This is a rush transcript from "Your World With Neil Cavuto," May 20, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Meanwhile, the head of the FBI today saying that Gitmo detainees could plot attacks if they are released in the U.S. of A. For the Senate, funding such a shut down apparently proving very difficult, shot down yet again today.
Senator Joe Lieberman says that is as it should be. The constant thorn in the side of both parties, the former vice presidential candidate joins me right now, Joe Lieberman.
Senator, always good to have you. Thanks very much for coming.
SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN (I), CONNECTICUT: Well, thank you, Neil. I loved that introduction.
LIEBERMAN: About the constant thorn.
CAVUTO: And I mean that with the highest respect.
Video: Watch Neil's interview with Senator Joseph Lieberman
LIEBERMAN: I know you do. Thank you.
CAVUTO: You got your way on this. But you were arguing it was a bigger issue than just political. That, look, I mean, there are not alternatives, I guess you were saying, to Gitmo, so shutting it down was not a wise idea.
Now the president is still going to push that. Tomorrow, we understand, he is going to spell it out. What happens here?
LIEBERMAN: Yes, well, obviously the president is going to stick to the position he is in, which is that Guantanamo ought to be closed, and I guess the basis of that is that it has become a symbol for abuse that occurred there, allegedly, earlier on.
Today, it is actually as good a facility as you are going to find anywhere in the world for holding essentially prisoners of war. But the Senate vote today basically said that the money that the administration asked for the shutdown of Guantanamo was just premature.
People are getting nervous about where those prisoners of war are going to go from Guantanamo. Obviously, they don't want them just released in America, and a lot of them do not want them as prisoners in their home cities or states, so this plan to close Guantanamo needs a plan to explain how it is going to be done, or the money is not going to be appropriated by Congress.
CAVUTO: And it is a Democratic Congress, so it's all the more, do you think embarrassing for the president?
LIEBERMAN: Well, I do not know if I would say embarrassing, it probably was disappointing, I think they're going to look back and just say, maybe they're already doing it, that, you know, this is a supplemental appropriations bill to cover the time from now to the end of this fiscal year, September 30th.
They're not going to be able to close Guantanamo between now and then, so I think they rushed ahead. They got ahead of their headlights on this one, and what has got to come first is a plan to reassure the American people, one, that these prisoners of war who ought to still be prisoners of war, because if you let them out, they will go back to trying to kill us, that they will be held in jail.
And two, that if they decide that they're going to release anybody, they're simply not going to be released into the streets or communities in America. Senator Lindsey Graham and I have put a bill in that would require that any prisoners that the government determines are no longer necessary — it's to hold them, that they get turned over to the Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Homeland Security then returns them either to their native lands, or to the places where they were captured, not just let go anywhere in the U.S.
CAVUTO: You know, Senator, tomorrow, the president said he was going to outline his latest anti-terrorism views on the same day your old colleague and friend Dick Cheney is going to be speaking on anti- terrorism, and keeping true to your tradition of zinging both parties, you had sort of taken issue with the vice president last week, I believe, in saying that this president, President Obama, hasn't — I am paraphrasing here — relaxed, you know, the war on terror when it comes to Afghanistan, in fact, and in his commitment to there, he is doing more than the prior administration.
Where do you stand on this issue? Because it has become a deep political divide right now.
LIEBERMAN: Sure. Yes, I mean, I have a lot of respect for Dick Cheney. I agreed with some of the things he said in the last few months. I disagreed with some others. What I particularly disagreed with, because I don't like to see this happening, is the suggestion that America is less safe under President Obama.
Our guard is up, as it has been since 9/11. There are some specifics steps President Obama has taken that actually I would think Dick Cheney would be happy about, because they are consistent with what has happened earlier. President Obama specifically rejected the calls to immediately pull out of Iraq. We're on a schedule that's quite methodical and thoughtful.
He has actually increased our forces in Afghanistan. And here at home, though I disagree with the president and agree with Vice President Cheney that it was wrong to put those memos out, he has now said he won't release the pictures. He is going to try these prisoners of war in military commissions, not in federal court.
Those are steps in the right direction. We are as safe as we can be in a world in which there are terrorists who want to kill us.
CAVUTO: Real quickly then, I assume you are getting along with the Democrats. You do not need the food tasters now. Everything is kumbaya" right? How do things stand?
LIEBERMAN: Yes, it's — I mean...
LIEBERMAN: I feel blessed to have — I feel blessed to have friends in both parties, and hopefully it will help me do a better job for my state and my country. But off the air, I will sing a chorus of kumbaya for you, Neil, personally.
CAVUTO: All right. Senator Joe Lieberman, always a pleasure. Thank you very much.
LIEBERMAN: Take care.
CAVUTO: I hope you are a good singer, by the way.
LIEBERMAN: Thank you.
CAVUTO: All right, Joe Lieberman.
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