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Giuliani: 'Have to be relentlessly prepared'

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani



CNN Access
New York
Rudy Giuliani

(CNN) -- Police shot a man dead at a London subway station Friday, one day after four attempted bombings in the city, and about two weeks after terror attacks killed more than 50 people at three subway stations and on a bus.

CNN's Miles O'Brien and Carol Costello spoke Friday with former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani about the incidents and preventing future attacks.

O'BRIEN: Mayor, you know, we booked you to come in and talk about what happened yesterday. Let's talk about what happened this morning first.

GIULIANI: Yes, it's amazing. All of a sudden, a shooting. First time really a shooting. And it looks like possibly another attack, in this case, hopefully interrupted, right? Which is a plus.

O'BRIEN: Talk about the psychology of this. If this guy was one of the bombers, he goes back to finish the job?

GIULIANI: They don't always do everything right, not always the best-planned people. I mean, sometimes we see that result. Sometimes they do it very efficiently. Sometimes they don't. And the security in London is superb.

I was in London on the 7th, and I think the biggest surprise was to the British, and particularly the security people, that they didn't pick it up in advance, because they had picked up a significant number of these things in advance over the last two or three years.

But they did catch the people right away, which gives you a sense that their intelligence base and their law enforcement apparatus is a very, very effective one.

O'BRIEN: But two weeks to the day after July 7th, it happens again, not on the magnitude that we saw on July 7th. We're glad to report that. But nevertheless, it happens again, and it does point out some vulnerabilities.

GIULIANI: Oh, sure. Well, first of all, there are vulnerabilities. You're dealing with possible suicide bombers. We're all vulnerable. Any place is vulnerable. You can't watch everybody.

That's physically impossible. It would have an enormous impact on human liberties if you did that. So you have to use selective techniques. And selective techniques are going to have openings. You have surveillance. You have intelligence. You have technology.

But then, you know, there's so many possibilities in a place like London, like New York, Washington D.C., that we're all vulnerable. This is something we're vulnerable, too.

It's a stress. We have to live with it, and then, as they say in England, move on.

COSTELLO: In New York, they're checking people's bags at metro stations now. Why didn't that come earlier?

GIULIANI: Well, I think, with each one of these things, you sort of have a heightened sensitivity, and you say to yourself, well, now, we can do more. Maybe also the public patience will tolerate more, so you can push it a little further.

You know, we do a lot more checking at an airport today than we did before September 11, 2001. If you had tried to do that before September 11, 2001, [and we] probably should have, but there would have been maybe a big public outcry.

COSTELLO: But right after September 11th, the security measures increased at airports, not so much for train stations.

GIULIANI: Right, well, I think there's a human quality, which is you keep thinking that history's going to repeat itself. So you go back, and you kind of clean up the last incident. You focus on airplanes. You focus on airplane security, trying to prevent the horrific thing that happened here, the planes attacking buildings.

But then, you know, I think what we have to say about these terrorists -- and I've been saying this for a long time -- is the main thing about them is they're very flexible. You have to protect against the last attack, but they're going to probably try a different one.

They're going to try to surprise us. I would not be at all, or rule out the fact that they'll do something very, very different next. So now think about that. You can prepare for what you know.

You can't prepare for all the unknowns. You just have to be flexible. You have to be relentlessly prepared. You have to try and be ready for all these different possibilities, never knowing what they're going to do next.

COSTELLO: Well, and I know I'm harping on this, but after the Madrid train bombings, you would think the checking of the bags would be instituted here in the United States. But it took the London train bombings to do that.

GIULIANI: Well, you know, port security, rail security need more attention. And you can only do so much at once. Tremendous emphasis on airline security. Going back a year ago, significant increase in port security, and train security and rail transportation security.

But the reality is you can only do so much at any one time. And if the good thing that comes out of this is there's going to be more focus now on train security and people will accept it more.

I think people on the subways here in New York are much more willing to accept the possibility of somebody searching them, looking at them, doing things today than they would have been a week -- or let's say three weeks ago.

And also the reality is they've got to put up with that inconvenience. And then the question is, when you do that, do you cause fear, or do you cause more confidence? And I think this morning, you cause more confidence, because it's on people's minds.

O'BRIEN: But how much good will it really do? Because it is a needle in the haystack search. And what you're going after is just average people going to work. And I wonder, if you took all that -- those resources and put them into, say, better intelligence, tracking these people, for example, would that be a better way to spend the money? It might not give people the appearance of security, which is maybe part of what this is all about. Because it determines a suicide bomber, if you open up that bag, that's not going to solve any problems. That bomb is going to go off.

GIULIANI: You need to do both. And it isn't just people you're giving an appearance of security to, it's the potential terrorists, that you're saying, you may get caught. This is a heavily guarded, well-defended place. And there's a chance you're going to get caught. And getting caught psychologically destroys what they're trying to accomplish. And they have not.

O'BRIEN: If you can just push the button, right?

GIULIANI: Think about this, they have not attacked a very well-defended target.

O'BRIEN: I see.

GIULIANI: I think everybody on intelligence, Howard Safir, who was just on earlier this morning, my former police commissioner and good friend, part of the theory here is, defend the target. It will deter them. It will say to them, there's a chance of getting caught. I think nobody does it better than the NYPD.

I think Mayor [Michael] Bloomberg and Commissioner [Raymond] Kelly defend this place in a way that says, we have a chance of catching you. It doesn't mean we will catch you, but you got a big chance you're going to get caught.

O'BRIEN: Word on profiling, though. On the one hand, a lot of people would say this opens up the possibility of profiling. A lot of other people say, you know what, we should be profiling. There's 4.5 million people that use the subways. We can't just be randomly searching little old ladies, so to speak.

GIULIANI: It depends what you're profiling. If it's racial, ethnic or religious profiling, gender profiling, whatever, that's illegal, wrong, inconsistent with our notion of human liberties. However, if you're profiling characteristics that fit the criminal.

You know, if it's reported that a 6'2" man that's has just committed a murder, you don't go look for 5'1" women; you go looking for 6'2" men. So if what you're profiling, or what you're looking at or what you're focusing on are the characteristics that fit, what validly would describe possible terrorists, well, then, that isn't. That's sensible -- it would be almost irresponsible not to use that as some factor in determining how you're going to narrow down.

Look at the profiles or the factors they have for airport searches. You could call that profiling. It's not ethnic. It's not racial. It's not religious. It's based on certain factors -- how often people travel, where they travel, where they've been, what they've done. Those things are all fair.

O'BRIEN: How do you employ that on the streets, in the subways?

GIULIANI: It's harder.

O'BRIEN: It's harder to do.

GIULIANI: It's harder to do. So you have to have some level of intuitive operation.

O'BRIEN: I remember an operation, just seeing Howard before, that the New York City Police Department stopped. This was several years before September 11, 2001. And they actually shot the guy, just as he was about to hit a toggle switch in Brooklyn that would have been used on the subways. And that came from a single New York City police officer being suspicious about a man that he saw near a Brooklyn subway. And 12 hours later, the joint terrorist task force was in their house and took out all these explosives and shot one of the men who was going to do it.

COSTELLO: I have heard all you said about increased security, and, you know, they do a terrific job, but don't you think part of the reason we haven't been attacked again is, in part, due to luck?

GIULIANI: Everything in life is due to luck. The fact that we're sitting here and something terrible -- I learned that on September 11, 2001, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't be vigilant, and you shouldn't try and you shouldn't try to reduce the risk.

We can't get perfection here, but we can get significant reduction in risk. And surveillance, intelligence, showing a well-defended target, and then keeping the terrorists on the defensive by engaging them in other places like we're doing is very, very important.

Anybody -- any one of these security experts, including myself, would have told you on September 11, 2001, we're looking at dozens and dozens and multiyears of attacks like this. It hasn't been quite that bad. And even with this, it isn't at that level. So I think for the mistakes that have been made, a lot of good work has been done in stopping all these thing.

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