Wednesday, November 10, 2004

9-11 Commisioners Took Oath to Deceive Voters?

TRANSCRIPTS


PAULA ZAHN NOW

Aired November 8, 2004 - 20:00 ET

ZAHN: And joining me now, a Democrat who has served as both a governor and U.S. senator. Bob Kerrey also was a member of the 9/11 Commission and is now president of the New School University here in New York.

You better not do much more, because I can barely get that all into the introduction.

BOB KERREY (D), FORMER U.S. SENATOR: That's it. That's it.

ZAHN: Welcome back...

KERREY: .....
George Bush knows when to kiss the baby. And that's a hard thing to teach. In fact, it's an impossible thing to teach. He's very good on the street and he's good with the message. His message was, I will keep you safe, and the other guy won't. And when you are the incumbent, it's a much higher standard for an opponent to prove that you're wrong. So...

ZAHN: The American public, by and large, didn't think John Kerry was the guy to do that.

KERREY: That's correct, because the president had a case, a very simple case to make: I am the commander in chief. I won the war in Afghanistan, even though John Kerry supported it, even though, by the way, there's a credible case that the president's own negligence prior to 9/11 at least in part contributed to the disaster in the first place.

ZAHN: How so?

KERREY: Well, the 9/11 report says in chapter eight -- now that it's beyond the campaign, so the promise I had to keep this out of the campaign is over.

The 9/11 report in chapter eight says that, in the summer of 2001, the government ignored repeated warnings by the CIA, ignored, and didn't do anything to harden our border security, didn't do anything to harden airport country, didn't do anything to engage local law enforcement, didn't do anything to round up INS and consular offices and say we have to shut this down, and didn't warn the American people.

The famous presidential daily briefing on August 6, we say in the report that the briefing officers believed that there was a considerable sense of urgency and it was current. So there was a case to be made that wasn't made.

(CROSSTALK)

ZAHN: But what we continue to hear from this administration is that the threat was much too diffuse. There was no way you could zero in on the fact that al Qaeda was going to use jets as bombs and ram them into buildings.

KERREY: That is a straw man.

The president says, if I had only known that 19 Islamic men would come into the United States of America and on the morning of 11 September hijack four American aircraft, fly two into the World Trade Center, one into the Pentagon, and one into an unknown Pennsylvania that crashed in Shanksville, I would have moved heaven and earth. That's what he said.

Mr. President, you don't need to know that. This is an Islamic jihadist movement that has been organized since the early 1990s, declared war on the United States twice, in '96 and '98. You knew they were in the United States. You were warned by the CIA. You knew in July they were inside the United States. You were told again by briefing officers in August that it was a dire threat.

And what did you do? Nothing, so far as we could see on the 9/11 Commission. Now, that's in the report. And we took an oath not to talk about it during the campaign, I think correctly so, to increase the capacity of that commission's report to be heard by the people's Congress.

But the report, I think, it's difficult for a challenger. If I had been the challenger, it's difficult to make that case when you are running against an incumbent. He can stand back and say, oh, you're just grousing.

ZAHN: Oh, we couldn't connect the dots is what we heard.

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