not like a football game where, you know, if you have 70 dead, then you win. It is, you've got to take apart the network. Destroying some of the people is an important part of that. But to get caught up with counting bodies, as a measure of success, is -- we learned it was foolish in Vietnam.
SNOW: General Clark, the Marines took over the Kandahar airport on Friday. What's the significance of that?
CLARK: Well, it's going -- they're going to open up that airport. It's a much better facility than the little base they had out at Rhino. And so, when they open up that airport, it facilitates relief supplies. It's a beginning of a process for normalization of Kandahar. We can put our own forces in there. We can build up our strength, if necessary. We can extract our forces, if that's the appropriate thing to do and we can really bring in the international peacekeeping force. We cam bring in international civilian aid workers and eventually, we'll bring in commercial flights, I would assume.
SNOW: Mr. Johnson, let's talk about the tape, for just a moment.
SNOW: Big news this week. Give your experience with the CIA, how does the CIA obtain something like that? I know that we don't know exactly where it came from, but any insight into, you know, how valuable that is and how you come across something like that?
JOHNSON: In looking at it, speculating, I think that there was probably somebody who was attached to the sheik, the sheik who was paralyzed sitting on the ground, someone connected with him, had access, had either videotaped it themselves, or is a relative of someone who knew of the videotape and got a hold of it.
Because I think that was the delay. One of the reasons for the delay was to allow some way to protect the source so you wouldn't compromise them.
SNOW: They have been very careful about not identifying the source.
How critical do you think -- you've obviously seen the tape -- how critical is it for our U.S. intelligence -- for U.S. intelligence efforts?
JOHNSON: It's not critical. It just helps you tell you really, three things about this guy. One, very sincere and devoted in what he believes, two, he is delusional. He's drawing conclusions that are just not buttressed by the facts. And three, they ran a good tight comported intelligence operation so that they do have some capabilities in that regard.
SNOW: Remember, we promised that we were going to look at the shuttle for just a moment here. We're going to take a little break and look at some pictures that we've got. The cosmonauts and the astronauts have said their goodbyes. And they are supposed to be closing off the shuttle. They've been up there for eight days connected to the International Space Station.
Endeavor actually had to delay its undocking from the space station Alpha because of a piece of Russian space junk that was out there, a chunk of an old Russian rocket was on track to come within three miles of the space station. And so endeavor had to fire its thrusters, steer the station, push the station into a bit of a higher orbit to get out of the way of that space junk. The maneuver was completed.
The shuttle is supposed to pull away from Alpha, leaving behind a new crew, a Russian and two Americans and a fresh supply of food and equipment.
Endeavor will be brining home space station crew number three. The shuttle is scheduled to land on Monday afternoon.
While don't we keep an eye on that picture, why don't we continue our conversation? I think we can watch that and talk at the same time.
General Clark, let me go to you. President Bush was at the Citadel this week and gave a speech talking about dramatically overhauling the military while at war, right now, as we fight this war.
He said, "The U.S. military needs to be more streamlined. It needs to be overhauled, rebuilt."
Talk about that. What is this war, instructing U.S. officials about what needs to happen to the U.S. military?
CLARK: Well, first it's a very powerful demonstration of the advances that have been made in military technology. And it shows that the quantities of forces that are required to do considerable amount of war, really aren't as great as some of the military analysts may have thought.
And so, if you look at what proposition of the United States Marine Corps, or the United States Navy, the United States Army, or the United States Air Force has been involved in this, it's relatively small.
And we've gotten tremendous leverage from our superior technology and from those great men in the special forces there on the ground. And I think it also shows that you can -- if you have the existing capabilities and you have some very creative and determined resourceful leadership, you can adapt those capabilities to very difficult and challenging circumstances as we did here.
And so I think it's going to force all of the services to look again at how they can be more flexible and more adaptable, how they can get greater technology in on existing weapons platforms, how they advance. Even during the right we were improving our systems in this case. We were tightening up the electronic communications and the ability to pass information from censors to firing platforms and from the weapons that the soldiers carried on the ground and their sensors up to the aircraft.
And so there has been a continuing series of improvements. I think it's a great model for learning.
SNOW: President Bush also said at the Citadel today -- this week, rather -- "The U.S. must rebuild our network of human intelligence."
This has gotten a lot of talk over the last couple of months. What does he mean by that? And why does the U.S. need more human intelligence?
JOHNSON: I'd almost say you have to take CIA, break it down and start over. Because what you have, you have a proliferation of U.S. intelligence agencies that are competing with each others, that aren't working effectively. They are working according to a model that's based on the Cold War, and it's very difficult right now as they've been operating, to put a human source into some of these terrorist organizations.
It requires a different approach. And I don't want to go into all of the details and lay out the road map for the bad guys, but there does need to be an overhaul. The intelligence community is not what it should be.
SNOW: General, I hope you will come back and visit with us again. Thanks so much for hanging with us.
We're going to be looking for that space shuttle again in just a moment.
Our thanks to General Wesley Clark and Larry Johnson.
Up next, two authors, Sebastian Junger and Peter Bergen, with their insights about Afghanistan and bin Laden and the tape.
We will be right back.
SNOW: Taking a live look now in outer space, that's a picture out the window of space -- shuttle -- excuse me -- Space Shuttle Endeavor moving away from the international space station. As it recedes there in the distance, endeavor has been there for eight days now, docked with the international space station, delivering a new crew. And by the way, before hatches between the two spacecraft closed, they were presenting the new residents with candy canes and a small Christmas tree. Those three new crew members will stay up there. Three more will come back down to earth. The shuttle due to land on Monday back here in the United States, with one American and two Russian crew mates on board.
Now the harsh terrain of Afghanistan, even when bombs are not falling. Two journalists and authors on the Afghanistan beat are going to join us now to talk about that. In Los Angeles, Sebastian Junger, author of the book, "Fire," and here in Washington with me, Peter Bergen, CNN terrorism analyst and author of "Holy War, Incorporated: Inside the Secret World of Osama bin Laden."
All right. Let's start with you, Mr. Bergen. We've been hearing an awful lot about Osama bin Laden in the last few days. What's your best guess? Do you think he's still in Afghanistan?
PETER BERGEN, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: He's never left. I mean, he arrive din 1996. He's never gone anywhere else. You know, There've been stories that he went to Somalia or Yemen or Chechnya. They're all wrong. He stayed in Afghanistan. It's a place he knows very well. He's comfortable there. I think he's decided to die. This is his final stand. He's obviously going to die very shortly. But I think he's already decided to martyr himself in this.
SNOW: He won't give up before he'll...
SNOW: ... he'll let himself die, before...
BERGEN: I very much doubt he'll surrender.
SNOW: Mr. Junger, you were recently in Afghanistan. Tell us -- give us a little insight about what it's like there, in terms of his control, Mr. bin Laden's power over that country?
SEBASTIAN JUNGER, AUTHOR AND JOURNALIST: Well, apparently, he brought a lot of money into Afghanistan and the Taliban were really sort of beholden to him. As well, his foreign fighters were the backbone of the Taliban military. I was there last year for a month and we watched Taliban positions really give up quite easily, except for the foreign fighters. They really held the line. He's a very important part of the Taliban military.
But I should add that, while -- when I was there this past time, the Taliban were complaining -- we overheard this on the radios, from the Northern Alliance side -- the Taliban were complaining that the top Afghan commanders who fought the soviets for years, are very good fighters, had left their positions and now bin Laden was the overall military commander and that, frankly, he didn't know what he was doing and that's where some of the problems were coming for them.
SNOW: We don't know where the top Taliban leaders are any more, do we?
JUNGER: Well, Mullah Omar appears to have disappeared, yes.
SNOW: So what happens now? The U.S. continues, and other troops, British troops, continue to surround him. What do you see as the end game?
BERGEN: Well, I see the end game -- I mean, yes, the end game is as we speak. I mean, the next phase is, where is al Qaeda now? I mean, there are pockets of al Qaeda in Somalia or in Chechnya or in Yemen. It won't be the same as Afghanistan. Afghanistan was a very serious situation. But other countries will cooperate in the fight against al Qaeda.
But I think the important thing, Kate, is that, you know, Afghanistan was a very special situation. It was a failed state. The government was basically tolerant of bin Laden. That situation does not apply in most other countries. You know, in Somalia, it will be very different. There's no government in Somalia, right, so you go in and do what you want. In Yemen, the government is cooperating with the United States. In Chechnya, the Russians are cooperating.
So I think the situation -- al Qaeda is essentially over, I think. Their top leadership are gone. You know, it will continue to function in the short term, but in the long term it's gone.
SNOW: Mr. Junger, do you agree with that? Do you agree with what Mr. Bergen says, that it's essentially over?
JUNGER: Well, I'm not a terrorism expert.
The forces that created al Qaeda, I think, are still there, in terms of the poor relations between the Muslim world and the West. Even if al Qaeda is gone, I think we have to be prepared for them to be replaced maybe by something else or reinvented. Likewise with the Taliban in Afghanistan, if real stability is not brought to that country. Yes, the Taliban leadership is over with but that doesn't mean they can't reinvent themselves.
So in some ways, whether al Qaeda is gone or not isn't, in the long term, isn't necessarily the only important point. SNOW: You must have talked to a lot of people on the ground, a lot of Afghans while you were there. What is it like for them right now? What are they looking for? Do they strive for some stability, are they seeking that? Or -- give us a sense.
JUNGER: They're desperate for stability. This is their best chance in the past 20-odd years for peace in their country.
I went into Kabul with the first Northern Alliance troops, and they were received with just incredible joy by the citizens of Kabul, who were also shouting, "America, America," in recognition that it was the American bombing that had permitted the Northern Alliance to take Kabul and to kick out the Taliban.
They really think this is their shot at peace, this is finally their chance. And I think the West really should step in and help them as much as they can, as much as we can, so that we can normalize that country.
SNOW: Sebastian Junger and Peter Bergen, please stay with us.
We are taking phone calls and e-mails, as well. And we'll be back in a moment with more on Osama bin Laden and the country of Afghanistan.
SNOW: We're talking with two guests who have spent time in Afghanistan, journalist and author Sebastian Junger and CNN terrorism analyst Peter Bergen here in Washington.
We were talking -- we've been talking quite a bit about Osama bin Laden. We have got an e-mail here from a viewer in Evanston, Illinois. Is there a possibility that bin Laden is dead? If so, what course of action will be taken?
BERGEN: Well, we simply don't know. But you know, if bin Laden dies, he will be a martyr for the people in the movement. But the most important thing about a martyr is they're dead. And at the end of the day you're much less potent, as somebody who is not alive. And I think bin Laden may enjoy some life span as on posters and like on match boxes, whatever. But still, he won't be running his organization, and that's very important.
SNOW: And there's really no -- there is just no way to know, right now where he is?
BERGEN: Yes. I mean, I think, presumably you would have to have DNA evidence if there is a body at a certain point.
SNOW: And that proof is going to be very important, especially for the Arab world...
BERGEN: I think proof will be very important. SNOW: Mr. Junger, let me go back to you. You were just in Afghanistan. You were in Kabul I think when the takeover was happening, when the Taliban were falling.
Tell us about that. Tell us what it was like to be there.
JUNGER: Well, the breakthrough itself was extraordinary, just as a journalist, with something to see. And clearly, it couldn't have happened either without the American bombing or the Northern Alliance on the ground. Both sides really needed the other in order to accomplish what we did. And when we entered Kabul, it was very early in the morning. And it was interesting, there was a lot of hand wringing by the Western governments about the Northern Alliance seizing power in Kabul.
And in fact, the people of Kabul sent a delegation out of the city to greet the Northern Alliance to bet them to come in. What they were worried about was just chaos in their city. Afghanistan is a very lawless country. And after the Taliban pulled out the previous evening, there was a power vacuum and already order was starting to break down. There were groups of armed men driving around, robbing people, threatening people. The Northern Alliance really was needed to bring order.
And in general, in Afghanistan, we have to avoid that kind of lawlessness because that is when the warlord-ism starts to kick in is in that kind of vacuum.
There's a question here -- an e-mail that actually goes to that question of the power vacuum. Speaking of Karzai, the intended leader in the -- at least the interim government -- will he be able to fill the void left after the assassination of Ahmed Shah Massoud? If not he, then whom?
Is that a big question, who is really going to be in control?
BERGEN: Picking up on what Sebastian said, this is, you know, this is the best time in 22 years for Afghanistan. This is a golden moment for the country. And I think the political solution so far with Hamid Karzai, a Pashtun and then the three most important ministers below him, Tajik, is the best possible outcome. There is no perfect outcomes, but I think this is the best one possible. I'd be curious to see what Sebastian thinks.
JUNGER: I am in absolute agreement. I think it was a brilliant stroke, whoever thought of it, to put a Pashtun at the top and then the relatively stable Northern Alliance directly below him. There are of course, and they make the news immediately, individual commanders or warlords who sort of rattled their sabers and say that they refused to agree with this or that.
I think we mustn't make the mistake of characterizing the entire coalition as fractured or disjointed because there are individuals who cause problems. I think those individuals can be dealt with as such, as individuals, without threatening the entire group. SNOW: I want to go to the tape that got so much attention this week. At one point in the tape, the guest, who is in the room, the Saudi sheik is sitting next to bin Laden and says he was surprised not to be in a cave and to be -- I think he called a guest house -- talking about a circuitous route that they took to get him there, but then saying and ultimately "I'm here in this guest house."
I was surprised by that. I imagined that he would be somewhere, deep in a cave.
BERGEN: Well, the best we can tell, apparently the tape was taken on November 9 or thereabouts. So bin Laden was very comfortable at that point. You know, he was -- clearly he was in a house. He is hanging out. You know, he was feeling very comfortable.
Obviously, he's got...
SNOW: Were you surprised by that?
BERGEN: Not particularly, because at that time, I think you know, Kandahar was still, you know, in Taliban hands, and you know, he was an honored guest.
Mr. Junger, were you surprised by that, or did anything in the tape surprise you?
JUNGER: Yes. Mazar-e Sharif had just fallen at the point that tat tape was shot.
SNOW: The same day I think.
JUNGER: Maybe it was the same day. And obviously things were not going well in the north. And I'm amazed they didn't talk about it, which gives me the sense that maybe, in some senses, they didn't care that much how the war went. Maybe he had already made his decision he was going to die in Afghanistan if it came to that, and that the particulars of how the battle was going were no longer relevant at that point.
SNOW: Do you think he made this tape for the outside world, or did he make this tape for his followers?
BERGEN: No, no. If you look at the other tapes that were made, they were shot in focus, they were good audio. This was for private consumption.
SNOW: OK. Thanks so much.
Our thanks to Sebastian Junger and Peter Bergen for joining us here.
And coming up in the next hour of AMERICA'S NEW WAR, two members of Congress grade the war against terrorism abroad and here at home in the U.S. Experts dissect the Osama bin Laden tape and its impact in the Arab world, and we'll also explore the potential of terrorists launching biological warfare.
We're looking for more of your phone calls and e-mails, as well, when AMERICA'S NEW WAR continues.
SNOW: Welcome back to CNN's coverage of AMERICA'S NEW WAR. We'll hear from our next guests in just a moment, but first, the headlines with CNN's Carol Lin in Atlanta.
SNOW: Joining us now to talk about the progress of the war in Afghanistan and the fight against terrorism here at home. Republican Congressman Roscoe Bartlett of Maryland and Democratic Congressman Harold Ford Jr. of Tennessee. Thank you both for coming in on a Saturday afternoon.
REP. HAROLD FORD JR. (D), TENNESSEE: Thanks for having us.
SNOW: We're honored to have you here.
REP. ROSCOE BARTLETT (R), MARYLAND: Glad to be here.
SNOW: Let's start with what happening in Afghanistan. On Friday, on Friday, President Bush said, "I don't know whether we're going to get them tomorrow or a month from now or a year from now. I really don't know, but we're going to get him." How important is it to get bin Laden?
FORD: Obviously, critically important. We've seen in recent days, progress being made on the military front with our allies on the ground. And certainly, those are part of the coalition. We in the Congress hope that we can move as quickly as possible, as the do all Americans, to only eliminate bin Laden, but to take steps to demolish this network. And it seems as if, indeed, considerable progress has been made and the president enjoys the broad support of the U.S. Congress.
SNOW: Congressman Bartlett, you're on the Armed Service Committee. You've obviously been following this fairly closely. How do you think things are going in Afghanistan?
BARTLETT: Well, I think things are going militarily very well there. Bin laden is very symbolic. This, as the president said, a war like none other we've ever fought. And getting Osama bin Laden is a very important checkpoint in this war.
SNOW: Does it get bigger than this? We had two congress -- a congressman and a congresswoman on a little earlier. We were talking about broadening this war. Is there the support for that in the Congress?
FORD: I think so. Lindsey Graham and Henry Hyde, two of my colleagues and two friends of Roscoe's, as well, have proposed releasing some of the money that Congress authorized and monies that are there are there for the -- our Iraqi effort there on the ground -- those inside of Iraq who represent the anti-Saddam forces. There's a strong believe if, when you consider how successful efforts have been in leveraging our resources with those forces on the ground in Afghanistan, and if were to try to replicate that effort in Iraq, that we might experience some similar results.
In addition, the turmoil and difficulty we face now, obviously, it's been a long time running, but the particular time that we face now in the Middle East with Mr. Arafat and obviously the Israeli forces, it's my hope that Yasser Arafat -- Chairman Arafat will step up to plate and demonstrate some leadership, because it's clear at this moment that he cannot look to the United States or to the U.N., for that matter, for the kind of relief and the kind of bailing out that we've provided in the past.
SNOW: I want to talk more about the Middle East in just a minute. Let me go back, though, to the question I just posed. Should this be a broader war? What do you think, Congressman Bartlett?
BARTLETT: Well, more important than the sentiment in the Congress is the sentiment and support worldwide. What we really need to be careful is that this not become a war of the United States against the Arab world. If it comes to that, we'll loss that war...
SNOW: And you think the U.S...
BARTLETT: ... because all they have to do is cut off our oil. As a matter of fact, if the terrorists were to sink a tanker in the straits of Hermose (ph), our economy would be in considerable difficulty.
SNOW: Are you suggesting the U.S. risks losing some of its supports, some of its allies, if it tries to go too far?
BARTLETT: Well, I think there's already that possibility. I don't think that anybody is firmly on the record supporting us going into Iraq. I know the Arab world is pretty vocal that they're not going to support us.
They are supporting us now. We need to be very careful that we maintain that coalition. We cannot have a war that's the United States against the Arab world.
FORD: He is right, but at some point we have to consider our own interests. And I think it's important to know that, who would have thought before this coalition was built that Pakistan and India could find some agreement in the diplomatic skills of Powell and this administration and demonstrated fully that they're able to not only build a coalition but even sustain it?
And my colleague is right. If this war is reduced to U.S. versus the Arab world, I wouldn't dare say we'd lose but we'd certainly face a higher obstacle, higher hurdles than we face now.
SNOW: Did the tape this week help in any sense build support in the Arab world, do you think, the release of the Osama bin Laden tape?
BARTLETT: Yes, the response in much of the Arab world was very interesting. We a lot of technology here with computers and stuff, and a lot of them thought that we faked that tape. Now, we clearly didn't.
I'm a little interested in why that tape was there. This event on September 11 was so well planned in this country, that, you know, I'm just wondering a little why that tape was left there. Is there more to this than we understand right now?
SNOW: Let's move on to the Middle East. You mentioned it just a moment ago, Congressman Ford.
This week, Israel declared that Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat has made himself irrelevant. Should the U.S. be very cautious right now? How should the U.S. proceed, given that Israel has taken that step, saying he's irrelevant?
BARTLETT: I think that the Israeli experience with terrorists is a very interesting one. This is an escalating series of attacks and counterattacks there. And, you know, somewhere this cycle of violence has to end. It hasn't ended there.
This is very new to us, this terrorist thing pretty new to the world. Israel has been involved in it for a long time. But as a world, as a community of nations, we haven't yet learned how to deal with it. I'm not sure that an escalating cycle of violence is the right way to deal with this.
SNOW: Do you think the president's approach has been right to this point, though? He's been criticized by some for taking sides with Israel, if you will.
BARTLETT: Well, I think that the Arab world needs to perceive that we're more evenhanded in the Middle East. I think that we're a whole lot more evenhanded than they perceive that we are. And I think that we have got some PR challenge to convince the world, particularly the Arab world, that we are evenhanded in the Middle East.
FORD: Our enjoy is back -- Zinni is back, I understand, this morning...
SNOW: He's coming back, yes.
FORD: ... on his way back will report to the president.
I, too, agree with Roscoe -- and it's great to see, when it comes to foreign policy, the kind of consensus you see developing in the Congress -- for, really, two important reasons: One, I agree this escalation is not something that we are accustomed to. I would dare say that the rest of the world understands terrorism far better than we do, not just the Middle East. It's far more pronounced there.
But in terms of Arafat's relevance, he has rendered himself almost irrelevant, because if he's able to control or dictate the terms of terrorist activity, he is not. And if he is unable to, then obviously he's irrelevant. So in many ways he has put himself in an unwinnable position.
We have to get the forces back to the table, both sides back to the table, and begin to discuss some security arrangement. It makes sense not only for the Middle East but for the remainder of the world.
And all that we do should certainly be done in a way that will allow for both the Arab world as well as Israelis to understand that we have one interest here, as a peacemaker and as an honest broker, not as one who is siding with Israelis or one side who is siding with the Palestinians.
BARTLETT: The unfortunate thing is there is no other visible figure over there. He's kind of the only show in town, the only person we have to deal with over there. Maybe time will produce another figure we can deal with, but right now it's Arafat or it's nobody.
FORD: And it seems without him you have the more conservative, extreme, radical elements that are demonstrating power and force.
SNOW: We're going to be checking in with our correspondent in Gaza in just a moment. For now, we're going to take a quick break. And we'll continue our conversation with Congressmen Bartlett and Ford, and we'll also take your phone calls and e-mails when AMERICA'S NEW WAR continues.
SNOW: We're going to go now to the Middle East. Israel is continuing its crackdown in Palestinian territories. CNN's Matthew Chance is in Gaza with the latest from there.
SNOW: We go back to our guests now. Joining us here, two congressmen.
Let's start with what we've just heard in that report, escalating violence on both sides of the equation. Does the U.S. involvement matter? Should Ambassador Zinni be sent back there as soon as possible to reinsert the U.S. in this?
FORD: I'd want to hear what he has to say, and I think he -- the president does, as well.
Watching this is as disturbing, in a lot of ways, as watching some of the events over the last three months -- children on both sides.
A cease-fire called upon by Zinni or by the president probably, not only is it appropriate at this point, but pressing at this point. At some level, this war there or the efforts there puzzle and betray everything we knew about war. Our idea of war is self-preservation. And it seems as if, for whatever reason, that that is not the case in the Middle East.
So for that -- along those lines, my colleague is absolutely correct. This is foreign to us.
But at some level, we have to be willing to take Israel to task, as we've taken the Palestinians to task. What we're seeing on our images on television all across the world, not only American citizens, but those around the globe, has to come to some rational and some rational cease-fire to bring the sides back to the table. And clearly, only America has the strength and the capability in which to do that.
SNOW: Some have suggested a sort of radical idea that in the Middle East there are parallels to what -- to terrorism in Afghanistan and that the U.S. ought to treat that issue as seriously as it's treating Osama bin Laden.
BARTLETT: Well, absent hearing from Zinni exactly what he has to say, I think that our involvement over there is critical. I don't know of anyone else who has the kind of moral authority that we have for dealing with both sides on this issue. I would like to see us to continue to be involved. You know, this is not good for the world to see what's happening over there. We don't need to replicate this other places in the world. It needs to end there.
SNOW: OK. I want to go to a couple of editorials. Another challenge for the Bush administration, holding together a global alliance against terrorism is highlighted in some editorials today. The Boston Globe writing, quote, "The law in some European countries forbids extradition of a criminal suspect to any country where the death penalty might be imposed for the crime." For this reason, Spain says it cannot hand over to the United States eight members of a suspected al Qaeda terrorist cell now in custody.
Attorney General John Ashcroft missed an important -- missed an opportunity, rather, on his visit to Madrid this week. He should have promised publicly that the death penalty would not be request for these eight. Does that factor into how the U.S. handles, whether it's military tribunals or civil courts here in the United States going after terrorists? Does the U.S. have to be careful about ally support because of the death penalty?
BARTLETT: Well, we certainly do. I'm not a big fan of the death penalty. I'm not sure who is better off, because we've killed somebody. It's the most premeditated killing in this country. We plan it for months and sometimes years. I just think there are better alternatives than the death penalty. I and I think many Americans are diminished every time we kill somebody.
I think that we ought to telegraph to the world that we're going to abide by their loss. These people need to be bought to the bearer of justice. And there are many ways -- you know, I think that a life in prison is far more punishment than the very painless killing that we have now. I'm not concerned about these people. Do they have a right to die, absolutely. You know, what I'm concerned about are all of us who conspire in this and are involved in this. SNOW: What about the concern that the U.S. loses support in Europe and in other countries, who are against the death penalty, if it goes that route?
FORD: I share my colleague's feelings. I'm not as opposed to the death penalty as he may be. But in this situation, it's such an extraordinary moment. Obviously, our first objective, if we are engaged in armed combat in Afghanistan is to eliminate this network and to eliminate bin Laden. If indeed, one of our ally partners comes into contact or captures members of the al Qaeda network, then we should be willing to play by the international set of rules. This is -- we've entered into this coalition and we cannot agree with it, when it's comfortable or convenient to us. We should play by the rules in which the coalition has laid out.
SNOW: We've got a lot of agreement here with you on matters of...
FORD: You can talk about economic stimulus...
SNOW: That's what I was just going to bring up...
FORD: ... disagree a little more.
SNOW: Let's bring up something that's a little more divisive. In all seriousness, economic stimulus is something that's been batted around now for weeks on Capitol Hill, the idea being the economy is not doing so well. It needs a boost. President Bush has asked the Congress to pass something. The negotiators are meeting this afternoon, briefly. Are we going to see an economic stimulus this year, before Christmas?
BARTLETT: Well, I hope so. We certainly need one. But what we don't need is for the government to take more of our tax dollars and then hand it out. I think that we need to leave the money in the private sector. I think that money spent and managed in the private sector is managed very much better than it is by government.
I happen to believe that the great wisdom of this country is outside the beltway. We need to stand aside and let the private sector -- but we need to give them their money, let them keep their money so that they can correct this problem.
FORD: Temporary, targeted and focused in many ways and something that won't blow up the deficit.
SNOW: Corporate tax cuts?
FORD: That should be the focus of the -- well, the corporate tax cut may be a good thing, but not at this moment. The repeal of the minimum tax and making it retroactive in 1986, providing companies like Enron and IMB and General Motors, great companies, but this is -- Enron obviously is facing some serious difficulty. But this is not the time when we're trying to figure out how to put money back in the pockets of working Americans, those earning between $25,000 and $65,000 a year.
Unfortunately, Mr. Thomas, who is the chair of the Ways and Means, and the leader on the Republican side of the House, on these issues, I don't believe his plan is the one we ought to follow. We ought to take care of these laid off workers who were laid off to really no fault of their own and provide small businesses with an opportunity to get deductions for their depreciation expenses of equipment they may buy in the next year.
SNOW: Neither of you answered the question whether we're going to see an economic stimulus.
FORD: I hope so and I hope...
BARTLETT: We need to see one. We need to stop quarreling and one.
FORD: I believe we will.
SNOW: Thank you so much...
FORD: Merry Christmas, Happy New Year.
SNOW: Thank you so much for joining us. Merry Christmas to both of you and happy holidays.
BARTLETT: Thank you.
SNOW: Thank you Congressman Roscoe Bartlett of Maryland and Congressman Harold Ford Jr. of Tennessee, for joining us.
Up next, more on the bin Laden tape, as we talk to two experts in psychology.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. JERROLD POST, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY: ... jovial aspect about bin Laden and the metaphor really is quite striking. One has the feeling of good ol' boys talking about the big game in which they were the underdog, and the total indifference to loss of life and the jovial self-congratulatory aspect is really quite striking.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN EDWARDS (D), NORTH CAROLINA: The single most frightening thing about it, though, is the casualness and the total disregard for human life. He's laughing. They're, in fact, in the process of the videotape at one point they're having a meal together. He's very relaxed, very comfortable. I mean, you get this sense -- it's a chilling sense, and it's a little like looking into the face of evil to see this man describing these things in very casual terms.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SNOW: Senator John Edwards, Democrat of North Carolina, echoing the opinions of many this week about the videotape that showed Osama bin Laden chatting about the terror attacks against the World Trade Towers and the Pentagon.
Joining us here in Washington now is Dr. Jerrold Post, professor of psychiatry, political psychology and international affairs at George Washington University; and Nuha Abudabbeh, clinical and forensic psychologist.
I hope I pronounced your name right.
NUHA ABUDABBEH, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: You did a good job.
SNOW: OK, I tried.
Thank you both for being here on a Saturday afternoon.
We're going to talk a little bit more about this tape. The demeanor of Osama bin Laden has been noted by many. He was smiling, he was laughing, seemed to be celebrating and find humor in death. What does that -- what have you gleaned from that?
POST: Yes, this was an aspect of bin Laden I haven't seen before. Usually he looks gravely serious, almost wooden in expression, and here there's a casualness and a blitheness about death, the death that he has visited upon so many thousands, including chuckling over the fact of having led his own people onto the plane without having let them prepare for their death beforehand.
SNOW: And you've talked about that -- I've seen you quoted talking about as being the mind of a psychopath.
POST: Yes, it's really quite striking. If I were a member of al Qaeda and I knew that my leader, who has this image of this selfless leader for all heroic Muslims, was manipulating people and leading them to their death while they were unaware of that, I think that is very troubling indeed.
SNOW: Can you help us understand a little bit about the reception that this tape has received in some quarters in the Arab world?
ABUDABBEH: It seems to me -- and it doesn't surprise me, actually, knowing the Arab people -- it's tough to make generalizations around those lines. You're more comfortable applying it to one individual. But in general, I think that's a group of people that is not trusting that easily, which is not surprising. And it's not peculiar to Arabs, actually. It's a lot of the more ancient, older, traditional groups of people have a hard time trusting, period.
SNOW: And therefore trusting that this tape is authentic and what it purports to be?
ABUDABBEH: Definitely, they would have a hard time with that.
And the other aspect of it is that if people have -- people usually, even research-wise, if people have their mind set sometimes, it's very difficult to change that.
SNOW: Can different people -- I mean, I suppose this is always the case. Different people can interpret something like this in very different ways.
POST: Well, it all has to do with the lens through which you're looking at the script, the ears through which you're hearing those voices. And for those who wish to believe that the United States is evil, is responsible for all the misery in the world, this tape is not going to change their minds.
SNOW: Why do you think he would've allowed this tape to be made?
ABUDABBEH: Now, that's the big question. What I'm understanding is that he would not have -- I'm not clear on it. What I understand is that that was not supposed to be for general consumption. That may have been taken by sheer coincidence, that it was not meant to be seen by a group of people. And the quality, even, of the tape kind of makes one wonder, was it really for general consumption or not?
SNOW: Well, let me add to that. I think there are two reasons: One, it is kind of celebratory, but it's occurring at a moment when his followers are under siege. And I believe probably it's to show internally to his own people and rouse their morale, because they were really under this.
But at the same time, it almost may be like the Nixon tapes, recording an important moment in history that will later come out in the archives of great Osama bin Laden triumphs.
SNOW: Let's listen to what President Bush said about the tape for a moment, and then I'll get your response to that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I had mixed emotions about this tape because there is a lot of people who suffered as a result of his evil. And I was hesitant to allow there to be a vivid reminder of their loss and tragedy displayed on our TVs. On the other hand, I knew that it would be a -- the tape would be a devastating declaration of guilt for this evil person.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SNOW: Reflecting what a lot of people have said, that this is a very painful thing for some people to watch. ABUDABBEH: Frankly, that's why I had wondered. And then I read later on that he had to struggle with releasing it, because it must have been very traumatic for the victims to have watched that -- not only the victims, actually; also the whole country to watch that. That must have been extremely traumatic. That was a tough decision on his part to make.
POST: Yes, but the audiences are internal and external, and when he says that it is preposterous that anyone could see this tape and not believe he was responsible, that, to a degree, is true, but responsible as a heroic act or responsible as an evil act, there the people will split.
But I was quite struck also by the blitheness with which he likens this to a soccer match and all of us soccer team members are pilots...
SNOW: Yes. I think that he referenced that -- actually, that soccer reference was in a dream, he was referencing that someone had had.
And I wanted to ask -- I don't know if you know the answer to this, but there were a lot of references to visions and dreams...
ABUDABBEH: We were discussing that earlier, and it's not clear whether they were truly dreams or visions. I was struck more by the content of the dreams...
SNOW: Do visions play an important role in Islam? Would that be something that...
ABUDABBEH: I wouldn't say in Islam. It's more in the culture, which is not unusual because that's how -- in fact, even now feel. People don't even go to a psychiatrist of a psychologist that frequent. They would go to somebody that will give them some idea through a vision. So some of those traditions, kind of customers are there, not necessarily Islamic but traditional, custom, culture.
SNOW: We will talk more in just a moment. We're going to take a quick break. Jerrold Post and Nuha Abudabbeh, are back in a moment with more.
We're going to leave you with pictures now of Ground Zero.
SNOW: ... We're taking a look now at some video that was shot the other day in the Arab world -- people watching as the tape of Osama bin Laden was aired in that part of the world. An international event, the U.S. release of that tape, in which he discussed his prediction of what would happen when a fully fueled jet liners slammed into the World Trade Center Towers.
We're talking to Dr. Jerrold Post of George Washington University and clinical psychologist Nuha Abudabbeh. Thanks again for joining us. We just saw some pictures there. CNN had crews all over the Arab world gauging reaction. We spoke about this a moment ago, but I think people tend to broad-brush and think that there was one set of reactions in the Arab world versus another set within the United States.
That's not really accurate, is it?
ABUDABBEH: Well, there's even differences among different Arab countries I would imagine in terms of reaction altogether, quite frankly.
And we lump all of the Arabs together as one people. They are multiple ethnic kind of groups are among the Arabs, as multiple religions, multiple everything. So it's very tough to talk about them as one huge group, number one.
Number two, I'm sure the reaction is quite different from different parts, and I bet you anything, if there was a study done, it might be different age groups might have different reactions, depending upon people's affiliation. And, but in general, if there's the kind of reaction that is probably upsetting the United States a great deal, it might be due to the fact that these people might in fact engage in denial because they can't believe that somebody would gloat that much over killings like that. Because it's not part of the culture, frankly, to be criminal. The tape is showing somebody who, like Dr. Post said, we're talking about somebody who looks clearly psychopathic.
SNOW: There are a lot of references in the tape to Allah, to the Islamic god, over and over again.
ABUDABBEH: By the way, it's God, period. It's not -- there is not an Islamic god. It's the same god for all of us.
SNOW: That's a good point, that's a good point. What does that tell -- is there a reason why -- show us how interlinked they feel their beliefs are, their religious beliefs and their beliefs in terrorism.
ABUDABBEH: I was just thinking, I mean, it's all a collective kind of conscience. It's collective ego. We don't have -- you notice maybe in that whole tape probably, the word "I" was hardly ever used. It's the "we," the very collective kind of a self here.
And there is no separation between a lot of things. And it's very common among devote persons to use the word "Allah" quite frequently.
POST: And one aspect that I found particularly striking when he was saying, "I was the most optimistic in terms of" -- after he does that gesture, showing how the plane was going to strike -- "on the basis of my engineering background, that only the top four floors and this exceeded my expectations."
And what is there, by implication, I think, is that this confirms that God was with them and emphasizes the righteousness of the mission, which has been true in a way on a roll for Osama bin Laden, going way back to expelling the Soviet Union from Afghanistan in his first major triumph. How could a small group accomplish first bringing one super power and expelling it, and then brining another to its knees, possibly do this unless it was God's mission?
SNOW: Which is the way they clearly see it.
There's a sense you get watching the tape. The gentlemen who is sitting to the right of Mr. Bin Laden, the sheik, Saudi sheik, that he is almost subservient to him, that he is willing to do anything for Osama bin Laden. He's talking about the support he has throughout Saudi Arabia and he's constantly praising him.
Do you have the sense that he's almost like a cult figure?
POST: I was quite struck by that. There is a remarkable deferentiality, an almost reverential air towards this, almost god- like creature. And in fact, I was talking to a moderate Muslim cleric recently in terms of the way Osama bin Laden seems to be almost conveying himself as a latter-day prophet, Mohammed himself, who is plugged into what God really wants.
ABUDABBEH: This is very anti-Islam, by the way. I mean even Mohammed, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) was just among the people. I mean, he was an ordinary person, among the people.
This all, whole thing -- I like the word you used "cult." There is a cultish kind of flavor to it. And that takes it away from being within the acceptable religious Islamic way.
POST: And in that cult, he is really a destructive charismatic leader. And in a way, you have true believers who have out of their awe for him, subordinated their own individuality and sense of critical judgment. And what he says is moral is moral. And what is a religious order is, as from him, is correct.
SNOW: We have a telephone call on the line from Arizona. Arizona, are you there?
CALLER: Yes, I'm here.
SNOW: Go ahead.
CALLER: Thank you for taking my call. I guess I'm just kind of surprised by everybody's surprised reaction to this. I mean, this act was more than he expected, and how could we expect him not to gloat? I mean, he's, like you said, a psychopath. And I guess I'm just surprised that everybody's saying how surprised they are.
SNOW: She makes a point. People going overboard and saying...
ABUDABBEH: I think she makes a good point. She -- frankly -- she does make a good point. It fits with what we know in our field with the psychopath, that looks quite appropriate and that they have no conscious usually. They don't regret what they have done and they take a lot of pleasure from their destructive behavior.
SNOW: Let me get back to you in one second. I just want to get a little bit of news on here.
We're -- just been handed a wire -- news wire from the Associated Press. The Associated Press reporting that U.S. forces have detected Osama bin Laden giving orders over a short-range radio in the Tora Bora area of Eastern Afghanistan during the past week. This coming from a U.S. official telling AP, the Associated Press, on Saturday that they had heard Osama bin Laden giving orders over short-range radio in Tora Bora over the past week.
The intercepted radio messages, they say, helped persuade U.S. military officials that bin Laden is likely in the area where al Qaeda forces are in a pitched battle with Afghan forces being helped by American and British special forces.
CNN is efforting (sic) to get more information on this. but that in a wire report, coming from the Associated Press. Very interesting report.
SNOW: Go ahead.
ABUDABBEH: I just also wanted to make a point before this program ends, that when we talk about the cultishness of the whole al Qaeda kind of situation, we should also remember the motivations that are behind the young or whatever -- whoever is following him. There are some motivations that we should be aware of, in terms of -- for the future, for reconstruction in the future, by the way, that he appears to people who have a vacuum in their lives. He appears -- just like when we have cults in the United States.
Whom do these cults appeal to? Usually to young folks who are kind of lost, they have no place to go, they have no direction in life. It satisfies certain needs for them. And that ought to be one of our major kind of issues to explore in the future.
SNOW: I want to take one last call from Mississippi. Caller, go ahead.
CALLER: Yes. I was wondering if you all could shed some light on what he might value. I know he asked what the Mosques were saying about him. And also, might he value his children or what people are going to think about them?
SNOW: It's a good question. What does Osama bin Laden place value on?
POST: Well, I was really quite struck how is it playing in the mosques of Saudi Arabia. It seemed to be one of his questions. And beneath that facade of this heroic, selfless, religious leader, is a very self-aggrandizing, narcissistic, grandiose person who is very much intent on promoting his own image as the commander in chief of radical Islam against the west with commander in chief President Bush. ABUDABBEH: What would he value? That's a tough question to answer. I imagine if we use the psychopath, usually, they doesn't value anything, actually. Which is...
SNOW: So there's nothing the U.S. -- I mean, for example, what could U.S. troops or forces do that might force him out of that place where he might be hiding?
ABUDABBEH: I mean, I think those are very likely -- could likely that he might have somebody kill him, rather.
POST: Yes. He has, indeed, instructed both his son and those in his inner circle, if he was in danger of being captured, to kill him.
ABUDABBEH: I'm not surprised.
SNOW: I hate to leave it on the somber note, but we'll leave it there. And thank you so much for joining us, both of you, this afternoon. Dr. Jerrold Post and Nuha Abudabbeh. A pleasure to have you.
The U.S. continues under terrorism warnings and under apprehension that terrorists in Afghanistan were at least trying to develop chemical and biological weapons. Stay with us, as our special coverage of AMERICA'S NEW WAR continues.
SNOW: The investigation into who was responsible for sending anthrax through the U.S. mail continues. One person died; hundreds more were treated for anthrax exposure.
Although investigators haven't ruled out a domestic source for the anthrax attacks, there is concern that Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network may have access to chemical weapons.
Joining us now to talk about bioterrorism and the threat out there is Laurie Garrett. She is a science and medical writer for "Newsday," author of two books about germs and public health.
Thank you so much for joining us this afternoon. Appreciate it.
Let's talk about anthrax, first of all. This week there were a number of reports about the fact that a U.S. government program has been making the Ames strain of anthrax since, according to published reports, since the early '90s to test decontamination methods and equipment that the U.S. might use to detect biological agents. Any surprise there?
LAURIE GARRETT, AUTHOR AND JOURNALIST: Not really. I would have been surprised if they hadn't been trying to at least anticipate how the Ames strain and other strains of anthrax would behave in different situations of malevolent use, because, you know, they discovered that the Iraqi government had been developing anthrax in massive quantities during the Persian Gulf War and that the Russian, or Soviet, government had done the same.
So it would seem judicious for us to have some idea of how these spores would behave if they were used in an evil way.
SNOW: Now, given there was this program, can you connect the dots and say that perhaps the anthrax that's been causing so much trouble this fall came from that U.S. government program?
GARRETT: I think that's leap. We don't have evidence for that. I sure did try to research it. You know, the Army says they can account for every single gram of anthrax that was produced. They claim to have excellent records. I think it's a leap to jump to that conclusion, though it may be a convenient leap for many Americans to make if they tend to have anti-military, anti-U.S. government sentiments.
SNOW: In some ways, would it be -- I don't want to use the word "convenient," but that seems like the right word. Would it be more convenient if it was that someone had gotten from the U.S. government rather than someone sitting in a lab somewhere and making it up, you know, developing the anthrax on their own?
GARRETT: Well, I think you could look at it both ways. I mean, if the result was that we discovered that the security of the U.S. military's supply of experimental anthrax was so poor that someone was able to steal it, or someone working within the program had passed clearance and had such a twisted world view that they would do such a thing as to send it out in the mail, that would be very disturbing.
And conversely, it would be very disturbing to discover that someone in a lab somewhere in America had the ability to manufacture something that was of such high caliber.
Either way, it's bad news.
SNOW: Right. I meant convenient in terms of being able to track the stuff and being able to investigate where it came from. The Ames strain has passed from lab to lab in this country, has if not? So a lot of people might have access to that.
GARRETT: I don't think we have any idea how many laboratories all over the world possess the Ames strain. I mean, there was a time when you could literally mail order, receive it, right up until 1995. And labs tend to share samples, so that it's hard to keep records.
Furthermore, lots of labs may have been doing research at some point. The graduate student that was doing that research stuck their samples in the freezer, and that grad student since moved on to some other lab and nobody even remembers that there is anthrax in the freezer.
SNOW: Also joining us this afternoon we were able to get Javed Ali, our CNN bioterrorism expert, to come in and join us.
Thanks for coming on in.
JAVED ALI, CNN BIOTERRORISM EXPERT: Thank you.
SNOW: Appreciate you being here, as well.
Let me pick it up with you for a moment. We were talking about anthrax, but it that still, to your mind, a threat or one of the biggest threats when this comes to the general threat of bioterrorism?
ALI: Anthrax has been considered sort of the optimum biological agent to use for both countries who are interested in possessing or developing a biological weapons capability and even non-state actors, terrorist groups, because of the properties of anthrax: It is a lethal agent. It is not that difficult to find either from a reference lab like Laurie was talking about, or even from possibly isolating a virulent sample from nature. So -- plus, combined with the fact that it is an environmentally resistant or hardy organism.
Those sort of properties have led different countries and even terrorist organizations to at least exploring the possibility of anthrax as a weapon.
SNOW: Ms. Garrett, a government commission yesterday reported back to the president and said that the U.S. should have a national facility for research, development and production of vaccines and other therapeutics for infectious diseases.
Do you agree with that? Are we not well prepared enough for that threat?
GARRETT: Well, we already do have a fairly new national vaccine laboratory inside the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. It's probably underfunded.
Overall, we are in terrible shape with vaccine development, and that's as true for HIV vaccine and childhood vaccines as it is for vaccines that might be related to bioterrorist agents.
Yes, we need help. We need support. Whether we need a new building or something of that nature is another matter. I think the NIH history shows that the greatest innovations are made when monies are disbursed throughout the sort of academic community in ways that result in very unusual innovative research.
SNOW: Mr. Ali, do you agree with that?
ALI: I agree, but I also want to put a caveat on that statement in the sense that there are -- the U.S. government has for the last five to 10 years sort of taken recognition of the potential of a bioterrorism threat, at least the United States and certainly to U.S. forces that are deployed abroad, and has tried to develop vaccines and medical countermeasures for a number of different biological threat agents.
We are not as a nation to the level to where we would like to be, but at least there has been some progress and the small pox vaccine program that is now being kick-started and will hopefully push through in the next one or two years is just an indication as to how much additional work needs to be done.
SNOW: Everyone in the nation needs to have small vaccine? Is that the general throughout or not...
GARRETT: No. No, no, no, no, no, no -- absolutely not.
SNOW: Correct me, please.
GARRETT: Yes, I think it's really important for people to understand the principle behind building a stockpile of small pox vaccine. It's not a terribly risk free vaccine. You don't want to start mass vaccinating American people unless you see a genuine threat out there.
Otherwise, let's keep it in the stockpile.
SNOW: So it needs to be stockpiled. I guess I misspoke. I know the president has talked about having access to that much vaccine so that we're prepared in case.
GARRETT: I think that the real major issue that everyone in government is failing to clearly understand and that the political enterprise demonstrates in Capital Hill is still not quite registered, is that anthrax is a fairly simple problem to deal with because it's just a matter of whether I as an individual as exposed to spores. It's quite another matter if we're talking about a contagion, about an agent that spreads from human to human, in other words, a manmade epidemic.
And for that, we're really ill-prepared, whether we're talking about vaccines, about the public health infrastructure and apparatus for response, about surge capacity in hospitals, about doctor and physician knowledge at the grassroots level of what these agents look like.
That's where the problem is. And that's where Congress has failed to allocate appropriate funding so far.
SNOW: We're going to talk more about that in just a moment. I want to take a quick break to go to something else over in Afghanistan.
U.S. forces have established in southern Afghanistan and CNN's Mike Chinoy has some details from the Camp Rhino Marine base in Kandahar.
SNOW: And from the war in Afghanistan to the potential threat of bioterrorism, Javed Ali and Laurie Garrett are going to stay with us. We will take your phone calls and e-mails when AMERICA'S NEW WAR continues.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) SNOW: We're talking about the possibility of biological weapons in the hands of terrorists, with author and journalist Laurie Garrett and with CNN bioterrorism analyst Javed Ali.
SNOW: Ms. Garrett, right before the break, you were talking about Congress needing to inject some money, meaning to really take some action here to improve things on a number of different levels. The Congress this week, the House did pass a bill, a bioterrorism bill, contained $2.7 billion for various things. Isn't that a good first step?
GARRETT: Well, it's something. And it is the very first monies that have been allocated for public health, since September 11. It's interesting that we've gotten this far down the road with many public health departments spending themselves into theoretical bankruptcy at this point, and we're only now beginning to see dollars allocated.
On the Senate side, we have a bill floating from Senators Frist and Kenned that would call for 3.2 billion. The key question is how much of it is going to end up getting down to the grassroots level to fund laboratory capacity, surveillance capacity, local hospital capacities and how much ends up sort of being stuck at the federal level?
SNOW: Well, Javed Ali, isn't that just the question because, I mean, you can talk a lot about federal programs and federal agencies, but it's not the federal government that's going to have to respond, if something happens in Wichita, Kansas.
ALI: Absolutely. I mean, in a biological agent incident anywhere in this country, the first responders -- to use that term -- will be not the traditional first responders to other types of terrorists incidents, police, fireman. They will be your local health care providers, local public health personnel and those are the people who need to have the adequate resource in order to do all the things that it would take detect a disease outbreak early on and have the right treatments on hand or available to ensure that an outbreak doesn't spread wider or that they can treat the people that they know have been exposed to a particular agent.
SNOW: The food processor and grocery manufacturers objected to one piece of that bill that we just mentioned in House. They objected to more regulation coming from the FDA. Laurie Garrett, do you think there is a need for more regulation of the nation's food supply?
GARRETT: Well, the real problem with the food supply is that so many agencies are responsible for so many little pieces of the chain of production, of packaging, distribution and sale of food. And you know, the chain of command is almost impossible to understand. The FDA has responsibility for certain things, USDA for certain things, the states for others. And there are real gaps. The biggest gaps are on the FDA's side because there's so few people. Senator Dick Durbin has figured out that the average food processing plant gets an FDA inspection, once every five years in America.
SNOW: We're going to leave it at that. Thank you. Author and journalist Laurie Garret and CNN bioterrorism analyst, Javed Ali, appreciate you coming in today.
Coming up in the next hour, the new challenges facing states in the war against terrorism, the difficulties with bringing accused terrorists to justice, and what should America expect from its Arab allies. We'll tackle those issues and take your phone calls and e- mails, when AMERICA'S NEW WAR continues.
SNOW: Welcome back. I'm Kate Snow in Washington, joined today by CNN State Department correspondent Andrea Koppel.
In this hour, we're looking for your e-mail questions about how prepared the U.S. is against terrorist attacks three months after 9/11. That address is firstname.lastname@example.org. And next week marks 13 years since Pan Am 103 exploded in a terrorist bombing over Scotland. We'll talk to the author of a new book called "The Price of Terror" and a woman who lost her husband in that attack. And we'll also talk to an adviser to the government of Saudi Arabia. Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating joins us shortly.
But first, a check of the latest developments with Carol Lin in Atlanta -- Carol.
SNOW: Thanks Carol. In addition to the federal government, the war on terrorism is putting new burdens and expectations on the states. Joining us now from Oklahoma City is Governor Frank Keating. Until September 11, his state had been the site of the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil.
Governor Keating, thank you very much for being with us this afternoon.
GOV. FRANK KEATING (R), OKLAHOMA: Happy holidays. Thanks, Kate. How are you?
SNOW: Happy holidays to you too. I'm fine. Thanks.
Let me start with what happened this week in a state just to your South, in Texas. Officials there decided that they should announce that there was a vague and unsubstantiated threat on that state's schools. The governor came out with that. And then Friday they reversed themselves and said, in fact, there was no threat against -- no credible threat against the schools. How does a governor strike that balance, between informing the public and not scaring them?
KEATING: Well, Kate, it's not easy because you have a murk, you have a cloud, you have a volatility of a lot of information, some sustainable, some simply rumor. And you need to ask yourself: "Well, do I roll this out or not?" What's most important for states -- and I think we see some considerable improvement under Tom Ridge, as a result of President Bush's leadership -- is to provide us the intelligence early on so that we can sensibly respond. Just to say, "Watch the borders." or "We have a problem out there." is not sufficient because, obviously, we don't want to alarm people, we want to protect them. And we have bona fide, verifiable threats. But it's difficult.
SNOW: Are you, as a governor, getting briefings every day, every hour? How consistent is the information to you?
KEATING: Well, I think it's amazing how well this system is beginning to take shape over the course of the last several months. In our state, for example -- and every state will have to address it differently, based upon the threat. Do you have a nuclear power plant? Do you have pipelines? Do you have population centers? Are you a rural state?
But we divided it into two pieces. We created an avoidance piece, if you will, and a response piece. I put the commissioner of the Department of Public Safety in charge of the avoidance piece. And I put our FEMA -- local FEMA director in charge of the response piece. We only are as good, in terms of avoidance, as the intelligence given us. And we're creating eight different districts of first responder teams, people who are trained in bioterrorism events, trained to identify problems, and to be in a position to respond to those problems.
And, of course, in the response piece, we have the need, for the first time, really, of having FEMA help us with individuals who are trained people with -- in public health arenas. As you may know, FEMA, in the past, really just sent firefighters -- local firefighters -- to areas like Oklahoma City after a tragedy. Some police, but not a public health component. So all of this is being put together. But, obviously, time is of the essence, and speed is very important.
SNOW: There was a report due out -- I think either by yesterday or today -- from your state. Every state in the nation had to report back to the attorney general about the state of preparedness, your preparedness in sort of homeland defense in your state. Have you already -- I understand Oklahoma's already issued that report. And how well-prepared do you think your state is?
KEATING: Well, as a result of the incident of April 19, 1995, the Murrah bombing, and also as a result of natural disasters -- we're here in Tornado Alley, in the middle of the United States -- I think we're probably better prepared than others. But, as I told the president one time, Kate, we're very good with earthquakes and mud slides and hurricanes and tornadoes -- we state officials -- car wrecks and gunshot wounds, but we don't know anything about bubonic plague or about smallpox.
So all of that is information that's being provided now. And most importantly we, as states, have to have interoperable communications. We -- large and small -- we, as states, have to have knowledge about what to identify in the event of a smallpox incident. And we need to have the intelligence so that we can respond to what are very real threats. And I think, really for the first time, very well, that information is beginning to take shape. And we're beginning to muscle up, if you will, and be properly organized and properly prepared. But up until very recently, that simply was not the case unless it were a natural disaster or something that we could anticipate.
KOPPEL: Governor, this is Andrea Koppel. I wanted to ask you, in your recent testimony on Capitol Hill, you told legislatures that we need to resist the urge to federalize everything. What do you mean by that?
KEATING: Well, the first responders are local people, local firefighters, local police, local ambulance drivers, local public health officials. Those are the first responders. Quite truthfully, the second, third, fourth and fifth responders, the FEMA teams, are from Sacramento, from New York, from Phoenix, from Los Angeles. Those are all local people too.
So what's important is not to have the federal government think that they best can solve a problem below. Just make sure the state and local officials are fully trained and are, where necessary, fully funded. They can communicate with each other.
It's a big problem we have in Oklahoma, Georgia, and Florida. Governor Bush and Governor Barnes and I all have said that we don't have sufficient interoperability of communications equipment. But the best response will always be the local response. And truthfully, the only response will be the local response. We need to make sure it is well trained, well informed, and in a position to respond intelligently.
SNOW: Governor, we have a call on the line from Pennsylvania. Are you there, caller?
SNOW: Hi. Go ahead with your question.
CALLER: Well, basically, my question is -- I take the subway in Philadelphia every day. I don't see any security presence down there, and I know that could be a very easy target for an attack. What is your city doing, and what should our city be doing to better watch after us?
SNOW: How does a governor decide, Governor Keating, where to deploy all those resources? I mean, certainly you've got trains, planes, automobiles. You know, you've got a lot to cover.
KEATING: Well, Kate, that's a very probing and a very intelligent question, because what we've been asked to do by Tom Ridge -- and, of course, ultimately by the president -- is to assess the threat in our cities and in our states.
For example, in states that do not have an underground communi -- or an underground transportation system, that isn't a threat. But a state like ours that has, for example, most of the pipelines serving the United States going through our states, for oil and gas product, that is a potential threat. Some states do not have, for example, nuclear power plants, but they do have highly sensitive -- perhaps a pharmaceutical company, something like that.
So you have to make an inventory of what your state has, what could be -- and you do this with cooperation with the FBI and federal authorities, as well as your own intelligence -- What could be a threat? What could be a target? What could be the most vulnerable part of your state? You identify all those sites, and then you strengthen them and you strengthen an avoidance piece, and also you strengthen by creating a response piece.
But it must vary widely from place to place. We don't have subways in Oklahoma. Obviously, in Philadelphia it is a potential issue that the mayor and the governor need to examine and need to provide intelligence to avoid and sufficient resources, in the event a response is necessary.
KOPPEL: But governor, what happens? You just mentioned the caller's concern there from Pennsylvania -- what happens if the governor and the local authorities in a particular state decide that they don't want to use their resources in that way? Is there a point where the federal government should step in?
KEATING: Well, obviously, if you had people -- a mayor of a city, for example, or a governor of a state, who said, "Basically, we don't have any problems. We're living in the 1930s." You would have, I'm sure, members of Congress or federal officials who would have a "come to Jesus" session, if you will.
That, I don't think, would occur, quite truthfully because all of us care deeply about the citizens that we serve. And we also love our land. I mean, we love the cities. We love the land of our states. We want to make sure that our people are protected. So we have to take an inventory of the threat. What's out there that can hurt us? Who's here that can hurt us? And what particular assets do we have that are particularly vulnerable?
That's what we're doing in Oklahoma. And truthfully, I think that's what many states are doing, attempting to have a response piece, as well as an avoidance piece. And you know the FBI traditionally -- I know when I was an FBI agent, our function was to respond, not to avoid. We didn't prevent crime, we responded to it. That culture is gone. And now everybody is busily assembling intelligence, sharing intelligence, attempting to put together a way to avoid a problem. But also, if a problem does occur, to be able to respond intelligently to save lives. And I think that's very wise. And I hope that every governor, every mayor are doing what we're doing here.
SNOW: Governor Keating, I want to draw a little bit on your experience in 1995 when we come back. Stay with us. We're going to take a quick break.
SNOW: We're looking for your phone calls and your e-mails when AMERICA'S NEW WAR continues.
SNOW: A memorial dedicated to the victims of another terrorist attack on U.S. soil, the Oklahoma City bombing, which claimed, of course, 168 lives. We're getting some heartland perspective on America's new war from Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating, who was kind enough to join us this afternoon.
Governor Keating, let me ask you about that. Your city and your state went through just a horrifying tragedy. What lessons can you draw on that, and what would you tell New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia? Any enduring lessons?
KEATING: Well, first off, we made sure that all of the victims and the family members -- and there were thousands -- knew that we would give them the information, not through the television, but by live briefings. FBI agents, ambulance drivers, the governor, fire department representatives and the like -- what we were doing, in terms of trying to find their loved ones, their relatives. We all -- so we didn't want to have them receive their information from some third source.
We also made sure that relief, financial assistance, for example, went through one portal, one way, so that nobody could feel that they were being stiffed. Or, for that matter, one family would not access three or four different resources. And I think that was handled very, very well.
And we brought the families together and we let them participate in the selection process of an appropriate memorial. And, as a matter of fact, that which is built here in Oklahoma City -- the museum as well as the memorial -- is universally praised by the families themselves.
We didn't raise the kind of money, of course, that was raised in New York. But we made some battlefield decisions with scarce resources. We took the money and provided a free college education to everyone who lost one or both parents. And we had, obviously, hundreds of people who lost one or both parents. Or children who were badly injured we, of course, paid medical expenses, burial expenses and the like.
But we were not in a position to hand out checks. So we made some tough decisions with the families. We had one lawsuit filed, later dismissed. I think, universally, people were pleased with what we did here six years ago.
SNOW: Well, let's hear from one of your own. There's a caller from Oklahoma on the line -- caller.
CALLER: Yes. I wanted to know, do you feel that we are more prepared, here in Oklahoma, than other states, since we've already went through it once before with the Oklahoma City bombing?
KEATING: Well remember, the Oklahoma City bombing was an attack on our family from an out-of-state person -- unfortunately, a fellow American. We, at the time, did not anticipate something like that were happening -- would happen, rather.
But I think that the response was first rate. The problem with state and local officials, you have to know what is the threat. I mean, from what source? And that where now, for the first time, I think we have a very good working relationship with the FBI.
For example people, to have access to intelligence, have to have security clearances. And that process has been completed, in many cases, where state and local officials, law enforcement can share back and forth with the FBI. We have to look at our statutes in Oklahoma -- and really every state of the union -- to make sure we don't violate open meeting or open records acts. Obviously, the FBI's not going to share information with my law enforcement leadership if that information is going to be on the front page of the newspaper.
These are all problems that are being worked through, and I think worked through very, very well. And I want to commend, by the way, the Justice Department and the FBI for their forthrightness and their open-mindedness during this process. It's very, very well done.
KOPPEL: Governor Ridge, what do you think about the suggestion that we've heard put forward this week by -- Governor Ridge, rather, Governor Keating -- and that is to have different grades of security warnings, whether it be just like with the military, where you would have Def Con One, Two or Three. Do you think that's the sort of thing that might be helpful with various states?
KEATING: I think so. And I think that Tom Ridge, of course, as a former governor, knows how important it is to have accurate information. People want to respond, for example, to bad weather. And there are various threat levels of bad weather, all the way from a squall to a tornado or a very -- a level five, for example, tornado, or a level five hurricane.
I don't know if that's the correct level classifications, but you know, not terribly serious to very, very serious. I think the same thing could be applied in a law enforcement environment for a terrorist threat. And I think it's wonderful that everybody is working at this, because it's something that needs to be done in order to respond to what could badly happen again in the future.
SNOW: This week, Governor Ridge actually met and sat down with Gray David, your colleague from California. And they talked about the idea that maybe states should be reimbursed for some of the expenses that they're incurring for all this preparedness. Do you feel like Oklahoma needs to be reimbursed?
KEATING: Well, I think that we have to work together as Americans and members of the American family. I respect Tom Ridge a great deal. I've known him for a long time. I sat down with him several weeks ago, a legal pad in hand, and shared with him what I thought that we ought to do.
When I testified in New York, with Governor Barnes of Georgia and Governor Bush of Florida, all of us said the biggest problem we have is interoperability of communications, where state police frequently can't talk to county sheriffs and they can't talk to city police. That's an extraordinarily expensive thing to pay for.
And to the extent that the federal government can assist us, big states and small states, in doing that, I think it's a wise investment in public security. It's not looking for pork; it's looking for the funds necessary to be prepared, as Americans, for an incident. And I think that, to the extent that the federal government can assist where states can't, I think those are dollars wisely spent.
SNOW: Governor, I want to ask you one last question, if you can put your hat on of former U.S. attorney and former FBI agent. The first person this week formally indicted, in the case of 9/11, was Zacarias Moussaoui. He was actually in custody when the attack happened on September 11. Do you think that there were mistakes made there? Should law enforcement, I don't know, have discovered him sooner? And how are things progressing now, in your view?
KEATING: I think the great scandal, Kate, of this whole tragic period is the fact that after 1993, when apparently Osama bin Laden's lieutenants tried to and did, in fact, blow up the World Trade Center, not too many lessons were learned.
These people were in the country legally. These people were able to come and go, apparently rather freely. Mohamed Atta went back and forth several times. You would anticipate that good hard intelligence and good law enforcement would suggest that this bad group would seek to bring other bad people in the country to do other bad things. Apparently, we dropped the ball, I think -- and tragically so.
I think a lot of lessons have been learned. I think the president has gotten his arms around this in a first-rate way, with a first-rate team. I think the same can be said for Tom Ridge. I feel satisfied. I don't mean this in the wrong way, but I feel satisfied that there are adults around the table, that I think the lessons of 1993 apparently were not learned.
We let all these people in the country legally, remember -- these people were here legally, not like German saboteurs coming ashore in a dinghy. And that's a very embarrassing thing for law enforcement and intelligence in America.
SNOW: Our thanks to Governor Frank Keating of Oklahoma. We've taken a lot of your time. Thanks for being here.
KEATING: Thanks, Kate.
SNOW: America's European allies are meeting in Brussels. On the agenda: The establishment of an international peacekeeping force for Afghanistan.
CNN's Robin Oakley is in Brussels with more on the European Union's plans -- Robin?
ROBIN OAKLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Kate, we've had something of a muddle from the European Union leaders over precisely what their contribution will be to the stabilization force in Afghanistan. Yesterday it was suggested by Louis Michel, the Belgian foreign minister, that there would be an EU force going, involving all 15 members of the European Union.
In fact, it's been confirmed today that though most of those 15 countries, if not all in the end, will be contributing in some way or anther. There is no question of there being an EU force going. It will be a UN mandated force led by Britain and with significant contributions from France and Germany, Spain and Italy. But there is definitely no European Union force going to Afghanistan at any stage. It will be a UN operation -- Kate.
SNOW: What else is being discussed there at the European Union meeting? Can you give us -- give us a sense for what other items are the most hot items on the agenda.
OAKLEY: Well the key thing that they've been settling today is that they want to enlarge the European Union from 15 members to 25. But they won't be able to go on running it the same way when they do that. They're going to have to change all their institutions -- the council, the commission, how the parliaments operate.
So they've set up a convention which will spend the next year studying how they change their institutions to cope with the enlarged European Union. And surprisingly they've announced, as the chairman, the president of this convention, Valery Giscard d'Estaing, who is now 75 and is a former president of France. And many people look upon it as a rather strange thing to do, to settle -- to help settle the European Union's future with a man of 75 who was turned out by the electors 20 years ago -- Kate.
SNOW: Thanks. I'm going to go to my colleague, Andrea Koppel, actually. If you can stand by for a second, Robin, she has a question for you.
KOPPEL: Robin, I was going to ask you -- we had heard yesterday, from the U.S. State Department that there was still a couple of sticking points that were blocking the way for the British to come forward and say categorically that they're going to lead this security force for the post-Taliban government. Have you heard whether or not those sticking points have been cleared up?
OAKLEY: Well, I think they're on the way to being cleared up, because we talked earlier to Tony Blair, the British prime minster. And he confirmed, yet again, Britain's readiness to lead that force. I think there's been some suggestion that they were waiting for sorting out the precise arrangements with the United States about how any stabilization force would work alongside the offensive force still seeking Osama bin Laden under U.S. leadership.
And I think there was also a little bit of a question about Afghan authorities, the new interim government and the Northern Alliance people of the Russians entering some objections about not wanting the stabilization force to go in until it was agreed with all those parties precisely what it should do. But certainly, the feeling is that these -- any problems are on their way to being resolved. There's a British reconnaissance force going to Afghanistan this weekend under a British general to sort out precisely what the tasks should be. And I think it would be surprising if we didn't hear confirmation next week, with much more precise detail, about the numbers and tasks that will be performed.
SNOW: Robin Oakley on the future in Afghanistan. Thanks for joining us.
When AMERICA'S NEW WAR continues, the lessons of Pan Am Flight 103 and what they mean in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. We'll talk to two guests about the Lockerbie tragedy and the long hard road to find justice against terrorism.
SNOW: Next Friday marks the 13th anniversary of the downing of Pan Am Flight 103, in Lockerbie, Scotland. Two hundred and fifty-nine passengers and 11 people on the ground were killed. Two Libyan intelligence agents were eventually brought to trial. One was convicted, the other was set free.
The legacy of Pan Am Flight 103, in the wake of the September 11 attacks -- we're going to talk about that now. Joining us from Miami, Victoria Cummock. She lost her husband in the Pan Am attack and is head of the Organization of Families of Pan Am 103 Lockerbie. And here in Washington, Allan Gerson. He is an attorney who brought the first lawsuit against Libya on behalf of the victims and has co- authored a new book entitled "The Price of Terror: One Bomb, One Plane, 270 Lives, the History-Making Struggle for Justice After Pan Am 103."
Thank you both for being with us this afternoon.
ALLAN GERSON, CO-AUTHOR, "THE PRICE OF TERROR": A pleasure.
SNOW: Let me start with you, Mr. Gerson. In 1991, when evidence came out of Libya's involvement, there was no war declared on terrorism. There was no war declared against Libya. How -- relate that to where we are today. And how does that make the victims feel?
GERSON: Well, to be fair, this happened at the very end of the Reagan administration. And when George Bush took over, he adopted a sort of different approach -- a gentler, kinder approach to terrorism. And we essentially began to fight terrorism through the criminal justice system and indictments.
How does it make the families feel? Well, they waited nine years, from 1991, until the indictments actually resulted in a criminal trial. As you pointed out, two individuals, who were mid to low-level individuals, were indicted. One was found guilty, one was acquitted. That's on appeal. Basically, the families feel, if I may say so for some of them, quite bitter that many of their recommendations have not been taken seriously.
SNOW: Ms. Cummock, let me put it to you. Your husband, John, was lost on that flight. Do you -- did you feel betrayed at the time?
VICTORIA CUMMOCK, FAMILIES OF PAN AM 103: Well, basically, the country didn't even acknowledge and make any contact with the victims' families for many weeks subsequent to the bombing. And frankly, there was no response, no help given to the victims' families.
And 13 years later we're still waiting to hear about the issue of compensating the victims' families for this atrocity. It's the U.S. government that sets policies that make their citizens a target; it's up to our government to protect its citizens. And then, when there has been loss of life, to help us and compensate us in different ways.
And sadly, to date, there has been no help and no compensation. In terms of the trial, we really feel betrayed. One person got 10 years, which is 240 months for 270 lives. And yet the country did not actively pursue any other governments or any other groups.
SNOW: Victoria, you're quoted in the book that Mr. Gerson has written -- you are quoted as saying you asked yourself "What in God's name compelled you to do all of this for 11 years?" I take it this is a couple of years ago. "It wasn't anger," you said, "my motivations were to learn the Lockerbie lessons so that others don't have to die."
And yet then September 11 happened. How did you react to September 11? Have you been in touch with any of those families, and what advice would you give them?
CUMMOCK: Well, sadly, what happened on September 11 was -- I was outraged, like any other American, but I wasn't surprised. We had looked -- as a country, we had looked to see what aviation security was like and done threat assessments and vulnerability studies and realized that, domestically, we were wide open as a nation. Yet, our response to the escalation of terrorism was not to escalate security. And in that sense, it didn't -- it didn't surprise me at all what had happened.
My heart continues to break for the American people and the flying public because the country has made a minimal amount of steps to secure the flying public. But yet what I've seen that I don't think has changed and is very, very troubling is the fact that the U.S. government very quickly responds to corporate interests. After the September 11 attack, it was a $15 billion bailout that was immediately given to an industry that, in part, their inactions allowed what happened on September 11 to happen. Yet, the country and our government didn't respond to the citizens.
I've been in contact with many of the widows from September 11, and they're having the same problems that the Pan Am 103 families have had. Many of them are losing their homes. They can't pay their bills. The immediate response from this country typically seems to be for the corporate interest, but not for the individual citizens. And I really think that that is -- that's an outrage.
SNOW: Andrea, do you have a question?
KOPPEL: Well, actually, I was going to Mr. Gerson about that this. What legal resource does even the U.S. government have because in the case of Libya, we were talking about what the U.S. government had called a "state sponsor of terrorism." In the case of Afghanistan, where al Qaeda has been operating for X number of years, it's a failed state and it won't be the Taliban government that's running it much longer.
GERSON: If I could just backtrack a little bit on that to what Vicki said and in terms of your question too. Individuals have had an enormous event. And Vicki Cummock is a heroine in this struggle because originally she asked back in 1990 that the United States set up an independent investigatory commission to determine what was wrong because clearly, aviation insecurity and terrorism were linked.
And over the objections of President Bush at time and of the secretary of transportation, the attorney general and the secretary of state, she was able to form a presidential commission, which issued a report in 1990, which said everything that President George W. Bush said more than a decade later about aviation security, and about the need to confront terrorism.
The chilling conclusion of that report in 1990 was that national will and moral courage are the only ways to take on terrorism. But that report was really largely ignored for over a decade.
Now, what the family did in the end, and again, Vicki Cummock played a heroic role in this, is they were able to unite with the families of other tragedy, the families of the Oklahoma tragedy and able to secure legislation in 1996, which gives ordinary citizens the right to hold foreign governments accused of harboring terrorists accountable to ordinary citizens in a court of law.
So to answer your question, the law is in a taste is flux. It can be forged and when you get courageous individuals like Vicki Cummock, they make a great deal of difference.
SNOW: We're going to talk more with Allan Gerson and Victoria Cummock. They'll take your phone calls and your e-mails as well after the break. As we leave this break though, we're going to take a look at Ground Zero in New York where we're told the last part of the north tower was brought down just a few moments ago. We'll be right back.
SNOW: The challenges of bringing terrorists to justice is what we're talking about. We're talking with Victoria Cummock who lost her husband in the explosion of Pan Am Flight 103 13 years ago this week and Allan Gerson, an attorney and author who has worked with the families of the victims of that Pan Am 103 flight.
I want to go back to Victoria Cummock down in Florida.
Victoria, that airline bail out bill that you mentioned a few minutes ago, it did include one thing for the victims of September 11. It allows them to waive their right to sue and instead, go to a government fund, a government special master and seek funds that way and then they just can't go to court. Would you -- in your experience now, would you advise families to do that, avoid the courtroom and just settle with the government?
CUMMOCK: Well, the government has to date not formulated any policy on how to treat families or compensate them. As I said, 13 years ago, after the bombing of Pan Am 103, legislation was passed, requiring the government to determine a policy for all of us. And still to date, nothing has been done.
SNOW: So you don't have great faith in that?
CUMMOCK: I don't have great faith. It seems to me that our government responds very quickly with taxpayer dollars to corporate interests but yet; you can't buy a child's childhood back. My children were three, four and six when their dad was killed and for not to be able to pay the rent, keep food in their belly and provide whatever help they need, emotional help, tutoring, educational help -- you know, 13 years later, I really don't feel a great degree of confidence with the government.
SNOW: Mr. Gerson, it's meant to be an easy thing though. That's the way it was explained in the language of this bill that passed Congress -- was give them an easy way to get some help fast.
GERSON: It's an easy way to get help fast at a price because you have to sign a waiver. The waiver means you cannot sue the airlines nor can you see anyone else who may be responsible for the murder of your loved ones. So the families will have to make a choice -- do they want to take the route of getting paid, which they need the humanitarian assistance or the long route of say the hero and some of the people in this book for the price of terror who chose the difficult route of trying to get accountability.
Now, it's not going to be easy to actually get accountable but there may be ways.
KOPPEL: So very quickly, what is you advice to those who may be watching right now who are those survivors of 9/11?
GERSON: My advice to them is do absolutely nothing for six months, make no decisions, certainly, do not waive any of your rights, tend to your grief and then after that, there will time enough. But the decision you will have to make is between having money up front quickly and being able to pursue a much longer route to determine who was accountable and how they can be brought to justice.
SNOW: Allan Gerson, thank you so much for...
GERSON: Thank you.
SNOW: ... joining us here in the studio.
Victoria Cummock, thank you for coming in on a Saturday. We really appreciate it.
When AMERICA'S NEW WAR continues, inside into the fight against terrorism and the impact on U.S.-Arab relations. We're talking to an international policy adviser to the government of Saudi Arabia. Stay with us.
SNOW: Welcome back to our special coverage of AMERICA'S NEW WAR. The fight against terrorism has placed new demands on old alliances, especially between the U.S. and its friends in the Arab world.
Here with us in Washington Adel Al-Jubeir, a foreign policy adviser to the leaders of Saudi Arabia.
Thank you for joining us. I knew I wouldn't be smooth on that. I'm sorry.
ADEL AL-JUBEIR, SAUDI ADVISER: You did fine.
SNOW: Al-Jubeir. Thank you for joining us.
AL-JUBEIR: You're very welcome.
SNOW: Let me start with the tape that came out this week. The tape mentions several Saudis clerics as being associates of bin Laden and being thrilled by what was done on September 11, being supportive of bin Laden. Is it disturbing to your government that bin Laden has so much support in your country?
AL-JUBEIR: Well, I don't think he has much support in Saudi Arabia at all. If he did, he wouldn't be hiding in a cave in Afghanistan. He'd be in Saudi Arabia marshalling his supporters.
With regards to the tape, we found it horrifying. We found it revolting. We found it shocking. We found it showing his evil and inhumane face. We reject what was in the tape and we reject the views that were espoused in it.
KOPPEL: Do you find it legitimate? Because that's the big question. There are many who were watching the tape, who said could it have been doctored.
AL-JUBEIR: I believe it was very legitimate. There is no reason to doctor a tape. The war is almost over. If you wanted a tape doctored, you would doctor it before you start the way not after.
It's in line with this evil thinking. It's in line with the views that he's a spouse previously and it's in line with the tapes that he himself made and gave to Al-Jazeera for broadcast.
SNOW: There are a lot of reports of strained relations right now, I'm sure you're aware, between Saudi Arabia and the United States. Is there any truth to those reports and what is the relationship like right now and are the Saudis providing everything that the U.S. is asking for?
AL-JUBEIR: Yes, the relationship between the two countries is excellent, couldn't be better. I find myself having to prove negatives constantly. Those -- this sentiment is shared by your president, by your senior leaders in official statements and unequivocal statements. I have yet to find one American official say something on the record that is nothing in the U.S. relationship with Saudi Arabia.
KOPPEL: The last time I saw you, it was a couple of months back and you were here to refute the reports that Kate was just alluding to there, that there were strains in the U.S.-Saudi relationship. Do you feel like that chapter is closed or is your presence here right now -- does that mean that perhaps there is still some problems?
AL-JUBEIR: I believe it's in the media for example, the stories of us. You're very now much more balanced, much more accurate. There is less jumping to conclusions than there have been previously. Is it perfect? No, but then you would never expect a perfect meeting.
SNOW: And what role does the Middle East play now because certainly, there is a lot going on there and that has been a sticking point if you will between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia? You've not always taken the same stance on the Middle East.
AL-JUBEIR: Yes, well, the Middle East has many aspects to it. If you refer to the peace process in the Middle East, it's very tragic. We see the situation deteriorating. We feel that the peace process has to be brought back in its proper channel. We feel that we have to control the violence. We have to implement the Mitchell Plan and we have move forward towards a negotiated settlement. Violence does not serve anyone.
KOPPEL: Yes, but how do you get there? You've seen, just in the last couple of days -- in fact, we know that General Zinni, the U.S. special envoy to the region is on his way back. The violence in the last two weeks that he's been there has even surpassed what it was before. How can the U.S. play a more effective role than it has been so far?
AL-JUBEIR: We believe that the U.S. should take strong and unequivocal positions with regards to an end to the violence. We believe that...
KOPPEL: So it needs to be critical of Israel?
AL-JUBEIR: Absolutely. And the U.S. has been critical of the Palestinians. It should be critical of both sides. We believe that the two parties are having a difficult restoring trust with each other and maybe the time has come for international observers to be placed in the midst of them and so we can know who is abiding to the agreements and who is not.
KOPPEL: What is your interpretation of the Israeli prime minister's comments the other day, that Yasser Arafat is irrelevant to the peace process?
AL-JUBEIR: That's Mr. Sharon's opinion. We believe that that opinion is wrong. Mr. Arafat is the elected representative of the Palestinian people. I'm sure that there are Palestinians who think that Mr. Sharon should be irrelevant. SNOW: And you suggested just a moment ago that you think Mr. Bush, that your country thinks President Bush is taking the side of Israel in a sense or taking -- is that what you're suggesting?
AL-JUBEIR: No, the United States is trying very hard to bring about arrangements or accommodations between the two sides. Maybe we need to have more input from the rest of the world community. Maybe we need to more local. Maybe we need to have observers on the ground who can separate the two sides and who can assign blame if blame should be assigned. It's a very difficult and protractive conflict, but it's a very dangerous conflict. And it can have a wide-ranging effect in the regions.
KOPPEL: Let me go back to my earlier question, what is the Saudi government interpretation of the Israeli government calling Yasser Arafat irrelevant. Are they saying that they will no longer deal with him in the future?
AL-JUBEIR: We can't read Israel's minds, but we can read their actions and what they're doing is absolutely, completely wrong. You cannot destroy villages, you cannot uproot trees, you cannot assassinate leaders, you cannot close territories, you cannot freeze funds and expect the other side to have good will towards you. There has been an easing of the closures and there has been a reduction of the violence.
SNOW: Let me take it back to the situation in Afghanistan. Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda forces seem to be relatively contained now at least that's the suspicion. What happens if Osama bin Laden tries to seek refuge in Saudi Arabia or in a Saudi embassy somewhere, in that part of the world? He's not a citizen anymore.
AL-JUBEIR: Yes, he's not a citizen and he probably would be the least welcome person in the world in Saudi Arabia or any Saudi institution. He's a fugitive. He's wanted by Saudi Arabia as much probably as he is wanted by the United States. We would welcome the opportunity to put our hands on him.
KOPPEL: Well, let me ask you this, suppose that the U.S. or forces working with the U.S. put their hands on bin Laden, what do you think the reaction within the Arab world would be if he is either killed or if he's taken into custody?
AL-JUBEIR: I believe that there have been a lot of comments made about his popularity. He doesn't have popularity. He's a criminal. He's a murderer. He's a thug. He's a psychopath. He should be brought to justice. And when the world sees what he did and what he stands for, the reaction will be just as it would be for punishing any other criminal.
SNOW: But then how do you -- I'll go back to the tape though. And I think -- I mean a lot of Americans who don't study your region closely, are looking at that tape and thinking he has a lot of friends in Saudi Arabia. That's what comes -- that's the impression that you get. AL-JUBEIR: Well, the person that he was speaking to was not an objective observer. Obviously, it was a cohort of his. The person who was speaking with him was telling him what he thought the reactions were.
We -- the person who was speaking for him has a very biased opinion and has an interest in charming bin Laden and telling him that there is support. If there is support, we don't see it. We look for it very carefully because these -- this outfit is against us as much as it is against the United States. We take this matter very seriously.
KOPPEL: If I could back to the earlier question. Is it more problematic for the United States and for its Arab allies if bin Laden is captured alive or if he is killed in the field?
AL-JUBEIR: I think it's six of one half a dozen. The other, we don't know yet if he's going to be captured alive or if he's killed. We feel that if he's captured alive, then there will an opportunity to showcase his crimes to the world, put him on trial and justice will be served.
KOPPEL: Should he put on trial in the region or back here in the United States?
AL-JUBEIR: It's an interesting legal question, but I really don't have the answer to because he's not a citizen of Saudi Arabia. He committed the crime in America against America and he's captured in a third country. I believe it -- I -- it's going to be -- you would need to talk to...
SNOW: He's not technically a citizen of any country, is he?
AL-JUBEIR: Correct, and he's a criminal in all countries.
SNOW: Thank you so much, Adel Al-Jubeir, for coming in on a Saturday and giving us view from Saudi Arabia's perspective.
AL-JUBEIR: You're very welcome.
SNOW: Thank you.
Coming up, Andrea Koppel and White House correspondent Kelly Wallace and I will continue our special coverage of AMERICA'S NEW WAR. We leave you with images from Ground Zero where part of the north tower came down today.
SNOW: Welcome back. Some news to tell you about. CNN national security correspondent David Ensor confirming now that U.S. officials are -- quote -- "reasonably certain" that one of the voices that they have been hearing in Afghanistan over battlefield radios in the Tora Bora area is that of the voice of Osama bin Laden. Again, CNN national security correspondent David Ensor confirming, based on U.S. officials reporting, that they are "reasonably certain" that one of the voices they have heard over short-range battlefield radios in the Tora Bora area of eastern Afghanistan has been the voice of Osama bin Laden over the past week.
The end game in Afghanistan, the violence in the Mid East, President Bush dumps a Cold War missile treaty and partisan politics back in style.
In Washington, joining me, CNN State Department correspondent Andrea Koppel and CNN White House correspondent Kelly Wallace. Thanks you guys for doing this with us this afternoon.
KELLY WALLACE, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Nice to be with you.
SNOW: Let's start with you, Kelly. Let's start with some of the news out of the Middle East. We've just learned this afternoon that the U.S. envoy to the Mid East, Ambassador Zinni, will be coming back. What's the reasoning there?
WALLACE: Well, you know, Kate, not totally unexpected. We were getting a sense, at least as recently as yesterday, that this could happen. The White House, the State Department billing this as General Zinni coming back to consult with the president, the secretary of state, to do an assessment of the events in the region and determine how to proceed.
The administration, Kate, very sensitive though, not that it should be viewed as stepping out of the peace process, saying that Zinni will remain engaged. The U.S. will continue doing whatever it can, but clearly, the violence in the region, the U.S. trying to put more pressure on the Palestinian leader, trying to figure out what it should do from here -- Kate.
SNOW: Andrea, pick up on that. Is the State Department going to be pleased that he had to come? Is it a positive development or is it a negative development that he had to come back showing that there's no progress being made?
KOPPEL: Well, it's clearly not good and the fact that General Zinni, who after all was sent out there under the mandate from the White House that he was going to stay out there with no sort of return date set. Things have gone really from bad to worse in the region, since he's been out there.
The administration, quite frankly, is just as confused as others in the region as to what Mr. Sharon meant when he said that Yasser Arafat was irrelevant. But having said that, Kelly is absolutely right. The administration is leaving the door open, saying that General Zinni is coming home for the holidays, for consultation and he will be going back out at some point in the very near future.
SNOW: Kelly, the president this week announced that the U.S. will withdraw from the ABM Treaty, the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. It's been around for a number of years, about 30 years, I think. Why withdraw now? What's the reasoning and is this just about missile defense?
WALLACE: Well, the reasoning, you know, the president and his top aides saying that they need to get the time clock ticking. The president's notification means the U.S. can withdraw from this treaty in six months timeframe and can go ahead with rapid testing and deployment of a missile defense system.
So the sense was the administration clearly trying to work out some agreement with the Russians, amending the treaty, making some changes or coming up with some agreement with Russia that would allow the U.S. to move forward without violating the treaty. Clearly, they were not able to reach an agreement.
But what the White House was doing, Kate, and Andrea saw this as well, was definitely pointing to the statement coming from the Russian President Vladimir Putin, that he called this decision by Mr. Bush a mistake. But he also said that the two countries can work together. He also said Russia would unilaterally reduce its nuclear arsenal to the White House, saying that its response from Russia, very pleased with what it was getting.
SNOW: Andrea, pick up on that. It would seem that the Russians reacting exactly as President Bush wanted them to. Not only did -- were they positive but they said they would start decreasing some of their stockpiles.
KOPPEL: Well, what we have learned in the last number of days is that there was a lot of choreography that went into the announcement both from the White House on Thursday and then from the Russians and that there was a lot of synchronizing that was taking place. 9/11 changed the landscape as we've seen for the United States in many of its relationships, especially with the Russians.
And the Russian President Vladimir Putin realized that the Americans were going to go forward with this no matter what. He has gotten things out of this. At NATO headquarters the other day, when Secretary Powell was there, NATO said that they were going to try to include the Russians in more discussions.
The Russians also seeing the United States turning not necessarily a blind eye to what's happening in Chechnya, but certainly is not as critical as to what it had been before 9/11. So this is something the Russians realize they weren't going to be able to change and they might as well go along with it because they're getting things out of it as well.
SNOW: Kelly, the president talking today about the place where I work, the Congress, trying to get things done up there. We've got one week left before they're supposed to take a break for Christmas. What kind of urgency does the president have now?
WALLACE: Well, you heard him in that radio address, Kate, definitely putting the onerous on Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle and also sort of putting out some numbers, saying if the Senate fails to act as many as 300,000 jobs could be lost. The president saying since he proposed an economic stimulus package in October, 700,000 people lost their jobs, really trying to put the pressure on.
Kate, you know as well as we do that this week will be very decisive. But Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle indicating that he is hopeful that the two sides can work things out. Clearly, the White House is going to try and keep the pressure on and try and do everything possible to see that the Senate passes a bill.
SNOW: Could be a long week. Let's do it again. Thank you guys. Thanks for joining us. And that's all we have for this edition of AMERICA'S NEW WAR. Andrea Koppel, Kelly Wallace, thanks so much and thank you for watching. I'm Kate Snow in Washington.
An update on the hunt for Osama bin Laden, the latest headlines and "CNN SATURDAY" all straight ahead.
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