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America Under Attack: Congress approves $40 Billion for Terrorist Followup

Aired September 14, 2001 - 06:40   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CAROL LIN, CNN ANCHOR: And a very meticulous investigation as well and one that Congress approved $40 billion in aid which will go towards the criminal investigation as well a rebuilding efforts in Washington in New York.

Representative John Sweeney, he is a Republican Congressman, was part of that decision. And he joins us now with the latest on that.

Good morning, Congressman.

REP. JOHN SWEENEY (R), NEW YORK, Good morning Carol.

LIN: All right. I just want to get a sense of when you think the money is going to be distributed?

SWEENEY: Well we'll vote today early this morning to appropriate this emergency supplemental. It's essentially $40 billion, $10 billion to be used for intelligence and defense purposes. Ten additional billion which will be used at the discretion of the President who will have 15 days in which to submit to Congress his list of requirements. And then 20 billion to what you would call local aid to New York, Virginia and Pennsylvania to cover their costs as it relates to the domestic expenses, public safety, humanitarian, the search and rescue missions that we are watching the images of on CNN all day.

LIN: Yeah, images. Certainly in images, and as well as a decision here on aid that really hit close to home for your personally. You represent a district in New York City. And as I understand it, there are members of the republican party who are missing in this wreckage. And some of them your own personal friends.

SWEENEY: Well actually, my district is slightly out of the city, but there are a number of folks who are considered unaccounted for who are personal friends. So while the nation suffered great losses indeed some of us, New Yorkers in particular have suffered very personal losses in this tragedy.

LIN: Well as you attend meetings at the White House, I know you've been there. I know you've been hearing discussion of retaliation or certainly response, I want to get your read on some remarks made by the Defense Secretary. He said yesterday today CNN that sustain America's way of life will require quote a war, a major long-range, broad base sustained effort. In your meetings at the White House can you tell us, is the United States preparing to go to war?

SWEENEY: Well most of the meetings that I attended were classified so a lot of the detail can't be shared. But I will see that it's very obvious to me that the federal authorities in this administration are focussed in on both short term responses and long- term solutions to the problem of terrorism and I salute that.

You know one of the problems in America is we really have lowered our guard and not maintained the kind of vigilance I think we're going to need to. The first change, obviously, of what occurred this past Tuesday is that's no longer going to be the case. It no longer is going to be the way America is going to be able to operate in order to ensure the safety and security of our citizens.

But let me say this, I think as most members in Congress, we want to see this done right. We want to make sure when retaliation and when an answer comes from the United States it's going to be as complete an answer as it can be even in the short-term. And I liken it a little bit to the Godfather movie. I think when the family takes care of its business this time it's going to be -- the family business is going to be as complete as it can possibly be at one feel swoop.

LIN: Congressman, and as anybody can remember from any of the Godfather movies it was extremely violent, extremely bloody and marked by a severe loss of life. So I respect the confidentiality that you have in these meetings as you try to make these decisions. But I want to get a very clear sense though as to whether this administration is preparing for a American casualties.

SWEENEY: Well you know you have to understand, Carol, that the administration is focused on the rescue and recovery missions, the on- going investigation. And I think it's very obvious from the statements that have been made publicly by administration officials and from all of the information that's been provided out there that all options are being considered and being left open.

I think the first and obviously and rightly so, the first and foremost responsibility though is to insure the safety and security, the continued safety and security of American citizens. Where that mission ends and a mission to go forward and take some sort of punitive action on those who perpetrated this heinous crime begins and ends, I don't think is going to be all that particularly clear until it happens.

LIN: But Congressman, can you at least give the American people a sense of what they should be preparing for in a western response?

SWEENEY: Well I think they should be preparing for the eradication of terrorism and terrorists over the course of some time. Colin Powell said terrorism isn't new and it's been with us for quite some time. It's going to take time some time to eradicate. But we are speaking in those absolute terms, and we ought to be speaking in those absolute terms and the means every available option that this government has at it's disposal ought to be considered and indeed is being considered.

LIN: Congressman John Sweeney as your fellow Congressman have said necessary and appropriate force still to be determined. Thank you very much for joining us this morning.

SWEENEY: Thank you.

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