This is a partial transcript from "Your World with Neil Cavuto," December 6, 2005, that was edited for clarity.
NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Democrats also making hay with the final report card from the 9/11 Commission, giving the administration a lot of D's and F's on this ongoing war on terror.
But it has been more than four years since 9/11, and we have not been hit again on U.S. soil. So, why doesn't the White House get more credit for that?
Joining us now is the former commission's vice chairman, Lee Hamilton.
Congressman, good to you have.
LEE HAMILTON, FORMER VICE CHAIRMAN, 9/11 COMMISSION: Thank you.
CAVUTO: I have read the report. And I was a little bit surprised that more credit wasn't given to the fact, maybe by luck, maybe by circumstance, sir, that we haven't been hit again on U.S. soil. Do you find that remarkable?
HAMILTON: I do. I think it's very important to keep in mind that we have not had an attack on our soil since September 11.
CAVUTO: Why is that? Why do you think that is?
HAMILTON: I don't think anybody can answer that question. I think we can speculate about it.
I think, personally, the intervention in Afghanistan was very important, because it put Al Qaeda into disarray. There may be a lot of elements of our security system, checks at airports, checks at big events, that have been helpful. We don't really know. There may be an element of luck. There may be an element of a change of strategy on the part of Al Qaeda. The focus on Europe...
CAVUTO: I'm sorry. But if we have had more than four years where other regions of the world, certainly, as you have indicated, sir, have been hit, but we have not, we must be doing something right here that borders on more than just luck, right?
HAMILTON: Well, don't be too complacent.
Keep in mind that these terrorists were very patient. There was an eight-year lapse between the attack on the World Trade towers and 9/11. They're very sophisticated. They take their time.
So, I think it's correct, as you emphasize, no attack. But, if you conclude from that statement that we're doing everything right and we can be complacent, then I think you're dead wrong.
CAVUTO: Well, I think you're exactly right on that, sir.
CAVUTO: But let me ask you a little bit about this. I guess the summation of your summation is that there is going to be another attack.
CAVUTO: Devil's choice to start picking cities, but is New York City vulnerable again?
HAMILTON: Of course it is.
Look, they have made very clear, in their statements, the terrorists, that they want to do two things, kill as many Americans as possible, and hit targets of symbolic value. New York City is an obvious target.
CAVUTO: So, when you say New York City is an obvious target, do you ever worry, or did the details ever hearken to something like what we see in Israel almost weekly there, discotheques, shopping centers, malls, that those are very real, tangible soft targets in this country?
HAMILTON: Well, there are a lot of soft targets here. We're a free country.
Unfortunately, we can't change our whole lifestyle. What we have to do is take the limited resources that we have, make some very tough decisions about priorities, what are you going to protect, what are you not going to protect, and make the best judgments we can. That's what has to be done.
CAVUTO: I know, as you have indicated, sir, when the hearings were ongoing, that the terrorists just have to succeed once, no matter how many attacks we have stopped. We have stopped at least three or four potentially biggies in this country.
Do you think that we have the wherewithal and the money necessary to stop future biggies, or is it just a matter of time before something akin to 9/11 hits us again?
HAMILTON: I think, right now, the terrorists are plotting as to how to strike us and hurt us just as bad as they hurt us on September 11. We have to assume that.
We cannot assure the American people of total safety, but we certainly can reduce the risks. And that's what we ought to be trying to do.
CAVUTO: All right. Congressman, thank you very much.
HAMILTON: Thank you, sir.
CAVUTO: Lee Hamilton in Washington.
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