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tv   National Constitution Center Discussion on Sept. 11  CSPAN  September 10, 2021 2:17pm-4:04pm EDT

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the federal government impact your life. -- answers the question: how does the government impact your life? you have a shot at winning the grand prize of $5,000. entries must be received for january 20, 2020 two. visit our website. >> up next, george w. bush administrations account -- recap their experiences and the only broadcast reporter allowed to remain on air force one during the attack. it's an hour 40 minutes.
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>> there was a word peter used when he didn't think something or someone was thoughtful enough or imaginative enough or pushed the envelope hard enough. the word was ordinary. it was the worst thing he could say about your work and it was the worst thing he could say about his work. do not be ordinary was a mandate. we figured if we could create a weekend it would have engaged peter and we would have asked that and we would have succeeded. peter was a canadian who chose to become an american. the documents he came to love. i think he embraced it. he wasn't relearning it, he was discovering at. i would like to think the
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project is an opportunity for the fellows to experience that. for the international journalist to discover the constitution like peter did. this is my only chance to thank some folks publicly so bear with me. i would like to thank the constitution center. the project would not exist at all if it was not for leanne. i'm so grateful to her.
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thank you to our enthusiastic fellows, our incredibly and extraordinary litigators. we have an unusual extra neri opportunity thanks to our panel to begin to understand -- unusual extraordinary opportunity thanks to our panel to begin to understand. how should a constitutional republic like ours respond to an emergency? we've had a few such emergencies and one thing has been consistent. the burden of the first response is always -- always falls to the executive. september 11, 2001 and america's power centers came under attack, how did the executive branch respond and what lessons can we learn?
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members of our panel have special insight because of where they were on that date and who they were on that day. they are beginning with, i'm going to introduce you by the titles, secretary of defense. [applause] >> deputy white house counsel [applause] >> department of justice criminal division chief [applause] >> white house chief of staff [applause] >> presidential press secretary [applause]
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>> thanks for the -- what do the members of our panel and with a do it again? is the system adequate to deal with such emergencies? the moderator brings experiences to the panel. please welcome our distinguished project panel as they dissect the constitutional crisis like none other. i assure you, this evening will not be ordinary. [applause] >> ok guys. thank you. >> thank you. good evening. on the night of september 10
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2001, a presidential motorcade made its way up the driveway of a sleepy sarasota florida tennis resort delivering the president to his overnight location talking about education. he went to the hotel dining room over and a side room and had dinner with his brother jeb and my friend from the new york times and i went into the dining room and had a late bite of dinner. we've heard this education speech. why are we here? i said david, because just in case. the next morning, it was my turn for air force one. i was in the pool. a small group of reporters in a second grade classroom in
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sarasota. it you see the moment replayed a million times. the president of the united states was never interrupted even in front of a classroom of second graders. his chief of staff whispered in his ear and i was stunned. i wrote it down. 9:07 a.m. on my wristwatch. he whispers because it just wasn't done. -- he whispers. just because it wasn't done. where we've come from that and the authorities that we've seen used and the kind of reporting we did on that. i would like to start with you. i stood there and watched you you lean over to the president. i would like to know, what word the precise words you said? backup for six minutes.
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what in the world happened to fill you out there? >> i'm not going to start with the words. i will set the context. we woke up in the morning. it was a spectacular morning. it was like a perfect day in america. i woke up a memory that we had come in the night before to a terrible stench. the red tide had killed a lot of fiche and they washed up on the beach and it stunk read a lot of fish -- a lot offish and they washed up on the beach and it stunk. i saw the president as he was putting on his running clothes instead of if you are going for a run, it stinks out there. he went off for his run. he ran in near record time. when he got back, we had a quick briefing.
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we piled into limousines and rolled over to the school, elementary school. we were greeted by the principal. there were people gathered around tables and manning their positions. on the way over, i had two discussions. it was a question. did anybody hear about the plane crash in new york? was not a lot of thought given to it but a question. mr. president was getting ready to walk into this classroom filled with very young elementary school students, second graders, and a pool of press gathered at the back just before the principal open the door to the classroom, one of the staffers in the national security council staff came up to the group and said "mr.
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president, it appears that a small plane crashed into one of the towers of the world trade center in new york city. their reaction was, what a horrible accident. the pilot must've had an accident or something. the principal open the door to the classroom and the president when in with the principal. the door shut. that same staffer came to me and said "it appears it was not a small plane. it was a jetliner. my mind flashed to the fear that must've been experienced either passengers. you had to know the plane was not going up. that's what my mind flashed to. that same staffer came to me and said "another plane hit the other tower at the world trade center. i then knew it was not an accident oracle incidents. i've performed a test that use of staff have to perform all the
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time. does the president need to know? i made the decision. yes, he needed to know. i decided to pass on to fax and make one editorial comment in that i would do nothing to invite a question. i opened the doors of classroom and it was very unusual for me to enter a venue that the president had already entered. i opened the door to the classroom. i looked up and i saw and --ann. she spotted me, the teacher was speaking to the class. ann mouthed to me "what the?". and there was a break in the conversation and i leaned over
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and leaned into his ear "a second plane hit the second tower. america is under attack." >> i'm going to stop him at that moment because president bush did not tell us those words until months after the incident. it conveyed all the drama. what i want to know is before you walk in there, did you exert any authority? did you say get air force one ready? call the vice president? >> i focused on getting the word to the president. i did not stay in that classroom very long. i stood back from the president. i thought he reacted in the right way because he did nothing to introduce fears of those young kids. he did nothing to express -- indicate fear.
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then i left. then i moved into operational mode and i said get the motorcade, the crew back on air force one, get lines of can occasion open to the fbi director, the situation room, ce secretary of defense, and we have to get some remarks written for the president, and we have to get the word to the secretary of education, who was about ready to leave that classroom and go to a gymnasium. so i was an operational mode right after i left the president. >> did you have any conversation with the white house before the president came into the school cafeteria? >> i spoke with people in the situation room. there was no clear vision. people were trying to figure out what was going on.
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we brought a television in so we could see what was happening on television. we tried to reach the secretary of defense. when he came out of the classroom, he could see the televisions had been brought in and we could see television coverage at that point. >> there was another fascinating moment i did not see and i learned it about 10 minutes ago. what did you do? >> i was about 15 feet over to the other side and i got a page that the tower had been hit. i knew instantly it had to be terrorism. the plan had been for the president to stay with the press pool because even though we didn't really know what happened with that first plane, the president was going to say to the reporters in the room that the federal resources would be
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available to help new york city with this. realizing now that it was terrorism and that everybody in the world was watching television other than president bush, who was reading to children in a classroom, i wrote on a notepad don't say anything yet. and i flipped it around and showed it to the president, and he gave me a little nod like this. my thinking was, from a communications point of view at a time when it is now clearly terrorism, and the people are going to be riveted to whatever the president says or does for the first time, he needs to be armed with information before he speaks to the press. that changes everything. so it's very unusual in the middle of the presidential event to give him a cue card saying don't say anything yet. >> now we are going to shift gears to where the action was
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happening. tim flanagan, what were your responsibilities and where were you when it happened? >> i was the deputy counsel to the council to the president. i was just finishing up a staff meeting when the second plane hit. i had the same realization that everyone else had. i thought to myself, this is a terrible situation, what should i do? i went to the situation room. you never run in the white house, but we were running at that point. and immediately, i was in a conference being chaired by the deputy national security advisor. and perhaps prompted by questions being generated in florida, i was asked what does
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the justice department know about this and what does the fbi have? so that was my responsibility. i immediately told larry, i need information. people are starving for it here. tell me whatever you have. he went off-line for a moment, came back on and said tell them the fbi is on the scene and treating it as a crime scene. i said that, and that was my moment of realization that this was not a crime scene. we were seeing pictures on the monitors of devastation at the world trade center. >> and this is key to what we want to explore tonight. was it a crime scene or was this a military attack?
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you were thinking of those, and by my notes, by a 50 5 a.m., the joint military intelligence command -- 8:55 a.m., the joint military intelligence command notified the fbi of the hijacking of the airlines and michael chertoff, were you in the justice department that morning? >> i was driving into the justice department, and we were talking about what was coming up. we continued to talk and the administrator set a second plane has crashed into the world trade center, and that is when we both realized it was an attack. so we talked to the operations center at the fbi, and within a
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matter of minutes, we were over there with bob mueller. i think i was probably the only justice department official there because larry, the deputy, was out at another location and the attorney general was in the midwest and had to come back. >> the deputy attorney general went where? to a secure, undisclosed location. so this was even before the pentagon was hit. so what was it that led you to start evacuating the highest-ranking people and realizing this was not a crime scene, this was much bigger? >> in retrospect, we know there were four planes. at the time, we had no idea how many planes there were and for several hours we didn't know.
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so the immediate concern was decapitation of government. we wanted to make sure that if something hit the fbi, that was not the end of the federal government's capabilities. so i elected to stay with the deputy of the fbi because that's where the action was. >> and is there already a system in government at the moment this happens when the military talked to civilians? >> there is communication between the joint chiefs and the fbi. >> turning to the pentagon, where are you that morning? >> i was in moscow. >> quite a position. >> we were working on what we thought was going to be one of the most important projects for
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our national security policy, which was creating a brand-new relationship with russia, and i was in moscow. i had just completed a whole day's negotiation with the general in the russian defense ministry about nuclear weapons reduction in missile defense -- and missile defense. we had a joint press appearance. we came out of negotiations and when that was finished, somebody from the u.s. embassy at moscow said to me that the first plane had hit, and then we went to another press conference with foreign press. i had been told when i came into my job, remember, first reports are almost always wrong. never make a statement based on a first report.
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and i was about to head into a press event, and i was certainly not going to rely on these quick words that the planes had hit. i wasn't even going to say that i knew that the planes had hit it all, but then, just as i was about to go into this press event at the hotel, i was handed a telephone by somebody at the embassy, and the other end was held up to a television where the president was saying something to the effect of this act of terrorism will not stand. and he used the phrase will not stand. and i turned to my colleague at the pentagon and said will not
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stand is exactly what the president's father said when saddam hussein invaded kuwait. he is not famous for coining phrases. you may remember read my lips, no new taxes was one of them. and the other one was his extremely strong and categorical statement that the invasion of kuwait will not stand. and i said to myself what a remarkable coincidence that the president would use exactly that phrase, a phrase that connoted war. the president's statement at least made clear that something terrible had happened in new york.
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it's useful for journalists to know this. when something like this happens, major events, very often, you get more current information from watching television and listening to the press then you will from the intelligence services. so -- and the reason for that is in part because there are so many more journalists and they are all over the place. so we spent the evening at the u.s. embassy in moscow watching television. the next morning, we had a military plane and air traffic had been shut down over the united states. >> let me ask you is the official representative of the pentagon, when there is a crisis like this, the military already had a doomsday scenario out there. when the first american airline
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hit the first tower, the faa contacted norad, and norad had f-16s scrambled almost immediately. what kind of authority did you have when those planes went up into the air and the joint military command notified the fbi, the planes that were in the air were too late to stop anything in new york, but the ones that went up in washington after the pentagon was hit, they had the authority automatically to stop the plane that didn't make it past shanksville. did the pentagon react in a moment like this, and wouldn't have stopped that jetline from hitting another building in washington? i've stumped him. >> well, you are talking about
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whether people moving in the frantic turmoil of a crisis like this would interpret the rules of engagement to allow them to shoot down an airplane full of civilians. it would be a very unusual pilot who would do that. >> the pilot would not have that authority without being given a code to use. i was on air force one. we were trying to reach the pentagon, and among the questions asked when the president was on the plane, on the phone, was will you give authority for pilots to shoot down commercial jetliners.
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i was sitting directly across from the president on air force one when this conversation was taking place. it was a remarkable experience for me because the president was the only person i knew that could be asked that question who had empathy. he had been an air national guard fighter pilot. and he said i can't imagine being a 22-year-old pilot being told to shoot down a commercial jetliner. it would be a hard sell. but he said yes, they have the authority. >> and that was relayed to secretary rumsfeld? >> on air force one, we heard the third plane hit the pentagon. then we heard the fourth plane went down. initially, we were told it was near camp david.
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there were six unidentified aircraft, so we thought it was six being used as missiles. not only did the president say yes, give the order to shoot down to secretary rumsfeld, he also went to devcon three for the first time since the 1973 war. that's how serious the stakes were. now we can look back and say it was four planes and everybody knows that. at that moment, we thought there were six more. people were being told the mall was on fire. >> what kind of authority did the president need at that time that he did not have? >> i was handed an instant transcript of the president's directive.
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one of the military personnel handled -- handed it to me. my immediate thought was what is the authority to do this? i knew the legal analysis would be woefully behind the event. i also knew it was completely justified as a matter of the presidents exercise as commander-in-chief. but knowing this would be examined in the logs of history afterward, i gotta my cell phone and got a hold of the general counsel at the department of defense and asked the question, is there any other authority we can rely on? they came back and said somebody has already looked it up. there is authority under -- he cited the statute.
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i think it was the national command structure authority to deal with imminent threats. >> michael chertoff, you knew at the time that there were bad guys out there. there was a report waiting for the president. we will get to that in a minute. secretary chertoff, did you immediately start thinking we have to go find some of these people who also might be planning something? did you have to spell out exactly what authority you had? >> because a few people had phoned in from airports, we were able to within a matter of minutes, maybe an hour, begin to identify who we thought the
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hijackers were. >> was that from news reports? >> it was because we were in touch with the airlines and people were phoning their friends and family members from the planes and we got that information. we were able to get other data, so we knew we were dealing with a number of hijackers. we did not know the scope of this. we believed there were more planes in the air that might be hijacked. there was a rumor that taxicab drivers in washington were part of the plot so, the most urgent thing was to identify anybody who might be planning to carry out further attacks. when you are operating in real
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time, you just don't know what's going to happen. so the critical question was first, how do we identify the threats and how do we incapacitate them? in the next 48 hours, we had three ways to incapacitate them. one was to arrest them for crimes. one was to say they were in the country illegally and use our immigration authorities. and the third was to hold people as material witnesses for further investigation to allow a judge to hold them without releasing them. and so we followed the paper trail from the hijackers to anybody they interacted with.
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>> to what extent did the pentagon legally, constitutionally go through these actions in the first 72 hours? >> one way that came up right away was -- what the president said was that our reaction had to go beyond the standard law-enforcement approach that had been taken by u.s. governments for decades. the 9/11 attack was much larger and represented an ongoing threat. so the kinds of things secretary shirt off just talking about -- secretary chertoff was just
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talking about, how to prevent the next attack, there was a well grounded fear there would be follow-on attacks. he described the national effort required as war. within 48 hours or so, the president used the term war. one thing we had to do at the pentagon was try to conceive of the nature of this war. if you are at war, you have an enemy. how do you find an enemy? in 1990, when saddam invaded kuwait, president bush senior set to the war aim and built an international coalition on the basis of that aim of expelling iraqi forces from kuwait and that later became highly significant when people were suggesting, should we do more.
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right at the beginning, it was a major factor. the war aim had to be appropriate, flexible, sensible. we were talking about this at a time when we weren't even sure who had done this. one of the ways we dealt with how you define a war aim is you ask yourself, what happens if there are serious attacks of this kind? if our aim is preventing serious attacks, what are the consequences to the united states? immediately, we thought about the dangers constitutionally and transforming the nature of our society. we had already taken measures to close down air travel over the united states, to clamp down on the borders. there were all kinds of civil liberties involved. >> and you had the authority to do that.
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>> this was not anything turned into operations. this was a discussion. >> although planes did land and borders were closed. >> one of the great stories of september 11 is what the faa did to get all of those planes safely on the ground. >> but the question that came up was does the president have the authority to ground all the planes? and the answer came back very quickly from the faa, yes. >> from the lawyers at the faa? >> yes. cracks based on a statue? >> based on the statutory authority of the secretary of transportation. >> the president's emergency operations center is something i had never heard of until you told me about it. the vice president told you when he got down there, they gave him
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a yellow pad and pencil and the tail number of every plane that had not yet landed because they thought every last one of them could be -- and one by one, he was able to check them off. i'm sure he did more than that, but that's all we have been privy to. >> secretary chertoff used a word casually a few moments ago that i had never heard of in my career until september 12. remember how peaceful the 1990's were? people didn't really worry about threats from abroad. decapitation was drilled into the military during the cold war . the notion was that the soviets had the nuclear power to take out the president, vice president, speaker of the house, president pro tem of the senate.
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september 11, the military had parts of the decapitation program in place. this is how the military changed that day. a word we had never heard of became terribly real. >> we have questions as well. we have a microphone waiting over here. if you would like to pursue some of these particular lines. >> one of the many responsibilities that any administration has is to preserve, protect, and defend the constitution. that doesn't necessarily mean preserve, protect, and defend the president. it means defending the presidency. part of that includes a responsibility for the continuity of the presidency and the continuity of government. that is where you get into the argument over fighting
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decapitation of the government. and that falls under the federal emergency management agency and now the department of homeland security. and the defense department provides the bulk of support for that effort. >> mr. secretary, when you are at the justice department, did you stay in washington after the attack? >> the attorney general flew back and got there in the afternoon. i stayed with director mueller because a critical thing was to work with him to make sure we could identify and stop anybody out there who was going to carry out a follow-up attack. so we had to first give him the authority to get -- give the fbi the director the authority to use legal tools to get information, and second, to detain people under criminal law , immigration law or some other existing law. >> so which was it?
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was it a military attack? was it a crime scene and a critic -- criminal event? >> it was both in the sense that the same investigative methods, the same careful police procedures and whatnot -- mike just mentioned the excellent work the fbi did in piecing together pieces of the puzzle that led to the identification of terrorists within a short time. however, that was not the preventive side. that was the cleanup side. the preventive side became more of a military exercise. even in that regard, the fbi, the department of justice had
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their roles to play in terms of helping to develop a strategy that could be implemented. >> there had been a number of terrorist attacks over recent years. the ss coal, the embassies, the first world trade center attack, going back to the marine barracks bombing in 1983. in beirut. in every case, what the government did principal he was send out the fbi to try to find people you could identify as perpetrators so they could be captured and prosecuted. what you hear from all of the discussion is this was a
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different case. this was not let's go out and find people who did this and punish them. this was we expect further attacks. there is enormous uncertainty. this is a major blow on the homeland. it caused us to completely rethink terrorism because terrorists had initially gone after small targets, a ticket counter at an airport or blowing up a school bus. this was the first successful act of terrorism of mass destruction. and the president in what i think was the single most significant decision he made as president said the purpose of our reaction to 9/11 was to prevent the next attack.
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no one had ever said that the purpose was to prevent the next attack. that was an enormously ambitious goal, and that i would say is what you are now well beyond law enforcement into a war on terrorism. by saying we have to prevent the next attack, the president was also broadening the focus of the people in the government beyond the specific people and group that had perpetrated the 9/11 attack. the next attack might come from al qaeda. it might be of lead into the taliban that gave safe haven to al qaeda, but there might be another group. that broadened the effort. >> just to give you a sense of the thought process at the time, the prevention issue, if you experienced it in real time, imagine what would have happened if another attack came the next day and the next day after that.
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it would have been devastating to the country. it would have shaken the foundation of faith of people in the government. military, law enforcement, everything you can use to stop something from happening, it is the number one -- to protect the people. >> let us know if you have a question. >> i was thinking to myself, what would happen if september 11 -- what would have happened to constitutional protections in those circumstances and what did we risk happening where we were with our ability to respond to a crisis at that time? >> my own view is if we had follow-on attacks. the public demand for doing
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extraconstitutional things would become demanding. it would have been a perception of a fundamental failure of government. one attack was bad enough. a critical thing that is underestimated is the president's restoration of faith in the government in a short period of time. if we had a series of attacks, i think this country would look a lot different than it does now. if you go back to what franklin roosevelt did in the second world war, i think you would start to see calls for that. one of the things the president did quickly was say, this is not about muslims, it is not a war against islam, it is terrorism. the enemy did not become everyone of a certain background.
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>> terrorism of a particular stripe. >> the president separated those who carried it out from the larger pool. take yourself back to what roosevelt faced. if we had a series of attacks, if the government could not have prevented and attacked the next day and the next day, the public -- that would be a much, much greater departure from our constitutional system than anything we came close to. >> do you think we would have seen detention? if we had attacks, that would have escalated demands for that? >> one of the things we discussed intently in the first few days after 9/11, is if there were to be a series of attacks on the united states, we were all conscious of the fact that even past terrorist attacks that were less terrific and less
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costly than 9/11 had triggered major changes at airports. you have to be quite old to remember, the used to be a time when you could go to an airport and catch a plane the way you catch a bus at a bus station. >> you don't remember that. >> beginning in the late 1960's and 1970 when hijacking picked up, people had to start going to the airport one hour, one and a half hours before their flight at the airport. that is an enormous number of person hours and it changes life. one thing we were aware of, even when the hijacking dangers diminished, the security measures remained in place. we discussed the fact that if there were to be a series of attacks, you could have really severe security measures put in place that would have major constitutional implications in
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invasions of privacy and possibly ethnic profiling, and other extremely undesirable things people might demand is necessary, even though they are undesirable. even when the threat might diminish, you would not necessarily go back. there is a possible ratchet effect with some of these measures, and that was a major concern. we basically viewed the stakes in this war as the free and open nature of american society, which is something the president incorporated into his big speech to congress on september 20. he basically defined the aim of the war on terrorism as preserving the american way of life. as a free and open society. he basically defined the war with reference to constitutional protections. >> we have another question coming up right here. >> i am one of the fellows here
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this weekend. i would first like to say thank you for coming. this is very educational, especially for someone who has not had nearly the exposure to washington, d.c. and these types of activities as mike rawlings after my question has two parts -- types of activities that might colleagues have. september 12, september 13, september 14, i did not know if my brother was in the world trade center when it went down. he was not. i was stuck to the television like everyone else. one thing that flashed through my mind, in this country, we have a lot of experience with other countries who face terrorism on a regular basis. israel is one example. they cannot prevent attacks. what makes it possible for us to think that we could prevent attacks, either then or in the
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future? >> the president does not have the luxury of saying, maybe we cannot do it, so i will not do my job. when a candidate auditions to be president, the audition -- they want everyone to love them. they are with you. they share your pain. it is a love-in. but the job itself is very lonely because the decisions are so tough. the president should not be making an easy decision. government makes easy decisions. a president makes tough decisions. one of the toughest decisions is the job description. the job description is the shortest job description of anyone who serves in government. preserve, protect and defend the constitution. that is the job. there is no conditional clause.
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it does not say "if." if it is easy, if everyone understands, if i have an extra six hours, or if the lawyers have a chance to look at it. the president is faced with an obligation to protect us. people want to know every tool in the toolbox and how we can use them. if he needs more tools, he will ask for them. he will ask the lawyers to find more tools, or ask congress to give me more tools. there is not an option of, it is too hard, i will not do it. israel does a fantastic job of protecting the state of israel. they do not prevent every terrorist attack but they do a good job of protecting their national interests. >> he asked for and got tools like the patriot act, which some people challenged as reaching too far. the president was very angry
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when the national intelligence surveillance story came out. >> i have very strong views, ann. i believe the president's obligations are the president's obligations. yes, he asked for more tools. but he also did his homework and had other people do their homework. what did other presidents face and what did they do? go back and read a book on presidential courage. you learn a lot about george washington, all the way up through. they frequently had to challenge the mindset of congress, of the american people, to do what they thought was the right thing to protect the country. every president will face that. i honestly believe the president did not overreach. in fact, he was reaching as far as he thought he had to to protect us.
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sometimes, he did not get what he asked for. there were modifications to the patriot act which he 72 congress. i happen to think it was -- which she submitted to congress. today, we communicate in zeros and ones. we are a digital society. the laws that relate to protecting information that is transmitted related to analog conversations, or written conversations. they were not zeros and ones. zeros and ones that did not even originate in the united states. these are very tricky laws and i think the president of the right thing in saying i want to use every tool available to protect us. >> i am sometimes credited -- if you read the patriot act, it is
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remarkably noncontroversial. most of it is as andy said, an attempt to facilitate information sharing between different parts of the government so we do not have one hand not knowing what the other hand is doing. the basic perception being, if we can do something to catch a drug dealer, we should be able to do at least that much to catch a terrorist. the critical thing is congress passed it overwhelmingly. after a considerable amount of discussion that went back and forth. i don't think anyone has successfully challenged its constitutionality. one thing i observed that people have attributed to it, people say it authorized war against iraq. i have heard people say it overruled fisa law. none of this is true. the most important thing to remember was it was in fact a statute of congress. the president went to congress
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and got congress to sign onto this. >> that touches on a broader issue of the president's decision making in this area. it has been portrayed very much as a go it alone assertion of executive power and strategy. it was exactly the contrary. the president knew where he needed additional help from the coordinate branches, particularly congress. he went after that help in the case of the patriot act. as mike alluded to come up took a while. you get congress involved, it takes months to craft a bill that can eventually surpass both houses of congress. it did in fact take months. we gave maybe 2.3 nano seconds of consideration to whether or not there should not be an authorization for the use of
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military force. immediately, the conclusion was of course you need an authorization for the use of military force. we went up and negotiated that with congress and arrived at a very, what i consider to be a very broad and appropriate grant of authority to the president. getting congress involved was extremely important. >> next question, thank you. >> thank you and good evening. i am a professor of law at the university of maryland school at la. you have been speaking mostly about the first 48 or so hours after 9/11. i have a brother who works at the world trade center so i know what those first 48 hours felt like. i would be happy to hear mr. feith talk about the war on terror. what happened on 9/11 started a chain of events that continued through the two terms of the
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bush administration, into guantanamo, the iraq war and afghanistan. because you have all mentioned the constitution, it would be foolish to pretend there are not many americans who disagreed with you about whether or not in fact you secured the constitution. there are many people who believe it failed in protecting the constitution. given the strong -- of the american public and the importance of these issues, i wonder if any of you would now tell us if you would be blinged to testify before a truth commission if one is created to get a full and complete airing of all of these issues? [applause] >> and if you have objections, why would you have objections? >> let me first say, thank you, i appreciate the spirit in which the comment is offered. i recognize there are significant differences of opinion in the legal academy and
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within average americans, some who believe too little was done, some who believe too much was done. the division tends to be along political lines, but not entirely. as to whether or not this is the proper subject for investigation, it has been investigated by congress. many different decisions have been analyzed by congress. i anticipate that that will continue. whether a truth commission is the right proceeding, i leave that up to those in congress will make that decision. you asked whether i would be willing to testify, any decent truth commission will have subpoena authority. it will be the case of showing up and telling the truth, which is what i would do and i believe my former colleagues in the
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administration would do. i have to live with myself. i am perfectly confident that the decisions that were made during my time in the government were made with the best intention to the relevant constitutional legal authorities. [applause] >> we have another question. >> good evening. peter coleman from the graduate school of journalism of columbia university. thank you all for giving your opinions. the question is directed to mr. feith. when did you first speak with the secretary of defense after the terrorist attack? could you talk about how your ideas from the defense department coupled with the president's and dick cheney's letter the publication of the
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2002 national security strategy? >> i got back to washington in the late afternoon of september 12, and the first thing i did on getting back was race back to the pentagon, where the president had a 6:00 p.m. meeting, his first meeting after 9/11, with the secretary of defense and the joints chief of staff, and basically the whole civilian and military leadership at the pentagon. i managed to get back in time for that meeting. that is where i assume i probably had my first words after the attack with the deputy area secretary and secretary rumsfeld at the meeting. i am unclear about what your
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question is about the national security strategy. it was something that was put together by an interagency consultation led by the white house. the national security council staff, i believe, took the lead and circulated drafts and had meetings with representatives from the defense department, state department, cia and other relevant agencies. >> let me ask, at this point, about the debate inside the administration of what to do with holding battlefield combatants. where just a phrase " battlefield combatants" come from and how did we get to having a prisoner at guantanamo? >> the fighting in afghanistan began on october 7, less than one month after september 11.
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by late november and december, we began to have people that we were holding in afghanistan, and it was clear that since we were focused on preventing the next attack -- we have to keep coming back to that because that is an extraordinary mission we were all given, and the whole national security apparatus of the government -- since we were focused on preventing that next attack, it was clear that the key to preventing the next attack was intelligence. this was a different war from the type of war -- the cold war, for example, you could see if you're a enemy was going to attack you because you had to move heavy armored divisions. you could see that from satellite. here, the intelligence we needed to prevent the next attack, if we were going to get it, would all likelihood come from interrogating people we were capturing.
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there was a major combat mission in afghanistan. he was holding onto these people. detaining them and interrogating them is a major mission. it is very hard for us to do on top of our other missions in afghanistan. can we get these people taken off our hands? can we move them somewhere? can we set up a proper interrogation facility? by the way, the concept right from the very beginning was torture is illegal, everyone in the u.s. government knew that in the president made it clear that everything that need to be done with the detainees had to be done lawfully, which meant no torture, and it had to be done humanely. this was january and february of 2002. basically, the first problem was, you have these people on your hands, we looked -- the
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whole u.s. government looked at other possibilities. the decision was made to put them in guantanamo. it was secure. >> it was not u.s. soil. >> it was not u.s. soil. the lawyers in the government did their analysis and believed that habeas corpus rights would not apply. they turned out to be wrong, when the supreme court some years later said the detainees at guantanamo were entitled to habeas corpus rights. the general view of the government was they were not. they were held outside of u.s. soil, and guantanamo was outside of u.s. soil. the basic idea was to create a facility where you could detain people, keep these people off the battlefield the way prisoners, detainees are
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traditionally kept the battlefields during war, and where they can be properly, humanely, but effectively interrogated so we had a reasonably good chance of learning everything we could learn to prevent the next attack. >> tim, were you part of that policy debate or the legal work? >> my recollection coincides exactly with doug's. there was a concern about putting these people who had been detained on the battlefield in afghanistan. some of them taliban, some of them al qaeda. about putting them in the facility they could be removed from the battlefield and not be -- >> if the constitution works here, why would it not work for holding those detainees in the united states? >> are you asking why a terrorist apprehended on a
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battlefield -- a foreign fighter apprehended on a battlefield outside of the united states should be able to have the benefit of the habeas corpus benefits of the constitution? it had never been done before. >> i am going to go back to another experience. this was during the transition from former president bush, number 41, to president clinton. at the time, i was the secretary of transportation. the coast guard fell under the domain of the department of transportation. i was the commander of the coast guard. -- i was the commander in chief of the coast guard. pick up people who are in boats or rafts that would cause them to be at significant risk. they started picking up literally thousands of haitian
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refugees that were leaving haiti. they were trying to get to the united states. in little boats and rafts. almost every asset available to the coast guard on the east coast was sent down to the caribbean to help pick these people up. coming down to the coast guard, someone said what do we do with the people? we try to take them back to haiti and they said they will set up a machine gun nest and mow them down. they could be sent to detention centers in arkansas after the cuban boatlift and no government wants them. the federal government does not know what to do. i go to the state department. see if you can find an ally in the region that will take these people. not one nation in the
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caribbean or central america said they would take them. what do we do with them? the solution was guantanamo. they were taken to guantanamo and there was a tent city built there for about 10,000 people with schools, showers, recreational facilities, hospitals. while the refugees stayed on guantanamo, negotiations took place with the haitians to change their government so they could go back. it was a safe haven for these refugees. the same argument was made with regard to these illegal combatants taken from the battlefield, were not wearing the uniform of a nation. they had geneva rights, but they were not rights as someone who wears a uniform and has an id. instead, they were illegal combatant rights. what do you do with them? the solution the government found to do the best based on the experience we had gone
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through with the haitians was guantanamo. >> the next question right over here. >> ima fellow at the university. how journalists and media helped or hurt your cause throughout the process? >> i am very much of the view that one thing that keeps our nation safe at war and peace is we have the first amendment, meaning the government must be held accountable for its decisions. after september 11, led to a lot of difficulties for journalists because it was a time america was rallying behind the executive branch. america was saying we are proud of the steps that have been taken and america was in a vociferous mood. we went to war with afghanistan,
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they were cheering for the united states to win. a journalist's job is to ask tough questions about why things were going wrong. to ask those questions on live tv in the white house briefing room, the sentiment to find out what goes wrong cuts so strongly against the american people wanting things to go right. enhancing the administration's ability to do its job. president bush was at the height of his popularity. i was routinely unlike tv covered by al jazeera. i was asked to confirm whether we had special forces on the ground in afghanistan before the first shot was fired. i knew the american people were cheering for me not to answer the press's questions when it came to operational details, especially.
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journalists will stay at their job and ask the hard question. journalists have to ride through the waves. you can is the case that president obama was popular. people in the press were watching. i suspect over time, a lot harder questions will emerge. right now, they are watching a phenomenon. there was a post-september 11 phenomenon that the nation watched. >> i want to get to as many questions as i can on the few minutes we have left. >> i am from national public radio. i have a question of language within the last decade, a number of new terms have come in. i wonder how they came about. i think of illegal combatant or enemy combatant, and i think of enhanced interrogation.
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these are terms that some among us might think are coded words or easy replacements from things we would rather condemn. as we discussed the constitution and what you thought of the constitution, i wonder how these terms came about, how they are defined and what the process was as you created these? >> i will say something about the first one you mentioned, illegal or unlawful combatant . the geneva conventions were set up in the late 1940's to create an incentive system for people to obey the rules. what the geneva conventions do is they say if somebody who is fighting in a conflict govern by the convention, there are four
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main rules. wearing the uniform, carrying arms openly, being in a chain of command and complying with the law of war. that person is a combatant. if that person gets captured, he gets the privileges of a prisoner of war, which are spelled out in the geneva convention. those are privileges that are given as an incentive for people to wear uniforms, comply with the laws of war. what the drafters of the geneva convention were worried about mainly was protecting civilians. if military people fight without uniforms and do not comply with the laws of war than people who really get -- victimized are civilians. the geneva conventions, by the way, are silent on what treatment you give people if they do not get the p.o.w. treatment. there is a debate among lawyers
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about whether a certain part of the geneva conventions apply. the spelled out p.o.w. privileges go to the people who follow those four rules. what happened was we captured people in afghanistan who did not comply with the laws of war, did not wear uniforms. the term for people who do that under the geneva conventionss is combatants. what do you call fighters who do not qualify for combatant status? in the government, we refer to them as lawful combatants, and the people who did not meet those four rules as unlawful combatants. it is a term that is implied in the geneva conventions. the actual term unlawful combatants is not the one used in the geneva convention. >> the microphone is over here.
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and then i will come back over here. >> i am of the schuster institute of investigative journalism. i am one of millions of people who knew someone in the trade center on september 11, my aunt was there and got out safely. i do appreciate you all had horrifying responsibilities. at the same time, i wonder, to follow up on david's question, why is a citizen expected to believe that someone in the government knows who they have captured or guilty? when there is no expectation that it has to be proven to someone in any way? they are not wearing a uniform. >> i have heard a lot of discussion. let me try to put it in common sense terms.
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this is part of the challenge we have in dealing with what looks to be a binary choice between criminal justice, where you do not do anything to anyone without a trial. on the one hand, in war, we allow -- you can drop a bomb on someone with no probable cause, no judicial review. i will give you an example. imagine a high-ranking member of al qaeda walking along combatants in afghanistan. i don't think anyone would have any doubt the government could drop a bomb and kill them. president obama, then senator obama, talked about doing something like that if he could get a shot at bin laden. if someone is walking along the street in new york city, people would agree you cannot drop a bomb on that person. different context. the problem when we deal with the issue is neither paradigm sits perfectly in every case.
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in some cases, when you are overseas, there is a paradigm that would allow you to do things you would not do it home. i do not think critics have come up with an alternative paradigm for how to deal with all of these situations. it is easy to deal with -- it is easy to nitpick any example. what is difficult is to sit down and come up with a legal architecture to deal with all of these cases. frankly, we have not done that and it is past time to do that. i would caution you if your standard -- i would pose the question differently. what should the government be permitted to do to defend the country? if the country decides you cannot attain someone or kill them without a trial, the consequences of that will be when we are in active operations
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in afghanistan, we will not be doing much other than serving subpoenas. [indiscernible] >> we honor the first amendment. my basic point is this -- people have different views and they should sit down with a clean piece of paper and say, what do we need to do to protect the country? then they want to make a decision about how much protection is enough. if you draw the line so you do not get much protection, there will be consequences and you have to except
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responsibility. >> i want to get one more question in down here. >> i am a reporter from new york city. my question is for the panel. i would like to return to september 11. what were the most far-reaching errors of analysis or judgment within 48 hours of the attack? >> i will run through the entire panel with that. it is a type of error question that president bush would be asked several times during a press conference. >> to me, one of the most important lessons learned is how wrong some of the reports in the government were. whether it was the six aircraft in the air, the commanding general at an air force base said there was an unidentified aircraft heading toward your rants. even at an air force base in nebraska, there were reports of
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two international flights coming toward the united states. we had a report that said, it was using the codename for air force one, "angel is next." your reporting antennas go up so high, you cannot afford to make a mistake or miss an important detail. it is that ability in the immediate crisis to sift through what is fact and what is wrong. it will always test every government and every reporter because there is no right answer, no right approach other than case-by-case and bit of data and bit of data and then figure it out. it will always be confusing and conflicting information, especially in the immediate aftermath of a crisis. >> andy?
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>> the misinformation is considerably greater then the real information. it is a challenge because the president does not have the luxury of allowing time before making a decision. he has to make the decisions. it is a very challenging experience to advise the president knowing the clock is ticking or the threat is imminent and what should be done. in terms of the first 48 hours, i would say the failure of our intelligence communities to talk with each other was a problem. >> has that been fixed? >> i think it has been mitigated. i am not sure it has been fixed. it is considerably better than it was thanks to the reports of the 9/11 commission and the work congress did to help remove some of the barriers.
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i found there were bureaucratic reasons why the cia, fbi chose not to cooperate as much as they should, or the dia or dni -- i am sorry, the security arm of the state department and the defense department to not communicate very well. that created problems in the first 48 hours. we were getting different data that had not been shared. it made for the decisions to be much more difficult. >> secretary chertoff. >> the biggest failure was something that occurred prior to 9/11, which is the failure to anticipate this kind of an event. the 9/11 commission said there were instances where there was miscommunication that occurred, or a reaction was improvised. that happens when you do not have a plan in advance. you can argue persuasively that
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the particular type of event was difficult to imagine before it happened. the generic type of event, a terrorist attack on a major scale, is something which we have now planned for but did not plan for prior. >> when you left the office, is the government in much better shape than it was in september of 2001? >> it is because what we have done systematically on the civilian side is to look at scenarios and say, what do we do if this happens?, and build a plan across all civilian agencies, so if something happens, people have a basic understanding of legal authorities, what are the basic capabilities and what are the first things we do in the wake of an extraordinary event. >> tim flanagan. >> to pick up on points made by
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mike and andy, the immigration of intelligence services into a unified, cooperative structure was a big failing and the time before 9/11. i think that has been addressed. it is relevant today. if i could, a short anecdote. at the end of january, as washington was going to its round of goodbye parties for people signing off from the old administration and getting ray to move on to the private sector, i attended a going away party at a secure location for someone involved in that world. there were representatives therefrom all of the various intelligence agencies. it did not take a real perceptive individual to realize that those intelligence agencies still had that residual quality to them.
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they were not yet into full sharing mode. that is a challenge for the future going forward. along with the challenge that, now that we are seven years-plus after 9/11, reevaluating the threat and the strategy. >> i was away for 36 of the first 48 hours. i will answer more broadly. what i will say is, generally for the war on terrorism, i spent a lot of time writing my book, thinking about things we did that were mistakes, things that should have been done differently, better, or not at all. there was a lot of complexity to what we did and anyone who looks back on it would have regrets about pieces of it. one thing that comes up since we talked a bit about detainees, interrogation and gitmo, and the like, i think the administration
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would have been a lot better off if it had brought congress in on the issue earlier. there are extremely difficult questions that lawyers and the executive branch grappled with about the president's commander in chief authorities and what is proper to preserve the president's authority and his flexibility that was put in there because our founding fathers understood how important it was to have a single executive ready to defend the country under circumstances. it is not a minor thing to worry about the president's commander-in-chief powers. we have a system of government that depends on cooperation among the branches. exactly where you draw the line on when you take an area, like we did with military commissions and detainee interrogations, and
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you call it a military operational thing that should be under the president's commander-in-chief authority versus something congress should be encouraged to legislate on, there should be a line drawn there. the line was not drawn in an optimal place. they try to keep congress out of things, eventually congress came into at a time and in a way that was less advantageous had it been if they had reached out to congress earlier. >> political leadership is not always easy to deal with, especially when you are under time pressure to move quickly. >> that is correct. >> we have been given a couple of extra minutes. we have a journalist here. >> i come from afghanistan. you talked a lot about afghanistan.
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for the last seven years, united states of america was not successful in afghanistan. they did not reach their mission. 50% of the country is under violation of taliban. 20% is under control by taliban. my question is, -- should not be repeated by obama's administration. >> could you repeat the question? >> the question was essentially that the taliban is enormously influential in major parts of the country.
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the questioner said that represents a failure by the united states in afghanistan and what are the errors that cost of failure? is that fair? >> in afghanistan for the last seven years. >> as one would have to say -- that is a very large question -- some things were done right, some things were done wrong, some things were done right at certain periods of time but need to be changed in other periods of time. initially, the action in afghanistan was done extremely well. we went in with an extremely light footprint. there were probably fewer than 4000 americans in afghanistan at the time we overthrew the taliban government and got a new government in place. there was a multilateral effort
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to get the new government in place. they had elections and it was successful. for quite a period of time, things looked what they were handled quite well, even brilliantly, in afghanistan. they were a number of major problems with reconstruction and stabilization. part of it was the u.s. government was not organized to do it and has not been organized to do it in the last 60 years. president bush is the first president to take an institutional approach for the u.s. government to do reconstruction and stabilization better. we made it into a multilateral effort in most countries did not contribute resources to make it successful. that is a problem. as a result, over time, you had a growing insurgency by the taliban. the whole military mission in afghanistan has been given to nato. there is a challenge for a strategy that works. one of the biggest problems is
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the taliban action is being supported by people based in pakistan. it is not an easy problem. it is a major challenge. the one hopeful thing i will say is the man who designed the successful counterinsurgency mission in afghanistan is now the commander of the central command and has responsibility for afghanistan. one hopes he will bring the same kind of genius he brought to our work in iraq to afghanistan and turned it into the same kind of success, but it is a very big challenge. >> the authorization for the use of monterey force, which was at the highest level, the definition of what our mission was in afghanistan, refers to the attacks on september 11 and uses the word "prevent." that was the mission and i
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believe to a great extent it has been successful. >> we are allowed two more questions. >> i am the editor of the san antonio express news. will you comment on the period of the early combat phase in afghanistan, the failure of the administration to target bin laden's deputy, particularly the period of combat where it was reported he was surrounded and allowed to escape because of our overreliance on afghan forces that perhaps did not have the political willpower to get him, and the ramifications of that eight years later where we fail to get him and seem unable to locate him? >> go ahead. [laughter] >> you are welcome to take that question. on the issue of the fight, you
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had stated the standard criticism that there should have been more forces, and had there been more forces, we could have captured bin laden. there are an enormous amount of assumptions behind that line of criticism that for sure bin laden was there, if you look at the topography of that region, and you look down on the mountains, these are the foothills of the himalayan mountains. this is extremely jagged, tall, forbidding, impossible terrain, with thousands and thousands of caves and valleys. the suggestion -- as i said, at the time, we had 4000 people in afghanistan, probably fewer. the fight was probably closer to 3000.
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had we taken 10 times that number of people, it is not clear you could actually have secure the area. even if you assume bin laden was in fact there, and you had 10 times the of people, which would have taken you perhaps 2, 3, 6 months to bring in, the notion that bin laden would sit there until we took the six months to bring in the extra tens of thousands of people, those are gigantic assumptions. something else we are thinking about is why we have 3000 rather than 30000 and 40,000 people there? we were very conscious of the experience of the british and the soviets in afghanistan. the soviets have 300,000 people in afghanistan and they lost. we believe that part of the reason they lost was they went in with 300,000 people, instead of 3000. we went in with 3000 because we did not want the afghans to think w aspired to
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occupy them. let's say we overthrew the government and the decision was made we would increase tenfold the number of soldiers we have operating in afghanistan. had we done that, and had the afghans said, the americans actually overthrew the taliban with 3000 -- and then the increased by tenfold their presence, what are they trying to do to us? are they trying to run our country? and then we headed insurgency in afghanistan like we did in iraq, journalists would say, what was going through your mind when you increase the size of your force? it would be a fair question. what your question illustrates is something i think is an extremely important point to make for all you journalists who analyze things. the perspective of a commentator or analyst after the fact is completely different from the
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perspective that andy card and others on the panel have tried to -- if you look at a specific problem, and you say how could you have been so fully to not do what you need to do to capture bin laden? what you are not looking at is what the president was looking prospectively. we might not capture bin laden. if i go in with a heavy footprint, there are major problems that might arise. the president is picking which set of likely problems. >> that is your word not mine. could you have done anything different that led to the capture or killing? >> never would i defend everything we did. that is ridiculous. i am simply saying the standard criticism that we should have increased enormously the size of our force in afghanistan ignores
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all of the downside risk that were considered at the time about going into afghanistan with a larger force. >> do we have one final constitutional question? >> i want to ask a question but i also want to say, i was in the area, covering the conflict at that exact time. the question we were asking was why are the special forces guys sitting down here and not going into the mountains. they just kept sending the afghan guys into the mountains and they seem to come back with a lot of money from the arabs, but it is not clear whether u.s. soldiers were not going up. why the force to >> up into the mountains? it seems to me the lasting legacy of the bush administration's response to 9/11 might be played out in this
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question of how combatant -- noncombatant, illegal combatant, as you call them, will play out in the long term. it seems to be the place where the bush administration has the most conflict with the supreme court. i wonder how the decision was made, as i read the history, there were small groups of people in the white house who made a decision about military commissions -- the head of the criminal division was not consulted. secretary powell was not consulted. the initial decision was made by a very small group of people who for the most part had no military experience, had no law enforcement experience. it fit very nicely with what was a stated aim of many high level members of the bush administration before 9/11 to
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restore some of the power of the executives that had been diminished by vietnam and watergate. i wonder whether you think and the lasting legacy of the bush administration and its response to 9/11, whether you think those with the right choices to make and if they were made in the right way? >> i think your questions are very perceptive ones. in the spirit of, if you had it to do over again, kind of an alignment with the last question, i think there should have been more in the way of consulted behavior. having said that, the story that you refer to, this was a plot hatched by a small group of lawyers in the white house, is wrong. there was broad consultation on this, and there was heated consultation on each of these issues that you could mention
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that went far beyond a little circle in the white house. in the interest of putting lawyers in their place, i would say those conversations among the lawyers regarding legal authority were purely secondary to the conversations among the principles about what options they wanted to pursue. those were the real conversations. >> if he was in fact involved with the head of the criminal division and how to treat suspects who were apprehended -- >> i was not involved in designing motoric commissions. i did involved in discussions about whether americans and the criminal justice system. at the time, i said the criminal justice system was adequate and there were a lot of cases in the criminal justice system. ironically, being criticized by the washington post editorial page for doing that.
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you have to break the period of time into the first year or so after 9/11 and then subsequent time. during the first year, we were dealing with legal authorities that did not fully capture the complexities of dealing with what happened on 9/11 and the way the world is currently configured. it is understandable that in an emergency, you make due with the tools you have, even if they are not perfectly suited for the challenge. if you could do a do over, i would suggest a do over. i said this in 2003. there came a point in time when things that sufficiently stabilized that it would have made sense to go to congress and ask this question -- what do you guys want to do? i think what has underlined this
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entire debate is the fact there has been a tendency to look at what happened in hindsight rather than say, ok, what is the problem, how do we deal with, for example, people who are dangerous but do not fit in traditional criminal law. what rights should we give them? what is the balance? what are we prepared to live with? i don't think that conversation was had. we should have started that into thousand 3, 2004, which is one of the reasons i think there has been a lot of finger-pointing after the fact. it is not too late to have the conversation. i am encouraged that the current administration has said we will make some changes but we will do it slowly and we will do it after an extensive review. that is the right answer. at the end, these problems will not go away and people will have to be satisfied that we reached a consensus. if it is different than what we
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would do, that is fine as long as people understand what the trade-offs are and say we are prepared to live with this. then you get -- guidance about what they should do or not do. >> it has sparked debate, and i would like to thank our panel, especially for the student journalist, this has given you a good glimpse into what has happened and a special thanks to everyone here. thank you. [no audio] -- [applause]
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[indiscernible chattering] ♪ >> this year marks the 20th anniversary of the september 11 attacks. join us for live coverage from new york, the pentagon, and shanksville, pennsylvania, starting at 7:00 a.m. eastern saturday on c-span. watch online at or listen on the c-span radio app. ♪ >> sunday night on q&a, jessica
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delong was the chief engineer of the historic about john jay harvey but was called back into service to aid firefighters following the attacks on the twin towers. in her book "saved at the seawall," she toast a story of mariners who came to the rescue of thousands. >> the maritime evacuations that delivered nearly half a million people to safety is an incredible example of the goodness of people that when you are given the opportunity to help, you have the skill set, pick and availability, that people over and over again made the choice to put themselves in harm's way for the sake of fellow humans, and that is very instructive and something that we really need to continue to remember. >> jessica delong sunday night at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span's q and a. you can also find interviews
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wherever you get your podcasts. is c-span's online store. there was a collection of products. rouse to see what is new. your purchase will support nonprofit organizations and you have time to order the contact information directory. go to up next, canadian party leaders, including justin trudeau, take part of a debate ahead of their election. justin trudeau has served as prime minister since 2015. the two hour debate takes place at the canadian museum of history in quebec. >> live from corvette, this is the 2021 federal leaders debate. we are coming to you from the grandal


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