updated 4/15/2004 10:32:52 AM ET 2004-04-15T14:32:52

Guests: Jim Bucknam, Gerald Posner, David Adler

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANNOUNCER:  DEBORAH NORVILLE TONIGHT.

Investigators under investigation. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  You say five years to rebuild the agency.  That worries me a little bit. 

ANNOUNCER:  They‘re two of the world‘s top intelligence-gathering agencies, but somehow they never saw this coming. 

GEORGE TENET, CIA DIRECTOR:  And no matter how hard we worked or how desperately we tried, it was not enough. 

ANNOUNCER:  The CIA and the FBI on the hot seat.  What they knew and didn‘t know about the al Qaeda threat and why they didn‘t act to protect the U.S. from an enemy bent on destruction. 

LOUIS FREEH, FBI DIRECTOR:  September 11, had we had the right sources overseas or in the United States, could have been prevented. 

ANNOUNCER:  Probing the nation‘s worst intelligence lapses, are the CIA and the FBI in need of a complete overhaul?  How well are they protecting America from the next attack?

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  It‘s a mighty task. 

ANNOUNCER:  Tonight, what‘s really wrong with our nation‘s intelligence agencies. 

TENET:  The victims and the families of 9/11 deserve of better. 

ANNOUNCER:  From Studio 3-K in Rockefeller Center, Deborah Norville.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

NORVILLE:  And good evening. 

Tonight, the CIA and the FBI, both facing scathing criticism for what at they did and didn‘t do to prevent the 9/11 attacks. 

First, the CIA.  Director George Tenet today testified before the 9/11 commission, but before he even got a chance to talk, the commission released a report hugely critical of pre-September 11 intelligence. 

Listen to this. 

It states that the CIA missed the big picture, that a more detailed look at the clues before 9/11 could have revealed the plot, that the CIA and other intelligence agencies were slow in recognizing the threat posed by Osama bin Laden, that the CIA had a piecemeal approach to analyzing intelligence and that it missed the broader threat, and that the CIA was hobbled by staffing limitations and a lack of resources which dates back to the end of the Cold War. 

Director Tenet acknowledged that his agency had made mistakes, and he spelled out reasons why the attacks weren‘t stopped. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TENET:  During periods of heightened threat, we undertook smart, disciplined actions, but ultimately all of us would acknowledge that we did not have the data, the span of control, the redundancy, the fusion or the laws in place to give us the chance to compensate for the mistakes that will always be made in any human endeavor. 

This is not a clinical excuse.  Three thousand people died.  It was not—no matter how hard we worked or how desperately we tried, it was not enough.  The victims and the families of 9/11 deserve better. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NORVILLE:  Tenet also said the government understood Osama bin Laden‘s desire to strike the homeland, but never translated that knowledge into any kind of effective defense. 

Commission member Timothy Roemer brought up the August 6, 2001, presidential daily briefing about al Qaeda attacking the U.S.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TIMOTHY ROEMER, 9/11 COMMISSION MEMBER:  Did you ever mention it, for instance to the president.  You‘re briefing the president from August 6 on...

TENET:  I didn‘t—I didn‘t see the president.  I was not in briefings with him during this time.  He was on vacation; I was here. 

ROEMER:  You didn‘t see the president between August 6, 2001, and September 10?

TENET:  Well, no.  Before—I saw him after Labor Day to be sure. 

ROEMER:  So you saw him September 4 at the principles meeting?

TENET:  It was not at the principles meeting. 

ROEMER:  Well, you don‘t see him...

TENET:  Condoleezza Rice—I saw him in this time frame to be sure. 

ROEMER:  OK.  I‘m just confused.  You see him on August 6 with the

PDB. 

TENET:  So I do not, sir.  I‘m not there. 

ROEMER:  OK, you‘re not.  When do you see him in August?

TENET:  I don‘t believe I do. 

ROEMER:  You don‘t see the president of the United States once in the month of August?

TENET:  He‘s in Texas and I‘m either here or on leave for some of that time, so I‘m not here. 

ROEMER:  So who‘s briefing him on the PDB‘s?

TENET:  The briefer himself.  We have a presidential briefer. 

ROEMER:  But you never get on the phone or in any kind of conference with him to talk at this level of high chatter and huge warnings during the spring and summer to talk to him through the whole month of August?

TENET:  We talked to him directly throughout the spring and early summer almost every day. 

ROEMER:  But not in August. 

TENET:  In this time period I‘m not talking to him, no. 

ROEMER:  Does he ever say to Dr. Rice or somebody else, “I want to talk to Tenet.  Tenet is the guy that knows the situation, has been briefing me all through the spring and the summer.  Tenet understands this stuff.  His hair has been on fire.  He‘s been worried about this stuff?”

Is that ever asked or are you ever called on to...

TENET:  I don‘t have a recollection of being called, Mr. Roemer, but I‘m sure that if I wanted to make a phone call because I had my hair on fire I would have picked up the phone and talked to the president. 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

NORVILLE:  The September 11 commission is also taking the FBI to task.  Yesterday commission chairman Thomas Kean said the FBI failed.  He called it an agency that doesn‘t work. 

Louis Freeh, who led the FBI until one month before the attacks, pointed to a lack of resources. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LOUIS FREEH, FORMER FBI DIRECTOR:  I guess my view is that al Qaeda declared war on the United States in 1996.  That‘s when bin Laden issued his first fatwa.  The 1998 fatwa was much more specific.  It directed his followers to kill Americans anywhere. 

With very limited resources, the FBI, as you know, before September 11 had 3.5 percent of the federal government‘s anti-terrorism budget.  And it‘s no—it‘s no news to anybody that for many, many years, as your executive director recounted, the resource issue and the legal authority issue certainly limited what we were able to do before September 11. 

In the budget years 2000, 2001, 2002, we asked for 1,895 people:

agents, linguists, analysts.  We got a total of 76 people during that period. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NORVILLE:  And Director Freeh was challenged for being caught off guard by the September 11 attacks. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Why did we let their soldiers into the United States?  Because that‘s what al Qaeda men were.  They were soldiers.  They were part of an Islamic army, called the Jihad to come into the United States.  Why did we let them into the United States?

Why didn‘t we have—Why didn‘t President Clinton and/or President Bush issue an order to change the FISA procedures and other orders to INS, et cetera, to make sure that their soldiers couldn‘t get in America?  Why did we let them in?

FREEH:  Well, again, I think part of my answer is that we weren‘t fighting a real war.  We hadn‘t declared war on these enemies in the manner that you suggest that would have prevented entry, had we taken more measures and put the country and its intelligence and law enforcement agencies on a war footing. 

The joint intelligence committee in one of their reports—I think I excerpted the conclusion in my statement—said that neither administration put its intelligence agencies or law enforcement agencies on a war footing. 

A war footing means we seal borders.  A war footing means we detain people that we‘re suspicious of.  A war footing means that we have statutes like the Patriot Act, although with time set provisions, give us new powers.  We weren‘t doing that. 

Now whether there was a political will for it or not, I guess we could debate that, but the fact of the matter is we didn‘t do it.  And we were using grand jury subpoenas and arrest warrants to fight an enemy that was using missiles and suicide boats to attack our warships. 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

NORVILLE:  When CIA Director Tenet testified today, he surprised a lot of people when he said it will take another five years to have the kind of clandestine intelligence service the U.S. needs to combat terror threats. 

Later in the day, the current FBI director, Robert Mueller, said that his agency has improved its intelligence capabilities and has sharpened its focus on terrorism. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERT MUELLER, FBI DIRECTOR:  I think we can and are affixing what has been wrong with the FBI.  And I can speak only for the FBI.  I don‘t want to speak any broader than that, because we‘ve got to put our house in order.  And I‘ll tell you the change cannot be done overnight. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NORVILLE:  A lot‘s been said over the last 48 hours.  When we come back, we‘re going to take a look at the CIA and the FBI.  The missed opportunities, the long running bureaucracy, the excuses, the finger pointing, the lack of communication and more importantly, what‘s fixable, what both agencies have to do as their share of defenders, as well. 

We‘ve got with us this evening Jim Bucknam, a former senior advisor to former FBI Director Louis Freeh.  Also with us tonight, former CIA officer David Adler.  We‘ll also be joined by investigative reporter Gerald Posner; former FBI profiler and MSNBC analyst Clint Van Zandt; and MSNBC terror analyst Steve Emerson.  Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FREEH:  There was extremely good cooperation between the FBI and the CIA, and that goes back to matters such as the Cole bombing, the east African embassy bombings. 

TENET:  We all understood bin Laden‘s attempt to strike the homeland, but we never translated this knowledge into an effective defense of the country. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NORVILLE:  Former FBI Director Louis Freeh saying there was a good deal of cooperation between the agencies before September 11, followed by the head of the CIA, George Tenet. 

We‘ve heard a lot of powerful statements in the last two days and there‘s a lot of ground to cover.  First and foremost, were there missed opportunities by both the FBI and CIA that ultimately might have prevented the September 11 attacks?

We‘re joined this evening by Jim Bucknam, former senior advisor to Director Freeh.  He‘s now the executive vice-president of operations for the security firm Kroll Incorporated.  David Adler is a former CIA officer who worked for four years in Africa.  Gerald Posner is an investigative reporter whose recent book, “Why America Slept” criticizes the intelligence agencies before September 11.  Clint Van Zandt is a former profiler for the FBI and an MSNBC analyst, and Steve Emerson, an MSNBC terror analyst. 

Gentlemen, I‘m going to ask you all to talk about the parts of the testimony that we‘ve heard these last two days that really jump out at you. 

I have to say, when I hear George Tenet say it‘s going to take five years to rebuild the agency, I kind of wonder how much can happen in five years‘ time. 

David, what struck you from your vantage point as a former CIA man?

DAVID ADLER, FORMER CIA OFFICER:  I was happy to hear that he thinks that the agency needs to be revamped and that it will be a long-term process, as opposed to something that can be done with shuffling around of a few people or a few offices. 

I think he should be commended, as FBI Director Mueller is, for saying essentially the same thing, that there‘s a lot of work that needs to be done.  Obviously, the first step in solving these problems is for the people running the agencies to admit there are problems. 

NORVILLE:  And what jumped out at you listening, David?

ADLER:  Well, from Director Tenet or from...?

NORVILLE:  In general. 

ADLER:  Well, as I said, I was glad to hear that they admit there are problems.  I was a little disappointed at the lack of candor regarding some of the personnel problems that both agencies have. 

I think a good portion of these problems stem from mid-level managers who are more interested in bureaucratic turf fighting than they are in carrying out the mission of their respective agencies. 

NORVILLE:  Jim, you spent three years as sort of the right hand man to Louis Freeh in the FBI.  What impressed you about the testimony both from the CIA side and the FBI side?

JIM BUCKNAM, FORMER FBI SENIOR ADVISOR:  One of the things that jumped out at me I thought was very unfair was the characterization of the report as an indictment of the FBI yesterday.  I thought that was very unfair. 

I think it‘s taking a post-9/11 critical eye, which needs to be had, and applying it to pre-9/11 conduct, which is not exactly fair.  I think it‘s fair to say the FBI did the best that it could with the resources and personnel that it had prior to 9/11.  Obviously things need to change.  Things are changing, but we can‘t take a postwar mentality and apply it to a prewar mindset. 

NORVILLE:  And it‘s almost impossible to truly take the postwar lens out as you‘re looking at it, but it was incredible for me to hear former Director Freeh say it would have been preventable had we had the right sources domestically and abroad. 

BUCKNAM:  But that‘s a huge if. 

NORVILLE:  That‘s a big gigantic if. 

BUCKNAM:  That‘s a huge if, Deborah, and the fact that there were no sources—these are very complex organizations to penetrate.  The fact that they did not have sources inside those cells telling them that 9/11 was about to happen should not come as a surprise to anyone.  Very difficult. 

NORVILLE:  Gerald, when you‘ve listened to this testimony, have you heard anything that‘s given you reason to think that there really were bits of information that, had the proper attention been given to it, that 9/11 could have been prevented?

GERALD POSNER, AUTHOR, “WHY AMERICA SLEPT”:  No question about it, Deborah.  As a matter of fact, you know, one of the criticisms from my book was people thought I was that hard on both the FBI and CIA and I was looking at this 20/20 hindsight.

And if nothing else, I think that these hearings have shown that the problems were as ingrained and bad as we thought.  It‘s not just a matter of hindsight. 

It‘s the difficulty of having an agent out in Phoenix stand up and say, “By the way, I think there may be Arabic extremists and terrorists training at U.S. flight schools.” 

And headquarters will say, “Well, that‘s too expensive to look into.” 

It‘s an agent standing up in Minneapolis saying, “We have a fellow up here called Moussaoui who wants to learn just how to—you know, doesn‘t care about landings, just wants to take off and has unexplained cash in sight.  And nobody is doing anything about it.”

And when you hear Louis Freeh say that, you know, there was cooperation between the CIA and FBI that was wonderful over things like the Cole and the U.S. embassy bombings, you can go on this entire litany where these two groups did not get together at all. 

NORVILLE:  Wait a minute, sir, you‘re under oath as you‘re saying that.  Are you sure you really want to say that publicly?

POSNER:  I will tell you that if he really thinks that‘s good cooperation, then he has an unusual definition of cooperation. 

There‘s also two astonishing things, I think, from this.  One is the admission by Director Tenet that it‘s going to take five years to rebuild the clandestine operation sources. 

You know, I talked to Dewey Clarech (ph), who was the first head of counter terrorism corps in the CIA.  And he said on the record, as you know, that he thought it was in shambles in terms of the covert operations.

And today we get the director of the CIA saying essentially five years to rebuild.

And what do we get from Mr. Mueller over at the FBI?  The word that the FBI is great at gathering intelligence, but what is it poor at?  Disseminating it, sharing it and then moving it around. 

Well, that‘s a key part of intelligence and was part of the failure leading up to 9/11, unfortunately. 

NORVILLE:  I want to play some tape from former Director Freeh talking exactly about the whole flying the planes into the World Trade Center situation. 

Let‘s listen to that part of his testimony.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FREEH:  The simple fact or the apparent simple fact of getting from all of those civil aviation schools around the United States, you know, names and identifying information of those students, first of all, you would have had to overcome a couple of federal statutes that prevent educational institutions from giving that information out without a subpoena or a grand jury request. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NORVILLE:  Clint Van Zandt, as a former FBI man, explain to me how it would have been so difficult to put all of that together pre-September 11, but within a matter of days, the FBI was going through records in flight schools around the country. 

CLINT VAN ZANDT, FORMER FBI PROFILER:  You know what we‘re doing, Deborah.  We‘re taking a 20th Century FBI, and it has been thrust now—and it has to be—into the 21st Century, saying you know, you‘ve got to change the way you did things.  You‘ve got to have different interpretations of the regulations that you deal with. 

I can tell you that there were FBI agents who would have been terribly intimidated by the Department of Justice, by civil rights groups, everything else if you said we‘re going to start going out.  And we‘re going to identify every third world national who‘s going to a flight school and then we‘re going to go out and interview them and say, “What are you doing in this country?  Why are you taking flight lessons, what are you going to do about that information?”

Now it sounds like a great idea.  Do I wish we would have done it?  Absolutely.  If we would have done it on September 8, you would have had Congress screaming at the FBI, saying why are you racially profiling.

So you know, we‘ve got Congress beating on the FBI and the CIA when many of the constraints that these working street agents were up against were put up by Congress in the first place.  That‘s not me finger pointing like everybody else is.  It‘s saying, that‘s what the reality was at the time. 

NORVILLE:  Jim Bucknam, you were in the FBI during part of this period of time.  Was there ever any indication during your time with the bureau that this kind of activity was simmering?

Was there ever any talk that you were aware of, as the assistant to the director, of taking steps to try to investigate why some of these foreign nationals were coming in?

BUCKNAM:  Well, absolutely.  The issue came up many times in discussions with leaders of foreign police services, leaders of foreign countries talking about cooperation vis-a-vis Islamic fundamentalist groups which were posing a threat in their countries and they believe posing a threat to this country.

So enhanced cooperation among the services.  That was a topic of routine discussion. 

NORVILLE:  And was director Freeh picking up the phone and calling George Tenet to try to make that happen?

BUCKNAM:  He was certainly talking with George Tenet routinely and there was also an exchange of senior personnel between the CIA and the FBI.

But understand that at the very time Director Freeh was talking about enhanced international cooperation, the question was being raised by some in the Congress as to why the FBI wasn‘t paying attention to violent crime in the United States. 

NORVILLE:  And at the same time, as we heard in the earlier testimony, the director had asked for over 1,800 new staff and over a three-year period and only 76 were approved by Congress?

BUCKNAM:  Eighteen-hundred and ninety-five requested, specifically for counterterrorism, and he got 76. 

NORVILLE:  Steve Emerson, where did that mistake play, the fact that there was just not the manpower—certainly at the FBI and there was a similar story being told by the CIA—to do what, in 20/20 20 hindsight needed to be done?

STEVE EMERSON, MSNBC ANALYST:  Well, I‘m not so sure, Deborah, that having an extra 1,800 agents would have solved the problem. 

Frankly I do believe it was a combination of factors.  One, as Clint just pointed out, the mind set, the fact that the Islamic militancy wasn‘t perceived to be—considered to a threat to the United States.

Therefore doing anything very aggressive against groups that would have cried racial profiling would have been very politically incorrect. 

And also, there was a culture at the FBI and CIA, more at the FBI, very bureaucratized.  We‘ve heard about the culture of the FBI.

And today I actually saw members of the commission, the closest I‘ve ever seen them, to—basically saying to the current director, the FBI is going to be taken apart and we‘re going to create a new MI-5 style intelligence agency.

Because the way the FBI has been constructed and the way it operated for many years, Deborah, was to be so bureaucratized, mid level managers, information didn‘t flow up or didn‘t flow down. 

I can tell you, I spoke to an FBI agent today who has been working al Qaeda for 15 years, actually 11 years.  And he said to me, “Steve, it hasn‘t changed today,” and he operates out of a major office in the United States. 

So I think it‘s a combination of problems. 

NORVILLE:  I want to get to the MI-5 thing in a few minutes but I‘m curious to your reaction, Steve Emerson, to an exchange that happened between Commissioner Roemer and George Tenet.  And it was all about what happened in the initial minutes after news of the bombing took place. 

Let‘s listen. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TIMOTHY ROEMER, 9/11 COMMISSION MEMBER:  In the Woodward book, you say immediately upon learning of the 9/11 attacks, that it‘s al Qaeda, and you mention somebody in a flight school.  I assume that‘s Moussaoui; is that correct?

TENET:  These are words attributed to me.  I don‘t recall that piece of it, but I know I have got up immediately and said it‘s got to be al Qaeda. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NORVILLE:  Richard Clarke said the same thing.  How much did they know and were they not able to do something about it?  Was it a bureaucracy that stood in the way?  It‘s very difficult to hear those words in light of what happened. 

NORVILLE:  Look, Deborah, it was in their gut.  Richard Clarke lived and breathed it; George Tenet lived and breathed it. 

In fact, George Tenet was probably much more, you know, knowledgeable about al Qaeda than some of his experts who basically were tasked with only living and breathing.  He had to—he was operating as the entire head of all intelligence agencies.

So here‘s a situation where you—the fact of the matter is, it was an intuitive judgment, bred on people‘s experience and their knowledge of al Qaeda. 

And the fact is that knowledge was so uneven within the FBI and CIA.  And every single time people tried to transfer it and give it to other people and laterally, horizontally. They got struck down.  They were told it was illegal.  They were told not to break out of their mold and it was a bureaucratic nightmare. 

You can go through these entire reports, Deborah, and find probably 150 examples where agencies didn‘t talk to one another.  Agents within offices didn‘t talk to one another. 

NORVILLE:  Yes.  And some people say al Qaeda wasn‘t the only culprit on September 11. 

When we come back, we‘ll look at the bureaucracy: how was it, how bad was it, how much has it changed and what more needs to be done, after this. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(NEWSBREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH:  I can assure the American people that, had we had any inkling this was going to happen, we would have done everything in our power to stop the attack. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NORVILLE:  President Bush appearing on national television last night, assuring the country that everything conceivable was done to prevent September 11.

But did bureaucracy between the CIA and FBI end up causing roadblocks more than results?

We continue with Jim Bucknam, former senior advisor to former FBI Director Louis Freeh; David Adler, a former CIA Officer; Gerald Posner, who wrote the book “Why America Slept,” which was about the intelligence agencies; Clint Van Zandt, former FBI profiler and MSNBC analyst and Steven Emerson, an MSNBC terror analyst.

How good are we now, gentlemen, at intelligence gathering?  We‘ve heard Dr. Rice say that there‘s been a great deal of improvement.  And yet we‘ve heard Director Tenet say it‘s five years before things are fixed.

David Adler, I‘ll throw that one to you first.

ADLER:  I think we‘re still very good at intelligence gathering. 

Obviously, we‘re never going to have 100 percent success.

As far as taking five years to get things fixed, I hope it can be done in five years.  Obviously, our enemies are not going to wait that long for us to get our act together.

There clearly are a lot of problems.  Whether or not they even can be fixed obviously is still a significant question, but...

NORVILLE:  What worries you the most? 

ADLER:  I don‘t think there‘s going to be any change in the bureaucratic intransigence that exists in the FBI, the CIA and the other government agencies. 

I think, in part, those 3,000 people that died on September 11 died because, in part, because there was some mid-level manager somewhere in Washington either was too lazy to do something about a report he received or because he was worried about a subordinate making him look bad. 

NORVILLE:  Well, for Pete‘s sake, why can‘t we fire him?  That‘s just insane. 

ADLER:  Well, I think that‘s a very good point.  I have not heard of anybody being fired as a result of what happened on September 11.  I have not heard of anybody even being disciplined.  Occasionally, you hear these sort of anonymous reports of people being reassigned, which of course concerns me as to what office they‘ve been sent to.

But basically there is sort of an arrogance I think within government employee circles that they know that they‘re not going to be held accountable.  That is not true of all of the employees in the FBI or the CIA, but I do think a significant portion of the mid-level management corps are not worried about losing their jobs or even being disciplined. 

NORVILLE:  Jim Bucknam, would you agree with that, that sort of inertia of the system is holding back real action from getting done? 

BUCKNAM:  I don‘t agree with that. 

I don‘t think it‘s the fault or—I don‘t think fault can be laid at the feet of some mid-level manager in the FBI or the CIA.  There‘s more than enough blame to go around for what happened on September 11 and the failure of this government to detect it and to prevent it. 

Having said that, there were systemic problems throughout the government.  Within the Department of Justice, for example, the FBI‘s ability to collect intelligence and act on that intelligence was hampered by restrictions put in place by the Department of Justice. 

NORVILLE:  Yes, and, in fact, there was a very dramatic moment in yesterday‘s testimony when Thomas Pickard looked at Commissioner Jamie Gorelick and said, you signed the letter that erected the wall between the agencies.

BUCKNAM:  Right. 

So we can‘t now look back and say, why did you do things a certain way?  Certain things were being done in certain ways because they had to be done that way.

NORVILLE:  But do they have to be done that way now? 

BUCKNAM:  Absolutely not. 

NORVILLE:  Have the changes been done already to break down the walls, to make it so that people who need to communicate can and have the equipment they need to do it? 

BUCKNAM:  I think many of the rules have been fixed so that the communication can occur.  I think there are still resource issues relative to the types of equipment that‘s needed to ensure that the communication systems, that the CIA can talk to the FBI, that the FBI can speak within itself at the level it needs to speak.

NORVILLE:  Gerald Posner, in your book, you also use the term systemic failure in talking about just sort of 20 years of bureaucratic failures and investigations that hadn‘t gone in the right direction.  Would you agree with Jim‘s assessment that some of the positive changes have taken place? 

POSNER:  Yes, I do think that there has been some positive changes. 

There‘s no doubt about it, Deborah.

But I think also think that what Dave said a moment ago is absolutely right.  And that is that there‘s no accountability here.  There‘s nobody that‘s even lost a week of vacation pay for a mistake made in the lead-up to 9/11.  And you know what?  It‘s not just one instance or two.  There are dozens of them. 

And I‘ll give you very briefly one, one of the most egregious that might have actually stopped this plot beforehand.  And that is the CIA following two of the eventual hijackers, not knowing of course that they would be hijackers, al-Hamzi and al-Midhar, to a meeting with another terrorist in Malaysia in December of 1999.  That meeting was about the Cole attack coming up the next year.  We didn‘t know it at the time.

And they then went from Kuala Lumpur to Bangkok.  The CIA officer in Kuala Lumpur never notified his contemporary and his cohort in Bangkok, so they‘re never followed.  There‘s one person that could be automatically held accountable. 

(CROSSTALK)

NORVILLE:  And they knew about him. 

POSNER:  That‘s right.  And they then come into the United States and the CIA then doesn‘t tell the FBI.  The FBI doesn‘t know anything about it until a year later, when a low-level agent is finally informed and tells the New York office because they think these fellows may be there and a counterterrorism officer is assigned who has never dealt in counterterrorism before. 

(CROSSTALK)

NORVILLE:  Is this the woman who was assigned in July of 2000, in her spare time to check this guy out? 

POSNER:  In her spare time.  And then, when she informs New York, New York puts an FBI agent on who has never done counterterrorism.  And it gets worse than this.

A month before the attacks, the CIA finally notifies everybody.  INS then says, by the way, they‘re in the country.  FBI starts looking for them.  And they‘re living under their real names in San Diego.  They make the plane reservations for the 9/11 flights in their real names.  If the FAA had been notified of this beforehand, these men would have been red-flagged, pulled off the flights.  And we may have in fact been able to inadvertently stop the 9/11 plot. 

(CROSSTALK)

POSNER:  Now, where is the accountability for this?  Nobody is being held accountable.

NORVILLE:  If the FAA had been notified, we have heard that more than once. 

Steve Emerson, one of the questions, because there was intelligence that specifically talked about domestic hijacking, the question has been raised many times, was the FAA sufficiently alerted?  And we heard Dr. Rice say that they were notified, but we never heard what happened next.  What happened next? 

EMERSON:  Well, we really don‘t know.  I mean, the fact is that the FAA was allegedly notified, as was the INS.  And yet INS officials, for example, as well as FAA officials, as well as field office managers, FACs in different FBI JTTFs—those are the joint terrorism task forces—told the committee that they were never informed about any threat in the summer of 2001. 

Had they been told, perhaps they would have done something by sending

a cable to all their agents on the field, who are really hardworking.  I

speak to agents all the time, deal with them professionally.  And I know

how much they want to collect intelligence and how much they‘ve done

(CROSSTALK) 

NORVILLE:  How frustrated are they right now? 

EMERSON:  Very frustrated.  They‘re getting a double hit here. 

First of all, they‘re getting hit because the FBI gets thoroughly rammed and thoroughly castigated, and so they look bad.  And yet on the other hand they know the problem that exists within the FBI, so they want to cure it but they don‘t want to air their dirty laundry.  They‘re very frustrated and demoralized. 

NORVILLE:  All right, we‘re going to talk about fixing problems in a second.  Back with our panel right after this. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LOUIS FREEH, FORMER FBI DIRECTOR:  In fact, President Clinton, to his great credit, introduced the 1996 the antiterrorism bill, HR-2703.  Unfortunately, when it was in the House, there was an amendment that was entered which was passed by a large majority that stripped the bill of most of its important counterterrorism measures. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

NORVILLE:  The 9/11 Commission has been hearing what‘s wrong with the testimony.  But is there any indication on how to fix it so that we don‘t have another terror attack? 

That‘s coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  I think the hearings will show that the Patriot Act is an important change in law that will allow the FBI and the CIA to better share information together. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NORVILLE:  That‘s the president last night talking about the Patriot Act as one important part of the changes after September 11, changes that in this case have gotten some mixed reviews. 

We‘ve been taking a look at the CIA and the FBI with the question, can the problems be fixed? 

Jim Bucknam is a former senior adviser to former FBI Director Louis Freeh.  David Adler is a former CIA officer.  Gerald Posner wrote the book “Why America Slept,” about the intelligence agencies.  And Clint Van Zandt is a former FBI profiler, MSNBC analyst.  And Steve Emerson, the MSNBC terrorism analyst. 

Clint, I want to ask you about something we spoke about a couple of minutes ago, which is this notion of taking a chapter from the British intelligence agency and creating an MI5-like kind of agency, a domestic intelligence agency.  Director Freeh, former Director Freeh, talked about that.  Let‘s listen to what he had to say.  And then I want to get your take on it. 

VAN ZANDT:  OK.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FREEH:  I do not believe that we should establish a separate domestic intelligence agency with respect to counterterrorism.  I think that would be a huge mistake for the country for a number of reasons.  One, I don‘t think in the United States we will tolerate very well what in effect is a state secret police. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NORVILLE:  This is a pretty controversial idea, the notion of having yet another layer of bureaucracy, which so far hadn‘t worked so well with the ones we‘ve got, looking specifically at domestic intelligence. 

VAN ZANDT:  Sure.

Well, you know, we‘ve sat here through your program so far and we‘ve hammered the idea of a bureaucracy.  That‘s what it is, multiple layers, like an onion.  And to create some new FBI, CIA, MI5, what we‘re going to have to do is take people out of both agencies and kind of graft them together to come up with this new.

And then my fear is, Deborah, you‘re going to have in-fighting still, because is the FBI, is the CIA going to want to give up information to this new organization?  And this country doesn‘t need to have to work through one more bureaucracy.  We‘re on a war front now.  You know, the FBI has been the wrong tool.  Just like Director Freeh said, we‘re going after terrorists were subpoenas when it should be Navy SEALs and Army Delta.

The FBI is good in investigating crime, criminal investigations, and perhaps intelligence in the United States.  But when it comes to going after people who blow up our ships, who drive planes into the side of buildings, that‘s a military job.  Let‘s send in the Marines and do it the right way and not some FBI agent in wingtip shoes with an arrest warrant in his hand.  That doesn‘t work in this situation. 

NORVILLE:  The president said last night the Patriot Act has gone a certain distance toward creating some of the union between these agencies that needs to exist. 

Steve Emerson, has it gone far enough or actually does happen now as a result of the Patriot Act? 

EMERSON:  Well, the biggest product and the biggest achievement of the Patriot Act was to break down the wall.  We‘ve heard a lot about the wall.  That was the division that consisted of basically barring information exchange between the FBI and CIA, even between FBI agents who were working criminal vs. intelligence. 

Now that that has broken down, they‘re doing a much better job.  But the discussion now is almost a delayed reaction to the whole discovery of how much the system was broke.  And the question really now is whether the FBI can get its act together to basically reconstitute itself with the ability to have analysts who really genuinely are obsessed with only collecting information, not making cases, because that‘s been the whole...

NORVILLE:  But doesn‘t it need Congress to come through with money for more agents and money for computers, so that they can e-mail each other and some of the basic? 

EMERSON:  Well, I understand that now they do have the money for the computer system.  It‘s just a matter to putting it all online.  It‘s impossible to modernize instantly, although the FBI again as an example of how big a bureaucracy it‘s become could not modernize in 2 ½ years after 9/11.  It still took time.

Money is not the issue right now.  It‘s a matter of changing the structure of it.  Look, you can get 1,000 e-mails a day.  You can‘t possibly read all of them. 

NORVILLE:  Sure.

EMERSON:  You need very smart people to basically vector up the 10 most important e-mails.

NORVILLE:  All right, the one thing that stands out is the fact that it hasn‘t happened again.  There hasn‘t been another terror attack in this country since September 11. 

Dave Adler, are we doing something right out there? 

ADLER:  We are doing something right, but there will be another attack on the country at some point.

NORVILLE:  Well, on that frightening thought, we‘re going to take a break.  We‘ll be back to find out what you think might be happening in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

NORVILLE:  Back with our panel. 

Going into the break, David Adler said that he fears this will happen again. 

Gerald Posner, what one thing would you do to make sure that it doesn‘t? 

POSNER:  I would tell both the FBI and the CIA that they have to stop behaving like two children sometimes on the playground arguing over the same ball.  It‘s mine.  No, it‘s mine.  No, it‘s mine.  No, it‘s mine. 

They know this is the interest of the United States at hand.  They have got to work together.  They have got to cooperate.  And I think we have learned the lesson in the past.  Cooperation and accountability is key. 

NORVILLE:  Clint Van Zandt, what would you do? 

VAN ZANDT:  Well, the FBI needs to streamline the information between its 55 field offices in the U.S. and its 50 offices overseas.

And, lastly, every FBI agent has got to be left brain-right brain.  Left brain says criminal prosecution.  Right brain has to say intelligence gathering. 

NORVILLE:  Steve Emerson? 

EMERSON:  I‘d create these organized crime strike forces.  They would be assigned to every field office and they basically would be appended to the local agencies in local cities, but also be working out of Washington, so they know internationally, nationally and locally what is going on. 

NORVILLE:  That sounded a little bureaucrat to me.

David Adler, what would you do? 

ADLER:  The attitude among the bureaucracy is one of the terrorists‘ greatest assets.  Until that attitude is changed or eliminated, we will continue to suffer defeats at the hands of people like al Qaeda members. 

NORVILLE:  And, Jim Bucknam, what would you do? 

BUCKNAM:  Make sure that the agents have the resources that they need so that they can share the information among the agencies, among themselves, make sure they know what information they have so they can prevent future attacks. 

NORVILLE:  And let me ask all of you.  The commission is going about its work.  It‘s been releasing periodic reports, kind of giving its assessment as it goes along. 

The final report comes out on July 26.  It‘s been an incredibly partisan process.  And yet I think there‘s no mistaking the intent, which is to come up with answers that will make all Americans feel safer. 

David Adler, do you believe that the commission will be able to look beyond the political, partisan nature of the occasional exchange and achieve its goal? 

ADLER:  I didn‘t think the commission had been behaving in such a great partisan manner.  I wish the FBI and the CIA got along as well as the members of this commission. 

NORVILLE:  That‘s an interesting point. 

Gerald Posner? 

POSNER:  I actually think the ones—the commission is partisan only because it is an election year.  I agree that that is creeping in.

But the people that are celebrating this commission‘s work are the Pakistanis and Saudis, who are getting a free rein on this.  As a matter of fact, they‘re looking over here and saying, thank God you‘re putting all the blame just on United States agencies.  Nobody is looking at foreign connections and nobody is asking the CIA the hard questions about its own long-term relationships with the intelligence agencies in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan that might have help unravel this plot beforehand. 

NORVILLE:  And do you not think that the view will extend beyond domestically? 

POSNER:  It isn‘t so far, and remarkably so.  Look at that index when it comes out, Deborah.  Take a look at it and see how many references really go to Saudi Arabia and foreign countries. 

We‘re making this a very internal introspection.  And that‘s great, but I‘ll tell you one thing.  It‘s not going to give all the answers to 9/11.  Anybody who thinks that this commission is going to settle the issues about what led up to 9/11 and the mistakes, we‘ll get a lot of answers, but it‘s not going to settle it for history.  It will a good and competent job, they aren‘t going far enough in the limited time that they have.

NORVILLE:  If it doesn‘t settle it for history, Steve Emerson, is it at least going to settle it to the extent that the kinds of gaps in the system that existed pre-9/11 will be repaired and filled? 

EMERSON:  Well, let me associate myself with Gerald‘s comments.  He was right on target there.

Look, it depends.  They will issue a report.  People will get outraged.  It will be used by both the Democratic and Republican parties in terms of their own political agendas.  But the reality is, it really depends upon whether Congress makes changes after this.  Otherwise, it‘s just a fantastic series of news stories and hearings that are televised live on television. 

NORVILLE:  And, finally, Jim Bucknam, one of the things is talking about change.  Do you believe that it‘s going to happen? 

BUCKNAM:  There has to be action taken.  The victims of 9/11 deserve it.  Their families deserve it.  All of Americans deserve it.  We have a right to know that we‘re going to be as safe as possible. 

NORVILLE:  And what if it doesn‘t happen? 

BUCKNAM:  It has to happen. 

NORVILLE:  There‘s no question? 

BUCKNAM:  Has to. 

NORVILLE:  All right, well, it is a political year and maybe that right there will force people to make the decisions sometimes tough to make the change. 

The final report will be issued on July 26. 

My thanks to all of us who have been with us, Jim Bucknam, David Adler, Gerald Posner, Clint Van Zandt, and Steve Emerson.  Thanks to you all.

And when we come back, one more emotional plea by loved ones for the release of an American hostage held in Iraq.  That‘s in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

NORVILLE:  Finally this evening, the hostage situation in Iraq is getting worse. 

The Italian government is confirming that an Italian hostage was executed by his captors today.  And now Japan is investigating a report that two more Japanese civilians have been abducted.  As you know, three other were kidnapped last week, their captors threatening to burn them alive if Japan did not pull its noncombat troops out of Iraq.  The troops are still there, but Japan is now urging all of its citizens in Iraq to leave. 

At least 20 and perhaps as many as 40 foreigners are being held captive somewhere in Iraq.  One French journalist was released today.  And Russia says it will now begin evacuating hundreds of its citizens in that country.  Several American civilians are missing after their fuel convoy truck was ambushed by gunmen and caught fire last week, this all happening outside of Baghdad. 

Seven private contractors working for Kellogg, Brown & Root, which is a subsidiary of Halliburton, are missing, along with two soldiers who were part of the convoy.  Yesterday, four bodies were found in a shallow grave near the attack site.  And today, the U.S. military confirmed that one of the bodies has been identified as one of the two missing American soldiers.  They are still trying to identify the other bodies. 

As you know, one missing civilian is Thomas Hamill of Macon, Mississippi.  He went to Iraq to work as a fuel driver after his dairy farm failed.  Video on Arab television over the weekend has shown Hamill being held hostage.  His kidnappers had been threatening to kill him, but there is no word on his fate or whether his body might have been among those who were discovered. 

His wife, surrounded by her family, issued a tape statement yesterday appealing for his release. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KELLIE HAMILL, WIFE OF U.S. HOSTAGE:  I would first like to say to my husband, Tommy, we love and miss you very much.  We would also like to the persons who are holding him captive, our hopes are that you would release him unharmed and as soon as possible. 

Lastly, we would like to say to the persons in the community and all across America who have been praying for us, we thank you very much from the bottom of our heart.  We would also like to extend our love and prayers to all the KBR families and other people in our situation. 

Thank you very much. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NORVILLE:  Kellie Hamill said today that she hasn‘t seen her husband‘s picture since it was broadcast on Arab TV over the weekend.  She says that she and her family are struggling with the silence.

She also said it‘s been extremely difficult to explain to her 13-year-old son and 11-year-old daughter just exactly what is going on and what might be happening to their father.  Indeed, difficult times for everybody. 

You can send us your comments to us at NORVILLE@MSNBC com. 

That‘s our program for tonight.  Thanks a lot for watching.  I‘m Deborah Norville.

Tomorrow night, tune in.  It‘s diet night.  We‘ve got the diet gurus with us.  The three creators of the three most popular diets out there will be making their case for their diets to help you decide which one might be right for you.  It‘s springtime and people are thinking about losing weight.  The creators of the South Beach Diet, which, by the way, is the No. 1 book.  The South Beach Diet book is the No. 1 book on Amazon.  Also with us, The Zone Diet creator and even the author of a book which is about the religious diet called the Maker‘s Diet.  Apparently, it tries to emulate the diet of people during the times of Jesus Christ.  All that and more coming up tomorrow.

Now, coming up next, Joe Scarborough.  On “SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY” tonight, should noncitizen immigrants be allowed to vote?  “SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY is coming up.

Thanks for watching.  We‘ll see you tomorrow.

Obviously, we‘re never going to have 100 percent success.  As far as taking five years to get things fixed, I hope it can be done in five years.  Obviously, our enemies are not going to wait that long for us to get our act together. 

There clearly are a lot of problems.  Whether or not they even can be fixed obviously is still a significant question, but...

NORVILLE:  What worries you the most? 

ADLER:  I don‘t think there‘s going to be any change in the bureaucratic intransigence that exists in the FBI, the CIA and the other government agencies. 

I think, in part, those 3,000 people that died on September 11 died because, in part, because there was some mid-level manager somewhere in Washington either was too lazy to do something about a report he received or because he was worried about a subordinate making him look back. 

NORVILLE:  Well, for Pete‘s sake, why can‘t we fire him?  That‘s just insane. 

ADLER:  Well, I think that‘s a very good point.  I have not heard of anybody being fired as a result of what happened on September 11.  I have not heard of anybody even being disciplined.  Occasionally, you hear these sort of anonymous reports of people being reassigned, which of course concerns me as to what office they‘ve been sent to.

But basically there is sort of an arrogance I think within government employee circles that they know that they‘re not going to be held accountable.  That is not true of all of the employees in the FBI or the CIA, but I do think a significant portion of the mid-level management corps are not worried about losing their jobs or even being disciplined. 

NORVILLE:  Jim Bucknam, would you agree with that, that sort of inertia of the system is holding back real action from getting done? 

BUCKNAM:  I don‘t agree with that. 

I don‘t think it‘s the fault or—I don‘t think fault can be laid at the feet of some mid-level manager in the FBI or the CIA.  There‘s more than enough blame to go around for what happened on September 11 and the failure of this government to detect it and to prevent it. 

Having said that, there were systemic problems throughout the government.  Within the Department of Justice, for example, the FBI‘s ability to collect intelligence and act on that intelligence was hampered by restrictions put in place by the Department of Justice. 

NORVILLE:  Yes, and, in fact, there was a very dramatic moment in yesterday‘s testimony when Thomas Pickard looked at Commissioner Jamie Gorelick and said, you signed the letter that erected the wall between the agencies. 

BUCKNAM:  Right. 

So we can‘t now look back and say, why did you do things a certain way?  Certain things were being done in certain ways because they had to be done that way. 

NORVILLE:  But do they have to be done that way now? 

BUCKNAM:  Absolutely not. 

NORVILLE:  Have the changes been done already to break down the walls, to make it so that people who need to communicate can and have the equipment they need to do it? 

BUCKNAM:  I think many of the rules have been fixed so that the communication can occur.  I think there are still resource issues relative to the types of equipment that‘s needed to ensure that the communication systems, that the CIA can talk to the FBI, that the FBI can speak within itself at the level it needs to speak. 

NORVILLE:  Gerald Posner, in your book, you also use the term systemic failure in talking about just sort of 20 years of bureaucratic failures and investigations that hadn‘t gone in the right direction.  Would you agree with Jim‘s assessment that some of the positive changes has taken place? 

POSNER:  Yes, I do think that there has been some positive changes. 

There‘s no doubt about it, Deborah.

But I think also think that what Dave said a moment ago is absolutely right.  And that is that there‘s no accountability here.  There‘s nobody that‘s even lost a week of vacation pay for a mistake made in the lead-up to 9/11.  And you know what?  It‘s not just one instance or two.  There are dozens of them. 

And I‘ll give you very briefly one, one of the most egregious that might have actually stopped this plot beforehand.  And that is the CIA following two of the eventual hijackers, not knowing of course that they would be hijackers, al-Hamzi and al-Midhar, to a meeting with another terrorist in Malaysia in December of 1999.  That meeting was about the Cole attack coming up the next year.  We didn‘t know it at the time.

And they then went from Kuala Lumpur to Bangkok.  The CIA officer in Kuala Lumpur never notifies his contemporary and his cohort in Bangkok, so they‘re never followed.  There‘s one person that could be automatically held accountable. 

(CROSSTALK)

NORVILLE:  And they knew about him. 

POSNER:  That‘s right.  And they then come into the United States and the CIA then doesn‘t tell the FBI.  The FBI doesn‘t know anything about it until a year late, when a low-level agent is finally informed and tells the New York office because they think these fellows may be there and a counterterrorism officer is assigned who has never dealt in counterterrorism before. 

(CROSSTALK)

NORVILLE:  Is this the woman who was assigned in July of 2000, in your spare time to check this guy out? 

POSNER:  In her spare time.  And then, when she informs New York, New York puts an FBI agent on who has never done counterterrorism.  And it gets worse than this.

A month before the attacks, the CIA finally notifies everybody.  INS then says, by the way, they‘re in the country.  FBI starts looking for them.  And they‘re living under their real names in San Diego.  They make the plane reservations for the 9/11 flights in their real names.  If the FAA had been notified of this beforehand, these men would have been red-flagged, pulled off the flights.  And we may have in fact been able to inadvertently stop the 9/11 plot. 

(CROSSTALK)

POSNER:  Now, where is the accountability for this?  Nobody is being held accountable.

NORVILLE:  If the FAA had been notified, we have heard that more than once. 

Steve Emerson, one of the questions, because there was intelligence that specifically talked about domestic hijacking, the question has been raised many times, was the FAA sufficiently alerted?  And we heard Dr. Rice say that they were notified, but we never heard what happened next.  What happened next? 

EMERSON:  Well, we really don‘t know.  I mean, the fact is that the FAA was allegedly notified, as was the INS.  And yet INS officials, for example, as well as FAA officials, as well as field office managers, FACs in different FBI JTTFs—those are the joint terrorism task forces—told the committee that they were never informed about any threat in the summer of 2001. 

Had they been told, perhaps they would have done something by sending

a cable to all their agents on the field, who are really hardworking.  I

speak to agents all the time, deal with them professionally.  And I know

how much they want to collect intelligence and how much they‘ve done

(CROSSTALK) 

NORVILLE:  How frustrated are they right now? 

EMERSON:  Very frustrated.  They‘re getting a double hit here. 

First of all, they‘re getting hit because the FBI gets thoroughly rammed and thoroughly castigated, and so they look bad.  And yet on the other hand they know the problem that exists within the FBI, so they want to cure it but they don‘t want to air their dirty laundry.  They‘re very frustrated and demoralized. 

NORVILLE:  All right, we‘re going to talk about fixing problems in a second.  Back with our panel right after this. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LOUIS FREEH, FORMER FBI DIRECTOR:  In fact, President Clinton, to his great credit, introduced the 1996 the antiterrorism bill, HR-2703.  Unfortunately, when it was in the House, there was an amendment that was entered which was passed by a large majority that stripped the bill of most of its important counterterrorism measures. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

NORVILLE:  The 9/11 Commission has been hearing what‘s wrong with the testimony.  But is there any indication on how to fix it so that we don‘t have another terror attack? 

That‘s coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  I think the hearings will show that the Patriot Act is an important change in law that will allow the FBI and the CIA to better share information together. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NORVILLE:  That‘s the president last night talking about the Patriot Act as one important part of the changes after September 11, changes that in this case have gotten some mixed reviews. 

We‘ve been taking a look at the CIA and the FBI with the question, can the problems be fixed? 

Jim Bucknam is a former senior adviser to former FBI Director Louis Freeh.  David Adler is a former CIA officer.  Gerald Posner wrote the book “Why America Slept,” about the intelligence agencies.  And Clint Van Zandt is a former FBI profiler, MSNBC analyst.  And Steve Emerson, the MSNBC terrorism analyst. 

Clint, I want to ask you about something we spoke about a couple of minutes ago, which is this notion of taking a chapter from the British intelligence agency and creating an MI5-like kind of agency, a domestic intelligence agency.  Director Freeh, former Director Freeh, talked about that.  Let‘s listen to what he had to say.  And then I want to get your take on it. 

VAN ZANDT:  OK.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FREEH:  I do not believe that we should establish a separate domestic intelligence agency with respect to counterterrorism.  I think that would be a huge mistake for the country for a number of reasons.  One, I don‘t think in the United States we will tolerate very well what in effect is a state secret police. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NORVILLE:  This is a pretty controversial idea, the notion of having yet another layer of bureaucracy, which so far hadn‘t worked so well with the ones we‘ve got, looking specifically at domestic intelligence. 

VAN ZANDT:  Sure.

Well, you know, we‘ve sat here through your program so far and we‘ve hammered the idea of a bureaucracy.  That‘s what it is, multiple layers, like an onion.  And to create some new FBI, CIA, MI5, what we‘re going to have to do is take people out of both agencies and kind of graft them together to come up with this new.

And then my fear is, Deborah, you‘re going to have in-fighting still, because is the FBI, is the CIA going to want to give up information to this new organization?  And this country doesn‘t need to have to work through one more bureaucracy.  We‘re on a war front now.  You know, the FBI has been the wrong tool.  Just like Director Freeh said, we‘re going after terrorists were subpoenas when it should be Navy SEALs and Army Delta.

The FBI is good in investigating crime, criminal investigations, and perhaps intelligence in the United States.  But when it comes to going after people who blow up our ships, who drive planes into the side of buildings, that‘s a military job.  Let‘s send in the Marines and do it the right way and not some FBI agent in wingtip shoes with an arrest warrant in his hand.  That doesn‘t work in this situation. 

NORVILLE:  The president said last night the Patriot Act has gone a certain distance toward creating some of the union between these agencies that needs to exist. 

Steve Emerson, has it gone far enough or actually does happen now as a result of the Patriot Act? 

EMERSON:  Well, the biggest product and the biggest achievement of the Patriot Act was to break down the wall.  We‘ve heard a lot about the wall.  That was the division that consisted of basically barring information exchange between the FBI and CIA, even between FBI agents who were working criminal vs. intelligence. 

Now that that has broken down, they‘re doing a much better job.  But the discussion now is almost a delayed reaction to the whole discovery of how much the system was broke.  And the question really now is whether the FBI can get its act together to basically reconstitute itself with the ability to have analysts who really genuinely are obsessed with only collecting information, not making cases, because that‘s been the whole...

NORVILLE:  But doesn‘t it need Congress to come through with money for more agents and money for computers, so that they can e-mail each other and some of the basic? 

EMERSON:  Well, I understand that now they do have the money for the computer system.  It‘s just a matter to putting it all online.  It‘s impossible to modernize instantly, although the FBI again as an example of how big a bureaucracy it‘s become could not modernize in 2 ½ years after 9/11.  It still took time.

Money is not the issue right now.  It‘s a matter of changing the structure of it.  Look, you can get 1,000 e-mails a day.  You can‘t possibly read all of them. 

NORVILLE:  Sure.

EMERSON:  You need very smart people to basically vector up the 10 most important e-mails.

NORVILLE:  All right, the one thing that stands out is the fact that it hasn‘t happened again.  There hasn‘t been another terror attack in this country since September 11. 

Dave Adler, are we doing something right out there? 

ADLER:  We are doing something right, but there will be another attack on the country at some point.

NORVILLE:  Well, on that frightening thought, we‘re going to take a break.  We‘ll be back to find out what you think might be happening in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

NORVILLE:  Back with our panel. 

Going into the break, David Adler said that he fears this will happen again. 

Gerald Posner, what one thing would you do to make sure that it doesn‘t? 

POSNER:  I would tell both the FBI and the CIA that they have to stop behaving like two children sometimes on the playground arguing over the same ball.  It‘s mine.  No, it‘s mine.  No, it‘s mine.  No, it‘s mine. 

They know this is the interest of the United States at hand.  They have got to work together.  They have got to cooperate.  And I think we have learned the lesson in the past.  Cooperation and accountability is key. 

NORVILLE:  Clint Van Zandt, what would you do? 

VAN ZANDT:  Well, the FBI needs to streamline the information between its 55 field offices in the U.S. and its 50 offices overseas.

And, lastly, every FBI agent has got to be left brain-right brain.  Left brain says criminal prosecution.  Right brain has to say intelligence gathering. 

NORVILLE:  Steve Emerson? 

EMERSON:  I‘d create these organized crime strike forces.  They would be assigned to every field office and they basically would be appended to the local agencies in local cities, but also be working out of Washington, so they know internationally, nationally and locally what is going on. 

NORVILLE:  That sounded a little bureaucrat to me.

David Adler, what would you do? 

ADLER:  The attitude among the bureaucracy is one of the terrorists‘ greatest assets.  Until that attitude is changed or eliminated, we will continue to suffer defeats at the hands of people like al Qaeda members. 

NORVILLE:  And, Jim Bucknam, what would you do? 

BUCKNAM:  Make sure that the agents have the resources that they need so that they can share the information among the agencies, among themselves, make sure they know what information they have so they can prevent future attacks. 

NORVILLE:  And let me ask all of you.  The commission is going about its work.  It‘s been releasing periodic reports, kind of giving its assessment as it goes along. 

The final report comes out on July 26.  It‘s been an incredibly partisan process.  And yet I think there‘s no mistaking the intent, which is to come up with answers that will make all Americans feel safer. 

David Adler, do you believe that the commission will be able to look beyond the political, partisan nature of the occasional exchange and achieve its goal? 

ADLER:  I didn‘t think the commission had been behaving in such a great partisan manner.  I wish the FBI and the CIA got along as well as the members of this commission. 

NORVILLE:  That‘s an interesting point. 

Gerald Posner? 

POSNER:  I actually think the ones—the commission is partisan only because it is an election year.  I agree that that is creeping in.

But the people that are celebrating this commission‘s work are the Pakistanis and Saudis, who are getting a free rein on this.  As a matter of fact, they‘re looking over here and saying, thank God you‘re putting all the blame just on United States agencies.  Nobody is looking at foreign connections and nobody is asking the CIA the hard questions about its own long-term relationships with the intelligence agencies in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan that might have help unravel this plot beforehand. 

NORVILLE:  And do you not think that the view will extend beyond domestically? 

POSNER:  It isn‘t so far, and remarkably so.  Look at that index when it comes out, Deborah.  Take a look at it and see how many references really go to Saudi Arabia and foreign countries. 

We‘re making this a very internal introspection.  And that‘s great, but I‘ll tell you one thing.  It‘s not going to give all the answers to 9/11.  Anybody who thinks that this commission is going to settle the issues about what led up to 9/11 and the mistakes, we‘ll get a lot of answers, but it‘s not going to settle it for history.  It will a good and competent job, they aren‘t going far enough in the limited time that they have.

NORVILLE:  If it doesn‘t settle it for history, Steve Emerson, is it at least going to settle it to the extent that the kinds of gaps in the system that existed pre-9/11 will be repaired and filled? 

EMERSON:  Well, let me associate myself with Gerald‘s comments.  He was right on target there.

Look, it depends.  They will issue a report.  People will get outraged.  It will be used by both the Democratic and Republican parties in terms of their own political agendas.  But the reality is, it really depends upon whether Congress makes changes after this.  Otherwise, it‘s just a fantastic series of news stories and hearings that are televised live on television. 

NORVILLE:  And, finally, Jim Bucknam, one of the things is talking about change.  Do you believe that it‘s going to happen? 

BUCKNAM:  There has to be action taken.  The victims of 9/11 deserve it.  Their families deserve it.  All of Americans deserve it.  We have a right to know that we‘re going to be as safe as possible. 

NORVILLE:  And what if it doesn‘t happen? 

BUCKNAM:  It has to happen. 

NORVILLE:  There‘s no question? 

BUCKNAM:  Has to. 

NORVILLE:  All right, well, it is a political year and maybe that right there will force people to make the decisions sometimes tough to make the change. 

The final report will be issued on July 26. 

My thanks to all of us who have been with us, Jim Bucknam, David Adler, Gerald Posner, Clint Van Zandt, and Steve Emerson.  Thanks to you all.

And when we come back, one more emotional plea by loved ones for the release of an American hostage held in Iraq.  That‘s in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

NORVILLE:  Finally this evening, the hostage situation in Iraq is getting worse. 

The Italian government is confirming that an Italian hostage was executed by his captors today.  And now Japan is investigating a report that two more Japanese civilians have been abducted.  As you know, three other were kidnapped last week, their captors threatening to burn them alive if Japan did not pull its noncombat troops out of Iraq.  The troops are still there, but Japan is now urging all of its citizens in Iraq to leave. 

At least 20 and perhaps as many as 40 foreigners are being held captive somewhere in Iraq.  One French journalist was released today.  And Russia says it will now begin evacuating hundreds of its citizens in that country.  Several American civilians are missing after their fuel convoy truck was ambushed by gunmen and caught fire last week, this all happening outside of Baghdad. 

Seven private contractors working for Kellogg, Brown & Root, which is a subsidiary of Halliburton, are missing, along with two soldiers who were part of the convoy.  Yesterday, four bodies were found in a shallow grave near the attack site.  And today, the U.S. military confirmed that one of the bodies has been identified as one of the two missing American soldiers.  They are still trying to identify the other bodies. 

As you know, one missing civilian is Thomas Hamill of Macon, Mississippi.  He went to Iraq to work as a fuel driver after his dairy farm failed.  Video on Arab television over the weekend has shown Hamill being held hostage.  His kidnappers had been threatening to kill him, but there is no word on his fate or whether his body might have been among those who were discovered. 

His wife, surrounded by her family, issued a tape statement yesterday appealing for his release. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KELLIE HAMILL, WIFE OF U.S. HOSTAGE:  I would first like to say to my husband, Tommy, we love and miss you very much.  We would also like to the persons who are holding him captive, our hopes are that you would release him unharmed and as soon as possible. 

Lastly, we would like to say to the persons in the community and all across America who have been praying for us, we thank you very much from the bottom of our heart.  We would also like to extend our love and prayers to all the KBR families and other people in our situation. 

Thank you very much. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NORVILLE:  Kellie Hamill said today that she hasn‘t seen her husband‘s picture since it was broadcast on Arab TV over the weekend.  She says that she and her family are struggling with the silence.

She also said it‘s been extremely difficult to explain to her 13-year-old son and 11-year-old daughter just exactly what is going on and what might be happening to their father.  Indeed, difficult times for everybody. 

You can send us your comments to us at NORVILLE@MSNBC com. 

That‘s our program for tonight.  Thanks a lot for watching.  I‘m Deborah Norville.

Tomorrow night, tune in.  It‘s diet night.  We‘ve got the diet gurus with us.  The three creators of the three most popular diets out there will be making their case for their diets to help you decide which one might be right for you.  It‘s springtime and people are thinking about losing weight.  The creators of the South Beach Diet, which, by the way, is the No. 1 book.  The South Beach Diet book is the No. 1 book on Amazon.  Also with us, The Zone Diet creator and even the author of a book which is about the religious diet called the Maker‘s Diet.  Apparently, it tries to emulate the diet of people during the times of Jesus Christ.  All that and more coming up tomorrow.

Now, coming up next, Joe Scarborough.  On “SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY” tonight, should noncitizen immigrants be allowed to vote?  “SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY is coming up.

Thanks for watching.  We‘ll see you tomorrow.

END   

Copy: Content and programming copyright 2004 MSNBC.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.  Transcription Copyright 2004 FDCH e-Media, Inc. (f/k/a/ Federal Document Clearing House Inc., eMediaMillWorks, Inc.), ALL RIGHTS  RESERVED. No license is granted to the user of this material other than for research. User may not reproduce or redistribute the material except for user‘s personal or internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may infringe upon MSNBC and FDCH e-Media, Inc.‘s copyright or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,