This is a partial transcript from Your World with Neil Cavuto, November 26, 2002, that was edited for clarity. Click here for complete access to all of Neil Cavuto's CEO interviews.
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NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: My next guest feels that there's a major offender missing from the new list: Saudi Arabia. He's doing everything he can to make sure that the Saudi's entering the U.S. are scrutinized here as well. Joining me now, New York Congressman Anthony Weiner
Congressman, good to see you.
REP. ANTHONY WEINER, D-N.Y., JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: How are you?
CAVUTO: So you want to fingerprint these guys.
WEINER: I want them to be treated with the same level of heightened scrutiny that we're treating 18 other nations. We're not talking about any citizens here. We're not talking about any folks who are here on anything other than visas, business visas, travel visas and the like. Listen, besides 15 of the 19 bombers of 9/11 being from Saudi Arabia, Saudi Arabia have three members on the FBI top 20. They have done nothing to help us investigate the Bahrain bombing. They have simply not been good citizens when it has come to fighting terrorism. And all we're asking here is just basic things: check in if you change address; check in when you're leaving the country so we know when you do. And for folks who have Saudi visas, I think asking these basic things are smart given the fact that the Saudis have a terrible record when it comes to exporting their terrorists to us.
CAVUTO: The Saudis who are in this country say it is not fair, if you're going to do this, of this to the French who are visiting, do this to the British who are visiting, don't pick on us.
WEINER: We already have a system in place that has 18 nations on it, everything from Algeria to Bahrain to Libya, all I'm saying let's call this what it is. Saudi Arabia has been one of those hot spots for exporting terrorism. We recognize after September 11 we have to do a better job tracking these people. And part of that means just making sure we know where they are at all times. I don't know why anyone would be opposed to that. And the only reason why this isn't being done is because the Bush administration franking is hewing this notion that might be myth. And that is that there are these moderate Arab states that are going to be on our side when push comes to shove. In every case, Saudi Arabia has not been.
CAVUTO: It's interesting, because now we have a growing list of countries we have got to keep an eye on, right? I think we have a list of some of the more prominent members here. It kind of reads like a rogue's gallery here. But you have everyone from Afghanistan to Qatar, Morocco, North Korea, Amman, Yemen. Is it growing? Is that a sign that we're in trouble here?
WEINER: Well, you know what? it probably should. I probably should grow at least in my mind to include Saudi Arabia. But if we're starting to hear chatter through intelligence sources that there's a problem that perhaps a group is leaving one country and heading our way, that's exactly the kind of thing the INS should be doing. My concern is we're allowing politics here with Saudi Arabia to stop us from doing common sense things. You ask any person here in New York to name the country that sent most of the suicide bombers, 15 of the 19, they will tell you immediately, Saudi Arabia. But because of politics the INS is not treating them with the same level of the scrutiny as they are Qatar.
CAVUTO: So spin it forward here a little bit, if we were to start implementing a program like this, would something like that have ever caught the terrorists of September 11?
WEINER: Well, I have to tell you, there's a lot of things that if we would have done differently, would have caught them. For example, we never implemented a system to track student visas after 1993.
CAVUTO: And when they are expired.
WEINER: Exactly. Or whether someone enrolls to go it English literature at St. Johns and winds up going to flight school without learning how to land planes in Tampa. We have to do those things better.
CAVUTO: Is the cross-checking, by the way, Congressman, better with this Homeland Security Department or do you worry that it could still happen?
WEINER: No. Things have gotten better in that we finally got these educational institutions, the colleges, to realize they benefit from these types of visas, they should help us track them a little bit. But this is exactly the kind of question we should be asking someone when they come to this country. I don't think it's excessively burdensome. Most people who are getting visas that I talk to say, listen, we don't mind answering some extra questions. Dropping a dime on the INS and telling them that we are moving, changing address, I don't think that's an unreasonable thing to do. We have to learn something from September 11, and if it's not to keep track of visa recipients better, than I don't know what we have learned.
CAVUTO: Congressman Anthony Weiner, good seeing you again, thank you, sir.
WEINER: Thank you very much.
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