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Text: Powell, Kissinger and Albright on CNN's 'Late Edition'

eMediaMillWorks


eMediaMillWorks
Sunday, October 21, 2001

Following is the transcript of CNN's "Late Edition," hosted by Wolf Blitzer. Guests: Secretary of State Colin Powell; U.S. Senator Evan Bayh (D-IN); U.S. Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN); Surgeon General Dr. David Satcher; Chief U.S. Postal Inspector Ken Weaver; Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger; Former Secretary of State Madeline Albright; Former CIA Director James Woolsey; Former NATO Supreme Allied Commander General Wesley Clark and CNN bioterrorism expert Javed Ali.

BLITZER: It's noon in Washington and New York, 9 a.m. in Los Angeles, 8:30 p.m. in Kabul, Afghanistan, and midnight in Shanghai, China. Wherever you're watching from around the world, thanks for joining us for this special three-hour Late Edition.

Our third hour belongs to you. We'll be taking your phone calls for our military and intelligence experts, as well as our reporters covering the war on terrorism.

We'll get to our interview with U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell in just a moment, but first, there's been a major development here in the U.S. capital: a third confirmed case in the United States of inhalation anthrax. That's the most deadly form.

Let's go live to CNN's Kathleen Koch on Capitol Hill for details.

(NEWSBREAK)

BLITZER: And this note: We'll be talking with the U.S. surgeon general, Dr. David Satcher, and the chief U.S. postal inspector, Ken Weaver, later on Late Edition.

Meanwhile, President Bush is now on his way back to Washington after meeting with Asian Pacific leaders at their annual economic summit in China. The war on terrorism was of course at the top of the president's agenda. CNN's Kelly Wallace is at the White House. She has some details.

(NEWSBREAK)

BLITZER: The Pentagon meanwhile says U.S. military operations have significantly weakened Taliban forces in Afghanistan. We go now to northern Afghanistan, CNN's Matthew Chance, for the latest from there.

(NEWSBREAK)

BLITZER: And even as the United States escalates its military operations, the Bush administration continues to pursue diplomatic avenues to bolster its international coalition on the war on terrorism.

A short while ago I spoke with the U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell just before he left Shanghai.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BLITZER: Mr. Secretary, thanks for joining us, and let's get right to the issue at hand.

This is now entering week three of the U.S.-led military campaign. A new phase over the weekend, ground troops, special operations forces. The American public is asking, how much longer is this going to take?

POWELL: Until the mission is accomplished. I think the president has made it clear from the start, and Secretary Rumsfeld has made it clear from the start, that we shouldn't be expecting this to be over immediately, that it is a difficult campaign going after entrenched individuals. And we'll stick it with until the mission has been accomplished.

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

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

BLITZER: Are you encouraging the Northern Alliance forces, the anti-Taliban forces in the north, to go in and take Kabul?

POWELL: It's a subject of discussion. We're very interested in seeing them take the town in the north, Mazar-e-Sharif. And I'm quite confident that they want to at least invest Kabul. Whether they go into Kabul or not, or whether that's the best thing to do or not, remains to be seen. It's a issue that is under continuing discussion.

BLITZER: That's because the Pakistanis are nervous about the Northern Alliance, with which they don't have a good relationship, taking the lead in overthrowing the Taliban regime?

POWELL: No, there are others who wonder whether or not it would be the best thing for a group, however effective it might be, that really only represents 15 percent or thereabouts of the overall population, actually going in to the capital--would that crystallize opposition elsewhere? Even the Northern Alliance recognizes this problem, and they have been rather candid in discussing it with us, as to whether it makes the best sense or not for them to go into the city.

BLITZER: There were suggestions--some say that you were saying that earlier in the week that perhaps so-called moderate elements of the Taliban could be part of some new regime that could replace the current Taliban regime. Are there moderate elements of the Taliban?

POWELL: I'm not sure that's quite what I said, but I would have to check my transcript. I was with President Musharraf of Pakistan, who did talk about moderate elements of the Taliban.

POWELL: My position and the United States position is rather clear. There is no place for any element of current Taliban leadership in a new Afghanistan.

But at the same time, there are many people within the Taliban movement who have not been in the leadership position, have not been active, and who may well want to become part of a new Afghanistan. And unless you're planning to ethnically cleanse them all or ship them off to other countries, they are going to be there, and they will have to be accommodated in what we hope will be a new arrangement that represents all of the people of Afghanistan.

But there can be no place in a new regime for the current leaders of the Taliban regime.

BLITZER: Will the beginning of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month in mid-November--you were talking earlier about constraints on the U.S. military like winter beginning. Will Ramadan be a factor, as well?

POWELL: We'll have to see as we get closer to Ramadan. It is a very important religious period, and we would take that into account. We'll have to see where the mission is at that point and what needs to be done, and I would yield to my colleagues in the Pentagon as to what we will do as we approach the season of Ramadan.

BLITZER: Clarify for us, if you will, what the U.S. military mission is as far as Osama bin Laden is concerned. Is the U.S. military authorized to go ahead and kill him if they spot him?

POWELL: Our mission is to bring him to justice or bring justice to him, as the president said.

BLITZER: Does that mean the president would go ahead and authorize the kind of, I guess what some would call, assassination or targeted killing of Osama bin Laden?

POWELL: Well, I'm not going to speculate on what the president might or might not authorize. But I think it's quite clear that we are anxious to see Osama bin Laden brought to justice or justice brought to him.

BLITZER: Some have criticized your administration on the Hill, some pro-Israeli senators, many in Israel, for having a so-called double standard, criticizing the Israelis for their policy of so-called targeted killings of suspected terrorists, but the U.S. in effect now going about doing the same thing.

POWELL: What we're trying to do is to bring people to justice. We understand that the difficult situation in the Middle East and Israel and the Gaza and the West Bank have created a great deal of turmoil, especially in recent weeks.

And the United States position over a long period of time has been to point out that targeted assassinations of the kind that we have seen there is not in the best interest of trying to find a way to move forward with the peace process.

And so, it has been a continuing discussion with the Israelis, and we will continue to discuss it with them.

Right now I'm just anxious to see the violence go back down again, hopefully to zero, and to see if we can not get back to where we were a week or so ago when we began to see a little progress toward the Mitchell plan before we had the terrible terrorist attack, which killed a cabinet minister, an Israeli cabinet minister, and got things all off course again. So I'm hoping we can bring the violence down.

Hopefully the Israelis will be able to leave the territory that they have occupied recently. I talked to Prime Minister Sharon this morning and he said he did not plan to stay in those areas. And I hope they will finish what they're doing, remove themselves as quickly as they can so that we can get back to a process that hopefully will lead to a cease-fire.

Elimination of violence is our goal, although it's a hard goal to achieve. And then get into the Mitchell plan and the confidence-building measures and ultimately get back to negotiations, negotiations that will be on the basis of U.N. Resolutions 242 and 338, so we can find a way for these two peoples to live in peace together.

BLITZER: Some here in Washington, the former CIA director Jim Woolsey, some members of the Congress, are pointing a finger at Iraq in looking at the anthrax-laced letter attacks here in the United States. Do you suspect Iraq, because of its supply of its known quantity of anthrax that it does have, may be involved in this?

POWELL: I just don't know. I think we've had a lot of stories over the past four or five days. First, it was weaponized anthrax. Then it was highly refined. And then when it was analyzed, it was discovered it was none of the above. But it was fairly high-quality.

So rather than speculate as to what kind of anthrax it was and what the possible sources of such anthrax could be, I think I will just leave that in the hands of the very qualified people, the FBI, Center For Disease Control and the Army's laboratories at Fort Detrick, Maryland, and let them figure it out.

POWELL: Once we know exactly what we're dealing with, then you're in a position to make an informed judgment with respect to where it might have come from.

I don't put it past Iraq. We know they have been working on this kind of terror weapon, and we keep a very close eye on them.

And, as the president has said, it's in the first instance we're going after Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden and that's the principle focus of our attention. But we recognize there are other regimes that give haven, harbor to terrorist activity, and we will turn our attention to them in due course.

BLITZER: But your primary suspect in the anthrax attacks would be Osama bin Laden and the Al Qaeda organization? Is that what you're suggesting?

POWELL: I don't--no, I didn't come anywhere near suggesting that. What I'm saying is, I don't know, and I'm not sure our law enforcement officials yet know, who the primary suspect is. I think that investigation, that analysis is still ongoing. And it's premature to make any judgments yet because we don't know.

I think, frankly, with too much speculation and wild rumors flying all over the place, it would be wise for all of us to take a deep breath and let our investigative agencies figure this out before we go rushing in front of television sets to present these rumors and to present this speculation and get the country all excited.

BLITZER: On that note, I want to thank you very much, Mr. Secretary. Have a safe trip back to the United States.

POWELL: Thank you, Wolf.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BLITZER: And just ahead, the anthrax scare disrupts Capitol Hill. We'll talk about that and more with two members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Richard Lugar and Evan Bayh.

Late Edition will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

U.S. SENATOR TOM DASCHLE (D-SD), MAJORITY LEADER: We will not let this stop the work of the Senate. I am absolutely determined to ensure that the Senate continues to do its work.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle speaking Wednesday after it was determined that more than 30 Senate staffers had been exposed to anthrax. That anthrax was traced to a letter sent to Senator Daschle's office.

The newest information today reveals that a Washington D.C. postal worker was diagnosed with inhalation anthrax, the third confirmed case of this most serious form of the disease in the United States.

Joining us now to talk about that and more are two senators, members of the Intelligence Committee. Republican Richard Lugar is the senior senator from Indiana and Democrat Evan Bayh is the junior senator from Indiana.

Senators, good to have two Hoosiers on Late Edition. Thanks for joining us.

LUGAR: Thank you, Wolf.

BAYH: Thank you, Wolf.

BLITZER: Let's begin--I want to get to the anthrax investigation in a second. But you just heard Secretary Powell say that Afghanistan, Al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden's forces, the Taliban in Afghanistan, first. Perhaps Iraq down the road. But they're looking for hard evidence.

Some are saying, like Joe Lieberman and others, look at Iraq right now. What do you say, Senator Lugar?

LUGAR: One at a time. I think we really have to be very thoughtful about who is responsible, and we think bin Laden clearly is. Therefore, eradicating the Al Qaeda business keeps us in Afghanistan until we get that job done. It doesn't eliminate other targets down the trail, but it means that we work with the coalition.

Many people say, well, forget about the coalition, this is our defense. But we can't forget about the coalition. They are there as an integral part of our ability to fight whoever it is, and we've got to enlarge that responsibility and cooperation.

So I think we ought to concentrate on the job at hand, keeping in mind that others may follow, because we have got to separate the terrorists, whoever they are, from weapons of mass destruction.

Iraq may have a program. And if so, they're going to have to cough it up at some point.

BLITZER: Do you know for sure whether or not Iraq has anthrax? Because the widely held assumption is, and former U.N. weapons inspectors have said, that they have stockpiled anthrax.

BAYH: Well, we haven't inspected in three years, Wolf. So it's impossible to know with absolute certainty. But the balance of opinion holds that they have had a very robust effort to develop biological weapons, other weapons of mass destruction. And I think the best judgment is that they probably do.

BLITZER: Isn't this anthrax that was delivered to Senator Daschle's office--some confusion: weaponized, very potent, significant. How significant militarily was this anthrax?

BAYH: Well, there's good news and bad news there. The good news is it's not the state of the art anthrax, the type that was genetically altered to make it more resistant to antibiotics. So this is more treatable than the most advanced type of anthrax.

The bad news is that it was not the kind of anthrax that you would have someone making in their garage, suggesting at least some level of expertise that would make it more susceptible to being spread and inhaled, as happened in the case of this unfortunate postal worker.

BLITZER: And some individuals, Senator Lugar, have pointed out that even getting that anthrax in a letter, in the form that it was put in, where it would go up into the air, that in and of itself is a very sophisticated operation.

LUGAR: Well, it apparently created a plume, which means the spreading. And the real problem then was inhalation because of the ventilation system.

There are 12 Senate offices, mine included, that are attached to that system with Senator Daschle's. So obviously we're all interested as to whether it got into the vents and what have you.

Now, apparently it did not, or in such insufficient quantities as to not harm anybody. But that raises beyond the problem of touching it, which is fully treatable, to inhalation, which we have found can be fatal in some situations and is more dangerous.

BLITZER: Now, you've been tested, and you're taking the antibiotics?

LUGAR: Well, I took the antibiotics for three days. Now, a determination has been made that those that were not exposed--32 that were exposed--should not continue on that course, and I accept that.

BLITZER: To stop taking the Cipro?

LUGAR: Yes, I have.

BLITZER: And you feel comfortable about that?

LUGAR: Yes. I didn't feel very comfortable with the Cipro. I think...

BLITZER: Did you have some side effects?

LUGAR: Well, some stomach problems, and those are anticipated. This is no easy course. And people thinking about going out and taking Cipro just for the sake of it ought to be advised that there are side effects. They should be thoughtful about it.

BLITZER: Have you started--have you been tested, Senator Bayh?

BAYH: No, I have not. My office is not in the Hart Building. It was, but we moved earlier this year. I've had one staffer tested who attended a meeting close to the site of the incidents, but I personally have not been tested.

BLITZER: So you haven't started taking any antibiotics yourself?

BAYH: No. An occasional Advil, but that's for aches and pains.

(LAUGHTER)

BLITZER: The whole nature, though, the whole suspicion of who's responsible for these anthrax attacks--there are some who--could be domestic, homegrown terrorists, a la Timothy McVeigh. Or it could be Al Qaeda; it could be others. Where is your suspicion pointing right now?

BAYH: You know, Wolf, one of the hardest things in public life, as the secretary of state was just indicating, is to say, I don't know. We need to take a little time here to find out.

We do know that Al Qaeda was attempting to develop biological capabilities. There are some interesting facts around that might suggest some outside involvement.

BAYH: But we don't know. We need to follow-up.

As your previous question indicated, there are some aspects of this type of anthrax that suggest a level of expertise. And why were these suicide bombers looking at crop-dusters if they had no capability? These are all things that need to be followed up on, but we don't know.

The final thing I'd say is there have been a surge in reports involving potential biological or chemical attacks, many of them hoaxes. People domestically just sort of piling onto the situation trying to create fear and panic, and so we need to guard against that.

So we don't know, we're following up. But until then, let's try and keep as calm as we can.

BLITZER: Are we going overboard with this anthrax scare, Senator Lugar? You've been around Washington for a long time. When I see we, the media, Capitol Hill, federal government, are we getting the American public, you know, overly crazed right now because of this?

LUGAR: Well, the conventional wisdom is say yes. And many Americans would say, even as they listen to this program, stop talking about it, stop trying to create fear and difficulty.

But the fact is that we're at war, and this may be, as Bayh suggested, a manifestation of that war; it may not be. But the refinement here goes beyond, for instance, the envelope sent to abortion clinics. This has been going on for quite awhile, stuff spilling out, people threatened with death.

This time it was the real stuff, which is different. It was refined, if not war grade. And the fact is that somebody is sending it to well-known people so that the word will get out.

It doesn't mean people should panic throughout America, but they should realize that, as some have said, more Americans may be affected by this war at home than soldiers that are lost abroad. That's a different kind of war, but it's a war on the homefront.

Governor Ridge has been appointed to try to help coordinate, and we all ought to help very swiftly.

BLITZER: And homeland security obviously being a major issue right now.

Senator Bayh, does the U.S. government, the U.S. intelligence community have a sense where Osama bin Laden is? In other words, narrowing down his location, assuming he's still in Afghanistan?

BAYH: Well, that involves sensitive information, as you can understand, Wolf. Suffice it to say, the ring is tightening. We're looking for information all the time.

If the old adage that there's no honor among thieves is true, there's even less among people who would harbor terrorists. So as the domestic situation within Afghanistan changes, you may have people step forward with information with regard to his location.

So the ring is tightening, but we're not there quite yet.

BLITZER: But it does suggest, Senator Lugar, that the U.S. is getting closer to finding him. Would you conclude that his days are numbered?

LUGAR: Yes, I think he will be found. I think the leadership will be found. I would just counsel patience on the part of the American people, the American Congress, everybody else. It seems to me that the war is being prosecuted as well as possible, given the fact that we are working with allies that have great problems of their own. But we have the forces to do that, and we'll be successful.

BLITZER: Would you be happier if he were found dead or alive?

LUGAR: Dead. I see no particular point in capturing Osama bin Laden. I want the certainty that he is either dead or captured, however. And likewise, the network of Al Qaeda.

BLITZER: And what about that?

BAYH: I agree wholeheartedly, Wolf. There's no reason to have him in a jail some place serving as the inspiration for further attacks or hostage takings.

And if I could follow up on a very good point that Dick just made, patience is important here. The Taliban and Al Qaeda have headed for the hills. They're literally going to try and wait us out. They look at Vietnam, other recent experiences, and they think that our willingness to be patient, to take casualties is limited, and if they can just hold on long enough, we'll give up and go away.

And so, I think we need to demonstrate the national resolve and patience to see this out to a successful conclusion, which I think we will.

LUGAR: And this is even more important because we're being counseled by the Russians and the Chinese to get it over quickly and all the rest of that. Now we've got to put that aside and go after our objective.

BLITZER: OK, we're going to take a quick break. We have a lot more to talk about when we return.

In addition, your phone calls for Senators Lugar and Bayh. Late Edition will continue right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Welcome back. We're continuing our conversation with Republican Senator Richard Lugar of Indiana, Democratic Senator Evan Bayh also of Indiana.

We have a caller from New York. Please go ahead with your question.

CALLER: Well, good afternoon, Senators.

Right now we have the moral high ground, I think, in most countries as a result of the World Trade Center attacks. Along with that, if we are faced with the difficult choice of having had to capture bin Laden and suddenly finding him on our hands alive, not dead, what happens then? Would you recommend that the venue of justice be an international tribunal, such as the war crimes tribunal, or do you think it's more appropriate to put it in American courts, specifically...

BLITZER: All right, all right, that's a good question.

Senator Lugar?

LUGAR: American court. It seems to me that we're self-defense, we're after bin Laden because of the attack upon World Trade Center. I think it's a clear case. I appreciate others might argue, but that'd be my call.

BLITZER: What about other suspected terrorists in Afghanistan, or perhaps elsewhere around the world, and the Taliban leadership itself, Mullah Omar, what do you do with all of them?

BAYH: Well, clearly, those that were implicated in the attack on September 11 will have to be brought to justice. I suspect that the top leadership of Al Qaeda, we probably won't have an opportunity to bring them to trial. I think that they may be taken care of in the course of other operations.

BLITZER: What...

BAYH: But going beyond Afghanistan and Al Qaeda and the Taliban, that's the difficult question. As Dick was suggesting, this is a progressive operation. First bin Laden and his group, then the Taliban, then the important question of, where next. And that raises the issue of Iraq and possibly other cells and organizations elsewhere.

BLITZER: The effort be has been to keep this international coalition in place, Senator Lugar. You're one of the most knowledgeable members of the Senate on international affairs. But if the U.S. does expand and go into Iraq, it's going to lose Russia and China and much of the Arab and Muslim world, and probably even some allies in Europe, won't it?

LUGAR: Well, we'll have to see. In other words, one of the tests for the president and Secretary Powell is to work with these allies and the coalition to try to see what they're prepared to do. That's been the request all along. Not all are cooperating fully. Some with intelligence, some with overflight, some just with sympathetic statements, that's about it.

But, nevertheless, we've got to make a case as to why they are in danger. For example, if terrorists get weapons of mass destruction, whether it's in Iraq or anywhere else, the world is in danger, Russia is in danger, China's in danger. They understand that, in a way, for the moment.

They're worried about our military might, expansion of that in their territory, which they see over as their backyard. So they want to limit that until they're sure that they are at risk, and that's the point we have to make.

BLITZER: Is it a mistake for the U.S. to be engaged militarily, directly right now, entering the third week, strictly by itself?

The British contributed some missiles on day one, but since then, to the best of my knowledge, it's been largely, it's been almost exclusively a U.S. military operation against targets in Afghanistan.

Where is the rest of the coalition, as far as the military contribution is concerned?

BAYH: Well, the Australians are committing a few troops and some equipment.

BAYH: There have been reports about the French possibly joining in.

But this was an attack upon America, Wolf, and so if we need to carry forward, we have the bulk of the modern equipment, the latest technology, that sort of thing. We saw that in the situation in Kosovo. We have some unique capabilities that others don't have.

BLITZER: Are you concerned that it's largely, almost exclusively a U.S. military operation?

LUGAR: No, I think our military people probably want it that way, but that may not always be the case. As we expand this situation, we may call on others for a lot, and I think we ought to be preparing that. I presume that we are both in terms of weapons, but also money, the logistics support.

BAYH: Can I make one other point, Wolf? Again, there are good things and bad things about coalitions. We want the coalition to be as broad as possible with the support. But as we've seen in the past, when you try and wage war by coalition, you have a least-common-denominator phenomena that takes place where any of the members can cancel even a specific operation, which does not tend to very effective war-making.

BLITZER: To get back to what's happening here in Washington, Capitol Hill, this coming week it's obviously not going to be business as usual in the U.S. Senate this week, is it?

LUGAR: I hope it will be.

BLITZER: How can it be if those offices--is your office still going to be closed?

LUGAR: I hope not. I'm hoping to enter Monday morning. If the leadership is listening, I hope that we'll be able to do business. We need to do business.

Now, I understand Senator Daschle's office, the fifth and sixth floor of the Hart Building may still be under decontaminant. But the rest of it should be open. We have work to do and we cannot do this from hide away offices or couches or what have you.

Now, we did so, I think, fully adequately on Thursday and Friday, and I think the public needs to know that. We were answering constituents, we were dealing with the problems of government with actual votes on the Senate floor and debate and committee meetings and what have you. But it's not the way we ought to be doing it.

And at this point, it seems to me that we've cleaned up the mess, at least in the Hart Building, Dirksen, Russell, the Senate, the Capitol.

I think this new post office business is very serious. And I underline that because criticism has come of the House, but the fact is the speaker and Senator Daschle knew of potential, and that's what they wanted to investigate. And that postal business really needs to be cleaned up.

BLITZER: With hindsight, the House leadership, Speaker Hastert, Dick Gephardt, they may not have been wrong in deciding to shut down business a day early.

BAYH: Wolf, I have no criticism for the House. The facts were changing so quickly, the situation was potentially very perilous, they have found this exposure over in the House complex.

So, an abundance of caution under circumstances like these probably in order, but now, as Dick said, back to business. This is as much a psychological context as anything else, and we need to let them know that we're not going to be deterred from the normal course of events would be any more than absolutely necessary.

BLITZER: OK, we're going to leave it right there. Senator Bayh, Senator Lugar, two senators from Indiana, a Republican and Democrat, thanks for joining us.

BAYH: Bipartisanship.

BLITZER: Thank You.

And when we return, will the war on terrorism force the United States to change its attitude toward various countries around the world? We'll ask two former secretaries of state, Henry Kissinger and Madeleine Albright. Late Edition will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

POWELL: The United States is not looking for enemies. We don't want any enemies. We don't need any enemies. By heavens, when they show up we will protect ourselves and we will defend ourselves, and we will defeat our enemy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: Secretary of State Colin Powell expressing confidence about the war against terrorism.

Welcome back Late Edition.

We're joined now by two distinguished guests who have been at the center of U.S. international policy. Henry Kissinger served as secretary of state under Presidents Nixon and Ford. He joins us now from Kent, Connecticut. And here in Washington, former Clinton Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

It's good to have both of you on Late Edition.

And, Dr. Kissinger, the final statement that the Asian--the APEC summit--the Asian Pacific economic forum, put out supported the war on terrorism, but fell far short of endorsing the U.S. military strikes against targets in Afghanistan. Should that be seen as a setback?

KISSINGER: No, I think it should be seen as a reflection on the domestic institutions of various countries. Countries which have a very large Muslim population like Indonesia, Malaysia, which were present at this meeting, find it difficult to endorse the military operations, even though probably they're secretly hoping that they will succeed.

BLITZER: Dr. Albright, do you think that should be a problem for these countries, Malaysia, Indonesia, countries Dr. Kissinger referred to, in holding them back from supporting the U.S. military coalition?

ALBRIGHT: Well, I think it clearly is an issue because they have their own domestic problems. But I think it also signals what many of us have been saying, that while it is wonderful to have a very large coalition, we have to keep our own goals in mind and not be forced to change our process because of a coalition. So there's obviously some equation, the larger the coalition, the harder it is to hold together.

BLITZER: In other words, Dr. Kissinger, the bigger the coalition, as Dr. Albright says--the bigger the coalition, the less maneuverability that the United States has to get the job done depending upon what the objective is.

KISSINGER: Well, it depends how you interpret that coalition. Both the president and the secretary of state have repeatedly said that every member of the coalition can do those things that he finds--that they find most compatible with their domestic situation. And if that is true of allies who are lagging behind, it is also true of allies who are in the lead.

If you're going to have an a la carte coalition, then those countries who want to take firmer position ought to be free to conduct those measures that are necessary, because this is a war that cannot be won in Afghanistan. And it's not a war that can be ended with one operation. And in my view, it is not a war that can be made subject to the veto of a very large coalition.

But it's helpful to have many people endorse the fight, and then we can form smaller groups to conduct those things that are essential.

BLITZER: Do you think, Dr. Albright, the U.S., the Bush administration, has been hampered so far--has been restrained in doing what it really wants to do in fighting terrorism because of the nature of trying to keep this international coalition together?

ALBRIGHT: I don't get that impression at this stage. I think the question comes down to whether, if there is a widening of the military part of it, which there's been some speculation about that, that that would then break down some of this coalition.

But also, I think it's very important for us to remember, is that we may not necessarily know everything that is going on. That there may be more support among countries that are not actively speaking about it than we know, and there may be less support among those that are speaking out actively.

And I think the question, also, that we have to look at is, what kind of quid pro quos are made to have a coalition like this? And I think it's more important to get the job done. I think that the administration is doing a very good job militarily. And the question is now, how it will be carried out in other arenas, whether there will be economic cooperation in stopping the money, follow the money part of this.

Also, another message that President Bush had at APEC was the economic one, that it was important to make sure that our markets continued and that there would be a way to make sure that there was not any international economic consequences beyond the ones that already exist.

BLITZER: Dr. Kissinger, as you know, the debate here in Washington over whether Iraq and Saddam Hussein should become a target of the U.S. military once again, that debate has been intense.

Senator Joe Lieberman was on Meet the Press earlier today. And he's been outspoken in saying that the United States eventually is going to have to go after Saddam Hussein once and for all. Listen to what Senator Lieberman said earlier today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

U.S. SENATOR JOSEPH LIEBERMAN (D-CT): There is some evidence to suggest that Saddam Hussein may have had contact with bin Laden and the Al Qaeda network, perhaps even involved in the September 11 attack. That raises my suspicions.

But the more important point is, we know that Saddam would like to do us the worst kind of ill. We know that he has worked on chemical and biological weapons and, in fact, has used them against his own people and against the Iranians.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: Dr. Kissinger, where do you stand in this debate between those who say yes, include Iraq in the U.S. target list right now, or wait, perhaps, down the road?

KISSINGER: Let me make two points. In the second phase of this anti-terror war, we have to break the nexus between states and terrorist groups, wherever they are, whether that's Lebanon, Yemen or elsewhere.

Iraq is in a very special position, as Senator Lieberman pointed out, in that we know they have been producing biological and chemicals weapons.

KISSINGER: We know they've been using chemical weapons against their own population, and we cannot wait until we see whether they might repeat the experience of the Twin Towers with biological weapons.

So I would have great sympathy for a policy that puts Iraq under total inspection and prevents the development. And if that requires military action, I would support it.

BLITZER: Dr. Albright, as you know, the inspections of Iraq ended during the Clinton administration, when you were secretary of state. And since then, the U.S. and the other members of the international community have not been able to find out what, if anything, Saddam Hussein is doing in these various aspects of weapons of mass destruction.

ALBRIGHT: Well, first of all, I wish that the first Bush administration had finished the job in the Gulf War, which is a lesson about what we're doing now, is to make sure that we actually complete what we begin.

It was very hard, in fact, to hold a coalition together during the sanctions aspect of this and to keep the inspectors there.

But you also have to remember that the U.S. has been and was taking military action against Saddam Hussein during the Clinton administration, in terms of making sure that we could continue to patrol the no-fly zones.

I have always believed that Saddam Hussein is part of a major evil aspect in the world, and we should continue to deal with him. But I don't think that we should be, really, diverted at the moment from the primary mission, which is to go after the Taliban regime and Osama bin Laden and Afghanistan. And we can talk about where the trail leads later.

BLITZER: OK. We're going to pick up that thought when we come back, but, Dr. Kissinger, Dr. Albright, we have to take a quick break.

Coming up, the second hour of Late Edition. We'll continue our conversation with the two former secretaries of state.

Then, sorting out the facts on anthrax. We'll hear from the U.S. surgeon general, Dr. David Satcher, and a top official from the U.S. Postal Service. It's all ahead in the next hour of Late Edition.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Welcome back to Late Edition. We'll get back to our conversation with former secretaries of state Henry Kissinger and Madeleine Albright in just a moment.

But first, let's go to CNN's Donna Kelley in Atlanta for a quick check of the latest developments.

(NEWSBREAK)

BLITZER: We continue our discussion now with the Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and another former secretary of state, Dr. Henry Kissinger.

And I want to alert our viewers, as well as our guests, we're standing by for news conferences here in Washington on this third case of inhalation anthrax now diagnosed in the United States, a U.S. postal worker here in Washington, D.C.

And indeed, the Capitol Hill news conference is about to begin. I believe Lieutenant Dan Nichols of the U.S. Capital Police is speaking. Excuse me, this is Anthony Williams, the mayor of Washington, D.C.

(BREAK IN LATE EDITION COVERAGE)

BLITZER: Dr. Ivan Walks, the chief health officer of the District of Columbia, providing details of the new cooperation between the District of Columbia, Virginia, Maryland, in dealing with this latest anthrax case, the anthrax scare, the investigations going on in Washington.

Mayor Anthony Williams of the District of Columbia telling all of us that the postal worker, unidentified in a hospital in Northern Virginia, in Fairfax, Virginia, is, in his words, gravely ill.

And outlining new procedures that going into effect today. Some 2,000 postal workers at the Brentwood facility here in the District of Columbia will be tested and treated for potential anthrax infections. One hundred and fifty other postal workers at the airmail center near Baltimore-Washington International Airport, about halfway between here and Baltimore, actually closer to Baltimore, will also be tested and treated, presumably receiving at least some days of Cipro, the antibiotic that has been effective in dealing with anthrax.

We're going to continue to monitor this news conference, have more as it becomes available. Later on Late Edition we'll be speaking with the surgeon general of the United States, Dr. David Satcher, as well as Ken Weaver, the chief postal inspector of the United States, as well.

But I want to continue now our conversation with two distinguished guests, the former secretaries of state of the United States, Dr. Henry Kissinger--he joins us from Kent, Connecticut--and here in Washington, Dr. Madeleine Albright, the former secretary of state during the Clinton administration.

And, Dr. Kissinger, I want to begin with you. As you hear this news conference, hear about these anthrax cases, the inhalation anthrax being much more serious than the cutaneous or skin form of anthrax, what goes through your mind as someone who has dealt with international issues and crises over so many years?

KISSINGER: Well, of course, no previous administration has had to deal with this scale of attack. But what goes through my mind is to try to understand where this anthrax can possibly be produced. And there are not that many countries in the world which are producing anthrax that is of weapons grade and that you can deliver.

And so, I believe that it will become essential to set up some international system by which you can keep track of production of anthrax, and in which there are the severest penalties for countries that are violating this, including military penalties.

And obviously, Iraq is one of the countries that is producing anthrax and has concentrated on biological weapons, so this is something on which we should focus.

I would also like to call attention to something that Madeleine has said. This started with an attack on the World Trade Center, and we must not lose focus on the groups that did this. And we must be able to do both of these efforts, to get on top of the anthrax scare, of the anthrax challenge, but at the same time not slacken our effort against the countries that have committed terrorist camps engaged in terrorist propaganda and which provided the means for the networks out of which the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks evolved.

BLITZER: Dr. Albright...

KISSINGER: ... but I would...

BLITZER: ... I was going to bring in Dr. Albright, Dr. Kissinger.

You told me that you're planning on going up to the Hill, up to the U.S. Congress later this week. Tuesday, you're going to be in the House side. Are you scared? Are you worried about going up there, given what's going on?

ALBRIGHT: Well, first of all, I have been invited to go up there, and I'm going to go. Because I think that something that Senator Bayh said earlier on your program is, this is psychological, that the enemies are trying to foist on us, and I think we have to be calm.

What troubles me is that we are all somehow entering into some form of hysteria here, when what is very important is to remain very calm, to know the facts. I wish that we had one voice speaking for the administration on this so that we really knew what was happening.

But my sense here, Wolf, is that we have to be calm, that--you know, you're asking secretaries of state about domestic issues. But the bottom line that I learned as secretary of state was that you cannot carry on a foreign policy that the American people don't understand, that they're not a part of.

And so, it behooves all of us to remain calm and to get the facts and to keep our eye on the ball.

BLITZER: And let me just bring in Dr. Kissinger, briefly.

Dr. Kissinger, how does an administration do that, send a signal, ``Go ahead, keep your day jobs, work as usual, try to be back to normal,'' but, at the same time, warn the public that there are threats out there?

They see the Congress going in to recess prematurely. They see the vice president of the United States refusing--being told by Secret Service, ``Don't be at the same place where the president is.''

The mixed messages that are going out there can create a kind of nervousness, a jittery nation, that Secretary Albright was talking about.

KISSINGER: Well, I think that public officials should keep in mind the impact of some of the security measures on the public, such as closing down the Congress or keeping the vice president out of view.

But as a general proposition, I agree with what Madeleine has said.

KISSINGER: The government ought to explain what is going on and what measures the individual can take to protect himself. But it is also necessary to put before the American public a program that makes clear that the government is dealing with the source of this, and that it will overcome it, and that it will not stop until it has overcome it.

And I think with these two elements, we are going to overcome the immediate crisis and win the conflict.

BLITZER: And, Dr. Albright, you'll have the last word. Is the Bush administration handling this crisis since September 11 well?

ALBRIGHT: I would agree with Henry that they are handling it well. I think that they have got us all focused on this. And the question is, how things will proceed from now on. I think that, as former secretaries of state, we are doing what is appropriate, which is trying to explain to friends here and abroad about what is happening and the desire and willingness and strength of this nation and that America will never be shut down.

BLITZER: Dr. Albright, thanks so much for joining us.

Dr. Kissinger, always a pleasure to have you on our program, as well.

KISSINGER: Good to be here.

BLITZER: Thanks to both of you very much.

And when we return, sorting fact from fiction when it comes to anthrax. We'll talk with America's top doctor, the U.S. surgeon general, David Satcher, as well as the chief U.S. postal inspector, Ken Weaver.

Late Edition will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JACK POTTER, U.S. POSTMASTER GENERAL: If you receive something that's suspicious, we want you to isolate it, put it in a plastic bag, don't let other people touch it, don't shake it, don't taste it, don't sniff it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: Good advice. Words of caution from the U.S. Postmaster General Jack Potter on Thursday.

Welcome back to Late Edition.

There have now been eight confirmed cases of people infected with anthrax in the United States. One of them, Robert Stevens of Florida, has died. In addition, there have been more than 30 confirmed cases of exposure to anthrax.

Joining to us now to talk about the health and security concerns are two guests: the U.S. surgeon general, Dr. David Satcher, and the chief U.S. postal inspector, Ken Weaver.

Gentlemen, thank you so much for joining us.

And before we begin, I want to report to our viewers that Lieutenant Dan Nichols, the Capitol Police spokesman, just told reporters that later this afternoon the House and Senate leadership will decide whether and when to reopen those House and Senate office buildings that have confirmed traces of anthrax. We will, of course, provide details when those decisions by the House and Senate leadership are made known.

In addition, Dr. John Eisold, the chief U.S. physician for the U.S. Capitol, says that there have now been 4,500 to 5,000 tests for anthrax exposure. The results have been known and all of these--among these 4,500 to 5,000, no additional positives, other than the 30 or so that were reported in recent are days.

Dr. Satcher, what does all this mean? We heard Mayor Anthony Williams report live on CNN a few minutes ago that the postal worker in Fairfax, Virginia, in the hospital, is, in his words, gravely ill from anthrax inhalation.

SATCHER: Well, inhalation anthrax is a serious disease. We haven't seen a lot of it. The last case before Mr. Stevens in Florida was 1978. Our experience is that it has a very high mortality rate.

We believe, however, that we can do better than that today. And so, we are very optimistic that if we really are aggressive and identify symptoms very early, that we in fact can get on top of it.

I haven't seen the latest hospital results on this patient, but it is not yet hopeless.

BLITZER: Apparently some have suggested that when it comes to inhalation anthrax, as opposed to the cutaneous or skin form of anthrax, which is a lot less severe--can be easily treated with antibiotics--the inhalation anthrax, once you start getting real symptoms, heavy coughing, difficult time breathing, that it might be too late by then.

SATCHER: Well, in the past, it's been like 80 percent fatal or more. But that's in the past. We have different technology today. So, I wouldn't think that we're going to be held to those figures in the future. So, we're optimistic, we're going to be able to treat more aggressively.

We hope we don't see many cases of inhalation anthrax, because it is very serious. But by the same token, I think we have technology today to do better than we have done in the past.

We must, as Dr. Walks said in that interview, we must monitor symptoms now. And so, when we find patients who have the earliest stages, we must get right on top of it, and that's what we're trying to do.

BLITZER: Mr. Weaver, as you know, the individual now confirmed with the third inhalation anthrax is a postal worker, worked here at the Brentwood facility in the District of Columbia. And as we reported earlier, another 2,000 or so postal workers who work at that facility are going to be tested and treated, another 150 at the airmail center near BWI, Baltimore-Washington International airport.

Is that it? Is that what the postal service is going to be doing in dealing with anthrax? Or will this be going across the country now?

WEAVER: Well, I think we are going to do whatever we have to, Wolf. I mean, the postmaster general is committed that the well-being of our employees is top priority right now. So he's going to take every action necessary.

And as you've seen at the press conference and so forth, we're working very closely with CDC, the mayor's office, the public health officials in doing what needs to be done to take care of our employees.

BLITZER: What does it say to you that this individual--and he's not been identified for privacy reasons--this individual has come down with anthrax inhalation, although presumably, he never actually opened up a letter, he was just touching the mail. What does that say to you?

WEAVER: Well, that's still under investigation, too. And we're trying to trace that down and get to the bottom of this. We don't know if there was anything that may have broken open. We don't know if he touched whatever he did touch. But we are--that's part of the investigation, and we will get to the bottom of it.

BLITZER: It sound to me, Dr. Satcher, like this could be a very potent form of this deadly bacteria.

SATCHER: Inhalation anthrax is very serious. I mean, any time you get to the point of inhalation anthrax, it's very serious. The fact that we've have had only three cases, however, Wolf, suggests to date that we can't prove it's any more potent than others.

I think what we have found to date, in terms of these strains, they have been very similar in all three places that we have looked at so far. But we still are investigating this, and this is very early.

We must all admit that we're still learning in this outbreak. I mean, this is very unusual. We haven't had a lot of experience with inhalation anthrax, and hopefully, we won't have much more.

But by the same token, I think so far we have been able to identify very early people who are victims and to move. Very fortunately, the second person in Florida, Mr. Blanco, did survive his episode so far and is doing fairly well.

BLITZER: Is it time to start giving vaccinations for anthrax to postal workers, to others? Right now, only the U.S. military have been receiving those anthrax vaccinations to prevent anthrax. But is it time to move aggressively to start providing those vaccinations across the board?

SATCHER: Well, I think what we're going to do is look very critically at the postal service now and to see what extent we're going to have a continuation of this. We just don't know whether this is continuing. We know that several things have happened in the past two weeks.

The decision to immunize is, as you point out, based on the risk of the individual. And certainly, if we were to find that postal workers are at very high risk, then we certainly would use the vaccine. That's how we've used it in the past. It is more than 93 percent effective. And so, it would make sense that if people are at very high risk that we use it.

SATCHER: Just like we've done with people who work with cattle and goat and sheep.

BLITZER: Those postal workers in New Jersey, at that facility near Trenton, there have been some exposures confirmed there. Would you want all postal workers, all of your people, to be given that vaccination?

WEAVER: I think the doctor offers some good advice, Wolf, that we just have to study this a little more.

And we should keep one thing in perspective here--and I don't want to minimize the incidents because they are very serious. But we have three reported pieces of mail that we have identified. Now, there may be others, but we've only identified three out of 20 billion that we've processed since September 11.

So the point there, the chances of the average citizen coming in contact with anything like this is very, very remote.

BLITZER: I know that the Postal Service has put up a $1 million reward as well for information leading to the arrest of any anthrax mailer.

But this is going to scare a lot of people who just get their mail and look at some letter they may not know the individual who mailed them that letter. What should people out there be doing when they just go through their regular mail?

WEAVER: Well, I think, and we've given this advice over and over, but I think every individual has a good idea what their mail looks like and what they receive on a routine basis.

And I'd like to go to the third piece of mail that we received, the one that went to the New York Post--and this is encouraging, because this piece was identified, somebody looked at this and said, ``Hey, this is suspicious. It doesn't have a return address on. It looks like the same piece that was mailed before.'' They did not open it.

So I think we're getting the message out to the American people on what to do. Be alert, be vigilant and pay attention to your mail.

BLITZER: OK, we're going to take a quick break. We have a lot more to talk about.

When we return, your phone calls about anthrax and mail security. Late Edition will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Welcome back to Late Edition. We're talking about concerns over anthrax and mail security with the surgeon general of the United States, Dr. David Satcher, and the chief U.S. postal inspector, Ken Weaver.

Let's take a phone call from North Carolina. Please go ahead with your question.

CALLER: Hi. The inhaled anthrax spores, is it an invisible substance like air that you breathe in and never know what hit you, unlike cutaneous form of anthrax, which gives you a skin infection and seems to come from powder?

BLITZER: Dr. Satcher, the form that you get in inhalation, can you see it, can you feel it?

SATCHER: No. It's very small. I mean, the size of a spore that can infect a person probably averages about 5 microns. Consider the fact a human hair is about 100 microns. So this is very small, and you can't see it; I wish we could. If we could see it, I think could do a much better job of preventing, but you can't see it.

BLITZER: And is that is enough to give you inhalation anthrax?

SATCHER: Yes, it is, without question. But there are so many, I mean, it requires about 8,000 to 10,000 spores to give a person inhalation anthrax, but, still, you're not going to necessarily see those spores.

BLITZER: So the postal workers, Mr. Weaver, they had no idea, perhaps, that they were being infected.

WEAVER: Well, that may be the case. And, again, you don't know what happened. You don't know if something broke open on a belt, and, again, that's under investigation at this point.

BLITZER: Let's take another caller from Canada. Please go ahead with your question.

CALLER: Yes. Hello there. I was just wondering in what milieu do the anthrax spores multiply the best, and how long is there a danger of infection from them?

BLITZER: In what milieu, in what environment, do these anthrax spores multiply the best, and how long are they are a potential danger?

SATCHER: Well, once the anthrax spores get into the body and certainly into the blood and into the lymph nodes, they can do great danger, because then they really vegetate, if you will, and release the bacteria. And so, that's why we are afraid of that, because, once they get in, they can multiply and grow. So that's the environment that we are trying to prevent.

Obviously, they can also grow go in the skin, not as well, but they can grow. And they have a much lower fatality rate with skin. And if we on top of it, we can control skin anthrax almost 100 percent.

BLITZER: Mr. Weaver, you said there were only three letters confirmed to have had anthrax in those letters or somehow contained...

WEAVER: That's correct.

BLITZER: ... in those letters. But we heard about all sorts of other letters--a letter going to Kenya, for example, the letter went to Nevada, the letter that went to the New York Times bureau in Rio de Janeiro. What about all those other letters?

WEAVER: Well, we're seeing a lot of other mailings coming out, too, Wolf. And unfortunately, there are people that are using this or taking advantage of this situation to send out hoaxes or to further their own cause, and we take those very seriously.

In fact, we're up to about a half a dozen or more prosecutions that are pending for people that are sending hoaxes through the mail. And every day since this episode started, we're receiving, on average, 600 to 700 incidents that are phoned into us that our agents have to go out and investigate.

BLITZER: And these are hoaxes, is that what you're saying?

WEAVER: Well, not necessarily hoaxes, but suspicious items or things that people want checked out, and some of that's good.

BLITZER: And if one is involved in a hoax and involves the postal service, what are you going to do to that person?

WEAVER: Well, it's the same--the attorney general commented on it the other day also. And the penalties are up to five years in prison, for just...

BLITZER: So this is a very serious business...

WEAVER: Absolutely.

BLITZER: It's not a laughing matter.

WEAVER: Absolutely.

BLITZER: And let's take another caller from Virginia. Please go ahead with your question.

CALLER: Hey, Mr. Blitzer, I appreciate your taking my question, sir. What I would like to know is, with the spread of anthrax, although somewhat limited, do either of you fear or feel the possibility of a wider spread throughout the general public and the threat to the children of America during the upcoming Halloween celebration?

BLITZER: Now, what about that, Dr. Satcher? Halloween's coming up. Is anthrax going to be a problem for kids going out trick-or-treating?

SATCHER: Well, we hope not. I think we have said that we need balance here. On the one hand, we need a state of high alert, being careful how we handle things. Those things that we talk about in public health, like washing hands and being careful how you handle foreign things, like in the postal service. Those are very important now--cooking thoroughly meat that you eat. All of those things are important.

We believe that if we persevere and use the public health system and follow the guidelines, that we can be safe. Now, we may issue some special guidelines for Halloween, because it is true that, as a nation, we must be on high alert.

We don't need to panic. There is no reason to panic. I think we're responding very well to this challenge, but we do need to be on high alert and everyone needs to know what that means at any given time.

BLITZER: And I know from our previous interviews, even long before the anthrax scare erupted here in the United States, you were warning people, wash your hands with soap and water often.

SATCHER: Right. The basic public health interventions are critical. They have always been. They are especially important now. We can beat this if we adhere to the public health infrastructure intervention.

BLITZER: Should postal workers now, before there's any major activity, should they be wearing rubber gloves, latex gloves, just as a matter of doing their day-to-day job?

SATCHER: Well, we've made that available to them, Wolf. Anybody that feels that they need to wear them or are in a position to where they need to wear rubber gloves--and we want to make sure they wear the right kind because there are some that can really give you an allergic reaction if you're not careful.

So we are getting the right kind of gloves and filtration, if they so desire and so far as it doesn't present a safety hazard to the employee.

BLITZER: Are you looking at various new technologies that can zap the mail, if you will, or provide some radiation technique that would kill this anthrax bacteria just as a matter of routine?

WEAVER: Yes, we are. And, we've got people that are at different vendors right now analyzing that, looking at it. We want to make sure whatever it is we do get to sanitize the mail, that's it safe and that we do it right. But I think in the very near future, you're going to see some of that.

BLITZER: All right. Let's take another caller from California. Go ahead please with your question.

CALLER: Yes, hi, this is Sarah (ph) from San Francisco. I'm wondering about skin exposure with anthrax. Do you have to have a break in the skin in order to come down with it?

And, number two, if it is absorbed in the system, do you always have a lesion?

And I guess my third and last one is, if the lesion does not appear, would it become fatal if untreated?

BLITZER: All right. Those are three aspects of cutaneous anthrax.

SATCHER: Right.

BLITZER: The first question involved, do you have to have a break in the skin in order for the anthrax bacteria to enter your body?

SATCHER: Well, certainly a break in the skin increases the risk, but clearly we have cases where people had not identified a break in their skin who have developed sores from anthrax. So you don't have to have an identifiable break in the skin in order to get cutaneous anthrax.

I do want to say again that cutaneous anthrax is very treatable.

BLITZER: It's the Cipro and other antibiotics.

SATCHER: Right. Very treatable with Cipro, with penicillin, with tetracycline. And the fatality rate is less than 1 percent. It's almost 100 percent treatable with cutaneous...

BLITZER: And all of these antibiotics are equally as effective?

SATCHER: Not in all people. Now, it is true that there's resistance on the part of some organisms. That's why we start everybody on Cipro, and then after four or five days, we get the results back, and we see if they're sensitive to penicillin or tetracycline. Then we generally change.

So, if it is sensitive to the antibiotic, they are equally treatable. But there are some organisms that are resistant, and that's what we want to know about.

BLITZER: OK. We're going to take another quick break, but we have a lot more to talk about, including more of your phone calls on anthrax and mail security.

Late Edition will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: For a more in-depth look at what you need to know about anthrax, including facts on the antibiotic Cipro, go to our web site at cnn.com.

Meanwhile, we're continuing our discussion with the U.S. surgeon general, Dr. David Satcher, and Ken Weaver, the chief U.S. postal inspector.

I want to begin, Dr. Satcher, by pointing out that the CDC, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, have warned that anthrax, yes, is a problem, but maybe there are other biological terrorist threats out there as well, not only anthrax, but we'll put up on the screen some other potential problems, including the plague, botulism, smallpox and others.

The Republican senator from Tennessee, Bill Frist, who himself is a medical doctor, was on TV earlier today. He noted this, and I want you to listen to what he had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

U.S. SENATOR BILL FRIST (R-TN): What we need to do is establish a public health infrastructure that can address each one of these, not just one, not just concentrate on a vaccine for just this one, because the terrorists will move to the next element to the next element to the next element.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: Last week on this program Senator Carl Levin said his nightmare scenario that keeps him up at night is smallpox.

SATCHER: Well, let me say I agree with Senator Frist. And I must say that the stockpile that we have at the CDC is not limited to anthrax. The stockpile has vaccines for smallpox; we don't think enough, so we're going to increase that. But all of those other agents that he mentioned, where we have agents to deal with them, we have included that in the stockpile. For example, we have antidotes to botulinum toxin in the stockpile.

So, he's right. There are other agents, other things that we're worried about, other than anthrax, but we've also tried to prepare the system, not just the stockpile, but the people who are trained in all of these cities to deal with those.

BLITZER: Is it time to bring back the smallpox vaccinations, which of course disappeared in the early '70s, when it was believed there was no more smallpox.

SATCHER: You're going to get debate about that. I would say that it is not time to start immunizing everybody against smallpox. Some people would disagree with that.

I think we have to look very critically at this issue. We don't have a single case of smallpox anywhere in the world. And as a rule in public health, you do not immunize against something for which there is no definable risk.

But also, we know, for example, if there were an attack with smallpox in this country, if we could identify it very early, we could provide vaccines for people very early and prevent the development of smallpox in those persons.

So, we're going to continue to study this issue, but as of today, we would not recommend immunization against smallpox as a routine.

BLITZER: All over the country, Mr. Weaver, in mailrooms at businesses, small businesses, big businesses, people are wondering what should they be doing right now as lots of mail comes in. What should they be doing, if anything, differently?

WEAVER: Well, some of the same advice that we give to the American citizens: Be wary of what you're receiving. Set up a protocol in your mailroom. I think every mailroom should have some type of protocol on what happens if they do see something suspicious.

And knowing what to look for. We have sent out, just last week, we put together, a video, that we're sending to all mailrooms, on what to look for and how to address it, who to report it to, just to allay some fears.

Because, right now, you've got to understand, this has been an attack on the mail system of the United States, the people's mail system, and using the mail system to attack some innocent people. And we're not going to stand for that.

BLITZER: And the U.S. Postal Service, as you well know, was having some financial problems to begin with. This is only going to make that matter so much worse.

WEAVER: Well--and, again, we're more concerned about the well-being of our people, the well-being of our customers, but certainly, since September 11, everybody has run into some financial difficulties. So we're not alone in that venue.

BLITZER: Dr. Satcher, explain one thing to me. The 4,000 to 5,000 individuals here in Washington on Capitol Hill who were tested for anthrax exposure, the nasal swabs. They came back negative. They had originally been given a small dose of Cipro, three, four days. Should they just stop taking the Cipro right now?

SATCHER: No, they should follow the guidelines of the physicians there, because it's very important to understand that a negative nasal swab does not mean that you shouldn't take Cipro for 60 days.

And our guidelines are that, if you were on the fifth or sixth floor in the southeast wing of that building Monday, October 15, even if you visited for only an hour, we recommend that you take the drug for at least 60 days.

It's very important to understand that a negative nasal swab does not say that you should not take Cipro.

BLITZER: So...

SATCHER: We use the nasal swabs to help determine where there was exposure, but not everybody's going to have a positive. Even somebody who could have inhalation anthrax later might well have a negative nasal swab.

So it's very important to follow the dictates of the public health people there. My deputy surgeon general is now full-time on the Hill. They will be giving advice to individuals. And many of those individuals who were on the fifth and sixth floor will be taking Cipro or some other agent for 60 days.

BLITZER: Same advice basically for the 2,000 postal workers who are going to be tested, treated at the Brentwood facility here in the District of Columbia. Even if their nasal swabs come back negative, they may want to...

SATCHER: Right, unless we find that it was not the Brentwood facility but the other facility where the person contracted it. That's the only way I could see that we would decide they don't need to take it for the full 60 days. Because what you want to do is identify, where was the exposure? If you can say that the exposure was at Brentwood, you want them to take it for the full 60 days.

BLITZER: OK. Dr. David Satcher, Ken Weaver, thanks to both of you for the excellent advice. I'm sure our viewers are grateful to both of you.

WEAVER: Thank you, Wolf.

BLITZER: Thank you.

And just ahead, grading Congress on the anthrax scare. We'll go 'round the table on that and more, with Roberts, Page and Lowry, when Late Edition returns.

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