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Thread: Kean And Hamilton On "Meet The Press" - Transcript Inside

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2005

    Kean And Hamilton On "Meet The Press" - Transcript Inside

    Kean And Hamilton On "Meet The Press"


    MR. RUSSERT: And we are back. Governor Kean, Congressman Hamilton, welcome back to MEET THE PRESS.

    FMR. REP. LEE HAMILTON, (D-IN; Vice Chair, 9-11 Commission): Thank you.

    MR. RUSSERT: Let me take you back in the middle of the presidential campaign, July 22, 2004, outside the White House. Here's President George Bush greeting and accepting your report. Let's watch.

    (Videotape, July 22, 2004):

    PRES. BUSH: These two men bring a commonsense approach to how to move forward.

    And the report that they are about to present to me puts out some very constructive recommendations, and I look forward to studying their recommendations and look forward to working with responsible parties within my administration to move forward on those recommendations.

    (End videotape)

    MR. RUSSERT: "To move forward on recommendations." In all honesty, Governor, what grade would you give the president for adopting and enacting your recommendations?

    FMR. GOV. THOMAS KEAN, (R-N.J.; Chair, 9-11 Commission): We're going to grade everybody. We're not going to grade the president. But what we've said is that we've not moved forward to the extent we should. We've made some progress, very little progress in some areas. It's not a priority for the government right now. You don't see the Congress or the president talking about the public safety is number one, as we think it should be, and a lot of the things we need to do really to prevent another 9/11 just simply aren't being done by the president or by the Congress.

    MR. RUSSERT: Do you believe that you were being, in effect, used by the president during the campaign with that photo op?

    MR. KEAN: Oh, I don't think we were being used. He accepted our report. We were happy he did. What we're concerned about now is that these recommendations more than four years after 9/11 are still not being done. People are not paying attention to them. And if they're not put into place, we are very vulnerable as a people to another attack.

    MR. RUSSERT: You both wrote an op-ed piece September 11, 2005, just two months ago, and this is what you pointed out. One, "Allocate `first responder' funding on the basis of risk, not politics." Two, "Complete critical risk assessments mandated by the Intelligence Reform Act." Three, "Provide reliable radio spectrum for emergency responders." Four, "Establish a unified Incident Command System."

    Congressman Hamilton, has any of that been done?

    MR. HAMILTON: Well, certainly not enough. On the question of setting aside part of the radio spectrum for the first responders, there's an important bill pending right now in the Congress. We hope it will be approved within the next few days. It really approaches scandal to think that four years after 9/11, the police and the fire cannot talk to one another at the scene of the disaster.

    MR. RUSSERT: We should--tell our viewers about that. The District of Columbia police and fire could not speak to Arlington, Virginia, Alexandria, Virginia, over at the Pentagon. During Katrina, local, state and federal officials could not communicate with each other because the bands on which they were trying to communicate were not compatible.

    MR. HAMILTON: Absolutely. This is a no-brainer. From the standpoint of responding to a disaster, the key responders must be able to talk with one another. They could not do it on 9/11, and as a result of that, lives were lost. They could not do it at Katrina. They still cannot do it. And we think this is-- must be urgently considered and approved. Now, that's not the only problem.

    MR. RUSSERT: Will it get fixed this week?

    MR. HAMILTON: I don't know.

    MR. KEAN: No.

    MR. HAMILTON: It's a close call.

    MR. KEAN: No, it's not...

    MR. HAMILTON: We don't know.

    MR. KEAN: It's not going to be fixed this week because the best hope we have is a bill that fixes it by '09.

    MR. HAMILTON: Oh, yes.

    MR. KEAN: Now, '09 is not soon enough. Actually, the leader on this has been your previous guest, John McCain, who understands this issue, has been fighting for it, but the special interests have prevailed up to this point.

    MR. RUSSERT: How about first responder funding on the basis of risk, not politics? People in--per capita spending in Wyoming, more than New York, and--which is higher risk for terrorists.

    MR. HAMILTON: We've had some of this money spent to air condition garbage trucks. We've had some of the money spent for armor for dogs. This money is being distributed as if it's general revenue sharing. We want that money distributed according to the best information we have about the risks and the vulnerabilities. The money should flow to protect the lives of the American people. It is not now being done and should be done.

    MR. RUSSERT: Who's accountable? Who's accountable?

    MR. HAMILTON: Right now, the Congress is accountable. The president supports our recommendation. The Congress has this before it this week as well, and we think it's critically important it be adopted.

    MR. RUSSERT: Complete critical risk assessments mandated by the Intelligence Reform Act. You ask that Homeland Security go out and look at nuclear power plants and chemical plants and make a risk assessment. Why hasn't that been done?

    MR. KEAN: Well, they did something that's totally inadequate. It doesn't set the priorities out, it just sets basically vague guidelines what the priorities should be. And you can't allocate funds properly until you know what your risks are, and that's what we're trying to get people to do, and that's mandated by the law and they just have not done it. When you put these things together--right now, by the way, the bill we just talked about is a 5-5 vote in the Conference Committee in the Senate. If one more senator votes the right way, we can get risk assessment done. So we're very close to that one. It'll be decided this week.

    MR. HAMILTON: See, the key problem here is making hard choices. What we do is continue to talk about hard choices. We don't make the hard choices, and the hard choices require us to do what Tom said, and that is make distinctions, the priorities: This needs to be protected, that we don't have sufficient funds to protect.

    MR. RUSSERT: Washington, D.C., is a higher risk, New York City is a higher risk than perhaps a rural community in Utah or in Wyoming.

    MR. KEAN: That's absolutely right.

    MR. HAMILTON: We know what the terrorists want to do. They want to kill as many Americans as possible. That means you go after New York City, not rural southern Indiana. It means they want to strike the symbolic targets of America. They have said this. That means you protect the Washington Monument and the United States Capitol and not other places.

    MR. RUSSERT: Establish a unified incident command system.

    MR. KEAN: That is so important and we saw it. Katrina. I mean, there was such confusion at that point. It's at state, local, everybody else. Nobody knew who was in charge. Nobody knew by the way who was in charge on 9/11 when people responded to the World Trade Center. Police, fire, Port Authority--nobody knew who was in charge. The same thing happened in Katrina. We suggested every single state, every single locality, you've got to know who's in charge. We have Bloomberg doing that now in New York. Other leaders have got to do it. One person's got to be in charge.

    MR. RUSSERT: It sounds like on these four areas, it's an F. Is that fair?

    MR. KEAN: Well, we may be giving grades tomorrow and I'll tell you there are more F's, unfortunately than there are A's.

    MR. HAMILTON: But if these two bills are passed...

    MR. KEAN: Yeah. Yeah.

    MR. HAMILTON: ...on radio spectrum and allocation of funds, the grades will quickly switch...

    MR. KEAN: Yeah.

    MR. HAMILTON: a B or an A. So some of these things can be corrected quickly. Others cannot.

    MR. RUSSERT: The Transportation Security Administration has made a decision that they're going to allow scissors with a blade of four inches and tools of seven inches or more be allowed to take them on airplanes. Is that a good idea?

    MR. KEAN: Personally, I don't think so. I don't think we have to go backward on here. They're talking about using more money for random checks. I don't think random checks are very good anyway. That's pulling out your grandmother because she came up on a computer. That's not what we should be doing. And to switch--and by the way, talking about TSA, four years after 9/11, there still isn't a unified watch list, in other words, of terrorists. Terrorists coming through the airport may still not be spotted 'cause the agencies still haven't gotten together. There's still not a unified watch list.

    MR. HAMILTON: On the question of the scissors, I think that's a tough one. One of the things we said in the report is that you should make a judgment as to what the high risks are. I worry more about what's in the cargo container than the people on the airplane today. So we said that one of the really great risks are explosions taking place in the cargo hold. We have to get much, much better than we are today at being able to detect those explosions. Now, the TSA, the Transportation Security Agencies, they can't do it all. You have to allocate resources, so judgments have to be made. I'm a little skittish as I guess Tom is about a four-inch or three-inch scissors. Remember the hijackers were very sophisticated people.

    MR. RUSSERT: Box cutters.

    End Part I
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    MR. HAMILTON: Well, they knew you could get on an airplane with a four-inch blade but not a six- inch blade. They knew that.

    MR. KEAN: And they used them.

    MR. HAMILTON: And they used that information. So you have to anticipate a very sophisticated enemy here as they were prior to 9/11.

    MR. RUSSERT: The sky marshals and the flight attendants are opposed to this change.

    MR. KEAN: Yeah.

    MR. HAMILTON: Yeah.

    MR. RUSSERT: Why don't we listen to them?

    MR. KEAN: I think we should. They're the people who deal with this every day, but you mentioned the cargo hold. You know, we've got--we've now developed machinery that can detect some of these explosives going into the cargo hold but we haven't installed it yet. And it doesn't do any good being invented and not installed.

    MR. RUSSERT: I can just see my dad and millions of other Americans sitting here watching this program this morning saying, "What is going on?" It's been four years since September 11. You had your commission. You met, had a bipartisan unanimous vote, had these recommendations to allow emergency responders to talk with one another...

    MR. KEAN: Yeah.

    MR. RUSSERT: give more money to areas of high risk, to have a unified command center and nothing's been done. What is the problem? Seriously, who's accountable?

    MR. HAMILTON: Well, we've asked ourselves that question a good many times. I think in general what we will say tomorrow is that there is a lack of a sense of urgency. And that's what impresses us overall. I think what happens is sustainability is a very tough thing in our government just because there are so many competing priorities. We've got a war going on. We've got three wars going on, one in Afghanistan, one in Iraq and the war against terror, and it's awfully hard to keep people focused on something like this. What Tom and I and the other commissioners are saying is we have to get back to a real sense of urgency about protecting the safety and the security of the American people.

    MR. RUSSERT: Two other big issues you raise: the "Nonproliferation: the maximum effort by the U.S. government to prevent terrorists from acquiring weapons of mass destruction; public diplomacy, defining the U.S. message."

    How is the government doing on those?

    MR. KEAN: Well, there's some progress on trying to secure nuclear sites, but not enough. We're talking about doing it in 14 years. Nobody thinks we have 14 years. Bin Laden has said he wants to use nuclear weapons to attack the United States. So that's got to be a much higher priority. We should be able to do that in two or three years, if it's on top of the priority list. I think we can. And the second one you mentioned, we've got to look at our image in the world and we've got to do things differently. We've got to talk about public education for people in some of these countries. We've got to talk about the kind of image we have and the things we do to create that image. If we don't, there are going to be more terrorists created than the ones we're now killing.

    MR. RUSSERT: Does the debate over torture help that?

    MR. KEAN: Debate over torture doesn't help that at all. I mean, for us to be talking in the United States about whether or not we should torture people--we recommended very strongly in the report international standards that every country would go along with on how you treat.

    MR. RUSSERT: International standards.

    MR. KEAN: International standards...

    MR. HAMILTON: Yeah.

    MR. RUSSERT: International standards.

    MR. KEAN: ...on how you treat prisoners. We've got to do that. This is doing us no good.

    MR. RUSSERT: A few weeks ago I had the former director of the FBI, Louis Freeh, on this program, and he was very pointed on some comments about your commission. And he wrote this piece for The Wall Street Journal. Let me walk you through it: "Why Did the 9-11 Commission Ignore `Able Danger'? Recent revelations from the military intelligence operation code-named `Able Danger' have cast light on a missed opportunity that could have potentially prevented 9/11. Specifically, Able Danger concluded in February 2000 that military experts had identified Mohamed Atta by name (and maybe by photograph) as an al-Qaeda agent operating in the U.S. Subsequently, military officers assigned to Able Danger were prevented from sharing this critical information with FBI agents, even though appointments had been made to do so. Why?...

    "Was Able Danger intelligence provided to the 9-11 Commission prior to the finalization of its report, and, if so, why was it not explored? In sum, what did the 9/11 commissioners and their staff know about Able Danger and when did they know it? ...the 9-11 Commission inexplicably concluded that it `was not historically significant.' This astounding conclusion--in combination with the failure to investigate Able Danger and incorporate it into its findings--raises serious challenges to the commission's credibility and, if the facts prove out, might just render the commission historically insignificant itself."

    MR. HAMILTON: Well, that's a big "if" on the end there. Look, we looked at Able Danger very, very carefully. We do not think there was anything there of great significance. Now, something could come out in the future. I don't know. But in Mr. Freeh's article he did not present any new evidence at all. Our investigators were informed about Able Danger. We requested all of the documents relating to Able Danger. We reviewed these documents. We had investigators meet with some of these people in Afghanistan and other places. The bottom line is that they can furnish no documentary evidence to support their charges that they had a chart, for example, with Mohamed Atta's name on it. It is...

    MR. RUSSERT: Congressman Weldon of Pennsylvania says he gave that chart to the national security advisor.

    MR. HAMILTON: And the national security advisor denied that he ever got it. That was the assistant, Stephen Hadley, not Condi Rice, at the time. We have not seen that chart. We have not seen Mohamed Atta's name in any documentation prior to 9/11. Believe me, we know the name of Atta and we would have been alert to it. We just need evidence to support these charges. We don't accuse anyone here of bad intentions. But the people that have brought forward this information have not given us any documentation. They were not involved in the analysis of it themselves. Their recollections in some respects--for example, the whereabouts of Mohamed Atta--simply are not accurate. We have documentation to show that. So we need to have more evidence, and Mr. Freeh's article simply did not bring forward any new evidence. We concluded--the staff concluded, not the commission--that this information was not valid, that there was too much doubt about it.

    MR. RUSSERT: Do you agree with that?

    MR. KEAN: Yeah. We had an awful lot of people coming forward, 50 or 60, saying they saw Mohamed Atta here, they saw Mohamed Atta there; they had this and that. There was absolutely no evidence to back this up. There still isn't any evidence to back it up. If people want to look into it, they're welcome to. We still haven't seen the evidence to indicate it. We saw every file. The Pentagon denies it. They say they haven't gotten any information. The White House...

    MR. HAMILTON: White House denies it.

    MR. KEAN: White House denies it. Nobody brought the congressional investigation any information. Nobody gave any information to the 9/11 Commission to back this up. If this is true in any way, it's a monstrous conspiracy. I haven't seen any evidence to back it up.

    MR. RUSSERT: I want to go back to your original report. You found that there was no connection between al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein that was "operational." And you found that there was no evidence that the--Iraq cooperated with al-Qaeda in developing or carrying out attacks against the U.S. Is that accurate?

    MR. KEAN: That's correct.

    MR. RUSSERT: So there's no suggestion that Iraq was, in any way, shape or form, involved with September 11?

    MR. KEAN: No, and we can find no evidence whatsoever, and we came out with that statement clearly.

    MR. RUSSERT: Before you go, if one year from now we have exactly the same report in terms of all the factors I raised with you this morning, what would you say?

    MR. HAMILTON: I'd be extremely disappointed.

    MR. KEAN: And extremely worried that we may have had another attack at that point because some of these things weren't done.

    MR. HAMILTON: We believe another attack will occur, and we had better get to it and protect the American people.

    MR. RUSSERT: Not if but when.

    MR. HAMILTON: It's not a question of if. We know what their intent is. They've expressed it over and over again.

    MR. RUSSERT: And are we prepared?

    MR. HAMILTON: We've...

    MR. RUSSERT: Are we prepared?

    MR. HAMILTON: No, we are not as well prepared, as Tom put it early on, as well prepared as we should be. There is plenty of room for improvement, and we've got to get with the task.

    MR. KEAN: And God help us if we have another attack and we haven't done some of these things.

    MR. RUSSERT: Who has to grab hold of this? Is it the president?

    MR. KEAN: It's the president and the Congress. It's our government. And there are things we talked about today that Congress has to do; there are things we talked about that the administration has to do. First of all, the safety of the American people has got to be their number one priority. There is nothing more important.

    MR. RUSSERT: Are you now out of business?

    MR. KEAN: We're going out of business as of December 31.

    MR. RUSSERT: That's it.

    MR. KEAN: That's it.

    MR. RUSSERT: Never to be heard from again.

    MR. KEAN: As individuals, we're going to be around, but...

    MR. RUSSERT: And your son is running for the United States Senate of New Jersey.

    MR. KEAN: Our son is--my son is running for the United States Senate. Good candidate, by the way.

    MR. RUSSERT: OK. We need equal time for the Democrats, but that's--Governor Tom Kean, Congressman Lee Hamilton, thanks very much.

    And we'll be right back.

    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    "Look, we looked at Able Danger very, very carefully"
    Lee Hamilton - 12/4/2005

    "The 9-11 Commission did not learn of any U.S. government knowledge prior to 9-11 of surveillance of Mohammed Atta or of his cell. Had we learned of it, obviously it would've been a major focus of our investigation."
    Lee Hamilton - 8/2005
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

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