Transcript: Ex-CIA Director Stansfield Turner

This is a partial transcript from The O'Reilly Factor, October 2, 2001.

BILL O'REILLY, HOST:  In the second Personal Story tonight, Admiral Stansfield Turner.  In 1977, President Carter appointed him to be head of its Central Intelligence Agency, and he updated the CIA's technical capacity drastically.

Other important Factor guests and topics on October 2, 2001 included:
• Asa Hutchinson, Drug Enforcement Agency on the crackdown on the Mexico-US border since Sept. 11
• Continuing controversy over Univ. of So. Florida professor Dr. Sami Al-Arian
• Does the Koran advocate violence against non-believers? Imam Johari Abdul-Malik & Imam Maher Hathout say no
• How real is the threat of a biochemical terrorist attack? Steven Milloy, CATO Institute & author, "Junk Science Judo: Self-Defense Against Health Scares and Scams
• Robert Precht, law professor and former public defender comments on the trial of World Trade Center bombers in 1993
Order  complete transcript

But critics say Admiral Turner de-emphasized ground agents, and that hurt covert operations.  An article in The Los Angeles Times says Mr. Carter was furious with Admiral Turner and other intelligence heads for failing to foresee the Muslim revolution in Iran in 1979.

Admiral Turner has been a distinguished fellow at the Naval War College and is now advocating a policy of deporting any foreigner in America suspected of having terrorist ties.

He joins us now from Washington.

All right, admiral, let's get to the legislation that you would like to see.  Can you describe it for us?

STANSFIELD TURNER, FORMER CIA DIRECTOR:  Yes.  I base this concept on the idea that any foreign person coming to this country is privileged.  That person does not have a right to come to this country.  And that we're foolish when the situation is as serious as it is today to let terrorists stay in this country and plot their terrorist activities, as they did for the September 11 event.

Instead, we should, on the recommendation of the director of the FBI or the CIA, let the attorney general pass judgment as to whether there is sufficient evidence to give real meaning to the idea that these people are supporting terrorist activities, and then the attorney general should have the authority, if he so rules, just to deport them, send them off to another country, to their own country.

We don't have to exercise all the privileges of human rights and civil rights and justice rights and so on for these people.  We can send them home.  It doesn't hurt them.  They came here from their countries, they can go back.

O'REILLY:  All right, so due process, you feel, for foreign nationals doesn't apply in America.

TURNER:  No, I don't say that.  I say for a foreign national whom we have reasonable cause to believe is supporting a terrorist activity.

O'REILLY:  But right now, reasonable cause would be decided by judges.  You want it to be decided by law enforcement officials.

TURNER:  And the CIA director, but with the attorney general being the ultimate cause.

O'REILLY:  Yes, OK, but you're really...

TURNER:  We're telling...

O'REILLY:  ... you're taking due process away, though, fra -- you're basically letting one guy decide whether a person should stay or leave.

TURNER:  Absolutely.  This is not a major incursion into our due process.  It's a very limited one for a very limited number of people.  And we're telling the rest of the world, you should not harbor terrorists, and we've been harboring terrorists.  We're harboring terrorists today.  The newspaper...

O'REILLY:  But that's more of a -- because of inefficiency and apathy and lack of manpower...

TURNER:  No...

O'REILLY:  ... on the part of the INS, right?

TURNER:  No, it -- no, it is not.  The FBI today, we read, has knowledge of four to six bin Laden cells in this country.  But because those cells have not done anything illegal, they've been unable to touch them.  I think that's insane, when the situation is as serious as it is.

I mean, we're telling the rest of the world, you must not harbor terrorists, and we're doing it right here.

O'REILLY:  Well, you know, you can always get your visa revoked, and that's what I don't understand.  If they think that there are terrorists running around this country, you take a look at their visas, and you say, you know, Time for you to go, I'll see you around.  There's always ways you can get around that.  And I don't understand why they don't do that.

TURNER:  I don't either.  But I'd rather make it so you don't have to get around the law, but the law is written so that the attorney general has this flexibility, (inaudible)...

O'REILLY:  Has the right to do that himself.  OK, all right, I'll consider that.


TURNER:  All right.

O'REILLY:  ... the CIA has come under a lot of fire for not protecting us, and the FBI as well, from this terror attack, and a lot of the blame's been laid at your doorstep by the "L.A. Times" particularly, and then earlier on by Congressman Samuel Stratton, you remember him, in 1978...

TURNER:  I do.

O'REILLY:  ... where they said, Hey, Admiral Turner went in, he did the high-tech stuff, and that was great, but he blew out all the station chiefs' authority and stopped the -- all the underground moles and all this, and we don't know what's going on, on the ground.  How do you answer that?

TURNER:  Well, first of all, let's put it in perspective.  I was there 24 to 20 years ago.  If I did all these terrible things they're suggesting, why didn't the six directors and the 20 years that have (inaudible) transpired since then, give people an opportunity to correct what I did?

In fact, I fired 17 people from the human intelligence branch of the CIA, and that could hardly be enough to cause any kind of a problem.

O'REILLY:  What do you think about the Torricelli principle that was instituted in the mid-'90s by Mr. Clinton and Senator Torricelli of New Jersey, which said that no station chief could any informant who had a criminal record or any kind of human rights rap sheet, without getting the approval of the CIA director?  What did you think about that policy?

TURNER:  I don't believe that policy has inhibited their use of foreign agents.

O'REILLY:  Really?

TURNER:  That's merely getting approval from the chief, it isn't a question of not...

O'REILLY:  All right, we talked to five station chiefs...

TURNER:  ... doing it.

O'REILLY:  ... five CIA station chiefs.  They all said they would never, ever get involved with the bureaucracy in Washington by asking, so they just didn't do it.

TURNER:  Well, then...

O'REILLY:  That surprise you?

TURNER:  Then somebody's not running the operation right, if that's the case, if they're that afraid of their own bureaucracy.  I certainly don't think...

O'REILLY:  Oh, but you know how it is in Washington...

TURNER:  ... that's the case.

O'REILLY:  ... admiral, you know how it is, how chaotic and how -- you know, they're afraid.

TURNER:  No, what is needed in the CIA, what is needed in our intelligence community today is to give the director of Central Intelligence the authority to bring all of the intelligence activities together.  What you're talking about, the human intelligence, the technical intelligence, the analysis of intelligence, to ensure that all of the agencies in the intelligence community share information with each other.

O'REILLY:  OK, that's great, and I'm...

TURNER:  He cannot do that today.

O'REILLY:  ... but shouldn't you have enough confidence in your station chiefs, the CIA guys in the countries themselves on the ground, to trust them to develop their own informants?  Why do they need to check with you, admiral?

TURNER:  You're protecting them, because there are laws enough in this country about human rights that if they did something that was questioned very much, they would either get hauled up before a congressional committee...

O'REILLY:  But they don't want to be protected...

TURNER:  ... or possibly...

O'REILLY:  ... these guys want to have the opportunity...

TURNER:  Of course they want...

O'REILLY:  ... to develop the underground sources so they can...

TURNER:  Of course they want to be protected.  Nobody wants to go out and go to jail because they're doing their job.  So, that's not an issue.  I don't believe that's the...

O'REILLY:  All right, I'm just telling you what they told me.  I'm not in the agency.  Now, did President Carter really get angry with you because you didn't call the Iran situation correctly?

TURNER:  No.  President Carter didn't get angry with me.  President Carter will tell you today that he was very proud of the way I ran the CIA, and I'm very proud of the way I ran it.  And for these people to drag up and say that September 11 is due to something I did over 24 years ago is really pretty ludicrous.

O'REILLY:  All right.

TURNER:  But I way to you again, let's put some legislation on the table that will give the director of Central Intelligence, who also happens to be the head of the CIA, but it is a different job, give him or her the authority to bring the clues together that we did not bring together...

O'REILLY:  Hey, I'm all for that.

TURNER:  ... for September 11.

O'REILLY:  And I hope Governor Ridge can do something here to make that happen.  I'm just -- I just want the station chiefs and the CIA to have more power than they have.  I don't think they should be checking with these pinheads in Washington, because you know how Washington is, admiral.

And we appreciate you coming on and talking to us today.  And I also think it's -- I probably would lean toward giving the attorney general the power to deport on compelling evidence, I probably would do that.  Thanks, admiral, we appreciate it.

TURNER:  Sure thing.

Click here to order the complete transcript.

Copy: Content and Programming Copyright 2001 Fox News Network, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Transcription Copyright 2001 eMediaMillWorks, Inc. (f/k/a Federal Document Clearing House, Inc.), which takes sole responsibility for the accuracy of the transcription. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No license is granted to the user of this material except for the user's personal or internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may infringe upon Fox News Network, Inc.'s and eMediaMillWorks, Inc.'s copyrights or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.