tv Larry King Live CNN December 31, 2009 12:00am-1:00am EST
wood and has more heat than the traditional stove. so cooking is faster. an idea revived from tradition, that just might slow down the warming of our planet. reporting for cnn, india. that does it for this edition of "360." "larry king" starts right now. >> larry: tonight, president obama blames human and systemic failures for the christmas day bombing attempt. should heads roll at the cia, tsa, department of homeland security? we're going to talk about that with the chairman of the 9/11 commission, tom keen. three americans that lost loved ones to terrorist.
ambassador paul bremer will be here. what did the u.s. really learn from september 11th? and is the country safer now than then? plus a shocking 911 call on christmas day from actor charlie sheen's wife. brooke mueller, why she is now asking a judge to modify a restraining order on her husband. we have an exclusive with her attorney next on "larry king live." >> larry: good evening. i want to thank candy crowley for sitting in so ably last night hosting this program. with begin things with ambassador paul bremer. he was served as presidential envoy to iraq from 2003 to 2004. he was chairman of the national commission on terrorism from '99 to 2000. thanks being with us. the president says that human and systemic failures resulted in the terrorist incident on christmas day. what's your assessment?
>> i think looking back, there are groups of technical problems and conceptual problems. the technical problems involve things like these massive databases and how they're handled or not handled. the second question is whether there's been adequate information sharing across the various bureaucratic bound ris. thirdly, of course, the incident showed that there is a massive failure of the screening system, both the physical screening and the conceptually sort of how you screen the fact that this guy, you know, paid cash for his ticket, didn't have baggage and so forth, alarms obviously should have gone off. i think these technical problems are troubling. they're not particularly surprising to me. much more concern i thing are the conceptual problems. >> larry: like? >> well, you know, this administration since it came into office since day one downplayed the question whether we were involved in a war on
terror. they even tried in some cases to redefine it as not a war on terror. i think that this has -- this conceptual problem has shown itself in the initial reaction of some of the high officials to both the ft. hood incident and this incident that happened on christmas day, there's a sort of a state of denial that sort of follows from the conceptual idea that we're not at war. and thirdly, the administration followed that concept with what i think is an incorrect view that the way to deal with these people is to treat them as criminals. one of the clear lessons of the national commission on terrorism, which as you pointed out, i chaired, was that you have to understand we are at war with these people, and they have to be -- they can't be treated as criminals. it's a very different approach. >> larry: but republicans are now criticizing him for what you just said. yet, the shoe bomber was treated as a criminal, tried in a criminal court, is in jail in
america. what's the difference? >> i think that was also wrong. i think when this fellow was subdued on christmas day, the very first and top priority should have been and continues to be to interrogate him to get as much information as possible. because the role of the goal is not to bring him to justice. the goal is to prevent future attacks. and it's not surprising that as soon as he got himself a lawyer, he stopped talking. and that's the price you pay when you consider these terrorists just as criminals. they are criminals, but our goal should be to get as much information as possible. because our objective is to save american lives in the future. >> so mistakes were made in the past as well. do you think it's wrong, though, for some republican -- vice president cheney among others who are criticizing the president. first, if it is a time of war, why criticize the chief
executive? and weren't mistakes made in that administration? >> sure. i don't think there's been an administration, certainly not since i've been down here in washington, which is more than 40 years, that hasn't made mistakes. all administrations make mistakes. the question is do they learn from their mistakes? and that is the question going forward now. will the administration now understand that it is not enough to consider terrorists just as criminals, which was the way we treated them really in some cases during the '80s and '90s. the national commission on terrorism pointed out this is a flawed approach. it is a flawed approach. we are at war with these people. >> larry: should we play down the criticism and play up more the trying to offer support and objective advice? >> well, yes. i think, first of all, the president, quite correctly, has ordered a complete review of first results are due on his desk tomorrow. that will probably address most of this first area that i spoke
of, these technical problem of the database and the information sharing and the system for screening. and i think -- i judge from what he said that he intends to act on what he learns. he hopefully will find where the faults are, take whatever action is appropriate, then hopefully make us all safer. i think we should wait and see how that works out, and i certainly hope very much that he succeeds in making us safer. that's his job. >> you were chairman of the national commission on terrorism. >> right. >> there's a terrorist born every minute, isn't there? is this a winnable war? >> yes. it is a winnable war. but it is winnable on the condition that we understand that it's going to be a very long war, just as the cold war was a long war. and by the way, it's important that in this war we have bipartisan support fr the conduct of this war. no one party could have succeeded in winning the cold war over a period of 50 years. it had to be conducted under
republican and democratic administrations across a very long period of time. and this is a generational conflict we're in with islamic extremists. it's going to have to have bipartisan support. and hopefully out of this incident or the lessons from this incident, we can begin to build some bipartisan support for winning the war. >> larry: thank you, ambassador. happy new year. >> happy new year to you. >> larry: ambassador paul bremer. governor thomas keane was the chairman of a 9/11 commission. we'll ask him about the failed terror attack and what he thinks went wrong. ( clicking ) ( laughs, click ) when you hear a click, ( clicking ) you know it's closed and secure. that's why hefty food bags click closed. hefty! hefty! hefty! so you know you've helped lock in freshness and lock out air... to help prevent freezer burn.
>> larry: joining us now is thomas kean, the former governor of new jersey who served as chairman of the 9/11 commission. thomas kean, it's always great to see you with us. what do you make of the president's comments that this is a mix of human and systemic failures? >> i suspect the president's right. and the president has taken the right attitude. this is something that's got be fixed. i know we are going to search for who created the problems and what they are. the main problem is let's fix them and let's move on. >> larry: the "washington times" quotes the homeland security officials have good intentions, but that they lack passion and urgency. he things homeland security has not riz on the the priority level it needs to achieve. agree or disagree? >> as usual, lee hamilton's right. there's a lot of problems on the president's plate. we've been dealing, as you know,
with health care and finances and global warming and all very important problems, but the most important problem in the world is keeping the american people safe. and this has always got to be at the top of the list, no matter what else is going on. >> larry: we always look back, we say this guy shouldn't have been stopped at this airport. isn't it true that president bush had an august 6th memo that might have prevented 9/11? >> that's -- that's a little unfair, because -- but there wasn't a single branch of the united states government that dealt with terrorism in any way that wasn't responsible in any way. our report documented again and again the failures and the problem this time, it's -- you know, it's like reading the same script over again. they're talking about the fact that intelligence agencies didn't talk to one another. and that's -- you know, that was the major fault we had in our report. we said if they had talked to each other, there's a possibility that 9/11 just wouldn't have happened. here again, if -- we were lucky
this time, but again, intelligence agencies didn't seem to be talking to one another. >> larry: what do you make of the former vice president dick cheney's charge that the president is trying to pretend we are not at war? >> well, i don't know. i'd just as soon not get into that kind of charge. because i don't think it's productive at this point. what's really productive at this point is getting together, finding out whether the director of national intelligence is operating correctly. that's the new position that was created under the legislation we recommended and the congress passed, whether the counterterrorism center is operating as it should, and what the mistakes were and whether we can correct those mistakes and correct them fast. these people want to harm us. don't pretend they don't. these people are out there to kill american citizens. we've got to be on alert at all times. that means all 17 intelligence agencies operating together, operating as a unit, sharing information with one another and helping us stop the next plot
before it occurs. >> larry: ambassador bremer said that this is a winnable war. do you agree with that? >> yes. one by one. but we've got to always be on the alert. and since we're fighting a shooting war in afghanistan now against these very same people, what they want to do is have an attack against us, hopefully from their point of view, an attack on our soil. so it's particular my important now to stay alert. africa, asia, any number of places in world where they have affiliates. because a lot of al qaedas around now. and we've got to be alert and make sure the intelligence agencies are working the way they should, and the president was right to say what he did. he said basically -- not his language -- but basically people screwed up. i want to get to the bottom of it and make sure it doesn't happen again. i commend the president for taking that attitude. >> larry: your commission was hailed for its bipartisan the way you and congressman hamilton
got along so well. what effect do you think the political skirmishing has on all this? >> it has a negative effect. this is not something the parties should be fighting over. two thing, one is partisan comments coming from both sides. the other thing is that there is certain sniping going on within the intelligence community with people saying maybe it was their fault and not our fault. both those things are absolutely not called for. both those things don't help us one bit in defending the country or its people. the intelligence agencies got to work together as one unit. they've got to cooperate with each other. the parties when it comes to national security, partisanship should end right there and we should be working together as a country and as a team. and if we don't, you know, people are going to suffer. >> larry: are we safer now than 9/11? >> yeah, but not as safe as we should be. that's the problem. we're safer now, but these people are looking for new ways to attack. and this was a new way they
tried this time. and thanks to some brave people on the plane and perhaps some failure of that technology, we were a little lucky this time. but the technology is we've got to stop them at the airport before they get on the plane. this fellow should have been stopped at the airport. he should not have had visas to come into this country. he was the o profile of a terrorist as you and i understand terrorism. he should have been identified, he should have been stopped. we'll do that to terrorists in the future. >> larry: governor, from a u.s. government official we've learned that the united states had intelligence that between august and october of this year, that extremists in yemen were discussing operations. someone known as the nigerian was mentioned. u.s. intelligence also had a partial name. umar farouk. the cia apparently had information. his father was giving warnings. what went wrong? >> they didn't talk to each other. they didn't put these pieces of information together. didn't come up at the director
of national intelligence. just as yogi berra says deja vu all over again. here it is. and, look, one incident alone, this wasn't any father. this was a father that is one of the topsyth citizens in his country and a very prominent businessman. when he has the courage to come forward to the american embassy and say, look, i'm worried about my son. he's in with terrorists. all that. that should have risen right to the top. i mean, forget all the other pieces of information. and the president said -- some we don't even know about, but forget all the rest. that alone should have gotten attention. >> larry: thank you, governor. happy new year. good seeing you again. >> nice to see you again, larry. >> larry: governor thomas kean, former governor of new jersey. the cia denies allegations that the agency didn't properly share information about the terror suspect, but many people are asking did the cia drop the
joining us is tyler drumheller, served the agency for more than 25 years. the division chief of director of operations in europe. author of the book "on the brink: an insider's account of how the white house compromised american intelligence." also with us is larry johnson. he served as deputy director of the u.s. state department's office of kourcht terrorism. a former cia analyst and co-founder and ceo of berg associates. first, our condolences. eight americans killed in afghanistan suicide bombing all believed to be cia employees. you have a comment on that, tyler? >> yeah. i just heard that just now, and it just underlines the world we live in and the sacrifice that the officers of the cia and not only the military but the cia make in these places really is
heartbreaking. my thoughts go out to their families, obviously. >> larry: larry? >> it's a no-win situation. the cia gets kicked around for not connecting dots. then you've got men and women out there on the front lines getting killed. the eight that lost their lives, one of the largest losses of lives of cia employees in the last 30 years. >> larry: considering kicked around, the cia is rejecting accusations that it failed to properly share vital intelligence on the christmas day terror suspect. do you buy that? they're denying it, tyler. >> yeah, i think they did share. the problem here is that the system that was set up by the reform act -- intelligence reform act of 2004 set this up. this was almost inevitable with the expansion of the intelligence community, the bureaucracy here in washington, that it was almost inevitable that something like this was going to happen. the cia station in laggos collected had, they sent it in.
the information comes from the field goes automatically to the counterterrorism center, the cia, the white house. all these people get it. the problem is they've broken the link between the analytical process and the operators in field. the people who are analyzing it here, many who are young contractors working at the counterterrorism center, don't have the experience and don't have the grasp of this to go back to the station and ask the second question. the station doesn't have the contact to specific analysts to go and follow up on it and see if what they've sent in is being followed up on. the real question here is for the future to make it smaller, better staffed and more efficient. >> larry: we keep hearing about a failure to connect the dots. based on what you know, are we connecting the dots? >> yes, we are. and i think that is -- it's an outrageous charge. really, it's not correct. i've worked in intelligence now for 25 years. i still hold clearances. i still work both with
intelligence analysts and military operators. this information was getting ets way through the system. the reality wasn't the failure wasn't on the intelligence side. the failure was at the airport. ten years ago you would have profiled this individual, and by profiling, i don't mean you look at the race, ethnicity, size of his body, you look at the fact that he bought a ticket going one way with cash with no luggage, and you're going to detroit in december without a winter coat? that immediately ten years ago would have forced the airline to pull him aside and say, okay, what's up? and start looking at him and maybe subjected him to very specific screening with trace detectors. that could have been done. it wasn't. so yes, it's unfortunate that the information hadn't become instantaneous. but what's going to happen, if we go this route with the criticism that says you didn't connect the dots, it will create from the analyst standpoint a reaction where everything will come to the top. you'll have such a blizzard of information that nobody will be
able to actually see the real threats from -- there are hundreds of bogus threats that come through every day. and sometimes only after the fact when this guy was identified firmly as having said, you know, i'm going to blow up a plane, then everyone started going through the files. if his father had gone to the embassy and said, look, my son's got exploding underwear. he's going to fry and try to blow up a plane to detroit, if the cia had that information, yes, they should be excoriated. but i guarantee, you they did not have that kind of information. >> larry: we'll have you both back very soon. thank you, tyler and larry. happy new year. what has the united states learned about security since the attacks of 9/11? family members of those killed on that terrible day speak out.
might not be as easy as it seems. ♪ beautiful day. where abouts do you live? down at the end of the lake there. ♪ which way to galway? you go past the hotel! by the gable of a long abandoned cottage... a crippled tree... whose apples grew... on a branch in eden. but if you don't make it, there's always tomorrow.
>> larry: nobody can speak more about tragedy than victims of it. joining me is david beamer, his son died on 9/11, todd was one of the passengers that fought back against the hijackers before the plane crashed in pennsylvania. also debra burlingame, he was the pilot of flight 77 which crashed into the pentagon. she's the co-founder of 9/11 families for a strong and safe america and is a former flight attendant. alice hoaglung, her son mark bingham died on flight 93.
alice as well is a former flight attendant. what's your reaction, david, to what happened christmas day? >> larry, it was a terrible event. i'm certainly pleased that the mission was not successful. i'm very thankful for the fellow has been referred to as the flying dutchman for leaping to action and preventing that plane from being blown up. so i'm very pleased with the outcome. and of course, disheartened about the fact that it happened at all. and it clearly points out from the enemy's point of view, they believe that there's a war going on, and for them it's an absolute passion and an absolute priority. and i'm not convinced that for us that the war is really -- has either of those. for us it seems to be one of the agenda items, but not one that we're pursuing with real passion and an absolute priority.
i'm concerned about that. >> >> larry: do you agree with that, debra? >> i completely agree. i think that this young man from nigeria may have done us a favor. he's pointed out that we have a policy of denial about who this enemy is. the fact that this man would try to blow out the side of an airplane, and that the response of this government would be to put him into criminal custody. that man should have been taken after his -- after he was stabilized medically and interrogated for every bit of intelligence we could get from him. the yemeni government is saying they're cooperating, but the fact of the matter is this is the new center of gravity in yemen. and we need to know who is behind this, who helped him, all of the information that would have come out is now lost to us because he has lawyered up and we will now have to put him through the criminal system where we are negotiating with the terrorist to get this information. >> larry: alice, the same thing occurred, though n the bush
administration with the shoe bomber. >> yes. in his own perverse way, this fellow abdulmutallab has done us a favor. he has given the american people a gift. we are now focused on two important issues that we have somehow lost track of. those are deficiencies in aviation security and the proper courts for trying terrorists. >> larry: david, do you ever forget that day? >> i never forget, larry. and i'm reminded of it always, every time i see our grandchildren. keeping in mind what we're all missing. and i think the gift, if you will, that has happened during this christmas season has really also been a gift to our enemies, in that here they -- they had a plan, and even though, even though we had intelligence, we
had the terrorist father trying to warn us, and the fact that we still couldn't prevent him from getting on that airplane, i think they must be saying to themselves, wow. this is easier than we thought. i think they're encouraged by it. >> larry: more with debra and alice when we come back. our blog question of the day, is do you think security in the united states has improved since 9/11? we'd love to know a what you think.
do you think we can do anything firm to stop all of this? >> yes, i do. i think we, first of all, we need to understand who this enemy is. and once we understand that they are committed, they are resolved and they are going to stay in this fight for generations. what we need to do is accept that and not fool ourselves into thinking that if we're kind, that if we show them forbearance, that if we close places like guantanamo, where we keep known, committed and hardened terrorists away from our soil, that that is what is going to keep us safe. and we have to understand that the key to all this is intelligence. when that man, that credible man, walked into the u.s. embassy in nigeria, the first thing the state department should have done was to find out whether or not this man, his son was issued a visa and revoked it. they had the authority to do it. that would have kept him off the plane right there. we didn't need to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on body
scanners to keep him off the plane if they'd done that one thing. >> larry: alice, at this time of the year, is it more particularly difficult for you? >> yes, of course. but i live with the fact that my son will not be with me every day. and the word "hero" has been bandied about and abused. but my hero was casper sheringa, who jumped up, yanked this man out of his burning seat and thwarted hill. and was able to make up for several levels of failure in security that should have kept the guy off the plane in the first place. it showed up that just the same thing that happened on flight 93 on september 11th, that a small group of panes, when they're confronted with the facts, can indeed summon the courage to act together and make up for the security deficiencies that i'm afraid are still very prevalent
in our security system. i'm just so grateful to president obama for acknowledging that there has been a systemic failure and that we do need to continue working, that we are a little bit safer now but not nearly as safe as we should be. i agree with thomas kean and with paul bremer. they are both correct. it's a winnable war, but we have a long way to go. >> larry: david, do you have any optimism? >> well, larry, i am an optimist. and i think good, committed people making this a priority, we can continue to make our world safer. i'm chagrinned by, you know, some of the sort of kneejerk reaction, or something to gain a little favor and help us to think more positively in that if the enemy has a sense of humor, then they must be chuckling about our response that says, okay, all americans are going to have to stay in their seats like third graders for the last hour of the flight. which i see as ridiculous and
really having nothing to do with solving the problems. >> larry: you agree with that, debra? >> yes. and i think that the -- talk about kneejerk. the tsa, really they're abusing passengers at this point. and that's part of jihood. they love to see us go through these shenanigans, jumping through hoops. janet napolitano pointed to how everything ran so smoothly afterwards the tsa stepped up their security measures. they were doing patdowns on people. these explosives were kept in this man's groin area in the crotch. nobody is being patted down in that area. so this is all for show. and they have to stop doing that. the american people understand that that is a dog and pony show. it has to stop. >> larry: three victims speaking out. david beamer, debra burlingame, alice hoglan, our thoughts will always be with them. former vice president dick cheney slams president obama.
co-author of "why you're wrong about the right." also with us is tanya tucker -- tanya acker, rather. i've got a new profession for you. she worked in the white house counsel during the clinton presidency. here's what he said, cheney, as i've watched the events over the last few days it's clear once again that president obama is trying to pretend we are not at war. he seems to think if we have a low key response to an attempt to blow up an airline and kill hundreds of people, we won't be at war. is that a little too critical? >> no, i think the vice president is expressing frustration that a lot of americans have right now. the president has come out looking almost like a ceo, who is looking to address some kind of kink in the system rather than as an impassioned and outraged national leader. i think americans remember
after 9/11 when president bush came out and addressed the nation, he was angry. he was visibly outraged. >> larry: but s.e., i don't mean to interrupt, but he also, apparently as we discovered, there was information prior to that that could have prevented 9/11. wouldn't that have been better? >> let's be very clear. these fundamentalists are going to try to attack us regardless of who is in the oval office. and this is not obama's fault. however, he's making serious, serious misjudgments, miscalculations about our national security, both in his tone and tenor and in the actual practical measures that he's initiating, closing gitmo and trying terrorists as criminals. >> larry: tanya, democratic senator daniel inouye dismisses the comments saying that cheney has lost all his credible. >> of course he has. the former vice president has been rooting for the failure of this administration since january. none of this is any surprise.
but i find it so interesting again, this curiously short memory that he seems to have about the nation's efforts to fight terrorism. were we at war when the bush administration reduced new york city's anti-terror funding by $80 million on the ground that there were no national landmarks there. the bush administration and its gop allies didn't move forward with a democratic proposals to inspect cargo containers and shipping containers that were coming into the u.s.? look, we could play a very partisan game about failures on both sides. what we really need to do now is to try to think about something that's proactive instead of reacting to the last terror attempt. >> larry: s.e., if it is a time of war, why criticize the chief executive? i thought we all band together. >> well -- well, sure. of course i'm not rooting for obama to fail or to the country to be attacked. that's outrageous. but i think it's my patriotic duty to question the president when he comes out four days
after we've been almost attacked -- and by the way, this was not a failure. they succeeded. they succeeded in terrorizing us. four days after the fact. and basically says, well, we're going to look into this. then his secretary of homeland security comes out and says that the system worked. it's my obligation to question what they're doing and how they're treating this incident. >> larry: frankly, obama, shouldn't he have come out earlier? >> yeah, he should have come out earlier. janet napolitano shouldn't have said -- and she actually retracted that by suggesting that the system worked. to suggest that now we're in a huge crisis because he gave a press conference two days later instead of the day of, this attack was not successful. it was a failed attack, is simply lunacy. let's not try to score partisan points here. why aren't we looking at new mechanisms for screening people? and frankly, by the way, i think there are some real lapses here that occurred at the airport. i mean, look, if this guy really
did check in with no bags and paid cash for a ticket, like that is absurd. what else -- what are you doing on a plane with no bags paying cash for a ticket? there are lapses here at every level. but i find this gop attempt to try to demonize the president once again, it's quite offensive. >> tanya, if you don't think that this is a crisis, you're naive. >> of course it's a crisis. no bun said it wasn't a crisis. >> just addressing the airport security is not going to do anything about ft. hood or the attempt on -- >> nobody said that. >> this is not just about airports. this is about ideology, and the president does not want to acknowledge that. that's the problem. >> no one -- >> it's not funny either. >> and democrats never said we weren't in a crisis. and i wish that the gop -- and frankly, i wish that we all this this outrage when democrats said, hey, we want to inspect cargo shipping containers that came into the u.s. but the gop said it was too expensive. when bush administration said they wanted to are ling wish
control of u.s. ports to a dubai company but then we still don't want to inspect containers coming from overseas, yes, it is a crisis. it is not just the airport. i never said that. until we look at this in a global comprehensive way, we'll be nothing but reactive. >> larry: last night on this show, dan burton, the congressman from indiana, said that janet napolitano should resign. should she? >> i don't think so. this wasn't janet napolitano going rogue and making something up. she was given a directive to defend the system. and whoever told her that, that's who should be fired. i think janet napolitano was taking orders. and that's the scary part about this. >> i don't have any basis for knowing that somebody whispered in janet napolitano's ear to say this is what you say on sunday. i'm not that much of a conspiracy theorist. >> larry: you haven't heard the end of this. actor charlie sheen was arrested
>> larry: welcome back. on christmas morning actor charlie sheen was arrested in aspen, colorado. charged with domestic abuse, criminal mischief, menacing and assault in the second degree. let's listen to the 911 call made by charlie's wife brooke. >> tell me exactly what happened. >> my husband had me with a knife, and i'm scared for my life, and he threatnd me. >> okay. are you guys separated right now? >> yeah. right now we have people that are separating us, but i have to file the report or else. >> are there other people there? does he still have the knife? >> yeah, he still does. but there are other people here. >> who are the other people that are there? >> we have people here. my family is here, but right now if i don't file this, i need to file it right now.
>> where is he with the knife? >> he's in the other room. >> okay. is someone in the room with him? >> yeah. >> who is he with? >> he's with somebody packing to leave, but if i don't file the report he -- >> okay. i understand and i'm sending officers to help you. i just need some more information. does he have any other weapons? >> no. >> okay. which room is he in? when officers enter the house, which room will he be in? >> in the back room. >> and which room are you in? >> in the kitchen. i thought i was going to die for one hour. >> okay. what's your name? >> brooke. >> and what's your husband's name? >> it's charlie sheen. i gotta file this report. >> larry: that was brooke mueller making that call. her attorney yale galanter is here with us. ito the heart of belfast...
garlique's clinically proven ingredient maintains healthy cholesterol naturally. eat right. exercise. garlique. >> larry: before we talk with yale galanter, the attorney for charlie sheen's wife, brooke mueller, let's talk to erica hill, the host of ""ac 360."" what's up tonight, erica? >> larry, thanks. tonight at the top of the hour, new and frankly mind boggling details about what u.s. intelligence agencies knew about the alleged underwear bomber. details, which, of course, did not stop him from boarding that flight in amsterdam last week. we are keeping them honest tonight, taking a look as well at the recommendations made by the 9/11 commission. those recommendations came out 5 1/2 years ago. all made to prevent exactly this type of scenario. recommendations to keep us safe. knowing that, you might think all the things the panel suggested were put into place or at least the majority of them. think again. joe johns breaking it down for us.
and on a much lighter note, we're getting ready for tomorrow night. anderson and kathy griffin lighting up times square. kathy is going to join us live to tell us what we can expect. we'll also hear from her what she thinks are the top stories of the year. one of your favorite people, larry. brace yourself. >> larry: i'll brace. erica hill, 10:00 eastern, 7:00 pacific. we all better brace. by the way, we sent out a -- we reached out to charlie sheen or his representatives to come on the show. they declined or they actually didn't even give us a statement. with us is yale galanter, old friend, attorney for charlie sheen's wife, brooke mueller. he is in aspen, colorado. from what your client told you, what happened at 3:30 christmas morning? >> larry, they had a very bad marital moment is what i like to call it. brooke ended up calling the
police. unfortunately, charlie was arrested. fortunately, charlie was able to bond out of jail right away. this morning we went to court with charlie's lawyers and filed some paperwork to have the domestic violence restraining order modified so that the two of them can have contact again. >> larry: according to police reports, yale, brooke told them he pulled out a knife, held it to her throat and said "you better be in fear. if you tell anybody, i'll kill you. your mother's money means nothing. i have expolice i can hire who know how to get the job done and they won't leave any trace." brooke says she replied, "you're right. you're right. you're right. i'm sorry. i love you." what do you make of this, yale? what is this all about? >> well, again, larry, i really do think it is a private matter between brooke and charlie. i know that they want to reconcile, they want to try and work on their marriage. they have two beautiful babies that they're trying to raise,
and i'm hoping that everything works out for them and they have a really good future for themselves. >> larry: but if he had a knife, can she take back that charge, under new domestic violence laws? doesn't he stand charged, whether she says it or not? >> well, i can't -- i'm not charlie's lawyer. i represent brooke, but what i can tell you is that the reason they put this domestic violence restraining order in place is to separate them, let them cool down. i can tell that you brooke loves charlie very much. i know that charlie loves brooke very much. they want to raise their children together, and they really do want to continue with their marriage and have things go along as they should. in terms of the statements to the police, i really can't speak to that. i wasn't there. i know what the documents say. hopefully, it won't get to that. >> larry: you think it's going to be all settled? >> we're very hopeful that there
is a nonlitigation resolution to this. charlie's arraignment is february 8th. i'm, of course, in contact with charlie's lawyers all the time. we really are hopeful for an amicable resolution to this. >> larry: yale, as the attorney for one of the party, you sound awfully sympathetic to the other. >> well, it's not that i'm sympathetic. i think the fact that they are both celebrities, there is a media spotlight on them, i really think we need to give them a break. they need time to work out their differences. maybe they need to go to counseling. maybe they need some kind of guidance. but the truth of the matter is, they've been married for almost two years. brooke recently gave birth to these two beautiful, beautiful babies and really should be given every opportunity they possibly can out of the media spotlight to try and work out their differences. you know, they're married. they're no different than anybody else except that they're celebrities. and there are cameras and lights
on them all the time. they really do need some privacy to try to work this out. yeah. would you like a pony ? yeah ! ( cluck, cluck, cluck ) oh, wowww ! that's fun ! you didn't say i could have a real one. well, you didn't ask. even kids know when it's wrong to hold out on somebody. why don't banks ? we're ally, a new bank that alerts you when your money could be working harder and earning more. it's just the right thing to do.
>> larry: you have to admit, based on what she's saying on the 911 call, while this may be private, this is serious business. >> oh, i agree with you 100%. i don't think any man should ever do violence to a woman, no matter what the circumstances. that being said, you know brooke and charlie are both adults. they do want to reconcile. they profess their love to one another. and, you know, i think they really need to be given a break and be given the opportunity to do that. i think, you know, people, their
friends, their family, their counselors, their lawyers should stand by them and allow that to occur. that's what they want to do, and i think that's what should happen. >> larry: charlie is saying that his wife abuses alcohol. as her attorney, would you comment on that? >> well, you know, i've known brooke for a long, long time. she's a wonderful, wonderful girl. i have never seen her abuse alcohol. i've been out with her at cocktail parties and social settings. she really is a wonderful, devoted mother, devoted wife. i've just never seen that, so you know, at least in terms of my personal knowledge, i've never seen that occur. >> larry: have they talked to each other since the incident? >> no. they're prohibited. since this happened, you know, a few days ago, the court order restricts both of them from having contact. there's been no e-mail communication, no text, no phone
calls. that's why we filed the petition we filed today to go into court on monday morning and ask the judge for some type of modification so they can have communication and start to try and rebuild their lives and their marriage. >> larry: will both parties be at that hearing monday? >> no, i think it will just be mr. sheen's lawyer and myself at the hearing. and we'll talk to the judge and the prosecutor will have a position, and hopefully we'll get the relief that we're asking for. >> larry: so you are telling us tonight, yale, that she wants to continue that marriage? >> she absolutely wants to continue the marriage. she just wants to raise her children and be with charlie and hopefully work things out. >> larry: thanks, yale. always good seeing you. >> my pleasure, larry. take care. happy holidays. >> larry: same to you. yale galante coming from aspen,