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Face the Nation Transcripts December 28, 2014: Sullenberger, Bratton, Giuliani, Klain, Hillenbrand

The latest on the missing passenger plane in southeast Asia, New York City braces for more anger and possible attacks against the police, and an update on the nation's Ebola preparedness
December 28: Sullenberger, Giuliani, and Klain 46:59

(CBS News) Below is a transcript from the December 28, 2014 edition of Face the Nation. Guests included Deborah Patta, Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, William Bratton, Rudy Giuliani, Ron Klain, David Rohde, Robin Wright and Laura Hillenbrand.

MAJOR GARRETT, HOST: I'm Major Garrett. Today on FACE THE NATION, breaking news overnight: Another passenger plane goes missing in Southeast Asia. We will get the latest on Asia Air Flight 8501, an Airbus 320 flying to Singapore with 162 people on board that lost contact with air traffic control after taking off from Indonesia.

We will talk to Sully Sullenberger, who landed that very same model of plane miraculously on the Hudson River in 2009.

Plus, New York City mourns the death of officer Rafael Ramos, killed on duty last week while sitting in his squad car, along with his partner. As the city braces for more anger and possible attacks against the police, what can be done to ease tensions in New York City and around the country?

We will talk to William Bratton, the commissioner of the New York City Police Department, and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

And we will get an update on the nation's Ebola preparedness with President Obama's Ebola coordinator, Ron Klain.

All that, plus Bob Schieffer's interview with Laura Hillenbrand, author of the bestselling book "Unbroken," the story of Louis Zamperini, an Olympic runner who survived a World War II plane crash, spent 47 days lost at sea, and was captured tortured for two years in a Japanese prison camp. "Unbroken" is now a major motion picture. And Hillenbrand tells us how her battle with a rare disease actually helped her write Zamperini's story.


LAURA HILLENBRAND, AUTHOR, "UNBROKEN": When he was talking about really suffering, I knew something about what that felt like. And I think it enabled him to open up.


GARRETT: Plus, we will end 2014 with a special look back at 60 years of news on FACE THE NATION.

Good morning. Bob is off today.

We begin with breaking news. Rescue crews are searching for an airplane that's been lost over water in Southeast Asia.

Debora Patta is in London with the latest.

DEBORA PATTA, CBS NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning. This is what we know so far.

The plane was flying from Surabaya in Indonesia to Singapore. Now, that is a journey that usually takes around two hours. But just over 40 minutes into the flight, the pilot asked to change routes. He wanted to turn left and fly at a higher altitude to avoid clouds. That was the last contact with air traffic control.

Severe weather and violent thunderstorms were reported in the area precisely at that time. There were 162 people on board, 17 of them children, a total of six different nationalities, none of them American. Authorities in Singapore and Indonesia immediately launched air search and rescue operations.

And Malaysia has pledged its assistance, but these were called off a few hours ago and will resume in the morning local time. In both countries, distressed friends and family gathered to wait for news of their loved ones. There is certainly a terrible feeling of familiarity about all of this.

The year kicked off with the as yet unexplained disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 in March. Then another Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down over rebel-held Eastern Ukraine, and now this, AirAsia 8501 still missing, a grim end to what has been a very rough year for Asian air travel.

GARRETT: Debora Patta in London, thank you very much.

For more, we turn now to Sully Sullenberger, captain of the miracle on the Hudson. He's now a CBS News aviation and safety expert and he joins us from Reno, Nevada.

Captain Sullenberger, what do you make of what we know so far about fate of this aircraft, its passengers and crew?


Not much is known at this point. This is one of several aircraft that have gone missing over water recently. So, the investigators will begin to organize their initial investigation. They will begin to secure any recordings, air traffic control, radar information, communications with the flight, to try as much as possible to narrow the search, to as quickly as possible find the airplane and, of course, recover the cockpit voice recorder and the digital flight data recorder.

GARRETT: Captain, is this a rescue operation or simply a recovery operation in all likelihood?

SULLENBERGER: At this point, we don't know.

What we do know is that the airplane by this time of course would have exhausted its full fuel supply would have reached the surface of the earth. We don't know exactly where or in what shape.

GARRETT: And anything about this corridor or the pilot's request to divert because of cloud issues or weather issues that tell us anything we ought to pay particularly close attention to?

SULLENBERGER: It's not unusual for pilot to request a deviation to avoid severe weather. We don't know at this point how much of an extent the weather played in this case. Many of the investigators -- the investigators will be looking at many factors about the flight, including the weather, the training that the pilots got, the maintenance status the airplane and other areas.

GARRETT: You know this plane well. Anything in particular about its abilities, capabilities that would be interesting or important to think about as this story moves forward?

SULLENBERGER: This airplane is used widely around the world, over 3,000 in service around the globe currently.

I have about 5,000 hours on the type. These pilots were experienced in the type. So, we will see where this investigation goes when we get more facts. But nothing really stands out at this point.

GARRETT: And the next big phase of this investigation will be try to find the recorders and then interview all those connected with this particular flight, correct?

SULLENBERGER: Everyone connected to this flight, the people who trained the pilots, the people who have flown with the pilots recently, anyone who has maintained the airplane, what kind of training the pilots have gotten. All these things will be a focus of this investigation.

GARRETT: There is, I don't need to tell you, Captain Sullenberger, a series of events in this particular part of the world with commercial aviation. Coincidence or something more alarming potentially?

SULLENBERGER: At this point, they seem to be just coincidence. There's no indication that anything particularly out of the ordinary was the case in this flight. We will see when we get more information.

GARRETT: Captain Sullenberger, thank you very much for joining us from Reno on this breaking news sorry. We appreciate it very much.

Now we turn to the other big story, another sad chapter of the ongoing national conversation on race, justice and police brutality, the funeral for New York City police officer Rafael Ramos in Queens yesterday. Tens of thousands of police and well-wishers turned out, many traveling from across the country to honor the fallen officers.

But the backlash against New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio continued, as officers turned their backs to him as a show of disrespect when he spoke. Both officer Ramos and his partner, Wenjian Liu, whose funeral arrangements have not yet been finalized, were promoted posthumously to first-grade detective by New York City Police Commissioner William Bratton, who addressed the divide between police and protesters upset about recent cases of police brutality.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) WILLIAM BRATTON, NEW YORK CITY POLICE COMMISSIONER: If we can learn to see each other, to see that our cops are people, like officer Ramos and officer Liu, to see that our communities are filled with people just like them too, if we can learn to see each other, then when we see each other, we will heal.

We will heal as a department. We will heal as a city. We will heal as a country. And wouldn't that be the ultimate, the ultimate to honor the officers Ramos and Liu?


GARRETT: Joined now by Commissioner Bratton of the New York City Police Department.

Commissioner Bratton, thank you very much for joining us on FACE THE NATION.

Two quick questions off the top. How safe are your New York City police officers and what is their level of morale?

BRATTON: Officer safety is always a top priority in any police agency. And certainly here in New York, it will remain that way.

We are investigating over 50 incidents of reported threats against our officers since the death of these two officers a week ago. We have closed out more than half of them, with nine arrests being made. And will continue to investigate the others. Officer safety is always great concern. And we have been issuing advisories to our officers, reminding them constantly to be on their -- on the alert, if you will, for potential dangers that might be directed against them.


GARRETT: Commissioner, does it feel less dangerous now than it did in the immediate aftermath of the slaying of those two officers?

BRATTON: Policing is always such a profession that is going to have potential danger. That is the reality of it. That's reflected in the bravery that our officers exhibit every day going into the streets and communities of this country, where, unfortunately, a fourth issue -- you referenced three in your introductory remarks. A fourth issue we need to be very cognizant of is the anger and the hatred and the violence directed against our police officers that every year takes more a hundred of their lives. So, I think we need to broaden the conversation to include the dangers being directed against them also.

GARRETT: And you were going to talk about morale. Quickly, how is the morale of your officers in this very tense time?

BRATTON: Morale in the department at this time -- morale in the department at this time is low. There's no getting around that, that that's the reality. And it's low for multiplicity of reasons, including contract negotiations. There's a lot going on that is particular to New York City, that is separate and apart from the national discussions around issues of race and police.

GARRETT: If you were to try to put a percentage on it, which is the bigger part of the morale problem, this national conversation, this national sense that police are somehow in the wrong, or these underlying, more traditional beefs between the union, the mayor's office and City Hall?

BRATTON: I think it would be very difficult to try to break it up that way, if you will, on a percentage basis.

I think all those factors contribute to what is at this time in the department low morale. But what I would point out is the professionalism of these officers who every day are going out there, continuing to reduce crime. This year will be a historic year for the department, the lowest crime rates ever, continuing a 21-year unbroken trend that began back in the 1990s.

It's also the idea that in the face of all these demonstrations, they have been showing remarkable professional restraint, when much of the invective is directed directly against them, personally against them also.

GARRETT: Do you think Mayor de Blasio should do more and should have done more to deal what you just referred to as invective directed at your officers?

BRATTON: I spend a lot of time with this mayor. And Mayor de Blasio is totally supportive of his personnel, this department.

I have received hundreds of millions of additional dollars outside the budget this year, a lot of it focused on officer safety enhancements, additional training, additional equipment, additional technology. By the end of 2015, we will be the most advanced police department in America in terms of technology, technology which will be extraordinarily beneficial to the safety of our officers, $35 million being focused on training enhancements, tactical skills enhancements.

No, this is a mayor that cares very deeply about New York City police officers, cares very deeply about the divide in the city at this time, and is working very hard to heal that divide.

GARRETT: But your officers -- some of your officers yesterday turned their backs when the mayor spoke, when they saw him on the video screen outside Rafael Ramos's funeral.

Was that necessary? Was that something you support? And does that indicate that the mayor, for whatever he's put on the table financially, needs to do more to communicate more clearly his rhetorical support for your police officers?

BRATTON: I certainly don't support that action yesterday. I think it was very inappropriate at that event. That funeral was held to honor officer Ramos. And to bring politics, to bring issues into that event, I think, was very inappropriate. And I do not support it. He is the mayor of New York. He was there representing the citizens of New York to express their remorse and their regret at that death.

And it was inappropriate. And at the same time, it is reflective, unfortunately, of the feelings of some of our officers that -- at this juncture about not just the mayor, but I think about some of the many issues that are afflicting this city at this time and this particular police department.

GARRETT: Police Commissioner William Bratton, thank you so much for joining us. I know you and your department have an enormous New Year's Eve to prepare for. We wish you all the best of luck with that. And we thank you very much for joining us this morning.

BRATTON: Thank you.

GARRETT: We turn now to the former Mayor of New York City Rudy Giuliani, who is also with us from New York.

Mr. Mayor, good morning.

RUDY GIULIANI (R), FORMER MAYOR OF NEW YORK: Good morning, Major. How are you?


Let's clear one thing up. You said awhile ago that President Obama contributed to a rhetorical atmosphere about hating American police. And "The Washington Post" fact-checked you on that. I cover the president every single day. I have never detected anything that comes along the line of propaganda urging the country to hate police. Do you want to recast that or take that back?

GIULIANI: Oh, not at all.

I think you missed one very important point. He has had Al Sharpton to the White House 80, 85 times. Often, when he's talking about police issues, he has Al Sharpton sitting next to him. If you would like to have poster boy for hating the police, it's Al Sharpton.

You make Al Sharpton a close adviser, you are going to turn the police in America against you. You're going to tell the police in America, we don't understand you. I saw this man help cause riots in New York. I have heard his anti-police invective firsthand. To have a man who hasn't paid $4 million in taxes, have a man who has spent his career helping to create riots, phony stories about police, to have that man sitting next to you speaks volumes.

You know, actions speak louder than words. You put Al Sharpton next to you, you just told everyone, I'm against the police.

GARRETT: But what about the president's rhetoric itself? Do you still believe the president's rhetoric, not...


GIULIANI: His rhetoric...

GARRETT: Go ahead.

GIULIANI: Well, look, who you associate with is part of your rhetoric.

If I was talking to you about ending the mafia, as I did in the 1980s, or fighting the mafia, and I had Joe Colombo sitting next to me, you would say I was a big hypocrite, wouldn't you? It wouldn't matter what my rhetoric was. Oh, I'm fighting the mafia. There's Joe Colombo.

I'm for the police and there is Al Sharpton? Every cop in America is going to say, give me a break. I get the point, Mr. President. His interference in the Gates affair, the fact that he pays great attention to these so-called racial incidents, some of which are not racial incidents, sends representatives to funerals of people who were killed in the commission of committing a crime, and I haven't heard him make very strong comments about the deaths of Ramos and Liu to that extent.

So, I think the "Washington Post" fact-checking was substantially inaccurate. And they missed the one big point, Al Sharpton.

GARRETT: Interesting.

Mr. Mayor, when you were mayor, you had your own beefs with the New York City police. There were times when they turned their backs on you. Is there something different, fundamentally different about this relationship between Mayor de Blasio and yours?

GIULIANI: Never, never -- I had disagreements with the police. We had two zeros, 3, 4, 5 percent increase. I had them sometimes chanting double zeros for heroes. Never had the police turn their backs on me.

And I never had an issue about policing with them. The reality is, the mayor of the city of New York should not be blamed for the murder of those police officers. That issue should not have been injected. It's wrong. I told the mayor that yesterday. And I don't support that. So, I want to be clear on that.

Number two, the mayor is not in any way to be treated with people turning their backs. It doesn't matter if you like the mayor or you don't like the mayor. You have to respect the mayor's position. I don't support that.

But I do believe Mayor de Blasio should apologize to the New York City Police Department. I said it day one. And I think he would get this over with if he did it. I have had to apologize for things that I have said that were wrong.

He created an impression with the police. I don't know that he wanted to do it. He probably didn't. But he created an impression with the police that he was on the side of the protesters. Now, some of those protesters were entirely legitimate. But some of those protesters were horrible, yelling kill the police, kill the police, kill the police.

I don't ever remember protests where people were yelling kill the police since the 1960s and '70s. He should have apologized for the remarks that he made that gave the police the impression that he's on the other side.

And, by the way, he could lose Al Sharpton also.

GARRETT: Interesting.

Mr. Mayor...

GIULIANI: Sharpton -- when Sharpton pays the $4 million he owes the federal government, maybe he should be allowed to sit next to a mayor or a governor, or when Sharpton apologizes to police for all the times that he has maligned them, made false charges against them, helped cause the Crown Heights riot, ruin a man's career over Tawana Brawley, who happened to be in law enforcement.

When he loses Al Sharpton, maybe then he can have better a relationship with the New York City Police Department. Those are the things in the mayor's control. Now, has the union gone overboard? Yes, with this idea that he's responsible for the murder. That's a terrible thing to suggest about a mayor.

I'm sure Mayor de Blasio's heart is broken over these police officers. And I'm giving this advice in good faith. It is not political. It is like a former mayor. Mayor de Blasio, please say you're sorry to them for having a created false impression of them.

You did create a false impression of them. Say you're sorry. Say you didn't realize. Say you didn't realize you have a nonwhite police department in terms of majority. This is a police department, as Commissioner Bratton knows, and has helped to create from the very beginning, when he was my police commissioner, this is a police department that has everybody. There is no majority in the New York City Police Department.


GARRETT: Mr. Mayor, thank you very much for your time this morning.

GIULIANI: Thank you.

GARRETT: And we will be back in one minute.


GARRETT: We turn now to one of the biggest stories of the year, Ebola, which continues to ravage parts West Africa, where more than 7,600 people have died and more than 19,000 have contracted the deadly disease or frequently deadly disease. There have been no new cases reported in the U.S. in September, when Thomas Eric Duncan died in a Dallas hospital and two nurses treating him contracted Ebola, spreading fear over this country's ability to handle an outbreak.

In October, President Obama appointed former White House aide Ron Klain as the nation's first Ebola czar.

And we welcome Ron Klain to FACE THE NATION this morning.

Ron, it's great to see you.


GARRETT: This week, we had an event at CDC. Someone might have been exposed to live Ebola virus. What can you tell about that? And was this a pretty significant botch awfully late in the game?

KLAIN: Well, it's obviously unacceptable to have any mishandling of Ebola materials.

Dr. Frieden, the director of CDC, has promised a full review and a report within four weeks. But I also think it's important to keep this in context. First of all, thanks to the other protocols and procedures in place, there was no risk to the public, no risk to the CDC campus generally. Only one technician was exposed. So far, she's showing no signs of having the disease. She's being monitored every day.

I visited this lab on the CDC campus in October. They have been studying Ebola there for 20 years without single incident. They have processed more than 10,000 samples during this current crisis. They have saved thousands of lives. The CDC is a national treasure. People around the world look to us for leadership, for the kind of leadership they provided on the Ebola response. The American people should be very proud of the job that is being done in Atlanta by Dr. Frieden and the team at the CDC.

GARRETT: Also this week, the Food and Drug Administration gave emergency approval to a blood test kit. How significant is that? I have read lots of literature that if you test and can do that on site and separate populations infected from those not infected, you can make a huge difference.

KLAIN: Yes. It's a very significant step.

Fighting the disease in West Africa, there's a limitation of lab resources. Transporting these specimens from where the patients are to where the labs are is a big challenge. Being able to have a point- of-care test where someone could quickly be ruled in or ruled out for Ebola will really help isolate the Ebola patients, keep them away from people who aren't sick, and really speed the job of getting those people isolated, into treatment, and avoiding contamination.

This is a big step forward for the response in West Africa. We're already seeing some good results there. This will really help.

GARRETT: One might think that bureaucracy of the FDA is something you would be in charge of or at least be curious about. Did you play any role in at least getting that process and the information available to the FDA to make a decision like this?

KLAIN: So, we leave the FDA to make regulatory decisions based on the facts and evidence. It's not something the policy-makers of the White House intervene.

We have though impressed upon the FDA the importance of acting safely, carefully, but quickly. They have also approved for widespread testing in Africa the first ever vaccine to prevent Ebola. That test is going to start in the next three to four weeks with tens of thousands of people in West Africa getting the vaccine. That's another potentially significant step forward in this fight against the disease.

GARRETT: Is this beaten, near beaten, or way from being beaten?

KLAIN: Well, I think you have to separate where we are here at home and over in West Africa.

Here at home, we have made significant strides to prepare for the occasional case of Ebola that we will see from time to time on our shores. In West Africa, there's a lot of progress in Liberia. We have gone from 50 to 100 new cases down to five to 10 new cases a day.

But there is still a lot of work to be done in Sierra Leone and some troubling signs in Guinea. So, I think we're nearing a pivot point in this, where the number of new cases overall in West Africa has somewhat stabilized. But this won't be done until we get all the way to zero. It's like a forest fire. A few embers burning, and the thing can reignite at any time.

GARRETT: "The New England Journal of Medicine" brought up academic medical centers here in the United States, urging them to remove roadblocks so people who want to go to West Africa can. They assert that we're far, far behind our European colleagues in dealing with this.

It might be something in your lane. Should we be doing more? Will you try to remove those roadblocks?

KLAIN: Well, first of all, I think, just to correct one thing about that, we're not far behind our colleagues in terms of the number of health care workers we have sent overall.

The American people, our medical centers have been unbelievably generous. There are more Americans fighting this disease in West Africa today at this holiday season than people from any other country. Obviously, for particular medical centers, there are challenges to sparing people for long tours of duty. And we work with them every day to try to make that easier.

But, overall, Major, I would say the generosity of America's health care institutions in fighting this disease overseas is unmatched by that of any other country.

GARRETT: Ron Klain, White House Ebola czar, thank you very much for joining us on FACE THE NATION.

And we will be right back.


GARRETT: Coming up on FACE THE NATION: Bob Schieffer's interview with Laura Hillenbrand, author of the bestselling book that's now a major motion picture, "Unbroken."


GARRETT: Some of our stations are leaving us now, but for most of you, we will be right back with a lot more FACE THE NATION. Please stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) GARRETT: Welcome back to FACE THE NATION. I'm Major Garrett, filling in for Bob Schieffer.

We turn now to the news from overseas. And to talk about year when ISIS became a household name and North Korea threaten at least one of our holiday movies.

I'm joined here in studio by Robin Wright, a joint fellow at the U.S. Institute of Peace and the Woodrow Wilson Center; and David Rohde, an investigative reporter for Reuters.

It's great to have you with us.


GARRETT: It's great to be with you.

Let's start real quick, give me sense both of you -- we'll start with you Robin -- where is the battle against ISIS, where is it going and what to make of reports that ISIS can't do anything to meet the needs of those it intends to, or says it can govern?

WRIGHT: Well, ISIS has made a huge sweep through Iraq and Syria earlier this year, but they've been contained pretty much since June.

The problem is we can't, either the Iraqis, the United States or the Syrian rebels break through the territory they hold, it's evident in Kobani. I was there a few weeks ago. And the United States has launched about 350 airstrikes. And yet ISIS still controls part of very small town.

Meanwhile, the largest town in Syria is under threat and we could lose that. The world is paying attention to this very small town. But bigger stakes are inside Syria, and I think that is where the next year will probably focus. GARRETT: David, where is this heading?

DAVID ROHDE, REUTERS: We have story coming that Reuters Baghdad bureau tomorrow about Iraq essentially fracturing. It's a similar problem to what Robin was talking about. The ground forces in Iraq, the is not coming back together, you know, very quickly. There's these huge sectarian divisions. And there's a real fear that this -- you know, the country will not come back together again even with the small American effort that's going on there.

The airstrikes helped, the advisors help, but these different differences are not fading.

GARRETT: Iran is a significant player in all of our geopolitical conversations. It is against ISIS, though we don't acknowledge it. They're there. We're also working on a nuclear arms agreement.

What are the prospects for that? And how do you think Iran will factor into all of the foreign policy conversation in the new year?

WRIGHT: For first time in 35 years, Iran and the United States are on the same page at the same time. And I think both countries really do want a deal, the question has always been whether the conservative ayatollahs in Iran could buy in to a deal with the United States.

I think it is possible. Is it probable? It's hard to tell. But it is clear that the United States and Iran also share a lot of interests in the Middle East today, particularly in Iraq where they both are concerned about the spread of ISIS, and in broader way the disintegration of the borders defined a century ago.

Will the Middle East implode? It's not just the threat of ISIS, it's the threat that the conflict will have rippling repercussion across the Middle East, affect everything from demographics of the country to the price of oil and affect whole region for not just years to come but decades to come.

GARRETT: David, the sense at the White House is if there is no agreement but there's a continuation of the status quo that is not a bad deal. How do you view it?

ROHDE: There's a big question mark about it. And the question is, really, how is congress going to view it and how will Israel view it? There are critical elections coming up in Israel. And if the Israelis start lobbying against extending this deal, the sort of status quo, that is going to be a problem. If there's new sanction enacted by the U.S. congress that sort of makes it harder for the Iranians to compromise. They don't want to lose face in all of this.

This is a huge issue for the Obama administration in 2015 if they can get this Iran deal or not. If they fail it's a very dangerous situation. Iran has helped push rebels there to take large parts of Yemen. That's unstable. They have got very large influence in Lebanon. And, you know, I talked to senior State Department official and they said, you know, Iranians are positioned to create havoc in many places including for U.S. forces in Iraq.

So, watch this spring whether this deal happens or not. It's a huge issue for the administration.

GARRETT: And an odd news fruit basket with North Korea Kim Jung un, The Interview, James Franco, Seth Rogen, how does it all figure -- is this, as the president described, vandalism on the cybersecurity front or is this something that tells us something more about new frontier of warfare that we're all going to have to get better, familiarized with and more capable in defending?

WRIGHT: Absolutely: Cyber-terrorism is, or cyber-attacks, cybersecurity are a big issues for the 21st Century. And in many ways movie was just tiny microcosm of the broader challenge. The costs to Sony will probably be greater for the disclosures about its finances and it's arrangements with various stars than it will in terms of the future of The Interview.

But it is interesting that The Interview is not only movie that is being criticized as creating a problem for the United States. Exodus has now been banned in Morocco and Egypt. Pakistan is in a furor over The Showtime series Homeland because it depicts Pakistan as a hellhole.

And so it's kind of this whole American culture thing that is also out there in a more amorphous way.

GARRETT: You just gave me a great segue to something David knows well and I want to get to because I think Pakistan is also going to be a part of our conversation in 2015 in ways we may not be totally familiar with now. I'll let you use that as an intro run with it, David.

ROHDE: Well, what frightened everyone was this horrific attack on a military-run school. Over hundred were children killed. And there's been this sense for years that Pakistan's army is essentially been playing a double game. And let's be honest we did this in the '80s, we used jihadis to attacks Soviet troops in Afghanistan. It worked great. 9/11 showed us you can't control those jihadists.

Pakistan's army has continued that policy. And there's increasing signs that they can't control these jihadists. They couldn't protect this school with children in it.

And for the first time I had a sort of former senior administration official say, they're worried about Pakistan's nuclear weapons, that if the army can't control school children, are these weapons secure?

We've talked about that scenario for years but things are not going well in Pakistan. These jihadist are getting stronger and stronger. Will the Pakistani army finally confront them? GARRETT: Excellent.

David Rohde, Reuters, investigative reporter Robin Wright, a foreign policy expert across the continuum. We thank you very much for joining us this morning on Face the Nation. Very happy new year to you both.

And we'll be right back with Bob Schieffer's interview with the author of, well, the author Laura Hillenbrand. Thank you very much.


GARRETT: One of this year's bit holiday's movies is Unbroken, the story of Louis Zamperini, an Olympic runner whose plane crashed in World War II. He survived 47 days adrift at sea, and more than two years in a Japanese prison camp.

While Zamperini's story of survival has mesmerized millions of readers, since the book's release in 2010 author Laura Hillenbrand struggled to overcome a debilitating disease in order to write it is nothing short of courageous either.

Bob Schieffer sat down last week with Laura Hillenbrand to hear how she did it.


BOB SCHIEFFER, CBS ANCHOR: Laura, you have written this amazing story about Louis Zamperini and how he overcame the odds, but to me your story battling this disease that you have and then being able to write this story is, to me, is as compelling a story as his story is.

And I understand more than a million Americans have this disease, but it is so mysterious, tell me about it.

LAURA HILLENBRAND, AUTHOR: It's formerly called chronic fatigue syndrome. It's now generally known as ME or myalgic encephalomyelitis. It is a disease that causes, above everything else, profound exhaustion, exhaustion in the lines of you can end up completely bedridden for years. You can have trouble speaking you're so tired. It also causes lot of other symptoms, problems with your balance, sensitivity to light, night sweats, chills, swollen lymph nodes, fevers, all sorts of things. It's really a devastating disease.

SCHIEFFER: But it has caused you to have to work in a very different way.


SCHIEFFER: Tell me a little about that.

HILLENBRAND: Well, in the years in which I've been exhausted it's been something where I've had to drag myself to my computer or to my telephone to do interviews and it just takes great deal out of me to do the work. My principle problem these days is vertigo, is balance disorder, that makes reading and writing extremely difficult so I have to kind of work around the room spinning and tipping and I have to work in small increments of time, because I will get more and more dizzy as I work.

It's very difficult to work with this. But I've found ways around it.

SCHIEFFER: But you almost never leave the house?

HILLENBRAND: I leave it much more now than I used to. While I was working on the book I was a lot sicker than I am now. And there was actually a span of time of two years while I was working on the book when I was unable to leave the house a single time, because I simply wasn't strong enough to walk to the car to get out of the house. So I was in it.

But I did keep working. I worked every way one way or another to get it done.

SCHIEFFER: Well, what I find so interesting about this, and the way your work habits had to change because of this disease, I love the way you found the story and first came to know about Louis Zamperini. How did that happen?

HILLENBRAND: I was working on my first book, which was on the racehorse Seabiscuit. I like to buy full newspapers from the era that I'm working on, and read them all the way through rather than just read the article on the subject, because I want to immerse myself in the history and the time, and get the context.

And I was looking at an article on Seabiscuit in a, I believe it was a 1938 newspaper. Directly on the other side of the page was an article on this teenage running phenomenon named Louis Zamperini. And I read that and I was really fascinated by him. And I wrote his name down.

And later on while I was working on the book I found out his war story, which hadn't happened yet when the article had been written. And then I was really fascinated. And I said, I've got to look this guy up when I'm done.

And when I was finished with the book I wrote him a letter, he wrote me back. We had a phone call. He told me his whole story. And when I hung up, I thought, I have to write this book.

SCHIEFFER: You know, I think it also underlines the great thing about newspapers. You know, if you are looking for something online you go directly to that until you find it. When you are reading a newspaper you find all these other stories that you weren't particularly looking for. And in this case look what that did for you.

HILLENBRAND: Yes. If you look something up online it's like you're wearing blinkers. If you look it up in an old newspaper you have peripheral vision and all of a sudden you're seeing things that you wouldn't have come across.

I love to look at the house ads and the advertisements for hats on Fifth Avenue, and things like that. And you start to really learn the time. And you can stumble on a book subject, in my case.

SCHIEFFER: So in this case, how did you go about doing this? I mean, you can't go interview people. You never met Louis until after the book was finished.

HILLENBRAND: Yes. I had made lots and lots and lots of phone calls, and did a whole lot of interviews on the telephone. All my interviews with Louis, and there were many, many of them, probably hundreds of hours, were all on the phone.

And it actually in a way was an advantage, because I wasn't looking at a 90-year-old man telling me the story about the 18-year- old runner. I was looking at the 18-year-old runner in my imagination.

Whatever he was telling me about I was able to really put myself there in my imagination because he wasn't sitting right in front of me. And I think it enabled me to visualize the story better and to ask better questions, because when I really felt like I was on the journey with him, I could think about the details that he'd be experiencing, and I could ask him about them.

And I don't know that I would have done that if we had been sitting in the same room.

SCHIEFFER: How did he react to all this?

HILLENBRAND: He had a lot of fun. He was a very social man. He and I clicked right away. He became my surrogate grandfather right away. And he enjoyed really exploring his story. I think maybe the funnest part of it for him was, I'm kind of a fanatic about research.

And I would go off -- I would talk to him and then I would go off to corroborate everything he told me, and to find out new things, and interview new people. And I would find out things about his story that he didn't know.

And this was really thrilling for him because they were many decades earlier, and these things would fascinate him or stun him. And one of the things that he enjoyed the most is when he was out on the raft, he went through this terrible storm the night before he was captured by the Japanese.

And he didn't know what kind of storm it was. It was just a bad storm to him. I went through all these old newspapers trying to find evidence of this storm because I wanted to corroborate every fact that he gave me.

And there weren't weather records the way they are today. But I found in the newspaper mention of a huge typhoon that had hit the coast of China. I called a couple of weather experts who talked to me about the paths of typhoons in that part of the world. And by the date it hit China, it would have meant that it was right over the place Louis was that night before he was captured. So I was able to come up say, you know what, you went through a huge typhoon, that wasn't just a thunderstorm you were in. And that thrilled him.

SCHIEFFER: Laura, do you think you could have written this book had you not gone through your own challenges?

HILLENBRAND: I could have written this book, but I think it was actually the better for my having gone through what I had gone through. I have been in very, very dark places in my life, largely because of this disease.

And it has given me an understanding of suffering that I think you can only get firsthand. And Louis and I talked about what I had been through. He read an article that I wrote for The New Yorker about what I had gone through.

And he understood that I knew what he was talking about. When he was talking about really suffering, I knew something about what that felt like. And I think it enabled him to open up.

SCHIEFFER: I think that your style of writing, which I very much admire, is that you don't let the, quote, "writing," stand in the way of telling the story.

HILLENBRAND: I think it's important for the writer to get out of the way of the story. That you are trying to communicate the story, you are not trying to show yourself off. And if you have really succeeded, you are invisible to your reader. They're just seeing the story in front of them.

It's clarity that matters. And when I'm working, I like to read my sentences aloud to myself to see if the rhythm is right, if I'm conveying the story well. That I think is the truest test of the language.

SCHIEFFER: Tell me about Louis, when you finally met him, what was that like, and where was that?

HILLENBRAND: In 2011 after I had put the book out he came to the East Coast and he came to see me finally. We had never met in all those years. And it was so wonderful to meet him. It was one of the best experiences of my life.

It was fantastic to watch him get out of a car and come over to me, because you have a certain idea of what a 90-something man is going to move like. And he came speeding up my hill and was, you know, moving like a young man and threw his arms around me.

And the first thing I did was take his hand and look at it closely because I wanted to see the scars on it. He had a scar on his finger from where his ring got caught in the wreckage of the Green Hornet as it was dragging him under the ocean. And he had a series of other scars from the albatross that he killed on the raft that had pecked at his hand. Scars were still there, and when I held that man's hand and looked at that, I realized I was looking at the last marks of the Green Hornet and the evidence of the story, this man really lived this. And that was -- it was moving to me. It was extraordinary.

And when we parted, I knew I wasn't going to see him again. And I think he knew that, too. When I walked him to his car, and he put his arms around me, and he said, Laura, I know why I've lived this long and it's to see you write this book, and I feel that my life has come to its crescendo with this.

And I was fighting back tears as I said goodbye and I walked back to my front porch and cried for a while.

SCHIEFFER: Have you seen the movie yet?


SCHIEFFER: And what do you think?

HILLENBRAND: You know, I'm really happy with it. I think Jack O'Connell, who plays Louis, does an extraordinary job of capturing Louis. I felt like this was really Louis on the screen. It was him in all of his soulfulness and all of his defiance.

O'Connell is electrifying. He has this alacrity to him that is exactly what Louis was. And that pleased me so much. And I thought Angelina did a magical job in conveying this story on the screen. It was very satisfying for me.

SCHIEFFER: You haven't written much in the last four years. Your book, of course, has been on the bestseller list for four years, and now it's coming out in paperback, and here it is back at the top of the list again.

Do you have another project in mind?

HILLENBRAND: I do. And it's actually another story that I found in a newspaper while working on Louis's story. It was something I stumbled across just by accident. I'm not telling people what it is.

But it is another story, it's from early in the 20th Century. And it was at the time the biggest story in the world, but it is completely forgotten today. I had never heard of it, and it's fantastic.

SCHIEFFER: Well, I hope you have very happy holiday.

HILLENBRAND: Thank you, you too.

SCHIEFFER: Congratulations.

HILLENBRAND: Thank you so much.


GARRETT: That's it for us today.

Bob will be back next week.

But before we go, we want to take a final look back at 60 years of news here on FACE THE NATION.

And here again is Bob Schieffer.


SCHIEFFER (voice-over): FACE THE NATION has actually changed very little over the years.


SCHIEFFER: Finding the key players on the big story of the week, sitting them down and asking them questions.



SEN. JOSEPH MCCARTHY (R), WISCONSIN: The committee examined my finances for 18 months. They could find no evidence of wrongdoing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Through the eyes of CBS News film cameras located for the first time inside these walls of the Kremlin.

NIKITA KHRUSHCHEV: I can proselytize that your grandchildren in America will live under socialism.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are about to see Fidel Castro.


PRES. FIDEL CASTRO, CUBA: I love communist approach. But I will never be against any (INAUDIBLE).

SCHIEFFER: FACE THE NATION, like much of the media, was late to the civil rights story.


REV. DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.: The forces of darkness are much more active, zealous and conscientious and determined than the forces of light.


SCHIEFFER: It's a conversation we are still having.

REP. JOHN LEWIS (D), GEORGIA: It's almost unreal, unbelievable, Dr. King would say, you know, 150 years since The Emancipation Proclamation, 50 years since he made the speech on the steps of The Lincoln Memorial and look what you have done. Dr. King would say, my dream is in the process of becoming real.

SCHIEFFER: (INAUDIBLE) covered the Vietnam War from the very beginning.


Yesterday, the Vietnamese -- the South Vietnamese minister of defense said that American combat troops would be necessary in the near future.

SCHIEFFER: Do you think that's a real possibility?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I really do not.


SCHIEFFER: At the height of the war, more than 500,000 American troops would be deployed to Vietnam. Years later, we were still questioning why.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: The lessons are many. Primarily, we must understand the limitations as well as the capability of U.S. military power.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm wondering how you...


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- you can say you won the war if you -- you agree...

KISSINGER: I -- I never -- no, no. Mr. Nixon said we won the war. I said...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, you don't agree with that?

KISSINGER: I said we achieved an honorable peace. That's different from saying we won the war.


GRIFFING BANCROFT: Today, we have two charming ladies, both...

SCHIEFFER: This was seen as big news that women were actually going to be questioned on television.

ELEANOR ROOSEVELT: I think it is quite clear and simple that Israel acted in self-defense.

SCHIEFFER: Leslie Stahl was the first woman to moderate FACE THE NATION and may well have been the single toughest questioner of all of us.


LESLIE STAHL, ANCHOR, FACE THE NATION: Well, you -- you didn't really answer the question, though. Are you...


STAHL: -- well, why?



PRIME MINISTER MARGARET THATCHER, ENGLAND: And you may go on asking the same question in 100 different ways and you will still get the same answer.



SCHIEFFER: It was the event that no one thought could ever happen -- an attack on the homeland.


COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE: Our message to the terrorists is that you don't know what you've gotten yourselves into.


SCHIEFFER: 9/11 would lead to two of the longest wars in our history in Afghanistan and Iraq.

FACE THE NATION is never more fun than during campaign years.

SCHIEFFER: This morning, the newest of the Democratic candidates for president.

SCHIEFFER (on camera): Governor, thank you so much for joining us.

JOSEPH BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Speaking of flexible, Governor Romney is a pretty flexible guy on his positions.

SCHIEFFER: Are those their real bodies, do you think?

I mean have you ever seen Newt Gingrich without his shirt?

(voice-over): Interviewing the president always makes news because whatever the president says is news.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Any president in my position that would have tried to -- to use just patronage or intimidation or scaring would -- well, he'd have had just about as much luck as a -- as the -- you know, the wax cat trying to go across some hot places.



SCHIEFFER: I want to get back to foreign policy. But I also want to ask you about what happened on Tuesday.




SCHIEFFER: I don't know what instrument it will be delivered on 60 years from now, but I believe there will still be a FACE THE NATION. And the reason why is you cannot have the kind of democracy that we have unless citizens have access to independently gathered information that they can compare to the government's version of events. If you don't have that, you can't have democracy as we know it.


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