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Special Report

Friday Lightning Round: Capital terror plot

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," February 17, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: Every week viewers vote for your choice online in our Friday Lightning Round poll. This week, Bill's pick won with 43 percent of the vote. We'll get to that in a minute.

First, the Capitol Hill terror plot. Here is what the Justice Department said about this today, an arrest of 29-year-old Moroccan national, quote, "The arrest was the culmination of an undercover operation during which the suspect was closely monitored by law enforcement. Explosives the suspect allegedly sought to use in connection with the plot had been rendered inoperable by the law enforcement and posed no threat to the public." It was a suicide bombing attempt that never got to that point because of authorities. Here is what Congressman King had to say about it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. PETE KING, R - N.Y., HOUSE HOMELAND SECURITY CHAIRMAN: Now you have a person living in this country 12 years who apparently was willing to be a suicide bomber. That is a line that has been crossed. And I think we're gonna have to rethink some of our conceptions, some of the ideas we were basing our activities on. Because it was always felt that it was very unlikely that we would have a suicide bomber.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BAIER: OK, what about this with the Lightning Round? Bill?

BILL KRISTOL, EDITOR, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: I don't know. I think the FBI is doing an awfully good job of tracing these lone wolves in our own country. I remain much more concerned about people connected to terrorism from abroad.

BAIER: Liz?

LIZ MARLANTES, CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR: I would have to agree with that. We obviously don't know a lot of details still about this guy. What little we do know suggests that he wasn't particularly sophisticated. And so, I mean, it was a good catch. But it doesn't seem like a huge threat.

BAIER: Charles?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: It seems as if after 9/11 we instituted all kind of systems, including a lot of overkill at airports that nonetheless has reduced radically the number of would-be attackers coming from the outside with the exception of the underwear attacker in Detroit. But here they are mostly homegrown. And there in a free society where you don't want to single out one ethnic group, you're getting young male Islamists, radicalized jihadists whom it's really hard to find, generally speaking. And it means that's likely to be where the threat of the future is going to come from.

BAIER: Congratulations to the federal authorities. That was a big bust today.

Next topic, UNESCO funding. This was an item found in the president budget request. Charles, what about that?

KRAUTHAMMER: It's surprising. One of the successes the administration has had at the U.N. is when the Palestinians tried to get recognition for Palestine without a peace agreement with Israel. They got almost shut out. The American law says any U.N. agency accepts a Palestinian state without a peace agreement we are going to cut off all support. And we did that with UNESCO, which is the only agency that actually accepted that. And it discouraged all the other U.N. agencies and no other did.

So we had success with that. And what is the administration trying to do? Restore the funding to UNESCO to undo its one success. It tells you how hypocritical is Obama's claims about his support of Israel, and it also hints at what he might do in a second term.

BAIER: All right, let's talk about this burqa story out of Belgium. And this woman, a 28-year-old whose father is a lawmaker in Belgium wearing this Muslim veil and burqa with a bikini with slogans across her body "Freedom or Islam, you choose," part of this campaign. Liz, what about this? Obviously provocative.

MARLANTES: Provocative, offensive, tacky, but she has a right to do it. I wouldn't say that you shouldn't have a right to say something like that if you want to. I think the wisdom of it you can certainly question. And I'm not sure to too many others would want to follow in her footsteps.

BAIER: Because it's dangerous?

MARLANTES: Because it's dangerous. But it shouldn't be dangerous actually, really. She has said she has had death threats, and there should not be death threats from something like that. That I think is just, you know, wrong.

BAIER: Bill?

KRISTOL: No, that's for sure. It shouldn't be dangerous. On the other hand, there is no need to gratuitously mock people's religions. Maybe she thinks she is making some deep point, but I think you can make that deep point by writing an article or even by cartoons, like the Muhammad cartoons, which were clever and sort of thought provoking. This doesn't strike me as particularly either of these.

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