Guest: Joel Mowbray, Tim Vincent, Jack Burkman, Rony Abovitz, Raul Hinojosa, Pete Sessions, Mary Schiavo, Michael Smerconish
JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST: A shocking government report says Federal Aviation officials had 52 warnings in 2001 before the September 11 attacks.
Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, no passport required, only common sense allowed.
The Federal Aviation Administration was warned dozen of times that bin Laden was planning to attack commercial airliners in 2001. The question is, is the FAA still asleep at the wheel?
And then, a tough new immigration bill cracks down on the nation‘s borders, making it impossible for states to give driver‘s licenses to illegal immigrants, but now word the Republican Senate may try to kill it.
And across the pond, they‘re getting ready for another royal wedding, one more reason to thank God you‘re an American.
ANNOUNCER: From the press room, to the courtroom, to the halls of Congress, Joe Scarborough has seen it all. Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
SCARBOROUGH: Hey, welcome to the show, friends.
You know, I am proud to be an American, where at least I know I‘m free of having to deal with royal weddings and princess consorts. It‘s time for tonight‘s “Real Deal.”
You know, I guess I am just a regular guy, but I don‘t get what‘s going on in England these days, with this royal wedding and all. Prince Charles is marrying Camilla Parker Bowles. The queen is happy. Prince William, happy. Prince Harry, happy. And we are told most of merry old England is happy.
But I have got one question. Haven‘t we seen this all before? Because I can remember back in high school waking up with the rest of the world to see Prince Charles wed the young, glamorous Lady Diana. You know, it was a royal spectacle like nothing we had ever seen. But as soon as Lady Diana became Princess Diana, the happily ever after had a tragic ending.
And even before Princess Diana died in a Paris tunnel late on a summer night in 1997, we had learned way too much about Diana, Camilla, depression, and, yes, Charles and Diana‘s cheating hearts. What we saw in the wedding and marriage was glamorous, it was charming, but it wasn‘t true. You know, we are all suckers for glamour, John Kennedy, Camelot, Cary Grant and Grace Kelly, a beautiful young lady and her prince.
But the real tragedy in this royal story was not that Charles and Diana got a divorce. The real tragedy was that they ever got married. You know, we all make mistakes, yes, even us here in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, but thank God we don‘t have to marry somebody to ensure that our bloodlines will remain pure, whatever that means. We Americans have always been seen as common mongrels by the royal families of Europe.
And you know what? Maybe they are right, commoners like Neil Armstrong, who was the first human being to walk on the moon, or nonroyals like those band of brothers who scaled the walls of Normandy and freed the world, including the royals, of Nazi tyranny, or street urchins like Thomas Jefferson and Ronald Reagan. You know, they believed more in the power of the individual than the strengths kings and queens and evil empires.
We Americans have become the most powerful nation in the world because
we have torn down most of the powerful‘s class and status systems. In
America, if you got a great idea, you can become rich. If you can connect
with the common man, you can become president. And if you love somebody,
you don‘t have to check her bloodline first. You can just marry her, one
more thing that makes us in the colonies so superior to the land once ruled
by the royals.
And that‘s tonight‘s “Real Deal.”
Now, newly declassified documents just released on 9/11 by the commission, they say that, in the months leading up to September 11, the FAA had dozens of warnings about Osama bin Laden that mentioned hijackings and suicide attacks.
Here‘s the report.
KELLY O‘DONNELL, NBC CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Flying in the summer of 2001, when long lines appeared to be the biggest worry, those days before the unthinkable.
Information in the report suggests, while Federal Aviation officials had no specific knowledge of any plot, they had, indeed, been thinking about the risk of hijackings. Sealed by the Bush administration for five months, the report reveals, in the months prior to the attacks, the FAA reviewed more than 50 intelligence reports that mentioned Osama bin Laden or al Qaeda. Five of those briefings talked about hijackings. Two referred to suicide operations, though not linked specifically to aviation.
Officials believed the risk was greater overseas. But in the spring of 2001, FAA intelligence gave officials at 19 domestic airports a CD-ROM presentation that warned, terrorists might try suicide hijacking, but added this line: “Fortunately, we have no indication that any group is currently thinking in that direction.”
So, FAA officials did not require any airport to step up security in 2001, measures such as banning passengers from carrying small knives.
LEE HAMILTON, VICE-CHAIRMAN, 9/11 COMMISSION: They were too complacent. They had all of these warnings coming in, intelligence warnings. The FAA intelligence people knew about it. They didn‘t communicate it.
O‘DONNELL (on camera): The report finds, back in 2001, the airline industry was more focused on issues that affected customer service, like travel delays and the airline‘s financial troubles.
(voice-over): Money was one reason the air marshal program on domestic flights was dormant. An FAA official told the commission air carriers did not want to give up the revenue they lost by providing free seats to air marshals. Today, the FAA responded, saying it had received no specific information about terrorist means or methods that would have indicated specific countermeasures.
But some family members are upset, like Stephanie Holland-Brodney, whose mother died on Flight 11.
STEPHANIE HOLLAND-BRODNEY, DAUGHTER OF SEPTEMBER 11 VICTIM: It‘s time for the facts to come out now and it‘s time for our government to really come clean about everything.
O‘DONNELL: The report‘s bottom line may offer her little comfort, finding that aviation officials could have done more.
Kelly O‘Donnell, NBC News, Boston.
SCARBOROUGH: With me now are Michael Smerconish. He‘s author of “Flying Blind: How Political Correctness Continues to Compromise Airline Safety Post 9/11.” And Mary Schiavo, the former inspector general of the Department of Transportation, whose book is also called “Flying Blind,” but also “Flying Safe.”
OK, Michael let me begin with you.
Now, we have just learned that the FAA had 52 warnings in 2001 that Osama bin Laden was trying to get U.S. commercial aircraft to hijack them. How could the FAA allow this to happen? And is this the agency that we can trust our lives with when we are talking about flying?
MICHAEL SMERCONISH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Apparently, they were so concerned, Joe, that they go out to 19 of the most traveled airports in our country in mid-2001, and they conduct classified briefings about the bin Laden threat.
I mean, this is mind-boggling. And, you know, Joe, I have got to say something else. As a guy who was very supportive of this president, I am really distressed that this report was concluded in August and is only coming out now because the Bush administration didn‘t want it out.
SMERCONISH: And, clearly, they didn‘t want it out because of the election, and it really pains me to say that. But the American people, I think this transcends ideology. It transcends politics. I want to protect my four kids. And this is disgraceful.
SCARBOROUGH: It is disgraceful.
Mary, how in the world does the federal government have 52 warnings about Osama bin Laden hijacking airplanes from April? It wasn‘t even over a long period. It was April 2001 to September 10, 2001.
MARY SCHIAVO, AVIATION EXPERT: That‘s right.
And if you go back to the beginning of the year, the number gets even larger. And I think that one of the other problems, as the previous guest said, is, there has been so much effort put into keeping this hidden, on not allowing it to come out, that, when it comes out now, you really have to question, because it doesn‘t seem that this was the best choice in terms of making a change to keep it hidden for so long, but this was very specific information provided to the airlines, provided to the airports.
We really have to question about the big move for three and a half years to keep this secret. It looks very bad to me.
SCARBOROUGH: Mary, you have testified about transportation before. Are cover-ups just a matter of course when you are dealing with screw-ups by the FAA and by the Transportation Department?
SCHIAVO: Yes, unfortunately, they are. I was inspector general for six years, and I testified before the 9/11 Commission as well.
And what was really astonishing is, the day before I testified, or a couple days before I testified before the 9/11 Commission, the TSA actually tried to get some of the documents back. And so, even to the point where after tragedy has happened—and, certainly, when I was inspector general, I saw it all the time.
And, unfortunately, the only people that they are protecting is obviously the government and certain industries as well. The report also makes clear that the reason for this huge lapse was the financial interest of the carriers, and that certainly cannot be allowed to stand.
SCARBOROUGH: And, Michael Smerconish, that brings us to today. Here, you have got a dysfunctional FAA. You have got a dysfunctional federal government. They don‘t seem as interested in protecting us as they do protecting their own jobs. Where does that leave us today? Are we any safer in the air today than we were on September 11?
And let me tell you something, I was one who was readily accepting of that 9/11 conclusion that said, well, the 9/11 Commission, well, it defied the imagination. You know, Joe, when you hear about 52 reports in five months, I no longer think it defied the imagination, what was pulled off.
I will tell you something else about the bureaucracy that we are describing. They play dirty. When my book was first out, “The Boston Globe” reviewed it and they went to the DOT for a reaction. And they said, you know that guy Smerconish has a warped sense of American values.
I have a warped sense of American values? I want these problems corrected. That‘s all.
SCHIAVO: Well, you know...
SCARBOROUGH: Mary, a lot of Americans, they‘re out there tonight thinking they have lied to us in the past. They have covered up when they have screwed up. How can I trust them ever again? How can I trust putting my family on a plane and feeling safe?
SCHIAVO: Well, you really can‘t trust them. And that‘s why disclosure is so very important.
And, you know, they did the same thing to my book too. The FAA actually assigned people to try to poke holes in it. And, fortunately, it certainly held up. But the important thing is accountability. And if the rest of this information does not come out—some of the stuff, by the way, that is classified still in this report, you can find in other sources.
And the warnings date back specifically for Osama bin Laden and for what happened years before 2001. Accountability is the key. The rest has to come out, and somebody has to be held accountable. They haven‘t yet.
SCARBOROUGH: And are we safer? Do you think we are safer?
SCHIAVO: No, we are not.
SCARBOROUGH: All right.
SCHIAVO: No, we are not. We need to make massive changes very soon.
The threat is still there.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, Michael Smerconish and Mary Schiavo, thank you so much for being with us tonight in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, frightening, frightening stuff.
And coming up next, Congress passes an immigration bill that makes sense. So, will the president veto it if the Senate even dares to pass it?
And did the CNN chief really say he thought American soldiers were targeting and killing journalists? We are going to ask somebody who will take us inside that secret meeting.
SCARBOROUGH: One of the top executives at CNN told a secret conference in Switzerland that U.S. troops tried to kill journalists. Now he‘s backtracking. We‘ve got somebody who was there who is going to give us the real deal in a second.
SCARBOROUGH: The House passed a tough new immigration bill today. Among other things, it blocks states from issuing driver‘s licenses to illegal immigrants. It also makes it tougher to obtain political asylum, making applications—applicants prove their claims of persecution in the nations that they are fleeing. And the bill would allow the federal government to plug a three-mile hole in the border in a fence between San Diego and Tijuana, Mexico. Environmentalists had objected to that.
Now, the driver‘s license portion is aimed at keeping I.D.s out of the hands of terrorists by making states verify that applicants are U.S. citizens or legal immigrants. Supporters of the bill say that 9/11 hijacker Mohamed Atta received a six-month visa, but was able to get a Florida driver‘s license for six years. The bill faces a tougher road ahead in the Senate.
With me now to talk about it is Republican Representative from Texas Pete Sessions and also UCLA economics professor Raul Hinojisa—josa. I‘m sorry.
RAUL HINOJOSA, UCLA POLITICAL ECONOMICS PROFESSOR: Hinojosa.
SCARBOROUGH: Yes, OK.
Let me start with you, Congressman.
You passed a bill today. The president may sign it, but it‘s probably going to be killed in the Senate. Why do people oppose—why do Republicans especially oppose keeping driver‘s licenses out of the hands of illegal immigrants?
REP. PETE SESSIONS ®, TEXAS: Well, what we did is, we looked at what happened on 9/11, and we looked at the 9/11 Commission report that was very plain and simple, that said, these 19 terrorists had five dozen different driver‘s licenses between them, five dozen different driver‘s licenses that they used as gateways not only to gain access onto airplanes, but also to certify themselves, anybody that needed a document. And they found a way to plan.
SCARBOROUGH: Right. And that‘s what we have talked about, Pete. And that makes such common sense. I will ask it again. Why are Republicans, as well as Democrats, but why are Republicans in the Senate against this commonsense measure?
SESSIONS: Well, I think public opinion is going to have a lot to say about that, Joe.
We‘re following up on what the commission report said. We have fair and balanced opportunities to talk about this in the bill. I think it‘s going to make it through. But I am disappointed if I find out that members of the Senate are not even going to look at the nexus or the gateway, which is a driver‘s license.
SCARBOROUGH: Professor, there are arguments that some people like you believe that actually giving driver‘s licenses to illegal immigrants will make America safer. Tell me why.
HINOJOSA: Well, this is really the let‘s stick our head in the sand and pretend we are safer act of Congress.
The reality of it is that this act will preclude what we were trying to do in California, which is to say, if an undocumented worker that is paying taxes and is willing to identify themselves to authorities, it would preclude California from doing that in the way that it suggested to be done, that it would raise the bar on what an undocumented worker has to do background checks on.
HINOJOSA: All we are doing with this bill is pushing people further underground, creating 10 million people in the underground economy, in the underground that will never come forward.
SCARBOROUGH: A good point, Professor, but I want to ask you, though, what do you say to people that say, you know what, these people got here illegally; they broke the law; why should we give them driver‘s licenses?
HINOJOSA: Well, look, the issue is that we have an immigration policy that is broken in this country. We need these undocumented workers throughout the economy.
SCARBOROUGH: How is that? How is it broken?
HINOJOSA: Let‘s create a legal forum for them to come in. And let‘s also create a legal forum for them to get documented. The driver‘s license is only a good thing for our road safety. It‘s a good thing to—background checks for people that are going to apply for that. That should be a separate issue.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, Congressman, what do you say to that?
HINOJOSA: Congress should spend some time...
SCARBOROUGH: Are you driving illegal immigrants even further underground? A lot of people—it makes common sense.
SESSIONS: You know, when we get to an immigration bill, that‘s where I think the professor would have a standing to be able to talk about how we deal with undocumented workers.
We are talking about people who have come to this country illegally. We have a terrorist problem. We have seen what happened in 9/11. We are picking up on exactly what the commission said is the problem. We have got to make sure that people who have access to airplanes, trains, all these sorts of avenues, that potentially is a problem, that we know who people are. They were here illegally. They are illegal, and illegal people create unlawful acts. We‘ve got make sure the terrorists...
MATTHEWS: Professor, Mohamed Atta used his driver‘s license to get on board and kill—take part in killing 3,000 Americans.
HINOJOSA: All the more reason what we should be doing is what we were trying to do in California, is raise the bar that people have to go—undergo greater background checks. Undocumented especially would pay for greater background checks in order to get this type of a license.
It only makes more security sense. I think that Congress is playing politics. Let‘s fix the real problems here, a broken immigration system. Let‘s not make the rest of the roads and the rest of the economy less welcoming for a legal process for workers that are paying taxes here.
SCARBOROUGH: Congressman, give us a prediction. A lot of Republicans have been angry with their party. They didn‘t think they would take action. You all have taken action today. Give me a prediction. Will the Senate pass this bill? Will the president sign it?
SESSIONS: I think they will. I think the president is going to sign it.
We were told this would be on a must-pass piece of legislation. We negotiated very carefully. Jim Sensenbrenner did a wonderful job. It was balanced. It makes sense. I think, when it comes to the Senate, the Senate will agree with us. We need to make sure that, where there are failures in the system, that we correct those.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, Professor, quick last word.
HINOJOSA: I think that what we really need to do is create a legalization process in this country that, if we are needing workers, they should be able to come forth to authorities. And we have created in the long term, based on the economic needs of the country, and not confuse terrorism with the need for legal workers providing value for everybody in this country.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, Professor Hinojosa and Congressman Pete Sessions, great to have you here tonight. Both of you made some great points.
Now, from illegal immigration to media bias, move over, Dan Rather. There‘s a new guy in the blogosphere. CNN news exec Eason Jordan spoke to a panel in Switzerland and reportedly said that American soldiers were targeting journalists in Iraq.
With me now to talk about it is Rony Abovitz. He was there in the room in Switzerland blogging. And he heard it all.
Rony, take us inside. Tell us what CNN‘s—one of CNN‘s top news execs said when it came to U.S. troops targeting journalists.
RONY ABOVITZ, FORUMBLOG.ORG: Well, thank you.
I was sitting in the panel. And you have got Eason Jordan sitting next to Abdullah Abdullah, the head of—minister of information for Afghanistan, David Gergen, Congressman Barney Frank, and the head of the BBC.
And, essentially, Jordan went off and started to describe that United States troops in Iraq were not only targeting foreign journalists, but American journalists as well. And he went on and on and described a number of different things. And...
SCARBOROUGH: Rony, what was the reactions of people inside the room when he said that U.S. troops were trying to assassinate reporters on the ground in Iraq? Gasps?
ABOVITZ: Well, I think you have got to understand the atmosphere, because there was a combination of Americans, Europeans, and Middle Eastern people, Middle Eastern journalists, Arab journalists.
For part of the room, he was saying exactly what they believe and wanted to hear. And it was just like confirming what they all felt. And it was kind of an anti-American atmosphere.
SCARBOROUGH: Confirming their worst suspicions about U.S. troops?
But, for a number of us, including myself, Senator Dodd, Congressman Frank, and I definitely believe David Gergen, we were just—we were just aghast and in shock.
And I thought what he said, if it was true, is one of the most damning things I ever heard about the United States military in my life.
SCARBOROUGH: Yes, and obviously saying it to some of the most powerful people in the world.
Now, Jordan is denying it all. I want to read you this quote. Talk about spin control. He said: “I was trying to make a distinction between collateral damage and people who got killed in other ways. I have never once in my life thought anyone from the U.S. military tried to kill a journalist, never meant to suggest that. Obviously, I wasn‘t as clear as I should have been on that panel.”
Is this guy lying to us now?
ABOVITZ: Let‘s be very clear. Jordan can call up the World Economic Forum and have them release the tape. He could play it on CNN, Fox, MSNBC. Everyone will know exactly what he said.
SCARBOROUGH: And what will that tape show us?
ABOVITZ: Well, let‘s look at a reaction from people. Why is Congressman Frank—why did he say he would lead a congressional investigation into this issue if Jordan can produce any facts? Why did Gergen have to stop the session because he said the Pentagon and the military had no representatives to defend themselves? Why was Senator Dodd basically appalled and in shock?
SCARBOROUGH: And, Rony, I will tell you what. He also—Senator
Dodd, a Democrat, just like Barney Frank, were outraged. And Senator Dodd
released a statement, saying he was outraged about it. You obviously are -
· outraged by what Eason Jordan claims he said.
Thanks for being with us, Rony. We are going to get you back, if you don‘t mind, and continue to update us about what is going to on in this story. We greatly appreciate it.
And I agree with Rony. If Eason Jordan, one of the news leader at CNN, doesn‘t have anything to hide, he needs to release the tape.
We‘ll be right back in a second.
ANNOUNCER: From the press room, to the courtroom, to the halls of Congress, Joe Scarborough has seen it all. Welcome back to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
SCARBOROUGH: Hey, welcome back.
You know, a lot of bad news today on the front pages of our papers, unfortunately, news about nuclear proliferation, news about North Korea, saying they have a nuclear weapon. And, listen, they are not going to be afraid to use it either. Also, of course, the Iranians saying they are going to keep developing their weapon, nuclear weapons. And if we go after them, they of course threatened to use it whenever they develop it against us.
That‘s bad news. Let me show you a map and show you why. And, actually, this goes back. When I was in Congress in 1999, we got a briefing, and we were warned that this was coming. So just like this FAA information that we heard about earlier in the show, where they were warned about 9/11, Congress and the president, Bill Clinton, and now this president, they have been warned about this for years.
So, let me show you why it‘s bad news for us. The North Koreans actually are developing long-range missiles, where they will be able soon enough, unfortunately, to be able to deliver a nuclear weapon to Alaska, deliver a nuclear weapon to Hawaii, certainly the West Coast, a big problem, hit targets like Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles. It could mean nuclear annihilation that really could kill tens of millions of people.
Now we go to the other map, and let‘s see about Iran. What does this mean? Iran could deliver nuclear weapons to Israel, which, of course, would launch World War III, also into Europe. And we are talking about—right now, you‘re talking about being able to deliver it to Central Europe, whether it‘s Germany or Austria, be able to deliver it to Paris, be able to deliver it over to Spain or over to London.
Here to talk about North Korea and Iran and how two-thirds of the axis of evil got nuclear weapons, we‘ve got Republican strategist Jack Burkman, Democratic strategist Flavia Colgan, and the author of “Dangerous Diplomacy,” syndicated columnist Joel Mowbray.
Let me begin with you, Jack Burkman. You‘re a Republican consultant. Under this president, two out of three of the axis of evil powers gained nuclear weapons. Is this George Bush‘s fault?
JACK BURKMAN, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: I think it‘s partly his fault. You might be surprised to hear that, Joe, but I think the time is now for action. I don‘t think it‘s too late, but I do think the time for diplomacy is over. The time for action is now.
The United States has got to be prepared to issue an ultimatum. If I fault the president at all, it is for becoming too concerned with European public opinion. You know, I will quote FDR, it will never be earlier. None of us can say that we are willing to live with a nuclearized North Korea and a nuclearized Iran.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, so, what do we do, Jack? Do we invade North Korea? Do we tell China, either they invade North Korea or we are going to take care of it? Do we invade Iran? What do we do?
BURKMAN: Well, step one is a conversation with the Russians and the
Chinese to tell them the game is up on both ends. Step two is an ultimatum
to the North Koreans. We need evidence that their nuclear program is
coming to an end, that their missiles are dismantled, that they will have -
· that they will agree with the United States that there will be no further nukes in their possession. You cannot have...
SCARBOROUGH: And if they don‘t, what do you do?
BURKMAN: If they don‘t, the United States has got to be prepared to act unilaterally, perhaps with Security Council authorization with airstrikes.
SCARBOROUGH: Go to war?
BURKMAN: Yes, to take out...
FLAVIA COLGAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Oh.
BURKMAN: To take out, to completely destroy their capacity.
SCARBOROUGH: Flavia Colgan, you don‘t like that, but let me tell you something, Flavia. And, again, we were warned about this throughout the 1990s. We were warned in 1999. They have got the weapons. So, what do we do? We cannot let North Korea and Iran have nuclear weapons. What do we do?
COLGAN: Look, Joe, you are right. Look, Joe, you‘re right. Nobody deserves a gold star in terms of our policy toward North Korea.
But while North Korea was saber-rattling, we were going and taking our eye off the ball, going into Iraq.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, so what do we do? Should we have invaded—should we have invaded North Korea, which is on the border of communist China?
COLGAN: No. No.
What I think we should do is—it was very interesting when the Iraq Survey Group report came out a few weeks ago, besides the fact that it highlighted that there were no weapons of mass destruction, which is why we went there. What it said was...
SCARBOROUGH: We are talking about North Korea.
COLGAN: Hold on. What it said was—I know, and I will get to it.
What it said was that Saddam Hussein had less capacity in 2004 than he did in 1998. Now, what that says to me is that sanctions, even though they were implemented poorly, and inspections and very limited military operations, in addition to having more...
SCARBOROUGH: But it‘s too late now, Flavia. The guy has already got the nuclear weapon. You want to give him more sanctions?
I think that we should use—I think that we should go to the U.N., obviously get more international support, put more pressure on them, get more inspections teams in there. And I think that we should consider having bilateral talks.
SCARBOROUGH: He has already told us—he told us to screw off today.
He is not going to take inspection teams.
COLGAN: ... we can‘t do now, because China—China has a gun to our head because they‘re responsible for a third of our...
SCARBOROUGH: All right, Flavia, but the deal is, though—and, again, here‘s our problem. The deal is, the Chinese will declare World War III on us if we invade North Korea. the North Koreans won‘t let us in to inspect. They have already said it. They said it today. We have got the weapon. Screw off.
What do we do?
COLGAN: I agree, the problem is significant with China. And that gets back to George Bush and his economic policies, the trillions of dollars of the deficit. China has a gun to our head. We cannot deal openly and honestly with them.
SCARBOROUGH: Joel—let me go to Joel now.
COLGAN: ... hands are tied.
SCARBOROUGH: Joel, I want—Joel, I want solutions. Give me solutions tonight, Joel. North Korea has a nuclear weapon. They are on the border of China. We could never go—you know, people always say, well, why did Bush go after Iraq instead of North Korea?
That‘s like saying, we were going to sit back and allow China to invade Mexico. We would have obliterated them and nuked China, Beijing. So what do we do tonight? And I‘m serious.
JOEL MOWBRAY, AUTHOR, “DANGEROUS DIPLOMACY”: Joe, we have...
SCARBOROUGH: They‘ve got nuclear weapons. They can annihilate the West Coast in 10 years. What do we do to stop it?
MOWBRAY: Joe, we have less of a North Korean problem than we have a Chinese problem in North Korea.
MOWBRAY: The Chinese control 80 percent of the power going into North Korea. And North Korea, by the way, for the money it does get on its own it gets mostly through illicit means, either through sale of weapons or through...
MOWBRAY: ... through other trades.
SCARBOROUGH: So what do we do?
MOWBRAY: Well, John Bolton, when he was at the State Department—unfortunately, he‘s now departed for the second term. And that‘s a huge blow to the administration.
John Bolton had put forward the security initiative dealing with North Korea, the PSI, which basically said that they were going to interdict and intercept anything coming out of North Korea that was not legally...
BURKMAN: It‘s too late for that, Joel. It‘s too late for that.
MOWBRAY: No, no, no, no, it‘s not. If you go essentially to the line of a blockade and you try to weaken the regime and have the regime collapse.
SCARBOROUGH: So a blockade.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, you are talking about, then, you want a military blockade around North Korea?
MOWBRAY: Well, you can have something that is a quasi military blockade. I‘m not talking like Cuban Missile Crisis kind of standoff here. What I am talking about, Joe, is making sure that nothing getting in or out of North Korea is anything...
BURKMAN: But, Joel...
SCARBOROUGH: They just take it through China, though, don‘t they?
MOWBRAY: Oh, yes, look, they absolutely do. And you have to actually put the pressure on China. That‘s where you have to put the pressure, is on China.
BURKMAN: But here‘s the thing, Joe.
MOWBRAY: We need to have the Kim Jong Il regime fall. That‘s the only answer to this.
COLGAN: How do we put pressure on China?
SCARBOROUGH: OK, Jack Burkman—hold on a second, Jack Burkman. I want to follow up on a point that Flavia made earlier. We can‘t put pressure right now on China. You know why? Because China is buying up our debt. We put pressure on China, China says, forget you guys. We are going to stop buying your debt. Interest rates will go to 21 percent. So what do we do?
MOWBRAY: The Chinese aren‘t the only people...
MOWBRAY: ... who will buy our debt.
BURKMAN: I agree with that. I agree with that. I agree with that entirely, Joe.
The problem is, though, the issue is, I don‘t think China would do anything more than saber-rattling. I don‘t think the Chinese have the capacity. I think they need U.S. support in their economy. They need Western support in the economy. China would not start World War III over North Korea. I think North Korea is increasingly isolated.
MOWBRAY: China needs the U.S.
BURKMAN: This is the time to strike. That‘s right. I think China in a lot of ways needs us more than we need them.
BURKMAN: In either case, neither actor really has leverage over the other. It‘s not 1950. Everybody wants to fight the last war. You think you are going to see hordes of Chinese flowing over the border. But, going...
SCARBOROUGH: So, you are saying that China would allow us to invade North Korea and not do anything about it?
BURKMAN: I don‘t think we need to invade. I think what we need are massive...
SCARBOROUGH: Just bomb them?
BURKMAN: Massive airstrikes. The reason we shy away from that is really a cable news problem, because this administration, past administrations are afraid of the carnage on cable news. We have got to get over that.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, I‘ll tell you what. I will tell you this.
In the long run, if we don‘t do something about it, we are going to see a lot of carnage on the West Coast of the United States of America.
SCARBOROUGH: That‘s coming. Again, we were warned about it on the Armed Services Committee five years ago. We may be five years away from North Korea being able to deliver a nuclear weapon to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle.
SCARBOROUGH: It‘s very frightening.
Flavia, let‘s move on now. We are talking about Howard Dean. Howard Dean is the man of the hour for the Democratic Party. Let‘s take a listen to this voice for the future.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HOWARD DEAN (D), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We‘re going to South Carolina and Oklahoma and Arizona and North Dakota and New Mexico. We‘re going to California and Texas and New York. And we‘re going to South Dakota and Oregon and Washington and Michigan! And then we‘re going to Washington, D.C., to take back the White House. Yes!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: You know, Flavia, for Republicans, that‘s like hearing McCartney sing “Hey, Jude.” It just never gets old.
SCARBOROUGH: But that‘s what most Americans think when they think of Howard Dean.
COLGAN: I have never seen that, Joe.
SCARBOROUGH: I know. Exactly.
SCARBOROUGH: Why did the Democrats put that person in charge of their party?
COLGAN: Well, first of all, I don‘t think that the head of the DNC is necessarily always the spokesperson. I can barely recall as a Democrat who some of the chairs of the party were.
I think that he is going to be effective for a couple reasons. One, unlike most of the inside-beltway people, he really understands grassroots organizations can not be used like ATM machines. There has to be vision and a message from Washington, D.C. But we have to do what the Republicans did after 1992, which is sort of model it almost after like a tupperware party strategy, where you are going into the grassroots and letting neighbors market to neighbors.
In addition, I think that he can expand getting smaller donations, which—look, I hate to say this and criticize someone in my own party, but someone like Terry McAuliffe, who is so tied into Global Crossing and a lot of corporate interests, I just don‘t think can speak truth to power and have credibility on some of the issues that are important to us.
SCARBOROUGH: Good point.
Jack Burkman, you got 15 seconds.
BURKMAN: You know, Joe, he is going to be so effective, Flavia is already running away from him. I can‘t believe my ears.
BURKMAN: Look, they are turning to Howard Dean because they have no one else.
What this really points up is, the Democratic Party is hostage to the left liberal extreme. They can‘t get out of this. This is one more reason why they will never be able to break back into the South, they will never be able to capture a red state, and one more reason why they are devolving into nothing more than a regional party.
SCARBOROUGH: All right.
Joel, you got 10 seconds. You agree?
MOWBRAY: The Democratic Party is now party of John Kerry, Howard Dean, and Nancy Pelosi. Reid is—of Nevada—is absolutely the exception. And he is going to be kind of the outlier of the Democratic Party. This is good news for Republicans everywhere.
SCARBOROUGH: You forgot Ted Kennedy.
All right, Jack, Flavia and Joel, thanks so much.
SCARBOROUGH: We appreciate you being with us tonight, a very important conversation.
Now, up ahead, Oprah shows pictures of Julia Roberts‘ newborn twins and work comes to a halt around America.
I‘ve got issues coming up next.
SCARBOROUGH: Hey, my name is Joe, I am a commoner, and I‘ve got issues.
First of all, I‘ve got issues with Al Franken. Now, after Minnesota Senator Mark Dayton announced that he wasn‘t going to seek reelection, I immediately thought, Al Franken. Of course, Franken, who has long considered running for the Minnesota Senate, promised an announcement on his Air America radio show earlier today, so I listened with bated breath. Every hour after hour, through the breaks, Franken teased me about his impending Senate announcement.
And then, finally, in the last two minutes of the show, this is what he said.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP, “THE AL FRANKEN SHOW”)
AL FRANKEN, HOST: So, anyway, not running for Senate in 2006. Minnesotans are very serious about their politics. And it would be silly for me to run. I don‘t live there.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: That‘s it? That didn‘t stop Hillary. Man, that was the worst finale of any show I have seen or heard since the final episode of “MASH.”
And I have also got issues with Oprah Winfrey. Today, the queen of daytime talk featured the first and only pictures of Julia Roberts and her two newborn twins. I think their names are like Phinnaeus and Squizzbot. Now, Oprah has been teasing viewers all week about the impending pictures. But the good news was that, unlike our friend Al Franken, she didn‘t wait until the end of the program to share what everybody had been waiting to see.
But thanks to Oprah, my staff, along with most of the country, got almost no work done from 4:00 to 5:00 this afternoon. Hey, Oprah, I am trying to run a news show here, OK?
And, finally, I have got issues with the royal family today. Prince Charles announced his plans to marry his longtime love Camilla Parker Bowles this April. Now, they‘ve been publicly dating for a decade. Their long-standing relationship has been dissected by the press. And I think it‘s great that they are finally getting married, but I have got issues with Camilla‘s title.
After their marriage, she will not be princess of Wales, as Diana was, the duchess of Cornwall. And when Charles is king, instead of Queen Camilla, they will give her the title of princess consort. Princess consort? That doesn‘t sound too different from girlfriend to me. I think, if Henry VIII got to have six wives, then Charles should at least get two.
And with me now to talk about today‘s wedding announcement is Tim Vincent from “Access Hollywood.”
Tim, you are an Englishman in New York. Tell us how the natives are handling this one. Are they going to embrace Camilla the way they embraced princes Diana?
TIM VINCENT, “ACCESS HOLLYWOOD”: I think they have already embraced her. She‘s somebody that has been in the public for over 10 years now. So, most people are aware of her and either have a firm opinion that they like her or they don‘t. But she is out there and she‘s going to continue to be out there.
So, although most people are surprised today with the news, they are not shocked. I think most people are shocked by the fact that it‘s such a short time between the announcement and them getting married, just two months.
SCARBOROUGH: How is—is Diana still remembered as a great presence in England? Are people still wishing that that would have worked out? And are they not going to accept her as much because she still—she still is remembered so fondly?
VINCENT: Well, you have to remember that they were officially divorced, anyway, so they knew that Diana and Charles wouldn‘t have worked out.
So, I think people have memories, but they do fade. Ten years down the line, he‘s been seeing her. Most people just went them to get on. I think, from the generation of 55-plus, those are the kind of people in Britain who still look at the royal family in a certain way. Anybody below that age—you know, younger—most people know somebody that‘s been divorced. Nearly 50 percent of marriages end in divorce.
It‘s not such a big thing. People have affairs and people marry again. I think this is just nice for them that they can finally get married and end all the speculation.
SCARBOROUGH: What do Charles and Diana‘s boys think about this?
VINCENT: Well, who knows. I don‘t think they have publicly said anything, but they have been seen publicly together on many occasions.
And I think, over the years, they have become pretty close. And they‘re still very close to their father. And if their father is happy with Camilla, then so are they.
SCARBOROUGH: Now, would you want to see Camilla as queen, or does your generation just not care whether she‘s queen or called consort or girlfriend or mistress, whatever?
VINCENT: We are also assuming that Charles does become king. He may opt out and let it go straight to William.
So, this may never become an issue. And most people don‘t mind. Prince Edward is somebody that is called Prince Edward, but, in the papers, he is called Eddie. It‘s not going to make any difference.
Now, do you and people of your generation think the monarchy has seen its better days and they should just get rid of it? Or has that been passed down to younger Englishmen also?
VINCENT: There‘s been a big change in the monarchy in the last 10 years.
Most members of the royal family, certainly the most public members of the royal family, have their own publicist and P.R. executives and advisers and handle the press very well. Many years ago, that wouldn‘t be the case. And, also, there‘s a new wave of young royals coming through, Harry, Will, Princess Zara. All these people are coming through. And they are more of our age. And we see them out partying. We see them at sporting events, and seen them start their new careers and jobs.
And people of our age are interested in that and don‘t have any bad opinions about the royal family.
SCARBOROUGH: Yes. They seem like good guys when they are not wearing swastikas at parties.
SCARBOROUGH: But for that, you know? Nobody is perfect, are they?
VINCENT: Well, that‘s another great reason why the British public can look forward to a wedding in just a couple of months‘ time. That‘s underlying the end of that silly episode.
VINCENT: And now we can look forward to something that everybody will look forward to, mainly, I would have thought.
SCARBOROUGH: All right. Well, thanks a lot, Tim Vincent. We greatly appreciate you being with us.
SCARBOROUGH: And explaining it to those of us in the colonies.
And still ahead, a spontaneous round of applause breaks out on Capitol Hill. I‘ll tell you why coming up next.
SCARBOROUGH: Life imitates art on Capitol Hill. Finally, it looks like Americans have gotten past Vietnam. They are not spitting on their troops. They are giving them standing ovations. That story when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns.
SCARBOROUGH: Today on Capitol Hill, there was a rare standing ovation in the middle of a committee meeting.
General Pete Schoomaker was introducing military personnel in attendance at a meeting of the Senate Committee on Armed Services when the audience erupted into applause for the men and women in uniform. Everyone stood and gave a rousing ovation in gratitude to the brave men and women and what they are doing for our country, obviously for what they‘re doing in Iraq.
And I have been inside these type of meetings, very moving. You will notice, though, at the bottom of your screen, the media are the only ones staying in their seats. And, of course, there‘s a good reason. That‘s because Eason Jordan told them that men and women in uniform target them for assassination. It‘s not true.
But you know what? This is actually a case of life imitating art.
Take a look at this commercial that just ran last week in the Super Bowl.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, AD)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: You know what? And this is not just some contrived ad. I have had troops coming back from Iraq telling me that they would walk through airports like Nashville late in the night and people would do this. Very moving. It‘s great to know that Americans really do care about what is going on with these troops.
Well, that‘s all the time we have for tonight. Thanks for being with me. And go to our Web site every day. It‘s Joe.MSNBC.com.
We‘ll see you tomorrow.
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