Friday Lightning Round: Bin Laden son-in-law captured

Panel sums up this week's hot topics


This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," March 8, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


SEN. KELLY AYOTTE, R – N.H.: If this man right next to Usama bin Laden is involved in the attacks on our country on 9/11, don't you think it would be important that we not tell him he has the right to remain silent?


CHRIS WALLACE, ANCHOR: Republican Senator Kelly Ayotte not happy with the Obama administration's decision to charge Usama bin Laden's son-in-law in criminal court instead of a military tribunal.

And we're back not only with our panel but for the Friday Lightning Round with our panel. So we now learn that Sulaiman Abu Ghaith has been in U.S. custody for a week and was only charged after he stopped talking, supposedly, Steve. And the U.S. does have a record of being able to bring terrorists to court and to convict them in criminal court. So what practical effect do you think the decision is here to go in criminal court rather than a military tribunal?

STEVE HAYES, SENIOR WRITER, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: Well, I think a lot of it depends when he was Mirandized and how much information he gave us before he was Mirandized. We heard that story from the Obama administration after the airplane bomber. They said he gave us everything we could want to know in 50 minutes. I think that is a harder sell here in particular because Sulaiman Abu Ghaith was in Iran and the indictment reads extensively about his activities in Iran in 2002. He is potentially somebody who could give us a lot of information about the network, the Al Qaeda network operating in Iran which the Obama administration has focused on in the past.


CHARLES LANE, EDITORIAL WRITER, WASHINGTON POST: Well, you know, they don't want to take him to Guantanamo.

WALLACE: They haven't taken anybody to Guantanamo.

LANE: Exactly. They don't want to it anymore. They could. They don't have to waterboard. That's all beyond -- it's surprising to me, or maybe it shouldn't but it's a little disappointing to me to think that there's -- even with a high – very high value terrorist like this, there is no middle ground.

WALLACE: Charles?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: They don't want to is not a rationale. It's completely irrational. Even you oppose the creation of Guantanamo at the beginning, it exists.  There's no way it's going to shut. The administration committed to shutting it has now shut down the office that would shut it down. So if it is here, it is the place you can hold him and question him over years if you have to.  Why do you give him Miranda rights?

WALLACE: Question two, North Korea, which this week upped its threats, its warnings to levels even extraordinary for North Korea and the new leader there, Kim Jong Un, actually talking about a preemptive nuclear strike against its enemies, including the U.S. Steve, why do you think the rhetoric is so extreme, and how seriously should we take it?

HAYES: Well, it could be that he's getting pressure from elders and others in the military who are surrounding him now and he feels the need to show himself and puff out his chest.

I have to say I think the Obama administration has handled this rather well, certainly better than Bush administration did in the second term, which was their policy seemed to be to respond to every provocation with a preemptive concession. And the Obama administration is not doing that.  They are letting the provocations happen. They are putting pressure on China to get serious, but they're not actually responding, at least in a public way seeking more talks.


LANE: I think with all the rhetoric, the North Koreans are masking a deep insecurity and weakness. The ground is slowly shifting under that regime. And the most important example of that is the China vote in the Security Council. I can't remember a time previously where China has gone on the record even in this rather mild sanctions way, voting the Security Council and publicly reprimanding its client state North Korea. That's --

KRAUTHAMMER: All of these are rational answers, but there is a third choice, that he is nuts. After all, he and Dennis Rodman got along extremely well. There is a history of rulers who were nuts. Caligula made a horse into a senator, so it has happened before. And if he is, he can be entirely irrational. The military will try to contain him, but I wouldn't underestimate the influence of craziness in world history. We certainly saw it in the 20th century.

WALLACE: Real quickly, Chuck, why would the fact that China seems to be going for the sanctions cause them to be even more outrageous, to try to scare the Chinese?

LANE: I think they have to show at some level why nobody pushes us around. But the truth of the matter is, China holds a lot of cards in terms of food and energy supply to North Korea. North Korea cannot operate without China's subsidiaries.

WALLACE: All right. The top, your top vote getter for Friday Lightning Round was winners and losers. Winners and losers Steve?

HAYES: My winner is Joe Flacco who as the quarterback of the Baltimore Ravens, only the 12th rated quarterback in the NFL, nonetheless, based on his performance in the playoffs signed the greatest contract – got the highest paid player in NFL history this week. But he is also my loser, because whether he lives in Maryland or New Jersey, his state taxes are so high they will take a greater percentage of his income, which will make Drew Brees the highest paid player.


HAYES: Look, I'm not shedding tears for the guy, I'm just saying, the taxes take a bite.

LANE: And if Bobby Jindal eliminates that income tax in Louisiana and Drew Brees does even better. My winner Chris, is Chris Jakubiec – I'm pronouncing his name right. He is the executive chef at the Plume restaurant here in Washington where President Obama --

WALLACE: The marmalade.

LANE: Yes. Where president Obama dined with the senators and he has just received -- including this --millions of dollars worth of free advertising as a result.

My loser, tough to pick this week but I gave it to Michael Bennet, who is the senator from Colorado. And he runs the Democratic Senate campaign for 2014. His job is a little tougher when Senator Carl Levin of Michigan announced he would step down. Most people expect the Democrats to win that state, but they will have to spend more money.

WALLACE: Charles, 30 seconds, winners and losers.

KRAUTHAMMER: Well, you are both wrong. The big winner of the week unequivocally is Rand Paul. He pulled out a theatrical coup. He picked the right issue. How many Americans are there who believe Obama on a whim has a right to put a drone-launched missile through their living room? It's a small constituency.

The loser, Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua, and Cuba. The death of Hugo Chavez means that in time, not immediately, they will lose the billions of oil dollars that Chavez had lavished upon them.

WALLACE: That is it for the panel, but stay tuned for some new video that shows just how serious a threat North Korea poses to the U.S.

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