FTN - 10/21/01 - Part 2

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SCHIEFFER: Welcome back to Face the Nation, page two, our expanded edition.

We're going to start this half hour by going to Pakistan where CBS News correspondent Allen Pizzey is standing by, and he has some news.

First, there has apparently been a casualty in the family of Mullah Omar, the leader of the Taliban. And I'm also told, Allen, that you've learned that this fighting may have spread to inside Pakistan. Bring us up to date on that.

ALLEN PIZZEY, CBS News Correspondent: Well, Bob, we've had reports confirmed by both Pentagon and Pakistani intelligence sources that a U.S. military helicopter landing at a civil airstrip about 80 miles from here, 80 miles from Quetta, was fired on by people from a local madrasa, a religious school.

The Pakistanis say that the U.S. helicopter returned fire. The Pentagon does not confirm that.

This airstrip is used by rich Gulf sheiks who come to go falconing. They like to fly falcons and hawks. And these are the kind of strips that will be very useful for U.S. forces to use to hop into Afghanistan because they're close to the border and theoretically they're isolated. But evidently today they weren't.

There's also been, as you mentioned, another report of a casualty. A couple of people we spoke to, reliable people, spoke to a doctor who came out of Afghanistan today. He said that Mullah Omar's 10-year-old son was killed in a recent U.S. bombing raid. We're not sure exactly when, but the boy sustained leg and abdominal wounds. And this doctor who said he treated him said he tried to save his life but couldn't.

Now, there's a lot more U.S. bombing going on, of course. We're hearing reports that they're bombing very close to the Northern Alliance-Taliban lines up in the north of Afghanistan.

There's going to be a lot of pressure on the U.S. from the aid agencies to either finish the bombing or ease it off because they're deeply concerned about the growing humanitarian crisis. There's maybe 10,000 people estimated to be backed up at the Pakistani-Afghan border just near here. The Pakistanis will not let any of them across. They're trying to flee from the bombing.

The aid agencies would desperately like to get food aid in there because they say their stockpiles just aren't sufficient, and even if they were, they can't get it out of the main warehouses in the big cities in Afghanistan, get it out to the rural areas which are, within a few weeks, going to be snowed in. And they're thinking a lot of people are going to starve.

In fact, there are said to be nine trucks backed up in Iran trying to get to the western city of Herat. They've been trying to get them in for several days to try to restock the Herat warehouses. They can't get them in because of the bombing.

So the U.S. is continuing to conduct the air strikes, but they're come under increasing pressure to do something about getting the aid in, Bob.

SCHIEFFER: ll right. Well, thank you very much, Allen. And I hope you'll stand by because if you have any more details on any of that, we want to go back to you for that.

Well, we also have some bad news; I think there's no other way to describe it. We are now told--a story has just moved on the Associated Press wire, that a Washington postal worker has been diagnosed as having inhalation anthrax according to city officials.

Now, this would be the postal worker who worked at the Washington postal facility where congressional mail is first brought. From there, it goes to the Ford Building, where yesterday--this is a House office building--where yesterday it was determined that yet another smudge of anthrax has shown up.

So we're going to go now to Boston where Senator John Kerry, who is a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, and really came on this morning to talk about us about how the war is going because I know he was briefed on all of that.

But, Senator, this is not very good news, is it?

SEN. JOHN KERRY, D-MA: Of course not, Bob. It's tragic news. On the other hand, hopefully, and we say hopefully, it's been diagnosed at a time where, even with the inhalation, if you get to that, we are told that it can be treated. It's not obviously a certain as the cutaneous or other sort of exposure instances are.

SCHIEFFER: Well, but this of course would suggest that this is that kind of fine anthrax that moves through the air, obviously. Inhalation anthrax, you don't get that from just touching the envelope.

KERRY: I think what it suggests, Bob, is that obviously when that postal worker touched it, it was in a more concentrated, viral form. And as the postal machinery or sometimes the workers compress it, the anthrax then can come out. Most of the envelopes were sealed all around. And the theory is that it came out in a burst of air, and that's how it's inhaled. We obviously don't know.

Needless to say, all of us will hope beyond hope that this worker will be all right.

SCHIEFFER: Do you have any indication yet or have you been told when the Hart Building, which is the building where Senator Daschle's staff was located, do you have any idea yet when it's going to be reopened for business?

KERRY: No, but we're hoping, obviously, with the start of the week. We will be informed, I suppose, either today or certainly by tomorrow. But the hope is that it will have been thoroughly decontaminated, and we'll be able to go back to work.

I think also a lot of us want to impress on people that even with this tragic occurrence that you've just announced, the fact remains that anthrax is a very blunt sort of tool of terrorism. The odds of most Americans being contacted by it are about one in 300 million to one in 500 million. And your odds of having a car accident and dying from it are well higher than that--I mean, well below that. I mean, the odds are much greater that you'rgoing to have a car accident, fall and hurt yourself, have any number of the daily occurrences of life.

So we need to be realistic about the reality of this threat to us as a nation. There are threats that we face. There are risks. But we must, as a country, not run around in a panic or in fear of this fairly blunt instrument, the major purpose of which is to disrupt and terrorize.

BORGER: Senator, I want to pick up a little bit on what Allen Pizzey was telling us, specifically a humanitarian crisis that he says is really brewing in Afghanistan and that there will be increased pressure to stop the bombing. What's your response to that?

KERRY: Well, I think we have some very important decisions to make at a number of different levels. First of all, our troops come first, and the mission and the objective is the first priority for us as a nation. But one can wage that--you know, you can pursue that objective and wage the war with sensitivity to external factors and to real imperatives.

It is a major imperative of our support among our coalition partners, as well as the American people who are humanitarian and sensitive to these things, that we not create a sort of sidebar catastrophe by virtue of our narrow focus on some military objectives and so we create an absolute disaster in starvation on the humanitarian side.

I believe you can wage both objectives simultaneously. And I think it is imperative that the bombing campaign be targeted in a way that permits the trucks to get in there now.

I would also accelerate--I think there has been some sort of timing issue with respect to the formation of the government after the Taliban. I would be wary of the road we seem to be on there, certainly with respect to the inclusion of so-called moderate Taliban. I don't know who moderate Taliban are. And most people who have studied it closely, I think, would agree with that.

BORGER: Well, you heard the representative from the Northern Alliance today here saying exactly the same thing. Why is Colin Powell then talking about including these so-called moderates? What are they?

KERRY: Well, the moderates--the Northern Alliance judgments about it, I think, you obviously have to take with a perspective about the Northern Alliance's own agenda. But I think that you have to measure other people's judgment about the Taliban and who they are.

Now, there are some members of the Taliban who have probably gone along with the rigidity of the Taliban leadership because you had to. And so there may be some opportunity and some opening there, but I would be very, very wary of that.

I think the reason the administration is looking at that road is that it may represent the fastest, moist bloodless and efficient way of quickly moving to put a government in place.

The problem is sort of afterwards, and that's where a lot of the problems arise. I mean, the Taliban are going to melt into the mosqes. The minute I heard, you know, that people are taking refuge in the mosques, and we didn't fire because the proximity to the mosque, boy, a big red flag went up to me reminding me about the Cambodian sanctuaries and the inability to sort of pursue the war objectives because of other considerations.

That's going to become very difficult as we go along. And we're going to have to find a way to get the Taliban out of the mosques, to get, you know, sort of guerrilla fighters who are going to melt into the general population. And we're going to have continued difficulties in that.

SCHIEFFER: Let me just ask you this, Senator. Just in a general way, does it concern you--I mean, when I hear the story about generals having to check with their judge advocate generals, in other words check in with their attorneys, before they order a missile to be fired--that may or may not be true.

David Martin says the reason is because they were so close to the mosques. But are we hamstringing, have we gotten to set such rigid rules here that it's going to be very difficult for us to prosecute a war?

KERRY: I think that was one of those early bumps in the road that come at the early stages when lines of authority and decisions that have been made are not absolutely clear.

It's my understanding that Secretary Rumsfeld went through the roof when he heard that. I don't blame him.

But I think that that clearly will be clarified as we go forward from here, and I can't imagine that will step in the way.

And I know some people are sort of wondering about the targeting of leaders, in the context of the earlier prohibitions on assassination. It's not assassination. There is no prohibition on targeting somebody who is at war with you, who is a leader of the warring factions under these circumstances. It fits completely under the United Nations and international law with respect to the defense of our nation.

So we should have no hesitancy on that, and I'm confident that that has been made clear. If it hasn't been, it ought to be immediately.

SCHIEFFER: All right. Senator Kerry, thank you very much for being with us this morning.

KERRY: Thank you.

SCHIEFFER: We're going to continue our expanded coverage after a short break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHIEFFER: So we're going to talk about this latest news on anthrax now with Senator Bill Frist, who of course is the ranking Republican on the Public Health Subcommittee in the Senate and is also a doctor; and Dr. Richard Spretzel, who was the former biochemical weapons inspector for the United Nations' special commission on Iraq.

First, Senator Frist, this latest disquieting news, the Washington postal worker who was hospitalized over the weekend, it has now been diagnosed that he had inhalation anthrax. Now, this would be a postal worker from the postal facility where most congressional mail goes before it goes up to the Hll.

What's the significance of that?

SEN. BILL FRIST, R-TN: The significance is large in many ways. There have only been three cases in the last 100 years in the United States of inhalational anthrax, different than the skin or cutaneous anthrax. It is the more serious form. Treatment and outcome is totally dependent on having a strong public health infrastructure. And that means early surveillance, which in this case happened. He was identified two nights ago.

The CDC has been involved for the last 48 hours. They have 25 people on the ground right now. It depends on surveillance and immediate communication from that hospital to the command center that's been at the Capitol for a while to the D.C. public health who are ready to go. Announcements will be made in the next three to four hours or about 2 o'clock this afternoon about further testing. Things are under control.

And the third component is testing. The fact that we were able to test very early on, identify early on, this patient will be OK and the system will work.

BORGER: Dr. Sprtezel, what does this tell you, though, about the grade of this anthrax?

DR. RICHARD SPERTZEL, Former U.N. Biological Weapons Inspector: Well, a single case certainly wouldn't be indicative necessarily of the overall quantity of the total batch. But the fact that this individual was able to develop inhalation anthrax means the material was sufficiently airborne and in small enough particle size to get down into the lungs.

BORGER: There's a lot of talk this is weapons-grade anthrax, this is not weapons-grade anthrax. Can you tell us what that means?

SPERTZEL: Yes, to start with on this single case, we don't know whether this exposure came from the same letter that went to Senator Daschle's office or not.

There is confusion on what is weapons grade. It is frequently confused with the organism itself. Weapons grade refers to the product, the final product. And that is, is it of sufficiently small particle size to stay airborne and ultimately get down into the lungs of exposed individuals?

But it also, the other properties which makes it readily dispersible into the air. And it's that latter portion of it that is the ability to get biological materials readily dispersible into the air so that the act of opening a single letter makes the material, a significant quantity of the material, airborne.

SCHIEFFER: It just wafts into the air. Is that what happens?

SPERTZEL: Exactly. Exactly right.

SCHIEFFER: Senator Frist, you talked about what it means for this man, and apparently he's getting the treatment he needs. But what does it mean for Washington? What does it mean for the Capitol?

SPERTZEL: Very significant. This is substantial. Last Monday we had an event for the first time in the history of the United States of America where we've used a germ, a bioweapon, that has been aerosolied, put into the air in particles that you can't visualize, with the intent to kill. The first time in the history of the country. That was identified in the Hart Building, the actual opening of the letter for the first time.

We were able to track, in just a report this morning--I was just with the investigators--over 6,000 surveillance cultures have been taken, nasal swabs. We've identified 28 people who were exposed in that one event. They're not going to get the disease.

Again, the system works--surveillance, treatment, laboratory. They're being treated.
Now, what was introduced yesterday is that we have another site besides that, which is under control, on the House side. And that's under control. Testing is under way for the appropriate people. They don't need to get tested unless they are contacted. Treatment has begun.

We know that there's one other site that feeds both of those that is a mail site; that has a positive contamination.

SCHIEFFER: And that's where this man worked?

FRIST: No. No. Then there's new news, one site removed from that, a man with, not the cutaneous, but the inhalational form, very unusual. Again, identified early.

BORGER: Excuse me, but another D.C. post office?

FRIST: It's another post office.

SCHIEFFER: In addition to what we've been talking about?

FRIST: No, the man today is the man we're talking about. But it's one post office removed. Now, we don't know if it was contacted at the post office, yet. This is very, very early.

Now, the good news and the reason people should relax is that the D.C. Public Health has been involved for the last 48 hours. They are totally prepared in terms of testing, in terms of prophylactic treatment, in terms of expertise. People are working hand in hand.

The intelligence and from a terrorist standpoint, there could potentially be a track among all of these. And the FBI and the appropriate investigators are under way.

Again, what this points to, the absolute critical importance that people learn, we have 250 million people out there who learned what cutaneous anthrax looks like, that people stay vigilant across the country.

SCHIEFFER: Show these slides because you brought them so we would be able to...

FRIST: Well, these two slides are basically three forms of anthrax. One is the inhalational. That's rare, 21 cases in the last 100 years, yet we just this other new case today.

The cutaneous or skin anthrax, what you see there, is typical. That's what we see in terms of initially looking like a spider bite going to a redness, then turning to a black. Remember that anthrax means (inaudible) like on the picture there. And at that point, you need to see a doctor--really, before it gets to this point.

This is a second picture, again beneath the eye there on the right. It's black. It looks like a little scab. You need to see a physician if you sethat at any point in time.

SCHIEFFER: Does this mean that the buildings on Capitol Hill may not open as soon as we thought?

FRIST: No, this is a totally separate incident. And that's why it's significant. Again, the coordination, that decision will be made, imparted at 5 o'clock today in terms of when buildings will come open.

BORGER: Dr. Spretzel, does this kind of anthrax exist in the United States? Or do you believe it is state-sponsored from outside this country?

SPERTZEL: Well, when you say this kind...

BORGER: The inhalation that we're talking about.

SPERTZEL: Yes, let me explain a couple of other things first. And that is that if you find evidence of anthrax on the surface area, that means that is not weapons-grade material, that it has managed to make its way on the surface material.

To my knowledge, in the case of Senator Daschle's office, is that no evidence of any surface contamination has been seen. That's the reason that we experts say that this is empirically indicative of the right form weapons grade.

Now, in answer to your question, specifically on this kind of anthrax, you're really talking about the form, not the organism. And to my knowledge, no, there is no reason for people in the United States or, frankly, for anywhere else to be making this quality of material.

That is a sophistication level, requires detailed knowledge, it requires special equipment.

SCHIEFFER: Does that suggest then, sir, that this came from some foreign power, from Saddam Hussein or somebody of that ilk?

SPERTZEL: No, it doesn't necessarily, specifically mean that the exact material came directly from. It does mean that someone, as a minimum, is providing expert hands-on advice as to how to do it. Most likely, however, it's probably pre-prepared material that has origins from some other country.

SCHIEFFER: Let me just go back to what you said. You said that the decision will be made later today as to whether those buildings are going to be...

SPERTZEL: What is happening as we speak is surveillance is being carried out on all the Capitol and both office buildings. Surveillance cultures, hundreds and thousands of cultures are coming back.

The first announcement will be made around 6 o'clock today. Those cultures--all the buildings definitely will not be opened tomorrow. Announcement will be made. And as these cultures come back--because they take 24, 48, 72 hours for the cultures to come back--announcements will be made.

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

Back in a minute after some messages.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHIEFFER: And here we are now back with Jim Hoagland of The Washington Post, foreign affairs columnist.

Well, Jim, you just, you've heard a very kind of sobering broadcast this morning. We now have another...

JIM HOAGLAND, The Washington Post: As I sat there, Bob, I was just constantly thinking, is it going to get worse and worse?

But I thought at the end it was important to focus on how, in fact, things are in perspective in this country. And people are doing--I'm going out to the Washington Redskins game today, and I don't expect any problems there, except on the field, probably, but otherwise...

(LAUGHTER)

SCHIEFFER: Does the fact that--and you heard these two experts talk here. Is this looking more and more as if there may be some connection here, there may be that--if there's no connection with Al Qaeda, could this possibly be the work of Saddam Hussein on this anthrax front?

HOAGLAND: Well, I think the first thing to focus on is the established link between Al Qaeda and Iraq. They are not mutually exclusive. It's probable, indeed it's clear, that they're working together to some extent.

But I think it's important to realize at this point we don't have the evidence. It's going to take a lot more work before we can say Iraq is definitely involved in these specific incidents.

But all of these incidents should bring home to us the danger of having a regime in place that has the motivation, that daily declares it's at war with the United States, has a track record of having used biological and chemical weapons on its own population, on Iran, and is clearly ready to do this at any time that it will suit its purpose.

So we have to take that into consideration. If at the end of this, you've gotten rid of Al Qaeda, you've gotten rid of the Taliban, but you have Saddam Hussein's regime still in Iraq, we haven't won the war on terrorism.

BORGER: Well, it seems that the administration hasn't ruled out Iraq. Every time they're asked about it, they say, well, we don't have any direct links on, say, the anthrax or the terrorist attack, but they're not ruling it out, it seems to me.

HOAGLAND: That's right. That's right. And I think it's absolutely prudent, and I think it's the right thing for them to do, to take it slow and to think about getting the priorities right, getting Al Qaeda, getting the Taliban.

And then there might be--there will be phase two, phase three. This is a long marathon. This is not a sprint. And at some point I think they will come back to look at all of this.

BORGER: One thing I wanted to ask you about, you heard the representative from the Northern Alliance saying there are no moderate members of the Taliban. You heard Senator Kerry essentially saying the same thing. Colin Powell is talking about bringing in moderate Taliban members for a coalition government in Afghanistan.

What's your take on this, these disagreements now?

HOAGLAND: Well, I think "moderate Taliban" is an oxymoron. They cancel each other out.

Secretary Powell was in Pakistan. He made a statement there that really was designed to help General Musharraf with his public opinion, to sathat Pakistan's interests will be protected. He also then went to India, saw that his statement had created a lot of problems there, and managed to soothe the Indians.

So I think, if you look at this as a diplomatic statement, and part of a strategy, too--the strategy here clearly is to make the Taliban implode in on itself. If they can develop splits, if they can buy off parts of the Taliban, and get the tribal warlords to shift their allegiance from the Taliban to something else, then I think that's a workable strategy.

But Secretary Powell has made a statement that leaves a lot of political vulnerability, I think.

I thought Senator Kerry handled it very well--supporting the troops, supporting the overall strategy, raising questions about what Secretary Powell and others have said, and probably thinking in his own mind about presidential race 2004.

SCHIEFFER: You may be right about that. Does it occur to you that perhaps what Osama bin Laden's big plan is, is to somehow draw the United States into a war with the entire Arab world?

HOAGLAND: Certainly he would welcome that. Let's remember that his primary target in all of this is the Saudi royal family. In some ways we're involved in a series of overlapping civil wars in the Persian Gulf.

He criticizes and now attacks the United States for having provided military support, a shield really, for the Saudi royal family. He wants to overthrow them, take control of Saudi Arabia, get control really of the form of Islam that's practiced throughout the region. He represents a very radical Wahhabi Muslim sect. He is at war, also, of course, with the Iranian Shiite religion.

So we've got a series of civil wars here in which, yes, he wants to draw the United States in. He thinks that the United States does not have the perseverance, that we will cut and run and that he will be able to pick up the pieces. I think he's wrong.

BORGER: In the middle of all of this, of course, a cabinet minister was killed in Israel this week. How does that affect the big picture here in Afghanistan and our coalition?

HOAGLAND: Makes it much harder. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is really very low on Osama bin Laden's priority list. He's only come to that recently when he wants to stir public opinion, inflame public opinion throughout the Arab world.

It makes it much harder for the Bush administration, which had developed some problems with Prime Minister Sharon and Israel already and was beginning to lean on him to do things. It makes it much harder to lean now on a government where a central figure has been assassinated by the other side.

I think we're looking at a period where the Middle East conflict--containment may be the best we can hope for for the immediate future.

It has to be addressed at some point, but again we go back to the idea of phases. Phase one is Afghanistan, Taliban, Al Qaeda. Phases two, three should involve somserious effort at getting this conflict resolved.

SCHIEFFER: Jim Hoagland, thanks so much for helping us put it in context this morning. Always a pleasure to have you.

HOAGLAND: Bob, Gloria.

SCHIEFFER: Thanks for watching. We'll be back next week, of course, with another edition of Face the Nation.



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