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Fox News Sunday - Transcript

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Transcript- Fox News Sunday
Sunday August 20, 2006

The following is a partial transcript of the Aug. 20, 2006, edition of "FOX News Sunday With Chris Wallace":

"FOX NEWS SUNDAY" HOST CHRIS WALLACE: Following last week's foiled plot to blow up planes over the Atlantic, we want to take a look at whether there are still serious gaps in air safety.

To discuss that, we're joined by Pete King, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, and here in studio by Rafi Ron, former chief of security at Israeli airports, and Rand Beers, who served as a counterterrorism aid to President Bush before becoming a top foreign policy advisor to John Kerry.

Well, let's start with the issue of profiling, the politically incorrect idea that some passengers should be treated differently. I asked Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff about that on Sunday, and here's what he had to say.


MICHAEL CHERTOFF, SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY: If we become too focused on a particular profile, we're likely to be dropping our guard precisely where the terrorists are going to be acting next.


WALLACE: Chairman King, what do you think of that, this idea that if you say target young Muslim men, then the terrorists are going to find someone else to carry out these acts?

REP. PETER KING, R-N.Y.: Well, I'm not saying we should be targeting people, Chris, but I think we should put political correctness somewhat to the side and say that a screener or even an airline should have the right to factor in a person's national origin.

We know that the threat is coming from Islamic terrorism and from Islamic terrorists, and obviously you can have a Richard Reid. You could always have a Timothy McVeigh coming through.

But the fact is the overwhelming odds are that it is going to be someone of Middle Eastern or South Asian descent and of the Muslim faith. And I think a screener should be allowed to factor that in as one of many factors.

Like if we were told that the Ku Klux Klan was going to attack Harlem or Bedford Stuyvesant, I think we'd spend more time looking more closely at whites than we would at African-Americans. Or if it was the IRA, you'd look more closely at Irish Americans.

So I'm saying it's a factor that should be in there and a screener or an airline shouldn't be worried about being sued, or losing their job or being hit with a civil rights action if they factor that in as one of a number of other issues they look at.


WALLACE: Let's talk about that, Chairman King. There's been a lot of criticism of DHS recently, that it is too focused on fighting the last war, too concerned in preventing another 9/11 instead of dealing with newer threats.

And there's a story today that indicates that the House, your side of Congress, is so concerned with the way that the research arm of DHS is failing to do its job that there is talk about cutting its budget in half. Is DHS off the tracks here?

KING: I think they're going in the right direction. I think for several years they were behind the curve. I do think in the last year, though, with people like Kip Hawley and Michael Jackson, the department is starting to go forward.

But for instance, my own committee is having a hearing. And this was scheduled a month ago. It's going to be held on September 7th when we get back on the science and technology directorate at the Department of Homeland Security. I think more does have to be done as far as technology.

But also, if I can go back to what Mr. Ron said, we can only go so far with technology. Listen, we have to get the best technology possible. But we're never going to be 100 percent safe. We have to have as many layers of defense as possible.

So I think we should be going more for behavioral training and looking at that, because even Ben Gurion Airport is not 100 percent safe. But as many layers as we can throw up as possible we should. So we should go more to behavioral training.

Also, they do have to do more as far as technology. I do think that Kip Hawley at TSA is moving more in that direction than they had been in the past. But more has to be done. Yes, I agree with that.

WALLACE: Would you briefly, Congressman King, like to see questioning of every passenger before they get on a plane?

KING: I don't know if we can do every one, because again, you know, 740 million passengers a year is an awful lot. We have to be selective. We have to realize we can never be perfectly safe, but we have to go where the greatest threat is, the greater threat, and try to minimize those threats and, you know, really go after them. But we should certainly, again, be screening everyone.

And there's another place where DHS has to do a better job, and that's getting the terrorist screening list more up to date so that we'll know — have a better idea in advance who's coming in, who's not, and also better backgrounds on the people, focus on them, screen others randomly.

But you can't do 100 percent, no. But we should really try to narrow down those who we know we want to get or who could be a potential risk.


WALLACE: Chairman King, let's do a lightning round, if we can, and — quick questions, quick answers. Let me ask you about some of the threats out there right now, new threats, and our ability as we sit here today to be able to deal with them. First of all, liquid explosives.

KING: Liquid explosives — the technology is being pursued. We have technology that can do bottle by bottle. It cannot do it quickly enough. It's really not ready for prime time. Hopefully that can be perfected within the next year.

WALLACE: So basically, liquid explosives right now — if they wanted to carry it on a carry-on bag with a bunch of stuff, there'd be no way of detecting it.

KING: It's possible. Not the guarantees that we should have, no.

WALLACE: Air cargo on passenger flights — I was astonished to read that only about 10 percent to 15 percent of the 6 billion pounds of air cargo that's put on passenger flights is ever inspected.

KING: All of it is screened — again, not effectively enough. They have known shipper programs. There's also 4,000 different lists as far as known shippers, and what is being done at San Francisco Airport has to be looked at. It's a combination of canine and technology which hopefully can bring us a lot more along as far as screening all of it or actually inspecting all of it.

But no, that is a concern. I think industry should be doing more and the department should be doing more.

WALLACE: Finally, shoulder-fired missiles — how real a threat and what are we doing to try to prevent that?

KING: Well, it's a remote threat, but on the other hand it is possible. It costs about $11 billion right now, and that doesn't include maintenance.

I think one thing we should consider is what DOD is actually looking at, and that's having perimeter security at airports to stop MANPADS from being shot out. But again, we're never going to get 100 percent security. And besides, we have subways, chemical plants, tunnels, bridges, all of these out here.

We have to decide what we're going to protect against. I think perimeter security at airports is probably more feasible than actually equipping 6,800 different planes with protections against MANPADS. But again, it is being looked at. It is being researched. We have to go forward.


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