This is a partial transcript from "Your World with Neil Cavuto," July 21, 2005, that was edited for clarity.
STUART VARNEY, GUEST HOST: Following Thursday's London attack, this statement from a U.S. congressman: "How many warnings do we need before we take action?"
Let's ask the man who said it, Democrat Representative Robert Menendez of New Jersey, also chairman of the Democratic Caucus.
Congressman, tell us, spell it out for us, please. What action would you like to see to safeguard America's mass transit? (search)
REP. ROBERT MENENDEZ, D-N.J.: Well, we have had for some time, Stuart, legislation that says we have to help transit agencies across this country protect the more than 14 million people who use public transit every day.
And that means helping them with the resources to apply technology, to do the sensory devices that can detect explosive devices, to bring more canine dogs that are trained for explosive devices, to have the human capital and transit police, to provide for the monitoring and surveillance equipment.
All of that largely is not the reality today.
VARNEY: Do you think that we could introduce airport-type security to, say, New York City's subway system?
MENENDEZ: Well, I'm not sure that that would be a reality. One of the things we need to do is bring technology of scale to where large numbers of passengers move. Obviously, we have a lot more passengers moving on a daily basis through a rail, subway or bus than we do through airports.
VARNEY: Is the technology available, sir? Is the technology available?
MENENDEZ: That technology is increasingly available. The question is bringing it to scale, so that we can handle the numbers of people.
But, right now, the fundamental question is not an argument over whether technology is available or not, which I think it increasingly is. The fundamental question is, right now, we have abandoned public transit passengers in this country to their own fate. And our wakeup should have been Madrid (search). Our reminder is London (search). What more do we need to wait for?
VARNEY: That's an argument, of course, about money. And we're going to have that argument. But previous guests on this program today have suggested that we need more intelligence on potential terrorists within our midst in the United States.
Following that, would you favor a renewal, a full renewal of the Patriot Act? (search)
MENENDEZ: Well, we're certainly in the midst of that debate as we speak right now. We will see how the amendments that have been made in order ultimately take place.
I voted for the Patriot Act in the first instance. And I believe that much of the Patriot Act is actually permanent law. We are only talking about elements of the Patriot Act that are not permanent law. And, for example, we want to make sure that we both strengthen and make sure that there are protections at the end of the day to basic civil liberties. That's a debate that's going on, on the House floor. I think we can achieve both.
And I look forward to making sure that law enforcement has the tools that they need, while Americans have the fundamental rights that we're all collectively fighting for abroad and at home as well.
VARNEY: Representative Robert Menendez, New Jersey congressman, Democrat, thanks for joining us, sir. Appreciate it.
MENENDEZ: Thank you.
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