FTN - 10/7/01

face the nation logo, 2009
BOB SCHIEFFER: Today on Face the Nation , the White House rejects another Taliban offer to retaliate. The president says, time is running out.

The United States has surrounded Afghanistan with a vast military force. Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld returned from the region and says everything is in place.

But is an attack imminent? We'll get the latest from our correspondents in key places.

We'll talk to Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill and Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle about the other battle: keeping the economy on track.

And we'll talk about his new kind of war with two men who know a lot about it: the former head of Air Force Special Operations, retired General Bob Patterson, and former Navy SEAL and senator, Bob Kerrey.

It's all ahead on Face the Nation.

Good morning again.

Well, there's nothing official at this point, but there are increasing signs that some sort of American military action may be imminent. We want to get the latest now. We'll go to CBS News Pentagon correspondent David Martin.


DAVID MARTIN, CBS News National Security Correspondent: Bob, the foreign minister of the Northern Alliance, that's that group of rebels which is fighting the Taliban in Northern Afghanistan, he is quoted as telling reporters this morning that air strikes could come very soon. And most telling of all, he says that the United States has told the Northern Alliance to close down its air space. And of course, the U.S. would not want any stray planes flying around if it were conducting air strikes.

So, that statement from the foreign minister of the Northern Alliance, who's right there on the front lines in Afghanistan, I think, is a very telling statement.

I think the Taliban can see this coming. They have now claimed to send - and U.S. intelligence confirms that they have sent 1,000 to 2,000 troops up to their northern border with Uzbekistan.

Uzbekistan, of course, is one of the places Secretary Rumsfeld visited recently and got an agreement to base 1,000 combat troops there, along with a search and rescue unit to pick up any pilots downed in Afghanistan. Those combat troops are there now.

And we have this report, now confirmed as accurate, that somewhere between 1,000 and 2,000 Afghan Taliban troops are moving north toward the border with Uzbekistan.


SCHIEFFER: OK, David. And I know you'll be standing by if there are any late developments.

We want to go now to Pakistan where Allen Pizzey is standing by.

And, Allen, there was a report this morning that the Taliban is now offering to put Osama bin Laden on trial before an Islamic court. What did you make of that?

ALLEN PIZZEY, CBS News: Bob, that's an interesting development. They've said before they'll - you know, they'll consider the evidence and so on. Offering to put him on trial or detaining him without evidence and put him on trial if there is some, that's themI think, looking for a little wiggle room. It's also building up a little bit of support.

The White House has rejected that out of hand. The Taliban's response is if they don't do this - they, the U.S. don't let us do this, then they don't respect Islamic law.

I think the Taliban are looking ahead a couple of days. There is an Organization of Islamic Countries summit taking place in Doha, Qatar, in a couple of days. And we can expect a lot of talk about this particular aspect of the terrorism case.

And I think what we might also see is some of those Islamic countries going there wanting to have their own definition of terrorism. And if Iran and Indonesia have anything to say about it, of course, that definition will include Israel in any definition of terrorism. So that makes it a little difficult for the U.S. in just rejecting these people out of hand.

But we're getting signs here too that, as David was mentioning, things might be imminent. The Pakistanis, for example, have just put under house arrest a pro-Taliban, anti-American cleric who's been getting some pretty good support at rallies around here and threatening to attack any Americans that might be using Pakistan as a base.

The Pakistanis also have cleared away - or ordered cleared away Afghan refugees who are sitting around Pakistan - Quetta's main airport here. They said they'd had some news of possible threats to incoming planes. We don't know if that's true or not.

But just before we came to air here, we heard a high-flying jet over here. Whether it was a commercial airliner - and there has not been a no-fly zone declared here - or whether it's some kind of air activity, we don't know. But there was a plane over here, and that's unusual.

So, things are starting to happen, Bob.

SCHIEFFER: OK. Thank you, Allen.

Back here at home, of course, there have also been developments. The secretary of the Treasury, Paul O'Neill, has been in charge of the group that's been trying to track down and cut off Osama bin Laden's money.

Mr. Secretary, your people, of course, have been trying to cut down Osama bin Laden's money supply. There was a big meeting of our closest industrial allies here in Washington yesterday. How's that going?

PAUL O'NEILL, Treasury Secretary: It's going very, very well.

At the end of the day, we resolved that we would ask all the nations of the world to join us in this effort to close down financial support for terrorists, all kinds of terrorists, including bin Laden and Al Qaeda network. And not to do it on a bilateral basis, but to ask every nation to agree to bilateral terms so that we have access to the flow of information like we've never had before to bring effect to shutting down financial means for terrorists.

SCHIEFFER: Are you telling me that that's what you got, the pledge you got yesterday?

O'NEILL: I got not only the pledge but the strong support and the convictio from the G-7 ministers that we're going to do this together.

SCHIEFFER: Will you formulate this into treaties? Or how will you do this?

O'NEILL: Well, I think we will create a model information exchange and then ask all the nations of the world to sign up for it quickly. Hopefully we can get this done in the next six or eight weeks.

There are also - there are already some of these relationships existing in bilateral treaties and things that have been developed over the years. But this is an effort now to make it worldwide.

And as President Bush said, we're going to find out now if people are with us or not. My sense is, from more than 100 letters and communications I've had from financial ministers around the world, there won't be anybody left out of this. They will all agree.

SCHIEFFER: Do I take it - from talking to you before the broadcast, you seemed that perhaps surprised that you got the kind of cooperation you did yesterday.

O'NEILL: Well, you know in the past, there have been efforts to work on money laundering subjects, and it's been fitful and it's been one off relationship between nations. These events have brought the world together in a way that I've never seen before with a conviction that we're going to prosecute these people and that we're going to shut down their financial capability.

GLORIA BORGER, U.S. News & World Report: Mr. Secretary, the president has said that if countries don't cooperate, we would not do business with those countries. Are you now saying that other countries are saying that as well, that they will not do business?

O'NEILL: Absolutely. I think we are together. We are really aligned. We're going to have information exchange. We're going to bring together the intelligence activities that have been working in a separate way and the financial law enforcement agencies that have worked in a separate way.

And if you go and look at the command center that's been set up here in the U.S., it has all the departments and agencies sitting in a very large open room with computer terminals. And we're creating a spider web of connections flowing from the identification of individual terrorists and identifying where they're from, where their home bank is and these kinds of things. So, we're doing this like it's never been done before.

SCHIEFFER: There are reports that you may have discovered twice as many groups funneling the money to Osama bin Laden as we thought. Is that true?

O'NEILL: Yes, and we're probably not at the end of our discovery process. You know, as we're building these spider webs, we're seeing multiple connections. We're finding patterns of behavior that we didn't know existed before that will give us a basis for refining our search so that we're not looking for a needle in the universe, but we're looking in a very clear way for patterns of behavior that we can go after.

BORGER: II could just switch the subject for a moment to an economic stimulus package. We've been talking about a $75 billion package. You want $60 billion in tax cuts, $15 billion in spending. Democrats say that is not enough.

O'NEILL: Well, in fact, we've already appropriated since the 11th of September what will be $55 billion worth of spending in fiscal year 2002. And what the president has said in the last week, and I've been representing in meetings on Capitol Hill, is that we'd like to see a total, including this $55, adding on top of the $55, $60 to $75 billion.

And the president has said we need to do this: We need to provide additional support for consumer demand. We need to provide additional support for investment. And we need to be sure that we take care of those people who were directly affected by September 11. And so, that's the framework within which I'm having these conversations with bipartisan groups on the Hill.

SCHIEFFER: Some say that the bipartisan approach is over. Is it?

O'NEILL: I tell you, I really don't see that at all. You know, the rhetoric is sometimes steamy. But in the private meetings that I've been having, you can't tell a Republican from Democrat. I think they're united.

And I think this will prove to be true, that patriotism is so strong right now that members of Congress, whatever their individual interests are, will come together in a way that's very responsive to what the president has said. We need to do the right thing for the American people. This is not a time when we should be divided by partisanship.

SCHIEFFER: Mr. Secretary, let me ask you one final question. How does the administration view the threat of additional attacks on this country? There seems to be something of a mixed message. We hear reports leaking out from Capitol Hill that the administration expects more attacks, especially if we go into Afghanistan. Yet we see the White House sometimes knocking them down. How serious is this threat?

O'NEILL: Well, we're concerned.

And, you know, one of the things that - we've seen this before. When there's an event like this, people, who most of us would not be able to understand their thought process, start calling up and making threats and sending letters and creating a sense of crisis. And for sure, we've seen that kind of elevated threats that are coming at us, and every one of them has to be taken seriously now.

And so, I think we're doing everything we can to identify ways that we can protect ourselves, the American people, specifically and generally, against the threats of terrorism.

And what we've been doing, I think what's been said on Capitol Hill, what the president has said, is right. We've got to use every means that we have to reduce the threat of terrorism and terrorists. We've got to mount a multifaceted attack. We've got to use military and diplomatic and financial and economic, overt and covert mens to reduce the threat of these people so that we can begin to live life again more nearly like we did before September 11.

SCHIEFFER: Mr. Secretary, thank you so much for coming by this morning.

O'NEILL: My pleasure. Thanks very much.

SCHIEFFER: The secretary of the Treasury. I think the most significant thing he said there was that he found even more cooperation than he expected from our closest industrial allies on the area of sharing information to bring these money sources to a close.

We're going to talk now with the Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle about that very same thing.

That is significant, is it not?

SEN. TOM DASCHLE, Majority Leader: It is significant, Bob. I think, all the way along, one of the big important pieces of the strategy is to build that coalition around the world. And I think the administration has had good success in building that coalition successfully.

SCHIEFFER: Let me ask you about something that he was not quite as specific in his answer. I asked him what to make of these threats of additional terrorism, and the administration does seem to be sending a mixed message.

We've had some reports leak out on Capitol Hill that additional attacks could be expected and the White House seems to be knocking them down. I'm told that the president called you about those leaks.

DASCHLE: Well, he is understandably very concerned because, obviously, the more these leaks get out, the more we can identify intelligence sources, and that would be very problematic and undercut our whole effort. So understandably, he is concerned. I'm concerned. And we're taking actions to try to prevent that kind of thing in the future.

SCHIEFFER: Well, on the subject, though, do you think there are going to or should we expect additional attacks?

DASCHLE: Well, I don't know that we should expect them, Bob, but we certainly should be prepared for them. We have to be as prepared as a country can be under situations like this. There is no question that we're facing a very uncertain future.

But I don't think we should expect them because we don't know anything specific to any of these reports that would cause us to be immediately concerned.

BORGER: If we are on the brink of some sort of military action right now, do you see any speeding up of this economic stimulus package that you're working on?

DASCHLE: Well, Gloria, I think the whole idea has been to speed up this process as quickly as we can throughout. We did it, of course, with the appropriations process. We did it with the use of force, and we've done it now together, Republicans and Democrats, working as we have on the airline bail out. There are a number of these pieces that we've tried to do - now with counterterrorism. So, I don't think there is any question. We want to bring this to closure as quickly as possible as well.

BORGER: What is thsticking point as far as you're concerned?

DASCHLE: Well, I don't know that there is one sticking point. Basically, Republicans and Democrats agree on a lot. We agree there ought to be more tax cuts. In fact, what Democrats would say is, let's direct it as much as we can to the 34 million people who didn't get any help in the first round.

But we also feel very strongly that we have to address the pain out there, the relief that is necessary for those thousands, tens of thousands of people who are unemployed, for all of those people who can't get health care today. And we also really ought to address all of the transportation questions relating to security as well as bioterrorism. So, there are a lot of commitments we need to make with regard to these investments that I think ought to be part of the package.

SCHIEFFER: So you think there ought to be some spending components to this, not just tax cuts?

DASCHLE: Well, we've got to look at the unemployment situation, Bob. Tens of thousands of Americans are really suffering out there, and we've got to address that.

I think as I said a moment ago, there is an array of issues we have to deal with, going to your earlier question, about prevention with airports, with trains, with ports. We've got to look at bioterrorism techniques and ways in which to invest in preventing whatever circumstances may occur there.

So without a doubt, there is a need for tax cuts. I think there is also a need for a real serious commitment by this government to the array of challenges this country and the economy is facing.

BORGER: Well, the president has talked about extending unemployment benefits. What more should he do?

DASCHLE: Well, he proposed I think, a good start. The problem is that there are still a lot of people under his plan that fall through the cracks, 40, 50 percent perhaps. And he's taking the money out of the health care program for children to pay for the program for the unemployed. And we're very concerned about that as well.

So we can build on that. There are some good ideas that he's laid out. But there's a lot more we can do, and we want to work closely with him to make that happen.

SCHIEFFER: Senator Daschle, I wish we had more time. We simply don't this morning because of events. Thank you so much for being with us.

We'll be back in just a moment with some people who know something about special operations.


SCHIEFFER: We're joined now by former Navy SEAL and Senator Bob Kerrey and by Major General Bob Patterson, the former commander of Air Force Special Operations.

Well, special operations will be in the center of what the president is calling this new kind of war if there is military action.

General, let me ask you, what would we expect? How would something like this unfold?

MAJOR GEN. PATTERSON, Former Cmdr., Air Force Special Operations: Thse forces are trained as a non-basic missionary. Each one of those missionaries has a specific application in this scenario against bin Laden, Al Qaeda or the Taliban. And that goes from special reconnaissance, nothing like eyes on the target to get information to pass back to the planners. And then that translates into direct action that may evolve.

Counterterrorist operations, that's their forte. Precision strike, which will be done by AC-130 gun ships. The light infantry of the 75th ranger regiment.

The special operations capability is certainly going to be important as we try to convince the Islam world that this is a war against some murderers who have hijacked their religion.

And then, of course, the humanitarian assistance is going to be very important starting off with dropping rations to those people that we feel confident are the right people, and the rations will go to the right places.

And of course, as things settle down, that will be followed up with medical people on the ground and people to provide portable water and other types of assistance.

And then lastly, there are also tasks to ferret, search out and destroy and capture, if necessary, weapons of mass destruction.

So we have quite a menu.

And foreign internal defense is also part of that training the trainers, which is very important.

SCHIEFFER: Let me ask Senator Kerrey because he is a former Navy SEAL. This is not going to be an easy job, is it, Senator?

BOB KERRY, Former Senator and Navy SEAL: Well, I think not for two reasons. One is there is a question about whether or not we know where he is. And the intelligence appears to be quite weak at the moment. Although, we certainly could get lucky as a consequence both Pakistan and significant numbers of people in Afghanistan wanting bin Laden out of there.

But secondly, you've got an unconventional operation inside of an area that could provoke a larger struggle, could provoke additional military requirements.

So it's going to be very difficult, it seems to me, both to be precise and to contain this thing into a special ops mission.

BORGER: Senator Kerrey, you don't exactly sound very confident that we can actually get to Osama bin Laden.

KERRY: Well, I would be confident we can. I just would urge people to be a bit patient. I don't think we ought to presume that we are necessarily going to be able to get this done this weekend.

He killed 5,000 of our people in New York City and Washington, D.C., and in Pennsylvania - 19 people involved in a terrorist strike against the United States. We now have an individual interest in the world to get rid of terrorism. I'm pleased that the Bush administration has been able to launch and get significant cooperation. But we have an interest in killing bin Laden and the people that killed our people. And if you don't do it, he is going to kill again.

SCHIEFFER: General Patterson, wha will our troops expect when they get there? What kind of opposition can the Taliban put up against them?

PATTERSON: I'd be very delighted to hear that they have amassed 3,000 troops on the Uzbek border that. That would certainly make a worthwhile target for our guys.

Threat-wise, of course, they have some 23 millimeter, probably there's some radar directed left over from the Russians. And they have some hand-held stingers that we gave them back when we were aiding ul-Mujahedeen.

SCHIEFFER: And these are anti-aircraft weapons?

PATTERSON: That's right, but very limited as far as altitude is concerned, but effective against helicopters and slow-moving aircraft.

BORGER: Senator Kerrey, do we have enough special operations forces?

KERRY: Well, I think the answer is likely to be yes. The problem in the past is we haven't used the capability both on the civilian side and the intelligence world as well as the military area.

The point, Gloria, I was trying to make earlier was not that we lack the capability of being able to get eventually bin Laden and Al Qaeda. But the problem is, this could provoke substantial instability in Afghanistan itself.

And I think we made a tremendous mistake after we succeeded in driving out the Soviet Union in 1989 and then the Soviet Union collapsed, we basically withdrew from Afghanistan. And one of the difficult questions that we're going to have to face is whether or not we are going to be willing to provide the resources necessary to create stability in this country that has obviously become a refuge for people who's intent it is to kill us.

BORGER: General Patterson, can you talk about what Senator Kerrey is saying about the destabilizing influence we, in fact, might have in this region?

PATTERSON: I agree with him that we ignored the region after Russia departed and we turned our back on them and allowed the Taliban to - which are not Afghanis, but they're Arabs who come into the country, the internationalists they're called, I believe - and allowed them to get the foothold.

I think it can be and will be destabilized to a portion, but I think if we perfect our psychological operations capabilities using leaflets and airborne radio and TV, that we can separate those Afghans who want to live in peace from those that would like to kill all Americans.

SCHIEFFER: I want to thank both of you. I wish we had more time. Unfortunately, we don't. Thanks to both of you. We'll be watching along with you.

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


SCHIEFFER: Finally today, the New York Times and The Washington Post are doing a fine thing. Each day they run about 20 obituaries, a full newspaper page, of those who died in the terrorist attacks.

They are wonderful stories celebrating the lives of average Americans. As I read them, it reminded me just how diverse ur country is; that average Americans come in so many colors in face and from so many neighborhoods.

But I couldn't help but wonder how many of them had ever seen their name in a newspaper or ever would, had it not been for this. Not many, I'd guess, because "average American" means being a good citizen, and that seldom makes a headline.

Yet, each story is compelling because each person was compelling and important to someone, and each made a difference to someone, say, those they left behind. I wonder how many of them knew that.

Like Diane Simmons and her husband who had cared for her ill father for seven years and were ready to enjoy retirement after heading to Hawaii to spread her father's ashes beside her mother's. They were on the plane that hit the Pentagon.

Or Aida Stevens who delayed retirement from her Pentagon job so she could help her co-workers close out the fiscal year.

Or Major Steven Long, wounded in Grenada, veteran of Desert Storm, who came to the Pentagon that day for a meeting.

To understand the enormity of all this, consider this: If the Times and Post continue to run 20 obituaries a day, it will be next September, nearly a year from now, before they run them all.

We must never forget that or these people, not a one of them.

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

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