Guests: John Negroponte, Russell Simmons, George Pataki, Hillary Clinton, Rudolph Giuliani
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: The Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, which once stood majestically in this jewel of a city, are gone. But the memory of the nearly 3,000 victims of 9/11 will live forever in the hearts and minds of Americans. Today, the country pays tribute to all those who perished, a day of solemn reflection and a day to put politics aside.
Tonight: a special edition of HARDBALL from ground zero in New York.
Good evening. I‘m Chris Matthews, live from ground zero with a special edition of HARDBALL, commemorating the country‘s fifth-year observance of the terrorist attacks of 9/11. Under a beautiful sunny late summer sky reminiscent of five years ago, thousands of family and friends paid tribute to the nearly 3,000 mothers, fathers, sons and daughters who perished on this site in the worst terrorist attack in U.S. history.
As the name were read aloud, many wept openly for the lost lives, hopes and dreams of the victims of that day. In Pennsylvania, President Bush laid a wreath in tribute to those 40 people who were killed on United Flight 93 when it crashed into a field on its way to Washington.
Later, at the Pentagon, the president paid his respects to the 184 people who died when American Flight 77 crash into that building. Tonight, on MSNBC, at 9:00 p.m., we will have full coverage of President Bush‘s 9/11 address to the country. And Tom Brokaw and Joe Scarborough will be here with me at ground zero to reflect on all the events of today after that speech.
At 10:00 p.m., we are going to present to you something special, our MSNBC “Living History” special, “9/11: Five Years Later.”
Coming up this hour, we will have reflections on 9/11 from many of those who were involved in the recovery and response to 9/11, including New York Governor George Pataki, here with me at ground zero, and Senators Hillary Clinton, John McCain, John Edwards. We will have my exclusive interview with the director of national intelligence, John Negroponte, who today is the president‘s point person for coordinating—coordinating the efforts of all the intelligence agencies.
We begin this hour with my interview just moments ago with New York‘ 9/11 mayor, Rudolph Giuliani.
MATTHEWS: Mr. Mayor, at 10:00 tonight, we are going to have a special set of interviews we have done over the past several weeks with people like Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice.
RUDOLPH GIULIANI ®, FORMER MAYOR OF NEW YORK: Right.
MATTHEWS: And what struck me is hearing from these people a vast sophistication about foreign affairs, a kind of a Manichaean, a good guys/bad guys view, in their own souls as to what happened here. Do you have that view of it?
GIULIANI: Yes, sure.
I mean, I—it—it—I can never come here without being angry. Then I get other emotions, sadness, sometimes feelings of elation about the wonderful heroism of the firefighters and the police officers, the rescue workers.
But there is always anger, because this was pure evil. I mean, there was no reason for this. There is no excuse for this. Innocent people come in to work. All of a sudden, their life is snuffed out. You see the children today walking around, the little children that never saw a father.
I mean, yes, this was evil. And it is still going on. I mean, this is not something that is part of our history. It is part of our present. The people who did this still want to come here and do it again.
GIULIANI: Because they hate us. They hate us. They hate us and what we stand for. They hate the values of Western civilization. They hate the fact that women are part of our society. They can‘t stand us for freedom of religion, which the whole country is based on. I mean, we wouldn‘t be here if it wasn‘t for freedom of religion.
So, this is a very, very basic thing, things we can‘t compromise. I mean, it‘s not things we can—we can—it is not about a border. It is not about some kind of economic dispute. This is about what we‘re all about.
MATTHEWS: How do we lead this country to victory? Is it a police story of getting a list of wanted dead or alive people and killing them all? Is it a problem like communism, where you have to prove it doesn‘t work? How do you get ultimate victory in this war?
GIULIANI: This is a—a—I think one of the reasons why everyone is feeling maybe worse on this fifth anniversary than they thought they would, is, this is much more complicated than maybe we thought.
But it is all those things. It‘s military action, police action, intelligence, political, education, trying to win over as many people as you can, taking military action, like we have, and then winning some victories, like we did with Gadhafi, where he sort of took a look at the whole thing and said, “I don‘t want to end up like Saddam Hussein; I want to live out the rest of my life,” hoping you can persuade people, and hoping you can win them over.
I mean, we know that most of Islam is made of people who want to lead their lives peacefully, and this is a perversion of it. But separating those two things is probably the challenge of the next 10 years.
MATTHEWS: We had a report in “The Washington Post” the other day that bin Laden has been—have been cold on his trail now for two years. Does that bother you?
GIULIANI: It—it bothers me in one sense. It doesn‘t bother me, from the point of view of safety. I don‘t think he is any longer the reason why we are going to get attacked again, even though I do think we are going to get attacked again.
But there is a question of justice. You know, there‘s a—the—the
all—all these people, and, among other things, were the victim of a terrible crime, a murder. And they want justice. They want the man who did it captured, brought to justice. And I don‘t think—I don‘t think you will ever have closure on this. But I don‘t think you are going to get to even some form of closure until—until he‘s captured.
MATTHEWS: You know, the one thing that makes me feel good, as an American, is the strength—I remember, I was at the Friendly Sons dinner with you. And I said it then. I will say it again.
I thank New York, because of the way you stood up to this, and the way the people and the firefighters, all these guys, climbed up the stairs that were here to save people, even though they knew it was perhaps a doomed mission.
But this is a bother, too, this empty hole.
GIULIANI: It is.
MATTHEWS: What is it? Why are we so—the Empire State Building was built in 13 months in the depths of the Great Depression, with everything against us. And our spiritual power was so good, we could put up a building like that.
MATTHEWS: Why can‘t you put this up?
GIULIANI: Well, you know, it disappoints me. I would like to have this resolved—I would like to have seen a lot more progress than this.
MATTHEWS: Whose fault is it? Pataki? Bloomberg? Who? The unions?
Or the lawyers?
GIULIANI: It is the fault of, this is a really complicated thing with a lot of emotion.
A couple of people from Oklahoma City told me about three, four days into it that, when we were talking about their memorial, and they said, this is going to be real complicated for you. You don‘t even realize how complicated this is going to become. And I have seen it.
I mean, the—I know a lot of the...
MATTHEWS: Is it a concern for the reverence for the lost?
GIULIANI: It‘s a lot of things.
Some people want it to be a grand memorial, only memorial. Some people want it to be an office building. Put up the towers. Put them back. Make them higher. Show the terrorists they can‘t defeat us.
MATTHEWS: Where are you?
GIULIANI: I think it has got to be a grand memorial. For me...
MATTHEWS: More of a memorial than another—another merchandise operation.
GIULIANI: Yes. You got it. Absolutely.
From the beginning—I gave a speech at Saint Paul‘s Chapel, which is right here in the distance, right before I left.
GIULIANI: And I said, future generations, 50, 100 years from now, are going to judge us by how we preserve it. What do—how do we preserve the history of this and the memory of it? They don‘t really care if we build office buildings.
GIULIANI: And that is what I would like to see.
Now, I have good friends who went through the same thing I went through, some of whom are sick as a result of this. They want the—they want the towers back up. And they want the towers back up...
MATTHEWS: Well, the kids of this city—I was out the other day. My son goes to NYU. I have got to tell you, Mr. Mayor, I saw a million young people out in the meat-packing district, a few blocks from here. This is the—for some strange reason, the hottest part of town right now in New York.
GIULIANI: Yes. And you the can‘t judge the revival of all of Manhattan by this. The rest of Lower Manhattan is booming.
MATTHEWS: It is booming.
MATTHEWS: ... SoHo, the whole area, the West Village, it‘s booming.
GIULIANI: You can‘t get an apartment here. You can‘t get a condo here. It is tough to get office space here. But this is an emotional drama.
MATTHEWS: Give me a time. When would your dead—deadline be as a political here to get this area to get this done and rising beyond us here?
GIULIANI: Well, my—my feeling when I was in office was, because I always liked to do things faster. I‘m an impatient person. I was hoping it would be done in three or four years. But I think it is more realistic it‘s going to take like eight to 10 to get this done.
MATTHEWS: Will this be done by your second term as president?
GIULIANI: I think it will be done by the 10th anniversary of this.
MATTHEWS: Of your what?
GIULIANI: Of this. Of this attack.
MATTHEWS: And the second term of your presidency.
MATTHEWS: They love you out there, Rudy.
MATTHEWS: Rudy, Rudy.
GIULIANI: Some do.
MATTHEWS: They can‘t spell your last name, and they love you. I want a competition.
GIULIANI: ... just work on Rudy.
MATTHEWS: I want a subway series. I‘m dying. You and Hillary, subway series, let‘s have it.
GIULIANI: We may have a real subway series this year.
MATTHEWS: I know.
MATTHEWS: Well, no, no.
MATTHEWS: This is the year of—no, the Mets.
GIULIANI: Then Hillary and I could—we can debate Yankee trivia.
MATTHEWS: Excuse me. The Mets the other year.
Mr. Mayor, it‘s an honor to have you.
GIULIANI: Take care.
MATTHEWS: Thank you for joining us.
GIULIANI: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: We‘re joined right now by New York Governor George Pataki.
Good evening, Governor.
Well, he wasn‘t going to blame you, and he was not going to blame Mike Bloomberg. So, why do we have this hole here?
GOV. GEORGE PATAKI ®, NEW YORK: Well, Chris I don‘t think that‘s an accurate description.
MATTHEWS: It looks like a hole.
PATAKI: Let me Just explain what we‘re doing.
Some say we‘re going too slowly. Others are criticizing us, saying we‘re going too fast. Others are saying we shouldn‘t build anything at all. But what we are doing is treating the entire site as a sacred site. This is a place where almost 3,000 brave New Yorkers lost their lives. And it is not about building a building or a series of buildings.
It is about putting in place a vision for the future that will allow future generations to understand what happened here. And that‘s exactly what‘s happening. We have the Libeskind master site plan, which is brilliant. And the majority of the site will be a memorial. Where the towers stood, there are going to be voids, so that people can come and understand the magnitude of the physical loss.
And those voids will have waterfalls dropping down into reflecting pools. And around those will be the names of every one of the heroes. So, we will tell the stories of September 11.
But around that, we will see new buildings rising in a spire that culminates in the Freedom Tower, 1,776 feet tall, the highest building ever built in America. And right now they‘re all under construction. The memorial is under construction. The new transportation center in this site is under construction. The Freedom Tower is under construction.
The original plan called for them to be completed by 2009. The memorial will be completed in 2009. The transportation center will be completed in 2009. The only building that has been delayed is the Freedom Tower. And that‘s because it had to be redesigned, because we‘re in a war. And we have to build not just the tallest building, but the most secure building ever built in America.
So, we are building it now to foreign embassy standards. And it is a brilliant design, and it is under construction. So...
MATTHEWS: Can we get the U.N. to move in here?
MATTHEWS: That would be a nice situation.
PATAKI: I would rather not have that.
PATAKI: I think this has got to be a tribute to American heroes of September 11. And that‘s what we‘re doing here.
So, you believe that it is on target, that things are moving ahead?
And by what time will this begin to look different if we come back here?
PATAKI: Well, Chris we were talking. Lower Manhattan is the hottest neighborhood in New York.
MATTHEWS: Oh, I know it is. I was out the other night.
PATAKI: There are over 10,000 more residents downtown now than there were at the end of 2001.
We have 30 million square feet of office space destroyed or damaged.
PATAKI: Almost 20 million of that is back.
And what we‘re doing here, though, is respecting this site and doing it not for today or for the next year.
PATAKI: We‘re doing it for the next decade and the next generation.
MATTHEWS: So, you share with Mayor—former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani a belief that it should be primarily a memorial, not another business like that.
PATAKI: What we have done is strike I believe the appropriate balance. Where the towers stood, and over six acres will be an open plaza, where it will serve as a memorial.
Underneath that will be a museum, where we can tell the stories of the individual heroes, of the firefighters, of the engine companies that responded so gallantly on September 11.
PATAKI: But, around it, we will see this continue to be the financial capital of the world. It will be an economic hub for America and the world. And that‘s what we wanted to see. We didn‘t want to see this open just area where we only reflected on the past.
We also want to show our confidence in the future. And we‘re doing that.
MATTHEWS: Well, let talk about the past. This is the Empire State. And, as you live in that incredible mansion up there in Albany and work in that amazing Capitol Building, it is so stunning. It looks like the Empire State.
It has always produced governors that have become presidents, certainly the Roosevelts, and all the others. Are you, as a man who has led this city through this, interested in becoming our next president?
PATAKI: You know, Chris, this really isn‘t the day so much for politics. This is a day, I think...
MATTHEWS: But this is HARDBALL.
PATAKI: Well, this is a day for our heroes.
PATAKI: And, you know, if we‘re going to talk politics, we have the 2006 elections coming up.
PATAKI: And everybody knows, in the sixth year of a presidential term, it is difficult for the incumbent party. So, we are going to have some tough elections.
And, as a Republican, I am going to do my best to help see my party win those races. And then, come 2007, I‘m sure a lot of people will be taking a look at what they are going to do next.
MATTHEWS: This country is divided in all the polls about whether we were right to go, as we followed up on this horror. To go to Afghanistan, we were united. We got to get the Taliban. We got to get bin Laden. We still want to get him. That‘s an absolute point of unity.
Should we have gone to Iraq after that Baathist regime, that hellish regime of Saddam Hussein, in the midst of our attempt to bring down terrorism? Do you think there was a way that we could have kept this country more united than we have been, because we have become divided?
PATAKI: You know, Chris—you know, Chris, I think that is one of the overriding issues facing our country.
On September 11, and in the weeks and months after that time, I have never seen our country so unified, the incredible spirit of understanding. We were together to defend our freedom, that our freedom had been attacked.
And, when Americans stand together, we can accomplish anything.
Now we‘re facing enormous challenges. And, as with your question, people are saying, well, should we have done it this way? Should we have done it that way? If we‘re going to recapture that spirit of unity, let‘s look forward. Let‘s understand that all American want to defend that freedom. We are in a war.
It is a war between civilization and barbarism. And we have to win that war. And if we can lay out a common cause for the American people, looking forward, I would hope we could reclaim that unity that made us all so proud in the days after September 11.
MATTHEWS: When you look back—and I have seen you in so many pictures—this is my last question tonight, Governor—when I look back and see those picture of you and even Hillary Clinton, a senator, and Chuck Schumer, all you were together.
What was it like to be together on a common front, Democrats and Republicans that day?
PATAKI: It is what America is about.
In the face of a common enemy, we‘re not Republicans or Democrats. And, on September 11, we were not black or white, Christian or Jew, New Yorker or Californian. We were all Americans. We understood we had been attacked because of our freedoms, and we were going to defend them.
And that‘s what we have to do now, have a common cause, a common agenda, moving forward. Forget about the partisanship. Let‘s recapture that spirit, in honor of those who died, and this great country will just get stronger.
MATTHEWS: It is great to have you, Governor.
PATAKI: Thank you, Chris.
MATTHEWS: Thank you, Governor George Pataki.
MATTHEWS: Up next, “Newsweek”‘s Howard Fineman, our old friend, will be here with his—us to talk about ground zero, to talk about President Bush and the fifth-year observance. We‘re not calling this a celebration or an anniversary. This is an observance of 9/11.
And, tonight, at 10:00 Eastern, join me for an MSNBC “Living History” special, “9/11: Five Years Later.” What a production that is going to be, at 10:00 tonight. You got to watch it, including remembrances of that fateful day from Former Secretary of State Colin Powell, current Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, top Bush adviser Karen Hughes, Senator Hillary Clinton of New York, and an extremely rare interview with National Intelligence Director John Negroponte.
That‘s an MSNBC “Living History” event. You have never seen anything like it, tonight at 10:00.
And we want to hear your memories of 9/11. You can post them on our Web site, MSNBC.com.
You‘re watching HARDBALL on MSNBC, live, as you can see, from this vast area called ground zero.
MATTHEWS: Coming up: Five years after the 9/11 attacks, do Americans feel like they are safer? Do they give President Bush the credit?
When HARDBALL returns from ground zero.
MATTHEWS: Well, that was interesting, former Mayor Giuliani and George Pataki, the governor of New York. What a duo those are. And I think they may be, perhaps—let‘s just put it that way, perhaps—competitors for the Republican presidential nomination.
Welcome back to HARDBALL from ground zero in New York.
Howard Fineman is a very familiar, wonderful face to have on MSNBC all the time. He is our political analyst. And he‘s also chief political correspondent for “Newsweek” magazine.
Howard, I think this is a nonpolitical day, although we were tussling over the issue of when‘s this place going to get done here.
The president, what does this mean to him, in terms of his leadership of a country that seems to be turning against him?
HOWARD FINEMAN, NBC CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think the
question for him, and about him, is—is, what has he learned, not just
what the country has learned, how far the country has come, but how far has
he come? And has he changed and grown and learned?
You know, I have been off working on a book, Chris, and I interviewed
a lot of members of the United States Senate, who told me that, after 9/11, there was a complete transformation in the way George Bush operated.
Suddenly, this aloof guy, this kind of sassy guy, this distant guy, who operated by dividing and conquering, was on the phone every day with them in the months after 9/11, the days and weeks and months after 9/11.
But, then, it switched off again. And what I wonder about him is whether his vision of politics and how to win in politics got in the way of the kind of growth that historians would need to see for him to eventually become a great president. In other words, he decided on reelection as the number-one goal, and chose the way that he and Karl Rove had always operated in politics, rather than continue this sort of nonpolitical, bipartisan spirit that we saw here in the days and weeks after 9/11. That‘s a big question about him.
MATTHEWS: Well, bait and—bait and switch is a terrible claim to make, but let me suggest it here, bait and switch.
People were horrified by this event behind us here, and all those people jumping off roofs, rather than being fried to death. It was a horrible, horrible tragedy. And it wasn‘t just a tragedy. It was a crime against humanity. It was horrible.
And everybody wanted to get those guys. And the president stood here with a bullhorn and said, let‘s go get those guys. And then all that excitement and national unity and world unity was turned toward an old—an old goal. Let‘s get that SOB in Baghdad who tried to kill my father and, my father couldn‘t knock off, and all the ideology that went behind that.
Tom—Tom Brokaw was here. And he‘s a pretty objective guy. And he said there was clearly a suggestion that there was a connection between what happened, here in the American mind-set, planted there by so many voices, including the top one, and the vice president, that there was a connection between them.
And there is, as of this weekend, no connection. The vice president, who was the leading proponent of that connection, admitted on “Meet the Press,” there is no connection.
MATTHEWS: Was this—was this emotion coming out of this hijacked by the president and the others in a wrong direction?
FINEMAN: Well, I was down talking to people near the site a little while ago.
If you stand on the bridge there that goes over the West Side Highway, you can talk to people who are standing, peering through the little gaps in the windows there to look on the site of ground zero.
And I talked to a guy named Eric Albino (ph), a 29-year-old construction worker. I said, what do you think about how the president has handled all this? And he said, I think he performed to the best of his ability, except that he never should have taken us to Iraq. He said, I voted for George Bush. I voted for the—the first time, but I didn‘t vote for him the second time.
And I‘m worried now, because Iraq was the wrong move. And I think this election coming up, those young men, not the women that you read all about—those young men are going be the swing voters, because they agreed with George Bush and the bullhorn. They agreed 100 percent with that.
MATTHEWS: Who didn‘t?
FINEMAN: That was—I know, but it was the...
MATTHEWS: We were with him. Everybody was with him.
FINEMAN: It was the tough, right thing to do. But now, if these guys are questioning Iraq, that means political trouble for the president.
And that‘s what his legacy about—is about. This place is about history. And I am not in a hurry to see this site developed, because, as a citizen, I want to stand here and feel the power and the emotion and the memory of it. And it is about history. And now George Bush is turning toward history now, too.
I think one of the things of this fifth anniversary is, we‘re beginning to look at George Bush a little bit, even though he has a couple years left in his presidency...
FINEMAN: ... as a historical figure.
Five years is the time in which you begin to make assessments.
MATTHEWS: Maybe, when you get lost, you should go back to where you first got lost, and try...
MATTHEWS: ... to figure it out again. And that‘s what we‘re doing here tonight.
Howard, my buddy, thank you.
MATTHEWS: Good luck with that book you just finished, too.
MATTHEWS: Anyway, Howard Fineman.
Be sure to check out politics.MSNBC.com for a blog by Howard on the fifth-year observance of 9/11.
Up next, New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly reflects on how this city has changed these last five years.
You‘re watching HARDBALL on MSNBC from ground zero.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL, live from ground zero.
Tonight, at 10:00 Eastern, a MSNBC “Living History” event—and I mean it—“9/11: Five Years Later,” with reflections from top government officials and other prominent Americans about where they were during the September 11 attacks.
I recently asked New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly for his story.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RAYMOND KELLY, NEW YORK CITY POLICE COMMISSIONER: I went up to this floor to look at the smoke that was coming out. And then I saw the building fall. I saw the first building fall. And I was dumbfounded by it, because I had been the police commissioner in 1993, the first attack of the World Trade Center.
And I remembered sitting in the basement of the World Trade Center with—with engineers, saying, this building could never come down. We‘re looking at these huge beams. And there was a supposition that they tried to take the building down. This was February 26 of 1993.
So, to see that building come down, obviously, it is a sight I will never forget. But I was just, as I say, dumbfounded by it. Nobody ever expected that building to—to come down. Even after, you know, two planes had hit, it was just never thought about. The people that I was talking to, was just—everyone was just totally shocked.
There is a renewed respect for first-responders, firefighters, police officers. And you can feel it. You can feel—I can feel it in the—in the—you know, the places that I go, and comments that—that people give to me about the performance of—of police officers.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Up next, New York Senator Hillary Clinton talks about where she was on 9/11 and what she thinks the tragedy means for our country now, five years later.
You‘re watching HARDBALL on MSNBC, live from ground zero.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to our special edition of HARDBALL, commemorating the fifth-year observance of 9/11.
Here in Lower Manhattan, the tribute in lights. Those towering spires of light at the far right of your screen right now have been turned on in remembrance of those lost at the World Trade Center.
Tonight, at 9:00 p.m., join us for MSNBC‘s coverage of the president‘s 9/11 address to the country. I will be here with Tom Brokaw after the speech to reflect on this solemn day of tribute.
Then, at 10:00 p.m., we will have—and I mean it—our special presentation of “Living History, “9/11: Five Years Later.” This will be the best thing done, I think, on any network about these events of this fifth-year observance.
But, first, on the morning when the United States was attacked, New York Senator Hillary Clinton was in Washington. After the planes hit the Twin Towers, she returned to New York and went to work surveying the damage to Lower Manhattan.
Here is her personal reflection from that day and the weeks ahead.
SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), NEW YORK: We took a helicopter into the city. As were helicoptering over Ground Zero, we hovered above it. I can‘t think of anything other than “Dante‘s Inferno.” I mean, it was as close to a—a visual depiction of hell as I‘ve ever seen. And, you know, we landed. We went into the area of ground zero with the governor and the mayor.
And I remember watching the firefighters coming out of this wall of black soot, dragging their axes some of them, you know, totally exhausted. They had been on duty 24 hours straight. And I just—you know, I couldn‘t—my eyes were just totally teared up from the emotion, plus the toxic stew that was in the air.
And I just watched these men come out of that hell, and I just was so overwhelmed by their courage. I mean, everything that has been said about them, every single tribute that has been, you know, given to them is not adequate to what they did, to the danger they ran into, to the lives they saved.
MATTHEWS: Can you remember where you were when you first heard?
I was getting ready to leave my house here in Washington to come to a committee meeting of the so-called help committee. Laura Bush was scheduled to testify that morning to our committee. Mrs. Bush had been taken to safety. Obviously, the meeting was not going to be held.
The Secret Service sort of came to me and said, you know, we want to get you out of here. We don‘t know what‘s going to happen . And I pay attention to them, as I have for the last many years.
So, I said where are we going to go? And they said, well, why don‘t you go back home until we know what‘s going on.
So, I took a couple of staff with me, because I knew we were going to have to figure out who to contact. And I start trying to call, first of all, my daughter. She had been in New York that morning, staying with one of her friends who lived downtown. My husband was in Australia. I‘m trying to find him. So, I get back to my house and I‘m just glued in front of the TV set, dialing up, talking to people, obviously talking to my colleagues, talking to my staff, talking to the governor, talking to the mayor, putting in the call to the president, just what are we to do? What is expected?
You know, later that day, we had a full Senate meeting over at the Capitol Hill Police headquarters.
MATTHEWS: When did you talk to your husband?
CLINTON: I finally reached him, you know, some time that day. It all blurs together. You know, the president, President Bush, sent a plane for him to get him back, which I thought it was a very kind gesture on his part.
So, we were out of communication after, basically, he said he was all right. He wanted to know how we were, and tried to get more information from me. And, then, we were out of communication for hours, because he was on the plane.
But he finally got home. And Chelsea, with so many people from lower Manhattan, had to walk north, you know, so many blocks, and it was just an extraordinary experience for her and the friends that she was with.
MATTHEWS: You‘re a senator from New York. And how do you think that affected your feelings on 9/11?
CLINTON: You know, Chris, I think I would have been affected, as most of us were, no matter where I was or what I was doing, but the fact that I felt such a sense of responsibility was just overwhelming.
I cannot tell you how just deeply emotionally impacted I was. I wanted to be there to help the victims. I wanted to be there to help the survivors. I wanted to be there to help the city. So, the fact that I had a job that was connected with trying to be in some way supportive and responsive both made it more real, because I had to get up every single day and figure out what I was going to do, and much more personal than I think would have been even possible had I been somewhere else in the country.
MATTHEWS: When the 9/11 hijackers went into the buildings, people say they were shrieking with delight.
CLINTON: Well, we‘ve heard that before. We‘ve heard stories of people who, in this religious frenzy, that they get worked into or manipulated into—I‘ve never quite figured that out—feel as though they‘re going to paradise. And it is a mind-set that is very difficult for people like us to even, you know, penetrate.
We don‘t understand how someone could worship death, who could believe that they would be rewarded in paradise for murdering innocent people.
You know, frankly, the ones who sent them to their deaths are the real, you know, masterminds of this.
MATTHEWS: The question is phrased and argued that the world is different after 9/11. What do you think?
CLINTON: Well, I think it certainly is for me. It is for many Americans, and the way that an event of such enormous importance sort of divides your life, pre-9/11, post-9/11. And for thousands of people, life will never be the same.
But I think it‘s also important that we maintain our values and our common sense about who we are as people and how we have to promote our interests and our concerns in the world, and how we have to make more friends and allies and not enemies, because if we‘re in for a long struggle, as we hear all the time—and I don‘t doubt that—I think it is a struggle against an ideology that has religious overtones to it—then, we have got to be smart about how we‘re dealing with that.
So, we can‘t act as though we were all born on 9/11. We have to look at history. We have to learn from history. We have to summon the best among us. We have to be smart about, you know, what‘s the best way to defeat this new enemy we have.
So, I think that it‘s a combination of, yes, recognizing it was an unbelievable shift in thinking and a historic milestone. But, you know, we‘re Americans, and we have a lot that we can draw on. And we believe in our convictions. And how we then present that to the world is really important. So, I hope that we kind of carry both the significance of the event, but also place it in a larger context, as we go forward in the world.
MATTHEWS: You will see more of Senator Clinton‘s reflections about the September 11 attacks tonight at 10:00 Eastern, on our MSNBC “Living History” event, “9/11: Five Years Later.”
This is HARDBALL, live from ground zero only on MSNBC
MATTHEWS: Coming up, hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons talks about his hometown, New York—New York City—five years after the tragedy of 9/11 -- when HARDBALL returns from ground zero.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL, live from ground zero in New York.
Put simply, Russell Simmons is a New Yorker. He‘s a mogul of music, media and fashion. He is the founder of Def Jam Records and currently serves as the chairman of the Hip Hop Summit Action Network, which promotes youth leadership and voter registration.
Mr. Simmons, it is great to have you.
I was looking for the quintessential New Yorker. I have got him here.
Let me ask you about the emotions of 9/11 five years ago, your New Yorkerdom, and what you think should have come out of that.
RUSSELL SIMMONS, CHAIRMAN, HIP-HOP SUMMIT ACTION NETWORK: Well, I live directly across the street. There were bodies on the top of my building. And I haven‘t been able to sell that apartment yet.
But I do have in the window a peace—with a kind of a protest thing about peace, and—and the promotion of peace, and the lack of consciousness I think this country has exhibited since 9/11.
I think we had a huge opportunity to promote peace through, you know, education and opportunity for the world, and...
MATTHEWS: Well, give me the MapQuest.
SIMMONS: Well, look...
MATTHEWS: What should we have done?
SIMMONS: Look at it this way.
The whole world felt very comfortable loving us. And, instead of returning the love, we returned a lot of anger. And what we have done is promote a greater cycle of violence. And it is pretty obvious. You know, today—if you look at the newspaper today, maybe the cover of the paper could be, 20,000 Africans die because we—I mean, of deaths that we could have prevented today.
In a few hours, they lost more Africans than we lost in 9/11.
MATTHEWS: From AIDS.
SIMMONS: Right, or malaria, lack of clean water, and the lack of conscience in this country.
See, we can‘t just bomb people and then turn our back anymore. The world is too small for that. It won‘t last three or four generations of rude, obscene behavior.
MATTHEWS: How many of these can we take, though?
SIMMONS: Only a few minutes.
MATTHEWS: How many of these can we take?
SIMMONS: Well, I think what we could have done after 9/11 is promote peace. The amount of money we spend, what is it, 0.1 percent helping other people? How much do we spend blowing them up? So, if we would educate—what are the terrorists doing? Educating people.
MATTHEWS: But bin Laden exists. But, Russell, bin Laden exists. Whatever emotional or historic forces led to it, it exists. What do we do with it?
SIMMONS: Small. He is small.
What‘s big is love, and the lack of that that is coming out of this country. And the opportunity that we have to help people is a—not a lost one, but we have to change this cycle around, this cycle of violence that we are in the center of promoting.
MATTHEWS: OK. If you were—if you were commander in chief of the United States, and your job...
MATTHEWS: I know it is a leap.
Your job is to protect this country from attack again. What would you do to do that job?
SIMMONS: Well—well, the first thing you would have done is what I would have done since 9/11. The first thing I would have done is taken all that love and started to then give back some of it.
In other words, I would have started to educate people, feed people. I would have started to uplift people and—and show the world what we‘re made of, you know? And then, of course, you know, there—there are some things do you. And the commander in chief did make some choices early on. But he didn‘t—he bungled it. We have dropped the ball over there in Afghanistan, didn‘t we?
We got our pipeline. We got what we wanted, but we dropped the ball. So, then he went to Iraq, which is, you know, totally unconnected, the rudest thing in the world, all the people that are dying, and all the money that we‘re spending, and all the people even in this country that are suffering.
So, I think that we have to change our attitude about the world. And
and what we‘re even promoting here today, it‘s a lot of fear. I heard -
and I like the—the governor.
MATTHEWS: Governor Pataki was just here.
SIMMONS: That‘s right. I heard him say about the barbarians vs. the civilized—and I only heard that one sound bite.
MATTHEWS: You don‘t think that word barbarians helps too much.
But what—what kind of person would do this?
SIMMONS: And this crusade. What about the crusade?
MATTHEWS: Well, what kind of a person would do this, but a barbarian, whatever you—whatever term you like?
SIMMONS: But you‘re talking about what was small. We made it bigger.
SIMMONS: Well, we made that energy bigger. And we had an opportunity to make...
MATTHEWS: OK. Let‘s keep the debate going. It‘s a great honor to have you.
SIMMONS: We always—you and I always have a good talk.
MATTHEWS: ... you‘re a big man in this country.
SIMMONS: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: You‘re a New Yorker. How do you say it, “New York”?
MATTHEWS: The town so nice, they named it twice.
Russell Simmons was here.
More HARDBALL after this.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to this special edition of HARDBALL, live from ground zero in New York.
As director of national intelligence, John Negroponte is the nation‘s top intelligence official. He‘s responsible for overseeing agencies like the CIA, the FBI, and the NSA. But, back on September 11, 2001, he was at the State Department, preparing for his upcoming role as ambassador to the U.N.
In this rare and exclusive interview, I asked the intelligence chief about his memories of that day.
JOHN NEGROPONTE, NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE DIRECTOR: On 9/11, I was at the State Department preparing for my confirmation hearings to be ambassador to the United Nations.
And I was in the middle of a session with various colleagues at the State Department when somebody came in with the news of the first aircraft. And, like a lot of other people, I suspect, just kept on doing what we were doing previously, with regard to the first.
But, then, when the—the news came that the second aircraft had also slammed into the World Trade Center, we recognized, obviously, that something major had happened. And, so, we also had a report that a bomb might have gone off inside of the State Department shortly thereafter. So, we were ordered to evacuate the building.
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you, as a professional, looking back five years now, looking back at 9/11, how did that change the meaning of intelligence in this country?
NEGROPONTE: Well, I think, both in terms of how it changed the meaning of intelligence and foreign policy, because I‘ve worked on both types of issues during these past five years, it‘s the—it completes the transition, if you will.
It‘s a huge break from the Cold War. All of a sudden terrorism,
global terrorism, international terrorism, that transnational issue moved
to the front and center of our foreign and of our intelligence policy. So,
that‘s the big shift. And you‘re looking at somebody whose—whose
experience going back to the Cold War era, to the early 1960s. And, so, it
it represented a huge paradigm shift.
MATTHEWS: Intelligence was once aimed at influencing events abroad.
Now intelligence seems to be much more a question of protecting us.
I mean, intelligence is focused on preventing the—first and foremost, gathering information that can help us prevent and disrupt terrorist attacks against our homeland. That‘s probably the single most important priority.
MATTHEWS: In your community—and I include all the agencies that report to you, Mr. Director—is there a sense of esprit about trying to be able to do that? What is the ethos now of trying to be able to get ahead of them by a few hours?
NEGROPONTE: Oh, I think it‘s enormous. I think you‘ve seen evidence of that in the disruption of various plots that have taken place.
You also see much better cooperation between the key agencies, the FBI, the CIA, the National Security Agency. They work as teams now. There is teamwork all the way down to the local level, both in our country and abroad, between these agencies. It‘s an integrated effort, because it‘s not any one single intelligence methodology that is going to unravel, unearth these plots.
It‘s usually a combination of human intelligence, on the one hand, and then technical intelligence of various kinds on the other. You‘ve got to marry the two together. And that‘s extremely important. And I believe that, with the reforms that have taken place and with the lessons learned from 9/11, these agencies are much, much better. They‘re far, far ahead of where they were five years ago.
MATTHEWS: Is there such a thing as instinct in your business, a person who sees something, like they used to say in the police movies, notice anything different, the anomalous event, the unusual that captures the attention of the pro?
NEGROPONTE: Sure there is.
I mean, you‘ve got to—you have a lot of leads. Sometimes, you get deluged with information. You‘ve got to find ways of sifting out the wheat from the chaff and what leads are you going to follow up. Sometimes, you suffer from a surfeit of information.
So, instinct and experience can be very valuable in those kinds of situations. But you also have to be systematic. You have to go about it these things in a very systematic way. And, with an intelligence community of close to 100,000 individuals across 16 agencies, we‘re in a position to be able to do that.
MATTHEWS: How has the culture of the intelligence community changed? For example, we heard stories of people, maybe out in Arizona or somewhere up in Minnesota, where someone in an agency got a hint something was wrong. Is there more reward, more good work kind of a sign to a person who raises their flag right now, and says, God, there is something wrong here?
NEGROPONTE: Well, the intelligence, for example, has now been made a high-priority skill in the FBI. They‘ve created the National Security branch of the FBI. And getting good intelligence has now got a premium in their personnel reward system...
NEGROPONTE: ... as distinct from the past, when the focus was exclusively on law enforcement.
The other thing is integration, emphasizing integration between the key agencies—again, I repeat, FBI, CIA and so forth. And the third is information-sharing. You‘ve got to move it across the community. You see a suspicious behavior, like somebody getting flight training in some particular locality, well, you‘ve got to feed that in, because it might fit in with some bigger picture that people back here in Washington are putting together at—at our National Counterterrorism Center, for example.
MATTHEWS: Will we be able to detect and act on an unusual immigration, if, say, 20 guys, begin to seek passports or visas to the United States from some country or something like that...
NEGROPONTE: Well, we‘re much better positioned to do that.
There‘s certainly—there is no absolute guarantee, but we‘ve certainly set up mechanisms, no-fly lists, databases, checking on names of people prior to their boarding flights, and so forth, that put us in a better position to prevent these kinds of things than prior to 9/11.
MATTHEWS: Let‘s talk about the country itself. Do you think that—we‘ve all been through the Church Committee review, where intelligence was in bad repute back in the ‘70s, and had to defend itself. Well, you know all about that and that culture.
Is there now a popularity, to put it bluntly, in the intelligence community from the public?
NEGROPONTE: Well, I think it‘s difficult. I think there is an appreciation in large parts of our public.
But it‘s—one of the difficulties is that the successes are very often things that we can‘t talk about publicly. So, it‘s kind of a catch-22 situation for the intelligence community. You can‘t necessarily talk about the successes. But people can, you know, enjoy talking about what goes wrong.
So, we—we need to reach out, as much as we can, to the American public to explain what we‘re doing, without revealing sensitive sources and methods. It‘s a challenge.
MATTHEWS: When you look back on 9/11, the 3,000 dead, the war in Iraq, the war in Afghanistan, the continued threat of al Qaeda, the whole world changed. How do you think it‘s changed the way Americans feel about being Americans in this world?
NEGROPONTE: Well, I think, first of all, I think that, throughout, I think we‘ve—we know—we have known as a people what we stand for, our democracy, our political system.
And I think that we have felt strongly that—that this war is a war to defend our values and our political philosophy against those who would seek to destroy it. So I think that spirit, that sentiment, is alive and well in our country.
And I think that that endures, just as it has throughout its history. I think the—the change, of course, is that we‘re mindful of the rather dramatically different, the dramatically changed nature, if you will, of the threat from those who would seek to subvert and destroy our system.
MATTHEWS: I will be back in one hour for live coverage of President Bush‘s address to the nation, with analysis from Tom Brokaw and Joe Scarborough.
Then, at 10:00 Eastern, an MSNBC “Living History” event, “9/11: Five Years Later,” a special hour, with recollections of the attacks from prominent Americans, including Colin Powell, Condi Rice, and Hillary Clinton.
“COUNTDOWN WITH KEITH OLBERMANN” starts right now.
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