FTN - 9/23/01 - Part 2

face the nation logo, 2009
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, R-AZ: Well, my comment is, I understand why the secretary would say that. I also think that it's not necessary. In other words, I think we should note that we have weapons now, precision weapons, and of the kind that would probably address this kind of a threat, which is specific small groups of people in remote places, without having to use nuclear weapons.

And, very frankly, nuclear weapons have a connotation associated with them that, it seems to me, that, if you can't rule it out, you should certainly say that it is highly unlikely that this requirement would ever arise.

BORGER: Senator, he also seemed not to rule out eventually going after Iraq as part of this anti-terrorism plan. Do you believe we ought to do that?

MCCAIN: As we all know from published media reports, there was some debate within the administration as to who the targets would be and the priorities. I think it's pretty well-known that now we've established priorities, and Afghanistan, I think very appropriately, is the first priority.

Then I think it would be dictated by the behavior of these other countries, to a large degree. If they're willing to, as the president strongly admonished, willing to harbor terrorists, then obviously, they're going to be open to some kinds of retaliation - economic, diplomatic and perhaps military.

But I think, first, you take care of the Afghanistan situation, and then you move on to other areas depending on what happens in those countries.

SCHIEFFER: Can we, as a practical matter, do this, Senator McCain? You are a former military man. You've been to Vietnam. Boy, have you been to Vietnam. But this is going to be a very difficult assignment. Is it beyond the capabilities of this country?

MCCAIN: I don't think so. In fact, I'm absolutely convinced it's within the capabilities of this country.

I think the president inspired the nation with his address to Congress, and I think that his fundamental point here, patience and time, time and patience, and that's going to be our challenge as a nation. Six months from now, a year from now, maybe two years from now, we have to have the same resolve and the same kind of tenacity and commitment that we have today. And that's where I think the president's message is so important.

BORGER: But from a military standpoint, does it worry you that we could get bogged down in Afghanistan in the same way, say, that we did in Vietnam?

MCCAIN: I don't think we will. I think we have the strongest national security team that has ever been assembled. I think that we've learned the lessons from previous conflicts. I think that we have a steady hand at the tiller.

I don't know anyone who contemplates occupying Afghanistan, but we do have tremendously increased capabilities, such as the Delta Force, the Rangers, the SEALs and others, to carry out operations.

And one reason why I am so pleaseto see the Pakistani ambassador make the comments that she has made, Pakistan is a key element, a very key element. Uzbekistan and Tajikistan are important countries, but the stability in those countries is - they're far more difficult in many ways to handle and move through than Pakistan is.

So I'm convinced we can do it. I'm convinced we have the capabilities. We will now be spending more money on defense, and so I'm optimistic.

But I don't think it's going to happen tomorrow. I think the worst thing we could do is launch some cruise missiles and have it look real good on the evening news, and then move on. And this president isn't going too do that.

SCHIEFFER: Let me shift to the economy, because you were one of the leaders on Capitol Hill in bailing out the airlines. And I think everyone agrees with the necessity of that.

Let me ask you about something else, and that is National Airport. Do you envision that National Airport here in the nation's capital, Reagan National Airport, will ever be reopened?

MCCAIN: I would love to have it be reopened, but I would leave that up to the national security experts. Those are the people who know. We members of Congress don't have the knowledge. I'd love to see it open tomorrow, but I will support and respect whatever decision is made regarding National Airport.

As regards the economy, I think we've got to spend some money, and I say that as a proud fiscal conservative. We need to spend money, and I think we need to spend it quickly and pump some money into this economy.

SCHIEFFER: So how do you do that?

MCCAIN: I think we can do it by accelerating some of the pending expenditures. I think we can spend additional monies in a broad variety of ways, including infrastructure, some of which has lagged already. And not worry too much at this particular moment in time about the deficit. And I say that again, as a proud fiscal conservative. But I believe we need to get some money, and I think that money will breed some confidence in the future of the economy.

BORGER: Tom Ridge, governor of Pennsylvania, is going to take over this new office of homeland security, as we're calling it. Do you believe he has enough authority to do what he needs to do?

MCCAIN: I do not. I think that Tom Ridge has got to be given the authority to give and call up the director of the FBI or any other agency that's on his purview and say, "Do this," not ask, request. The thing in this town that people understand is authority, and that, I believe, must be given to Tom Ridge. And if it's going to be a Cabinet-level job, let's approve it through the United States Senate and make it a Cabinet-level job. But give him the authority over these various agencies.

I admire the drug czar, I admire everybody who's been a drug czar. But the drug czar has not been as effective as the czar should have been because he didn't have the ability to gie orders, only requests.

SCHIEFFER: All right, John McCain, thank you so much.

MCCAIN: Thank you.

SCHIEFFER: We'll be back in just a moment.


SCHIEFFER: And we're back now with our expanded edition of Face the Nation. We're going to be talking to Senators John Kerry and Bob Graham in just a minute.

But before we do that, we want to go first to CBS News correspondent Allen Pizzey, who is in Islamabad, Pakistan.

Well, Allen, what's the situation there today?

ALLEN PIZZEY, CBS NEWS: Well, good evening, Bob.

Well, the only bit of news out of here is what you mentioned earlier, that the Taliban says they can't find Osama bin Laden anymore, surprise, surprise.

The other thing we know is that an advanced security team from the United States is on its way in here this week. They may have arrived already, to set up security for a U.S. delegation that's coming to talk to Pakistan about what Pakistan can do, how they can help.

The Pakistani ambassador said that Pakistan did not know where bin Laden was. That may be a little diplomatic. There's a widespread feeling here that the Pakistanis know an awful lot, which is why the Americans want to talk to them. Pakistani intelligence has been deeply involved with the Taliban. They may not know which cave he's hiding in, but they've probably got a pretty good idea, more or less, where he is.

But the important thing is that Pakistan is going to get a lot of money from the United States, because there is some opposition to Pakistan going along with the U.S. here.

There have been demonstrations across many of the cities here. They're small, they're contained, but they do represent an important element in this story. And that's the fundamentalist element. Deep-seated belief among Muslims that America is not necessarily on their side.

Pakistan I think you might want to look as a microcosm of the kind of problems and the kind of issues that America is going to have to face and address as they build this coalition and then go into action.

They're going to have to have all the Muslim countries on their side, and Muslims do not see America as their best friend. There have been a few faux pas's, for example, calling it a "crusade." The name they chose was - for the operation was offensive. That's all been changed.

But America has to do an awful lot, because Muslims look at America's Middle East policy, they say, "You're anti-Muslim, you are pro-Israel." And I think what happens in Israel, the way the U.S. addresses issues that concern Muslims worldwide will have a lot to do with how well they can build this coalition, Bob.

SCHIEFFER: All right, thank you very much, Allen. Thank you very much.

Well, with us now to talk about all of this, Senator John Kerry. Senator Kerry something of an expert on terrorism himself. He has actually written a book about it.
And Senator Bob Graham, who is of course the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Senator Graham, let me just begin with you. There has now been report after report that the FBI, the CIA knew that there were followers of Osama bin Laden trying to get into flight schools, trying to take flight training, where they said, "We don't need to know how to take off and land an airplane, we just need to know how to steer one." These reports keep going around.

What happened here? Why was not some action taken on this?

SEN. BOB GRAHAM, D-FL: Bob, I think what we're seeing here is one of several weaknesses in our intelligence system, starting with the fact that we've had inadequate coordination, too much fragmentation, too much turf protection among the agencies that Americans have a right to expect are going to be working together.

I believe that the proposal that the president announced on Thursday night of establishing a new office of homeland defense and asking Governor Ridge to be in charge of it is a very good first step.

As Senator McCain said, we need to back that up by making it a statutory office, and give it some of the capabilities that that office, even under as strong a person as Governor Ridge, is going to need to knock heads, and be sure that we don't have repetitions of what happened in this tragic incident.

SCHIEFFER: Well, Senator Kerry, are you as concerned about these reports as others seem to be? I mean, should - I always hesitate to criticize people in this position, because so many times our investigators, our intelligence agencies, we don't know about their successes. We only know about their failures. But this does not seem to--this just doesn't seem quite right here.

SEN. JOHN KERRY, D-MA: Well, Bob, it's not quite right. Look, in this war, first of all, everybody has to understand, I'm almost wary of the rhetoric of war with respect to what we have to do here because it raises expectations that can't necessarily be met.

This is not like any war we have ever fought. It is hopefully different even - it's somewhat similar to the war on drugs, but we hope it's different because the outcome, many people know, has not been what we want. But it's that kind of very prolonged, all-points, all-fronts effort.

And the tragedy is at the moment that the single most important weapon for the United States of America is intelligence. It's the single most important weapon in this particular war, unlike other wars where it was overwhelming force or air force or something. And we are weakest, frankly, in that particular area. So, it's going to take us time to be able to build up here to do this properly.

I think the most important thing for Americans right now, and I'm sorry this is a switch on you a little bit, but the first front of this war is here at home, our economy. It really is. To sustain people's good will, to sustain the energy towards this, to have the resorces to fight it, we've got to get the economy moving.

And that means an unprecedented effort in the next days to face up to what was happening not just since September 11, but before September 11. We now have a huge number of new unemployed, people who were working in average jobs across this country who are going to be without health insurance, without an income. We've got to get money back into the economy, and we've got to do it rapidly.

BORGER: Well, but Alan Greenspan cautioned this week to go slow on any kind of additional stimulus package.

KERRY: I love Alan Greenspan . We all respect him and even revere him. But I disagree with Alan Greenspan on this particular timing issue, as do many of our colleagues.

BORGER: So what would you do? What would you do right away?

KERRY: I think we have to pump money that's in the system out as rapidly as possible. I think we have to put additional effort in place for unemployment insurance for extended health benefits. I think we have to have a stimulus package immediately that accelerates certain kinds of investment projects, whether it's railroad, road, airports, even something as prosaic as a sewer overflow, for mayors all across the country. There are many things that we can do to put people to work and to restore confidence in the economy.

SCHIEFFER: Speaking of money - and I think the point you make is very strong. We heard John McCain, who said look, I'm a proud conservative just a minute ago and a proud fiscal conservative. But he said, this is not a time to talk about the deficit.

I want to ask you on another subject of money, Senator Graham, why is the money of Osama bin Laden so difficult for us to trace? Can we trace it? And how can we cut him off from his money?

GRAHAM: That is going to be one of the keys to winning this war against terrorism. We've been trying for the last three or four years to develop a system to trace his money and, frankly, haven't had very much success because he uses nonconventional sources.

We also have been somewhat ambivalent about this. You may recall it wasn't very long ago that our secretary of the Treasury was saying, we shouldn't join our European allies in an aggressive effort to clamp down on these shadowy, offshore banks where a lot of hot money is distributed. Clearly, that's not going to be the position of the administration anymore in light of what happened on September 11.

We're going to have to join with our allies, our economic allies, to do everything we can to find out and to cut off the flow of the very large avalanche of money that is being directed by terrorists.

BORGER: Well, beyond freezing assets, though, Senator, what can you do? Can you tell foreign banks, "Know your customer"?

KERRY: Well, that's the international banking standard. We've been trying to apply that for years. There are several things.

Look, Osama bin Lden's money moves in three ways. Number one, a system called halawa , which is a very informal exchange system which doesn't cross international lines. There's very little accountability. Secondly, through something called Islamic charities, and that is something we can clamp down on. Third, in the Middle East banking system, they have ignored the standards of transparency and accountability.

We have to shut down the ease with which money moves in what is known to be suspect ways by leading banks of the world. They've got to be willing to join in this fight, and I hope the president will join in that effort very, very soon.

SCHIEFFER: Senator Graham, let me ask you, you've been briefed by the intelligence communities. What is the next step? What should we look for next?

GRAHAM: Well, we've got a difficult and somewhat conflicting set of goals that we have to proceed on now.

One, as Senator Kerry just said, we've got to get back to some sense of normalcy here in our personal lives, as well as in our economic lives.

On the other hand, we have to stay alert. There is good evidence that what happened on September 11, that tragedy, was not the only act that was planned, that there were other acts of terrorism, part of the same set of scheduled events. And there have been...

SCHIEFFER: The same kinds of attacks?

GRAHAM: That's unlikely that it would be the same type, that is, hijacking of airplanes. That's what makes it so frightening. The different forms that such an attack might take.

BORGER: Are you talking about chemical and biological?

GRAHAM: I know you criticized earlier about the phrase "taking nothing off the table," but I don't think we could take the possibility of those off the table.

We know what happened in Tokyo not too long ago when a terrorist group gassed a subway station. Those are all the types of threats that we face.

What we've got to have is a defense system that is capable of identifying and interdicting whatever form the terrorism might take. And that's why intelligence is such an absolutely critical component of our war against terrorism.

BORGER: Do we have any information that chemical and biological attacks were part of this? We got news this morning about the crop dusting manuals.

GRAHAM: No, no, at least I don't, and not to my knowledge do any of my colleagues.

But it is something that we know. For instance, Saddam Hussein has used weapons of mass destruction against his own people. And there is some evidence of their efforts to try to secure these kinds of weapons and even test them.

That's why it's so vital that we get the global community to be part of this effort to begin to make their lives miserable.

But at the same time, and I can't emphasize this strongly enough, we Americans are proud and strong, and we have to prove to the world, and particularly to terrorists, that they have no shut off our way of life, they have not slowed us down in this country.

People, if you want to do an act of patriotism, if you were going to buy a car, go out and buy that car. If you were going to do some trip, go do that trip. It is safer to fly today in the United States than it has been in a long time, and it will get safer by the day because of the things that we are doing.

People need to have confidence in this country. And I believe there is less threat of an imminent act of terrorism tomorrow than the many other ways that you could face harm just through the course of life.

SCHIEFFER: All right.

GRAHAM: Americans must get on with the business of being America.

SCHIEFFER: All right. We're going to leave it at that. Thank you so much, both of you.

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


- more -

© MMI, CBS Worldwide Inc. All Rights Reserved