updated 7/8/2005 12:06:06 PM ET 2005-07-08T16:06:06

Guest: Buck Revell, Fred Burton, Yossef Bodansky

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TUCKER CARLSON, HOST (voice-over):  The face of death. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  There was an explosion, a flash of light. 

Everything went dark. 

CARLSON:  Destruction. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Please start moving down. 

CARLSON:  And despair. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  We've since this before. 

CARLSON:  Another brutal reminder to the world, terrorists still walk among us. 

TONY BLAIR, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER:  It is not an attack on one nation, but on all nations. 

CARLSON:  Was this the work of al Qaeda and is the U.S. next? 

MICHAEL CHERTOFF, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY:  Obviously, we are concerned about the possibility of a copycat attack. 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CARLSON:  Welcome to this special edition of THE SITUATION.  I'm Tucker Carlson. 

Today's rush hour attacks in London, one day after the city was granted the 2012 Olympic Games, have left at least 37 people dead, more than 700 injured.  British Prime Minister Tony Blair is blaming the disaster on Islamic terrorists, but vowing to remain unintimidated.  “We will not be terrorized,” Blair told his country.  And he seemed to mean it. 

The four explosions went off within an hour of each other beginning at 8:51 local time.  They hit three subway stations, a double-decker bus.  Authorities immediately shut down all subway lines immediately. 

For the latest on the situation, NBC's Janet Shamlian joins us live from London. 

Janet, what is happening there?

JANET SHAMLIAN, NBC CORRESPONDENT:  Good evening, Tucker.

Well, as can be expected, these explosions could not have come at a worse time, in the middle of the morning rush and in some of the city's busiest areas.  There are developments to tell you about tonight, London police reportedly they have found what appears to be parts of timing devices.  Those could be vital clues in determining responsibility for the attack. 

Prime Minister Tony Blair has now rejoined the G8 meeting in Scotland.  He had left that gathering earlier to assess the damage in London.  And officials here are warning that Friday will not be a normal day in this city, especially for those who use public transportation, millions of people each day.  In fact, they are advising, if you don't have to go anywhere on Friday, if you don't have to use public transportation, maybe it's best to stay home. 

Many of the underground lines will remain closed, impacting business and just day-to-day life in this city.  For example, it was really difficult to get cell phone service in parts of London today, just the sheer number of people trying to make calls, things like that now returning to normal.

You mentioned the injuries, 700 reported.  We are learning that some of those are critical.  And it is possible, Tucker, the death toll could climb.  We are also hearing stories of people being trapped in railcars underground.  They're starting to tell their stories, how they get out—how they got out, rather, sometimes having to walk past the bodies of others. 

This attack comes just a day after London celebrated its winning bid for the 2012 Olympic Games.  The mood here taking a dramatic turn in the last 18 hours or so. 

Tucker, it's early morning here, just after 2:00 a.m.  In a few hours, we will get a better look at how well the city is able to get back on its feet after a very tragic day—Tucker. 

CARLSON:  Well, Janet, we were hearing reports all day about the mood of Londoners.  And a lot of those reports described it as calm, stoic.  Rudy Giuliani said he was amazed by how unruffled a lot of the people he saw on the street today. 

What's your sense of how the people in London responded to this? 

SHAMLIAN:  Unruffled is one way to look at it.  Internalizing is another.  It was very quiet.  The mood was somber.  I don't know that people—it wasn't that they weren't, you know, affected by it.  But it was just perhaps in some ways like after 9/11, people just kind of walking around in a stunned kind of mood. 

You know, it was definitely calm here today.  And that's a fact also of—a lot of businesses closed at noon.  Companies wanted to be able to get their employees home.  They knew there would be transportation issues.  The city shut down fairly early today. 

CARLSON:  All right.  The British are a tough group. 

Janet Shamlian, thanks a lot for joining us so late.  We appreciate it. 

SHAMLIAN:  Sure. 

CARLSON:  I'm joined now from Washington, D.C., by terrorism expert and MSNBC analyst Dr. Walid Phares, and, from Boston, domestic terrorism expert and national security analyst for MSNBC Juliette Kayyem.

Thank you for both for joining us. 

WALID PHARES, MSNBC TERRORISM ANALYST:  Thank you. 

Juliette, first to you. 

Do you see a significance to the timing?  A lot of people have connected these bombings with the G8 Summit up in Scotland.  Do you think there is a connection?  Or is there some other connection?  Why today? 

JULIETTE KAYYEM, NBC NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST:  I think there is absolutely a connection, that the first day of the G8 Summit, that it's linked, that the terrorist attacks are linked to a major international event in the area.  They are also linked, of course, to Tony Blair, who—many viewed this G8 Summit as his G8 Summit, the Africa G8 Summit. 

So, in many ways, both on personality and place, it was a timed attack.  And that's I think really the sort of just many disturbing things about today, but of course one of the most disturbing is, they could not only plan the attack in so many different locales.  They could plan it on a specific date, which is not easy to do, because, you know, terrorist attacks get postponed.  They get disrupted, all sorts of things. 

So, that means this is—was well organized and just went under the radar screen, is at least what we are—what we are hearing right now. 

CARLSON:  So, then I guess, Walid, the question is, what's the message?  You saw a bunch of pop analysis today of what these terrorist attacks were supposed to mean. 

KAYYEM:  Right. 

CARLSON:  George Galloway, a radical member of Parliament, even released a statement today connecting them to the war in Iraq.  Do you think there is a clear message of these attacks—from these attacks? 

PHARES:  Well, we have, first of all, to make a distinction between our debate about how they think and really how they think. 

They have been preparing for a series of attacks against the West in general, the United States in particular, years before 9/11.  They did the same for Spain.  And now, of course, with regard to Great Britain, they are very upset with the series of arrests made by London over the past year, over the past six months particularly. 

One of their leaders, one of the leaders of the jihadists, Abu Hamza al-Masri, is in custody.  He's in front of a court now because he has been part of an effort to recruit for al Qaeda.  So, there is a little bit more than just symbolism.  Symbolism is what they use to strike, but there is always a physical reason for why they did it at this time. 

CARLSON:  Juliette, there seems to be this consensus that these are attacks committed by al Qaeda.  Do you buy that, A?  And, B, what exactly does it mean?  Can anybody declare himself an al Qaeda leader, London branch? 

KAYYEM:  Anyone—exactly.  Anyone can. 

And that's probably what we're seeing.  There's a variety of ways to think of al Qaeda.  There is the old al Qaeda, which was the bin Laden al Qaeda.  When I was at the Justice Department, that's what we prosecuted.  That was the well-structured al Qaeda that, say, attacked—the Africa Embassy bombings.  There was a leadership.  Bin Laden was involved with sort of picking where the car was going to be against the Africa embassy bombs or whatever else. 

Now, today, we can't really talk in that—I highly doubt bin Laden even knew that this was going to happen.  These are al Qaeda-inspired is the right way to think of it.  This is a movement.  These are al Qaeda sort of inspired events.  And that's the way we have to sort of start thinking about it, because then something like the arrest of bin Laden is significant.  But it's not significant, in the sense of potentially stopping future terrorist attacks. 

There's an M.O. we're seeing here.  It was—it was 9/11, Spain, and now this today, which is the sequential attacks against airplanes, trains and subways.  I don't know what's next.  But, if you are a terrorist with any sort of training, this is what you're going to do now. 

CARLSON:  I wonder, Walid, just almost a political question.  If these attacks will be recorded by history as a response to the war in Iraq—and I bet they will—I wonder if they don't strengthen President Bush's contention that the war in Iraq is a war against terror? 

PHARES:  Mind-sets are already set on whatever they want.

I mean, those who are against the entire campaign to go into Iraq, remove Saddam Hussein, establish a new government and engage in the war of ideas or so, they're not going to change their mind on this or other camp.  What may be shifting is basically those who are in the middle, who basically are afraid that a—excess in the war on terror may bring those strikes into the West. 

And those who are basically, as you said, Tucker, saying that, you see, they will strike us no matter what.  They have that strength.  They could do it.  Actually, the French are telling us, the experts in France are telling us that even France, who—which was not part of the war on Iraq, has been very active in arresting, dismantling a lot of cells.  There was a big conspiracy to destroy a big church in Strasbourg and other places in southern France.  But the French are not making a lot of publicity about it. 

CARLSON:  I want to get a—before we run out of time—we can talk more about this later in the hour. 

But I want to get from each of you a quick prediction about the response you expect from this. 

Walid, you first.  Do you think the British will pull a Spain, essentially, and concede something in some way?  Or do you think that they are going to respond aggressively and change their policy toward terrorism and make it even more assertive? 

PHARES:  What the jihadists want to see happening in the next few—not days, of course, but weeks, will be an immense pressure on Tony Blair's government probably to bring him down.  That's what they want. 

What may happen is something in between.  There will be a lot of protests.  But, at the same time, the bulk of the British population, because they saw what has happened, and what has happened basically indicates that, regardless of what the British policies are, innocents are going to be paying a tribute, they are going to be paying, actually, a big sacrifice.  It may backlash on al Qaeda. 

Osama bin Laden miscalculated on America.  They calculated well on Spain.  And I think they are going to be miscalculating on Great Britain. 

CARLSON:  What do you think, Juliette?  Do you buy that, that this is going to make the British even madder...

KAYYEM:  Right. 

CARLSON:  ... and more resolved to defeat al Qaeda? 

KAYYEM:  I think—I think that's right.

I think, so long as Tony Blair is in charge of Britain, which is a big question mark in the year to come, that—that Britain's policy will not change.  This is going to keep them steadfast, so long as he's in charge.  Of course, there may be an election based on this eventually, if his—if his hold on Parliament falls apart. 

I think the more interesting thing to watch now is not Britain, of course, nor the United States, because we have the same leadership, what happens in the other European and also moderate Arab states in Iraq.  Is the French model, the sort of go-it-alone, no-U.S., the one that many criticized, is that the model that's going to be the model for the future for Europe and other countries, let alone moderate Arab states?

We saw—we're seeing what's happening in Iraq, where the moderate Arab states are now being targeted.  Their diplomats are being killed or shot at.  Is—is the question that Bush asked, you're with us or against it, worth—worth it for these countries anymore?  And that's the political gamble and the political stakes for Bush and Tony Blair at this stage. 

CARLSON:  My prediction, for what it is worth, is I think this will strengthen Tony Blair's hand domestically in Britain.  Politically, I think it will remind people why they liked him in the first place.  He's tough. 

Juliette, Walid, please, stick around. 

KAYYEM:  Thank you. 

CARLSON:  We will bring you back in just a second. 

Still more to come on today's tragic situation in London.  I'm joined next by former FBI head of counterterrorism Buck Revell to discuss how the U.S. can prevent such a horrifying attack on its mass transportation systems.

Please stay with us. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  All the windows came in.  And none of us knew

what happened.  And it was mayhem.  And then the driver came out of the

carriage and—which was quite scary, because he shone a red light and all

·         we all thought—I just thought—well, I thought I was dead. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Coming up, can we prevent a subway or bus attack in the U.S.?  The FBI's former head of counterterrorism joins us after the break to answer that question. 

Stay tuned. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHERTOFF:  We feel, at least in the short term, we should raise the level here, because, obviously, we're concerned about the possibility of a copycat attack. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  Welcome back.  That was Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff explaining the elevation of the U.S. terror alert to orange on all mass transit today. 

The attacks in London show that even a country that's been dealing with the threat of terrorist bombings for decades can still be vulnerable, and not just to bombs.  In New York, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security reportedly has been studying the potential effects of a gas attack in Grand Central Terminal. 

Joining me now is counterterrorism expert and the former Deputy Director of the FBI Buck Revell. 

Mr. Revell, thanks a lot for joining us. 

OLIVER “BUCK” REVELL, FORMER FBI DEPUTY DIRECTOR:  Good to be with you. 

CARLSON:  The first thing I thought when I saw this story early this morning was, have we been spending too much time and money trying to protect aviation, to the exclusion of terrestrial transportation?  Have we? 

REVELL:  Well, certainly, we've spent the majority of money so far on aviation security.  And it's somewhat easier to deal with, because you do have control over the passengers and also the luggage and packages as they go on board the aircraft. 

But, certainly, surface transportation, subways, buses, trains, are equally vulnerable, in fact, more vulnerable.  And we haven't spent as much time and effort as we need to.  But the fact of it is, if you have an enemy that is determined, particularly in a democracy, they can generally find a way to reach a target that you have not fully protected. 

CARLSON:  Well, I think everyone agrees that subway attacks are the scariest, being trapped underground.  I mean, it's just—it's horrifying.  And everyone is worried about it.  And so, it gives you the impression, maybe there is nothing we can do to really protect the subways.  Is that right, do you think? 

REVELL:  Well, we can do a lot.  We can do a better job with developing detection systems, gas and also chemical and explosives and obviously biological or—should be very high priorities. 

We can do a better job of training the cadre, the professionals, both the police and the transit authorities, to look out for aberrant situations, unusual circumstances.  And we can educate the public to be the eyes and ears of law enforcement, if they see anything unusual or peculiar or something left behind, to immediately report it and not take it for granted. 

But all these things being said, obviously, the best way to prevent it is through intelligence.  And we need to do an even better job of identifying the groups and trying to find ways to penetrate them and gain the intelligence on prevention of the events before they occur. 

CARLSON:  Well, but when you look at a story like what happened today in London, a country that's been dealing with terrorism, mostly from the IRA, for 40 years at least, and they have, I think, a pretty sophisticated intelligence network in and around London, and they were not able to prevent this.  They said they had no idea it was coming.  Doesn't that make you think that, in the end, maybe there is nothing we can do? 

REVELL:  Well, we can't take the position that there's nothing we can do.  We can prevent many acts.  But, occasionally, they will get through. 

I mean, Israel still has bus bombings.  And they have a very effective system.  We can't just give up in despair.  We have to do everything possible to try and prevent.  But we also have to recognize that, on occasion, they will get through.  And then we have to deal with consequence management.  We have to be able to move in quickly to triage the situation, to minimize casualties and to provide all the support necessary. 

So, we need to put emphasis on both prevention and also upon a rapid recovery. 

CARLSON:  What's the single greatest threat we face, realistic threat we face? 

REVELL:  Well, I wish I knew, because they obviously change their tactics from time to time.  They take different targets.  They've taken buildings.  They've taken aircraft, ships and, of course, trains and subways. 

We simply have to look at our areas of vulnerability.  We have to carefully follow the intelligence that is collected and hope that we can find ways to prevent it.  But there is no surefire solution. 

CARLSON:  Do you think—do you...

REVELL:  And we just have to recognize that. 

CARLSON:  Do you fear a copycat crime here in the United States in the coming days? 

REVELL:  Not necessarily.  I think this was well-planned, probably for some period of time. 

They certainly have things in mind for the United States.  And they probably are already doing the planning for them, but not necessarily a copycat event.  They haven't shown any propensity to do that. 

CARLSON:  All right. 

Buck Revell, former deputy director of the FBI, one of the single most knowledgeable men in the world on this subject, we are grateful you came.  Thank you. 

REVELL:  You're welcome, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  Still ahead, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani was in London today, amazingly enough, only a block away from the site of one of the attacks.  Hear his reaction and what he thinks can be done to prevent future attacks.  That's coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  We'll not yield to these people.  We'll not yield to the terrorists.  We will find them.  We will bring them to justice. 

BLAIR:  The terrorists will not succeed.  Today's bombings will not weaken in any way our resolve to uphold the most deeply held principles of our societies. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  Those were the comments today from President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair. 

Amazingly, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani was in London, only one block away from the explosions.  Here's what he said earlier today in an interview. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUDOLPH GIULIANI ®, FORMER MAYOR OF NEW YORK:  The reality is that, in a city that is as large as London or New York or Washington or Paris or you just can't have perfect security.  I mean, it just—just never is going to exist. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  Today's tragedy in London reminds America of the potential vulnerability of our own transit system.  Since 9/11, many New Yorkers ride the crowded subways with a sense of trepidation. 

And joining me to continue our discussion are MSNBC analyst Dr. Walid Phares and Juliette Kayyem. 

Juliette, it seems to me, if this were going to happen in any European city, London makes sense.  There is a large—seems to be a large population of radical Islamists in that city.  Just a couple of months ago, there was a massive demonstration in downtown London in which people shouted, down with the USA, burned a cross, death to Bush, pretty open displays of sympathy for al Qaeda.

Are—are—does it make sense to you that this would come out of—something like this would happen in London? 

KAYYEM:  Yes, I mean, absolutely, for a variety of reasons, not just because London makes sense as a target, if you're thinking like al Qaeda.

But here is the interesting thing about London and—and Britain and their counterterrorism policies.  They have a surveillance state.  There's just no question about it.  They have videotape surveillance cameras everywhere.  They infiltrate mosques all the time.  They're following people.  They don't have a concern for civil liberties like we do. 

They keep records on all sorts of people.  They make arrests before probable cause.  So, you have also a very active counterterrorism effort in Great Britain, which we've seen over the course of the last three-and-a-half years. 

So, this—the—the disturbing thing about today is, of course, that there appears to have been no what we call chatter or noise leading up to this.  And, Michael Chertoff, the head of the Department of Homeland Security, said as much.  So, it is not reassuring to me or I think to the American public to then say, well, we don't have any specific credible intelligence or evidence that the United States is going to be attacked. 

I think what we basically have to learn now is that we have no good intelligence on whatever al Qaeda has become.  Britain has surveillance on all sorts of people in their own country.  And this appears from all statements we're hearing out of Britain and the United States to have not been—not been on any anyone's radar screen. 

CARLSON:  Well, again, it seems, Walid, like there was a large pool of

·         of potential participants in this.

And London seems to—and England in general seems to have the problem that a lot of European nations have.  And that's with assimilation of immigrants, in this case, Muslim immigrants.  “The Daily Telegraph” did a poll a couple of years ago that found that fully 50 percent of Muslims in England were unwilling to condemn the 9/11 attacks and Osama bin Laden. 

What—what can a nation like Great Britain do to bring immigrants like this into the mainstream and give them a sense that they have a stake in the society? 

PHARES:  Well, Tucker, not just in Great Britain, but also in France and continental Europe and also in the United States, the Western problem with the jihadists, with the terrorists, is that our counterterrorism policy intervene at the very end of the process, after the formation of that terrorist, the last 10 percent.

We put 90 percent of our resources to find out who got that weapon, who got the capability of doing it.  And, if they have done it already, then we engage them.  But the terrorist process starts with education, indoctrination, recruitment, mobilization, deployment.  And the very end of the process, when they receive the orders, this is where we intervene.  This is where we try to find them if they have explosives, if they have a history of being anti-legal.

The real counter strategy that the West should adopt in the future, with all modesty here, is to intervene in earlier stages, at the educational process.  If you basically convince at the younger age those who will become jihadists in the future that this is the wrong thing to do, it will be less costly.  It will be much more efficient than to intervene just seconds before they trigger. 

CARLSON:  Yes.  Well, that makes sense.

Juliette, what is your sense about the United States relative to Great Britain.  Is there a smaller pool of al Qaeda sympathizers in the United States?  Do we—do we believe that there are active, a lot of active sympathizers here?  What do we know about al Qaeda sympathizers in the U.S.? 

KAYYEM:  I don't think we know much, at least coming out of the FBI, unfortunately.

We have made—just to put this in the broad picture, we have made a series of arrests since September 11.  Most of them have been not serious terrorist arrests, in the sense of sort of the top leadership or even, in the words of the administration itself, active cells.  So, so, there might be sympathizers, but no suggestion that we're disrupting anything close to the point of deployment of a terrorist attack, not to say that that's bad, simply to say that we're—that is sort what we're doing at this stage. 

In terms of populations, we also have no good sense compared, to Britain, the Arab and Muslim population in America quite small, given how large America is.  It's a much more discrete group, limited—not limited, but mostly populated in just five urban areas.  So, there is a lot in terms of law enforcement and community activity that's going on in those cities. 

You can think Detroit, New York, Los Angeles and D.C.

CARLSON:  Right. 

KAYYEM:  So, we don't—I think we don't have a good sense of who is here. 

One thing, quickly, though, is, of course, the benefit we have is, of course, oceans, our border controls.  However they get criticized, however flawed they are...

CARLSON:  Right. 

KAYYEM:  The border issue and the immigration issue, it's very difficult for people to enter this country. 

CARLSON:  Right. 

KAYYEM:  In many ways.

CARLSON:  And we are far—we are far away, which has helped us...

KAYYEM:  Right. 

CARLSON:  ... over—over the years a lot. 

Dr. Phares, quickly, I—I—I wonder—I mean, this is a big question, but tell me what you think.  Why haven't we been attacked since 9/11?  I mean, is this—is this part after strategy on the part of al Qaeda?  Have they—they don't have their act together?  I mean, what's your sense of why we haven't had a situation like this since 9/11? 

PHARES:  Because—because, Tucker, we are the ones who have been attacked.  So, we see time differently than the ones who are attacking. 

In the mind of al Qaeda, all the jihadist strategies around the world, it is a question of years; it is a question patience; it is a question of growing what I call already the second generation of al Qaeda.  They have learned enormously from Mohamed Atta.  They have learned enormously from the fights that took place around the world. 

And let me add one point which is relevant to the discussion.  That is, they live among us.  They live within the system.  So, at any point in time where we shield our systems, we protect ourselves, we put walls here and there, they are with us.

CARLSON:  All right. 

PHARES:  Probably, they are even building that system with us. 

CARLSON:  Chilling.  Smart, though. 

Dr. Walid Phares, thank you very much. 

Juliette Kayyem, thank you, too.  We appreciate it. 

KAYYEM:  Thank you. 

PHARES:  Thank you. 

CARLSON:  Coming up on THE SITUATION, the timeline of a rush hour terror attack and what American security officials can learn from it to make the U.S. commute safer, as MSNBC's coverage of the London terror attacks continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  The scene was chaotic in London this morning as explosions tore a swath across the city.  At first, there were reports that power surges were to blame, but it soon became clear that these were deliberate and very deadly attacks.  NBC News' Jim Maceda has the details of the deadliest strike on London since World War II.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)  

JIM MACEDA, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (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, a 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:  ... shut down all of them. 

MACEDA:  8:56, 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 MALE:  The hotel was being used as a makeshift hospital. 

MACEDA:  9:37 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. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  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 G-8 summit of major industrialized nations in Scotland to be briefed back in London.  He blames Islamic extremists. 

TONY BLAIR, PRIME MINISTER OF BRITAIN:  When they try 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 MALE:  Just keep walking and walking, see where we get. 

It's just chaos up that way.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CARLSON:  That report from NBC News' Jim Maceda in London. 

Well, today's attacks raise urgent questions on both sides of the Atlantic.  How do we fight enemies who target random civilians?  And can we ever really win the war on terror? 

Joining me now, Fred Burton.  He's the vice president for Global Security and Counterterrorism of Stratfor.  It's a private intelligence agency based in Austin, Texas.  He's also the man behind the arrest of Ramzi Yousef, who masterminded the first World Trade Center bombing. 

Mr. Burton, thanks a lot for joining us.

FRED BURTON, COUNTERTERRORISM EXPERT:  Thank you, Tucker.

CARLSON:  There have been conflicting accounts all day long about whether or not the British government had any advance warning.  Did it? 

BURTON:  Well, I think the verdict's still out on that.  There's no doubt that there is some intelligence information floating around all the time, especially on a trip involving the president of the United States.  That's when our national intelligence collection efforts gear up, and we go and we look for any adverse intelligence that may be out there at all. 

CARLSON:  So where does that intelligence come from?  When you hear somebody say, you know, “We've picked up signals that something like this might happen,” where do those—where are those signals picked up? 

BURTON:  Well, they come through foreign liaison channels, the come through SIGINT, from the National Security Agency.  They come from the CIA.  They come through various forms of liaison channels. 

I think it's important, Tucker, when you look at this, though—and I've heard many folks discuss the lack of chatter.  I think the lack of chatter in many cases is also something that we have to be cognizant of.  That very well may mean that there could be an operational act underway, as well. 

CARLSON:  Right.  Because when you say SIGINT, Signals Intelligence, doesn't that, I mean, that implies cell phones, for instance, or pagers, I think.  Does that—are members of Al Qaeda dumb enough to still use cell phones? 

BURTON:  I think that Al Qaeda is a very risk-averse organization that has been burned in the past, as well as having some of their operatives arrested, such as al-Hindi, who was part of the financial threat plot.  And they know that NSA, and the CIA, and the FBI is out there looking for that type of communications and e-mails. 

So I think they're very cognizant of that.  I think the important thing in this case is to look at this event, and the sequencing, and the tempo, and the sophistication of this attack, really should be a wake-up call for us all. 

CARLSON:  Now, what kind of coordination is there between the intelligence services of the various countries in the area, between the United States and its European allies? 

BURTON:  It's actually quite good.  The Brits are our staunchest allies.  The intelligence exchange between us, through liaison channels, is quite good, s well as with very friendly Middle Eastern countries, such as Jordan and Egypt. 

And in this case, there would be nothing that we would hold back or not share with the British government, or the Australian government, or the Canadian government.  And I can tell you this, from my firsthand experience in dealing with this, and presidential visits and so forth, anytime the president goes anywhere, our national intelligence effort gears up.  And we're out there aggressively looking for adverse intelligence to keep him alive. 

So in this case, I think the fact that Al Qaeda was capable of pulling this off, in essence under the watch of the entire intelligence operation around the globe, is indicative of the skill set that they have. 

CARLSON:  Do we know at this point whether any of these bombs were detonated by suicide bombers? 

BURTON:  It's our information that the last bomber—you have to look at the sequencing of this.  The first blast happened at 8:51.  The second blast took place five minutes later.  The third blast on the subway took place approximately 17 minutes later.  And then 30 minutes later, you had the explosion on the double-decker bus. 

It's believed to be a suicide bomber on that bus.  And I think that the forensics will tell us a lot about what happened, especially if we were lucky enough to get our hands on some intact IEDs. 

CARLSON:  Well, I hope we do.  Mr. Fred Burton, Stratfor, Austin, Texas, thank you very much.

BURTON:  Thank you.

CARLSON:  Was Al Qaeda responsible for the attacks in London?  And if so, what role did Usama bin Laden play, if any?  We'll ask Middle East expert Yossef Bodansky these very questions, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  As London reels from a coordinated bomb attack on its transit system, questions are being asked about possible connections to the wave of violence launched by Al Qaeda around the world in recent years.  If a connection is established, it would show that the group is alive and well, despite being the main target of the U.S.-led global war on terror. 

Joining me to discuss Al Qaeda's role is the author of the book “The Secret History of the Iraq War.”  Now, he's also one of the world's preeminent experts on the Middle East and terrorism, Yossef Bodansky.

Thank you, Mr. Bodansky, for joining us. 

YOSSEF BODANSKY, MIDDLE EAST EXPERT:  Thank you.

CARLSON:  Now, the Muslim Sabbath begins tomorrow.  And presumably, these attacks will be the subject of many sermons in mosques throughout the Arab world.  What do you suspect imams will say about it? 

BODANSKY:  Essentially, they will (INAUDIBLE) the effect that Usama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and as late as yesterday, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi made promises to reach out and strike at the heart of the west in order to demonstrate that it's not only that the West can reach out into the heart of Islamdom and strike out, but that Islam can strike out and avenge the crime, as they see it, the crime against Islam. 

And well, look, it happened.  And it will increase tremendously the authority, the believability of bin Laden's call for jihad. 

CARLSON:  Wait.  So you think that in mainstream mosques across the Arab world, these bombings will be met with gladness, they'll be endorsed? 

BODANSKY:  Of course.  Today, unfortunately, one of the outcomes of the way that the war on terrorism is being handled is that bin Laden's call for jihad, for the fact that there can be no compromise between Islam as a way of life, or political Islam and the west, is now mainstream perception. 

Some people agree with the need to kill innocent people in order to further that cause, and some claim that it ought to be done in a less violent way.  But the concept that there can be no compromise between political Islam, Islam as a way of life, and the west, the west, globalization, information age, et cetera, is now mainstream Islam, unfortunately. 

CARLSON:  That's not at all—that's not even close to the picture presented to the public by President Bush and the United States, Prime Minister Blair in England.  Their contention is these acts are carried out and endorsed by a very small segment of the global Muslim population, extremists who have nothing in common with everyone else. 

BODANSKY:  I don't know when was the last time that either one of the gentlemen bothered to go and sit at a sermon in London, or in Paris, or in Rotterdam, et cetera, on an average Friday and just listen to the poisonous rhetoric, the venom that is espoused by the leadership. 

And by the way, many of the mosques in the United States are also not exactly the most pleasant of sermonizing. 

CARLSON:  So basically, I mean, what you seem to be saying is we're not at war with a sliver of the Islamic population, we're at war with the Islamic population? 

BODANSKY:  No, we are not at war.  The Muslim world is at war with itself.  Ever since Napoleon set forth on Egyptian soil in late 18th century, Islam has been fighting or confronting modernity.  And it has been a losing battle for them. 

It reached because of the omnipotence of globalization, the dependence, of course, on technology, the ever presence of the information age, that struggle within Islam burst into the surface and is manifesting itself, among other things, through international terrorism. 

But the war is within Islam.  It will be solved only when a Martin Luther, a true reformer, rises from within the ranks of Islam and brings them to the 21st century. 

CARLSON:  Well, I understand what you're saying, but I'm not sure that's a plausible explanation for why a young man, a middle-class young man, some of these bombers are, would kill himself and blow himself up simply because he's angry because the Islamic world is...

BODANSKY:  No, he's not angry.  No.  No, he is trying to further the cause of what they perceive to be Islam's urgent, imperative return to the roots which is the restoration of the Caliphate of Islam de-linking itself from the west. 

CARLSON:  That's a pretty abstract reason to kill yourself, isn't it? 

BODANSKY:  No.  It is not an abstract.  It is saving what is dear to this individual more than anything else, the survival and progress of Islam as a way of life, as a civilization. 

These people—if you look at the history of the rise of radical Islam, all of the great theological luminaries in Islam, including bin Laden, Hazam Majali (ph), going back to Sayed Qutb, et cetera, they are all people who have been exposed to the best that the west has to happen, people who received...

CARLSON:  That's right.

BODANSKY:  ... an education in the west and realized that there can be no compromise between or co-existence between radical Islam, as they perceive it, as they understand it, and between the west that is expending and asserting itself all over the world. 

CARLSON:  That's right.  They're not poor people driven by hunger. 

BODANSKY:  No, no.

CARLSON:  No, no, they're upper-middle class or rich people, but...

BODANSKY:  And these are also—Mohammed Atta was also one of these. 

CARLSON:  Well, of course.  And many of those hijackers were.  If that's the case, winning their hearts and minds, is it impossible? 

BODANSKY:  Right now, it is impossible.  And what we need to understand, the networks that we are now facing, or that we faced in Madrid, we facing now in London, et cetera, et cetera, these are second- and third-generation migrants in the west, people who were born in the west, had been educated, received the best that urban west has to offer to up-and-coming young people. 

And they are abandoning their position, going all the way to Iraq to fight for a year or two, and then returning to die by committing terrorism at the heart of the countries that gave them everything.  These are the people that are alienated right now. 

CARLSON:  Mr. Bodansky, unfortunately, we're out of time.  That's the most interesting conversation I've had in a long time.  Thanks for joining us. 

BODANSKY:  You're very welcome.

CARLSON:  Appreciate it.

Still ahead on THE SITUATION, what a difference a day makes.  From the joy of the Olympics in their backyard to the horror of terrorism at their doorstep.  Londoners tell their stories, next.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  A lot of people with a lot of blood on their faces and ripped clothes.  And a number of people were fine (INAUDIBLE) but when we got above, (INAUDIBLE) probably about six, seven people.  I've seen their conditions myself.  I wasn't really looking around, to be honest.  I was just trying to stop the cuts from flowing blood.

(END VIDEO CLIP)  

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Late today, the British flag was raised outside the U.S.  State Department for the first time ever.  It was a show, of course, of condolence and respect.  The British and American flags were then lowered to half-staff simultaneously. 

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice decided to hoist the Union Jack after visiting the British Embassy today to sign a book of condolences.  Just yesterday, Londoners were celebrating their surprise win in the race for the 2012 Summer Olympics.  Today, of course, a very different kind of surprise.

Nina Hossain of our British broadcasting partner ITN brings us the sights and sounds of the sobering day. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NINA HOSSAIN, ITN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over):  It was the sight we'd always feared.  One eyewitness described the roof of this double-decker almost floating off in the explosion, a description which doesn't at all prepare us for the carnage left behind. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I heard a bang, looked down, saw a cloud of gray smoke, and then later on found out that was the bus that went off outside the building. 

HOSSAIN:  This wasn't the first blast to rock the capital this morning.  It was the fourth.  But it was the most visible, in the heart of central London, in the middle of the rush hour. 

It came as the city was waking up to, reacting to, and getting used to the news that London, like New York, like Madrid, was in the midst of some sort of terrorist attack.  And the target was inevitable, London's vulnerable Tube network had finally been hit. 

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 made us walk all the way back past it all, dead bodies on the tracks, train blown open. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  We knew it was bombs straight away, so we just tried not to panic really. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  People started to scream because there was a burning smell.  And everyone—it's cutting a long story short—thought they were going to die. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  You just can't ever imagine being somewhere like that. 

HOSSAIN:  Unimaginable scenes underground.  Over ground, the confusion, the fear, and the casualties.  These scenes repeated in three separate locations, three separate blasts, one picture of devastation. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  The situation is under control, and the emergency plan is working. 

HOSSAIN:  By 3:30, the city's key coordinators gathered for the press conference we never wanted to witness. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  This clearly was a callous attack on purely innocent members of the public, deliberately designed to kill and injure innocent members of the public. 

HOSSAIN:  July the 7th, 2005, was the morning after the night before, before this city, this country was celebrating, the day when someone somewhere must have known they were going bring London's party to an abrupt and tragic end. 

Nina Hossain, ITV News, in Central London.

(END VIDEOTAPE) 

CARLSON:  Oh, those are sad scenes.  And those are the scenes our last guest told us will be celebrated in mosques across Europe and the Middle East tomorrow.  I hope that's not true.  If it is, we'll tell you, though. 

We're going to find out.  We're going to London tomorrow, be doing our show from there.  I hope you watch.  That's THE SITUATION for tonight.  I'm Tucker Carlson.  See you tomorrow.

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

END   

Content and programming copyright 2005 NBC.  ALL RIGHTS  RESERVED.  Transcription Copyright 2005 Voxant, Inc.  ALL RIGHTS  RESERVED. No license is granted to the user of this material other than for research. User may not reproduce or redistribute the material except for user's personal or internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may infringe upon NBC and Voxant, Inc.'s copyright or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.

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