Text: Gephardt 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: Deputy Postmaster General John Nolan; Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.); Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.); Minority Leader Rep. Richard Gephardt (D-Mo.); Dr. Mohammad Akhter, executive director of the American Public Health Association; Elisa Harris, bioterrorism expert; Robert McFarlane, former White House National Security Advisor; and Tom Friedman of the New York Times.
SCHIEFFER: Today, on a special expanded edition of Face the Nation, how safe is the mail? And has the war in Afghanistan bogged down?
Anthrax keeps cropping up at post offices, and officials still don't know where it's coming from. Is our mail safe? We'll ask Deputy Postmaster General John Nolan.
Then we'll talk about how the war is going with Senator John McCain of Arizona and Senator Chris Dodd of Connecticut.
House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt will be here to talk about the airline security bill coming up this week.
We'll talk about anthrax and bioterrorism with Mohammad Akhter, who heads the Public Health Association, and bioterrorism expert Elisa Harris.
We'll round out this special edition with a roundtable with Robert McFarlane, former White House national security advisor, and Tom Friedman, columnist of the New York Times.
Gloria Borger will be here, and I'll have a final word on money and politics. But first, the anthrax scare on Face the Nation.
ANNOUNCER: Face the Nation, with chief Washington correspondent Bob Schieffer.
And now, from CBS News in Washington, Bob Schieffer.
SCHIEFFER: Good morning again. And we begin with the Deputy Postmaster General John Nolan.
Mr. Nolan, thank you so much for coming.
Let's get right to it. You got a briefing this morning. Has anthrax showed up anywhere else?
NOLAN: No. There's no further evidence of any anthrax, new anthrax in the system anywhere.
SCHIEFFER: How would you at this point characterize the safety of the U.S. mails? Last week, of course, your boss, the postmaster, said that he couldn't guarantee their safety. What's the evaluation today?
NOLAN: I heard an interesting statistic. Since this started, we have delivered the equivalent of six pieces of mail to every man, woman and child on the face of the earth. Three pieces of mail have shown up with anthrax.
This is a process that is controlled. We are working very hard to ensure the safety of our employees and the American public, and yet keep the mail moving, because mail's important to people.
BORGER: Mr. Nolan, does the postal service now believe that there are more potential letters with anthrax in the pipeline?
NOLAN: There are a lot of suppositions, and we're not in the investigative side of the business. What we're doing is making sure that we're doing all the right things to make sure that we can deliver mail safely. There is some supposition that way among investigators, but I don't have any way of knowing that.
BORGER: So, can you tell your postal workers that they are safe? Some union leaders are telling them, don't go to work because you're not safe.
NOLAN: Well, I think some things in our lives have changed, as Vice President Cheney has said.
We are being more vigilant in certain areas, looking for any indications of problems. We've changed some of our operating procedures in the post office to keep dust from blowing.
But we're not putting any of our employees in harm's way. We are ensuring, before we would have an employee go into a building, that that building is safe.
SCHIEFFER: Well, you have had numerous post office facilities here in Washington, the Brentwood facility, the mail facility at the Supreme Court, out at Bolling Air Force Base, where they got the mail that goes to the White House, Walter Reed, the CIA, the Dirksen Building, the Hart Building up on Capitol Hill, and the Ford Building.
Those, in one way or another, have been closed down, and yet you haven't closed down the facilities in New York. Why is that?
NOLAN: Well, a number of those facilities you just talked about are not postal facilities, and so we don't have control over exactly what they do and how they do that.
There is no one guideline that works for every situation. To do that would be irresponsible on our part. We're looking at each individual situation on its own merits.
And the fact is, in the places we've shut down, it's because we either didn't know what the problem was and therefore we didn't want to take any chances, or we knew that the problem was pervasive, in the case of Brentwood.
In New York, we know exactly where the problems are. We've done extensive testing. It is extremely isolated. And we've cordoned off a wider area than the medical authorities have suggested that we cordon off; given our employees preventative medicine, masks, gloves, just to be sure.
And so, we're confident. I would say, I was in the building myself a week ago.
SCHIEFFER: Well, let me just ask you this, and, as you well know, here is one of the criticisms that's being leveled at the post office.
When this anthrax letter showed up on Capitol Hill, that area was cordoned off, congressional aides were immediately told to take medication. But yet, no action was taken at the post office. It was not until two postal employees died that postal employees were told to get tested and that they began to run tests on that building.
Do you think you let those people down?
NOLAN: No, I really don't. You've got entirely different situations.
On Capitol Hill--and again, we relied very heavily on the recommendations of medical people, because we're not doctors. But you had a clear and present danger in the Congress, because letters were opened and the dust came out. So it was very clear that there was a problem there.
The mail that came to Senator Daschle was very different than the mail that we had seen prior to this in Florida and New York, where there had never been and still to this day are not any postal illnesses.
NOLAN: So it was a very different situation, extremely different. Once we saw that there was a potential problem in the health of our employees, we shut the facilities down immediately.
SCHIEFFER: Well, who told you that it was OK for those the people to go back to work after the letter was found in Senator Daschle's office? Was that the Center for Disease Control? Who were you depending on at that point for that advice?
NOLAN: There were a number of medical authorities. Centers for Disease Control, other medical authorities. I don't know exactly, to be perfectly honest, which ones it was at that time. But again, there was no indication that there was any problem in those facilities.
BORGER: So would you not have done anything differently, looking back?
NOLAN: Well, looking--knowing now what we know now, we obviously would have done something different. We're taking that knowledge, frankly, and doing things differently every day today then we would have done back then.
But knowing what we knew then, knowing what the experts knew about anthrax, we thought we made the best judgments we could have.
SCHIEFFER: Mr. Nolan, thank you. Thank you very much.
Well, we're going to shift the subject now and talk a little bit about how the war is going in Afghanistan. We are joined by Senator John McCain, who is in Phoenix, Arizona, this morning.
Senator McCain, you wrote this week in the Wall Street Journal that half measures were not going to win this war. Since that article appeared, it does appear that the bombing has been stepped up in Afghanistan.
But what exactly did you mean by that, when you said half measures are not going to win?
MCCAIN: Well, I meant that we have to recognize this is a very tenacious enemy, that the threat is widespread outside the borders of Afghanistan as well.
But the immediate problem needs to be addressed with all the might of United States military power. And issues such as Ramadan or civilian casualties, however regrettable and however tragic, and other issues, have to be secondary to the primary goal of eliminating the enemy and doing it with whatever methods are necessary to achieve it.
SCHIEFFER: Well, let me just ask you about that, because one of the points that you made in the article is that the Taliban appears to be taking refuge in mosques and in civilian areas. Are you advocating that mosques be bombed?
MCCAIN: No, I'm not. But I'm advocating that the Taliban be warned that nowhere are they safe. And obviously, I would not want a church or a mosque bombed. At the same time, I would not allow them sanctuary anywhere. So they had better realize that the responsibilities would lie with them.
SCHIEFFER: Can this war be won, Senator McCain, from the air? Or will it require basically an invasion of ground forces?
MCCAIN: No conflict that I know of has ever been won by air power alone. In Kosovo, Mr. Milosevic was faced with the probability of ground operations, which I believe was a major factor in him finally giving up.
But we can use our air power, I think, more intensively and more effectively than we have been. I think a lot more B-52s, a lot more B-2s and B-1s. We can't have our planes flying at such a high altitude that not only is there no risk to them but a degradation of accuracy is the result.
But then we're going to have to put troops on the ground. We're going to have to put them in force. And although they will not be permanent, they are going to have to be very, very significant.
And all of these zealots that are now joining the Taliban and coming across the Pakistani border that we're hearing reports of, if they think they're going to meet certain death, I think that zeal will be dramatically diminished.
SCHIEFFER: Well, what do you mean when you say put troops in there in force? Are you talking about putting a large army in there?
MCCAIN: No. I think what we're going to have to put in numbers of forces that are capable of maintaining a base for a period of time, relatively short, so they can branch out and move into certain areas where we believe that the Taliban and Al Qaeda's network are located. That's going to be very difficult. It's going to require a lot of air support and may even require bases in different places than they are today.
SCHIEFFER: But, well, let me--in other words, you're saying we have to be prepared to move in there in enough force to take and hold territory?
MCCAIN: But not for a significant period of time. Enough time so that we can launch the operations which would take a matter of days rather than weeks, in my view.
MCCAIN: But they have to be done with significant force, not just 50 or 100 people. Because a military operation of this kind of challenge would require significant numbers of people. But again, not a permanent repetition of the Soviet invasion and occupation.
And remember, the Soviets went into occupy a country and to install a government. We're going in to remove a threat to the United States national security. So the comparisons between the United States and Russia, how they carried out their operations is somewhat limited. Remember, we have no claim to Afghanistan.
BORGER: Senator McCain, do you think then that we have underestimated the Taliban?
MCCAIN: I think initially, according to media reports, there was--with the concern that was voiced about a post-Taliban government and chaos that might ensue, that they were perhaps to some degree underestimated and as much air power had not been brought to bear as perhaps could have been, particularly on the front lines where the Northern Alliance and the Taliban face each other.
BORGER: So, do you think this war is going badly so far?
MCCAIN: No, I think the president has been very accurate and very eloquent in saying this is going to be a long struggle, a long haul. And there are some, I think, who had heightened expectations. But I don't think the president or his team have ever portrayed it in an inaccurate fashion.
But it's going to be very tough, and we'll face more setbacks before this thing is over.
BORGER: Senator McCain, the Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld said this week that perhaps we would not be successful in getting Osama bin Laden, then he seemed to say, yes, we would be successful in getting Osama bin Laden.
Do we need to get Osama bin Laden to consider this a success?
MCCAIN: We have to.
MCCAIN: Well, because he's symbolic of the terrorist attacks that were perpetrated on the United States of America. As long as he is alive or not in prison, then he will pose a threat to the United States, if only symbolically.
BORGER: Would you rule out the use of any nuclear force in this?
MCCAIN: I would because I don't think it's necessary. If a nation attacked the United States of America with weapons of mass destruction, obviously then all bets are off. But I see no need for nuclear, tactical nuclear weapons to be used. And I think we'd be crossing a threshold which would have significant after effects.
SCHIEFFER: Senator, let me switch to events closer to home here, and that is the airline security bill that's going to finally come up for a vote in the House this week. It passed the Senate 100 to nothing.
And the sticking point, the reason that Republican leaders admit they wouldn't bring it up for a vote was because, in this bill that passed the Senate 100 to nothing, it calls for federalizing the people who screen baggage. Now the White House says they don't favor that form of the legislation.
I would just like to ask you something. My sources tell me that when the Senate people first went to the White House to discuss how to structure this bill, that the White House favored federalizing these forces. Is that in fact true?
MCCAIN: I don't know for a fact, but I was told indeed that was the case, and then members of the House changed their position on it.
This is a law enforcement function. A law enforcement function just like border patrol, just like INS, just like the FBI. And the contemplation of contracting out a law enforcement function is, to me, hard to understand, and I think it's an argument for campaign finance reform.
SCHIEFFER: Well, the president's chief of staff, Andrew Card, said, as a matter of fact, today, that while the president favored having federal supervision of these people, he said he probably would not veto a bill that called for federalizing them.
Does that say to you that, in fact, there are the votes now in the House to pass this and federalize these people, as you and others in the Senate have advocated?
MCCAIN: I don't know, but I know that Americans still--many Americans still don't have confidence in their security onboard an airliner. We need to pass this legislation. It's long overdue. And I hope we can act in a bipartisan fashion and get this thing done because there are breaches of airport security that are occurring as we speak, unfortunately.
BORGER: Very quickly, Senator, how do you respond to Dick Armey when he says that all the Democrats want is 30,000 new union members?
MCCAIN: Some of the brave firemen and police enforcement people who have died in the World Trade Center were members of a union. I can't believe that anyone would place whether someone is a member of a union or not above that of national security.
SCHIEFFER: Senator McCain, thank you very much.
MCCAIN: Thank you.
SCHIEFFER: We'll be back in a moment with Senator Christopher Dodd.
SCHIEFFER: And we're back now with Senator Chris Dodd, a key member of the Foreign Relations Committee.
Well, I must say, Senator Dodd, Senator McCain's coming on pretty strong. He suggests, number one, that things are not going well and that we're not only going to have to do more, we're going to have to do a lot more in Afghanistan. He suggests we may have to put ground troops in there in force, in large numbers.
And you heard what I said: Do you mean we're going to have to go in there and hold territory? And he said, well, yes, not permanently, but for a time. What's your response to that?
DODD: Well, I think John may be right, and I--there's (ph) any disagreement at all, I think things may be going better than some would feel. It's certainly--we don't have Osama bin Laden. We lost this leader of the opposition the other day, which was a blow. We're not seeing the kind of defections I think we would have liked to have seen.
But from the very outset, I think it was clear that this was going to be a protracted involvement, was going to take time. Remember, this is a government in Afghanistan that successfully took on the Soviet Union and has handled other nations in the past.
So, I don't disagree with John's point that this is going to require an extensive military operation, including the possibility of ground forces.
The one other element I think is important is to note that this is a transnational threat. Apparently these people are in 60 countries, maybe more, and so it requires a transnational response.
I wish this were just a nation-state that had taken us on and we could handle it ourselves. But I think we're going to need more cooperation in this particular conflict than one might want. And that's going to require that we be sensitive to at least the ability to keep those kinds of coalitions together.
So I don't disagree about the use of that force, but you got to keep both policies, military force and the diplomacy, one not superseding the other. You've got to have them both on track. And I think Colin Powell and Don Rumsfeld are doing a masterful job at just that.
SCHIEFFER: Well, let me make sure I understand what you're saying, because here we have a ranking Republican on the Armed Services Committee and you, being a ranking--one of the ranking Democrats on the Foreign Relations Committee, saying, we may have to put ground troops in there. And you're not talking about a couple hundred commandos, you're talking about thousands of ground forces. Is that what you're saying?
DODD: Yes, I am. I think that's a possibility here. You can't exclude that. If I sat here today and said to you that that's not a possibility, that will never happen, that's a tremendous advantage I've just given to these terrorist organizations.
If we're serious about this, and I believe we are, and the American public are and certainly ought to be after September 11, and if we recognize the global threat, the transnational threat that these organizations pose, then you've got to be prepared to respond to it. And I think excluding the wide variety of military options would be a huge mistake. So I agree with John at that point.
BORGER: Why have we not seen the kind of defections from the Taliban, say, to the Northern Alliance, that we thought we were going to see?
DODD: Well, I don't know. I mean, again, I don't have the detailed information. But I suspect this was a more cohesive organization. They have been through a lot in the past. They'd come out of the battle against the Soviet Union a decade or so ago.
One of the problems is--and we don't have a enough people on the ground. I mean, we're guessing a lot here. This is one of the great gaps, in my view. We don't have the number of people in our governmental agencies familiar with the culture, the language.
We don't have the human intelligence on the ground to tell us what is really going on. I think we are relying on some anecdotal evidence that may be more hope than anything else here. And I hope this is one of the things that changes.
Our ability to relate and to connect with the hundreds of millions of people in the Muslim world is one of the major problems we've got to overcome in the coming years if we are going to succeed in this effort.
SCHIEFFER: Back here at home, the administration--there certainly was a lot of resolve, and certainly the president has support from both sides of the aisle on how the war is being conducted.
But I'm wondering what you think about how the administration has handled this explanation for the anthrax? We've had a lot of soothing syrup. We've had a lot of officials saying everything is going to be fine. But somehow or another, the information seems to get worse.
Does there need to be a reevaluation of how they're handling that, Senator?
DODD: I believe so. Let me just say once again, I think the way the administration is handling the attack on September 11 and responding to it is just superb. And I really mean that. And I have great confidence that I think the American people do.
On the domestic attack, and they may be related, but on the domestic attack of anthrax, I can't say the same thing, unfortunately. And part of it is, is we're in unchartered waters. This is the largest single attack of bioterrorism in the history of the United States. And so, we are really in areas we're unfamiliar with, and that's part of the explanation.
But there is a breakdown in communication. We don't know from day to day. We get one piece of information, and the next there is a contradiction or modification. And that in itself creates its own source of panic.
And I think the fact that we are not getting that information or there is contradictions to that information is really a failing the administration has got to get its hands around.
BORGER: Well, do you think the administration has erred on the side of underinforming the American public?
DODD: I do. I do. And not just the American public. I think there is a question of fearing that if we know more, there is apt to be more panic. And I understand that calculation, but I think it is a miscalculation.
I think the greater danger is telling us not to worry about something and then finding out a day or two later that there is more to worry about. That creates a greater panic, in my view, than being honest in the first instance about what the threat really is.
Remember, anthrax is 100 percent treatable here now. We are not talking about some other toxin or some other material that would be far more dangerous.
So saying to people, for instance, with the Daschle letter, that the material in that letter is dangerous, this isn't just garden variety anthrax, that would have caused, I think, a different response maybe by others in how we should have handled that one.
When you came out with the first information and said that don't worry about this at all, it's nothing more than you would find on the shelf of some small laboratory, that was a mistake. That shouldn't have happened.
SCHIEFFER: Senator Dodd, thank you very much.
DODD: Thank you.
SCHIEFFER: When we come back, we'll round out this half hour with our weekly commentary.
SCHIEFFER: And now to this week's commentary.
Presidents get a lot of advice, happily they don't always take it.
Case in point, the Republicans were planning a big political fund-raiser this week in Washington. It had been planned long before the attack on the Twin Towers, and the president was to have been the star attraction. Those who chipped in $100,000 or more were even promised a photo with Mr. Bush.
Well, here's the part you may find hard to believe: The president's political team was telling him last week that he should not change his plans. War or no war, they told him, he should go.
It apparently caused quite a behind the scenes set-to in the White House. According to the New York Times--and we are not joking here--the political advisers said, quote, ``There is a powerful argument that if you really want the country back to normal, politics and fund-raising are part of America.''
Well, so is stupidity in some quarters, but do we really want to encourage it?
And wouldn't it have looked swell, the president out running around in a tuxedo getting his picture taken with the money boys while our pilots are risking their lives in Afghanistan and postal workers are dying from anthrax?
To his credit, the president rejected the advice and decided to stay home and run the government. Good for him.
And wouldn't it be great if that became the rule, that presidents ran the country and left the money grubbing to others? After all, if they run the country right, they won't need to raise any money.
Back in a minute.
SCHIEFFER: You're watching Face the Nation, part of our continuing coverage of the response to the nationwide anthrax scare and the terrorist attacks, on CBS News.
SCHIEFFER: And we're back now with our expanded edition of Face the Nation. We'll be talking today with the House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt. That's in just a moment.
But first, we want to go to Quetta, Pakistan, where Randall Pinkston is standing by.
And, Randall, I understand you have some news there.
RANDALL PINKSTON, CBS NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Bob.
For the first time since the American-led bombing campaign began across the border in Afghanistan, there have been two major terrorist attacks inside Pakistan, the first occurring this morning at a church in the Punjab region.
Masked gunmen traveling on motorcycles stormed a church, a Christian church, first killing a policeman who was standing guard outside, then indiscriminately spraying AK-47 weapons fire at worshipers. Sixteen people killed there.
Then just a few hours ago here in Quetta, less than a mile from this hotel, there was a bus bomb. We're hearing fatalities ranging from three to 15 people and many injuries.
For now, Pakistani authorities are pointing the finger of blame at Muslim militants whose organizations have been banned by the government.
The key question of course, whether in fact either of one or both of these attacks are in any way connected to Osama bin Laden or Al Qaeda or the Taliban. We do know that there are hundreds of thousands of supporters of the Taliban in Pakistan, a major cause of concern for Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf, who of course has been denounced for supporting the American-led military campaign against terror.
SCHIEFFER: All right. Randall, thank you very much.
We had hoped to go to northern Afghanistan, where our correspondent Jim Axelrod is standing by. We're not able to reach him right now. We may be able to get to him later, and if we can, we will.
In the meantime, joining us now from St. Louis, the House Democratic leader Dick Gephardt.
Mr. Gephardt, thank you for coming.
You heard both Chris Dodd and John McCain say just a while ago on this broadcast that it may be necessary to put a large force of American ground troops into Afghanistan to bring this thing to a conclusion. Would you support such a move?
GEPHARDT: Bob, you can't rule it out. I think if the president comes to the conclusion that it's going to take that or something like that in order to get these people and to get this network torn down, I would support it.
Look, we are in a war. This group declared war on the United States by bombing, in effect, our two largest buildings in New York. They killed thousands of Americans. They're international criminals. They are strung out across 40 or 50 or 60 countries, and we have to prevail. We have to bring people to justice who acted in this immoral way.
BORGER: Congressman Gephardt, let's talk a little bit about the terrorism at home. You've found yourself last week in the middle of a controversy because you and others decided to close the House of Representatives. And the American public was sort of confused about how serious the anthrax was that was contained in the envelope to Senator Daschle. You heard what Senator Dodd said. Do you believe that this administration is erring on the side of underinforming the American public about the quality and level of this anthrax?
GEPHARDT: Well, I think some have in the past. I hope that doesn't continue. I think we've got to unify the information under Tom Ridge, and I hope that's being done. We don't get anywhere by misinforming or underinforming people about what the dangers are as we find them out.
Now, obviously there's a lot of unknowns with anthrax and a lot of these other substances, but we knew from the beginning, from the experts that we were talking to that this was very dangerous, refined potent material that could easily get in the air, almost like a gas.
And I think it would have been helpful if everyone would have known that from the beginning. I hope that kind of action will be taken in the future.
We need to get on top of these threats. We need to be proactive, and we need to be giving people everything they need, can possibly understand, to save lives.
SCHIEFFER: Well, there is some suggestion, Mr. Gephardt, that in fact maybe people did know that from the beginning, but they decided not to disclose that information for fear that it would set off some panic or something.
GEPHARDT: Well, Bob, that well might have happened. I think there were many voices; that was part of the problem. You've got to unify the information so that we get the most accurate information consistently in front of people.
But I think in some officials' minds, the idea was that if you give people information, it will panic people. I think quite the opposite is true.
GEPHARDT: When they find out the information is not all together true, or it's too cautious in its presentation, then I think you cause panic. Certainly after two people died in the post office, which we grieve about, that's what really causes panic.
So we've got to be--err on the side of caution. We've got to do everything we can to help people understand the dangers so they can take appropriate action. People are smart. They know we're in a dangerous period, and they'll do the right thing.
BORGER: You just spoke about having too many voices. Are you going to recommend to the White House that, say, Governor Ridge ought to be the spokesman when it comes to matters of homeland security; that they just ought to have one person speaking for the administration on this?
GEPHARDT: Well, I think that's what's begun to happen. Tom Ridge has done regular press conferences and is getting information out. He is collecting information from all of the different agencies. I think it is probably not wise to have people from five, six, 10 different agencies out giving different slants or nuances of facts that are very important to people.
Again, we're all scrambling to understand what we're facing here. We're all trying to get the best information out. I really think if it can be unified and organized and as accurate as we can possibly make it, that's the best thing we can do to fight against this terrorism.
SCHIEFFER: How many different places on Capitol Hill has anthrax now shown up? I know over the weekend they announced that in three congressional offices, three more offices, that they have found it. Do you know of any more beyond that, Mr. Leader?
And also, have any more cases of people either being exposed or infected by anthrax shown up?
GEPHARDT: There are still test results coming back from the Longworth Building, so there could be some other hot spots there. We're continuing to test as we go along because this is an ongoing process in the Capitol and in other buildings. So there may be other hot spots show up.
I think we've got to start looking at this thing as an ongoing process, looking forward. There can be more findings of anthrax and maybe even other substances. We've got to be proactive. We've got to try to stay ahead of this thing and giving, again, as good of information as we possibly can.
Right now I don't think additional peoples on the Hill have been exposed to anthrax. We don't have information that leads us to believe that. But again, we've got to, every day, evaluate where we are, get as much information out as we can and take what are the most sensible, cautious, appropriate actions we can possibly take.
SCHIEFFER: Let me ask you this about the bill on airline security that is coming to a vote in the House this week. Of course, you and the Democrats favor the Senate version, which passed 100 to nothing, which calls for federalizing these people who screen baggage. There are a group of Republicans who oppose that. The White House at this point seems to be siding with them. Although in the beginning, as we understand it, the White House also favored federalizing.
But let me just ask you this: Do you have the votes to pass your version of the bill at this point? Or do you think the Republican version will prevail?
GEPHARDT: Well, you never know until you actually get to the vote. And I'm glad the speaker is finally bringing the bill up on Wednesday. In my view, we should have had it up three weeks ago. But I'm glad it's coming up.
I think we will prevail. We are going to essentially put up the Senate bill, which passed 100 to nothing in the Senate, totally bipartisan effort. I think we'll get bipartisan votes for this bill.
And the whole point here is very simple: What we're doing has not worked. It's a failed system. We still today are not finding the things we ought to find in the bag check. We've got to fix that system. And the way to do it is to get federal law enforcement officers to do this. And so, I think that argument will get both Democratic and Republican votes.
SCHIEFFER: All right. Mr. Leader, thank you very much.
We continue with our expanded coverage on Face the Nation after this short break.
SCHIEFFER: Joining us now from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, Dr. Mohammad Akhter, who heads the American Public Health Association here in Washington; bioweapons expert Elisa Harris, the University of Maryland, a former member of the National Security Council in the Bill Clinton administration.
Ms. Harris, let me ask you, do you think there is a connection between the September 11 attack and this anthrax scare that we're having?
HARRIS: Well, we don't have enough information yet to be able to reach that judgment. Certainly in terms of timing it would appear as if there might be a link because these letters were mailed and the material would have been prepared in roughly the same time frame. But there's still far too many unanswered questions to be able to draw a sort of definitive connection between those events.
SCHIEFFER: But what you seem to be saying, it would be odd for someone to just have a lot of anthrax stored up in his icebox or his basement and, then when these attacks happened, that he decided to send it out.
HARRIS: Well, that's true. On the other hand, someone who may have decided that they wanted to carry out attacks of this sort and, once the September 11 incidents happened, saw it as a good opportunity to draw attention toward Al Qaeda and away from themselves.
BORGER: Dr. Akhter, you've seen how we have responded to these anthrax attacks. As a public health official, what can you tell us that we've learned from this, and how should we change?
AKHTER: Yes. We have learned a great deal from the past four weeks. I think one of the fundamental things that we have learned is that we are not chasing anthrax. We are concerned about the people who've been infected by the anthrax, who have been exposed to anthrax, and who are afraid of anthrax. And without taking those people into confidence and without clear communication to them, we cannot succeed.
BORGER: So you think we did not have clear communication, say, with the postal workers in Washington, D.C., was that a problem?
AKHTER: Well, absolutely, that was a problem. I think our science is very good. What we don't have is the common sense that go with the science.
I think what issue here has been, there is lack of coordination at the local level. There are different people doing different things--intelligence agencies doing their work, public health community doing their work, the government doing their work. There's not coordination, there's not single chain of command who decide which building to close, when to close it, who needs to be tested, how the need to be tested, who needs to get on what medications. I mean, those things are not in place.
And I think what we've learned so far tells us that we should have a protocol in place that outlines all these responsibilities and have a single spokesperson at the local level, just like Mayor Giuliani did in New York, who could take people into confidence, talk to them as frequently as possible, allay their fears and ask them to remain calm and cooperate, and that's how we will succeed.
SCHIEFFER: Well, Doctor, let me go back to that because, do you think that the post office failed in not closing down those facilities immediately when this letter was received by Senator Daschle?
Because as I understand it, whatever everybody is saying is, well, we knew if you opened an envelope and it got into the air this thing could be pretty dangerous, but it didn't dawn on anybody that it might seep through an envelope in the postal system.
Should somebody be held responsible? Is somebody at fault here, or is this just something that was unavoidable?
AKHTER: I think hindsight is always 20/20. We could have done better, but I think we should do better in the future. I don't see any change from what happened in Washington, D.C., if it happened in another community.
I think we're still not organized, we are underprepared. We don't have the local resources. We are not integrated at the local level where actually people need service. And that's what we need. We need to have a great coordination at the local level and a single spokesperson at the local level.
BORGER: Ms. Harris, what about, in terms of finding out where this anthrax came from, do we need more coordination in the scientific community?
HARRIS: Well, I think we do. There is no single place within the U.S. government that is equipped to do, you know, the full range of analysis that's necessary here. There are people who are experts on biological weapons, there are people experts on anthrax as a disease of livestock, there are public health experts. But there's no one place to turn where all that expertise comes together.
If I were advising the administration, I would tell them they should red team this. They should put together a parallel group of people--bioweaponeers, people who worked on these programs previously, microbiologists, chemists, physicists--and I would bring those people together and give them the best lab we can find, give them access to all the information and have them run the traps, and do the same analysis, the same assessment that's being done within the U.S. government.
SCHIEFFER: Well, as I understand it, that this anthrax that was found in Senator Daschle's letter had been, quote, ``weaponized.'' And basically what that means is that you can just make it float. And that in Russia they used one kind of additive to make it float. In Iraq they use another kind of additive to make it float. There may be other countries that use another kind of additive.
SCHIEFFER: Do you sense that anyone has figured out what additive this was? And is that and should that be a clue to where this came from?
HARRIS: Absolutely. That's a critical part of any sort of ultimate determination as to the source of these attacks. There is evidence in the paper trail, in the letters, that there is critical scientific evidence in the material itself.
SCHIEFFER: Well, do you suppose that the government may already know that and is just not telling us?
HARRIS: They may well have some information with respect to this. I mean, the composition of the material, the particle size, the purity of the material, which aim strain it is, whether it was the aim strain that was distributed widely around the world for research and diagnostic purposes, or the aim strain that had a more limited distribution. All this would point in the direction of potential sources and help narrow the circle.
BORGER: Well, what about Iraq, for example?
HARRIS: Well, the Iraqi process--information about the Iraqi process is in the public domain. There was a book written by a former U.N. inspector that was published in the late 1980s that talks about how the Iraqis made what was a sort of simulant for anthrax, something called bacillus therongensis (ph).
SCHIEFFER: Well, Doctor, what significance do you draw to what Ms. Harris just said here? Do you think the government probably knows the composition of this anthrax? And would that be helpful for the public to know, or shouldn't we know?
AKHTER: I don't think the public need to know. What public need to know is the preparedness; that their local county, their local city is prepared; that they have the hospital capacity; that their public health department is open seven days a week; that they have the right monitoring system in place; that if an attack takes place there is enough medicine and vaccine to protect the health. And that's what public needs to know.
This is the government needs to investigate, find out who the culprits are and bring them to justice. That's sort of the part that we really need to--need to keep a little bit protected.
SCHIEFFER: All right. Lady, gentleman, thank you both.
We're going to continue our expanded coverage on Face the Nation after this short break.
SCHIEFFER: Back now with our roundtable. Joining us, Robert McFarlane. Many of you, or most of you, will remember he was the White House national security advisor under President Reagan; and Tom Friedman, who all of you know is the columnist, foreign affairs columnist for the New York Times.
Mr. McFarlane, you were involved in a very unusual incident this week. In this Abdul Haq, who is this freedom fighter for Afghanistan, went back into the country trying to find some way to get converts from the Taliban. He got caught in some sort of trap. Somehow they got a message out to a friend of his in this country and that friend called you, and you were you able to at least get some planes scrambled to try to rescue him. But it didn't happen, of course, and he was later executed.
Tell us about that. What was that about?
MCFARLANE: Well, Bob, Abdul Haq is a proven experienced combat leader, a courageous man who believed strongly that he and his colleagues of former commanders could take down the Taliban. And the regrettable part of it is that, for more than a year, he had been trying to offer his help to the U.S. government and no one here in town would listen to him.
Bob, right now we have a critical void of intelligence on the ground in Afghanistan. We have a superb military capability, but it has no eyes and ears on the ground.
MCFARLANE: The good news is, it could.
But the CIA has failed catastrophically, going back a year from here, to engage with people who are quite willing to help, who are angry at the Taliban, and today could still be recruited and be on the ground to tell us where the military ought to shoot.
We can beat this, Bob, but we cannot do it without intelligence. The intelligence means are there and in the country, and we've got to get busy recruiting them.
SCHIEFFER: So, basically, what happened is that, unable to get any help from the CIA, he just went back in on his own with some friends and then was captured by the Taliban and executed?
MCFARLANE: That's correct. He had worked for a long time to organize colleagues who were ready to begin operations and sabotage and attack against Taliban headquarters and ultimately to identify bin Laden. But we offered no help, and he was captured.
BORGER: Why did we offer no help?
This morning in the Post there's a story that Fred Hitz, a former inspector general, says the CIA's operational capability has become a bunch of bureaucrats. That's essentially true.
The risks involved, they are real, and yet that's what the organization is for. We're in a war right now, and until we wake up and begin to recruit resources on the ground, get over there, get a bag of money and make it clear that whoever turns over a Taliban figure to us is going to be a wealthy person--there are patriots there, and there are people who are willing to be recruited. We're not doing it.
SCHIEFFER: Those are very strong words, Tom Friedman.
FRIEDMAN: I think Bud's on to something. I think this is a very highly unconventional war, and it has to be fought in a highly unconventional way. This is not like the Gulf War. This is not like Kosovo. And unless you adopt the methods of the people you're up against, the unconventional methods, we're going to find ourselves at a real loss, Bob.
SCHIEFFER: Well, when you have someone who's trying to get in there and can't get any help from the Central Intelligence Agency, that's kind of odd, isn't it?
FRIEDMAN: Well, it's not only odd but, as Bud said, it leaves us really blind.
I think that we've just finished a very illusionary couple of weeks here with Afghanistan. The Zeitgeist around this story is now changing. I think people are waking up to the fact that we will win this war, and only win this war, if we put American troops, hopefully British, French and others, on the ground and begin taking territory and putting other people on the run.
This is a kind of neighborhood, Bob, where you will win the war not by winning a debate. You will win the war by winning the war. OK, then people will be with you. And if you don't win the war, no one will be with you.
BORGER: Mr. McFarlane, given our intelligence and our intelligence failure, as you put it, do you believe we can get to Osama bin Laden?
MCFARLANE: Yes, I do. I think that there are dozens, hundreds, thousands of Afghans who are alienated and offended by the repression of the Taliban. And that's been clear for a year. They can be recruited, they'll provide us the intelligence we need. And our own special operations people can find the Taliban, bring it down, and find bin Laden. But we've got to get at cooperating with these people.
BORGER: What about getting cooperation from our so-called coalition in this endeavor, Tom? Are we there alone or not?
FRIEDMAN: Well, I personally believe that we're very much, if not alone, we have very, very few real allies, people really ready to send their own people on the ground with us. Canada, Britain, you know, Australia, France, that's probably about it.
The others, these are weak, feckless regimes. We're in this mess in part because they're weak, feckless regimes, from Saudi Arabia, you know, through others in the Gulf. And these are not people--we saved Saudi Arabia in the Gulf War. You'd think there'd be a thousand Saudis who might volunteer to help us here, considering their role, just a thousand. There isn't one, as far as I know.
SCHIEFFER: Well, let me just--we're talking this morning--here we had Chris Dodd of the Foreign Relations Committee, a Democrat, John McCain, a Republican on the Armed Services Committee, Dick Gephardt, the Democratic leader of the House, now Tom Friedman, a columnist for the New York Times, all saying we may have to go in there in force on the ground and take and hold territory.
FRIEDMAN: No, I'm not saying ``may,'' Bob. We will have to go in there in force on the ground.
SCHIEFFER: Maybe not hold it permanently, but hold it for at least a time.
There must be somebody out there saying, ``Wait a minute, are we getting into Vietnam? This is just how we got into Vietnam.'' What would you say, Tom, is the difference between this and Vietnam?
FRIEDMAN: The difference for me is that--I don't know anything about Vietnam. All I know is the only way you're going to win this war and have allies from Pakistan within Afghanistan and within this region is if you begin to seize territory. People see that you're winning, and then they will want to come on your side.
Absent that, events like what happened to Bud's friend Abdul Haq are devastating to us, because the message is, anybody who even thinks about cooperating with the Americans gets killed.
SCHIEFFER: Bud, what's the difference?
MCFARLANE: We haven't yet really gotten serious about this conflict. The first phase of bombing was time and money well spent to take out the air defenses, but this war will only be won on the ground. John McCain's right.
To win it on the ground, however, you've got to have decent intelligence. And everybody in Afghanistan ought to know we're coming in and hell's coming with us.
SCHIEFFER: I would just say, and I was waiting for one of you to say this, because I think the difference was the Twin Towers. We went to Vietnam to help somebody else. In this case we have thousands of Americans, innocent Americans who would be killed. And I would say at the start, that's the difference.
FRIEDMAN: And I think we have thousands more ready to volunteer because of what you've said, Bob, to go into Afghanistan.
BORGER: I want to go to Mr. McFarlane on intelligence issues. Do you believe that as a result of sort of a lack of intelligence that the administration sort of underestimated the number of defectors they would get and that they expected this war to proceed a bit differently, that they underestimated the Taliban because they didn't have the on-the-ground intelligence that they should have had?
MCFARLANE: I don't think that's true. I think they realize that there was widespread, broad outrage among Afghans at the village level with the Taliban, and they believed that that, that alienation would lead to defections and so forth. That's a reasonable proposition.
But Afghans have been watching whether the evidence of determination to do this job was here. The air war has gone OK, but people are now watching to see if we're willing to put ground forces in there and finish the job.
SCHIEFFER: Tom, finally--about 20 seconds left--what should the government do now about informing people about this anthrax business? Have they been too easy here?
FRIEDMAN: I think the message I got from this show this morning is certainly is one I feel, is that we need a single, coordinated voice on this--a voice that has credibility, credibility within the scientific community, credibility within the government. I think nothing would be more assuring to the American people than beginning with that.
SCHIEFFER: Tom Friedman, Bud McFarlane, thanks to both of you.
That's our broadcast for this morning. Thanks for watching Face the Nation.