Andrea Mitchell | May 02, 2011
>> chairman of the homeland security and government affairs committee, senator joe lieberman . you just heard from the mayor and ground zero is a sacred place for all americans. and for people around the world. but what does this capture of osama bin laden in a suburb of islamabad after all the billions of dollars that we have spent -- sent to pakistan tell us about our relationship? and the fact that either they knew and didn't tell us or we know couldn't trust them enough to even tell them we were going in for this raid?
>> well, we don't know the answers to those questions. but those are very real and important questions and they will be asked by members of congress with increasing intensity.
>> what do you want to know, senator? what is your reaction to this? is it possible that this facility could have been within a mile and a half of their west point and all these neighbors and not know?
>> it's a very perplexing question. and i think we're at a point here where the burden of proof , you might say, is on the pakistanis to convince us that they really did not know. it is possible that they did not know. and i suppose that would raise other questions about the skill of their intelligence operation. but, you know, we have had a very complicated relationship with pakistan . on the one hand, they have provided us, i know, with some very important counterterrorism intelligence and assistance. on the other hand, we have reason to believe that some elements of their intelligence service are still all too close to actual terrorist groups. and, of course, all along, in past years, the pakistani military intelligence leadership said over and over again, osama bin laden is not in pakistan . he is in -- he's probably in waziristan in the mountains between afghanistan and pakistan . this is a very difficult but very important relationship. the fact is that the overwhelming majority of the pakistani people are not extremists, not islamists, they're mainstream muslims and they want to live a better life . but at the higher levels of some of their intelligence apparatus are people who i think have been playing both sides. and that's got to end if they expect to continue to receive the kind of assistance that the american government and the american taxpayer have been giving them.
>> and briefly, do you think that this capture of -- the killing, i should say, rather, of osama bin laden , does this make us safer? we have been told for all these years, not only is it in a cave but he's no longer operationally in control, he's a symbolic leaders that others are more threatening like awlaki in yemen. are we safer, are we at some greater threat?
>> i think we're safer. i think the whole world is safer and better off with bin laden dead because he, after all, was the inspiration, the propagator of this ideology, that is larger than him, but is the ideology of h islamism that made it into a radical and violent political ideology . i think it is a body blow to the morale of the extremists forces that were associated with him and al qaeda . it is not the end of the war against terror, unfortunately, but it sets them back, it creates momentum for the forces of freedom, both worldwide, here at home in terms of homeland security , but also in afghanistan . i think it is a tremendous surge in momentum for us and afghanistan . i'll tell you, if i were the head of the taliban, wherever he is now, we have a pretty good idea of where he is, i would be feeling frightened based on what those navy s.e.a.l.s did in a protected compound, heavily protected compound, yesterday, outside of islamabad.
>> homeland security chairman senator joe lieberman , thank you very much.