Guests: Stephanie Gosk, Evan Kohlmann, Theodore Shaw
TUCKER CARLSON, MSNBC HOST: Welcome to the show, coming to you from the Bethel Inn in Bethel, Maine.
Amid major developments in America on the core issues of race, immigration and presidential politics, the entire western world got a chilling but thankfully bloodless reminder Friday morning of the homicidal jihad against it.
Police in London diffused an explosive-laden Mercedes Benz outside a nightclub near Piccadilly Circus in the early morning hours. British authorities began a man hunt for the would-be perpetrators of a foiled terror attempt.
As the day wore on, a number of other terror scares jangled nerves and closed areas of that city, including Park Lane, where another Mercedes discovered because it was parked illegally, contained explosive similar to the contents of the car near Piccadilly. Scotland Yard reports that these two vehicles are “clearly linked.”
As President Bush began the pre-holiday weekend in Kennebunkport, Maine, U.S. federal authorities said there is no plan to change the terror threat level in this country. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg suggested that his city would increase its security a little bit, but nothing dramatic.
Well, for the latest from London, joining me with the situation as it stands at this moment, we welcome from NBC Stephanie Gosk, who is live in London.
Stephanie, what is the latest?
STEPHANIE GOSK, NBC NEWS-LONDON: Well, Tucker, it‘s looking more and more like this was an orchestrated plot. We‘re now being told that there were two vehicle bombs, one being found just around the corner from where I am right now at around 2:00 in the morning, that bomb was diffused.
A Mercedes filled with large quantities of gasoline as well as a couple of tanks that they believe to be propane—nails were found on the floor of that car, as well as smoke spewing out of that car in the early morning hours here.
Then, later on in the day, another suspect car found in Park Lane, which is about a mile from where I am right now, along the edge of Hyde Park and very close to Buckingham Palace. That area was also cordoned off, they then evacuated certain parts of the park. We‘re now being told that the vehicle they had found there had a similar explosive device.
Now, British officials are saying that this bomb was so large, that it would have caused massive damage, as well as loss of life. So, you‘re looking at a real tragedy averted here on the streets of London—Tucker?
CARLSON: Stephanie, has anyone claimed responsibility for this attempted terror attacks?
GOSK: Well, at the moment, no. What we have heard from U.S.—one U.S. official telling NBC News that they are—that they have identified three suspects. Now, those three suspects are from Birmingham. Birmingham is to the north of here, and it might be a name that sounds—or a name of a city that might sound a bit familiar to you because it is—in Birmingham, just in the beginning of this year, where they arrested a bunch of high—sort of high-profile arrests in that city of Islamic militants.
So what we‘re being told right now is that there are three suspects on the loose that they have identified, that they‘re trying to go after, and that they‘re from that city of Birmingham—Tucker?
CARLSON: Stephanie, for our viewers not familiar with London, give us a sense of where these foiled attacks were, Piccadilly and Park Lane. Is this the middle of the city, is this a certain part of the city, what‘s the significance of the area where these cars were found?
GOSK: Sure. Well, this is really the heart of London, it‘s central London. Piccadilly Circus, for people that aren‘t familiar with London, the best way to describe it is that it‘s a bit like Times Square in New York City, and of course Hyde Park being a bit like Central Park in New York City.
These are places—places that (ph) are filled with tourists, particularly this time of year, it being summer, it‘s a very busy weekend here in London. Wimbledon is being played, as well as the benefit concert for Diana that‘s being held on Sunday night.
But in addition to the tourists, you also have just common Londoners, people that are going to work, walking on the streets, these are very busy parts of town. The damage should these explosive devices have gone off would have been devastating, Tucker.
A lot of different terorist organizations that have been active in the uk. Are we certain this is Islamic te terror?
No, we‘re not sure. It could be anyone. That being said given what‘s going on in the united kingdom right now uk law enforcement is overwhelmed with a flood of cases of homegrown cases. People that haven‘t been picked out of a line bio am ma bin lade Laden, people that are sympathetic to what al-qaeda are saying and are teaching themselves how to follow al-qaeda and how to become their own terrorist network based on what they read on the internet. It‘s surprising you think how can these people can do on their own, it‘s astounding what people are able to achieve on their own. 77 was the work of al-qaeda. 721, the failed bombings that happened only weeks later, that appeared to be the work of a radic radicalized cell. What happened in those attacks? the explosives didn‘t go off. If it did go off there would be the same casual at thises. Casualties. It‘s pushing the uk authorities to their limits.
If you could name the one difference between the uk and the United States that allows the United States to have not so many homegrown radicals and the uk to have a lot is it simply there are morris lom militants in the you k?
People were asking why aren‘t we seeing suicide bombings in the streets of london and in the United States, well, we‘re starting to see it now. There are homegrown cells being picked up right here in the United States. A lot of intent and not so much capability, but eventually yoush‘ going to have people that have the intent and capability and go out and do something. Then we‘ll turn around and ask our serves why didn‘t we realize this was a threat. There are people right here in New York City that talk about killing people in the name of al-Qaeda because they see themselves as part of the same mission. That‘s here in New York City. The homegrown cases that I‘ve seen popping up in this country in the United States are all over the place, in places like Ohio, Portland, Oregon. Places you‘ve never imagined seeing popping up. Just wait.
You just got to pray that political correctness is not preventing us from doing anything about it. Thank you.
The Supreme Court issue about the subject of race and school. We‘ve got more of that. Plus hillary Clinton brings the crowd to its feet during last night‘s debate. We‘ll tell you what she said. Be right back.
CARLSON: The Supreme Court rules that race can no longer be used to decide where a child goes to school. In other words, schools can no longer discriminate on the basis of race. Why are some self-appointed civil rights activists saying that‘s a bad thing? We will explain in a minute.
CARLSON: A landmark ruling from the Supreme Court and it could affect hundreds of schools across this country. In a five to four decision the court ruled that race cannot be used to assign students to schools, even if it is an attempt to diversify the schools. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the majority opinion and he said this, “The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.”
Well Justice Stephen Breyer wrote the dissenting opinion. He fears this ruling will break the promise of racial equality. He wrote, “The is a decision that the court and the nation will come to regret.”
Ted Shaw is the president of the NAACP legal defense education fund and he joins us now. Mr. Shaw, thanks for coming on.
THEODORE SHAW, NAACP LEGAL DEFENSE & EDUCATIONAL FUND: Thank you for having me.
CARLSON: So the high court rules that it is illegal for schools to discriminate on the basis of race, I would think you would be celebrating, but you look glum. Why?
SHAW: Well, you know, the issue isn‘t whether there‘s discrimination on the basis of race and whether that‘s unconstitutional. That has been decided a long time ago.
The problem is that the Supreme Court has just made it much more difficult to voluntarily integrate public schools. That‘s the issue that was decided yesterday. And the decision really isn‘t a 5-4 decision.
Justice Kennedy refused to go along with the chief justice in the plurality opinion as far as they wanted to go. That is to say, he did say that government school districts can do something to bring about integration.
But the problem that I have with this is that essentially this turns its back on Brown versus Board of Education. And does it in a way by standing fact and history on its head. It‘s an Orwellian argument that our adversaries make.
CARLSON: Actually, I believe you‘re the one making the Orwellian argument. If you‘re claiming that discrimination on the basis of race no longer exists, or is sanctioned by the government, that‘s false.
In mean, the New York papers for instance—just last week, have been following the case of an Indian girl who was denied entry into Mark Twain Intermediate School in Cony Island because of her race. She scored higher than white kids on standardized tests and she wasn‘t allowed in because she wasn‘t white, because she was Indian. So in an effort ...
SHAW: No, I think you are ...
CARLSON: ... to diversify the school. They—I am not missing the point. That is—there‘s no arguing that that‘s what happened.
SHAW: No, I think you‘re misunderstanding me. I‘m not saying that discrimination doesn‘t exist. If that were true, I wouldn‘t be doing the work that I am doing.
The point I‘m making is that, the voluntary attempts to integrate public schools, that‘s not discrimination. That‘s the Orwellian argument. Voluntary desegregation ...
CARLSON: Wait a second. No, no.
SHAW: ... attempts. If I may.
CARLSON: Voluntary desegregation attempts were the most uncontroversial way to desegregate public schools in the ‘60s and the ‘70s. And they were left, recently, as almost the last gasp of Brown versus Board of Education. Public schools have re-segregated pursuant to Supreme Court cases and decisions in the last several years.
Voluntary efforts by school districts that still say, we believe in the 21st century it‘s important to have diversity, it is important to have integration in our public schools, and we still want to make that available. The Supreme Court is saying that that is unconstitutional.
CARLSON: OK. You‘re not addressing what I‘m saying, Mr. Shaw. I am saying that around this country, not just in Louisville, not just in the jurisdictions addressed directly by this decision, but in almost every jurisdiction in this nation students are prevented from going to certain schools because of the color of their skin. That has happened in New York. It is happening again in almost every community in this nation. And the Supreme Court yesterday said that is unconstitutional. I would think you would be for that. I don‘t understand why you think the government ought to be allowed to say, no you can‘t go to this school because of the color of your skin. And yet your organization supports the government doing that.
SHAW: No, sir.
CARLSON: Which strikes me as Orwellian.
SHAW: That is not an accurate picture of what I‘m talking about and what goes on. There are two things that can happen. One is, the old fashion segregation, sanctioned by law, which said that you are black, not only are you black, but you are inferior because you‘re black and you can‘t go to school with white students. That was discrimination on the basis of skin color. What we‘re talking about, what was at issue in yesterday‘s case, is school districts that say we struggled to get to the point where we had some semblance of integration of public schools. We know housing patterns are segregated. We know that if we don‘t do anything to sustain desegregation or integration or diversity in our schools, we will resegregate. We don‘t want that to happen. Therefore, we as a school district, exercising local control, we want to have integrated schools.
CARLSON: You are ...
SHAW: That is what the Supreme Court is saying.
CARLSON: With all due respect, you are reapeating. You are repeating the same euphemisms. The reality at the ground level is, certain kids are allowed to go to certain schools because of their skin color and others aren‘t. And that strikes me as discrimination, the definition of. But let me ask you this question. Is there any evidence that ...
SHAW: Well, you are not get me to disagree with that characterization. I mean, agree with that characterization.
CARLSON: Oh, OK. Let me just ...
SHAW: Your characterization mischaracterizes what is going on.
CARLSON: Then you should pay close attention to what. That is simply not true. And I think any honest person who looks at for more than five minutes will come to the conclusion—there is no other conclusion. That people are prevented from going to certain schools because of the color of their skin. Because their presence makes the school racially imbalanced. And that is immoral in my view. But here is my question to you, do you have evidence that your plans, the desegregation plans enforced since early 1970‘s have made education better for kids? Is there any evidence that schools now are better as a result? I don‘t think there is. If there is, where I is it?
SHAW: Let me speak to that. In speaking to that, you know, I want to make sure that because you‘re suggesting that I‘m not being honest. I want that everybody understands what I am saying. Because what happens is that, where a school district wants to integrate schools, there is a point at which it has to decide whether they‘re going to allow some student assignments that may be segregative. And in those instances, it may say look, you have a choice to attend but if you attend this school, it is going to be more segregative and if you attend this other school it is going to be more integrative. School boards always make assignments that students—students don‘t have an automatic right to decide where they are going go to school. That‘s what happens ...
CARLSON: Right. So on the basis of race ...
SHAW: ... elementary schools.
CARLSON: Exactly. So your conceding on the basis of race, kids are not allowed to go to schools they might want to go to. And isn‘t that wrong? I mean, that‘s the definition of wrong.
SHAW: No, no, no, sir.
What is wrong, is seeing segregation in public education. That‘s what Brown was about. These students are not being told that they are inferior. They are not being told that they cannot go to a school because of their skin color, that is your characterization.
What they are being told is that, in a limited number of cases, if they‘re going to maintain integration in public schools, that they‘ll be sent to a school or not sent to a school in part, because of the segregative or integrated effect of that school assignment. No body is being told—look, if you are telling me that what happens to me is that white students are being treated as black students once were, that there are being told that they are inferior. I mean, that‘s being dishonest.
SHAW: I don‘t think that‘s what you are saying.
CARLSON: I‘m not saying that. I have never claimed that. I‘m merely saying the fact, which is incontrovertible, there is no argument about the fact, that students are sent to certain schools and prevented from going to other schools, because of the color of their skin. That‘s a fact.
SHAW: I tell you what, Tucker.
CARLSON: And I‘m really saying that‘s wrong. I don‘t care what goal it is serving.
SHAW: Maybe we can agree with this and then I will go back to your other question. Maybe we can agree on this by looking at it this way.
SHAW: After Brown versus Board of Education, when schools were segregated. When the Supreme Court said you have to desegregate, at that point, at that point, in order to desegregate, students had to be assigned to school in part, taking into account whether it was going to be desegregative or segregative. Now, if what you are saying is that that is assigning a student to school on the basis of race, then what that would do, is prevent anyone from ever desegregating a school district.
And if that were true ...
SHAW: ... then segregation, after Brown, would have remained the rule rather than the exception.
CARLSON: Alright. Well, we‘re desegregated now despite 50 years of it.
SHAW: Now ...
CARLSON: I‘m sorry, Mr. Shaw. We‘re out of time. I feel like you and I should go out to dinner and we can talk.
SHAW: I‘d be glad to do that. I‘d be glad to come back on. We‘ve only scratched the surface.
CARLSON: I appreciate it. Thanks a lot. Ted Shaw, NAACP.
SHAW: Thank you.
CARLSON: Hillary Clinton‘s fund raising total shattered records in the first quarter. Can the same be said about her second quarter take?
Plus, will he or won‘t he? That‘s the question still buzzing around Al Gore in a rumored run for president? Maybe closer to an answer. That‘s next.
CARLSON: Welcome back. We just got word from Tony Snow, the White House press secretary that late this afternoon there will be a cabinet level meeting at the White House to discuss today‘s attempted terror attacks in London. The president himself to Kennebunkport, Maine, where he will be meeting with Russian Premier Vladimir Putin. He will not be present, at least in person. But again, there is a cabinet level meeting scheduled for late this afternoon to talk about the American response to those two cars found filled with explosives in central London today.
To discuss the implications of all this, we welcome back, NBC‘s terrorism analyst, Evan Kohlmann. Evan?
What exactly should and will the United States do to respond to these foiled attacks?
EVAN KOHLMANN, NBC TERRORISM ANALYST: Well, I mean, there‘s not much we can do. We can raise our security, we can talk about raising security, but ultimately we can‘t stop a speeding bullet. There are a lot of people out there that want to do us harm and we can‘t be everywhere at once. And I think, what this case in particular demonstrates, that without a little bit of luck, a lot of people can get hurt. And, you know, you can‘t—even in London, even with the resources they have there, even in a more compressed space, they still can‘t provide 100 percent security. And I don‘t think we can either. I think there is probably going to be some talk about what to do about some of these homegrown terrorists cell networks.
There‘s probably also going to be some discussion about the fact that these networks do tend to have connections here inside the United States. A number of recent cases over in the U.K. involving homegrown freelancers have involved individuals inside the United States who have been collecting information about potential terrorist targets here inside the U.S. and have been transmitting it abroad to these folks. So I‘m sure that‘s probably also be on the agenda. But there‘s a limited amount that we can do here. I mean, it really—if we don‘t see these guys coming, we don‘t know that they‘re there.
CARLSON: Now you—we are assuming a lot here because our knowledge of what actually happened in London is at this point, still pretty limited. But we‘re assuming that these were, so called, homegrown attempted terror attacks perpetrated by people who are living in Britain.
You said, the United States can look for a future of similar attacks because there are radical cells within this country, operating. To what extent does the U.S. government monitor those cells, those suspects? I mean, do we follow them?
KOHLMANN: Well, we do. We try to do what we can. But, keep in mind that these folks have outwitted us before. There‘s a case going on right now, finishing up in the United Kingdom, actually I testified in this case, regarding an individual who was operating his own terrorist network out of London. Someone who had never been to the United States before, but had contacted people here in the United States, had networked with them, had recruited them, and these guys actually went on a trip to Washington D.C. Where they took a video camera and began filming various different would-be terrorist targets. They sent this video back over to the United Kingdom, where it sat in their coffers, waiting to be used. These individuals have, obviously been picked up here in the United States, but we didn‘t know about them until we picked up on the other end of it first.
And what‘s more is that it‘s not just one or two. There‘s groups of these people all over the place in north America, in western Europe, and it doesn‘t take a lot to kill people. It‘s as simple as picking up a gun. You even have prison convicts, you had a guy out in Los Angeles, who wanted to go on a one-man Jihad crusade out in Los Angeles. I mean, you know, it seems ridiculous, and in some ways it is. But even one of these folks, if they are successful, they really do achieve their mission. Because their mission is media attention. Their mission is publicity. Their mission is drawing attention to their supposed grievances, and unfortunately, even if the attack fails, they‘ve in some way achieved that.
CARLSON: If there‘s one thing it‘s not hard to achieve, it is getting media attention. If Paris Hilton can draw the attention of every news outlet, truly, in the world, then imagine what a single terror attack on U.S. could achieve. NBC News terrorism analyst Evan Kohlmann joining us. I really appreciate you coming on.
KOHLMANN: My pleasure, thank you.
CARLSON: This is developing story. Again the White House, a cabinet level meeting, 5:00 p.m. this afternoon. We‘ll bring you details as they emerge. We‘ll continue to follow this story to its logical conclusion. But for now, let‘s look at your headlines.
CARLSON: Welcome back. We‘re continuing to follow this developing story out of London. Two foiled car bombs discovered in the center of the city, one in Piccadilly Circus, another Mercedes discovered Park Lane. Both of them packed with explosives, propane, gasoline, nails. One outside a busy night club.
The White House responding. Tony Snow, the White House press secretary, announcing today that at 5:00 p.m. this afternoon there will be a cabinet level meeting in Washington at the White House to discuss the U.S. response to these foiled terror attacks. We want to go back to London now. NBC New‘s Stephanie Gosk is standing by with the latest. Stephanie?
STEPHANIE GOSK, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: It looks like, Tucker, they‘ve averted a coordinate attack here. We have now two car bombs that we are being told of, all using the same bomb making materials, as you said, large quantities of gasoline and propane gas.
The first bomb was diffused in the early morning hours here in this area of London, in Piccadilly Circus. Hours later, about a mile from here, they found a second suspect vehicle. They immediately closed that area. That area on Park Lane. They closed a cordon of about 200 yards around that suspect vehicle.
They then evacuated portions of Hyde Park. And for people that have visited London before, these are areas that are very popular with tourists, very close to Buckingham Palace. Where I am right now, Piccadilly Circus, is very much like Times Square. These are very busy populated areas. Tucker?
CARLSON: Stephanie, we‘re hearing reports that several suspects have been identified in this bomb plot. Are they in custody? What does it mean that they have been identified? Is there an all points bulletin for them?
GOSK: Yes, they are in pursuit. They have identifying three suspects that they‘re in pursuit of. One can imagine that with all of the CCTB cameras that are in this city, that they quite possible have IDed them through that video footage. We‘re also being told that those suspects are from the Birmingham area. That‘s a city north of London that has become renowned a bit for Islamic militants.
There were a series of high profile arrests earlier in this year of suspected Islamic militants suspected of terrorist activities. We‘re being told that these three suspects identified are from that area. Tucker?
CARLSON: Stephanie Gosk in London. I appreciate it, Stephanie. Thank you.
Well, as you said a minute ago, the White House is responding to these foiled terror attacks in London. We want to go now to NBC‘ Patty Culhane, who is standing by in Washington with the latest from there. Patty?
PATTY CULHANE, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Good evening, Tucker. I can tell you that there‘s going to be a high level cabinet meeting, being called at the White House, in just about 25 minutes from now. Homeland Security advisor Fran Townsend is going to be leading that meeting.
We‘re told the president is not going to call in on any sort of secured link, but he will be briefed after. It is going to be cabinet level. We‘re talking about Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates expected to be at the meeting. We have a camera on the way, and we‘ll let you know who shows up for that.
Now, the president is spending today with—having a little family time. He went fishing with his dad. But advisors say he has been briefed twice on the situation, once by Steven Hadley, his national security advisor, once by Miss Townsend. But he hasn‘t called the new prime minister, Gordon—I‘m sorry, he has not called the new prime minister because he says he‘s got his be hands full right now.
What does this mean for the U.S.? is it possible that they are going to raise the security level here? So far, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff says no. He‘s seen no evidence that the threat has increased, that a threat is more likely to happen in the U.S. Though, he is asking Americans to remain vigilant. Tucker?
CARLSON: Patty, the president is in Maine. At what point does he meet with the premier of London, Vladimir Putin? Is that today, tomorrow, this weekend?
CULHANE: Putin is flying in—I believe it is tomorrow. And they‘re going to be meeting through Sunday. The president back in Washington the early part of next week. So he is preparing for that meeting. Obviously there are some very big issues right now between the president and Putin, namely that missile shield system that President Bush wants to put up in Europe, one that Putin is adamantly against.
Their relationship has really been tested lately. So, it‘s a very critical meeting that the president is preparing for.
CARLSON: NBC‘s Patty Culhane in Washington. Thanks a lot, Patty.
Well, there are political implications to everything, but particularly to international terror and its affect on U.S. soil, potentially. We want to bring in now our panel of political experts. Joining us now, MSNBC political analyst and Democratic strategist Hillary Rosen from Washington, and also nationally syndicated radio talk show host Ed Schultz. Welcome to you both.
HILLARY ROSEN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Hi Tucker.
ED SCHULTZ, NATIONALLY SYNDICATED RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Good to see you, Tucker.
CARLSON: Hillary, this really is the wild card. We talk about—we always assume, when we look at political situations, that tomorrow is going to be like today, but this is a reminder that, in fact, tomorrow may be nothing like today, thanks to the sinister efforts of some third party like al-Qaeda.
Is this something that if you‘re running a presidential campaign that you factor in, the potential that we could be hit, frankly?
ROSEN: Well, I think campaigns have to factor this in. I think you will find that probably most of the campaigns today are deliberately keeping fairly silent. You know, you don‘t really know what to say until there‘s a plan. But one thing the Democrats, in particular, are getting ready to be tougher on, and the president will be called more to task, is how much of our resources are going to this war in Iraq and how few resources are really going into the first responder issues at home?
Are we spending enough to protect our cities to do what we can? And even if we can‘t anticipate where a terrorist attack will be, are we equipping law enforcement? Are we equipping rescue workers and the like for the aftermath? And I think that‘s where Democrats have really been right on this, that the administration has historically under-funded and under-supported domestic efforts at home on this issue.
CARLSON: Yes, I mean, Ed, this is all the predicate to what‘s going to happen when we are hit again. And unfortunately, we are going to be hit again. Will you see Democrats, if it happens before the election, wade in and blame the administration directly for it?
SCHULTZ: Well, look, Tucker, I really think that the American people are asking themselves some real tough questions. Who do we trust? Are we protected? Do we have the resources. First of all, you have to give the Bush administration a little bit of credit here, that they are getting after it with a cabinet meeting to cover all bases. That‘s a positive sign.
Is the threat level going to go up and do we have any immediate threats right now? So they‘ve got to be honest with you. If the president comes out and tries to justify the terrorist surveillance program on the heals of what has happened, he‘s going to lose even more people. This is no time for any political wrangling. We‘ve got to make sure the country is protected.
As the campaign goes on, this is standard operating procedure, to talk about border security, to talk about port security and to talk about airline security, whether this happened in London today or not. We are still going to be going after the issues and we can‘t say we‘re only doing it because of this situation that unfolded overseas today. It is an on-going process to stay vigilant throughout the system.
CARLSON: Hillary, let me ask you a question about something Evan Kohlmann just said. Evan Kohlmann, NBC News terrorism analyst, just said that there are radical Muslims in this country who hate us and seek to do us harm. I can‘t imagine—I literally can‘t even imagine a Democratic candidate for president saying that.
Democrats, of course, are trying to woo the Muslim community. I think that person would be shouted down by the net roots as a bigot if he said that. And yet it‘s true. Don‘t you think some Democrats should get up and say, yes, there are lunatic Muslims among us, who seek our demise. Why not say that? Because it‘s true.
ROSEN: Well, I think you did hear Democrats, in a couple of the debates that were focused on national security, talk about the real terrorist threat. I think they don‘t get enough credit for acknowledging the terrorist threat that we experience. But I think there‘s—When you look at what might happen if we are attacked, there is a very critical piece to understand. And that is the American people are pretty smart about this these days. They‘re spending a lot of focus on their views of how the president has handled or mishandled Iraq and whether the Democrats are appropriately responding in the way that they elected them to the majority to do last November.
So I think we should anticipate that the American people are essentially going to decide. Public opinion is going to decide whether there is fault if we, god forbid, should have another attack. I think in this area that is going to depend very much on instinct. But I do think you‘re going to see Democrats do what they‘ve been doing in this campaign, which is saying we need a balanced response to the terrorist threat. We have to do more at home and we have to have a better policy in the Middle East.
CARLSON: OK, but hold on. It‘s not attacking Muslims. That‘s exactly that‘s the—that‘s the false dichotomy right there.
ROSEN: No, that‘s the point you‘re making.
CARLSON: -- are decent great people. My point is that there are Islamic extremists in this country and they seek to hurt us and at some point they will hurt us. I believe that is a consensus view among people who study this subject. I really think everybody who studies terrorism for a living believes that is inevitable. I don‘t think that threat is taken seriously by Democrats.
ROSEN: I have heard Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton talk about radical Islam and the threat it poses to our country. I don‘t think people are shying away from it. I don‘t think—you know, your posing a sort of old-fashioned view of Democrats. I don‘t think that‘s where they are this year.
CARLSON: Really? I absolutely hope you‘re right. All right, we‘re going to take a quick break. We will be back in just a moment. We are following the breaking news, again, that an emergency cabinet meeting called for the White House, 5:00 p.m. We‘ll bring you details as they unfold in the wake of two foiled terror bombings in central London. This is MSNBC. We‘ll be right back.
CARLSON: Welcome back. We‘re continuing to follow those two failed terror plots in central London, one in Piccadilly Circus, the other on Park Lane. Mercedes packed with explosives, propane canisters, nails gasoline, neither one exploded. Both signs of a serious and apparently sophisticated plot to injure and kill civilians in the heart of one of Europe‘s biggest cities.
Joining us now by phone is Rick Hahn. He‘s a former FBI agent and an expert on explosive devices. Rick, are you there?
RICK HAHN, FMR. FBI AGENT: I am, Tucker. How are you.
CARLSON: I am fine. Thanks for coming on. From what you know about these explosive devices, what conclusions do you draw? How sophisticated were these?
HAHN: These are very sophisticated devices, indication that there was some effort to make a fuel air explosion out of it. A good deal of fragmentation added with nails and that sort of thing. All that tells me that is this is probably not the sort of independent solo players that you had during the backpack bombs a few years back in London. This is probably something where the people were trained by very sophisticated, knowledgeable bomb makers.
CARLSON: As far as I understand, these were cars packed with gasoline, propane canisters and projectiles, nails, nuts and bolts. What exactly would a bomb like that do, and why gasoline and propane together? What‘s the purpose?
HAHN: Well, the gasoline and propane would initiated, first of all, by another explosive. If you only have a small quantity of explosives, say a few pounds of dynamite or something of that nature, a way of enhancing it is to disburse a gas, let it mix with the air, and then initiate that as a fuel air explosion. The possibility, of course, of enhancing it successfully depends on, again, the level of sophistication of the bomb building.
But it certainly can be done and there are ordinance devices that are fuel air explosives. The second thing, of course, with the gasoline, the possibility of promoting fires in the area.
CARLSON: So what happens? This vehicle, the first one in Piccadilly Circus, was parked or sort of crashed into trash cans outside a club. A device like this goes off. People are inside the club. Any chance they‘re hurt, even though they‘re inside a building?
HAHN: Oh, absolutely Tucker. Just the concussion from the blast wave itself can cause, of course, deafness, collapsed lungs, things of that nature. The building itself, depending on what‘s in the building, you may have ceiling collapse. You may have walls collapse, that sort of thing. Think of Bali also, with fires following immediately thereafter.
And, of course, the fact that they have these nails—in addition to parts of the car that become missiles, you have all these nails that are going to be projected out at speeds faster than bullets. A lot of people would have been injured or killed immediately. Then you have another car parked nearby, so that emergency services, ambulances, fire department, that sort of thing, responding to the area may have been targeted by the second device, which may have been timed to go off 20, 30, 40 minutes later.
CARLSON: So, given how large these bombs are—let‘s so you work for the London police. You get a call that there‘s a vehicle smoking outside a night club, as they did last night. You approach. You see these explosives in it. Whose job is to disarm this thing?
HAHN: The London police, of course, have a bomb squad, which is extremely experienced and sophisticated in dealing with these devices. Car bombs in London go all the way back to the 60‘s with the IRA. So they have a great deal of experience, a great number of people that are well-trained with different techniques to try and successfully dismantle these devices.
CARLSON: But if that bomb goes off while you‘re attempting to disable it, it‘s over for you, right? There‘s no way to survive that. Is there?
HAHN: That‘s the risk that these bomb technicians take. And, again, this is something that they train for, something that everyone in that community—the international bomb community—studies the various types of devices that are out there. They pass that information around amongst themselves, as to how best to approach these things and how best to try and disarm them.
CARLSON: Man, you got to be a pretty brave character to get into that line of work. I‘m impressed. Anyway, Mr. Hahn, thanks for joining us. I appreciate it.
HAHN: My pleasure, Tucker.
CARLSON: Coming up, more on those two failed terror attacks in the city of London. This is MSNBC.
CARLSON: Welcome back. We‘re getting more details on those two foiled terror attacks in London. We have now again MSNBC terror analyst Evan Kohlmann with us. Evan, we are getting details on the kind of explosives used in these two vehicles. Tell us what you know.
KOHLMANN: Again, so far what we know is that propane canisters here were tied to a detonator and then the idea was the detonator would be set off with a cell phone. The detonator appears to have at least partially detonated. However, the propane canisters did not.
Is that unusual? No, actually, that happens fairly frequently in terrorism cases. I guess, fortunately for us, these type of devices sometimes fail to explode. I would disagree with what Rick Hahn just said. I don‘t think that these are the most sophisticated devices in the world, namely because the explosive itself was fabricated—was not fabricated, rather.
If you look at the 7/7 bombings, where it was an al-Qaeda operation, with suicide bombers, they fabricated their own explosives. They made the explosives themselves. Even the 7/21 bombers, who were not an official al Qaeda cell, fabricated their own explosives. This was made out of component parts. I mean, this was very much like a Tom and Jerry type of device. Not that it isn‘t deadly; not that it isn‘t at least a bit sophisticated and not that it wouldn‘t cause casualties.
But it doesn‘t show a degree of familiarity and chemicals, and what not, that you would expect that would have to come from participation in a training course at a training camp or from a military.
CARLSON: We are getting reports that, apparently, one of these devices, which is attached to a cell phone, which is to act as the trigger, and somebody called that cell phone several times, apparently to trigger the device. But, in any case, those cell numbers have been captured on the phone, which is now in police custody. This seems like a great opportunity to break up a terrorist cell.
KOHLMANN: It is the perfect opportunity. Look at Madrid back in 2004. How do you think police were able to find so many of the conspirators so quickly? The reason was because some of the bombs didn‘t explode. They had cell phones attached to them. They went into the cell phone sim cards; they went into the cell phones and they tracked it straight back to these guys.
There is absolutely no doubt that it‘s a key piece of evidence to have these cell phones. It can tell you a lot more than just about anything else. Again, we have an exact prior example when it has been very, very useful.
CARLSON: It‘s almost an argument for suicide bombing. I mean, if you‘re al-Qaeda, and thinking about how to make your operation go off without a hitch, and how not to endanger other operatives, a suicide bomber, of course, leaves behind very little evidence.
KOHLMANN: And I think you raised a very important question, is that if this is al-Qaeda, how come there weren‘t suicide bombers used? Typically speaking, al-Qaeda‘s calling card, the way it lets people know this is an al-Qaeda operation, is the use of suicide bomber. It doesn‘t mean they have an exclusive market on it. They don‘t have a lock on it. But most of their attacks these days are using suicide operatives.
If this was al-Qaeda, and that‘s still very much a question here, why didn‘t they? I think, again, this brings up the idea that this is potentially a group of people who are free-lancers, who are self-radicalized, people that don‘t necessarily—aren‘t necessarily ready to kill themselves for this operation.
This is an operation—again, it‘s looking very similar to what happened in Madrid back in 2004, where you had a group of guys, same ideology as al-Qaeda, no direct connection, and they did a very similar thing. They put bombs in bags and put them on trains. Again, hopefully in this case, it will be the cell phones that lead back to these folks. If they are in Birmingham, though, and there‘s already potentially three suspects, you‘re talking about a wide network of individuals that are going to have to be investigated, including their families, because we‘ve seen even family members getting involved in some of these cases.
CARLSON: Well, it was almost exactly two years ago we took this show to London in the aftermath of the subway and bus bombings there. And one of the criticism you heard on every lip really in the country was that the British government was too lenient with terror suspects and that London itself had become Londanistan, as people were calling it. Basically, the government wasn‘t taking Islamic terrorism very seriously. Has that changed in the last two years?
KOHLMANN: Yes, it definitely has changed. There have been several notable examples of how it has changed. I can tell you, before the July 7th bombings, it was Londanistan. It was a place where a lot of strange things could happen. But you‘ve seen major progress. You‘ve seen even such as the demonstration that took place last year outside the Danish embassy in London, where people were talking about suicide bombing London. A guy came dressed up as a suicide bomber.
That was no longer tolerated. The individuals who were responsible for that protest, the individual who wore the suicide bomb vest, they were prostituted under laws that I don‘t think could exist here in the United States. So yes, I mean, you can definitely see a much more aggressive approach by British authorities. They‘re looking to take in the leaders of home grown terror cell networks, like al Muhajarin (ph), for instance.
They‘re trying to take these people out of the picture any way they can. They‘re trying to extradite suspects now to the United States to face trial here. It‘s much more aggressive. I really think you have to give a lot of credit to the Brits. They‘ve made a lot of progress in a very short period of time. They‘re very eager to learn. They‘re trying their best.
One complaint that I got from them recently is that they‘re not getting as much cooperation from the U.S. government as they thought they would. In fact, in some cases the Justice Department and the State Department have just not been cooperating in their terrorism investigations. And, you know, you don‘t see any politician bringing that up, and I think that‘s a very important issue.
CARLSON: Just remember, Even, the one thing we don‘t want to do is hurt anyone‘s feelings. That‘s sort of the operating thesis of parts of our government. MSNBC‘s terrorism analyst Evan Kohlmann, I really appreciate it, Evan.
KOHLMANN: Thank you.
CARLSON: Well this story is unfolding. Two foiled terror attacks in the city of London. In about two minutes, the White House will hold a cabinet-level meeting on what the U.S. is going to do in response. We will be vigilant and we will give you details of that meeting as they emerge. Stay with MSNBC all night for more on this story. Thanks for watching. See you next week.
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