FTN - 10/20/02

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BOB SCHIEFFER, Chief Washington Correspondent: Today on Face the Nation, the latest on the Washington D.C.-area sniper, terrorism and North Korea's nuclear program.

Last night, a man was shot walking out of a restaurant in a town just south of Washington. Is it the same sniper? We'll get the latest from the scene.
Could this be international terrorism? We'll talk about that with National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice. And we'll ask her about the shocking revelation that North Korea has a nuclear weapons program.

We'll get Congress' view on that from Senators Bob Graham, head of the Intelligence Committee, and Richard Lugar of Indiana.

Gloria Borger will be here, and I'll have a final word on Washington under siege.

But first, the latest on the sniper on Face the Nation.

SCHIEFFER: Well, this latest incident happened just south of Washington along the interstate I-95. Just off there, a man had gone to have dinner at a roadside cafe, was shot without reason. We understand that he is in critical condition.

We want to go to the scene, Ashland, Virginia, where CBS News Correspondent Bob Orr is standing by.

Bob, give us the latest.

BOB ORR, CBS News Correspondent: Good morning, Bob.

Well, police don't have the forensic evidence they need to say it out loud, but I think everyone here wearing a badge believes that this latest shooting probably is connected to the Washington sniper attacks that began some two and a half weeks ago.

The latest shooting just happened behind me on the side of that Ponderosa restaurant here in Ashland. This is about 90 miles south of Washington, about 12 miles north of Richmond. The police say that a man and his wife had just finished dinner, they were walking outside, walking to their car, when the wife heard what sounded like the backfire of a car. They now believe that was a single gunshot, a solitary gunshot from some woods just behind the restaurant.

Now, about 90 minutes ago this morning, some police officers and police cadets went into the woods looking, obviously, for any kind of physical evidence that would tell them yes or no whether or not this shooting is connected. They're looking, of course, for things like footprints, tire tracks, especially shell casings that could be connect to the previous shootings.

The police cadets came out just a short time ago and the police are planning a briefing in about 20 minutes or so from now and maybe we'll learn something then. But for the moment, they're operating on the theory, theory only, that this is a connected shooting.

Of course, the sniper now has struck at least 12 times in the past two and a half weeks. There have been nine fatalities. Two people have been wounded. Ballistics testing has linked nine of the shootings. So, if this is connected, it would be the tenth of 13 shootings.

I also want to say, last night, within one minute of the shooting happening here, the police put out that dragnet that they've become famous for here in Virginia. All the highway entrance ramps and off ramps on busy I-95, which is about a half mile that way, and on State Route 1, about a half mile that way, all of those ramps were sealed. They were looking through the traffic, looking for the box truck that we've now heard about before and the white van. As far as we know, if it is the same sniper, he got away once more again, Bob.

So, that's what we know for the moment. We might know more in a few minutes.

SCHIEFFER: Once again we should emphasize, though, that while they put out the dragnet for the white van, apparently, as far as we know anyway, no one saw a white van near the scene.

Now, Bob, the other question is the whole business of the bullet. It's our understanding from forensic experts that they really cannot make a match between this and the other crimes until they can see the bullet, and the bullet was not removed by the surgeons.

Is there -- do you have any understanding as to why that was?

ORR: The doctors say that right now the man is in critical condition. It would endanger his life, we understand, to take the bullet. There may be more surgery later. They may be able to recover the bullet or some fragments.

There is a theory that perhaps using X-rays, they might be able to match up the bullet with the others, but I'm not sure that they're very confident that that would work, Bob.

SCHIEFFER: All right, thank you very much, Bob.

We want to go now to Joie Chen who's out in Rockville, Maryland, which has been the headquarters for this whole sniper investigation.

Joie, give us the latest from there.

JOIE CHEN, CBS News Correspondent: Bob, good morning.

You know, the task force that's been operating out of here at the Montgomery County Police Department, has had an awfully tough week. They don't like -- Chief Moose particularly -- does not like to use the word "frustrated" to describe where they're at. But it was an awfully tough week last week.

There have been so many points where they -- investigators really thought something was happening, that they really had a good lead. Obviously the biggest one being that guy who claimed that he had seen the shooter fire from outside a van at the Home Depot parking lot last Monday night. But, of course, that turned out to be a completely fabricated story.

And so you can imagine the frustration, particularly if they are not able to get a solid witness lead or identification on either vehicle or suspect out in Ashland.

SCHIEFFER: All right, thank you very much, Joie.

We should also add that the police thought they had earlier in the week a good lead on the case, and that was a shell casing found in a rental truck that had been turned in at Dulles Airport. We're now told that police think there was not a connection with that.

SCHIEFFER: And now we say welcome to the broadcast to Dr. Condoleezza Rice, the national security adviser to the White House.

Dr. Rice, the longer this goes on the more people are beginning to say this might be the work of a professional, because this man is obviously quite a good shot and he is able to get away, he or she or them, whoever it turns out to be, time after time.

Is there any indication, at this point, that this is the work of some sort of international terrorist group?

DR. CONDOLEEZZA RICE, National Security Adviser: Bob, there's no evidence to this point that this is the work of an international terrorist organization. There have been no claims of responsibility or anything like that.

We are, of course, keeping open that possibility, and we're going to turn over every rock to see if it might in fact be. But there is no evidence to this point that this is internationally driven in any way.

SCHIEFFER: Is there anything you can tell us, other you just say there is no evidence, is there anything, one thing that makes you think, "No, indeed this is not that,'' or are you still very open about it?

RICE: Oh, I think you have to remain open-minded. There simply isn't anything that suggests that this is, but you don't want to close your mind to the possibility. We ought to keep looking and, in fact, will keep looking.

The president is briefed on the sniper every morning as a part of his briefing with the -- with Director Mueller of the FBI and is keeping on top of it. Federal officials are doing everything that they can to help local law enforcement officials. And of course one of the things that we do is we are combing all information to see whether there are other sources for this, but there just isn't anything right now to connect it.

SCHIEFFER: I guess that was my next question. Is the federal government planning to take a larger role? Can we expect to hear from the president about this?

RICE: Well, the federal government is taking a very large role in assisting local law enforcement officials. Director Mueller was describing for the president just the other day that they are very involved. They have very good cooperation. Local law enforcement officials believe that the cooperation is very, very good. And the president says every day, do everything that you can to help. And so, he's very much on top of it.

He has spoken about it, as all Americans have, that it's a sickening possibility that this goes on, that people's lives are being disrupted. We feel, of course, for the victims and their families. The president's very much on top of it and looks at it every single morning.

GLORIA BORGER, U.S. News & World Report: Dr. Rice, can we just switch gears for a moment to the other big news of the week, which is, of course, North Korea and the question of their nuclear weapons.

Can you confirm reports in the newspapers this morning that we are scrapping the 1994 arms accord with North Korea?

RICE: Well, let's be very clear. This was a political understanding between North Korea and several parties, including the United States, concerning its pursuit of nuclear weapons program.

There's no doubt that the North Koreans have blown a big hole in this political agreement. In order to have a political agreement, you have to have another party to that agreement. And the North Koreans have said that it's nullified.

And so we now have to look at what to do next. We are in very close consultations with others in the region, particularly the South Koreans and the Japanese, who are parties to the agreements that were signed in 1994, as well as the Russians, the Chinese and the Europeans.

We believe that this is an opportunity for the international community to stand up together and to say to the North Koreans, "If you have any hope of breaking out of your isolation, your economic isolation, your political isolation, that hope is going to be dashed by continuing to pursue illegal nuclear weapons programs."

SCHIEFFER: Is what you're saying is that we have told them we're going to cut off the oil that we're now sending them? Has that decision been made?

RICE: We are considering what steps we will take. There's no doubt that the North Koreans have blown a huge hole in this political agreement.

You can't have a circumstance in which their part of the bargain was not to pursue nuclear weapons programs -- and by the way, it was other associated agreements that they also said this -- and then you find and they admit fully that they are.

SCHIEFFER: So that's an option, but you haven't done it yet.

RICE: Well, we are considering what to do with our friends.

BORGER: And some kind of multinational embargo is what you're really talking about?

RICE: Well, we'll see what the outcome is here. But North Korea cannot have it both ways. You can't re-enter the international community of states and brandish a nuclear weapon, and we believe that all the parties agree with that. Nobody wants a nuclear armed North Korea on the Korean Peninsula.

BORGER: Dr. Rice, it's also our understanding that the administration did not make this news public until 12 days after it knew about it. And there are some Democrats, I'm sure you know, who are suggesting that, in fact, this was political and it was because of the vote on Iraq in the Congress.

How do you respond to that?

RICE: Well, it's a peculiar notion that the moment that you find out something like this, you need to make it public before the president has had a chance to review his options.

RICE: The president actually was briefed on recommendations from the national security principals on October 15th. That's the day that he was -- that the principals came to him and said, "Mr. President, we've looked at this. We've begun consultations with the allies. We think we ought to proceed in the following way."

Now, why you would make a public announcement before the president of the United States has a chance to look at his options is beyond me. And there were members of Congress who were briefed prior to this going public -- I should say going public rather than a public announcement. And there were a number of congressional committees and staffs that had been briefed over a longer period of time about our suspicions about a highly-enriched-uranium program in North Korea.

So, there had been briefings going all the way back into the summer about this problem, intensive briefings about the problem in September. And then when Kelly came back, we had begun some briefings on the Hill. But I want to emphasize, the president didn't receive a recommendation. He was notified the minute it happened with Jim Kelly, but he did not receive a recommendation until October 15th.

BORGER: But the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Senator Graham, whom we're having on in a moment, says he didn't learn about this until he read about it in the newspapers. Is that appropriate?

RICE: Well, I'm surprised if Intelligence Committee chairs and Intelligence Committee people did not know that there was a concern about a highly-enriched-uranium program in North Korea. What was surprising to us was not that there was a program -- we had been looking at the evidence of this for really a couple of years. What was surprising was that the North Koreans admitted that there was a program.

And I have to say that the idea that somehow it would have hurt us in the Iraq debate to show that there are dangerous people in the world who are trying to acquire nuclear weapons is an odd argument. I think, in fact, it might have helped the case.

SCHIEFFER: Well, let's talk a little bit about Iraq, because I think the first question that a lot of people have is, what's the difference between the situation in North Korea and the situation in Iraq?

RICE: Well, the situations are different, and we don't want to have a cookie-cutter foreign policy here where we assume that the circumstances are always the same. The cases are both very dangerous, and we're concerned about both.

But in Iraq, you have a country with which we have tried everything. Eleven years after he lost a war of aggression in 1991, signed on to a whole bunch of obligations that he has routinely flaunted, where he has thrown out the inspection mechanism that was made available to get to a cease-fire, where he has used a weapon of mass destruction, weapons of mass destruction against his own population and against his neighbors, and where the international community has tried sanctions and limited military force and everything else, Iraq is in a class by itself.

With North Korea, we think we have a chance to make a diplomatic effort work because the North Koreans, unlike the Iraqis who have oil revenues to fuel their programs, the North Koreans have been signaling to everybody that they're in deep economic trouble, that they need to open up to the international economy, they need investment. We think that's a lever that we can use.

SCHIEFFER: But what if they don't? Would we be prepared to go to war to disarm North Korea in the same way we seem to be preparing to go to war with Iraq?

RICE: We're going to seek a peaceful solution to this. We think that one is possible. And we believe this is really an opportunity for the international community to stand up to this kind of blackmail.

SCHIEFFER: Dr. Rice, thank you very much for joining us.

RICE: Thank you.

SCHIEFFER: When we come back in a moment, we'll get a different perspective on some of this from two key members of Congress, in a minute.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHIEFFER: With us now from Miami, the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Bob Graham, Democrat of Florida. With us here, one of the key Republicans on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Richard Lugar.

Senator Graham, let me begin with you. As Dr. Rice explained it this morning, the Congress was properly informed. You're the chairman of the Intelligence Committee. When did you find out about this news from North Korea?

SEN. BOB GRAHAM, D-FL: I found out about it when I read it in the newspaper, I guess on Tuesday or Wednesday. I could have had a briefing on Thursday, but because we had a Joint Intelligence Committee that ran throughout the day, it was postponed, and I had it finally on Saturday.

I am concerned about the delayed release of this information. I'm concerned that the president of the United States himself apparently had to wait almost two weeks, between early October and the 15th, to get a briefing with recommendations.

To me, the issue of Iraq is not whether Saddam Hussein is an evil person. Clearly he is, and he's done all the things that Dr. Rice described. The question is, is he our only enemy, to the exclusion of the war on terror, and now what is happening in North Korea, or do we need to have a balanced program, which will be able to deal with a variety of threats, particularly those threats that have the greatest potential of killing Americans here in our homeland?

That was what I found to be deficient in the resolution that we passed. It was not that it was too strong. It was too limited and too narrowly focused only on Saddam Hussein.

SCHIEFFER: Well, are you in any way suggesting that the administration somehow manipulated this information so that it did not come out until after the vote on Iraq?

GRAHAM: Well, I don't have any information about that. I will say there's been a pattern in which information is provided on a classified basis, and then what is declassified are those sections of the report that are most advantageous to the administration.

For instance, the issue of what will be Saddam Hussein's response to a series of potential consequences, such as feeling that his back is against the wall, that he's about to be toppled, that information was available to us in a classified form three weeks ago, but it was only really on Thursday when Director Tenet said that same thing so explicitly at a public hearing that the American people were fully advised of that.

And, frankly, there is a piece of information which is still classified which I consider to be the most important information that's come to the attention of the joint committee. We hope that it will be declassified. I think it is an important part of our judgments as to where our greatest threats are and what steps we need to do to protect the American people here at home.

SCHIEFFER: All right.

BORGER: Senator Lugar, so is there a double standard here? One for Iraq, one for North Korea?

SEN. RICHARD LUGAR, R-IN: No, I think the standard is the same. In both cases, it appears that there's an attempt to develop highly enriched uranium with centrifuge technology.

North Korea also, of course, has the problem of 1994, that is the plutonium situation, which has probably been arrested with maybe one or two bombs produced. That's the conventional wisdom. But stopped, at least for eight years.

In both cases, America is trying diplomacy. It's a different story, in terms of the United Nations, because there the United Nations has passed resolutions, and they've been violated. So we're asking the United Nations to enforce the resolutions. That's what the Security Council negotiation is about now.

With North Korea, it's a movement rapidly with the surrounding countries, with the South Koreans, with the Japanese, with the Chinese, with the Russians, to see where we all stand, how we ought to handle it.

But it seems to me, it ought to be said at some point, behind both of these situations is the implication that the United States is prepared to use military force. In the case of the Iraqi situation, we have had a specific resolution before the Congress.

In 1994, very clearly, Secretary Perry and President Clinton were prepared to use military force in the event there was not an agreement. I suspect that we will come to that point, but obviously the administration is prepared to take diplomacy quite a long way before we get into that stage.

SCHIEFFER: Do you consider North Korea to pose as serious a threat to the United States as the administration says that Saddam Hussein poses?

GRAHAM: Ultimately, they might. There is hope that they won't -- in other words, that there is an openness there; the admission of the program, the fact they were working with Prime Minister Koizumi of Japan for some opening up of that relationship; that there might be movement with the Chinese to indicate they don't want a nuclear power in their neighborhood -- more promising circumstances than there have been at least with the surrounding countries around Iraq.

BORGER: Senator Graham, so what is the right response here? You heard Dr. Rice talk about possible economic sanctions. Do you think that's the way to go right now?

GRAHAM: Well, first, I think we need to understand how serious this North Korean development is. North Korea already has 100 missiles that have a range of 1,000 kilometers. They're working on a missile that would have range sufficient to reach the West Coast of the United States.

They have two nuclear weapons today, and according to our intelligence, if they restart their plutonium program, which is what they agreed to hold in abeyance in 1994, within a matter of months, they could start adding additional nuclear weapons.

Conversely, Saddam Hussein, we have no reason to believe that he has nuclear weapons, although he is striving to secure them. And he has relatively limited, in range and number, methods of delivery of those.

So, if you put the two, North Korea and Iraq, on the scales and ask the question, which today is the greater threat to the people of the United States of America, I would answer the question North Korea. And I think that needs to be part of the rebalancing of our foreign policy priorities.

SCHIEFFER: Gentlemen, I want to thank both of you for being here this morning and helping us to learn more about this situation. Thank you very much.

I'll be back with a final word in just a minute.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHIEFFER: Finally today, once again we have awakened in Washington to the news that there has been another sniper shooting, this one to the south of us.

Again, as it always is in the first hours after these things, the police are saying they don't know if it is connected to the others. We went to bed hearing them tell us they were working hard and that progress was being made in the investigation, and no one doubts their sincerity.

But once again a sniper, maybe the same one, maybe a different one, took aim, shot someone, and got away. And once again a promising lead, this time a shell casing found earlier in the rental truck, did not pan out.

For more than two weeks now this is how it has been in Washington, a place that has already been through a plane crashing into the Pentagon during 9/11 and the anthrax scare.

Somehow it is the randomness of this one that makes it so difficult. We keep the kids indoors, we cancel soccer games, we rearrange schedules. We do it all, but we don't know if we're being prudent or overly cautious. All we know is that the sniper is still out there and no one seems immune.

Hardest of all is dealing with the thought that keeps coming back to us: Is this how it is going to be now? Is this to be the world where our children will live and grow up?

There are many questions still to be answered, but we must promise ourselves that the answer to that question will never be yes.

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

  • Bootie Cosgrove-Mather

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