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Special Report

All-Star Panel on Obama's Times Square Terror Attack Response

This is a rush transcript of "Special Report With Bret Baier" from May 3, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERT GIBBS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I think anybody that has the type of material they had in the car in Times Square, I would say that that was intended to terrorize, absolutely. I would say whoever, whoever did that would be categorized as a terrorist, yes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHANNON BREAM, GUEST HOST: All right, you heard it from the White House press secretary using the word "terrorist."

Let's bring in the panel now, Steve Hayes, senior writer for the Weekly Standard; A.B. Stoddard, associate editor of The Hill; and syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer. Welcome, everyone.

Charles, let's start with you. Your reaction to that? The White House in this particular instance isn't wasting time getting to the word "terror" or "terrorism."

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: That is quite an admission coming from this administration, particularly when you look at what happened in the Christmas bombing. If you remember what happened at that point, the president waited three days before he came out and he called the guy an isolated extremist.

His secretary of Homeland Security said the system worked and then the attorney general gave the guy his Miranda rights. That was not exactly a successful series of events. They have learned considering all the heat and criticism they took.

So they waited only two days. The press secretary admits the guy is a terrorist. How else do you describe a guy about to blow up Times Square with a car bomb? A bad electrician? I can't imagine what else you would call him. So that is something of an admission.

They are now talking about possible links to the outside. So apparently he is not a violent, an isolated extremist. And Napolitano, as always, slightly behind the curve said the attempt is amateurish, as if you need a diploma from Al Qaeda-U to kill a lot of Americans.

I would suggest, I would probably anticipate that if the guy who planted this is found he will likely not be read his Miranda rights right away. Although you have to ask where is the famous high-value interrogation group, the one that was supposed to be there Christmas day to interrogate the guy? This is an Obama answer to the harsh techniques of the Bush administration. And the Hague didn't exist at this time. Does it exist today? Who knows?

BREAM: A.B., Charles mentioned the Christmas day bomber, and we think of Fort Hood and other issues where the administration was criticized for not moving on to accept something as terrorism. Were they under a lot of heat to do that this time?

A.B. STODDARD, ASSOCIATE EDITOR, THE HILL: Absolutely, they were shellacked at Christmastime, and they learned terrorism is always political, it always will be. It is better to assume the worst. Investigate as they always would any international connection but assume there's an international connection.

And if it turns out to be isolated event and some form of domestic terrorism, that is fine later. But I think they learned their lesson they have to assume the worst, go big, and act quickly.

And it actually was amateurish. Not the way probably the secretary of homeland security should describe it, but what it means for us again we got lucky, which is truly frightening. And we don't even have a suspect yet. But as far as politics, they have learned their lesson for sure.

BREAM: And we are also getting a report, at least one report now, that the FBI joint terrorism task force has gotten involved with the investigation, which says lot as well, Steve.

STEVE HAYES, SENIOR WRITER, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: It suggests that there are the international links Charles referred to.

I'm not so quick to say they got it right and give them a pat on the back for this. The answer to the question Robert Gibbs, he doesn't have to give a five-second response. He has to say yes. Of course it's terrorism. That's an easy answer.

When you look at what Janet Napolitano said, she said twice yesterday in an interview with ABC news in which she was asked directly about possible external links and the history of those kinds of bombs in London and Glasgow in 2007, she said it was mostly likely a one-off event. That does not inspire confidence.

This is a typical — this is a trademark Al Qaeda type of plot. It doesn't mean Al Qaeda had done it. It could certainly be somebody other than Al Qaeda or somebody other than with radical Islamic links. But the bottom line they were quick to downplay this and minimize what we were likely looking at. And they have done it again and again and again. They're not taking seriously enough the people we're fighting against and what they want to do to us.

BREAM: And speaking of taking it seriously, a lot of people raised concerns about the fact that the attorney general has still not 100 percent canceled the possibility that a KSM terror trial of 9/11 could be held in New York. He's been out front talking about this particular issue today.

A.B., do you think this puts some pressure on him to take a step back from that?

STODDARD: The attorney general has been under tremendous pressure. He has not had a good several past few months. Yes, I do. I think that that issue is very, very divisive for them in their own party, and I think you will see them walking back.

KRAUTHAMMER: The trial of New York is completely dead if it ever had any life in it. It's totally off the table after this.

But I would bet Guantanamo got an extra year or two of life because of this. The administration will be less quick to want to close it. It knows it will be judged on this. The Bush administration had seven years after 9/11 of no successful attacks in the United States. There has already been one successful attack under the Obama administration with the Fort Hood shooting, a guy because of political correctness was allowed to be promoted and ended up killing 13 Americans.

They got lucky twice. If it happens again, they're going to know the Bush administration, which was attacked, excoriated for the tough interrogation, nonetheless kept us safe. Obama has repeatedly attacked the way that the Bush administration handled terror. Well, he has to be real careful. This could destroy his presidency.

He understands that and that's why I think they'll be more scrupulous interrogating the guys if and when they find them.

BREAM: Steve, Charles mentioned that high value interrogation unit. We don't know if it's in place yet, but knowing that the task force is involved, do you think the administration will leap ahead, skip the Miranda rights warning, and go to plan b?

HAYES: That is altogether unclear. If you remember back after the Christmas day bombing, Eric Holder sent a letter saying Mirandizing the suspect as they did was a matter of course. It was in the FBI manual and so they had to do it. You had Robert Gibbs on Sunday shows defended the reading of the Miranda rights and John Brennan talking about a plea bargain.

I think this is the way they are choosing to approach terrorism. They believe fundamentally that the Bush administration overstated the nature of the threat for the better part of seven and a half years and I think they're waking up to the fact that the threat is exactly as it was stated, but they're not acting in accordance.

BREAM: We'll leave this topic, but have you stick around. You can read more about the Times Square plot on the homepage at foxnews.com/specialreport.

Up next, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad attacks the U.S. over nuclear weapons.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

MAHMOUD AHMADINEJAD, IRANIAN PRESIDENT, (via translator): Regrettably, the United States does not only use nuclear weapons but also continues to threaten the use of such weapons against other countries, including my country.

JOHN BOLTON, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N.: This shows that his charm offensive actually has done Iran some good. Obviously, he irritates some people. But he made some very strong points, which are compelling in the U.N. context to the non-align movement and other non- nuclear weapons states to try and pin the blame for our problems in the nuclear area on the United States and on Israel.

(END VIDEO CLIPS)

BREAM: And we're back now with the panel, Charles, A.B., and Steve. And Steve, we'll start with you. Charm offensive? Did he make it work today?

HAYES: I'm not sure he made it work. You know, as with all the things we get from Ahmadinejad, you get the wild and crazy and the sort of loony-ness and the spectacle.

But I agree with Ambassador Bolton to certain extent. If you peel that back, you see someone using the argument that President Obama had made in the past 16 months against the United States. So he is talking about double standards, he's talking about treating people differently.

He's talking about a group of nations, you know, trying to tell other nations what it should do, which harkens back to Obama's speech at the U.N. on September 24, 2009. He is actually using some of the very same arguments that President Obama made at the time saying the United States is not going to any longer lecture people and tell people what to do.

And Ahmadinejad I think is turning those around and he did so rather effectively, again, in the context of his craziness.

BREAM: Also we got a response from the speech this afternoon from Secretary Hillary Clinton talking about this issue and the fact that we have been in a line of sanctions and diplomacy for a long time. It doesn't seem to have solved the problems for now. Here is more of what she had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HILLARY CLINTON, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: Rules must be binding. Violations must be punished. Words must mean something. And the world must stand together to prevent the spread of these weapons. Now at this conference, it's time for a strong international response.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BREAM: A.B., do you think we're going to get one?

STODDARD: The Iranian president is working hard at this conference, knowing it's a month-long series of meetings, knowing that time is of the essence, that there is bipartisan pressure from the Congress on the president to act, from Israel, from the international community.

And as we focus on the need of the administration to bring Russia and China to the table, Iran will attempt, and as you heard in Ahmadinejad's remarks today, to turn these other countries in the Middle East that the administration has been working in so hard to secure some agreements on to try to turn them against Israel, Israel which has not acknowledged having nuclear weapons and, of course, has not signed on to the non-proliferation treaty. So as the pressure mounts and time is running out, managing the issue of Israel is a wedge issue and is likely to cost the administration precious time. And it creates a new front of the challenge. Of course, as relations with Israel are strained, Israel awaits action as well.

BREAM: And that is something that Ahmadinejad talked about directly today. Here's a quote of his addressing the issue of Israel.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

AHMADINEJAD (via translator): The Zionist regime stockpiles hundreds of nuclear warheads, wages numerous wars in the Middle East region, and continues to threaten the people and nations of the region with acts of terror and threats of invasion.

It enjoys the unconditional support of the United States government and its allies and receives the necessary assistance to develop the nuclear weapons program.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BREAM: All right, Charles. It all seems to come back to Israel at some point.

KRAUTHAMMER: I mean it shows the utter bankruptcy of the Obama administration's 16-month policy. Here is a leader of Iran, the country about to go nuclear. And if it does, that is the end of the NPT. That treaty is dead. Everybody will go nuclear and it' not worth the paper it's written on. That's why you have a meeting and that is what the focus ought to be.

Instead, the president of Iran gets up and feels so confident and contemptuous of the United States and outreach attempt for the last 16 months he doesn't even bother to defend his own country. He attacks the United States and Israel.

And what is our response? We say Iran is increasingly isolated. Actually, when he got up to speed we walked up with a handful of other nations, and when Ahmadinejad ended speaking, he got a round of applause from NPT members. These are states who supposedly are concerned about the value and the efficacy of the treaty applauding him, a country they all know is going to nuclear defiance of NPT, in defiance of three resolutions of the Security Council and defiance of the IAEA's own denunciation of Iran as non-compliant with the NPT.

So this is guy knows there is no pressure whatsoever from the United States. Then Hillary stands up and says the United States has exactly 5,113 nukes. And you ask yourself why? It's our first ever declaration of that.

The idea is somehow we'll set a moral example and other nations will follow. Well, forget about Iran and North Korea. Do you think that even India and Pakistan are going to react, are going to declare themselves, or China or Russia? Of course not.

It's another example of the ostentatious nuclear moralism which has no effect on the world and simply leaves us hanging a dry out there with no effect on Iran, which is the main issue in the NPT.

BREAM: Charles, we'll give you the final world. Thank you, Charles, A.B., and Steve, all.

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