FTN - 10/28/01 - Part 2

face the nation logo, 2009
SCHIEFFER: And we're back now with our expanded edition of Face the Nation. We'll be talking today with the House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt. That's in just a moment.

But first, we want to go to Quetta, Pakistan, where Randall Pinkston is standing by.
And, Randall, I understand you have some news there.

RANDALL PINKSTON, CBS News Correspondent: Yes, Bob.

For the first time since the American-led bombing campaign began across the border in Afghanistan, there have been two major terrorist attacks inside Pakistan, the first occurring this morning at a church in the Punjab region.

Masked gunmen traveling on motorcycles stormed a church, a Christian church, first killing a policeman who was standing guard outside, then indiscriminately spraying AK-47 weapons fire at worshipers. Sixteen people killed there.

Then just a few hours ago here in Quetta, less than a mile from this hotel, there was a bus bomb. We're hearing fatalities ranging from three to 15 people and many injuries.

For now, Pakistani authorities are pointing the finger of blame at Muslim militants whose organizations have been banned by the government.

The key question of course, whether in fact either of one or both of these attacks are in any way connected to Osama bin Laden or Al Qaeda or the Taliban. We do know that there are hundreds of thousands of supporters of the Taliban in Pakistan, a major cause of concern for Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf, who of course has been denounced for supporting the American-led military campaign against terror.


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

We had hoped to go to northern Afghanistan, where our correspondent Jim Axelrod is standing by. We're not able to reach him right now. We may be able to get to him later, and if we can, we will.

In the meantime, joining us now from St. Louis, the House Democratic leader Dick Gephardt.

Mr. Gephardt, thank you for coming.

You heard both Chris Dodd and John McCain say just a while ago on this broadcast that it may be necessary to put a large force of American ground troops into Afghanistan to bring this thing to a conclusion. Would you support such a move?

REP. GEPHARDT, D-MO, Minority Leader: Bob, you can't rule it out. I think if the president comes to the conclusion that it's going to take that or something like that in order to get these people and to get this network torn down, I would support it.

Look, we are in a war. This group declared war on the United States by bombing, in effect, our two largest buildings in New York. They killed thousands of Americans. They're international criminals. They are strung out across 40 or 50 or 60 countries, and we have to prevail. We have to bring people to justice who acted in this immoral way.

BORGER: Congressman Gephardt, let's talk a little bit about the terrorism at home. You've found yourself last week in the midle of a controversy because you and others decided to close the House of Representatives. And the American public was sort of confused about how serious the anthrax was that was contained in the envelope to Senator Daschle.

You heard what Senator Dodd said. Do you believe that this administration is erring on the side of underinforming the American public about the quality and level of this anthrax?

GEPHARDT: Well, I think some have in the past. I hope that doesn't continue. I think we've got to unify the information under Tom Ridge, and I hope that's being done.

We don't get anywhere by misinforming or under-informing people about what the dangers are as we find them out.

Now, obviously there's a lot of unknowns with anthrax and a lot of these other substances, but we knew from the beginning, from the experts that we were talking to that this was very dangerous, refined potent material that could easily get in the air, almost like a gas.

And I think it would have been helpful if everyone would have known that from the beginning. I hope that kind of action will be taken in the future.

We need to get on top of these threats. We need to be proactive, and we need to be giving people everything they need, can possibly understand, to save lives.

SCHIEFFER: Well, there is some suggestion, Mr. Gephardt, that in fact maybe people did know that from the beginning, but they decided not to disclose that information for fear that it would set off some panic or something.

GEPHARDT: Well, Bob, that well might have happened. I think there were many voices; that was part of the problem. You've got to unify the information so that we get the most accurate information consistently in front of people.

But I think in some officials' minds, the idea was that if you give people information, it will panic people. I think quite the opposite is true.

When they find out the information is not all together true, or it's too cautious in its presentation, then I think you cause panic. Certainly after two people died in the post office, which we grieve about, that's what really causes panic.

So we've got to be--err on the side of caution. We've got to do everything we can to help people understand the dangers so they can take appropriate action. People are smart. They know we're in a dangerous period, and they'll do the right thing.

BORGER: You just spoke about having too many voices. Are you going to recommend to the White House that, say, Governor Ridge ought to be the spokesman when it comes to matters of homeland security; that they just ought to have one person speaking for the administration on this?

GEPHARDT: Well, I think that's what's begun to happen. Tom Ridge has done regular press conferences and is getting information out. He is collecting information from all of the different agencies. I think it is probably not wise to have people from five, six, 10 differnt agencies out giving different slants or nuances of facts that are very important to people.

Again, we're all scrambling to understand what we're facing here. We're all trying to get the best information out. I really think if it can be unified and organized and as accurate as we can possibly make it, that's the best thing we can do to fight against this terrorism.

SCHIEFFER: How many different places on Capitol Hill has anthrax now shown up? I know over the weekend they announced that in three congressional offices, three more offices, that they have found it. Do you know of any more beyond that, Mr. Leader?

And also, have any more cases of people either being exposed or infected by anthrax shown up?

GEPHARDT: There are still test results coming back from the Longworth Building, so there could be some other hot spots there. We're continuing to test as we go along because this is an ongoing process in the Capitol and in other buildings. So there may be other hot spots show up.

I think we've got to start looking at this thing as an ongoing process, looking forward. There can be more findings of anthrax and maybe even other substances. We've got to be proactive. We've got to try to stay ahead of this thing and giving, again, as good of information as we possibly can.

Right now I don't think additional peoples on the Hill have been exposed to anthrax. We don't have information that leads us to believe that. But again, we've got to, every day, evaluate where we are, get as much information out as we can and take what are the most sensible, cautious, appropriate actions we can possibly take.

SCHIEFFER: Let me ask you this about the bill on airline security that is coming to a vote in the House this week. Of course, you and the Democrats favor the Senate version, which passed 100 to nothing, which calls for federalizing these people who screen baggage. There are a group of Republicans who oppose that. The White House at this point seems to be siding with them. Although in the beginning, as we understand it, the White House also favored federalizing.

But let me just ask you this: Do you have the votes to pass your version of the bill at this point? Or do you think the Republican version will prevail?

GEPHARDT: Well, you never know until you actually get to the vote. And I'm glad the speaker is finally bringing the bill up on Wednesday. In my view, we should have had it up three weeks ago. But I'm glad it's coming up.

I think we will prevail. We are going to essentially put up the Senate bill, which passed 100 to nothing in the Senate, totally bipartisan effort. I think we'll get bipartisan votes for this bill.

And the whole point here is very simple: What we're doing has not worked. It's a failed system. We still today are not finding the things we ought to find in the bag check. We've got to fix that system. And the way to do it is to get federal law enfrcement officers to do this. And so, I think that argument will get both Democratic and Republican votes.

SCHIEFFER: All right. Mr. Leader, thank you very much.

We continue with our expanded coverage on Face the Nation after this short break.


SCHIEFFER: Joining us now from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, Dr. Mohammad Akhter, who heads the American Public Health Association here in Washington; bioweapons expert Elisa Harris, the University of Maryland, a former member of the National Security Council in the Bill Clinton administration.

Ms. Harris, let me ask you, do you think there is a connection between the September 11 attack and this anthrax scare that we're having?

ELSA HARRIS, Bioterrrorism Expert: Well, we don't have enough information yet to be able to reach that judgment. Certainly in terms of timing it would appear as if there might be a link because these letters were mailed and the material would have been prepared in roughly the same time frame. But there's still far too many unanswered questions to be able to draw a sort of definitive connection between those events.

SCHIEFFER: But what you seem to be saying, it would be odd for someone to just have a lot of anthrax stored up in his icebox or his basement and, then when these attacks happened, that he decided to send it out.

HARRIS: Well, that's true. On the other hand, someone who may have decided that they wanted to carry out attacks of this sort and, once the September 11 incidents happened, saw it as a good opportunity to draw attention toward Al Qaeda and away from themselves.

BORGER: Dr. Akhter, you've seen how we have responded to these anthrax attacks. As a public health official, what can you tell us that we've learned from this, and how should we change?

DR. MOHAMMAD AKHTER, Executive Director, American Public Health Association: Yes. We have learned a great deal from the past four weeks. I think one of the fundamental things that we have learned is that we are not chasing anthrax. We are concerned about the people who've been infected by the anthrax, who have been exposed to anthrax, and who are afraid of anthrax. And without taking those people into confidence and without clear communication to them, we cannot succeed.

BORGER: So you think we did not have clear communication, say, with the postal workers in Washington, D.C., was that a problem?

AKHTER: Well, absolutely, that was a problem. I think our science is very good. What we don't have is the common sense that go with the science.

I think what issue here has been, there is lack of coordination at the local level. There are different people doing different things--intelligence agencies doing their work, public health community doing their work, the government doing their work. There's not coordination, there's not single chain of command who decide which buildng to close, when to close it, who needs to be tested, how the need to be tested, who needs to get on what medications. I mean, those things are not in place.

And I think what we've learned so far tells us that we should have a protocol in place that outlines all these responsibilities and have a single spokesperson at the local level, just like Mayor Giuliani did in New York, who could take people into confidence, talk to them as frequently as possible, allay their fears and ask them to remain calm and cooperate, and that's how we will succeed.

SCHIEFFER: Well, Doctor, let me go back to that because, do you think that the post office failed in not closing down those facilities immediately when this letter was received by Senator Daschle?

Because as I understand it, whatever everybody is saying is, well, we knew if you opened an envelope and it got into the air this thing could be pretty dangerous, but it didn't dawn on anybody that it might seep through an envelope in the postal system.

Should somebody be held responsible? Is somebody at fault here, or is this just something that was unavoidable?

AKHTER: I think hindsight is always 20/20. We could have done better, but I think we should do better in the future. I don't see any change from what happened in Washington, D.C., if it happened in another community.

I think we're still not organized; we are under-prepared. We don't have the local resources. We are not integrated at the local level where actually people need service. And that's what we need. We need to have a great coordination at the local level and a single spokesperson at the local level.

BORGER: Ms. Harris, what about, in terms of finding out where this anthrax came from, do we need more coordination in the scientific community?

HARRIS: Well, I think we do. There is no single place within the U.S. government that is equipped to do, you know, the full range of analysis that's necessary here. There are people who are experts on biological weapons, there are people experts on anthrax as a disease of livestock, there are public health experts. But there's no one place to turn where all that expertise comes together.

If I were advising the administration, I would tell them they should red team this.

They should put together a parallel group of people--bioweaponeers, people who worked on these programs previously, microbiologists, chemists, physicists--and I would bring those people together and give them the best lab we can find, give them access to all the information and have them run the traps, and do the same analysis, the same assessment that's being done within the U.S. government.

SCHIEFFER: Well, as I understand it, that this anthrax that was found in Senator Daschle's letter had been, quote, "weaponized." And basically what that means is that you can just make it float. And that in Russia they used one kind of additive to make it floatIn Iraq they use another kind of additive to make it float. There may be other countries that use another kind of additive.

Do you sense that anyone has figured out what additive this was? And is that and should that be a clue to where this came from?

HARRIS: Absolutely. That's a critical part of any sort of ultimate determination as to the source of these attacks. There is evidence in the paper trail, in the letters, that there is critical scientific evidence in the material itself.

SCHIEFFER: Well, do you suppose that the government may already know that and is just not telling us?

HARRIS: They may well have some information with respect to this. I mean, the composition of the material, the particle size, the purity of the material, which aim strain it is, whether it was the aim strain that was distributed widely around the world for research and diagnostic purposes, or the aim strain that had a more limited distribution. All this would point in the direction of potential sources and help narrow the circle.

BORGER: Well, what about Iraq, for example?

HARRIS: Well, the Iraqi process--information about the Iraqi process is in the public domain. There was a book written by a former U.N. inspector that was published in the late 1980s that talks about how the Iraqis made what was a sort of simulant for anthrax, something called bacillus therongensis.

SCHIEFFER: Well, Doctor, what significance do you draw to what Ms. Harris just said here? Do you think the government probably knows the composition of this anthrax? And would that be helpful for the public to know, or shouldn't we know?

AKHTER: I don't think the public need to know. What public need to know is the preparedness; that their local county, their local city is prepared; that they have the hospital capacity; that their public health department is open seven days a week; that they have the right monitoring system in place; that if an attack takes place there is enough medicine and vaccine to protect the health. And that's what public needs to know.

This is the government needs to investigate, find out who the culprits are and bring them to justice. That's sort of the part that we really need to--need to keep a little bit protected.

SCHIEFFER: All right. Lady, gentleman, thank you both.

We're going to continue our expanded coverage on Face the Nation after this short break.


SCHIEFFER: Back now with our roundtable. Joining us, Robert McFarlane. Many of you, or most of you, will remember he was the White House national security advisor under President Reagan; and Tom Friedman, who all of you know is the columnist, foreign affairs columnist for the New York Times.

Mr. McFarlane, you were involved in a very unusual incident this week. In this Abdul Haq, who is this freedom fighter for Afghanistan, went back into the country trying t find some way to get converts from the Taliban. He got caught in some sort of trap.

Somehow they got a message out to a friend of his in this country and that friend called you, and you were you able to at least get some planes scrambled to try to rescue him. But it didn't happen, of course, and he was later executed.

Tell us about that. What was that about?

ROBERT MCFARLANE, Former White House National Security Adviser: Well, Bob, Abdul Haq is a proven experienced combat leader, a courageous man who believed strongly that he and his colleagues of former commanders could take down the Taliban. And the regrettable part of it is that, for more than a year, he had been trying to offer his help to the U.S. government and no one here in town would listen to him.

Bob, right now we have a critical void of intelligence on the ground in Afghanistan. We have a superb military capability, but it has no eyes and ears on the ground.

The good news is, it could.

But the CIA has failed catastrophically, going back a year from here, to engage with people who are quite willing to help, who are angry at the Taliban, and today could still be recruited and be on the ground to tell us where the military ought to shoot.

We can beat this, Bob, but we cannot do it without intelligence. The intelligence means are there and in the country, and we've got to get busy recruiting them.

SCHIEFFER: So, basically, what happened is that, unable to get any help from the CIA, he just went back in on his own with some friends and then was captured by the Taliban and executed?

MCFARLANE: That's correct. He had worked for a long time to organize colleagues who were ready to begin operations and sabotage and attack against Taliban headquarters and ultimately to identify bin Laden. But we offered no help, and he was captured.

BORGER: Why did we offer no help?

MCFARLANE: Incompetence.

This morning in the Post there's a story that Fred Hitz, a former inspector general, says the CIA's operational capability has become a bunch of bureaucrats. That's essentially true.

The risks involved, they are real, and yet that's what the organization is for. We're in a war right now, and until we wake up and begin to recruit resources on the ground, get over there, get a bag of money and make it clear that whoever turns over a Taliban figure to us is going to be a wealthy person--there are patriots there, and there are people who are willing to be recruited. We're not doing it.

SCHIEFFER: Those are very strong words, Tom Friedman.

TOM FRIEDMAN, The New York Times: I think Bud's on to something. I think this is a very highly unconventional war, and it has to be fought in a highly unconventional way. This is not like the Gulf War. This is not like Kosovo. And unless you adopt the methods of the people you're up against, the unconventional methods, we're going to find ourselves at a rel loss, Bob.

SCHIEFFER: Well, when you have someone who's trying to get in there and can't get any help from the Central Intelligence Agency, that's kind of odd, isn't it?

FRIEDMAN: Well, it's not only odd but, as Bud said, it leaves us really blind.

I think that we've just finished a very illusionary couple of weeks here with Afghanistan. The Zeitgeist around this story is now changing. I think people are waking up to the fact that we will win this war, and only win this war, if we put American troops, hopefully British, French and others, on the ground and begin taking territory and putting other people on the run.

This is a kind of neighborhood, Bob, where you will win the war not by winning a debate. You will win the war by winning the war. OK, then people will be with you. And if you don't win the war, no one will be with you.

BORGER: Mr. McFarlane, given our intelligence and our intelligence failure, as you put it, do you believe we can get to Osama bin Laden?

MCFARLANE: Yes, I do. I think that there are dozens, hundreds, thousands of Afghans who are alienated and offended by the repression of the Taliban. And that's been clear for a year. They can be recruited; they'll provide us the intelligence we need. And our own special operations people can find the Taliban, bring it down, and find bin Laden. But we've got to get at cooperating with these people.

BORGER: What about getting cooperation from our so-called coalition in this endeavor, Tom? Are we there alone or not?

FRIEDMAN: Well, I personally believe that we're very much, if not alone, we have very, very few real allies, people really ready to send their own people on the ground with us. Canada, Britain, you know, Australia, France, that's probably about it.

The others, these are weak, feckless regimes. We're in this mess in part because they're weak, feckless regimes, from Saudi Arabia, you know, through others in the Gulf. And these are not people--we saved Saudi Arabia in the Gulf War. You'd think there'd be a thousand Saudis who might volunteer to help us here, considering their role, just a thousand. There isn't one, as far as I know.

SCHIEFFER: Well, let me just--we're talking this morning--here we had Chris Dodd of the Foreign Relations Committee, a Democrat, John McCain, a Republican on the Armed Services Committee, Dick Gephardt, the Democratic leader of the House, now Tom Friedman, a columnist for the New York Times, all saying we may have to go in there in force on the ground and take and hold territory.

FRIEDMAN: No, I'm not saying "may," Bob. We will have to go in there in force on the ground.

SCHIEFFER: Maybe not hold it permanently, but hold it for at least a time.

There must be somebody out there saying, "Wait a minute, are we getting into Vietnam? This is just how we got into Vietnam." What would you say, Tom, is the difference between ths and Vietnam?

FRIEDMAN: The difference for me is that--I don't know anything about Vietnam.

All I know is the only way you're going to win this war and have allies from Pakistan within Afghanistan and within this region is if you begin to seize territory. People see that you're winning, and then they will want to come on your side.

Absent that, events like what happened to Bud's friend Abdul Haq are devastating to us, because the message is, anybody who even thinks about cooperating with the Americans gets killed.

SCHIEFFER: Bud, what's the difference?

MCFARLANE: We haven't yet really gotten serious about this conflict. The first phase of bombing was time and money well spent to take out the air defenses, but this war will only be won on the ground. John McCain's right.

To win it on the ground, however, you've got to have decent intelligence. And everybody in Afghanistan ought to know we're coming in and hell's coming with us.

SCHIEFFER: I would just say, and I was waiting for one of you to say this, because I think the difference was the Twin Towers. We went to Vietnam to help somebody else. In this case we have thousands of Americans, innocent Americans who would be killed. And I would say at the start, that's the difference.

FRIEDMAN: And I think we have thousands more ready to volunteer because of what you've said, Bob, to go into Afghanistan.

BORGER: I want to go to Mr. McFarlane on intelligence issues. Do you believe that as a result of sort of a lack of intelligence that the administration sort of underestimated the number of defectors they would get and that they expected this war to proceed a bit differently, that they underestimated the Taliban because they didn't have the on-the-ground intelligence that they should have had?

MCFARLANE: I don't think that's true. I think they realize that there was widespread, broad outrage among Afghans at the village level with the Taliban, and they believed that that, that alienation would lead to defections and so forth. That's a reasonable proposition.

But Afghans have been watching whether the evidence of determination to do this job was here. The air war has gone OK, but people are now watching to see if we're willing to put ground forces in there and finish the job.

SCHIEFFER: Tom, finally--about 20 seconds left--what should the government do now about informing people about this anthrax business? Have they been too easy here?

FRIEDMAN: I think the message I got from this show this morning is certainly is one I feel, is that we need a single, coordinated voice on this--a voice that has credibility, credibility within the scientific community, credibility within the government. I think nothing would be more assuring to the American people than beginning with that.

SCHIEFFER: Tom Friedman, Bud McFarlane, thanks to both of you.

That's our broadcast for thi morning. Thanks for watching Face the Nation.

© MMI, CBS Worldwide Inc. All Rights Reserved