PLEASE CREDIT ANY QUOTES OR EXCERPTS FROM THIS NBC TELEVISION PROGRAM TO "NBC NEWS' MEET THE PRESS."
Sunday, July 10, 2005
GUESTS: Michael Chertoff, Stephen Flynn, Adm. James Loy, Sens. Orrin Hatch & Chuck Schumer
MODERATOR/PANELIST: Tim Russert, NBC News
TIM RUSSERT: Our issues this Sunday: terrorism strikes again. Is the United States prepared to prevent or cope with another attack? With us: the secretary of homeland security, Michael Chertoff.
How can we better protect ourselves and our transportation systems from a terrorist attack? With us: former Coast Guard commander and author of "America the Vulnerable: How Our Government is Failing to Protect Us from Terrorism," Stephen Flynn, and the former deputy secretary of homeland security and former commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, Admiral James Loy.
Then, the Supreme Court: Who should replace Justice Sandra Day O'Connor? And what happens if Chief Justice William Rehnquist also steps down? From the Senate Judiciary Committee, Utah Republican Orrin Hatch and New York Democrat Charles Schumer.
But first, joining us now is the secretary of homeland security, Michael Chertoff.
Welcome to MEET THE PRESS.
SEC'Y MICHAEL CHERTOFF: Good morning.
MR. RUSSERT: What can you tell us about the bombings in London, who may have done it?
SEC'Y CHERTOFF: Well, we're looking now at the entire menu of information out there: intelligence information, forensic analysis, based on what we can determine from the bombs and from the scenes where the explosions occurred. FBI agents are out there working with the British. And I think we want to withhold judgment about the precise nature of the group responsible until we've fully analyzed what's out there.
MR. RUSSERT: Since September 11, 2001, al-Qaeda has been responsible for at least 17 bombings around the world, causing the death of some 700 people. Is al-Qaeda alive and well?
SEC'Y CHERTOFF: Well, it is, but I think we have to be careful to distinguish between two types of al-Qaeda activities. There's the actual core group itself, which has discipline and owes loyalty to bin Laden and its top leadership, but then there is a network of terror organizations going back even before 2001 that is sympathetic, that gets aid and assistance from al-Qaeda in some circumstances, but that is also semi-autonomous. So we have a kind of a range of groups that are out there committing acts of terror, and some of them are, frankly, focused on local issues in other parts of the world.
MR. RUSSERT: A lot of concern that those who are responsible for the bombings in London may have been home-grown. Do you believe that there are al-Qaeda sleeper cells, home-grown cells, here in the United States?
SEC'Y CHERTOFF: Well, we've seen sleeper cells, and we've seen cases being made publicly involving sleeper cells. And one of the important things to recognize is a sleeper cell can become operational in the blink of an eye. A lot of times we see criticism of the government because a case is brought and critics say, "Well, you know, these people were not really doing anything yet. They were just training and they were sitting there, you know, having been trained somewhere like in Afghanistan." But the point is, we can't wait until the fuse is lit. We have to move actively against sleeper cells when they're in the planning and training phase, and not wait until they become operational.
MR. RUSSERT: The Gallup polling organization talked to the American people this last few days and said, "Are you worried a similar attack like London will happen in the United States?" Look at this: 62 percent, nearly two out of three Americans, say yes. Are they correct to be worried?
SEC'Y CHERTOFF: I think that's understandable. I think we know that al-Qaeda has long looked at committing other acts of terror against the United States. We know they didn't view September 11 as the end of the campaign. They viewed it as another step in the campaign. And that's why we've been devoting as much energy and as many resources as we have to increasing the level of preparedness in this country.
MR. RUSSERT: The Homeland Security advisory alert system--let me show it on the screen for our viewers--red, severe; orange, high; yellow, elevated; blue, guarded; green, low. It was raised to orange, high, for mass transit following London, and yet there was no overt warning about that attack, and we didn't raise it to orange after the train attack in Madrid. Why this time?
SEC'Y CHERTOFF: Well, I think again that, you know, these are very particular decisions that we make based on the total picture that we have before us. In this case we had no specific information about a pending attack, but we do know traditionally, looking at the tactics that the terrorists use, that they do favor coordinated attacks or second-wave attacks. And so, looking at what happened in London, looking at the rhetoric that we've seen coming out of the jihadist groups, we thought it was prudent to look at those parts of our infrastructure that are very similar to what were the targets in London, and to raise our base level of security for a period of time to avoid anything in a coordinated or copycat method.
MR. RUSSERT: But it wasn't done after the bombing in Madrid. Why?
SEC'Y CHERTOFF: Well, again, you know, you have to look at the facts and circumstances there. I obviously wasn't here in this job in Madrid, but in this case the similarities between the London system and our system, the way we both use the subway system, is such an obvious similarity that, again, prudence suggested that we move to take precautionary measures.
MR. RUSSERT: Will you simplify or eliminate this color-coded advisory system, which has become the staple of jokes by late-night comics?
SEC'Y CHERTOFF: Well, you know, we are looking generally at the question of the advisory system and fine-tuning it. I think in this case, though, what we demonstrated was where we can, we do try to take a targeted approach to warnings. We try to be as candid as we can and indicate what the limits of our knowledge are. And I think in this case, people understood and thought it was a sensible thing to do. And we did it actually knowing--after consulting with the major transit folks all over the country, so that we had a kind of a common view of what was appropriate to do.
MR. RUSSERT: But you might simplify or eliminate?
SEC'Y CHERTOFF: I think we're generally looking at the question of fine-tuning it.
MR. RUSSERT: And green-low. Do you ever think we'll see green in our lifetime?
SEC'Y CHERTOFF: You know, I'd love to say we're going to see green in our lifetime. It's kind of an aspirational state. But I can't tell you in the foreseeable future we're going to be below yellow.
MR. RUSSERT: Stephen Flynn, who had written a book, "America the Vulnerable," who will be on after you, Mr. Secretary. This is from his book. "...the second Bush Administration should be mobilizing to bolster our national resiliency in the face of future attacks. ... The president's 2006 budget request asked for just $600 million for safeguarding all of the nation's seaports, mass transit systems, railways, bridges, tunnels and energy facilities. This is roughly what U.S. taxpayers are spending every three days on the war in Iraq."
Is there enough money being spent to protect us, our mass transportation system?
SEC'Y CHERTOFF: Well, actually, you know, the president's budget in 2006 puts more money in the category of infrastructure protection than had been the case previously. So we've been raising the level in terms of our request, and we're putting more resources in. And, of course, there are billions of dollars in security grants that go to cities and states that are also available.
But, you know, there is an important point that Mr. Flynn and others raise, which I think we do want to emphasize. We have to be risk-based in our funding. We have got to move away from the idea of earmarking money for predetermined categories. And we've got to be able to use the money in a way that is nimble and responsive to the actual threats out there, using the kind of sophisticated tools we're beginning to develop to allow us to identify our vulnerabilities. I think if we're risk-based, we're going to use the money much more effectively than if we parcel it out in packets that are predesignated to localities or categories.
MR. RUSSERT: Risk-based, meaning locations like New York and Washington, which are higher risk than states like Utah or other places?
SEC'Y CHERTOFF: Well, it means we look not at the question of political jurisdiction, we look at where consequences that would be catastrophic, where the vulnerabilities would be, where the threats are. And that means we look at infrastructure, some of it can be where there's population, some of it might be where there's important electrical grids or important transportation hubs. So, again, we want to be, first, very focused and specific and use really disciplined analytic tools other than the traditional method of distributing packets of money across the country.
MR. RUSSERT: Now, Senator Hillary Clinton and others have pointed out that mass transit--trains, busses--we move about 25 billion American riders every year as opposed to about 800 million on airplanes. And yet, we spend 80 times more on airline security than we do on buses, trains, subways. Why?
SEC'Y CHERTOFF: Well, I think that somewhat misstates the amount of money we spend on things that are relative to transit security. We spend a lot of money, for example, on technology for detection, technology for countering explosive activity. We have large urban security initiative money grants which are available for transit. So I think actually we spend considerably more on things that are relevant to transit.
But, again, I think the point which I think people across the board make is we need to be risk focused in terms of the way we deploy money. You can't necessarily say, "Put this amount of money in transit and this amount of money in air," because the circumstances change depending on the threat assessments, depending on the vulnerabilities. And, of course, the systems are different. You know, air is a closed system. Rail and mass transit are something where there's a lot of fluidity. So we have to have a different model for each.
MR. RUSSERT: What you seem to be suggesting is that in terms of railways, buses, subways, there really is no way to protect ourselves.
SEC'Y CHERTOFF: Well, I think the way to protect ourselves is to take a layered approach. That means you start with intelligence. You try to identify and incapacitate groups and cells before they strike. You harden the system. You put additional measures in there to make it more robust. You do put cameras in, you have dogs, you have additional detection equipment. And, frankly, you also have to think about response. When there is an incident, how do you respond, how do you alleviate and mitigate the problem, rescue people and treat them?
MR. RUSSERT: Senator Biden, from Delaware, who takes Amtrak every day from his home in Delaware, said that we need $1.2 billion over the next five years, that all the security analysts have told him that. Will you support increasing money for railway security by a billion dollars over the next five years?
SEC'Y CHERTOFF: Well, of course, we're interested in getting adequate resources for rail security. We're going to support anything that gives us the kind of resources that we need to make a risk-based approach to parceling out our resources and our support for these security measures. But, again, I want to emphasize an important thing is not to lock us into categories because next week there could be an incident somewhere else in the world in a different sector of transportation, and we're going to hear a call to fortify that. So we need to have the ability to be flexible and apply these resources in a disciplined and intelligent manner across the board.
MR. RUSSERT: But knowing the American political process, in light of what happened in London, do you have any doubt that there will be in Congress a vote for increasing security money for railway, subways and buses?
SEC'Y CHERTOFF: And as I say, we're going to welcome additional resources, but I want to just remind people, you know, everything's a tradeoff. We don't want to move money, for example, from ports into rail because then we're going to have an issue with ports. We have to be balanced across the board and that means we've got to focus on specific intelligence, specific vulnerabilities and, of course, consequences.
MR. RUSSERT: Here's another Gallup question: "Would you favor or oppose metal detectors in American public transportation?" Sixty-nine percent of Americans say metal detectors. Twenty-nine percent oppose. Is it workable to have a medal detector for buses and subways and railway cars?
SEC'Y CHERTOFF: Well, I think, you know, you put your finger on one of the issues that distinguishes aviation, which is a closed system, from a kind of open system we have in mass transit. You don't want to put measures into effect in mass transit that defeat the purpose of mass transit, that prevent people from taking subways at all because then we actually lose the war. And that's why we've got to tailor the approach we take to the particular type of transportation we're talking about and that's the kind of discipline analysis we need to bring to the problem.
MR. RUSSERT: You can envision the time when we had metal detectors for subway riders.
SEC'Y CHERTOFF: Well, I can envision technologies in the future that will give us the ability to detect explosives without going through the kind of portals you do in the airport. And I think that's ultimately what we want to drive towards. I mean, there's a technological and a system-based solution to this, but it doesn't necessarily mean replicating what you see when you get on an airplane.
MR. RUSSERT: How concerned are you about a copycat attack on a subway system in America based on what happened in London?
SEC'Y CHERTOFF: Well, I think we're concerned for two reasons. We're concerned, first of all, that traditionally al-Qaeda does have a coordinated or a second-wave attitude to these attacks. We're also worried about people who might be sympathetic and like-minded who are going to decide on their own spontaneously to follow what they saw happen in London. And as we know, going back even before we had terrorists, you know, going back to the Bernie Getz case in New York, it is possible for someone to get on a subway with a gun or some kind of explosive device and set it off. So again, that's why we raised the level in a measured way, because we wanted to deter and intercept any possible attempt to be a copycat.
MR. RUSSERT: You have no doubt that there will be another terrorist attack on America?
SEC'Y CHERTOFF: I have to say, I mean, I know the desire is there and the capability is there, but, you know, my job and the job of 183,000 people who work with me is to do everything we can to prevent that from happening, and then if God forbid it does, to protect ourselves and to be able to respond appropriately.
MR. RUSSERT: Before you go, as secretary of homeland security, you're also in charge of the Federal Emergency Management Assistance system, FEMA, which handles hurricanes.
SEC'Y CHERTOFF: Right.
MR. RUSSERT: What can you tell us about Hurricane Dennis?
SEC'Y CHERTOFF: Well, unfortunately, Dennis is now a Category 4 hurricane. I think the sustained winds have been reported as 145 miles an hour. It's headed for Pensacola which is now recovering still from Ivan last year. It's a serious situation. We are prepared. We have prepositioned medical, food, water supplies. We've got FEMA people on the ground working with state and local officials. I spoke to the governors of Florida, Mississippi and Alabama on Friday. They're ready. We're closely coordinated and we're going to brace for the storm. My message to people is: Listen to your local officials in terms of how to prepare yourself. This is not, you know, the kind of thing to play games with. You've got to be ready. You've got to take that advice.
MR. RUSSERT: Because this hurricane could have a real whack?
SEC'Y CHERTOFF: It's going to have a real whack.
MR. RUSSERT: Mr. Secretary, as I leave, we thank you for joining us and sharing your views.
SEC'Y CHERTOFF: Great to be here.
MR. RUSSERT: Coming next, the author of "America the Vulnerable: How Our Government is Failing to Protect Us From Terrorism." We'll talk to Stephen Flynn and the former number two man at the Department of Homeland Security. Admiral James Loy will join us as well. Then from the Senate Judiciary Committee, Republican Orrin Hatch of Utah and Democrat Chuck Schumer of New York on the Supreme Court vacancy all coming up right here on MEET THE PRESS.
MR. RUSSERT: Our homeland security panel, James Loy and Stephen Flynn and Senators Hatch and Schumer on the Supreme Court vacancy, after this station break.
MR. RUSSERT: James Loy, Stephen Flynn. Welcome, both.
Mr. Flynn, let me quote from your book and start our conversation here. "Terrorism analysts have catalogued a dozen or more imitator groups operating around the world whose collective membership numbers in the tens of thousands. The commuter train bombings in Madrid on March 11, 2004, were a wake-up call for those who believed these groups pose no serious threat. ...by late 2004, it has become clear that al-Qaeda has become morphed from an organization with an inner core of several hundred dedicated fighters into a global movement. This reality reinforces this book's central message: to evade a concerted effort to protect the United States at home by focusing almost exclusively on `taking the battle to the enemy' is a formula for disaster."
MR. STEPHEN FLYNN: Well, it's very clear what we've seen here in the London case is yet another example of the fact that, one, we get no warning when these attacks happen. Secondly, these folks weren't in the central front of Iraq or Afghanistan but looked to be as though they were home-grown folks, sleeper cells. So taking the battle to the enemy requires us, increasingly, to deal with the fact that al-Qaeda is in up to 40 nations around the world, including our own.
And the fact that we didn't get any intelligence suggests yet again that we need to think about a system that's based around alerts and really rolling up our sleeves, looking at what's most critical to us and begin the process of building safeguards and also assuming that we're not going to be successful 100 percent of the time. And so the response, how we show our resilience as a nation, is so critical to being effective in dealing with this new warfare.
MR. RUSSERT: Do you believe we're spending enough on our railway cars, subways and the buses?
MR. FLYNN: Well, we're not. And we're--there's sort of bad news, good news with where we are, right now, with regard to the transit. Our systems are more vulnerable than the British systems are, and yet at the same time...
MR. RUSSERT: Why?
MR. FLYNN: Well, we haven't got the amount of exercises and training that has been done in the U.K. The coordination between the Metropolitan Police and Scotland Yard, these kinds of things, have been well refined over the course of a couple of decades because of the IRA issues. The closed-circuit TV use, the amount of patrolling--basically, there's a lot more happening there and has happened there. And so that should be a wake-up call for us here. But to put the number in context, we've spent about $500 million total on transit security in the United States since 9/11, almost four years. We're spending that every three days in the war in Iraq. We still have virtually all our eggs in the basket of taking the battle to the enemy, as if the enemy was all concentrated in those two countries. Instead of that, we're dealing with an ongoing threat that's truly global.
MR. RUSSERT: Admiral, you agree?
ADM. JAMES LOY: Well, I agree in part. The offensive effort that the Bush administration is pushing, I think, is the classic "best defense is often a good offense." And to me, the question is: What do we do with the time we buy attendant to the campaign in Afghanistan, the campaign in Iraq and elsewhere around the world? The challenge there is for us to not only deal with what we're going to try to do to prevent bad things from happening and respond to them if they do here in our country, but I also think we should be taking advantage of this time to offer radical Muslims who have the potential to slide towards very intense radicalism--suicide bombers and what have you--another option, a better way to go; fall off the fence on the side of moderates, as we are now seeing reflected in London in the mosques, which heretofore had been a proving ground for nurturing jihadists and, over the course of this last incident, has very adroitly stepped forward with very moderate commentary.
MR. RUSSERT: Do you believe there are sleeper cells here in the United States?
ADM. LOY: I think the contrary question is the better question to ask. We cannot afford to presume that there are not. So with the assumption that there are, Steve's commentary with respect to a balanced approach, and what I heard the secretary say just moments ago, understanding the balance in threats and vulnerabilities as the guidepost for which we will make investments towards prevention and response capability.
MR. RUSSERT: The idea of trying to get in the hearts and minds of young Muslims is a noble one, but that's long term.
ADM. LOY: It is, in fact, long term. And I would offer that not unlike those who suggest, me among them, that we as a nation sort of took a decade off in the aftermath of the fall of the wall in '89 and the implosion of the Soviet empire--we must now be rebuilding our information-generating capability, whether that's intelligence in the classic sense or the use of information and intelligence in a 21st-century challenge against this new ism. I've referred to this as the first ism we're dealing with in the 21st century, as opposed to the Nazism, socialism and communism of the 20th century. The utilization and the investment we must make in being able to see what's about to happen--we call that awareness at the department--and pushing out of the old prevention protocols of the past something up front that allows us to concentrate on gathering information, doing the analysis necessary and then acting on it.
MR. RUSSERT: There's a lot of discussion about the economic situation that some of these young Muslims come from, but the fact is, many of the hijackers on September 11 were very well-off Saudi Arabians, trained, the sons of doctors and lawyers and other professionals. Is there a concern in your mind that there are some Americans, as well as other people around the world, who are more loyal to their faith, or their interpretation of their faith--Islam--than they are to their country?
ADM. LOY: I think that's always a possibility. I mean, the nature of our country and its freedom of thought almost offers the opportunity for that to be the fact. Our challenge, again, is to offer recognition that events like Madrid and London sort of put on the table that this particular enemy, this first challenge we have in the 21st century, is about the destruction of hope, and that's not what America is all about. America's about ideas and the whole generation of progressing civilization down the path that it should go with opportunity. And it doesn't take too much to set back just a moment objectively and make a choice there.
MR. RUSSERT: Now, Stephen Flynn, let me refer you again to part of your book. You write: "In late August 2004, I testified at my twelfth post-9/11 congressional hearing. ... Three years after that attack, I found myself making a pitch to lawmakers for them to do many of the things I had advocated before 9/11. Yet everyone seemed to be going through the motions. It was hard to keep my sense of frustration in check. In my parting words to the Committee that day, I told them that I hoped that my testimony would amount to something more than fodder for a future blue-ribbon commission when they draft the report explaining how the government failed to prevent and effectively respond to the next major terrorist attack on U.S. soil."
That's rather pessimistic.
MR. FLYNN: Well, it's now been 15 times that I've had a chance to testify before Congress, and Congress is very much a part of this problem. There is--in terms of just oversight of the Department of Homeland Security, they have not reorganized themselves. We've got--the secretary of homeland security has almost 60 committees and subcommittees that oversee them. Nobody is seeing the forest for the trees. And so we've got this imbalance. We've got essentially the administration putting all its eggs in the war in Iraq and Afghanistan as the focus of the war on terror. We've got business as usual largely on the Hill. And we've got this real fact that it's not of anybody--we went for a century basically on a joy ride, where we never had attacks on our soil. We could think about national security as something that we could do as an away game.
But now we're in a time when we have an adversary who blends into the woodwork, both in modern, open societies like ours, has increasingly the real desire to cause mass destruction of the critical infrastructures that underpin our modern way of life, and yet we didn't build any safeguards into them. When we put these infrastructures together, we said, as a market, how do we make them open, efficient, reliable and low cost? And security was viewed as raising costs, undermining efficiency, undermining reliability and putting pressure to close the system.
This is a difficult nut to crack. We can crack, just as we've done everything--met every challenge that's confronted this nation. I'm optimistic that we can do it, but we've got to see it as a true national priority.
MR. RUSSERT: Do we see it as a true national priority, Admiral?
ADM. LOY: Oh, I think indeed we do. The balance that Steve is after, I think we are all after. And I think we also have to recognize this as sort of an all-hands evolution. Citizens of this country have to be as resistant to the complacency of trying to find the good ol' days or back to normal. We're living in a new normalcy. And the question you asked Secretary Chertoff this morning about ever seeing green on the scale, I don't believe we will. Green is about the old normalcy. Yellow is about the standard of the new normalcy until we have a much, much better picture of the intentions and the capabilities of this new enemy. The notion of risking being part of our lives today has simply got to find its way into everyone's soul and minds. That's how we are living. We are living in a sort of risk manage requiring set of days in our lives.
MR. RUSSERT: And yet our government has an obligation to protect its citizens. You were the former commandant of the Coast Guard. You're a former commander of the Coast Guard. This article from USA Today on Wednesday, "Coast Guard Plagued By Breakdowns. The Coast Guard's ships, planes and helicopters are breaking down at record rates, which may threaten the service's ability to carry out its post-9/11 mission of protecting ports and waterways against terrorism. Key members of Congress, maritime security experts and a former top Homeland Security Department official"--that would be you, Admiral Loy--"say that the fleet is failing and that the plans to replace the Coast Guard's 88 aging cutters and 186 aircraft over the next 20 years should be accelerated. ... [But] the Bush administration wants to increase the amount of time it will take to replace a fleet that's among the oldest on the globe..."
That doesn't sound like a priority.
ADM. LOY: Well, it must become one. The challenge attendant to both time and the investment of dollars actually can be good stewardship for the American taxpayer if we advance the pace of this particular modernization project to somewhere around 15 years and save $4 or $5 billion in the process by not trailing it out over the course of 20 or 25. That article a very good reflection of the state of physical capability, the platforms that this service is being asked to use to get its work done for our country today.
MR. RUSSERT: But here we are nearly four years after September 11, and we're talking about the state of the United States Coast Guard. Mr. Flynn, you referred to it as a Third World Navy.
MR. FLYNN: Well, it has the equivalency of in the terms of how it's operating. These are young men and women who are risking their lives to protect our lives. Just like we have emergency responders in New York, in Washington, D.C., in Los Angeles and around this country who are risking their lives to safeguard our lives given the inevitability of these attacks and certainly the attempts on these attacks. And it is just really disgraceful that, as a nation, we're not giving them the tools they need.
We need to get some balance. The cost of basically upgrading the Coast Guard's ability--and we're talking ships that are 30-plus years old that are breaking down routinely on patrol--is about the cost of a new DDX Destroyer, would pay for the next three years. The Navy's new DDX Destroyer would pay for the Coast Guard capability for the next three years. In terms of not getting a balance between national security and homeland security, we're not even close yet because we're really just fighting the last war.
MR. RUSSERT: Based on everything you have learned and know, do you believe that there will be another major catastrophic terrorist attack in the United States?
MR. FLYNN: I think there almost certainly will be. In fact, there's a heightened risk of the catastrophic attack in the U.S. vis-a-vis what we saw in London and Madrid precisely because the sleeper cell presence is smaller. They're going to husband that resource and use it for something bigger. And I think what everybody's worried about and should be worried about is the weapon of mass destruction scenario. That is the nuclear, biological or chemical weapons. And by the way, they don't even have to import a chemical weapon. We have chemical facilities around this society prepositioned in their population centers, in key assets, like ports, that the U.S. government doesn't even have the authority to go in and inspect their security plans today.
So these are the kinds of gaping holes that remain. This is not for the want of good efforts of people at the Department of Homeland Security are working this issue, but it is a fact that it's a very big challenge and hasn't been treated, I believe, that the standard of a national priority deserves.
MR. RUSSERT: Admiral Loy, do you have any doubt there will be another major catastrophic attack?
ADM. LOY: Well, my sense is that there will be and it comes from two thoughts. I spent most of the decade of the '80s, as did most of my colleagues in the Coast Guard, DEA and other agencies, working against the cartels in Colombia. Our ability to take the head off of that monster, those four or five or six major cartel families, only offered the chance for 20 or 25 lieutenants within those cartels to emerge as leaders of separate entities to deal in that particular death-related product.
I think there's an analogy here that's appropriate for terrorism. To the degree we are able to have successfully cut the head off, not quite, with bin Laden yet, but we're going to get him sooner or later, the cells that are now potentially able to operate on their own offer the chance, as Steve was citing. This risk management thing I mentioned a moment ago is really where the department has to focus. And to the degree they do focus in a risk-based process, WMD--and I would add cyber to the list Steve just described because of how prevalent it is everywhere in our society--we must find a zero-tolerance process attendant to those kind of threats and then deal in a risk-management sense with the rest.
MR. RUSSERT: Do you think we're creating more terrorists in Iraq that we're there?
ADM. LOY: I don't know that there's enough information on the table for us to make a judgment on that. There certainly are voices on both sides of the equation that are pretty hard over on their respective opinions and I don't have enough facts on the table to make a judgment.
MR. RUSSERT: Mr. Flynn, if you were president for one day and you could do anything you wanted to steer the nation towards a direction that you think would be important to homeland security, what would you do?
MR. FLYNN: I think the most important thing is something that Admiral Loy mentioned, this is really to engage the American people, to get out of this kind of paternalistic approach of, "You shop and travel. We've got it under control." The problem with the statement that everything that can be done is being done is missing the most critical element to our success in dealing with this issue, which is the engagement of we the people. And coming clean about the limits about our intelligence, coming clean about the limits of what our military capability can be done and the need to roll up sleeves and plan many years ahead making our society more resilient, not fail-safe, resilient, the kinds of things we stand up and applaud when we see the Londoners get back on the train the next day, what we saw in the Blitz, this is the kind of character that is in the American people I'm convinced. I saw it being in New York on 9/11 with no federal authorities in sight. It's the failure to call upon us all to be a part of this solution, to share the sacrifice in dealing with this war, I think, is the most important thing I use my day for.
MR. RUSSERT: Stephen Flynn, Admiral James Loy, I thank you for sharing your views this morning.
ADM. LOY: Good to be with you, Tim.
MR. RUSSERT: Coming next, the Supreme Court: What questions are appropriate for the successor to Sandra Day O'Connor? Senate Judiciary members Orrin Hatch and Chuck Schumer, one Democrat, one Republican, are next. They'll square off on the Supreme Court.
MR. RUSSERT: Senators, welcome both.
SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER, (D-NY): Morning.
MR. RUSSERT: Senator Hatch, just listening to this discussion on terrorism, I know you're from Utah, but terrorism and the risk associated--New York, Washington; should we rethink the way we apply money from homeland security so that areas that are higher-risk areas, like New York and Washington, would receive a disproportionate share as opposed to Utah?
SEN. ORRIN HATCH, (R-UT): Well, first of all, let me just say that our heart goes out to the people in London and, of course, in Madrid and other places where we have these terrible terrorist things.
But to answer your question, the answer is yes and no; yes, because we should do the very best we can to allocate those monies in the very best way we can, and I think that Secretary Chertoff is a terrific leader and is doing that. But you can't discount, say--let's take Utah. Utah is in the center West of the country, but it's the crossroads of the West. It's where an awful lot of illegals come through. It's where an awful lot of drug trafficking, which pays for terrorism, comes through. There are a lot of black-box companies and, of course, great installations there that are absolutely critical to this country, that are unique to the country. So, you know, you can't just say, "Well, just because these are huge cities on the coast"--that they should get all the money, because there are some very significant intelligence and practical anti-terrorism approaches that are taken in some of these very small states.
MR. RUSSERT: Do you think, in light of what happened in Madrid and London, we will increase funding dramatically for subways, buses, railroad--railway cars?
SEN. HATCH: We have to do what has to be done. We'll follow Secretary Chertoff's suggestions, as we should, but I don't know of any public servant that I admire more than Mike Chertoff. I've had a tremendous amount of experience with him, and I have to tell you, he's doing a great job, and we'll follow whatever he says, I believe.
MR. RUSSERT: Senator Schumer?
SEN. SCHUMER: Yeah. I agree with Orrin's analysis of Secretary Chertoff. I think he's done a good job. I think the money has not been given out fairly for, say, Wyoming--I won't say Utah. But for Wyoming to get so much more per capita than New York when the threat is greater in New York-- There's a threat in Utah, there's a threat in Wyoming, there's a threat in every state, but so much greater in New York--is unfair. Although Secretary Chertoff has promised that he is going to change that formula, and most of the formula is discretionary with the federal government--with the executive branch, and I'm expecting real changes.
MR. RUSSERT: Do you think more money for subways, buses, railway cars?
SEN. SCHUMER: Without question. This is a place that we've totally neglected what we should be doing. As was said, the rail system is an open system. For every air passenger, we spend $7 on homeland security. We spend a penny for rail passengers. And there are ways to make it a lot safer. I mean, one of the things we should have a crash program on is a detector that can detect explosives. As you asked before, you can't use a metal detector, but what about a smoke detectorlike device that could be on the wall of every railroad station, on the car of every subway, that goes "beep, beep" when someone has explosives or leaves explosives there? Why haven't we had a crash program to develop that? I'm pushing for that in the homeland security bill that's coming up next week.
MR. RUSSERT: Well, let me turn to the Supreme Court. You're both important members of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Harry Reid, the leader of the Democrats in the Senate, talked to the Reno Gazette Journal on Thursday and said this: "I had lunch at the Supreme Court 10 days ago and at my table were (Associate Justices) Sandra Day O'Connor, (Antonin) Scalia and (Stephen) Breyer. ...They said they would like to see the president pick someone who has not been a judge. And what I have said to anyone who will listen is what I think he should do is pick one of the senators." Senator Hatch?
SEN. HATCH: Well, you know, I don't think that--that's never been an issue with me.
MR. RUSSERT: But you'd accept.
SEN. HATCH: I think if anybody was asked, they would accept. Now, look, I think sometimes we look too much to the judiciary for these nominees. And once they've served in the judiciary, they're kind of in a cloister. They really are not in, you know, the public domain, so to speak. And I think it might be good to have somebody from outside who basically understands what the real world's about because they've lived in it over the last 10 or 15 or 30 or 40 or 50, 60 years. The fact of the matter is, is that we've done very well picking jurists, but we also could do very well picking people who are not just political, but people who could bring a human dimension to things.
MR. RUSSERT: Senator Schumer?
SEN. SCHUMER: Well, I enjoy working with Orrin on many issues, but I wouldn't want to ruin his chances by endorsing the candidacy here on your show, Tim. But the...
MR. RUSSERT: But you'd support him.
SEN. SCHUMER: But--well, I'm not going to--I have religiously stayed away from saying I'd support or oppose any person before they're nominated. I would say this, though: The point that people with practical experience should be on the bench, even the Supreme Court, is a very good one.
MR. RUSSERT: Justice William Rehnquist, the chief justice--do you expect him to resign?
SEN. HATCH: I do--not resign, but retire. He'll have a lot to do when he does. He'll be in great demand by people all over the country. He's a terrific speaker, terrific scholar, a wonderful person. Yeah, I do, but I don't know when that's going to happen. But I just think...
MR. RUSSERT: This term?
SEN. HATCH: I don't know. I expect by the end of the year that he will retire, because I think he's really wanted to. But, you know, he has this illness and he may very--want to just keep working and do everything he can to serve this country. He's done a terrific job. He's been one of the all-time great justices.
MR. RUSSERT: But your sense is this year he will retire.
SEN. HATCH: That's my sense, but I've been wrong before.
MR. RUSSERT: Senator Schumer?
SEN. SCHUMER: Well, I don't know. The amazing thing about the Supreme Court is it's solely up to him. It's a lifetime appointment...
SEN. HATCH: That's right.
SEN. SCHUMER: ...tremendous power. No one--not the president, not anyone else--can call him and say, "You have to do it." So it's in his own head. And as he said when he was asked, "That's for me to know and you to find out."
MR. RUSSERT: If, in fact, there were two vacancies at the same time, Senator Hatch, would there just be one hearing in the Judiciary Committee, or would there be two separate hearings?
SEN. HATCH: There'd be two separate hearings, I believe. It'd be up to the chairman and the administration as to how that works, but I suspect there'd be two separate hearings. We've had that before and, frankly, it could be done.
MR. RUSSERT: Senator Schumer, you were reportedly overheard on an Amtrak train speaking on your cell phone, talking about "going to war" over this nomination. Tony Perkins, the head of the Family Research Council, issued a statement saying that the whole nation--that "Family Research Council is appalled at the presumption that the nominations and makeup of the United States Supreme Court will be a `war' regardless of whom President Bush decides [to nominate]. ... `I would not hesitate to suggest that Senator Schumer should recuse himself from the confirmation process since he has obviously already made up his mind. His actions are against the process of judicial honor and shameful.'"
Did you say this was going to be a war or should be a war?
SEN. SCHUMER: Well, the bottom line is no. I've said just the opposite. I've been saying over and over again I hope for a consensus nominee. We know it'll be a conservative nominee, but the kind of conservative who everybody can support. And...
MR. RUSSERT: So...
SEN. SCHUMER: ...I've repeated that over and over again. In fact...
MR. RUSSERT: So you did not say, "We are contemplating how we are going to war over this"?
SEN. SCHUMER: What I said was that we will not roll over if they choose an extreme nominee. But the way it was reported, any nominee, we'll go to war--in fact, the irony is just this: I haven't criticized, nor has any Democrat I know, a single other name out there. It's Tony Perkins and his sort of--his far- right groups who have said when the president--when the name Gonzales was mentioned, they said, "No, he's unacceptable." We are approaching this, Tim, in a way that we'd like to have a consensus nominee. Now, I'm sort of flattered that Tony Perkins and others would say I should recuse myself, but it's sort of silly.
MR. RUSSERT: But you won't.
SEN. SCHUMER: I will not.
MR. RUSSERT: You did say that the president and the Senate should, in fact, have almost a joint authority in selecting a Supreme Court justice. Shouldn't the president, who's elected by the American people, have the right to select a Supreme Court nominee?
SEN. SCHUMER: Well, let me say the president has the right; that's the Constitution. What I called for is an active and real consultation. And, in fact, the president's taken a good first step. He's meeting with Senator Reid and Senator Leahy, I believe it is, Tuesday. The White House has called a number of us and begun consultation. And that's a good idea. Now, the consultation should be real. It shouldn't just be, "Hi. Do you have any names that we should consider?" It should be a back-and-forth.
I'm going to give Orrin a little plug here. This is his great book. I urge everybody to buy it and help Orrin out. But in the book he talks about President Clinton did. President Clinton would call Senator Hatch, who was of the opposite party, opposite philosophy, and say, "What do you think of this name? What do you think of that name?" And in the book it shows that when Orrin said someone would have really rough sledding, the president would back off. That's the kind of consultation we can need.
So make no mistake about it: The president has the power to nominate. The Senate has the power to consent. And to avoid the kind of divisive fight that--I think all of America wants real consultation before the president nominates--and it's his right to nominate who he wants--but help create that kind of consensus nominee.
MR. RUSSERT: Back in 1999, Senator Hatch, then-Governor Bush said to me that the two justices he respected most on the Supreme Court were Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. Do you believe that he should nominate someone who has the same judicial philosophy as Scalia and Thomas?
SEN. HATCH: Well, first of all, they both are terrific people. They're both doing a great job on the court. Now, they're more conservative than Chuck Schumer and Democrats would like them. With regard to their consultation, you know, I think when the Democrats talk in terms of consensus, they mean they want to pick the nominee or co-pick it. When they talk about consultation, they want it to be done their way. And frankly, this administration has done more consulting than any administration in my whole 29 years in the United States Senate. And it's not only going to be pre-consultation, I think it'll be post-consultation once the person is nominated. And I believe that they deserve a lot of credit for it. They've actually consulted as we sit here with dozens of senators in the United States Senate. That's never been done before. Usually a president will talk with the leadership and then talk with the chairman and ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, but they've gone way beyond that.
Now, the names that I've seen, that have been mentioned, they are all qualified. They are good people. Any one of them would be good. Some would give more angst to the Democrats than others, but they're certainly qualified. And I think what we've got to say here is that the reason that--and Chuck mentioned in my book "Square Peg," in the discussion about the meeting with President Clinton, the reason that he was willing to consult with me in the way that he was is because I was supportive of him. In other words, I wasn't making demands. I wasn't demanding that I help pick the judges. I didn't make threats of filibustering. I didn't, you know, tell him that he had to go the way I wanted to go or that he had to pay attention to our party. I actually told him I would support his people. I think that's one reason why we had such a good relationship.
And during the time President Clinton was president, we put through the second highest total of federal judges in history of the country, 377. So there's a real difference up there right now. Some of our Democrat colleagues are demanding that he pick somebody that they want, or at least--or at least through consultation let them determine the process, and frankly, that's just not the way it works.
MR. RUSSERT: Senator Schumer, if President...
SEN. HATCH: By the way, can I make one other point on that? The Constitution doesn't require consultation. There's nothing in there that says the president has to consult. Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Monroe, Jay all said that the president solely picks these people. But this president is consulting as a courtesy, but that courtesy should go both ways. Not just from him to us as senators, but from us as senators to him.
MR. RUSSERT: Advise and consent?
SEN. HATCH: Darned right.
MR. RUSSERT: Advise and consent?
SEN. SCHUMER: Well, advise and consent is always not a vote, up or down, in the Senate.
SEN. HATCH: No.
MR. RUSSERT: If President Bush put forward someone with a judicial philosophy like Scalia or Thomas, would the Democrats oppose?
SEN. SCHUMER: Well, I think we'd have to wait for the hearing to see, but the bottom line is that what we're looking for--and Orrin is wrong. We don't want it--we know we're not going to choose the nominee. We know the nominee is
going to be a conservative. When Sandra Day O'Connor stepped down, Democrats--we said that somebody like Sandra Day O'Connor, a true conservative, but somebody who saw the other side, who was thoughtful, was pragmatic would be an outstanding-type nominee, and that's not the nominee that a Democratic president would choose. That's not the nominee the Democratic senators would choose. We're trying to reach out in every way.
And the reason that consultation matters is because--You're right, Orrin--a president can choose who he wants, but Constitution says advise, not just consent, and if we want to avoid the kind of fights that we've seen, the kind of real consultation outlined in your book, that President Clinton had with you, we hope that President Bush will have with Senator Reid, Senator Leahy and some of the Democrats.
MR. RUSSERT: President Bush has said there would not be a litmus test, that he would not ask the nominees, he, himself, about their position on abortion or on gay marriage and so forth. Senator Schumer, The New York Times on Monday quotes you as saying this: "All questions are legitimate. ... What is your view on Roe v. Wade? What is your view on gay marriage? They are going to try to get away with the idea that we're not going to know their views. But that's not going to work this time." Is that appropriate, trying to pin down a justice, what their views are, how they may decide a future case?
SEN. SCHUMER: Tim, let's look at this. The Supreme Court justices have enormous power. With a flick of the pen, they can change millions of people's lives. And we have to know a lot more than just whether they went to Pittsburgh Law School or Harvard Law School or their resume. Yes, we should be knowing their judicial philosophy. We should be knowing their legal form of reasoning. There are lots of questions that are legitimate. And, in fact, I'm releasing today a letter from 12 law professors who say that this is extremely appropriate, that asking people questions on their judicial philosophy, on so many issues--"What's your view on the First Amendment and how far it should be expanded? How do you regard the conflict between the First Amendment right to free religion and the establishment clause? How far would you take the distribution of power between the federal government and the states?" This new--the court we've had now is pushing back and saying the states should have more power. "What's your view on the right to privacy which was established in Griswold 40 years ago?"
In fact, Tim, I would argue this: Given the power of the Supreme Court, given the effect it has on the rights of ordinary people, we have an obligation to understand their views.
Now, here's the distinction. Can we ask them about a specific case? Can we ask them: How would you rule on Enron, which has a specific fact situation? Absolutely not. That is against the canons, the judicial ethics, but can you ask them, "What's your view on corporate responsibility and how much role the federal government should have vs. the state government in determining that corporate responsibility?" Those are the kinds of questions we should ask and will ask. Simply to look at a resume is not enough.
MR. RUSSERT: In fact, in 1993, Senator Hatch, Ruth Bader Ginsburg--you asked her about her views of the death penalty. You asked her whether she supported taxpayer funding of abortions. Those are pretty specific questions.
SEN. HATCH: You can ask any question you want on the Senate Judiciary Committee. I have no problem with that at all, no matter how stupid the question may be. But the fact of the matter is, is that I--look, I'll quote Senator Kennedy. He said this. He said, "It is offensive to suggest that a potential justice of the Supreme Court must pass some presumed test of judicial philosophy. It is even more offensive to suggest that a potential justice must pass the litmus test of a single issue group."
SEN. SCHUMER: Yeah.
SEN. HATCH: Now, look, I believe that any question can be asked, but those nominees do not have to answer them, and most of them will not. In fact, the canons of judicial ethics indicate that you really cannot answer questions and should not answer questions about something that may be involved in some future case. And let's take the issue of abortion. There are all kinds of facets to abortion that will ultimately still come to the Supreme Court. Or take a number of the issues that Chuck mentioned; all kinds of facets that may come before the court. You know, I really believe that a justice ought to just say, "Senator, I'd like to answer that for you, except I don't know the answer. I haven't seen the briefs. I haven't heard the facts. And, frankly, I shouldn't be making up my mind in advance, and if I did, you wouldn't want me as a judge."
MR. RUSSERT: What...
SEN. HATCH: So to press them too hard--and you'll notice I asked the question but I did not press her on those questions.
MR. RUSSERT: When do you expect the nomination to be made?
SEN. HATCH: Well, I don't know. You know, there's a real problem here because of timing. We were going to have this August recess, and I suspect the president will nominate somebody before the end of July and hopefully earlier, because it generally takes three to four weeks to have the basic process completed before hearings. Then you've got to set up hearings. Then you've got to have, of course, the Judiciary Committee act and then you've got to bring it to the floor. So we'd like to have this process work before the first Monday in October.
MR. RUSSERT: You will not rule out using a filibuster need be?
SEN. SCHUMER: No, I mean, we'd like to avoid it. We hope there'll be a nominee that even though their views don't agree with ours are at least within the mainstream, some--a judge who will meet the one test that really matters, they will interpret law, not make it. People on the far left, far right want to make law. Neither of them should be on the bench. I've always said, Tim, there should be--a good Supreme Court would have one Scalia and one Brennan, but not five of each.
MR. RUSSERT: To be continued. Senator Chuck Schumer, Senator Orrin Hatch, thanks very much. And we'll be right back.
MR. RUSSERT: That's all for today. We'll be back next week with Watergate reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein on the secret man, Mark Felt, Deep Throat, Woodward's new book.
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