Interview with Representative Peter King

Interview with Representative Peter King

By John King, USA - May 13, 2011

JOHN KING: Let's get some important perspective now from Congressman Peter King from New York, the Republican who's the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, and a member of the House Select Committee on Intelligence. Congressman, I want to start with this deadly bombing in Pakistan today. Any doubt in your mind or from the intelligence you have been briefed on that this was a retaliation for the raid that killed bin Laden?

REP. PETER KING (R), NEW YORK: From all that I know and from all we've learned, this clearly was an attack by al Qaeda and done, again, in revenge or in retaliation for bin Laden. That's clearly what I've been led to believe, yeah.

KING: And when you talk to folks at the CIA, when you do your own reporting, if you will, what is your sense right now of what has happened in the relationship with Pakistan, and whether Pakistan essentially gets the problem and is willing to make amends and work things out, or whether there's more of a defiant pullback saying, no, we're not the problem?

P. KING: I don't know if Pakistan does get the message. I met last week with the chief of station in the Pakistan embassy and it was almost as if we were in two different universes, not realizing just how serious this is being taken by America's interest, the American people, but very high-ranking people in the administration, people in the Congress, people who want to maintain a relationship with Pakistan, but realize we are definitely at a crossroads right now.

And I just don't know whether the Pakistanis, whether it's President Zardari, whether it's General Kayani, if they realize the full impact of what it meant to have bin Laden living in the shadow of some many government officials all these years. I don't know if they realize that very few people believe that Pakistan was not aware of that, or if they were -- or if they were not, you know, they were just totally incompetent and inept.

KING: You've been receiving frequent updates, briefings on the intelligence received. One of the things CNN is told, the word "hostile" was used by sources to describe to us the mood, the tone of the wives of bin Laden when they were questioned by U.S. intelligence officials. What do you know about that?

P. KING: That's basically what I've heard. I've not really heard any details other than the fact that even if with that, I know the United States would have preferred to have separate interviews with the three. My understanding was it was done combined, which really minimizes the impact of the interrogation.

KING: About 11 days now, essentially, 12 days since the death of bin Laden, which means 11 or 10 days given the transport issues to start analyzing this treasure trove of information, the computer disk, the thumb drives, the videos, the hand-written notes in bin Laden's personal journal. What is your sense of everything you've been told, sir, about any -- let me put it this way first, any threats to the American people that have not been discussed in recent days. Anything you're particularly worried about?

P. KING: No, there's nothing that I'm aware of that's come out particularly. There's been some general talk, you know, we saw the one last week about attacks on mass transit. There's others as far as like various industries, but nothing specific. Nothing we really didn't know before. If anything, it's just reinforced concerns we did have before, but really nothing new.

But, again, I think we are into instant gratification at this country. I do know the CIA, they look very quickly to see if they can find any targets, any sites, any planned operations. And so far, as far as I know, none of that has been found by anything specific. But I think the real wealth of this information is going to be coming out over the next weeks and months because it's very seldom you find a silver bullet which explains everything or says on such and such a date, this is going to happen.

It's bits and pieces that are put together, and that also one piece of evidence leading to another and to another and to another after that. And that's really what's going on now. You have to make sure the translation is accurate. You have to make sure that as many small pieces can be tied together. I can see it taking several times, going through the same evidence before we see how it all connects, how any of it connects.

But this is -- I believe it's going to be extremely helpful to us and the fact that those SEALS were able to get all of that out of there, besides getting bin laden and besides carrying out the raid successfully, to me, it's just phenomenal.

KING: And what about the photo themselves? You said after viewing them, not particularly gruesome. Some of your colleagues who have seen them have said it's pretty graphic stuff and they don't think most Americans would have the stomach for it. Why is your view different?

P. KING: I would say some of them are gruesome, but I think there is at least one, maybe two, especially if it was done in black and white, rather than color, but I think the American people could absolve. But I'm not disagreeing with the president here. I think the American people could accept it. It's not going to shock that many people. Again, at least one or two of the photos.

I understand the president's concern about the impact it would have around the world and that's really his decision to make as commander in chief. So while I think they could find a way to release at least one of them, I'm not going to disagree with the president. I'm not going to publicly disagree with him on this. He's the commander in chief and I do understand that a number of military commanders have expressed their concern about what the reaction would be overseas, so, again, I will stand by the president on that.

KING: Congressman, thanks for your time tonight.

P. KING: John, thank you.

KING: Thank you, sir.


John King, USA

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