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America Strikes Back

Aired October 21, 2001 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight: A third case of inhalation anthrax confirmed in the United States, sparking new fears about how far the deadly germ will spread. And as covert actions continue in Afghanistan, chilling new information about how far the United States will go to win the war against terror.

From Tuscaloosa, Alabama Senator Richard Shelby, ranking member of the Select Intelligence Committee.

In Boston, Select Intelligence Committee member Senator Evan Bayh.

In Washington, former NATO Supreme Allied Commander General George Joulwan.

What kind of dangers do U.S. Special Forces face? In Chicago, former Ranger and Green Beret Major General David Grange.

In London, a member of Britain's elite fighting force, the SAS, Andy McNab. He's with us in silhouette. We'll tell you why later.

In Atlanta, Delta Force founding member, Command Sergeant Major Eric Haney.

And in Philadelphia, Mark Bowden, best-selling author of "Black Hawk Down."

Back in Washington, the "Washington Post"'s Bob Woodward.

And in Chicago, A&E's award-winning anchor Bill Kurtis.

They're all next on this live edition of LARRY KING WEEKEND.

Senator Shelby, we begin with you. We have a third case of inhaled anthrax diagnosed in the United States to a postal worker who doesn't open mail. What do you make of that?

SEN. RICHARD SHELBY (R-AL), SELECT INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: Well, it's another scare, but it's something that we should not panic about. We are going about investigating it. We're treating our people. We're diagnosing people, reassuring them. And I think overall we're doing a good job.

What the terrorists want to do, whether they're here or abroad, they want us to panic. We cannot panic. I believe we will not panic.

KING: And Senator Bayh, what do you make of this fact, which tells us that you don't have to open the envelope to have a problem and, adding to that, you're Senate office is closed again tomorrow?

SEN. EVAN BAYH (D-IN), SELECT INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: Well Larry, it obviously means that we have to take this seriously and try and follow these packages back to their source of origin to protect everyone along the chain of custody. It might also relate to the quality of the anthrax involved, which was a finer powder form, making it more likely to get out into the atmosphere where someone might breathe it.

But I agree with what my college Senator Shelby said, that we need to take this seriously, take every precaution, but also show some resolution here. This is as much a psychological war as anything else. Our adversaries are hoping that they'll wear us down, that we'll give up, that we can't take the fear and the casualties. And we can't play that game, so we need to be patient and resolute.

KING: Senator Shelby, is this a delicate balance, the way you're saying worry, but don't worry so much.

SHELBY: Well, I think what we're trying to say, Larry, is be alert, be concerned, but don't panic. You know, I've had two anthrax tests. I've passed them both. I've been in the area where anthrax has been found, and I feel good about it. I never thought about panicking, but I did think about being tested. I think there's quite a difference.

KING: Senator Bayh, if they close down institutions, is terror -- is this succeeding?

BAYH: Well, I think we're learning as we go. There was a lot of uncertainty last week. The facts were developing very quickly, and so decisions were made about protecting the people who work on Capitol Hill.

But we're all resolved to get the government running and back open and quickly as possible. The offices may be closed tomorrow, but the Capitol is open and the Senate and the House are going to be back to work on Tuesday doing the people's business and saying to the terrorists that you might be able to attack individual Americans, but you're not going to bring this country to its knees.

KING: Gentlemen, you're members of the Intelligence Committee. Bob Woodward broke a big story today, intelligence is in the forefront of the news.

What do you make of this, Senator Shelby? CIA, FBI combining forces? Possible covert action?

SHELBY: Well, I think it's very important to knock out the smokestacks, as we call them. And if the FBI and the CIA can get together and do some things that would bring security to this country, will thwart terrorism, let's do it. Security is very important. KING: Senator Bayh, do you think you're getting good intelligence in the Taliban area?

BAYH: Well, our intelligence is improving Larry. We have some work to do in that area. Human intelligence, good old-fashioned spy work, has declined over the last couple of decades. We need to beef that up again.

But we're getting great cooperation from our allied intelligence services. We're getting some of our own folks on the ground, finally, to develop our own intelligence. And we're taking a proactive attitude.

We can't possibly anticipate every place these terrorists are going to attack, every time, every method. So the only choice, Larry, is to take the battle directly to them, and that's now what we're doing.

KING: When they say, as the vice president has said, and others, this battle could last a lifetime, Senator Shelby, what does that mean for us? What does that mean in the area of sacrifice?

SHELBY: Larry, I believe it means it's going to last a long time. The president has told us that. We've got to have the resolve to see it through, to finish it, to eradicate terrorism wherever it is in the world. And I believe the American people are going to back the president and we're going to do this.

Right now I want to say, let's back our troops and let's hope and pray that they're successful, the sooner the better.

KING: Senator Bayh, Senator Lieberman said today Saddam Hussein is a terrorist, he's build weapons of mass destruction, he should be disposed of. He cites evidence that Hussein may have been in contact with bin Laden before September 11. Do you want to go to Iraq?

BAYH: I think we need to take this a step at a time. First deal with Osama bin Laden and the al Qaeda network, remove them so that they're no longer in a position to strike us. Remove the Taliban and in its place have a more stable regime in Afghanistan that doesn't sponsor or hide, foster terrorism.

And then, Larry, I think we're going to have a tough decision to make, to see if the coalition -- if we've developed enough momentum so that the coalition that we need will stay with us. We need to look at the tactical situation in Iraq.

My own sense of things would be to agree with Senator Lieberman, that if it's practical, and it looks like it wouldn't take a major ground war, to go ahead and remove him, because one thing -- I am reasonably confident that if we don't take him out now, we're going to have to face him again somewhere later down the road.

KING: Senator Shelby, do you agree with the concept reported in the "Post" today, that the CIA is told to do whatever is necessary to kill bin Laden? SHELBY: Well, I haven't seen the order or a directive or anything like this. But I can tell you, the sooner we get rid of bin Laden or somebody else gets rid of him, and then his group, the better off we're going to be. I don't believe that bin Laden would ever be taken alive, so we've got to go after him.

KING: Senator Bayh, what about reports that back and forth between -- the Taliban says that 20 U.S. Special Forces troops were killed on Friday night. Do you have any information in regard to that?

BAYH: No I don't Larry. But suffice it to say the Taliban's credibility is pretty low. They originally said they didn't know where Osama bin Laden was. They then said that they did have him in a safe place. I mean, the number of deceptions that they have put out there is so great that I wouldn't put much credence in anything that they would say.


SHELBY: Larry, regarding the casualties -- supposed casualties. If there are casualties, I believe our Defense Department would report them. They reported the two that were killed outright in the accident dealing with the helicopter, and I believe they would certainly report anything else that anyone was killed in battle. I don't think it's happened yet.

KING: Senator Bayh, since this is -- so much of this is covert, how are we going to know how well we're doing?

BAYH: Well, some of it we may not know for quite some time, Larry. Covert operations, by their nature, can lose their effectiveness when they're made public.

But I think we'll begin to see some results. I think that the circle is beginning to close on bin Laden. I think the Taliban is going to be destabilized progressively as we move forward. And that will begin to come out.

Any information that we have that can be released without compromising people's lives will get out there. That's one of our strengths as a free society. So I think we'll know a lot now, but some may have to wait a good period of time until all of our troops and special forces are out of harm's way.

KING: Thank you both very much, Senators Richard Shelby and Evan Bayh.

When we come back General George Joulwan, United States Army retired, former NATO Supreme Allied Commander, a former Army Ranger himself, don't go away.


GEN. RICHARD MYERS, JOINT CHIEFS CHAIRMAN: Operations will continue again today. Let me just remind you, though, this operation over Afghanistan is only a small part of the effort on the war -- global war on terrorism. This is the most visible part right now, but it's simply that -- it's Afghanistan. This is a much broader effort that we have to keep in mind.



KING: Welcome back to a live edition of LARRY KING WEEKEND.

Joining us now from Washington, General George Joulwan, former NATO Supreme Allied Commander, himself a former Ranger, always good having him with us.

What do you make of the -- what's your reaction to the U.S. Special Forces ground assault Friday night on the airfield and the Taliban residence?

MAJ. GEN. GEORGE JOULWAN (RET.), FMR. NATO SUPREME ALLIED CMDR: Well, I think it was extremely well conducted, Larry. Personally, I think it's a way to create uncertainty in the Taliban. The Northern Alliance is taking action in the north. This occurred in the south. It creates uncertainty within Osama bin Laden and the Taliban, and that's what we want do to do. And it makes them look in more than just one direction and shows that they are vulnerable, even around their base of Kandahar.

KING: The chairman of the joint chiefs said today that after two weeks of bombing the United States has free reign over Afghanistan. What does that mean to you?

JOULWAN: Well, I would think what it means as an operational commander, is that we have control of the air and we can move about at will, as we've demonstrated with the Rangers and the Special Operating Forces. And so I believe it means we can operate at will over the air.

What we have to demonstrate is -- be able to move on the ground, and that's either going to be these sort of raids that we saw with the Rangers, or the opposition units. And I think, as we've been saying all along for the last couple of shows, is that the Northern Alliance and the Southern Alliance -- but particularly the Northern Alliance -- I think you're going to see some simultaneous action at Herat, Mazar-e Sharif and around Kabul.

KING: Now, the reports, now, of the president giving free reign to the CIA to get out and literally get bin Laden. What's the role of the military there, and how do you view that?

JOULWAN: Well, I have not seen the actual -- what is called the finding, so I hesitate to comment. But I think there has to be some clarity here by our political leadership for the military so there's no hesitation. If one of these covert raids comes in contact with Osama bin Laden, there should be no hesitation that somehow they have to do everything they can to either capture him -- if it places themselves in danger, I would interpret this finding as saying they could take whatever means, whatever action they could -- they need in order to bring him down.

KING: That Ranger mission, and they showed us the shots of them getting on to -- being paratrooped. Is that a fact-finding mission as well as a destroy mission?

JOULWAN: Well, again, I don't know the exact operational plan and don't want to know it. But these are conducted for many different reasons. Intelligence gathering is one. I would think they were hoping to find some of the leadership of the Taliban. Remember, we have given clear instructions, now, that Osama bin Laden and the Taliban are the objectives here. And these Rangers were going after that objectives, and if they found him they were either going to capture him or kill him, and that was part of their mission.

And so intelligence, trying to get prisoners if they can, or ridding and killing Taliban members or Osama bin Laden if they come in contact with them. That's what I would think this mission was all about.

KING: Militarily general, when do you decide that paratrooping in is better than helicoptering in?

JOULWAN: Well, it all depends. I mean, if you have a secure airfield, that's one thing you can come in by what we call fixed-wing. Helicopters may be too long a distance in some cases. The fixed wing- dropping at a certain altitude, I think, gives you the best cover. We -- as we saw in Grenada, where they dropped at 500 feet. They were under intense fire when that occurred, but it really got them onto the airfield quite quickly.

So it's a commander's decision of what he uses. But this technique of going in, particularly at night, at low altitude, I think, gives you the best probability of success.

KING: The chairman of the joint chiefs said today that Afghanistan was only a small piece of what he suggested may be the broadest campaign since World War II, probably lasting more than a lifetime. One, should that mean that parents of 14-year-olds, 10- year-old boys watching this show now may be Rangering in 10 years or eight years?

JOULWAN: Could be. I Hope some of them join up, because that's the sort of commitment -- and by the way, these Rangers are really well-trained, disciplined, focused soldiers. They spend every waking hour training for missions in all kinds of climates, in all kinds of conditions.

This struggle that I'm sure the chairman talked about is going to take a long time, until we've rooted out -- and then we can't just go back to business as usual. These sorts of individuals crop up now and then. And I think you have to be vigilant; and eternal vigilance, I think, is what we've said in the past, is -- was required during the Cold War. We're going to need that same eternal vigilance and commitment by our people, by our military and by our friends and allies around the world in order to make this work for our children, and our grandchildren and their children. That's the sort of commitment we're going to need. And each generation is going to have to step up to it.

KING: Rangers can be very young too, can't they?

JOULWAN: They can be very young. But I must tell you that their motto is "Rangers lead the way." They are committed to that. If you watch them in training, Larry, you would be impressed with their commitment, for not only the mission, but for one another. They have great pride and great loyalty and great dedication, and that was instilled in me 40 years ago, when individuals were trained as Rangers. It was only about '74 -- 1974, '75 where we actually formed Ranger units to exist in peacetime. And these are specially trained units, and very committed, and some of them very young.

KING: Thank you general. We'll be calling on you again. It's always great having you with us.

JOULWAN: Thank you, Larry.

KING: Major General George Joulwan, United States Army Retired, former NATO supreme allied commander, a former Ranger himself.

We've got a major panel coming, talking about special ops and the people who do these things they do and why they do them. That's next. Don't go away.


KING: Hearing a lot about special ops, we're going to take a look at it from four viewpoints. And by the way, we'll be including your phone calls. This is a live edition of LARRY KING WEEKEND.

Joining us from Chicago is Major General David Grange, United States Army Retired, a 30y-year military veteran, former commanding general of the First Infantry Division known as the Big Red One, former Ranger, Green Beret and a CNN military analyst.

In London is Andy McNab, a highly decorated member of the SAS, that's Britain's elite Special Air Service. He's the best-selling author of "Firewall," a fictional thriller, "Immediate Action," an autobiography, and "Bravo Two Zero" about his behind-the-lines mission and capture and torture during the Gulf War. For security reasons we're not showing his face because he's wanted by a number of the world's terrorists groups.

In Atlanta is Command Sergeant Major Eric Haney, United States Army retired, founding member and eight-year member of the Delta Force, the first special forces operational detachment, Delta. Security specialist, has worked in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Haiti, Algeria, Mexico, Columbia and Haiti, author and commentator.

And Philadelphia's Mark Bowden, the best-selling author of "Black Hawk Down." That's the story of the October 19, '93 Battle of Mogadishu, which left 18 Americans and some 500 Somalis dead. We'll start with Major General David Grange in Chicago. What do you make of the beginning of, now, these special ops operations, major general?

MAJ. GEN. DAVID GRANGE (RET.), FMR. RANGER AND GREEN BERET: Actually, I'm very proud of it, and I'm glad we put boots on the ground. The Rangers demonstrated the motto, "Rangers lead the way." First ones in on a ground operation. And I hope that the special forces are working up north with the Northern Alliance; their motto, "free the oppressed" is perfect for this operation working with the Northern Alliance to tear off this Taliban rule.

KING: And are we going to be seeing, major general, a lot of them?

GRANGE: I hope so. We don't want to fight the war their way. They want us to put a large force on the ground and do continual, sustained operations. What we want to do is strike, day and night, from air and ground, in unexpected places whenever we wish.

KING: Andy McNab in London, we're not letting the public see your face. You've written best-selling books. You're a highly- decorated member of the SAS. The obvious comes to mind. Why do you do the work you do? Why did you do all this stuff?

ANDY MCNAB, FMR. SPECIAL AIR SERVICES MEMBER: I think initially, Larry, it was joining the military and just wanting to be the best. And certainly in the United Kingdom, to be a member of the Special Air Service is the best to be as a military soldier. And then getting involved in anti-terrorism, you know, we get involved from -- sort of Irish terrorism down to narco terrorism in Columbia. You start to get involved in these type of operations. And it does -- it's a mixture, sometimes exciting, sometimes it's very scary. But the fact is, it's a job; and you feel proud of being a professional doing a job.

KING: But you also don't get a lot of public credit; for example, you have to be in silhouette tonight.

MCNAB: Credit's not part of the job. And it's good to see, certainly, during this first phase of the, if you like, the Afghan campaign. I'm sure there's a lot of operations that are going on that, quite rightly so, we're not going to see and we're not going to hear about for a long time. This is how it should be.

KING: Command Sergeant Major Haney...


KING: I'm sorry, we'll get back to you. Command Sergeant Major Haney, why did you do the work? Why Delta Force? Why did you go that route?

COMMAND SGT. MAJ. ERIC HANEY (RET.), FOUNDING MEMBER OF DELTA FORCE: Well, we formed that, and I was just fortunate enough to be a part of it in the early days. But as Andy says also, there are a number of men who consider themselves, and want to be the guardians of our society. And tonight when you lie down in your bed and that last few minutes before you go to sleep, whatever deity you speak to every evening, you should thank him for these kind of people.

KING: What do you make of the beginnings of the operation Friday night?

HANEY: Well, that wasn't the beginning. That was the first one that was a little bit visible. Operations have been going on for awhile. Operations take place well before anyone puts a foot on the ground.

And in this case, as Dave Grange has already said so eloquently, there -- you need to think of it this way: If you were looking at the rock face of a cliff on a mountain, there are two ways to take that rock face down. You can use a massive amount of explosive and blast it off, but you may be covered up in the rubble from the avalanche, or you can take some select sharp tools and work the cracks and crevices in the face of that mountain and bring it down much, much more efficiently with a less likelihood of loss to yourself. And that's what we're doing. We're using those short, sharp, strong tools, and we're going to work away at this and bring it down.

KING: Mark Bowden, you're the one in this group who writes about these things. You wrote "Black Hawk Down," a major best-seller about the 1993 Battle of Mogadishu, 18 Americans and 500 Somalis died. What's the relationship of that battle to this?

MARK BOWDEN, AUTHOR, "BLACK HAWK DOWN": Well, I think a lot of the tactics, a lot of the units and people are the same. The exercise that we heard about yesterday in Afghanistan most likely involved Delta Force, and certainly involved the Rangers. It involved a quick insertion, hitting a target really fast, looking for people to arrest or kill, seizing intelligence and then moving out. That pretty much defines the way they were operating in Somalia.

KING: And so you can relate it right to now?

BOWDEN: I can. In fact, Larry, I'm sure some of the soldiers who took part in that action in Afghanistan were the same people who were involved in the Battle of Mogadishu, and some of them were also involved in the actions in Columbia.

KING: Major General David Grange, what kind of people are they looking for when they look for Rangers, Green Berets, Delta Force?

GRANGE: Well, all these soldiers are, first of all, basic troopers. They're infantrymen, as an example. And then they volunteer to go just a little bit further, maybe airborne school, maybe Ranger school, Special Forces school, special helicopter training, whatever the case may be.

So they just go a little bit beyond. And as they do that their character is shaped. It's developed, and they've got what they call 110 percent. The reason it's more than 100 percent, because you don't know how far you can go until you go through these selection processes to become one of these elite soldiers. And it's just -- it's a cut of cloth that is very dependable, taking care of each other, love for country, and just this brotherhood that's very powerful.

KING: Andy, do they get a lot of mission impossibles?

MCNAB: I think a lot of the operations that Special Forces get sent on, by definition, are that sort of mission impossible because a lot of the time is going out there to get information, and information is the soldier's biggest weapon. And a lot of times you're going out there to get information for other people, very much like the airborne attack on Friday night.

People would have been on the ground to mark the drop zone for these troops to actually get that information, so when they land they can fulfill their task. So a lot of the time it is. But there is a professionalism -- there is a mission-oriented mind with these people, and they'll do the job.

KING: Command Sergeant Major Haney, they've never been in Afghanistan before. How difficult is it to pick up a terrain like this? Learn new things?

HANEY: Well Larry, first of all, good Rangers, and all good Rangers and other Special Operations people, can learn the terrain from a map. And they'll know what the next valley looks like before they ever sight it. So they're masters, absolute masters of the use of the face of the earth. And they train worldwide. They've been in places that look exactly like these spots they're going to be going into in Afghanistan. So in essence it's home.

KING: So they're not surprised?

HANEY: No sir. None whatsoever. Remember, these guys didn't come into existence on the 11th of September on that catastrophic day. They've been around a long time. There's some grand institutional knowledge. We have superb leaders, well experienced; just great young troops dedicated, and from that youngest 18-year-old to that last veteran that's a few days short of his retirement, they're ready. And they're always ready.

KING: We're going to take a break and come back. We'll include your phone calls. The panel remains with us.

Still to come, Bob Woodward and Bill Kurtis, two of the best journalists around -- one on print, one on the air. And I'm Larry King and you're watching a live edition of LARRY KING WEEKEND. Don't go away.


KING: Before we take some phone calls, Mark Bowden, what do you make of the report that Bob Woodward, who's going to be with us in a little while, in his story today in "The Washington Post" about this matrix thing and where the CIA's given carte blanche? BOWDEN: Well, it's a fascinating piece of reporting, Larry. And, you know, typical of Bob Woodward, it gives you a real glimpse of the details of what's going on behind the scenes in the intelligence community. And you know, I read it with great interest, and it made a lot of sense to me.

I mean, certainly I'm not surprised that our intelligence community has the green light to go after Osama bin Laden and his people and kill them. Now what I found really interesting is the way they compile these reports in this matrix to try and figure out where we're likely to be hit next.

KING: Major General David Grange, what do you make of it?

GRANGE: Well, I think we're going to have to do something. It's -- you cannot have -- these targets are fleeting. And when you have an opportunity to take a target out, you need to have the authority to do so. So we're going to have to power-down the authority to execute this mission if we're going to succeed.

KING: Andy, is it a little bit of vigilantism, in a sense, or is war hell?

MCNAB: No, it's not -- it's not vigilantism at all. It's, if the reports are true, it's very good for the forces on the ground. You know this war has been going on for -- covertly has been going on for about 10 years. But certainly, the people have been fighting it. The hands of the -- you know, one hand has been tied behind their back.

And it's -- now that it's out in the open, and obviously everybody's truly focused on it, I think that, you know, we've got to get down and do it. And, yes, war is hell. I think that -- you know, as soon as these guys start getting into the mountains -- getting into these caves and digging these people out it's going to be -- you know, a good pair of boots, what they're carrying on their back with relatively the same weapons, with small arms, making close contact. And it will be very tough.

KING: What do you think of this matrix and this concept, Command Sergeant Major Haney?

HANEY: Jihad works in both directions, Larry. These people declared war on us a long time ago. Now they're going to find out what that means. And it's a heck of a lot more than rhetoric, and it's a heck of a lot more than killing innocent, unarmed civilians. And they're going to know it quite well and quite soon.

KING: Let's take a call for our panel. Vancouver, British Columbia, hello.

CALLER: Hi, Larry. I was wondering, what are the special ops forces going to do with Osama bin Laden when they do catch him? And if they do decide to kill him, will they produce a body or any kind of pictures to prove to the world that they've accomplished that mission?

KING: General Grange?

GRANGE: Well, if we capture him he'll be turned over to some type of authorities, obviously. The United States of America or some type of a court that will preside on that case.

If he's killed, whether that's known or not is to be said. You know, there's something to be said about that we don't have a body, so he's not a martyr.

KING: Andy, is that a tough call sometimes, when you're going in on a mission like this?

MCNAB: No, not at all. I think that if I was a patrol commander on the ground and I encountered bin Laden, well there would be no doubt about it, I would kill him. The -- you know, to get in a situation like that and try and take this guy alive is going to be extremely hard. And the fact is that -- you know, if he's brought back to a -- some form of justice, then we do create a martyr. But certainly, you know, to bring something out, whether it's a head, a hand, whatever it takes to bring out to prove that this guy's actually dead.

KING: Bourbonnais, Illinois, hello.

CALLER: Yes, to the former NATO commander, I was wondering when Anwar Sadat was assassinated by radical terrorists, and recently bin Laden saying that he wants to rid Egypt and Saudi Arabia of their corrupt governments, why haven't these countries gone after the terrorists years ago?

KING: Do we know why, Command Sergeant Major Haney?

HANEY: Yes, sir, we do. It's survival. Those countries walk a fine line. And we have to realize -- and I think the American public needs to do some study here -- the causes of the terrorists run very deep; it's a great, vast sea of dissatisfaction with their societies. And those terrorist organizations are great threats to the state of Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the Emirates and a lot of other places.

So it's making the deals with the devil to stay in power and to keep your society on as even a keel as you possibly can. And they're not the only ones that do it. Some of our friends in Europe have had to do the same things, and just told terrorist groups, "Leave us alone and we'll leave you alone."

It's a sad situation, but it's changed now completely because the United States of America has entered the battle and the fray with all of our resources. We have the political will to do it now and the support of the American people to do it.

KING: You've all been eloquent; we'll be calling on you again, Major General David Grange, Andy McNab, Command Sergeant Major Eric Haney and Mark Bowden.

We're going to take a break and come back with Bob Woodward who, as Mark said, broke another one today, the story of this matrix. We'll talk about that and how he got it.

And Bob Woodward, a frequent guest on this program, the Pulitzer- Prize winner is next on this live edition of LARRY KING WEEKEND. Stay with us.


COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE: There are some constraints that are coming in front of us, in the form of winter arriving in about a month, which might change the template of our operations. But we also are noticing that the Northern Alliance, which we are supporting, has become more aggressive in their actions up north and moving toward Kabul in the very near future.

And so let's hope the campaign comes to an end soon. But the most important thing to remember is we will pursue it until our mission has been accomplished.



KING: Every time he breaks a story, he comes on with us that night. He's Bob Wooodward, my man. The assistant managing editor of "The Washington Post," the Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist and best- selling author. Front page article, today's "Washington Post" about this matrix concept, and included an extraordinary interview with the vice president.

All right, what is the threat matrix?

BOB WOODWARD, "WASHINGTON POST": Well the threat matrix is this top secret document that comes out each day only to top officials listing the most recent threats they have heard about either from its -- it's raw intelligence, could be a very sensitive communications intercept, somebody calling in something, something a foreign intelligence service has picked up in Europe or in the Middle East. And it lists dozens, often 100 threats each day.

And you talk to the people -- some of the people who examine this, and it's a very chilling reality to see that so many bad things could happen at any moment.

KING: And your article points out that 99.5 percent of them never happen.

WOODWARD: That's right. They turned out to be groundless. But after September 11, as a number of people have said, you have to treat every threat seriously and run it to ground. If, before September 11, somebody had intelligence that four people -- or 19 people were going to hijack four planes and run them into the Pentagon and the World Trade Center buildings, people might have said that is not credible or possible. So now, again, we're in a completely new world.

KING: All right. And in that new world, the same story you break that the president is, what, authorized -- well, explain it. The CIA has -- was I right -- carte blanche, here?

WOODWARD: That's right. He has signed an intelligence order which will likely turn out to be the most sweeping and lethal in the history of the CIA, telling the CIA to destroy bin Laden and his network worldwide, not just in Afghanistan or a few countries, but worldwide.

KING: All right. Any measures they wish to take to do it?

WOODWARD: That is correct. And I think the key to this is the unprecedented coordination with the U.S. military. I would suspect -- I do not know -- I would suspect that they will take intelligence information, and if they know where bin Laden is, or some of the key lieutenants, they will send commando units or other military units in to do the job.

KING: And he also said, according to you, that he wants them to take high-risk operations.

WOODWARD: This is the significant departure. The CIA, in its long history, has had lots of problems: the anti-Castro plots, the Iran Contra scandal and so forth. And a lot of people who deal with the CIA and know it realize that it has become a low-risk operation. But President Bush has said to them very explicitly, "I want you take high risks; I want you to push the envelope."

I anticipate that along the road to ultimate victory there will be some setbacks, there will be some embarrassing moments. But we will not be doing our job with sufficient aggressiveness unless there are some of those setbacks. And when I talked to the vice president -- Vice President Cheney on Friday, he said, there will be good days and bad days in this operation.

KING: And you also pointed out the failures of the past, right?


KING: The CIA -- I mean, they missed the boat here.

WOODWARD: They have many times. But if you go around and talk to a lot of people, there is high expectation; there is good news; they have new capabilities. For instance, the new Predator drone -- aerial drone that goes around gathering intelligence and flies at a very low speed, now they have equipped with missiles, so if they see bin Laden or a real target of opportunity, they can fire this missile.

It turns out that earlier in the year, well before September 11, they actually had video of bin Laden through one of their intelligence operations. And people have seen it, and they had no way to get to him at that point. Now they do with this, and many other capabilities that the military has given them.

KING: In your knowledge, have we ever developed technology for one person?

WOODWARD: Well, it was developed specifically for bin Laden, but it can be used elsewhere, and it has been in this war. But, I mean, think, knowing what we now know about September 11, you're a top official in this government and you realize we had him on video, we knew exactly where he was at a given moment and there was no gun, there was no missile, there was no commando team; and the frustration and disappointment I believe some of them feel.

KING: And Bob, was the interview with Vice President Cheney a little chilling to you? It was written that way. I mean it will be gone -- it's gone long after we're gone.

WOODWARD: Well, that's one of the things he said. No, it was not chilling. As we've talked about before, Cheney is somebody who makes you feel confident. He speaks very, very directly and precisely. He has immense comfort in what he is doing. But he did say very realistically: Look, this war on terrorism is not like the Gulf War, when he was secretary of defense. And it may last our entire lifetime.

He also said that the world we are in now -- he gave it a label which I think is appropriate: the new normalcy. Other words, high security, threat matrixes floating around, everyone on alert, the FBI devoting more than half of its resources to terrorism, the assignment of $1 billion, in this case, an additional $1 billion to the CIA.

KING: Thanks, Bob, as always; a great piece.

WOODWARD: Thank you.

KING: Bob Woodward of "The Washington Post."

And when we come back, one of my favorite people as well, Bill Kurtis the award-winning anchor and executive producer of "A&E Investigative Reports." They've got a big one coming November 6. We'll tell you about it right after this.


KING: On November 6, "A&E Investigative Reports" will present an hour-long documentary: "Bioterrorism." It is hosted by their main man, Bill Kurtis. He comes to us from Chicago.

How did you get -- what does this entail, Bill?

BILL KURTIS, A&E "INVESTIGATIVE REPORTS": Well, we started this program about a year ago, Larry, going to the Soviet Union and looking at a program that is run by the DOD here in the United States and the State Department to fund Soviet scientists who used to be making biological warfare weapons into a more peaceful kind of work. Keeping them alive so, in a sense, they would not sell their expertise to a Middle Eastern country.

We were able to visit a top secret lab, Obolensk, 60 miles outside Moscow, where they stockpiled thousands of tons of these agents. They weaponized 50 diseases in the Soviet Union. In 1972, when we signed the treaty to stop biological and chemical warfare, they continued because they thought we were continuing. And the most frightening thing is that to weaponize -- bringing it up to weapons grade, either anthrax or smallpox or plague, tularemia, some of the hemorrhagic fevers, you have to manipulate the DNA. That requires a sophisticated lab.

KING: How did you get in?

KURTIS: We simply asked. Obolensk is receiving $1.5 million from the United States, so part of the price tag is that they open up their facilities so we can see. We're a free and open society; and they were charming, they were cordial and gracious.

KING: Did you have to wear any special protection?

KURTIS: I put on a green suit, which would be the kind of protection that you would find in a level-four facility like Fort Detrick, Maryland or the CDC. Now...

KING: We're seeing it now.

KURTIS: Yes. The only unsettling thing about this, it was hard to walk around, but I -- everything seemed clean enough until I looked down at the oxygen hose which connected my mask and suit down to the oxygen canister. Someone had closed a hole with duct tape. That is a symbol of where they are.

We were given permission to shoot for two days inside the facility. After we got there, they brought it back to one. And we realized that it was on a Friday and they didn't have the money to pay for the electricity to turn on the lights on Saturday. We looked at some of the security walls around this facility, and they were crumbling.

As you know, Russia is in a depression. And back in 1992 money was cut off to all these facilities and biological weapons scientists were out on the streets. They were working as security guards, selling apples. Difficult to get jobs for them.

We stepped in immediately because they were afraid after they realized Boris Yeltsin did, indeed, admit that they had these facilities -- many of the Russian people did not know -- they called Senator Lugar. And Lugar went to Capitol Hill, got some money for these programs. We have given $40 million since 1994 in the form of grants through a multi -- international organization known as the International Science of Technology Center, just like you would fund other scientists, why we give projects the scientists come to us with.

One anthrax expert, perhaps the foremost expert in the world, Nikolai Staritsin, now has a $500,000 grant to work on a vaccine for anthrax.

KING: With what you know and what you have learned, does the current anthrax scare, frighten you more or less?

KURTIS: Less. I was actually happy to see some of the information come out. First of all, it is not a weapons-grade anthrax. It is probably a concentration of a -- I'm guessing now -- but a veterinary-grade anthrax. It's the same kind of anthrax that the Japanese terrorist organization, Aum Shinrikyo, back in 1995 was experimenting for four years with, and finally abandoned because they couldn't deliver it. They couldn't get it into a wind-blown or concentrated form, and so they went to sarin gas to release and kill 12 in a Tokyo subway. Delivery is very, very difficult.

We have a good information system; we're getting a lot of good information. I think we have to be careful and accurate with what we know.

The other good news, to me, is that they don't appear to have perfected or solved the big problem, which is distribution. Flying over a city -- and it's as likely to blow away or blow back in the plane as it is to kill millions. There are...

KING: Is there a danger -- I'm sorry, go ahead.

KURTIS: Well, there probably are those weapons out there, but they're in very sophisticated hands. And the Russians are on our side now, from what we could see. They were very happy to be working with us. And that's, again, the message that I brought back. And we may be having some good news as a result of this program out of the former Soviet Union.

KING: And the program airs November 6 on "Investigative Reports," right? And as usual with "Investigative Reports," they'll repeat it a couple of times, will they not?

KURTIS: Many times. That's cable.

KING: Do you -- Bill -- we've only got 30 seconds. Do you miss anchoring?

KURTIS: Well, at a time like this I do. This is the biggest story of our lives. And the only choice you have to make is whether you want to go to Afghanistan or stay here. Where is the most important story?

KING: Bill Kurtis, you've always been one of my favorites. Great seeing you; we'll have you back again. And look forward to that special on November 6.

KURTIS: Thank you.

KING: Bill Kurtis, the award-winning anchor and executive producer of A&E's "Investigative Reports," one of the best programs on the air.

We have a different musical closing every night to kind of cheer you on. Tonight's show features "The Star-Spangled Banner." It is sung by the Dixie Chicks, and this rendition is available only on the Dixie Chick Web site: It's not in stores.

And you're welcome to download this song, but if you do, the Chicks would like you to make a donation to the American Red Cross. Now the Dixie Chicks and "The Star-Spangled Banner."





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