Guest: Evan Kohlmann, Larry Johnson, Christopher Hitchens
JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST (voice-over): The battle of Britain, 21st century-style, as London endures its worst attacks since Nazi raids in World War II. Muslim terrorists rig bombs to explode one by one by one by one. In a city packed with rush hour commuters, the fatalities are shocking.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On the tube, there's, like I said, maybe six, seven people lying on the floor and people with a lot of blood on their faces and ripped clothes.
SCARBOROUGH: We're live in London with the latest, as the war on terror hits the queen's realm.
As London picks up the pieces, the United States is pushed to a heightened alert, as cities all across America beef up security. The big question, could terrorists hit America again?
MICHAEL CHERTOFF, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: We feel we should raise the level here because, obviously, we're concerned about the possibility of a copycat attack.
SCARBOROUGH: Is our government doing enough to keep us safe?
Then, who is responsible? And could al Qaeda be regaining strength?
We'll have our panel of terror experts.
All the latest from a tragic day. Plus, we'll show you the incredible strength that followed.
SCARBOROUGH: Welcome to this special edition of SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, “Attack in London.”
Now, this morning, as the good people of London headed to work, the unthinkable happened. Four bombs exploded, as you know, ripping open three subway car and a double-decker bus. At least 37 people were killed in those vicious attacks and more than 700 injured by Islamic extremists. That included two young innocent women from Tennessee. We're going to be giving you an update on their condition in just a little bit.
You know, it's been a brazen, brutal attack. And we're going to be spending the next hour looking at it from every angle. We're going to be looking at it, obviously, from the angle in Great Britain. We're also going to be asking our experts here at home a couple of tough questions, Are we next in America? Why didn't it happen in here? And can it happen on our rail system, when, after all, let's face it, our federal government is not doing the job keeping us safe when we go on subways, when we go on trains, when we go on buses, and when we go on Amtrak? Practically no security. We'll talk about that in a minute.
But first things first. Let's go right now to London and NBC's Jim Maceda.
JIM MACEDA, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Joe, forensic tests are going on full-steam tonight at the four crime scenes, while NBC News has learned from U.S. officials that British investigators have found timing devices here in London which they believe are linked to today's attacks.
(voice-over): In the city with the most surveillance cameras in the world, it looks like any other busy Thursday in London this morning; 8:51, at the height of the rush hour, the detonation in a subway train in the heart of East London's financial district.
Amateur video captures some of the mayhem. The explosion kills seven.
Subway officials think the cause is a power surge.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All the chief stations are shut down, all of them.
MACEDA: Eight fifty-six, a second explosion rocks another subway train. Passengers would have seen this as they entered a deep tunnel under King's Cross Station, a hub for north London. The blast kills at least 21. It would be the deadliest attack of the day. This man was riding in the front of the train.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was in the front carriage. And people were severely injured there. But I've heard—and I don't know if it's right -that people were even worse further back.
MACEDA: And there is more; 9:17, witnesses report an explosion involving several trains inside the Edgware Road station in West London, a predominantly Muslim area, five dead.
About this time, the Greenwell (ph) family from Memphis, Tennessee, walk off a tourist bus and into their hotel nearby.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The hotel was being used as a makeshift hospital.
MACEDA: Nine forty-seven, and bus number 30 is ripped apart by a fourth blast near Russell Square, a tourist center, killing at least two passengers.
By now, the police are calling the attacks a highly coordinated act of terrorism.
BRIAN PADDICK, LONDON METROPOLITAN POLICE: The police service received no warning about these attacks. And the police service has received no claims of responsibility from any group in connection with these attacks.
MACEDA: British Prime Minister Tony Blair cut short his working day at the G8 Summit of major industrialized nations in Scotland to be briefed back in London. He blames Islamic extremists.
TONY BLAIR, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: When they tried to divide our people or weaken our resolve, we will not be divided and our resolve will hold firm.
MACEDA: By early evening, what would have been a rush for cars, buses and trains turns into waves of eerily quiet commuters walking out of the city, trying to head home.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just keep walking and walking and see where we get. It is just chaos up that way.
MACEDA (on camera): Scotland Yard will now be pouring over all that surveillance video to try to determine how such an attack could occur in what is considered to be one of the West's safest and most highly protected cities—Joe, back to you.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, thanks a lot, Jim.
You know, so many of us have grown up looking at remarkable images from London, from World War II, the Battle of Britain, 1940, the queen surveying the remains and ruins of Buckingham Palace, the skyline of old London in flames, Winston Churchill standing up alone against the world to Nazi tyranny.
But for Londoners, July 7, 2005, will be another day that they will never forget because of the horrible images they saw once again in their beloved city.
Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was a large explosion, a flash of flame down the side of the train, lots of very dense smoke very quickly, lots—lots of grit and rubbish. It was over very quickly, a matter of seconds. But, by then, everyone was on the floor. It was a mess.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We listen to a bang, dark. A ball of fire came in and then just everyone started shouting.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: And I'll tell you, all this chaos happened today just as the G8 Summit of the world's most powerful leaders opened some 400 miles away from London in Scotland.
NBC's Kelly O'Donnell is there traveling with President Bush.
Kelly, what can you tell us?
KELLY O'DONNELL, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Good evening, Joe.
President Bush learned the news directly from British Prime Minister Tony Blair. They were together at a working session here at the G8. Mr. Bush then called in his national security adviser to see if the U.S. had any information about who might be responsible and how could the U.S. assist.
The meetings here about Africa aid and climate change did go on, but there were some disruptions. The president conducted a videoconference linking his authorities in Washington with the people traveling with him here in Scotland, so they could talk about steps that needed to be taken. The president also spent a few minutes watching the news conference, when the secretary of homeland security announced some of the steps that the president had approved.
Mr. Bush also wanted to make known that he stands with the British people, offering his condolences and again saying that he is resolved in the fight against terror.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We will find them. We will bring them to justice. And, at the same time, we will spread an ideology of hope and compassion that will overwhelm their ideology of hate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'DONNELL: Prime Minister Tony Blair had left the summit, spending about eight hours in London for his own briefings. He has since come back to Scotland to continue the work here. President Bush has adjusted his schedule a bit, leaving tomorrow about an hour-and-a-half earlier than planned. Leaders here say they have been able to do two things, manage the crisis, monit or developments and, at the same time, still make progress on the issues that brought them together in the first place, aid to Africa and climate change. So, the G8 Summit has continued, although it's clearly been overshadowed by the events in London Joe.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, thank you so much, Kelly O'Donnell, traveling with the president.
Now let's bring in terror expert Steve Emerson.
Steve, you know what? You listen to Kelly's report, you see what—they're—they're concentrating on at the G8 conference—I understand, antiterrorism hardly made the list of the agenda of the eight most powerful leaders in the world. Have we taken our eyes off the ball again on terrorism and instead focusing on things that aren't as important?
STEVE EMERSON, NBC TERRORISM ANALYST: I think so, Joe.
I think that the Europeans have taken their eyes off the ball.
Perhaps the Spanish have not. Perhaps the Germans have not individually. But, collectively, Europe has really thrown the baby out with the bathwater when it comes to trying to deal with the issue of terrorism. They are afraid of any type of accusations of racism.
And, yet, they basically have turned a blind eye to the whole creation of a vast network of terrorists operating under their own noses and are working directly with the insurgency in Iraq, as well as with anti-American terrorists in Afghanistan. The fact of the matter is, Joe, the European Union really needs to come to grips with this reality.
Hopefully, if there's anything good that comes out of this tragedy, it will galvanize the Europeans and particularly the British government into cracking down the number of radical Islamic groups and cells that are operating under their own protection in their own territory at this time.
SCARBOROUGH: And, Steve, obviously, a lot operating in Great Britain. I understand Great Britain is a bit more lenient with a lot of these radical clerics than even France, who cracks down on them from time to time.
Let me ask you the $64,000 question tonight. Who did this?
EMERSON: Look, we don't know specifically the identities, but there's no doubt that it was Islamic extremists. And I don't go into the notion that somehow this was an al Qaeda cell necessarily, because I view al Qaeda as an ideology, as opposed to a corporate enterprise.
These are militant jihadists that can aggregate themselves for one operation, then disband. There are lots of them. There was one estimate in “The Wall Street Journal” that there are up to 15,000 supporters of bin Laden in Great Britain alone. That could cause a tremendous amount of damage, Joe. And there are lots of Islamic clerics, from France to Spain, to Italy, to German, to the United Kingdom, of course, that preach jihad and have been able to get away with murder for years.
SCARBOROUGH: It's been an invasion of Western Europe. There have been a lot of conservative critics who have been saying that for some time. They've got to get—they've got to get their arms around this crisis.
I want to ask you now about America. Obviously, if you get on a train in Washington, go up to New York, you don't even get scanned, no security at all. Why can't we be next, because, after all, let's face it, we're not focusing on trains? We're not focusing on ports, the way we should post-9/11.
EMERSON: Well, you can be sure, Joe, that if—if the 9/11 attacks had taken place on trains, they would have the same strict and stringent security procedures as now apply at airports.
And we're only as good as our own experience. Look, there are other issues here. The Europeans are much more reliant on mass transit, particularly trains, than the American utilize. Number two is, we don't want to interrupt the free flow of passengers. And, number three, people don't want to be inconvenienced.
But you're 100 percent right. It's only a matter of time, particularly because this is the fifth attempted or successful attack against a mass transit train in the last three years in Europe or the United States.
SCARBOROUGH: Steve, you're exactly right. Of course, all of us remember what happened in Spain a year-and-a-half ago, and now, of course, this. I'm afraid America may be next if we don't wake up.
Steve Emerson, we greatly appreciate you being with us tonight.
Want you to stay around, because this special edition of SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY is going to continue in just a minute.
Billions spent, billions spent on homeland security in America, but are we still vulnerable like an attack that just happened in London? One politician is already criticizing the president tonight.
And, also, we're going to have the latest on these two young American girls. They're from Tennessee. They were visiting, both in London, and were injured in the attacks in the subway system over there. Their parents flying over there tonight. We'll have that complete story when our continuing coverage of the attacks in London continues coming up next.
SCARBOROUGH: Devastating blasts in Great Britain today, obviously, among those injured, two young girls from Tennessee. We'll have the report on them, their latest condition, and also what of course is the very latest happening over there—when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BLAIR: When they try to intimidate us, we will not be intimidated. When they seek to change our country or our way of life by these methods, we will not be changed. When they try to divide our people or weaken our resolve, we will not be divided and our resolve will hold firm.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: You know, God bless that guy. Tony Blair has been standing alone in Europe against terrorism for the most part, when you look, of course, at the old alliance of France, Germany and Great Britain. He's been standing alone. Now maybe the rest of Europe will understand what he's been warning about for so long.
Welcome back to our show. Of course, amidst all the tragedy and horror in London, we learned there's a frightening side also to this story. Katie and Emily Benton of Knoxville, Tennessee, were in London and in the subway system when the bombings occurred.
Now, according to their father, the girls, who are in their early 20s, were traveling in London, like so many young Americans do after graduating from college. According to reports, Emily, who is 20 years old, suffered multiple injuries, requiring surgery, while Katie, 21, sustained shrapnel wounds to her back, her neck and both legs.
Now, they're both in the same hospital. And reports are that they're recovering tonight. But earlier tonight, the pastor at the girls' church talked about them.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICK DUNN, PASTOR, FELLOWSHIP CHURCH: They have invested in our community. They have demonstrated character. They have demonstrated a passion for their faith. They are very gifted and articulate.
And so, they are the just kind of women that we know this story will be used powerfully in their lives and in the lives of other people. And, in that, we're really thankful for how God will use that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: And, of course, our prayers are with them and with all of the people that were affected by these terrible, terrible attacks today.
Now, in the aftermath of the terror attacks, an eerie silence has fallen over London.
ITN'S Keir Simmons reports on that side of the story.
KEIR SIMMONS, ITN REPORTER (voice-over): At times today, parts of London, one of the greatest cities in the world, was simply silenced. This was Piccadilly Circus, famous for its crowds, almost empty. But, at other times there was panic and unease, which soon persuaded many simply to get away. This morning, queues of cars blocked the main E Street out of the city, the traffic jam snarling back over Tower Bridge. Those without transport simply walked.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's scary. Got a little boy at home, so I come in on the central line, so it's quite scary.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just keep walking and walking and see where we get. It's just chaos up that way.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) Can you tell me what time?
SIMMONS: Outside a closed Victoria Station, rumors about the numbers of explosions involved, the numbers of people killed, by the afternoon, thousands upon thousands of people evacuating the city.
Soon, streets that would have been congested were clear. And though there were streams of people still on foot, many said nothing as they walked. The London Eye was closed. And as I traveled through Covent Garden shopping center at 4:00 this afternoon, I didn't see one shop that was open. Tonight, London is a city in shock, an empty place.
Keir Simmons, ITV news, Central London.
SCARBOROUGH: Boy, certainly is a city under shock. And, as London reels from the attacks, here at home, cities from coast to coast are beefing up security, checking transit systems and increasing vigilance.
Here's Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff at a press conference this morning after the attacks.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL CHERTOFF, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: In light of today's attacks in London, the United States government is raising its threat level from code yellow, or elevated, to code orange, high, targeted only to the mass transit portion of the transportation sector.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: Now I want to bring in a man who certainly knows an awful lot about security here and in London, has been following the war on terror as closely as any reporter in America, our great friend. He is Christopher Hitchens of “Vanity Fair.”
Chris, thank you for being with us tonight.
Can you help explain to us, why Great Britain, why now?
CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS, “VANITY FAIR”: Well, the Metropolitan Police in London decided after the bombings in Madrid that London was probably next.
And it was around that point you began to see ugly concrete barriers going up around the House of Commons and House of Lords and other very open and public spots and a lot more surveillance cameras. But, in effect, what people were resigned to was the thought that it was not a matter of if, but of when.
SCARBOROUGH: You know, obviously, a man that you or I have little respect for, George Galloway, a member of Parliament and also a frequent critic of the British involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan, had this to say about the attacks—quote—“We argued, as did the security services in this country, that the attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq would increase the threat of terrorism attacks in Britain. Tragically, Londoners have now paid the price of the government ignoring such warnings.”
Is Mr. Gallagher's viewpoints, are they shared by many in London?
HITCHENS: Well, he got a very good rebuke from the Labor defense minister today. And I hope “The Daily Mirror” will publish what I think of him tomorrow.
I mean, according to him, it's not the perpetrators who are responsible. They didn't kill anybody. The murderer is Tony Blair. I mean, that's all you have to believe, really, morally to agree with a man like him. Well, you should additionally believe that the root cause of terrorism is the resistance to it.
I suppose the simplest reply would be to say that the first three British people killed fighting in Afghanistan, the first three citizens, were, I'm sorry to have to tell you, fighting for the Taliban. So, this movement of jihadist forces, some of them homegrown, was operating in and out of Britain long before there were any British soldiers in Afghanistan or Iraq. But I think that takes care of the logic, don't you?
HITCHENS: The worrying thing, therefore...
SCARBOROUGH: Some commentators have been saying throughout the day, Christopher, that, actually, Great Britain is a bit too politically correct. They're concerned about being seen as people discriminating against Muslim extremists. What is your take on that?
HITCHENS: Well, that's actually partly true of the prime minister, who is, I think quite wrongly, introducing a bill to prevent anyone being attacked on grounds of religion, in other words, to put religion outside the sphere of public criticism.
There is an ancient blasphemy law in Britain which used to extend only to Christians. They now want to extend, instead of repealing it, this law to Muslims. I do think that that's a foolish attitude. But, on the other hand, you will—you won't, I think, see any unpleasantness in London in the next couple of days. The British sort of aren't like that at all. No Muslim grocery is going to be knocked over or mosque attacked, I would be pretty certain. I don't think that's political correctness. I think that's just ordinary decency.
SCARBOROUGH: All right.
Christopher Hitchens, stay with us. We're going to be right back.
And, when we do return, of course, we all know that al Qaeda has been weakened, but could they still hit us here at home? Many people believe so, obviously, because we haven't spent the money on, well, Amtrak, our own subways, our ports. We're going to be talking to one of the leading experts on terrorism and ask him to grade America's performance in that area.
Plus, we saw it in America on 9/11, the human spirit triumphing over tragedy. Are we already seeing it in London? We're going to be telling you that part of the story when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY comes back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUDOLPH GIULIANI ®, FORMER MAYOR OF NEW YORK: This is a psychological war, as much as it is an actual war. And part of the psychology is to create chaos. The people of London resisted that today. And I think they're going to resist that tomorrow and the next day as well.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: Our coverage of the attacks in London is going to continue in just a minute. Plus, a major story that is developing here in the states, a monster hurricane headed our way. Unfortunately, I think it's headed my way specifically in northwest Florida. And we're going to have the latest on this growing and possibly historic storm.
But, first, here's the latest news that you and your family need to know.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People started saying prayers, praying to God, panicking, breaking the carriage windows with their bare hands, anything to get oxygen into the carriage, because, the more people tried, the more distressed they became.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: You know, the British people are obviously very famous for their resolve. Despite the horror in London today, Londoners are doing what they can to keep their spirits up and to fight back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For many months now, the police and security services had warned us all about the possibility of an attack on London.
We were asked to be vigilant. And we were. But, after a while, our natural optimism took over, even in the face of the depressing inevitability of terror's far-reaching grasp.
And so, when the terrorists struck at the peak of the morning rush hour and at the heart of the city's transport system, it was as shocking and horrifying as the bombers intended. They had, after all, given no warning.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So much smoke, people panicking. And then people started to calm down. People wanted to get to the back of the train, away from the danger area, but there was nowhere for them to go. And then they took us off the train and they made us walk all the way back past it all, dead bodies on the tracks, train blown open.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the space of only a few minutes, dozens of people were dead. Countless more were injured, burned, maimed and blinded, people going about their ordinary lives, victims of extraordinary barbarity.
Our capital city and its way of life have been attacked. Yesterday's good-natured celebrations after London had been awarded the Olympic Games in 2012 are replaced now by anxiety and fear. Tonight, as people struggle home by whatever means they can, they will be more alive than ever to the stark reality of the threat we all now face.
But this is a robust city, shaped by rugged tradition and steeped in a proud history. Breaking its will not be easy. The German bombers tried it in the last despairing years of the Second World War. London was attacked repeatedly. And the city paid a terrible price in loss of life and massive destruction.
Many years later, it faced up to the almost constant threat of IRA bombs. Again, people lost their lives and many attacks were aimed significantly at those London centers of commerce and influence, so envied in so many other parts of the world. But those attacks failed, too.
And, if the people of this city have their way, the bombers will fail again. And although perhaps a little battered and bruised tonight, that London spirit, resolute and indomitable, will very quickly reassert itself.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: You know what. He's exactly right. But I'll tell you this. It's not going to be easy to break the spirit of Londoners. If the past is any indication, it's going to be impossible.
Now, for more on these bombings and what they mean at home, let me bring back Christopher Hitchens of “Vanity Fair.” And also with us tonight, Larry Johnson, a former CIA analyst and also counterterrorism official at the State Department.
Larry, I want to start with you.
LARRY JOHNSON, COUNTERTERRORISM EXPERT: Sure.
SCARBOROUGH: I look at these attacks on the train in Great Britain. And I look and I say, you know what? There's nothing stopping that from happening here in America, because, when it comes to trains, when it comes to public transportation, other than airplanes, we just haven't gotten serious post-9/11. Is that—I mean, am I correct?
JOHNSON: You're correct. There are no really effective defensive measures in place that would prevent somebody from doing this.
SCARBOROUGH: Why not?
JOHNSON: Well, our biggest—Look, our biggest safeguard is that we do not have the kind of extremist Islamic communities embedded in our society here that exist in London. And...
SCARBOROUGH: Why is that?
JOHNSON: It's just—it's the cultural, I guess the colonial heritage of Great Britain. I mean, remember, Great Britain was in the middle of an invasion in Iraq back in the 1920s and lost a significant number of soldiers then.
You have had migrations from what were formerly British colonies into Great Britain that you haven't had into the United States. I was involved in an investigation early last year in Britain. A girl who was from a prominent Muslim family had basically been kidnapped and brainwashed by a group of Muslim extremists. And we had to find her, locate her, basically kidnap her back and get her out.
And we had a lot of difficulty getting cooperation from the police over there.
JOHNSON: So, I mean, it is significantly different in terms of the cultural situation there. That's really the biggest safeguard here, because, Joe, look, at the end of the day, we're not willing to spend the amount of money that would be required and the inconvenience that would be required to put the subways and trains at a safe distance from a terrorist attack. I mean, that's just the reality.
SCARBOROUGH: Boy, I'll tell you what. I'll tell you what. It's a dangerous reality.
Christopher Hitchens, earlier today, you had Hillary Clinton, senator for New York, coming out and actually criticizing George Bush, criticizing our government, saying that we're just not spending enough money on counterterrorism. Take a listen to what she had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), NEW YORK: But the fact is, the president's budget calls for a $50 million cut in what we appropriated last year. Last year, although Chuck and I wanted more money and the Senate unanimously passed a bill for $570 million, we got $150 million out of the Congress.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: Mr. Hitchens, is Senator Clinton correct?
HITCHENS: I have no idea. My presumption would be that she's just fooling with the numbers. But that's just because I don't like her and can't stand the sight of her. It's—look...
HITCHENS: It's not a matter of money.
SCARBOROUGH: ... great America.
HITCHENS: It's not a matter of money. I mean, I used to not say this, because I didn't want to give anyone even the idea. I didn't want to even feel that I was.
But, look, how difficult is it to work out? I can get on the train at Union Station in Washington and I load my bags on full of explosives booking the ticket to New York and I get off at Wilmington, Delaware. There's nothing to stop me doing that. There's nothing to stop me driving a truck full of explosives into the Holland Tunnel. And there never will be enough money to stop people doing that.
That's—if it could be stopped with extra expenditure, there would be nothing to worry about. We are vulnerable precisely because we live in an open society. Surely, that's the root problem, to begin with. You can't spend your way out of that.
HITCHENS: You can, however, resolve not to be frightened by it and not to be impressed by it. But you have got to reckon in a war that you will go on losing people.
Let's bring in right now Evan Kohlmann. He's the author of “Al Qaeda's Jihad in Europe” and also an MSNBC terror analyst.
Let me ask you the same question, Evan.
Is America doing what it needs to do to win this war on terror at home?
EVAN KOHLMANN, MSNBC TERRORISM ANALYST: Well, real security, unfortunately, is a very difficult gambit. It's not as easy as I think Hillary Clinton is making it sound.
Unfortunately, no matter how many police officers we put down there, no matter how many metal detectors we put on Amtrak trains, there are still ways of getting at us. This is an open country. We're a country of soft targets. If we want to stop terrorists, we have to put the money into intelligence and hunt these terrorists down before they launch a terrorist attack, because once there is a bomb in play, it is just too late.
We're talking about groups here that are using what best can be described as human cruise missiles. There's no way to stop a human cruise missile. Once one of these people has been dispatched out on the mission, it's too late. The money should go to intelligence, simply put. Are we doing a good enough job? We're never doing a good enough job. But we—there are plenty of places for us to improve.
SCARBOROUGH: Have we weakened al Qaeda?
KOHLMANN: Have we weakened al Qaeda?
SCARBOROUGH: Have we weakened al Qaeda in America?
KOHLMANN: Al Qaeda has morphed. It's changed. It's become into an ideology from an organization. It's become even more difficult for us to track and shut down.
Have we shut down in al Qaeda in America? Well, there was only a limited al Qaeda presence here to begin with. Have we done damage to it? Yes. Are there still al Qaeda operatives here? Unfortunately, the answer is also yes. We've seen in plots that have been revealed over the past year that the same al Qaeda operatives that are taking a look at the London underground and other similar targets are also checking out financial centers on the East Coast, targets on the West Coast.
Some of them are fanciful plots, things that will never actually be pulled off. Some of them are more realistic, in the same style as the attack today in London. And if you're asking me whether or not a terrorist group could pull off what we saw today in London here in the United States, I would be inclined to answer yes, undoubtedly.
SCARBOROUGH: Larry, Larry Johnson, let me ask you whether we're going to see al Qaeda in America moving from the so-called hard targets to the softer targets, where you go after civilians, instead of the Pentagon, instead of the World Trade Center.
JOHNSON: No, I don't think so, because, again, I have a slightly different view of this than Evan.
I don't think we have a significant or a credible al Qaeda threat here in the United States. We could acquire one in the future perhaps. But that—that gets back to the heart of, the best way to manage this is not, as Hillary Clinton suggested, throwing more money at the problem. It is, we need to organize ourselves, much as we did in World War II.
In World War II, you had George Marshall, who was in charge of the military effort. He designated a commander for the Pacific, MacArthur, a commander for the European theater, Eisenhower. And they handled it. If you go to the White House today and you ask, who's in charge of finding bin Laden, you won't get an answer. DOD thinks it's in charge. CIA thinks it's in charge. FBI thinks it's in charge. State sort of thinks it's in charge.
But there's not a coordinated, focused effort. And I know this because I work with a lot of the people or some of the people that have this effort.
SCARBOROUGH: And, Larry, how depressing, almost four years after September 11, we still don't know who's in charge of finding Osama bin Laden.
SCARBOROUGH: Larry, thanks for being with us.
Christopher, thank you.
Evan, also appreciate you being with us and enlightening us on security in America and across the country.
Now, our coverage of the attacks in London is going to continue in just a minute.
SCARBOROUGH: Welcome back to the show.
You know, we're going to continue our coverage of the terror attacks in London, but, right now, back home, we want to talk to you about the first hurricane of the season. Hurricane Dennis is picking up speed. It is getting so dangerous as it approaches Cuba.
Take a look at this live Doppler radar map. It's expected to hit the island tonight as a Category 4. Now, this is what it looked like when it slammed into Jamaica and in the Caribbean. In Jamaica, 10-foot waves crashed ashore and hundreds of islanders fled flooded homes for shelters.
Winds whipped up to 110 miles an hour and hurricane warnings have issued for the lower Florida Keys. It's expected to move up the Florida coast. And evacuations, I'm sure, are going to start soon. And I can tell you, these sights that you're looking right now, horrifying for the people of Florida, who went through hell last fall, and are afraid that this hurricane season is starting earlier than ever, and it's going to be more dangerous than ever. It looks like we're going to have to go through it all again this year.
You know, it was just yesterday that the people of London were celebrating. They had a lot to celebrate. The city had won its bid to host the 2012 Olympic Games. But, this morning, the pictures coming out of London painted a much different and tragic story.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm walking towards the bus and the whole front section of the bus has been totally destroyed by the bomb. I'm trying to walk further around now around the corner.
There is basically...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Emily, sorry to interrupt. Just want to be clear about this. We have heard so far about explosions on the underground. You're saying a bomb on the bus, quite clearly.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As I was coming down up the (INAUDIBLE) place, I saw this bus literally just explode. There was a huge noise there and bits of glass flying everywhere.
We hit the train, hit something, and just because we were still in one piece, there was no fire. And all the windows were blown in. And some of the metal had been bent with—inside the carriage. So, I thought it was a pretty hard impact. But I had no idea at the time that it was—it could have been a terrorist attack.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People started to scream because there was a burning smell. And everyone, just kind of long story short, thought they were going to die.
People started saying prayers, praying to God, panicking, breaking the carriage windows with their bare hands. We were all trapped like sardines waiting to die. And I honestly thought my time was up.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We could hear the screaming coming from the carriage just in front of us, who took the full blast. And there was people trapped, twisted. There was bits of the carriage missing, seats missing and people covered in blood and no help.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People wanted to get to the back of the train, away from the danger area, but there was nowhere for them to go. And then they took us off the train and they made us walk all the way back past it all.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A cordon all the way down (INAUDIBLE)
KEN LIVINGSTONE, LORD MAYOR OF LONDON: This was not a terrorist attack against the mighty and the powerful. It was not aimed at presidents or prime ministers. It was aimed at ordinary working-class Londoners, black and white, Muslim and Christian, Hindu and Jew, young and old, indiscriminate attempt to slaughter, irrespective of any consideration to age (INAUDIBLE) for religion, whatever.
That isn't an ideology. It isn't even a perverted faith. It is just indiscriminate attempt at mass murder.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everyone is just in a state of shock. No one really knows what to do, because the fact that it's a coordinated attack. People have actually been planning—obviously, it was coordinated. It's been planned for a little while.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was expected that it was going to happen sooner or later. And it's just a big shock really.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is par for the course nowadays, isn't it? All they tried to do is disrupt things. They'll not get away with disrupting things.
BLAIR; It's important, however, that those engaged in terrorism realize that our determination to defend our values and our way of life is greater than their determination to cause death and destruction to innocent people in a desire to impose extremism on the world. Whatever they do, it is our determination that they will never succeed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: When we come back, my final thoughts on the challenges facing this country, this culture, this civilization.
That's when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns.
SCARBOROUGH: Up next, my thoughts on how we win a war on terror in the age of Paris Hilton, when too many people get their advice from rock stars, instead of our leaders.
That's when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns.
SCARBOROUGH: And now my final thoughts on the attacks.
You know, unfortunately, friends, too many of us are not serious about this war on terror. And how long must we sing this song? Americans and its allies are attacked. We promise dramatic measures to repulse the enemy. And, in the case of the Nazis or the Taliban, we do just that.
Then, contentment sets in. We stop listening to the warnings of the Churchills and the Bushes and, instead, we focus on speeches by rock stars and by Hollywood actors. When our world leaders get together, they focus on global warming and the causes of the moment, instead of fighting the war of our lifetime.
But, while the rock stars preach, our enemies scheme. While movie stars practice politics, suicide bombers plan on how to kill the most innocent people with a single blast. You know, our leaders may ignore antiterrorism at G8 conferences these days, but, of course, that suddenly changes when the first reports of explosions come in. Then, suddenly, that idiot Bush starts looking a little bit better than the likes of the Chiracs and the Schroeders standing next to him. And Tony Blair, well, he suddenly seems to have a more realistic grasp on global realities than, say, Bob Geldof.
Now, I'm sure many Americans would like to believe that this attack will awaken world leaders. But I doubt it. We live in a silly age, the age of Hilton, the age of Teddy, the age of Chirac. We're not a serious people. Some concern themselves more with terrorists' rights than civilization's future. Reporters work overtime demeaning the very troops who protect our land. And rock stars replace grim Cassandras, like Bush and Churchill, as the prophets of pop cultures. The results are almost always disastrous. And, today in London, they were deadly.
That's all the time we have for tonight. I'll see you tomorrow in
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