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America Under Attack: Former U.S. Senator Sam Nunn Discusses Today's Terrorist Attack

Aired September 11, 2001 - 15:28   ET

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


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: Joining us now on the telephone, former Georgia United States Senator Sam Nunn. Senator Nunn, are you in Atlanta, New York?

SAM NUNN, FORMER U.S. SENATOR: Judy, I'm in Wilmington, Delaware.

WOODRUFF: Senator, long-time leader of the Senate Armed Services Committee, someone who has followed military affairs in this country for so long, what are you thinking right now?

NUNN: First, it was certainly a day of hate, in terms of what was perpetrated by whoever did this, and second a day of sorrow for the people who are the victims and their families.

It certainly was a cruel, and heartless, and monstrous-type attack. I think very important we steadfast in this country, we always rise to the occasion and work together when we are in crisis, and I think this qualifies for mustering the American will to remain calm, and collected, and determined, and firm, but most of all solidarity here at home with the president, following his lead with governors, with mayors, with the people on the scene, the front lines -- the firemen, and the policemen, and the medical personnel, and the nurses, and the doctors -- people we take for granted every day, but God bless them. And we need to be with them and behind them, and help them in every way we can.

Certainly, we need to learn lessons from this. We need to find out about the intelligence, find out why we didn't get some notification, whether we had information that we did not properly analyze or whether...

WOODRUFF: Senator...

NUNN: ... all of those things come to mind.

WOODRUFF: Senator, I want to ask you about that, because there has to be many people out there watching who feel betrayed, who feel -- who want to know why is it -- how is it that something on this scale could be carried off, when they thought the United States was the safest country on the earth?

NUNN: Judy, I think that's a good question, and I think our intelligence people have to be asked those hard questions, and they will be. I think we also need to put it in perspective, though. We have had efforts against America for the last 20, 25 years, some of them almost to this magnitude in terms of the planning, and they have been warded off by law enforcement and intelligence, so we have to put it somewhat in perspective, and we have to also understand some of other nations in the world have been under not exactly this kind of a attack, but similar type terrorism for a long time, including Great Britain, including Israel and the Middle East, including Germany.

So, we have to understand that America is an open society, and we are vulnerable to this, and we need to do everything we can to tell the people of the world that we expect them to be solid with us too, because we need world condemnation here. Certainly when we find out who did it, we need to retaliate and demand that the world stand solid with us in condemning any country that houses or supports terrorism.

WOODRUFF: All right. Former United States Senator Sam Nunn, Democrat of Georgia, joining us on the telephone, long-time leader of Senate Armed Services Committee and certainly a leader in U.S. military affairs.

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