SHOW: CNN TALKBACK LIVE 15:00
May 30, 2002 Thursday
Transcript # 053000CN.V14
SECTION: News; Domestic
LENGTH: 6282 words
HEADLINE: Will New FBI Rules Trample on Civil Liberties?; Pakistan, India Edge Toward Brink of War; Interview With Don King
GUESTS: Toby Levin, Frank Gaffney, Imran Anwar, Radha Kumar, Don King
BYLINE: Arthel Neville, Ash-Har Quraishi
Will new rules at the FBI trample your civil liberties? Then, Pakistan and India, two nuclear neighbors edge toward the brink of war. Would all-out hostilities play right into the hands of al Qaeda? Finally, boxing promoter Don King talks about two upcoming heavyweight bouts.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ARTHEL NEVILLE, HOST: Hello, everybody, and welcome to TALKBACK LIVE. I'm Arthel Neville. As we all just heard, Attorney General John Ashcroft is relaxing some rules and giving FBI agents more leeway to conduct surveillance. From now on, public gatherings, religious and political organizations and even the Internet could fall under the watchful eyes of the FBI as they focus on preventing terrorism. Are you comfortable with that?
I really want to know what you think about this, so give me a call, 800-310-4CNN or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Now here's a look at what else we're talking about today.
Will new rules at the FBI trample your civil liberties? Find out why the ACLU already objects to the agency's anti-terrorism guidelines.
Also, Pakistan and India, two nuclear neighbors edge toward the brink of war. Would all-out hostilities play right into the hands of al Qaeda?
And boxing promoter Don King steps into our ring today. We'll spar a couple of rounds, and maybe he'll have the goods on this week's match-up between Evander Holyfield and Hasim Rahman.
OK, everybody, let's start with the new FBI guidelines. They are getting a lot of criticism from groups concerned about the government's spying on its own citizens. But the administration says the surveillance won't violate the constitution. Here to talk about the new rules are former Assistant Secretary of Defense Frank Gaffney. He is currently the president of the Center for Security Policy. Also Toby Levin, chief privacy officer for the Privacy Council will be here in a moment.
And I want to welcome both of you to the show.
And Mr. Gaffney, since you are here, I will begin with you -- and Toby's there as well. But I will begin with you, anyway, Mr. Gaffney. What exactly are we talking about concerning increased surveillance?
FRANK GAFFNEY, PRESIDENT, CENTER FOR SECURITY POLICY: Well, you know, I suspect your audience had much the same reaction that I did as we were listening to the attorney general describe what he's got in mind here. And that is, you mean we're not doing that already? It's just unbelievable that the FBI has been hamstrung to this point by regulations and guidelines and directives that have kept them from even looking at published materials of groups that are potentially of concern, or going to public meetings that such groups would have.
And yet that is precisely what has been happening for most of the 25 years that these guidelines have been in effect. And I think leaving us more vulnerable to an attack of the kind that we saw on September 11, and possibly much worse.
NEVILLE: Well then, is it too little, too late?
GAFFNEY: Well, it's late, that's for sure. Whether it's too little remains to be seen. I think there is a question out, will the guidelines address all of the hamstringing that has been inflicted upon the bureau heretofore. Some of that has come about as a result of legislation. Some of that has come about as a result of court rulings over the years. And it remains -- at least to my mind -- to be seen whether the guidelines, which I've not had a chance to look at will, in fact, give the FBI the kind of authority to perform internal security that every other democracy on the planet does, and that I think we clearly need to do in the post-9/11 time period.
NEVILLE: This is what Coleen Rowley was saying in her memo, in fact, that they were desperate -- the Minnesota agents were desperate -- to search Zacarias Moussaoui's computer, and couldn't because of red tape.
GAFFNEY: Well, I think that memo was sort of an insight into a very important organization to this country and just spoke to the frustrations that very capable men and women who serve in FBI offices all over the world, but particularly here in the United States, have felt for many years.
And what it sort of signaled, and what I think is worth spending a minute talking about is is sort of the climate of fear that has been imposed upon FBI agents, who were really, frankly, and quite reasonably afraid that they would get into trouble, they'd have their careers destroyed, they'd lose their life savings, their families even, if they went afoul of one or the other of these guidelines, and had somebody who was a civil libertarian come down on them in Congress or in court, and really created conditions that made it impossible for these agents to do even what nominally we thought they were already doing.
NEVILLE: And speaking of this climate of fear, will these changes, these new guidelines help relieve the climate of fear that Americans now live under?
GAFFNEY: Well, I hope so. I think that if the FBI is able now to begin doing the kind of investigative work that, again, I think all of us expected them to be doing right along -- well, before there is proof that a crime is about to be committed, let alone after it has been committed, there is a chance that we will be able to wage the war on terror as effectively here in the United States as we hoped to be doing elsewhere. That we will not be in the situation, which I fear we have been in -- amazingly enough -- where terrorists have had something of a safe haven in our own country, because they have been able to understand how to game the FBI, how to conduct meetings, how to exercise secrecy that was impenetrable under these kinds of guidelines.
Toby Levin, thank you very much for being patient over there. And I'd like to now hear your thoughts on all of this.
TOBY LEVIN, PRIVACY COUNCIL: Well, first of all, I don't think anyone can dispute the need for improving the way in which we engage in our intelligence operations. And clearly the FBI -- it's appropriate for them to examine their processes and to really start from the bottom up and evaluate how they go about gathering information and how they use the information, whether it's centralized in headquarters or decentralized in field offices.
But I think we as a public need to be cautious about what the solutions are, because we don't want to become a surveillance society, and as a result lose the very liberties that we're trying to protect. So I think we need to have in mind what safeguards and protections need to be built into these new guidelines, and I think -- I don't want to speculate on what they are ...
NEVILLE: Specifically, Toby -- excuse me -- specifically, though, what are you saying here. Are you concerned that now the FBI agents can maybe surf the Internet, go into chat rooms looking for clues that might lead them to terrorism activity?
LEVIN: Well, I think, clearly we need to look at what the definition of public places means.
NEVILLE: Well, the Internet is public.
LEVIN: Yes. But how will the investigators engage in that public forum? Will they be able to falsify their identity? Will they be snooping in ways that might make it difficult for the rest of American public to participate openly in these forums? So I still think we need to have a little bit more meat on the bones as to how the guidelines are going to be implemented.
NEVILLE: But, Toby, if you could I want you to break this down into plain terms for us here. What exactly are you concerned about?
LEVIN: Well, I'm concerned about making sure that we don't trample the very protections, the very liberties that we are trying to protect ...
NEVILLE: For instance?
LEVIN: Well, for instance, the Fourth Amendment, for instance, the right to assemble and to engage in free speech. And I want to be sure that we strike the right balances. I think this is going to take a great deal of intelligence on our part to devise the right methods, and I'm not saying that they're -- the guidelines themselves are wrong. I personally haven't had an opportunity to review them. But what I'm suggesting is that we need to build into the guidelines adequate protections to make sure that we don't unravel the very protections we're trying to protect.
NEVILLE: Right now, but -- but, Frank Gaffney, help me out on this. I mean, the Internet is a public place, so this would not violate the Fourth Amendment, illegal search and seizure, would it?
GAFFNEY: I'm not a lawyer. I certainly don't think that John Ashcroft would put something forward that would violate any of the constitutional provisions. In fact, he made that very clear just now.
But more to the point, I think it is interesting, and I take a great deal of comfort, as an individual who wants a surveillance society no more than anybody else and who treasures these civil liberties, that you have John Ashcroft making these calls. You know, John Ashcroft, when he was in the Senate -- and I think before that in the state government in Missouri -- was well understood and known and had a deserved reputation as a man who was very concerned about civil liberties.
This is precisely the guy you want making what are judgment calls, and there may now, under circumstances we should just be very clear about, in a time of war -- this is not peacetime, this is not a society in which we can just exercise our freedoms in exactly the way we would always want to -- simply because there are people who are now unmistakably, demonstrably determined to use those freedoms...
NEVILLE: Against us.
GAFFNEY: ...to destroy us.
NEVILLE: Exactly. Hang on for me, Frank. I've got Gilda here. Gilda, if you hang on for me as well. I have to take a break right now, but we're going to talk about this more when we come back. And later this hour, we will look into how close India and Pakistan might be to nuclear war. Don't go anywhere.
NEVILLE: And welcome back, everybody. We're talking about the new rules allowing the FBI a whole lot more leeway in conducting domestic surveillance. And as promised, Gilda from New Orleans speaks out now.
GILDA: Yes. Well, I'm conflicted, because I can understand why our government has to do what they have to do to protect us, but the point about -- I feel as though we're being spied upon. It just makes me feel uncomfortable, that they would have to look that deep. I can understand, really I can, but I just don't feel comfortable about that.
NEVILLE: Right. It's an interesting point you raise, Gilda, and actually, Frank or Toby, which one of you would like to address that?
LEVIN: Let me mention that what's come to light in the last several weeks is that actually, the FBI had a lot of information about risks, about possible leads, and part of the problem is that information in and of itself, isn't enough. You have to analyze it properly. So I think as we reflect on our mistakes, or things that we might have done differently, I think we have to learn how to use information that we do collect and not necessarily jump on the bandwagon of collecting more as the answer.
NEVILLE: That's a great point.
GAFFNEY: But I would just add, I think that what the secretary -- the attorney general, rather, identified here as some of the changes, are things that are so important. If you think about it, the information that was being generated, for example, by the Arizona -- Phoenix, Arizona and Minneapolis field offices were not acted upon, not because the agents didn't have ideas as to what to do with that data or what could have been a next useful step, but because they had this rigmarole, these impediments on the one hand, and these guidelines, and this process whereby it all had to be approved by headquarters.
And along the trail, I think we found is it's not enough to have good analysis. You have to have the latitude for real investigations to take place at the field office level.
NEVILLE: OK, now here is a question, though, because let's say now the field agents have more power, which I'm sure a lot of people would argue they should. Then what happens with the argument of the FBI head -- you know, the management, upper management saying, "Well, we weren't able to connect the dots because we had too much information coming from too many different places." So now it gives them more room to slip and slide if they make a mistake yet again.
GAFFNEY: I think that's a bad rap. I think that it looked at, from hindsight, all of the other information that was out there strips away and you see just the important stuff that was obviously relevant, and it seems incredible that anybody could have missed connecting the dots.
In fact even today -- you know, we've been hearing day after day, for recent days, how serious a threat we feel we now face, whether it's shoulder fired missiles, as you were just talking about, or the Brooklyn Bridge, or nuclear power plants or other things -- the fact is we have lots of information today, too, it's figuring out before the fact what's the relevant information, and this is where, I think investigation gumshoes, if you will, people actually working hard to break cases open is so important.
NEVILLE: Toby, hang on for me one second, please. I've got Suzy (ph) in the audience who would like to speak out.
SUZY: It seems to me that what we're dealing with is an issue of trust. I feel in my heart that I really just don't trust the FBI to do what they say they're doing. For example, I'm a citizen of the Internet, and I may be in a chat room, and I may make a comment that may disagree, or in direct opposition with something the government's doing. Does that make me a terrorist? I mean, what are we looking for, and who are we policing? I mean, we're policing ourselves but we don't trust ourselves, so I believe there's some healing that needs to go on between the FBI coming out and saying, "You know, this is being done not..."
NEVILLE: Let me let Toby jump in there. Thank you very much, Suzy (ph).
LEVIN: Thank you. I have to agree with the questioner with regard to the key word "trust." We don't want to turn the 9/11 -- the horrors of 9/11 into a way in which now we live in a society in which no one trusts each other. I think what we -- the way to deal with that, however, is to put in some guidelines, as part of the new guidelines, as to how the new criteria, the new tools are going to be implemented.
And we're going to need to monitor closely -- I'm sure Capitol Hill will be monitoring, the Department of Justice itself, FBI and the public will be monitoring exactly how these new guidelines are implemented, and we need to be sure that where there are instances of abuse that they're brought to light, that whistle-blowers will have an opportunity to come to light and explain where things are going awry.
NEVILLE: Absolutely. I'm short on time here, but I have Logan (ph) on the phone from Tennessee. Go ahead, Logan, for me.
LOGAN: Yes, can you hear me, Arthel?
NEVILLE: Yes, I can. Go ahead.
LOGAN: OK. I just wanted to say, on the issue of trust, I think that while we do enjoy certain liberties here, and we do have some amount of privacy, I think the FBI needs to respect that and I think that while we do enjoy that, we also, the FBI also needs to step up and be able to use its resources more efficiently to surveille our citizens and be able to connect with the different offices and headquarters.
NEVILLE: Right your -- yeah, you're absolutely right about that. I think that point was definitely raised earlier. But thank you so much for your call, Logan.
And I've got Dan here, who would like to say something.
DAN: Yes, I'm a heavy Internet user for a long time, and what I'm concerned about is the Internet is a -- technically a -- public forum and a community, but it's different in a way in that technology gives you the ability to have eyes in every public forum that's on the Internet. I use Usenet and various chatrooms, like Edmondstownhall (ph), and I made an offhand comment in one of the chatrooms about the Taliban, just as a joke.
NEVILLE: And what happened to you?
DAN: Well, somebody came back and said, better be careful what you say. That kind of puts a wet blanket on what you can say. And I'm concerned about that.
NEVILLE: OK, Dan, thank you very much. Unfortunately, we're out of time.
Frank Gaffney and Toby Levin, thank you very much for joining us here today on TALKBACK. And we'll be right back.
Up next, is there a danger of nuclear war as hostilities reach a crisis along the Pakistan/Indian border?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're making it very clear to both Pakistan and India that war will not serve their interests.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NEVILLE: Whose interest would it serve? And could the U.S. do anything to cool the conflict?
NEVILLE: Welcome back, everybody. Suddenly the India/Pakistan conflict is taking center stage as hostilities between the nuclear powers begin to spiral out of control. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is going to Pakistan to help ease tensions and to carry the warning that war won't serve either country's best interest.
In the meantime, there is talk of evacuating tens of thousands of Americans living in the region. Let's get some perspective now from CNN Islamabad bureau chief, Ash-Har Quraishi.
ASH-HAR QURAISHI, CNN ISLAMABAD BUREAU CHIEF (on camera): Well, tensions remain high here in the region as firing and shelling over the line of control in Kashmir as well as over the working boundary between India and Pakistan continues. Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf addressing reporters said that the government is seriously considering diverting some of its troops from the western border with Afghanistan to reinforce Pakistani troops on its eastern border with India.
Now that's something of a concern to the United States in its fight against terrorism, to keep al Qaeda and possible Taliban from coming into the country from Afghanistan.
The president also saying, in response to a question about assurances that Pakistan would not be involved in a military conflict, that the only assurance he could give was that Pakistan would not initiate any war with India.
Also, there has been a slew of diplomatic activity here in the region in the last few weeks. British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw just finishing up his trip to the region. We're also seeing today that defense secretary from the United States, Donald Rumsfeld, is also expected in the region in the coming weeks.
Ash-Har Quraishi, CNN, Islamabad, Pakistan.
NEVILLE: OK, here to talk about it are Imran Anwar. He is Pakistani by birth and he is now a U.S. citizen. He has spent most of his adult life writing about the relationship between Pakistan and India. Also with us, Radha Kumar, a senior fellow student -- excuse me -- studying peace and conflict with the Council on Foreign Relations. She is Indian, and I would like to welcome both of you to the show.
Radha Kumar, what will and can Rumsfeld do to ease tensions?
RADHA KUMAR, COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS: I'm assuming that he's going to be very forthright with both sides. I think he could do a great deal if he could persuade both Pakistan and India to now begin to set goals targets and a timetable toward achieving those goals.
NEVILLE: OK, how do you see it, Mr. Kumar (sic)?
IMRAN ANWAR, INDIA-PAKISTAN ANALYST: This is Imran Anwar.
NEVILLE: That's right, excuse me, I apologize.
ANWAR: No problem.
Basically, I tend to agree with what my fellow guest here says. What we have to keep in mind is that the approach that needs to be taken by the U.S. and also by Secretary Rumsfeld and President Bush is not to merely diffuse the situation from this week. Something else could happen two weeks or two years from now. The issue is that not only does he have to be forthright, but he also has to be forceful in saying, this is a problem that is not going to go away unless the root cause of the problem is solved. And that is what I would hope that they are going to plan to do.
NEVILLE: And what could Mr. Rumsfeld do about the root problem, which is Kashmir?
ANWAR: Well, he can bring together on both sides, that the only way to solve this problem is through both negotiations and through discussions, through basically -- through equal and fair representation at the table, and also to find a solution for the people of Kashmir, not just whether, you know, who has greater nukes or who has more soldiers at the border. That's never going to solve the problem. So, he has to be very clear that, yes, we want to de-escalate this situation right now, because it doesn't do any justice or anything to serve the interests of one billion people, both on the Indian and Pakistani sides.
NEVILLE: Imran, let me jump in here for a second, and do me a favor. Let's go back to the beginning, let's go to the basics, and explain to us why this started and how it started.
ANWAR: Well, I'll try to give you my perspective and, you know, my fellow guest might have a different perspective. But basically, when India and Pakistan were separated into two different countries, the idea was that Muslim majority areas would become what is now Pakistan, and Hindu majority areas would become India or Hindustan.
Now, the Pakistani population tended to be on the eastern and western flanks of India, which lead to the creation of the single country called Pakistan, which had two parts, East Pakistan and West Pakistan. The state of Kashmir had a very high -- between 75 and 90 percent Muslim population, but the government, or the Rajah of the state was Hindu, and he opted to go with India.
That would be tantamount to Governor Pataki saying that we the people of New York state should join Canada, because that's what I want to do. So basically that's where the conflict started, and Pakistan sent in troops to try to keep Kashmir from going into India. India had troops there; so it split around one-third, two-thirds between the two parties. But it's been an issue that's been going on for 50 years or more. And it needs to be solved, so that these rights and the voice of the Kashmiri people are served.
NEVILLE: OK, Radha, let me get your perspective on this.
KUMAR: Well, let me say, I think that the problem is a little bit more complicated than this.
First of all, as far as the present situation in Kashmir in concerned, we do have to realize that there has been, over the past 12 years, an insurgency which has been rising in violence and in the use of violence, and that has been backed by the Pakistani government over this period in a variety of different ways, including funding, of course, and logistical support.
NEVILLE: I'm going to jump in there. And, excuse me, but, obviously both sides see it differently, and that's the problem. And the question is: Can Rumsfeld do anything to help ease this conflict?
We have to take a break right now. After the news, we will continue when come back. And, also, don't forget that boxing promoter Don King joins us later this hour. See what he thinks about the upcoming Mike Tyson, Lennox Lewis match.
We'll be back in a moment.
NEVILLE: And welcome back, everybody, TALKBACK LIVE. I'm Arthel Neville.
We're talking about the danger of nuclear war between India and Pakistan.
And I'd like to ask my guests: What is the likelihood of a nuclear war, or a war? And, if so, would either of these countries use nukes?
KUMAR: Unfortunately, we can't rule it out. The current thinking is that, if there is a war, if that war escalates and becomes a wider war than one that is just limited to the Himalayan parts of Kashmir, then the pressures on Pakistan to use its nuclear weapons will be very high, indeed.
And there is also, of course, the great danger of rogue elements being able to lay their hands on those nuclear weapons in Pakistan.
ANWAR: I think I agree with that analysis. In some of the analysis I've done myself, in at least three out of four scenarios that I foresee, the use of nuclear weapons is imperative, whichever side uses them first. So that in itself is a scary thought. Even if each of those scenarios has a likelihood of between 20 and 70 percent, the fact that 75 of the scenarios involve nuclear weapons is a pretty scary thought.
And, additionally, keeping in mind that none of these parties will want the weapons to be destroyed before they have been used, they will have to be moved around. So, the bigger risk, also -- which is why this is an important issue for the American public to worry about -- not just the destruction of one billion lives in India and Pakistan, but the fact that, even if that does not turn into a nuclear war, the risk of one of those weapons finding its way on to U.S. soil is much greater. And that's something we really have to worry about.
NEVILLE: Why is that? Why is that?
ANWAR: Well, there are several reasons the would make that possible. One is, when you are in a state of chaos, especially in a country that itself does not have a huge communications infrastructure -- like Pakistan or India even -- the risk of one person simply saying, "Hey, this thing can get me a pretty good deal on the open market," so to speak, or the black market, the incentive is quite high.
Secondly, there might actually be somebody who is politically or religiously -- motivated with religious fervor, and say, "The government might give in, but I am going to use whatever weapon I can get my hands on."
So, all these possibilities basically make it more likely that something like this can happen. And that is why I definitely think we need to worry. And that's why we, as a United States, need to make sure that we put pressure on both sides to both de-escalate and put these nuclear arsenals where they belong, which is in safekeeping
NEVILLE: Imran Anwar and Radha Kumar, thank you both for joining us here today.
ANWAR: Thank you very much.
KUMAR: A pleasure.