FTN - 10/14/01 - Part 2

face the nation logo, 2009 CBS

SCHIEFFER: And we're back now with this expanded edition of Face the Nation .

We're going to talk to the heads of the Senate intelligence and foreign relations committees in just a minute.

Before we do that, though, we want to go to Pakistan and CBS News Correspondent Allen Pizzey.

Allen, demonstrations there, anti-American demonstrations, and also another warning from Osama bin Laden. Bring us up to date on all that.

ALLEN PIZZEY, CBS News Correspondent; Indeed, Bob, there's an airbase called Jacobabad, and that's where American forces have based themselves. The Pakistani government at first denied there was anyone there. Then they said, OK, without any spokesman being named, yes, indeed, American forces were using Jacobabad airbase.

It's quite isolated. It's right on the edge of the desert in Baluchistan, where we are. But nonetheless, the very idea of it has inflamed Islamic parties here. The JUI, which is the strongest pro-Taliban party in Pakistan, called yesterday for lots of demonstrators to go down there, and they even said they would try to take over the base, kill Americans, do whatever they could; they would not tolerate Americans on Pakistani soil.

Well, they went down there. The police, of course, were out in force. They fired tear gas, shots in the air. And at least one demonstrator, we're told, was killed. A lot of others were injured, and many, many were arrested. The police tried to seal the place off, but the demonstrators basically flooded in anyway.

The Americans that are there are not combat troops. As far as we're told, this is not an assault force to go in after bin Laden, although who those what's really there? But they're saying these are people that are engaged in logistical support, possibly for search and rescue.

It's a good place to have helicopters based, if you've got pilots flying over southern Afghanistan, because, if one goes down, obviously you want to go in and get him. That's the kind of place where those forces might be based.

No one is saying what's in there, but that doesn't matter as far as these demonstrators are concerned. They really don't want Americans here, and they're going to make it miserable for the government as long and as hard as they can.

Now, that's not to say the government can't control it. I think it's fairly obvious that they can. Yesterday here, for example, police and riot police just flooded the streets. They're still out there. Demonstrations were allowed. They were told, you'll do it, you'll be peaceful, or you'll be in trouble. They were peaceful here. The airbase is a much more significant kind of thing.

Another significant development has been yet another warning from Osama bin Laden. One of his spokesmen issued another video through Al-Jazeera, the Arabic TV network that they like to give information to. And he said that, if Americans don't get out of the Arabian Peninsula, the earth ill burn beneath their feet.

Now, there could be a hidden message in there. You've got to remember that, after the U.S. guided-missile cruiser Vincennes shot down an Airbus from Iran, one of the ayatollahs said, the skies will rain blood. And sometime later we had Pan Am 103 blown up over Lockerbie.

So, I think when people like bin Laden's associates make that kind of a warning, you can't ignore it, and you have to think of, what could it mean? Well, the earth burning, maybe they'll try to set fire to oil fields, who knows?

But it's the kind of thing that they put out there for a good reason, not just to keep their image up, not just to inflame their supporters, but also because they mean it.

The U.S. government has been concerned, for example, that Al-Jazeera has been putting out warnings, messages in some of the stuff that bin Laden's people have been giving them. Well, I think maybe bin Laden is now giving a clear message they're not finished yet, Bob, they're going to keep right on coming at us.

SCHIEFFER: All right, Allen Pizzey. Thank you so much, Allen.

Well, now from Wilmington, Delaware, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Joe Biden. From St. George Island, Florida, the Senate Select Intelligence Committee Chairman Bob Graham. And here in our Washington studios, the ranking Republican on that Intelligence Committee, Senator Richard Shelby.

Senator Biden, let me talk to you first, because you just heard what Allen Pizzey said. Do you think that--obviously this is a propaganda message; these messages are always heavy with propaganda. But is there another message? Could this be a sort of signal to his people somewhere that Osama bin Laden wants another action?

SEN. JOSEPH BIDEN, D-DE: Well, I'm sure he does want another action, but I think the real key to the message is, it proves what his fight is all about, wanting us out of the Arabian Peninsula. It doesn't have anything to do with Israel.

You know, he's playing this Israel card now, because he thinks he can inflame passions. But, if you notice, whenever he gets serious, he's always talking about the Arabian Peninsula. And I think that's the most significant message from what he had to say.

And, look, this is all the more reason, Bob, why we have to pursue this fellow. He is not going to stop. He is not going to end his attempts to do damage to Americans and American interests.

BORGER: Senator Shelby, you heard about the demonstrations also in Pakistan, which have turned violent. Are you worried about a destabilized Pakistan right now?

SEN. RICHARD SHELBY, R-AL: Well, we're all concerned about a destabilized Pakistan, because Pakistan's not the most stable place in the world to begin with, and you've got the undercurrents of forces that would destabilize the country.

I believe it is going to be all right. Of course, I'm hoping it's going to be all right. It's very importat to the government, I believe, for them to stabilize the country as best they can. But there will be attempts to destabilize Pakistan big time in the next few weeks.

BORGER: Well, what can we do about that?

SHELBY: Well, the best thing we can do is support the government there, which we're doing in many ways. And if we do this--I think the president has already moved in a lot of directions, I believe, to stabilize his armed forces. And if he can do this, he can stabilize the country, whatever stabilization will mean in Pakistan.

SCHIEFFER: Senator Graham, I'm sure you heard Attorney General Ashcroft a little earlier on in the broadcast say there may be as many as 200 people out there on an FBI watch list who may have had something to do with the attacks on September 11.

Were you surprised to hear him use numbers that large? Or does that coincide with your understanding of what's going on?

SEN. BOB GRAHAM, D-FL: Well, I can't comment on what we've heard, but I'm not surprised at that number.

I'm also not surprised that on your show you've talked about attacks that might come from crop-dusters, from mail with anthrax, from drivers of hazardous waste. The number of vulnerabilities in a free and open society such as the United States are infinite.

Therefore, the only real way you can deal with terrorism is at its source. We have got to do, as we have started in Afghanistan and will continue throughout the world, to identify and rip out the roots of global terrorism wherever it exists.

SCHIEFFER: In addition to being chairman of the Intelligence Committee, you're also a senator from Florida. Are you satisfied with federal efforts now on this business of tracking down and getting to the bottom of this anthrax thing? Because now I understand there are five more people in Florida who have shown up positive on tests for anthrax.

GRAHAM: Bob, I agree with what Senator Frist said. The work of the public health services, both in Florida and through the Centers for Disease Control, have been exemplary. The very best medical people in the world are working on this case.

They have isolated it to this one building in Delray Beach and are testing thus far over a thousand people who had some degree of exposure to that building beginning 60 days before September the 11th.

BORGER: Senator Shelby, do you worry that the intelligence monitoring in this country is stretched beyond its capacity? We've talked this morning about the FBI being stretched. What about the CIA?

SHELBY: Well, I think the CIA right now is very much on alert, is doing everything it can. But we will always be stretched to some extent. But I believe that now is the time to do everything we can, work the hours, do the analysis and work the people.

BORGER: Senator Biden, I'd like to ask you a little bit about Afghanistan.

There's been a lot of talk about leaving a powevacuum in Afghanistan, and that is something we obviously do not want to do. What kind of government do we want to see there?

BIDEN: We want a stable government. We don't want to dictate the government. We don't want American forces there to maintain the government, because that would make it look like we came as an occupying power.

I, and others, have spoken at length to the president about this. I'm convinced he is committed to try to work out an agreement with some of the Pashtun--that's the population in the south from which most of the Taliban comes--and this Northern Alliance to form a coalition government.

I think the president is going about it the right way. That's why we haven't taken down some of the capability of the Taliban so the Northern Alliance can't move yet south before we're prepared to have some kind of multilateral arrangement in there.

And one other thing, Gloria, may I make a point about perspective here? Listening to the witnesses you had beforehand, you would think that it was easy to be able to put anthrax in a crop-duster. They can't do that. It's a very difficult process.

I want to point out--remember what happened about--you were talking about smallpox and anthrax and other things. You have to make this in sort of an aerosol form. The ability to do that is very difficult. In Japan when the cult tried to do that, they had scientists, highly educated research people. They spent several years and millions of dollars, and they still could not do this.

Is it a potential threat? Yes. Is smallpox a potential threat? Yes, but it's located in two spots. There is no indication that it's able to be handled easily and gotten hold of.

And all this does, as what my colleagues have been saying, it points out what we know we have to go do, and it's not rocket science to do it.

We should be spending the $8 billion to collect all the Soviet, all the Russian biological and chemical--excuse me, chemical weapons that they're asking for help on.

We should be going and getting these scientists who in fact did produce this smallpox for the Russians in the past, hiring them, making sure they're not off on another place. There's a lot of things we can do.

But we should put this in perspective. The ability to put this in aerosol form is incredibly difficult.

And I'll read just from one study done by the AMA, the working group on biodefense. It says, "Most experts concur that the manufacture of lethal anthrax aerosol is beyond the capacity of individuals or groups without access to very advanced biotechnical capability," which there is no evidence they have.

And, Gloria, if he had this capacity, do you think he would be sending it in envelopes? Or don't you think there would have been a coup de grace that would have been administered now by spreading this aerosol form all around? So we should calm down a little bit.

SCHIEFFER: Well, I take your point on that Senator. But let me ask you this. I mean, how do you explain the fact that this anthrax is showing up in various places? It didn't just come over by magic.

BIDEN: Well, by the way--no, look, no, no, I'm not suggesting it did. Here's the point I'm making.

It is possible that this is Al Qaeda. It is possible that they're trying to spread it through envelopes and in powdered form. That's not the stuff that can kill tens of people, hundreds of people or tens of thousands of people.

You heard one of my colleagues point out the exercise in Dark Winter, where they talked about millions of people dying. Well, what most of your listeners hear is they make a giant connection between the capacity to send it in an envelope and to kill millions of people. They are fundamentally different capabilities.

It may very well be that you have Al Qaeda sending out these envelopes around the world, and it will--it has killed one person so far. But as Senator Graham has said, the public health structure's responded to this very well. There are antibiotics to cure it. There's a way in which to deal with it. I'm just saying we don't want to panic people. Is it a real threat? Yes.

SCHIEFFER: Well, that is--that is a question, and Senator Shelby's holding up his hand.

SHELBY: I just--I agree with Senator Biden, we don't want to panic people. We do want them to be alert and real alert. But we'll all feel better when we find out from the FBI and others that are investigating the anthrax scare, where it came from. Is it a bunch of kooks? Is it tailored to the news media? Is it tailored to someone else?

We need to find that out, and the sooner the better. And the American people will feel maybe just a little bit better.

SCHIEFFER: Well, Senator Graham, as the chairman of the Intelligence Committee, do you feel or do you have any information to suggest we're close to finding out where it came from?

GRAHAM: The answer is, that is an answer that will be found. The CDC, Centers for Disease Control, has indicated that there was no possibility that the building in Delray Beach could have been infected other than by a human intervention. Now it's going to be up to law enforcement to find out what the source of that human intervention was.

I agree with the comments that have been made, particularly by Senator Frist, that we've taken significant strides in the last two or three years to begin to prepare ourselves to deal as best we can with the possibility of a bioterrorism attack against the people of the United States.

But I also feel that it at the end of the day the fundamental thing we're going to have to do is to attack the terrorists where they live and eliminate the source of terrorism.

SCHIEFFER: All right. Well, gentlemen, I want to thank all of you. This is some subject to be talking about.

FRIST: It certainly is.

SCHIEFFER: I'll tell you.
All right, we're going be back in a moment with our roundtable discussion: Former Secretary of Defense Jim Schlesinger and Judy Miller of the New York Times, who got one of those suspicious letters, in a minute.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHIEFFER: And with us now, the former secretary of defense, Jim Schlesinger. In New York, Judith Miller of the New York Times.

Mr. Secretary, normally protocol-wise, I would go to you, but Judy Miller got one of these letters, the New York Times got one.

We now understand, Judy, that thankfully it proved to be negative, the tests on it for anthrax. But this must have been quite a day for you to open this letter and get this powder on you.

JUDITH MILLER, Bioterrorism Book Author: I don't hear.

SCHIEFFER: Well, Judy, I'm very sorry. For some reason I can't seem to hear you. But we'll go to Mr. Schlesinger.

Mr. Schlesinger, how do you think the administration is handling this so far?

Because, you know, the attorney general was here just a while ago, and before the broadcast he was saying, you know, he said, you know, we only get criticized for two things: for warning people that there's a threat or for not warning them there is a threat. This is a very serious and complicated issue as to how to keep the public informed and alert, but at the same time not set off general panic.

JAMES SCHLESINGER, Former Defense Secretary: I think that the administration, by and large, has hit about the right balance. For a while there it was issuing warnings that might have caused undue alarm on the part of the public without saying what the public response should be. But, by and large, it's hit the right balance of alerting the public and not causing panic.

SCHIEFFER: And, Judy, let me go back to you, because I'm told we can now hear you. What was this like for you?

MILLER: Well, as many facilities in Russia and the former Soviet Union as I visited, and as often as I've described this, it is different to be at the receiving end of one of these letters. But, you know, I'm here to tell you that there's nothing that's totally disabling about two days of Cipro. My colleagues and I are fine. We put out the paper. We are going to continue doing our work.

And I think, although we don't know if there's a connection between the events of September 11 and this new terror campaign, it's clear that there is a terror campaign. And what better way than to spread terror than to send such letters to people in the news media.

SCHIEFFER: Well, you, of course, are something of an authority on all of this because you've, among other things, written a book on bioterrorism and germ warfare.

The question I have for you and the attorney general--I'm not entirely clear on what to make of this. Is there a way to know if, for example, this letter that you got, whether it was a hoax? Is there any way to know, for example, if anthrax had ben sent in that letter--and I don't know the terminology--that the germ could have died, or that the terrorist failed, or whoever sent this failed in that? Is there a way to know that?

MILLER: Well, there is once the material itself is analyzed, once you put it under a microscope. We knew pretty quickly from what they're calling preliminary tests that there didn't seem to be any signs of anthrax bacteria in the substance that was sampled. You know that quickly.

What you don't know once anthrax is detected is whether or not it's a vaccine strain which is would not harm someone, or it is a lethal strain which would. And the type of strain, whether or not that lethal strain is sensitive to antibiotics and vaccines. And that's the kind of long-term testing that is done and which, unfortunately, our country is rather short of in terms of facilities and people who can do that kind of work.

BORGER: Mr. Schlesinger, we now seem to be on a manhunt for Osama bin Laden and the key members of the Taliban. Can you talk to us a little bit about the success rate for such manhunts that we've had?

SCHLESINGER: Well, we didn't do as well as we hoped to do when we were chasing Noriega in Panama. It may take some time before we're able to run him to ground. It depends upon our success in moving into Afghanistan. It depends upon continued support, I believe, from Pakistan, which is in a delicate political position.

Over time we need to move U.S. forces into Afghanistan if we hope to pacify the country, remove the Taliban, and to catch bin Laden.

SCHIEFFER: Well, that was my next question, because we all knew the difficulty of putting ground troops into Vietnam and how difficult that proved to be.

SCHLESINGER: Well, as I indicated, it's a delicate situation in Pakistan. The more quickly we are able to resolve the problem; the more quickly we are able to remove the Taliban from power, the better will be the position of the government in controlling these demonstrations. If it's a lengthy thing, I think that the resentments will begin to build in Pakistan, and the situation will become more and more shaky.

SCHIEFFER: Well, thank you very much. We're going to have to end it there. I want to thank both of you.

And, Judy, we're very happy to know that everything worked out OK...

MILLER: Me, too.

(LAUGHTER)

SCHIEFFER: ... for the Times and for you. You helped us put it all in context.

MILLER: Thank you.

SCHIEFFER: We'll be back with a final word in just a minute.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHIEFFER: Finally today, we have heard it for years on the radio. First an electronic tone comes on, and then the announcement, "This is a test. Had there been an actual emergency..."

Well, what we're realizing these days, that this is an actual emergency, and yes, it is a test--not a test of the radio transmitters, a test of s.

We are experiencing in a small way the anxiety of wartime London; how it was in Saigon during that war, when soldiers in the fields would go for days without seeing or hearing the enemy, and then come to safe Saigon on a three-day pass and see people killed by a hand grenade thrown into a cafe.

The president counsels calm and patience, but that means more than waiting for the government to track down these killers. It also means keeping our wits about us and being patient with the inconvenience of increased security and the occasional overreaction.

The other day, 98-year-old Strom Thurmond fainted on the Senate floor. And Capitol police were on such a hair trigger, they closed off the entire Capitol, even the parking lots.

Well, such things will happen, but we can't let them unnerve us or get to us. Better to laugh. It was sort of funny anyway, even to Thurmond.

After the attacks on the Twin Towers, road rage faded in this country, and we saw a return to civility, as we all remembered we are all in this together. It is from that bond that we draw our greatest strength.

We ask what can we do to help now. Well, one thing we can do is to remember that this is a test by those who would break our spirit. In a battle of wits, civility is a powerful weapon. After all, our brains just work better when we're in a good humor.

That's it for us. We'll see you next week, right here on Face the Nation .


© MMI, CBS Worldwide Inc. All Rights Reserved
  • CBSNews.com staff CBSNews.com staff

Comments

Follow Us

Face on Twitter