This is a partial transcript from "The Beltway Boys", July 16, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.

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MORT KONDRACKE, CO-HOST: Well, the hot story is, be afraid. And by that, I’m talking about terrorism, about the London bombings of July 7 ought to be a big warning to people in the United States. This could be happening here any time. And I, frankly, I’m surprised that it hasn’t happened.

And Al Qaeda (search) is signaling with the Madrid bombing and then the London bombing, that they’ve changed their modus operandi. They’re not just into big spectaculars like the World Trade Center (search) any more. They’re going for soft targets, where they can, they can inflict terror on ordinary people.

And I have no sense that politicians in this country or the public in general has any sense of the kind of danger that we’re in, and that we’re really seriously prepared for.

Fortunately, one exception, I think, is Michael Chertoff (search), the new head of Homeland Security, who’s been on the job for just five and a half months, or maybe not even five months, and has announced a, a reorganization of the department, and what’s more, a new sense of priorities. Here, watch him.


MICHAEL CHERTOFF, SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY: We’ve got to build a strategy and a sense of priorities that’s based upon a long-term view of what the threat is, what the vulnerabilities are, and what the consequences are. And we can’t let ourselves lurch from policy to policy simply based upon what last week’s events were.


KONDRACKE: You know, the response to the Democrats automatically is not enough. And that includes one of my favorite Democrats, actually, Jane Harmon (search), who is the ranking member of the Homeland Security Committee in the House. Here, watch what she had to say.


REP. JANE HARMON (D-CA), HOMELAND SECURITY COMMITTEE: Don’t talk about moving boxes around. Please talk about what additional capability your department will have to comfort an anxious public.


KONDRACKE: Now, what, actually, Chertoff was not just moving boxes around...


KONDRACKE: ... as he said, you know, what he’s talking about is basing the distribution of money, which is inevitably going to be limited, I mean, you’re never going to have enough money to protect every target in the United States. So what do you do? How do you do this? You should base it on risk and not on, you know, population, or...


KONDRACKE: ... you know, or on political power or something like that.

BARNES: Right.

KONDRACKE: So right off the bat, what does the Senate do? It bases its distribution of homeland security again on pork. I mean, the distribution had been, according to the Homeland Security budget recommendation, 70 percent based on risk, 30 percent based on population.

The recommendation of Dianne Feinstein (search) of California was to raise it to 87 percent based on risk. The Senate cut it back to 60 percent based on risk and it was two of my favorite people in the Senate: Susan Collins (search) of Maine and, and Joe Lieberman (search) of Connecticut, who did it. I mean, so all this means is that you’re going to have little communities all around the country buying things like lawnmower trailers...

BARNES: Yes, I know, I know, yes.

KONDRACKE: You know, for their contests and stuff like that, and hazmat suits for every fire department in the country. That doesn’t make any sense when you, when...

BARNES: No, it doesn’t.

KONDRACKE: ... transit systems in New York ought to be hardened.

BARNES: Look, I, agree with you on that. And I like Jane Harmon. I think she’s serious about protecting the national security. But I would quibble with her saying that Chertoff and others need to comfort an anxious public. I think we need to alarm an apathetic public. And we haven’t had enough of that.

You know, Chertoff is also, I’m glad he’s in the job as Homeland secretary. But when some senators questioned him this last week, about the vulnerability of the southern border in the U.S., he said, Oh, I’m more worried about the northern border.

Well, I think both need to be much, much more secure than they are now.

And then there’s the whole European problem, which I think you were touching on. These four guys who were arrested as the suicide bombers in London are, I’m sure, were not on any watch list by the U.S. But because they’re in England, and were citizens, they had passports. They could come to the U.S. any time, freely, just fly over and, and who knows, get weapons here.

We need to do something. We need to return to a visa system there. And, you know, I fault President Bush as well. He gave that speech on the War on Terror a few days ago, but it was a, a progress report. It was looking back and things have gone well. We haven’t had a serious attack since 9/11.

But I think he needs to talk more about the future and what is the threat in the future?

KONDRACKE: And warn us.

BARNES: Right, and warn us, I agree. And, look, if Democrats and soft Republicans want to say it’s a scare tactic, let them. But the public needs to be informed.

Lastly, you know, I’m skeptical of Democrats who are trying to spend more and more money to guard every fire hydrant in every city in the country. I think what they’re doing is saying they want to spend all this money. Then when the president and, and Republicans in Congress say no, and then if there’s a terror attack, they’ll come back and say, See? We told you we needed to spend all that money.

Now, do you think that’s too cynical?

KONDRACKE: I don’t. But, what I’m really afraid of, I’m really afraid that if there were an attack, that instead of binding ourselves together again that we would have a finger-pointing.

BARNES: OK. Can I move on to hot story number two?

Rove rage. Karl Rove (search), of course, and this Rove rage is on the part of Democrats, who I think have turned this whole flap over whether Karl Rove outed the wife of Joe Wilson (search) as a CIA agent, they’ve turned it into a pure partisan political game and nothing more than that.

Look, Democrats don’t know if Karl Rove had outed this woman or not. And, you and I don’t know either. You know, outed her to what punish Joe Wilson for writing that ridiculous piece he wrote attacking the Bush administration for claiming that Saddam Hussein (search) was seeking uranium in Africa.

And look, listen to Karl’s friend, Ken Mehlman (search), who, who’s the Republican national chairman, responding, I thought well, to the charges against Karl.


KEN MEHLMAN, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL CHAIRMAN: Not only did Karl not know her name and not provide her name, he actually said when he talked to Matt Cooper, Don’t use this information. And yet it was used anyway. And again, that Karl’s somehow being alleged to be the victimizer, if anything, he’s the victim here.


BARNES: I agree. And, look, Rove’s story, that he had just chatted about a rumor he’d heard about some woman at the CIA who happened to be married to Joe Wilson, I think is perfectly believable. And I don’t have any reason not to believe it.

And also, the story that Bob Novak (search), who actually ran her name later and was the one who outed her in the press first, says nobody leaked that to him, it just came up in a conversation, and we know now that part of the conversation was, he tells this to Karl Rove, and Karl says, Oh, I heard that too.

Now, I don’t think that’s indictable or anything like that.

Now, so I think Karl has the better of it right now.

Now, despite all this, Joe Wilson, the world’s most discredited man, everything he said about his trip to Niger and everything has been completely discredited, has been resurrected by the press as someone who has something serious to say about Karl Rove.

And Joe Wilson has made it personal. Listen to this.


JOSEPH WILSON, FORMER AMBASSADOR: I made my bones confronting Saddam Hussein and securing the release of over 2,000 Americans in hiding in Kuwait, 115 American hostages held by Saddam as human shields, and provided sustenance, succor, and lodging to another 75 Americans that we put in diplomatic quarters so that they would not be taken hostage by Saddam Hussein.

That’s how I made my bones. Karl Rove made his bones doing political dirty tricks.


KONDRACKE: Yes, yes, it is personal. Now, look, the CIA and Justice Department, and the Bush Justice Department did think that this was serious enough to have launch an investigation. And now you had what amounts to a special prosecutor in Patrick Fitzgerald, who is very zealous and no patsy, is, you know, willing to put reporters in jail in order to get to the bottom of this. I say, let us wait and find out whether somebody gets indicted here or not, and find out whether the, the law was really broken. I, frankly, am skeptical as to whether the law was broken, but I’ll wait and see.

BARNES: You going to pass that advice along to your Democratic friends?

KONDRACKE: Yes, yes.

BARNES: All right.

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