Text: Powell on CBS's 'Face the Nation'
Following is the transcript of CBS's "Face the Nation," hosted by Bob Schieffer with U.S. News and World Report correspondent Gloria Borger.
Guests: Colin Powell, Secretary of State; U.S. Senator Bill Frist (R-TN); U.S. Senator John Kerry (D-MA); Richard Sprtezel, former biological weapons inspector, UNSCOM; Haron Amin, Northern Alliance Representative.
SCHIEFFER: And we begin now with the secretary of state, who joins us from Shanghai.
Mr. Secretary, thank you very much for coming.
POWELL: Thank you, Bob.
SCHIEFFER: American ground troops went into Afghanistan yesterday. The Pentagon says it was a successful mission. But this morning, as perhaps might be expected, the Taliban says that the Americans were repelled. They say there were American casualties. And they say they're ready now to just wait it out in the caves.
Can you give us an assessment of what the United States government feels about this yesterday?
POWELL: Well, my understanding of the mission, that it was highly successful, both strikes, both missions that went in. And I'm very proud of those brave young soldiers who performed the mission.
And my understanding, from everything I've heard and seen from Pentagon briefings is that, except for a few minor injuries among the paratroopers, and the tragic helicopter accident that was not directly related to the operation, all of our troops recovered safely and the Taliban is lying.
SCHIEFFER: Can you tell me exactly what the objective was yesterday, Mr. Secretary?
POWELL: Bob, I think it's better you get the straight answer from the Pentagon. But just so I don't duck it entirely, I think they were looking at a compound where some information might have been available. And I believe they did come back with some documents and other items that might be useful. And they were scouting another facility. But I'll stop there and let the Pentagon deal with that one.
SCHIEFFER: There are reports this morning that the president has signed an executive order that has, quote, ``told the CIA to basically destroy Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda.'' What does that mean exactly? Some here say that means that the gloves are off.
POWELL: Well, I believe what I read in the paper this morning was that he has signed what is called a finding. And those involve very, very sensitive operations. And I hope you'll forgive me, but I never talk about findings of that nature.
SCHIEFFER: Does intensifying this campaign, Mr. Secretary, increase the threat of terrorism in this country? Because many people are worried that perhaps it will.
POWELL: No, I think we're facing terrorism with or without this campaign, unfortunately. I think that war has been declared upon us by the Al Qaeda organization, and we have no choice but to fight that war with the kind of campaign that the president has put together. Military intelligence, financial law enforcement, securing our borders, protecting our citizens, all of these things will be necessary.
I'm sure they'll try to respond. I'm sure they'll come at us in other ways, and there may be other terrorist organizations that will come at us. So this is a time for us to be cautious, to protect ourselves, but to not be afraid, not become chickens. We know how to fight these kinds of conflicts. We've got a backbone of steel in our country. And we'll be just fine if Americans just remember who we are and keep the spirit up and keep driving on with our lives.
SCHIEFFER: You said ``other terrorist organizations.'' Elaborate on that, if you can.
POWELL: Well, there are other terrorist organizations. I don't want to name any particular one. But there are other terrorist organizations that don't mean us well. POWELL: And frankly, we have homegrown terrorists, as we have seen so vividly in Oklahoma City, for example.
So we have to be on guard in this new era where we have rogue groups, where we have fanatics, where we have evil people, as the president likes to say, who might come after us in these asymmetric ways where they can cause a great deal of damage, great loss of life, as we have seen, and where they are creative.
And so, we have to keep an eye on all of them. And that's why the president said that this is a campaign not just against Al Qaeda but against all terrorism throughout the world, all terrorism that could threaten us, threaten our interests or threaten our friends.
SCHIEFFER: Mr. Secretary, do you see at this point any connection between these situations involving this anthrax that pops up, keeps popping up in different places? And yesterday another smudge of it, if that's what you want to call it, showed up at the U.S. capitol. Is there a connection between that and Osama bin Laden?
POWELL: There may be, but I don't know, Bob. I think our intelligence, law enforcement agencies are hard at work trying to get to the bottom of this, the source of the anthrax, how it's being distributed, the persons responsible, and what linkages may exist with terrorist organizations such as Al Qaeda.
I'm quite sure that if Al Qaeda did have access to this kind of material, and I'm sure they were also working on it, that they would use it if they could. They're coming after us. They're evil people. They believe in no faith. They have adherence to no religion. They are evil and have to be seen as criminals and murderers and terrorists.
And I am sure our agencies are working as hard as they can to find out the source of the anthrax material we have been receiving and how it's coming at us, how it's being distributed and by whom.
SCHIEFFER: The nations that are meeting there in Shanghai, the reason that you and the president went there, the nations that are meeting there put out a very strong statement denouncing terrorism. But I notice it does not endorse the U.S. military action into Afghanistan, nor does it name Osama bin Laden as the person behind all of this. Should we read some significance into that?
POWELL: I wouldn't read any significance in it. When I saw press reporting earlier today that sort of pointed that out, it kind of surprised me because we didn't ask for that. At least, you know, nobody in my delegation asked for that kind of reference in the joint statement.
We were looking for strong joint statement that came down squarely against terrorism, put APEC, the group that's here, the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation, put that strongly on record against terrorism and, in fact, joined the coalition in support of the United States' goal of ridding this part of the world of the Al Qaeda organization, ridding wherever--ridding every cell of the Al Qaeda organization, no matter where it is in the world, getting rid of it and going after terrorism in general.
So, I think we should applaud this very powerful statement from this very powerful organization.
SCHIEFFER: Mr. Secretary, I'm sure you're aware of a report that was in The New Yorker this week written by Seymour Hersh, who says that on the first night of this military operation into Afghanistan, one of the American drone reconnaissance planes, and it was an armed plane, got Mullah Omar, the leader of the Taliban, in its sights.
The information went back up the chain of command and the commanding general finally said that there would not be--he ordered the drone not to fire on Mullah Omar because, as we're told in this report, his judge advocate general had a problem with it. In other words, the general apparently went to his lawyer and his lawyer said, well, there may be some problems, so don't fire.
Could that possibly be true?
POWELL: I don't know. I read the story. I have no idea of whether it's true or not, and I think I'll have to refer you to the Pentagon for whatever answer they may choose to make of Mr. Hersh's story.
SCHIEFFER: Well, I mean, we are in a situation--everybody says this is going to be a long and difficult fight. But are we in a position now where generals have to check with their lawyer before they can order people on the ground to fire on the enemy?
POWELL: Well, first of all, without saying a word about this story, let me just say that we conduct military operations in accordance with accepted rules of land warfare. And for that reason, you make sure you have lawyers around. We had them during Desert Storm.
But I have no idea, none whatsoever, as to whether that is what happened in this instance, as reported in The New Yorker, and I really do have to refer you to the Pentagon for that.
SCHIEFFER: Any final word, Mr. Secretary, this morning? Do you have a message for Osama bin Laden?
POWELL: The message I have for Osama bin Laden is that he cannot hide behind a faith in which he does not believe, because if he believed in it, he would not be doing what he does.
And that the coalition is coming after him, and we will find his money, we will find ways to get into his networks through our intelligence and law enforcement work.
And the armed forces of the United States and other armed forces that will be working with us, and are working with us now, such as the United Kingdom, will not lose faith in their ability to bring this to a successful conclusion and to rip up the Al Qaeda network and to bring Osama bin Laden to justice.
SCHIEFFER: Mr. Secretary, thank you so much. Thank you.
POWELL: Thank you, Bob.
SCHIEFFER: And we want to go now to the Pentagon where CBS News national security correspondent David Martin is standing by.
Well, David, you just heard the secretary say that these forces that went in yesterday got some sort of document, some kinds of information. What's being done with that?
DAVID MARTIN, CBS NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Well, right now those documents are being translated and analyzed in the hopes that they will offer some clue as to the whereabouts of either Osama bin Laden or his principal protector, the leader of the Taliban, Mullah Mohammed Omar.
This raid, Bob, was really a raid within a raid. There was one raid in which the U.S. army rangers parachuted on to the airfield outside of Kandahar.
And there was a second raid in which a much smaller unit went after the command-and-control bunker that the Mullah Omar has used in the past. And that bunker had been deliberately left untouched by the bombing in the hopes that he would still consider that a safe place, that perhaps the U.S. didn't know about this bunker. So the hope was that he would be hiding out there.
Well, he wasn't there, so they had to content themselves with the documents. And they're analyzing those documents now.
SCHIEFFER: Should we expect more raids, David?
MARTIN: You should, but I'm not sure how soon, Bob. There's a debate going on with the Pentagon on exactly how soon the U.S. should go again. On the one hand, you have the argument that the ease with which U.S. troops operated on the ground inside Afghanistan has really stunned the Taliban. And that their ability to defend itself against these raids is only going to get worse as the bombing continues, and that therefore you should continue to strike him as often as you can and from as many different directions as you can.
On the other hand, two soldiers were injured parachuting out of the planes last night. Two more servicemen were killed when a backup helicopter crashed in Pakistan. So, these are high-risk operations. And this was a raid that essentially went according to plan. Everytime you do these, you risk casualties. And obviously that's not something you want to undertake lightly.
SCHIEFFER: David, let me also ask you about this report in The New Yorker that the commanding general ordered them not to fire on Mullah Omar, the leader of the Taliban, on the advice of his military lawyer. You've done some reporting on this, I know, and you say there may be some very good reasons he didn't order him fired upon.
MARTIN: Well, this is a very interesting story, Bob. The CIA has been operating drones over Afghanistan for quite some time, well before September 11. And on one occasion, one of those drones actually saw Osama bin Laden. They have Osama bin Laden somewhere out at the CIA on videotape as taken from this reconnaissance drone. But when that picture was taken, there was no weapon in position to fire at Osama bin Laden.
And as a result of that, the Pentagon accelerated what has until now has only been a test program. They put a missile on that reconnaissance drone. So the next time the reconnaissance drone saw Osama bin Laden, it could shoot.
MARTIN: Well, on the first night of the war, the reconnaissance drone saw not Osama bin Laden but Mullah Omar, and was prepared to fire. And then, the issue was, well, do you fire? Well, the problem was that Omar had been spotted either in a mosque or very close to a mosque, in a building next to a mosque, and so there was almost the certainty that the mosque would be damaged if a shot was taken at this person who was believed to be Mullah Omar.
And it was not a lawyer that, I'm told, who made this judgment. It was the commander of this operation, a four-star army general named Tommy Franks, who did not want to risk damaging a mosque with all the fallout that would have in the Muslim world for the sake of a shot at a person they thought but were not absolutely certain was Mohammed Omar.
SCHIEFFER: All right. Thank you very much, David.
We're going to be back and talk about this some more with a member of the Northern Alliance in just a minute. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
SCHIEFFER: And with us now, Haron Amin, the Washington representative for the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance; from Wilmington, Delaware, Mark Bowden, something of an expert on special operations. He's the author of that book, ``Blackhawk Down,'' which is an account of the unfortunate U.S. special operations missions in Somalia.
Also with us Gloria Borger, of course.
Mr. Amin, I want to explain first exactly who you are. And that is you were a part of the government that was in Afghanistan before the Taliban took over. You also were part of the Afghan force that fought for two years against the Russians, so you know something about all of this that's going on.
SCHIEFFER: Earlier the United States has suggested that when the Taliban goes, and it now seems to be the clear U.S. objective to take down the Taliban government, that there may have to be a place in the next government for what have been described as Taliban moderates. Do you think that would work?
AMIN: Well, we certainly think that inclusion of the Taliban moderates would be sort of like inclusion of moderate Nazis in the post-Hitler regime after World War II, so we clearly, the Afghan nation has an objection to that. And certainly we've never heard of moderate Nazis in the past, and so moderate Taliban don't exist. They're intrinsically a very, very fanatical group. We've seen exactly what they've done in the country.
And in terms of the whole vocabulary that originated called moderate Taliban, it's something that originated in Pakistan and something that even American statesmen even, later on, began using.
And I would presume that relying solely on the Pakistani vocabulary would somehow exacerbate the geo-political implication of all of this, meaning specifically that other countries would want to get involved and they would want to say how about our interests. I mean, there has to be emphasis on the legitimate interests of all of the neighboring states of Afghanistan, in Afghanistan, also, you know, the Afghan legitimate interests in other countries.
SCHIEFFER: Let me ask you this. Can the Taliban be taken down? Because this morning, after this raid yesterday, Taliban leaders, perhaps understandably, are saying, we repelled this attack. There were 25 American casualties. Now, Secretary of State Powell says that's just a lie. How difficult will it be?
AMIN: Well, you have to remember one thing about the Taliban. Their intransigency (ph) is something that has really, you know, astonished the entire world. But what's important is that it has to be done in a specific way. Targeting the Taliban with our forces on the ground should be the primary objective.
Right now, for example, one thing that has happened is that you have two major sanctuaries for the Al Qaeda people as well as many militants from around various countries including Pakistan who have sought refuge in two places, the mosques--but the mosques don't have much room--but the front lines.
AMIN: There has been some sort of guarantee made to these guys from the connections that they have through the Pakistani military installations, that--the intelligence community, saying, you know, this is the best place you can take refuge.
BORGER: So are you saying bomb the mosques?
AMIN: I'm not saying bomb the mosques. I'm saying, start with the front lines. You've got long front lines that stretch from northern Afghanistan all the way north of Kabul around central parts of Afghanistan, you know, around Bamiyan, and north as well as the west.
SCHIEFFER: But let me just tell you something. Wire reports are just coming in now saying this morning that U.S. forces are bombing about a mile behind the front lines. I take it you think that's good news.
AMIN: Well, it's good news, but more needs to happen. The C-130s have specific operations. And basically you've got to target them. And then we'll do the rest of the job, the United Front is going to do the job.
BORGER: Mr. Bowden, there are reports today that the Taliban strategy is just to hide, to wait. Do you think that the special ops forces right now, as you saw them deployed yesterday, can flush out the Taliban wherever they decide to hide and wait?
MARK BOWDEN, AUTHOR OF ``BLACK HAWK DOWN'': I think it'll take time. But, you know, I for one, I was moved by those images of American soldiers parachuting into Afghanistan. These are young men who are over there risking their lives, fighting a battle on behalf of all of us. And these are very professional soldiers. I think, as long as we don't lose our will to support them, they will, in time, track these people down.
BORGER: Well, you think casualties, other casualties than the ones incurred yesterday are inevitable?
BOWDEN: I think it's true in any military operation. In fact, if you look at what happened in Mogadishu, which is commonly referred to as a debacle or a disaster, it certainly wasn't that in military terms. They set out to capture these two guys in Somalia. They found them, they captured them. They got into an unfortunate gunfight during which roughly 50 Somalis were killed for every American soldier who was killed.
And it's really only in this country in this time that we would view a military mismatch like that as a debacle or a disaster.
SCHIEFFER: But it does underline, does it not, just how difficult this sort of warfare is, because literally you have to go into caves to find these people?
BOWDEN: It's true. And I think we honor these soldiers by recognizing how difficult their job is and the heroism that they show in being willing to risk their lives and go into these situations in order to do what needs to be done.
BORGER: Mr. Bowden, let me ask about you the psychological component here of special ops forces continuing to go in and to go in and to go in. What kind of effect does that have on the Taliban, keeping them on the run like that?
BOWDEN: Well, I would have to think it would have a demoralizing effect. You know, they're lying in wait, trying to ambush soldiers in the way they did in a war they fought with the Soviet Union. And, instead, they're faced with a very light footprint, basically, a military force that can strike anywhere at almost any time, prefers to work at night, owns the skies, and moves so fast that it's really difficult to ambush them or even to respond quickly enough to put up a fight.
BORGER: Mr. Amin, if you had a wish list of things you could get from the United States government right now, what would be on the top of that?
AMIN: Well, military support for one; secondly, coordination on the ground; and thirdly for the United States not to listen to the Pakistanis, in terms of military advice. And I'll tell you exactly why.
We are on the ground right now. And if the appropriate front lines are going to be targeted, we can expand, with the expansion of our territories, throughout most of Afghanistan, particularly the northern parts.
What's going to happen is, you've got a smaller area for the Taliban. Otherwise, the Pakistanis are capitalizing on one thing, and that is that as long as they have casualties on the ground, America might seem to turn away from the whole operation, and Pakistan is going to come back and then have--re-bring the Taliban in a different format.
SCHIEFFER: All right, we have to stop there. Thank you so much.
Back in just a second.
SCHIEFFER: Last week, Al-Jazeera, the Middle Eastern cable network, sent CNN an invitation to submit questions to Osama bin Laden. And they said if they'd submit the questions, that they would get answers for CNN.
Well, this sort of thing is always a tough call for reporters. Should you risk being used? Should you give someone like Osama bin Laden a platform for his propaganda on the chance that you might be able to gather valuable information?
In this case, I think CNN did the right thing. ``Sure,'' they said, ``we'll send you some questions, and if the answers have any news value, we'll pass them on to our viewers.'' That is the right thing because the best defense against murderers, despots and crooks is to draw them out of the shadows and into the sun. The best way to destroy their arguments is to make sure everyone knows exactly what their arguments are.
And I don't think we have to worry very much about giving Osama bin Laden television exposure and that that's going to convert very many Americans to his cause. We've already seen his work. He can talk around the clock but he'll never convince any of us that murdering 6,000 innocent people is justified.
To the contrary, anytime I hear or see him it just reminds me of how proud he was of what was done at the Twin Towers and the Pentagon, and it just reinforces my conviction that we must track him down and bring him to justice. I hope we hear a lot from him in the days to come.
SCHIEFFER: Welcome back to Face the Nation, page two, our expanded edition.
We're going to start this half hour by going to Pakistan where CBS News correspondent Allen Pizzey is standing by, and he has some news.
First, there has apparently been a casualty in the family of Mullah Omar, the leader of the Taliban. And I'm also told, Allen, that you've learned that this fighting may have spread to inside Pakistan. Bring us up to date on that.
ALLEN PIZZEY, CBS NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Bob, we've had reports confirmed by both Pentagon and Pakistani intelligence sources that a U.S. military helicopter landing at a civil airstrip about 80 miles from here, 80 miles from Quetta, was fired on by people from a local madrasa, a religious school.
The Pakistanis say that the U.S. helicopter returned fire. The Pentagon does not confirm that.
This airstrip is used by rich Gulf sheiks who come to go falconing. They like to fly falcons and hawks. And these are the kind of strips that will be very useful for U.S. forces to use to hop into Afghanistan because they're close to the border and theoretically they're isolated. But evidently today they weren't.
There's also been, as you mentioned, another report of a casualty. A couple of people we spoke to, reliable people, spoke to a doctor who came out of Afghanistan today. He said that Mullah Omar's 10-year-old son was killed in a recent U.S. bombing raid. We're not sure exactly when, but the boy sustained leg and abdominal wounds. And this doctor who said he treated him said he tried to save his life but couldn't.
Now, there's a lot more U.S. bombing going on, of course. We're hearing reports that they're bombing very close to the Northern Alliance-Taliban lines up in the north of Afghanistan.
There's going to be a lot of pressure on the U.S. from the aid agencies to either finish the bombing or ease it off because they're deeply concerned about the growing humanitarian crisis. There's maybe 10,000 people estimated to be backed up at the Pakistani-Afghan border just near here. The Pakistanis will not let any of them across. They're trying to flee from the bombing.
The aid agencies would desperately like to get food aid in there because they say their stockpiles just aren't sufficient, and even if they were, they can't get it out of the main warehouses in the big cities in Afghanistan, get it out to the rural areas which are, within a few weeks, going to be snowed in. And they're thinking a lot of people are going to starve.
In fact, there are said to be nine trucks backed up in Iran trying to get to the western city of Herat. They've been trying to get them in for several days to try to restock the Herat warehouses. They can't get them in because of the bombing.
So the U.S. is continuing to conduct the airstrikes, but they're come under increasing pressure to do something about getting the aid in, Bob.
SCHIEFFER: All right. Well, thank you very much, Allen. And I hope you'll stand by because if you have anymore details on any of that, we want to go back to you for that.
Well, we also have some bad news, I think there's no other way to describe it. We are now told--a story has just moved on the Associated Press wire, that a Washington postal worker has been diagnosed as having inhalation anthrax according to city officials.
Now, this would be the postal worker who worked at the Washington postal facility where congressional mail is first brought. From there, it goes to the Ford Building, where yesterday--this is a House office building--where yesterday it was determined that yet another smudge of anthrax has shown up.
So we're going to go now to Boston where Senator John Kerry, who is a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, and really came on this morning to talk about us about how the war is going because I know he was briefed on all of that.
But, Senator, this is not very good news, is it?
KERRY: Of course not, Bob. It's tragic news. On the other hand, hopefully, and we say hopefully, it's been diagnosed at a time where, even with the inhalation, if you get to that, we are told that it can be treated. It's not obviously a certain as the cutaneous or other sort of exposure instances are.
SCHIEFFER: Well, but this of course would suggest that this is that kind of fine anthrax that moves through the air, obviously. Inhalation anthrax, you don't get that from just touching the envelope.
KERRY: I think what it suggests, Bob, is that obviously when that postal worker touched it, it was in a more concentrated, viral form. And as the postal machinery or sometimes the workers compress it, the anthrax then can come out. Most of the envelopes were sealed all around. And the theory is that it came out in a burst of air, and that's how it's inhaled. We obviously don't know.
Needless to say, all of us will hope beyond hope that this worker will be all right.
SCHIEFFER: Do you have any indication yet or have you been told when the Hart Building, which is the building where Senator Daschle's staff was located, do you have any idea yet when it's going to be reopened for business?
KERRY: No, but we're hoping, obviously, with the start of the week. We will be informed, I suppose, either today or certainly by tomorrow. But the hope is that it will have been thoroughly decontaminated, and we'll be able to go back to work.
I think also a lot of us want to impress on people that even with this tragic occurrence that you've just announced, the fact remains that anthrax is a very blunt sort of tool of terrorism. The odds of most Americans being contacted by it are about one in 300 million to one in 500 million. And your odds of having a car accident and dying from it are well higher than that--I mean, well below that. I mean, the odds are much greater that you're going to have a car accident, fall and hurt yourself, have any number of the daily occurrences of life.
So we need to be realistic about the reality of this threat to us as a nation. There are threats that we face. There are risks. But we must, as a country, not run around in a panic or in fear of this fairly blunt instrument, the major purpose of which is to disrupt and terrorize.
BORGER: Senator, I want to pick up a little bit on what Allen Pizzey was telling us, specifically a humanitarian crisis that he says is really brewing in Afghanistan and that there will be increased pressure to stop the bombing. What's your response to that?
KERRY: Well, I think we have some very important decisions to make at a number of different levels. First of all, our troops come first, and the mission and the objective is the first priority for us as a nation. But one can wage that--you know, you can pursue that objective and wage the war with sensitivity to external factors and to real imperatives.
It is a major imperative of our support among our coalition partners, as well as the American people who are humanitarian and sensitive to these things, that we not create a sort of sidebar catastrophe by virtue of our narrow focus on some military objectives and so we create an absolute disaster in starvation on the humanitarian side.
I believe you can wage both objectives simultaneously. And I think it is imperative that the bombing campaign be targeted in a way that permits the trucks to get in there now.
I would also accelerate--I think there has been some sort of timing issue with respect to the formation of the government after the Taliban. I would be wary of the road we seem to be on there, certainly with respect to the inclusion of so-called moderate Taliban. I don't know who moderate Taliban are. And most people who have studied it closely, I think, would agree with that.
BORGER: Well, you heard the representative from the Northern Alliance today here saying exactly the same thing. Why is Colin Powell then talking about including these so-called moderates? What are they?
KERRY: Well, the moderates--the Northern Alliance judgments about it, I think, you obviously have to take with a perspective about the Northern Alliance's own agenda. But I think that you have to measure other people's judgment about the Taliban and who they are.
Now, there are some members of the Taliban who have probably gone along with the rigidity of the Taliban leadership because you had to. And so there may be some opportunity and some opening there, but I would be very, very wary of that.
I think the reason the administration is looking at that road is that it may represent the fastest, moist bloodless and efficient way of quickly moving to put a government in place.
The problem is sort of afterwards, and that's where a lot of the problems arise. I mean, the Taliban are going to melt into the mosques. The minute I heard, you know, that people are taking refuge in the mosques, and we didn't fire because the proximity to the mosque, boy, a big red flag went up to me reminding me about the Cambodian sanctuaries and the inability to sort of pursue the war objectives because of other considerations.
That's going to become very difficult as we go along. And we're going to have to find a way to get the Taliban out of the mosques, to get, you know, sort of guerrilla fighters who are going to melt into the general population. And we're going to have continued difficulties in that.
SCHIEFFER: Let me just ask you this, Senator. Just in a general way, does it concern you--I mean, when I hear the story about generals having to check with their judge advocate generals, in other words check in with their attorneys, before they order a missile to be fired--that may or may not be true.
SCHIEFFER: David Martin says the reason is because they were so close to the mosques. But are we hamstringing, have we gotten to set such rigid rules here that it's going to be very difficult for us to prosecute a war?
KERRY: I think that was one of those early bumps in the road that come at the early stages when lines of authority and decisions that have been made are not absolutely clear.
It's my understanding that Secretary Rumsfeld went through the roof when he heard that. I don't blame him.
But I think that that clearly will be clarified as we go forward from here, and I can't imagine that will step in the way.
And I know some people are sort of wondering about the targeting of leaders, in the context of the earlier prohibitions on assassination. It's not assassination. There is no prohibition on targeting somebody who is at war with you, who is a leader of the warring factions under these circumstances. It fits completely under the United Nations and international law with respect to the defense of our nation.
So we should have no hesitancy on that, and I'm confident that that has been made clear. If it hasn't been, it ought to be immediately.
SCHIEFFER: All right. Senator Kerry, thank you very much for being with us this morning.
KERRY: Thank you.
SCHIEFFER: We're going to continue our expanded coverage after a short break. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
SCHIEFFER: So we're going to talk about this latest news on anthrax now with Senator Bill Frist, who of course is the ranking Republican on the Public Health Subcommittee in the Senate and is also a doctor; and Dr. Richard Sprtezel, who was the former biochemical weapons inspector for the United Nations' special commission on Iraq.
First, Senator Frist, this latest disquieting news, the Washington postal worker who was hospitalized over the weekend, it has now been diagnosed that he had inhalation anthrax. Now, this would be a postal worker from the postal facility where most congressional mail goes before it goes up to the Hill.
What's the significance of that?
FRIST: The significance is large in many ways. There have only been three cases in the last 100 years in the United States of inhalational anthrax, different than the skin or cutaneous anthrax. It is the more serious form. Treatment and outcome is totally dependent on having a strong public health infrastructure. And that means early surveillance, which in this case happened. He was identified two nights ago.
The CDC has been involved for the last 48 hours. They have 25 people on the ground right now. It depends on surveillance and immediate communication from that hospital to the command center that's been at the Capitol for a while to the D.C. public health who are ready to go. Announcements will be made in the next three to four hours or about 2 o'clock this afternoon about further testing. Things are under control.
And the third component is testing. The fact that we were able to test very early on, identify early on, this patient will be OK and the system will work.
BORGER: Dr. Sprtezel, what does this tell you, though, about the grade of this anthrax?
SPRTEZEL: Well, a single case certainly wouldn't be indicative necessarily of the overall quantity of the total batch. But the fact that this individual was able to develop inhalation anthrax means the material was sufficiently airborne and in small enough particle size to get down into the lungs.
BORGER: There's a lot of talk this is weapons-grade anthrax, this is not weapons-grade anthrax. Can you tell us what that means?
SPRTEZEL: Yes, to start with on this single case, we don't know whether this exposure came from the same letter that went to Senator Daschle's office or not.
There is confusion on what is weapons grade. It is frequently confused with the organism itself. Weapons grade refers to the product, the final product. And that is, is it of sufficiently small particle size to stay airborne and ultimately get down into the lungs of exposed individuals?
But it also, the other properties which makes it readily disperseable into the air. And it's that latter portion of it that is the ability to get biological materials readily dispersable into the air so that the act of opening a single letter makes the material, a significant quantity of the material, airborne.
SCHIEFFER: It just wafts into the air. Is that what happens?
SPRTEZEL: Exactly. Exactly right.
SCHIEFFER: Senator Frist, you talked about what it means for this man, and apparently he's getting the treatment he needs. But what does it mean for Washington? What does it mean for the Capitol?
SPRTEZEL: Very significant. This is substantial. Last Monday we had an event for the first time in the history of the United States of America where we've used a germ, a bioweapon, that has been aerosolized, put into the air in particles that you can't visualize, with the intent to kill. The first time in the history of the country. That was identified in the Hart Building, the actual opening of the letter for the first time.
We were able to track, in just a report this morning--I was just with the investigators--over 6,000 surveillance cultures have been taken, nasal swabs. We've identified 28 people who were exposed in that one event. They're not going to get the disease. Again, the system works--surveillance, treatment, laboratory. They're being treated.
Now, what was introduced yesterday is that we have another site besides that, which is under control, on the House side. And that's under control. Testing is under way for the appropriate people. They don't need to get tested unless they are contacted. Treatment has begun.
We know that there's one other site that feeds both of those that is a mail site, that has a positive contamination.
SCHIEFFER: And that's where this man worked?
FRIST: No. No. Then there's new news, one site removed from that, a man with, not the cutaneous, but the inhalational form, very unusual. Again, identified early.
BORGER: Excuse me, but another D.C. post office?
FRIST: It's another post office.
SCHIEFFER: In addition to what we've been talking about?
FRIST: No, the man today is the man we're talking about. But it's one post office removed. Now, we don't know if it was contacted at the post office, yet. This is very, very early.
Now, the good news and the reason people should relax is that the D.C. Public Health has been involved for the last 48 hours. They are totally prepared in terms of testing, in terms of prophylactic treatment, in terms of expertise. People are working hand in hand.
The intelligence and from a terrorist standpoint, there could potentially be a track among all of these. And the FBI and the appropriate investigators are under way.
Again, what this points to, the absolute critical importance that people learn, we have 250 million people out there who learned what cutaneous anthrax looks like, that people stay vigilant across the country.
SCHIEFFER: Show these slides because you brought them so we would be able to...
FRIST: Well, these two slides are basically three forms of anthrax. One is the inhalational. That's rare, 21 cases in the last 100 years, yet we just this other new case today.
The cutaneous or skin anthrax, what you see there, is typical. That's what we see in terms of initially looking like a spider bite going to a redness, then turning to a black. Remember that anthrax means (inaudible) like on the picture there. And at that point, you need to see a doctor--really, before it gets to this point.
This is a second picture, again beneath the eye there on the right. It's black. It looks like a little scab. You need to see a physician if you see that at any point in time.
SCHIEFFER: Does this mean that the buildings on Capitol Hill may not open as soon as we thought?
FRIST: No, this is a totally separate incident. And that's why it's significant. Again, the coordination, that decision will be made, imparted at 5 o'clock today in terms of when buildings will come open.
BORGER: Dr. Sprtezel, does this kind of anthrax exist in the United States? Or do you believe it is state-sponsored from outside this country?
SPRTEZEL: Well, when you say this kind...
BORGER: The inhalation that we're talking about.
SPRTEZEL: Yes, let me explain a couple of other things first. And that is that if you find evidence of anthrax on the surface area, that means that is not weapons-grade material, that it has managed to make its way on the surface material.
To my knowledge, in the case of Senator Daschle's office, is that no evidence of any surface contamination has been seen. That's the reason that we experts say that this is empirically indicative of the right form weapons grade.
Now, in answer to your question, specifically on this kind of anthrax, you're really talking about the form, not the organism. And to my knowledge, no, there is no reason for people in the United States or, frankly, for anywhere else to be making this quality of material.
SPRTEZEL: That is a sophistication level, requires detailed knowledge, it requires special equipment.
SCHIEFFER: Does that suggest then, sir, that this came from some foreign power, from Saddam Hussein or somebody of that ilk?
SPRTEZEL: No, it doesn't necessarily, specifically mean that the exact material came directly from. It does mean that someone, as a minimum, is providing expert hands-on advice as to how to do it. Most likely, however, it's probably pre-prepared material that has origins from some other country.
SCHIEFFER: Let me just go back to what you said. You said that the decision will be made later today as to whether those buildings are going to be...
SPRTEZEL: What is happening as we speak is surveillance is being carried out on all the Capitol and both office buildings. Surveillance cultures, hundreds and thousands of cultures are coming back.
The first announcement will be made around 6 o'clock today. Those cultures--all the buildings definitely will not be opened tomorrow. Announcement will be made. And as these cultures come back--because they take 24, 48, 72 hours for the cultures to come back--announcements will be made.
SCHIEFFER: All right, gentlemen, thank you very much.
Back in a minute after some messages.
SCHIEFFER: And here we are now back with Jim Hoagland of The Washington Post, foreign affairs columnist.
Well, Jim, you just, you've heard a very kind of sobering broadcast this morning. We now have another...
JIM HOAGLAND, THE WASHINGTON POST: As I sat there, Bob, I was just constantly thinking, is it going to get worse and worse?
HOAGLAND: But I thought at the end it was important to focus on how, in fact, things are in perspective in this country. And people are doing--I'm going out to the Washington Redskins game today, and I don't expect any problems there except on the field, probably, but otherwise...
SCHIEFFER: Does the fact that--and you heard these two experts talk here. Is this looking more and more as if there may be some connection here, there may be that--if there's no connection with Al Qaeda, could this possibly be the work of Saddam Hussein on this anthrax front?
HOAGLAND: Well, I think the first thing to focus on is the established link between Al Qaeda and Iraq. They are not mutually exclusive. It's probable, indeed it's clear, that they're working together to some extent.
But I think it's important to realize at this point we don't have the evidence. It's going to take a lot more work before we can say Iraq is definitely involved in these specific incidents.
But all of these incidents should bring home to us the danger of having a regime in place that has the motivation, that daily declares it's at war with the United States, has a track record of having used biological and chemical weapons on its own population, on Iran, and is clearly ready to do this at any time that it will suit its purpose.
So we have to take that into consideration. If at the end of this, you've gotten rid of Al Qaeda, you've gotten rid of the Taliban, but you have Saddam Hussein's regime still in Iraq, we haven't won the war on terrorism.
BORGER: Well, it seems that the administration hasn't ruled out Iraq. Every time they're asked about it, they say, well, we don't have any direct links on, say, the anthrax or the terrorist attack, but they're not ruling it out, it seems to me.
HOAGLAND: That's right. That's right. And I think it's absolutely prudent, and I think it's the right thing for them to do, to take it slow and to think about getting the priorities right, getting Al Qaeda, getting the Taliban.
And then there might be--there will be phase two, phase three. This is a long marathon. This is not a sprint. And at some point I think they will come back to look at all of this.
BORGER: One thing I wanted to ask you about, you heard the representative from the Northern Alliance saying there are no moderate members of the Taliban. You heard Senator Kerry essentially saying the same thing. Colin Powell is talking about bringing in moderate Taliban members for a coalition government in Afghanistan.
What's your take on this, these disagreements now?
HOAGLAND: Well, I think ``moderate Taliban'' is an oxymoron. They cancel each other out.
Secretary Powell was in Pakistan. He made a statement there that really was designed to help General Musharraf with his public opinion, to say that Pakistan's interests will be protected. He also then went to India, saw that his statement had created a lot of problems there, and managed to soothe the Indians.
So I think, if you look at this as a diplomatic statement, and part of a strategy, too--the strategy here clearly is to make the Taliban implode in on itself. If they can develop splits, if they can buy off parts of the Taliban, and get the tribal warlords to shift their allegiance from the Taliban to something else, then I think that's a workable strategy.
But Secretary Powell has made a statement that leaves a lot of political vulnerability, I think.
HOAGLAND: I thought Senator Kerry handled it very well--supporting the troops, supporting the overall strategy, raising questions about what Secretary Powell and others have said, and probably thinking in his own mind about presidential race 2004.
SCHIEFFER: You may be right about that. Does it occur to you that perhaps what Osama bin Laden's big plan is, is to somehow draw the United States into a war with the entire Arab world?
HOAGLAND: Certainly he would welcome that. Let's remember that his primary target in all of this is the Saudi royal family. In some ways we're involved in a series of overlapping civil wars in the Persian Gulf.
He criticizes and now attacks the United States for having provided military support, a shield really, for the Saudi royal family. He wants to overthrow them, take control of Saudi Arabia, get control really of the form of Islam that's practiced throughout the region. He represents a very radical Wahhabi Muslim sect. He is at war, also, of course, with the Iranian Shiite religion.
So we've got a series of civil wars here in which, yes, he wants to draw the United States in. He thinks that the United States does not have the perseverance, that we will cut and run and that he will be able to pick up the pieces. I think he's wrong.
BORGER: In the middle of all of this, of course, a cabinet minister was killed in Israel this week. How does that affect the big picture here in Afghanistan and our coalition?
HOAGLAND: Makes it much harder. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is really very low on Osama bin Laden's priority list. He's only come to that recently when he wants to stir public opinion, inflame public opinion throughout the Arab world.
It makes it much harder for the Bush administration, which had developed some problems with Prime Minister Sharon and Israel already and was beginning to lean on him to do things. It makes it much harder to lean now on a government where a central figure has been assassinated by the other side.
I think we're looking at a period where the Middle East conflict--containment may be the best we can hope for for the immediate future.
It has to be addressed at some point, but again we go back to the idea of phases. Phase one is Afghanistan, Taliban, Al Qaeda. Phases two, three should involve some serious effort at getting this conflict resolved.
SCHIEFFER: Jim Hoagland, thanks so much for helping us put it in context this morning. Always a pleasure to have you.
HOAGLAND: Bob, Gloria.
SCHIEFFER: Thanks for watching. We'll be back next week, of course, with another edition of Face the Nation.