Fox News
May 02, 2011

Rudy Giuliani Reacts to Bin Laden's Death and Burial, Discusses Future of War on Terror

Guests: Rudy Giuliani, former mayor of New York City

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," May 2, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: America's hunt for Usama bin Laden which lasted nearly 10 years came to an end last night at this compound just 35 miles outside of Islamabad, Pakistan.

Now, there the al Qaeda leader and 9/11 mastermind was shot in the head after a team of brave U.S. Navy SEALs raided this compound. And earlier today, American military officials aboard the USS Vinson buried his body at sea.

Now, this was a momentous day for America but there is no question that this event has special meaning for the families of bin Laden's many, many victims -- from the innocent men and women who perished in the attacks on our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania to the 17 American servicemen brutally murdered aboard the USS Cole to the thousands of civilians slaughtered by al Qaeda in New York City, Washington, D.C. and a field in Pennsylvania on September 11, 2001.

And joining me now with reaction to the death of the world's most wanted terrorist, this former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani with its so much to rally, New York City in the wake of 9/11 attacks. Mr. Mayor, it's a great day for the country.

FORMER MAYOR RUDY GIULIANI, NEW YORK CITY: It is, it really is a great day for America and there's a sense of vindication and a sense of satisfaction that is very hard to describe.

HANNITY: It really is. I mean --

GIULIANI: This s a man who deserved to die. You can't say that about too many people. But this is a man who really deserved to die. And even though it doesn't bring our loved ones back, there is a sense of fulfillment that justice has been done.

HANNITY: I think one of the greatest things in all of this is, you know, and President Bush said this, and you said this, we will find you, we will hunt you down, we will never give up and we will get you eventually.

GIULIANI: Right. And I think you know, sometimes when it takes this long, you understand it better, it reminds me of these murderers that sometimes take 20 and 30 years and police officers don't give up or catching the Nazi war criminals and bringing them to justice.

HANNITY: Right. Well, one of the things that's come up in all of this is the whole issue of intelligence. And we debated rendition, we debated interrogation techniques and by all indications, what we know now, and there's going to be a lot more coming out in the days to come, so we don't have the full picture yet, is that, that this guy, they were able to track this guy down because he was a protégé of KSM, they had a nickname for him back in 2007. Then they got his real name, and because he was a courier that bin Laden trusted and intelligence is what did this.

GIULIANI: Well, intelligence is the key to keeping us safe. I mean, that's the thing that has been improved tremendously since September 11. I mean, that is the area in which this country is safer because our intelligence techniques are much better. And unfortunately, you do need these intensive interrogation techniques to get information out of some of these people.

HANNITY: Right.

GIULIANI: And the information isn't all accurate but a lot of it is and we can't give that up. And the other thing that we can't have happen -- you know, I had a mixed feeling about the elation last night, you know, the celebrations in Washington and celebrations in New York. I can understand the emotion and I sort of appreciated the fact that people haven't forgotten. But I thought this is not the time yet to celebrate. We're still in the middle of this. We have it one -- this is not like winning the second World War.

HANNITY: And I don't know that we will ever get to the point. Are we able going to get to the point where.

GIULIANI: Absolutely.

HANNITY: You think that we have won the war on terror?

GIULIANI: We'll going to defeat ultimately Islamic extremist terrorism.

HANNITY: Yes.

GIULIANI: And this will be one of the milestones on the way to it. We can't discount what a big symbol he was. And what a tremendous rally in cry he was. And you take somebody like that out, this is like taking out a Hitler or Stalin. And Zawahiri, it's not him, and we're going to probably catch pretty darn soon.

HANNITY: Well, I would hope so. What is interesting about this and I know George Bush, President Bush 43 spent the better part of his presidency looking for him and trying to find him. If it turns out that in fact it was, you know, enhanced interrogation techniques or rendition either in Poland or Romania was something that I've heard -- all right, so if it was interrogation techniques because we always had the means to get bin Laden.

GIULIANI: Right.

HANNITY: In other words, we knew where he was.

GIULIANI: Right.

HANNITY: But we needed the intelligence to confirm that. Does this now bring this debate back to the forefront? And by the way, and I give President Obama a lot of credit here. Because I thought it was a gutsy choice.

GIULIANI: It was.

HANNITY: A gutsy choice, not to drop a 2,000-pound bomb but to send these guys in, so we can confirm that it's him.

GIULIANI: When you consider everything that could have gone wrong and how President Obama would look today if it did, it took a lot of courage to do that and I do admire that. And I think it was a good day the last two days for both President Obama and President Bush. Because I think President Bush set in motion all of the things that led to this. And then President Obama picked up on it and carried it out. And I give both of them a tremendous amount of credit for this.

HANNITY: And I do too. And this is a good day for this country and we're going to talk to Todd Beamer's dad who's going to be on the program. And Debra Burlingame is going to be on the program tonight. And General Tommy Franks is on tonight.

But as I look at this, would President Obama not now realize that without the intelligence, he wouldn't have had the ability to make this decision, I would hope that it might change his mind.

GIULIANI: Maybe it will. And the reality is he also at that very last minute when he's made the decision had to know that intelligence is 50/50. I mean, you never know.

HANNITY: You never know.

GIULIANI: They were going in there to get Usama bin Laden but who knows if it wasn't somebody that just looked like him or was like him. The better your intelligence, the more accurate your decision making and the safer we are. And the reality is, and I was glad to hear the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton say this. This is not the end, we are in the middle of this, and we can't let down our guard. We shouldn't be leaving Afghanistan as a result of this. We shouldn't be leaving Iraq, we should remain there to get the job done.

HANNITY: I agree but this is where I find myself a little conflicted here because this is almost the opposite of what candidate Obama said he would do. And maybe for the first time he's grown in office.

GIULIANI: He did say one thing as a candidate, I remember because I was running --

HANNITY: About going into Pakistan.

GIULIANI: About going into Pakistan, Afghanistan, putting emphasis on that. So, he did carry that out. And look, a lot of the techniques that the Bush administration used, they are continuing to use.

HANNITY: Right.

GIULIANI: Maybe they are not acknowledging it but they're continuing to use it.

HANNITY: And Gitmo is still open.

GIULIANI: Yes. Right.

HANNITY: All right. But the whole idea that, you know, it is not the war on terror. You are pointing out something that is very true. This is a war against radical Islamists, they want to kill us to this day.

GIULIANI: They are at war with us.

HANNITY: Yes.

GIULIANI: We don't have a choice about whether to it's a war on them or not, we have to be at war because they are at war with us. They came here, they killed us, they're continuing to do it. We've got a city right now -- I haven't seen as many police on the street in New York in a long time.

HANNITY: Yes.

GIULIANI: There is no question in the short-term, it is more dangerous. We had to catch him and we have to take this danger. But right now, in the short-term, it is more dangerous. Long term, this will make us safer, but this is going to excite some of these crazy people and we better really be on alert now.

HANNITY: All right. That is what I am going to get to him when we get back. First of all, I think the White House has to release the pictures. Do you agree with that?

GIULIANI: Absolutely. Right away.

HANNITY: Has to, why are they waiting?

GIULIANI: I don't know. The sensitivity about way there might be reaction in the Islamic world. I don't know. They've got to release the pictures. Otherwise, this conspiracy theorists will, you know, will go wild.

HANNITY: All right. I want to ask you about the pictures when we get back and also the idea that he was given a religious funeral on an aircraft carrier. And similarly Lindsey Graham says this is sensitivity gone too far, the idea that he even had this burial at sea. The victims of 9/11 did not have that opportunity and other victims. So, we will come back, more with former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: At my direction, the United States launched a targeted operation against that compound in Abbotabad, Pakistan. The small team of Americans carried out the operation with extraordinary courage capability. No Americans were harmed. They took care to avoid civilian casualties. After a firefight, they killed Usama bin Laden and took custody of his body.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: And welcome back to this special edition of "Hannity." We continue now with former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. We'll be joined by our General Tommy Franks. And you know Todd Beamer's dad?

GIULIANI: Yes.

HANNITY: Yes, as well, he's going to be joining us tonight. Let's roll, a real great patriot, and same with the father.

All right. So, Lindsey Graham is criticizing the Obama administration's decision to bury bin Laden at sea in accordance with Islamic law within a 12 hour period of time.

GIULIANI: I admire Lindsey very much. He is a good friend.

HANNITY: Yes.

GIULIANI: But I don't agree. I think it was OK. I mean, I might not have made that decision but I'm OK with that decision being made. I think that -- look, it's not going to do him any good. He can have all of the services he wants, he's going to hell.

HANNITY: Yes.

GIULIANI: And the reality is I did like the idea of burying him at sea because we don't end up with a memorial for him anywhere.

HANNITY: But should we have kept his body at least for the short- term and we may have done this at some other point. I agree we don't want to set up an area where people can go and memorialize this lunatic. But maybe, in the short-term, because they are still checking the DNA according to reports.

GIULIANI: Hopefully, there are enough proof. They should put the pictures out, I agree with you completely, the pictures should be out now so that you take out the element of why aren't they showing the pictures and whatever they look like, no matter how insensitive they are, people can hand that. And who cares what he looks like.

HANNITY: Yes, well, and I agree with that. I do agree with Lindsey Graham in this respect. I don't -- the victims of 9/11, and you went to how many of their funerals in the families, they did not have funerals, many of them never even got any of the remains of their loved ones back ever.

GIULIANI: Right.

HANNITY: So, I'm like, why is this guy get a funeral?

GIULIANI: I don't know if it was really a funeral. It was just a service and I think they wanted to comply with Islamic law, so that they don't lose some of the moderates and --

HANNITY: They had to clean his body, they had to wrap it in linen, they had an Islamic service according to reports, and then they dumped him in the sea. And I'm thinking that didn't happen for the families.

GIULIANI: That's true.

HANNITY: Yes, go ahead.

GIULIANI: It probably is a disproportion to it but after all, this is the United States military, it is not some terrorist group. And you want to show a distinction in the way you handle people.

HANNITY: But here's my fear.

GIULIANI: And getting rid of him quickly I think really helps. And I was really worried last night that maybe we captured him alive and we have to go through, you know, two or three years of trial and what does that mean in terms of retaliation and opportunities for problems and issues.

HANNITY: Is it predicated on a belief, though, that it would buy goodwill in the Muslim world?

GIULIANI: No. I think it is more predicated on why give them any more reasons for anger and irritation and things they can organize around. So, I might not have done it that way but I can see why they made that decision and so much of the other decision-making was correct.

HANNITY: Yes. I'm not looking to be hypercritical, I agree with you in that sense.

One of the things that concerns me is some of the world reaction as we look in the Arab world and, you know, there are people making quotes that don't worry, America, we can still cut your throat, Pakistan, Taliban attacks after bin Laden shooting. You have got, you know, Hamas condemning the killing of quote, "The holy warrior bin Laden," and al Qaeda, they're promising, you know, death for bin Laden. There was apparently one report that KSM himself said that there was a nuclear device that would be detonated in Europe if this day ever come.

GIULIANI: All that indicates that we've got to be very careful right now. This is a dangerous period of time the next couple of months. And might not necessarily the next couple of days, we might be talking with the next couple of months. Because they try, I think they try the strikes when we are not looking more than when we are looking.

And doing this creates danger in the short-term. It was absolutely necessary. Long-term this will help us a lot because he was a symbolic figure unlike any other. This is a guy that had special charismatic power. Evil, but charismatic power. And taking him out, this is why you are hearing all of this talk in some of the Islamic world because he had a big impact on them, big influence on them.

HANNITY: There are rumors that -- one political question if you don't mind -- that you are really considering strongly getting into the run for president in the primary.

GIULIANI: Not right now. I mean tonight the last couple of days, last thing from my mind is politics.

HANNITY: Well, let's take you back before this happened. Before Geraldo announces last night.

GIULIANI: Actually, that is who I saw.

HANNITY: I was watching Geraldo.

GIULIANI: He was so excited.

HANNITY: I think he was signing "God Bless America."

GIULIANI: He was so excited. He got me all worked up.

HANNITY: But he spent a lot of time with these troops.

GIULIANI: No, no. I could see. Very, very genuine.

HANNITY: He loves these guys. But prior to yesterday, where was your thought process?

GIULIANI: My thought process was, I want to see how the field emerges, who's in it? What they're saying? Is there somebody that could win that has a good chance of winning because that would be my major objective? But tonight, nothing I can talk about. I mean, tonight is the night to thank God that the president made the right decision, thank God that these people carried it out so perfectly. Once the helicopter went down.

HANNITY: That was scary.

GIULIANI: That they were able to carry this out so well.

HANNITY: Yes.

GIULIANI: It means, you know, it's like absorbing some terrible impact in the middle of a very sensitive operation but just going right ahead and doing the job.

HANNITY: What fascinated me is the fact that they were in the Situation Room and able to watch this as it is unfolded.

GIULIANI: I think there must have been a lot of people in the White House very worried when that happened. I would be.

HANNITY: Of course you would be. And, you know, I will say this. We have the greatest military force on the face of the earth. These guys are unbelievable and this was a gutsy raid, you know, by very brave men.

GIULIANI: I think that is something that will mean a lot. I think by carrying this out so professionally, so well.

HANNITY: Yes.

GIULIANI: This is a frightening thought for the rest of the world that America's military can do something like this, come away with no casualties and take this guy out in such a surgical way. There aren't too many militaries in the world if any that can carry this kind of thing. It reminds me of the raid on Entebbe.

HANNITY: Yes. It really does. PB's brother (ph).

GIULIANI: Yes.

HANNITY: Good to see you. Mr. Mayor, thank you so much.

GIULIANI: Thank you.

HANNITY: A great day for the country.

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