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Interview with John McCain; Discussion on Islamic Extremism; Interview with Rudy Giuliani

Aired May 5, 2010 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, Rudy Giuliani, prime time exclusive. He led New York through the worst terror attack ever on American soil. He says the Times Square scare proves 9/11 is not over.

How would he have handled it?

Is the United States more or less secure since President Obama took office?

The former mayor will not hold back. And John McCain unleashed -- what's his plan for stopping the people who want to kill us?

Giuliani, McCain, next on LARRY KING LIVE.

Good evening.

We've got breaking news tonight. An official familiar with the Times Square bomb plot investigation says that the suspect in the case, Faisal Shahzad, felt Islam was under attack.

Let's ask our guest that and a lot of other things, the former New York City mayor, former GOP presidential candidate, Rudy Giuliani.

What's your reaction at the -- the plot?

His idea was that Islam was under attack, Mayor.

RUDOLPH GIULIANI (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I guess that really answers the question that was out there at the very beginning as to what the motive for this attack was. It's part of the Islamic extremist situation that we're facing right now. And it sort of underlines the point that -- that you made at the beginning, which is that September 11, which I think some people want to forget about, is still with us; meaning the same reasons and the same group or groups that wanted to attack and kill us then are still motivating people to do that. So this is now...

KING: When you...

GIULIANI: -- this is now like the third one in less than a year. We had Fort Hood, we had Christmas and now we had this one. And the last two, we've been fortunate that they screwed up in the way in which they tried to carry it out, meaning the terrorists didn't carry out the plot they had in mind.

KING: When you heard about this, Rudi, was your first thought a little deja vu here?

GIULIANI: It sure was. When I heard about this, like on Christmas morning, when I heard about the almost attack then, it just brings back all the memories of September 11, the tremendous destruction and the loss of life and the families that have been affected by it for now almost a decade. And -- and the fact that sometimes I've felt, over the last seven or eight years, that as we get further away from -- from it, we kind of think it's, you know, part of our past. And it isn't yet. I mean it will be some day. Some day, it will be just part of our history, like Pearl Harbor is part of our history.

But this is an ongoing menace that we continue to face. And these were two real wakeup calls for us, I think, Christmas morning and this one, because, you know, but for the grace of God or good luck, we'd have had a lot of people killed on both occasions.

KING: You're a former federal prosecutor. The administration has been criticized for Mirandizing the Times Square suspect and charging him as a civilian.

Did you ever waive a Miranda?

Did you ever ask someone not to take it?

What's your position on this?

GIULIANI: Well, you know, I think we should -- we've got to -- we've got to learn from history. I think that treating these situations as criminal justice matters is just a darned mistake. I mean it's a -- it was a mistake that we should have learned from '93. We should have learned it later on. I mean the Bush administration treated some of these as civilian cases because the military option wasn't open to them, because there was such confusion when the military courts were first -- were first established.

Now, this is a more complicated situation than the Christmas Day attempt. That terrorist was a foreigner. This guy has American citizenship. So that com -- that complicates it. And, at the same time, you can declare him an enemy combatant and you do not have to give him Miranda warnings and you can question him for a very, very long period of time, because I don't think we're going to need his confession to convict him. There's plenty of external evidence.

Plus, I don't understand why his confession has been revealed publicly. I don't know why so many -- why so much information about his cooperating has come out. All it does is warn people that he might cooperate against to -- to hide, run away, do things to protect themselves.

KING: All right...

GIULIANI: I don't -- as a former, you know, United States attorney, I -- I never wanted -- I never wanted this information out there until -- until we were ready to -- to really move on it. So maybe they're ready to move on it. I don't know. KING: OK...

GIULIANI: But it strikes me as odd that you would kind of announce and proclaim for public relations purposes that he's confessed.

KING: It's a very good point. But with -- in today's day and age, that -- that information could have come from anywhere, couldn't it?

GIULIANI: Yes. But I think it was officially revealed. It could have come from anywhere. And if it gets leaked, you don't have to affirm it or deny it and it leaves a certain sense of confusion. But when it's officially confirmed -- I mean maybe there's a reason for it I don't understand. But it doesn't make sense to me that you would kind of like boast about the fact that he's confessed.

KING: What's the fear in Miranda?

GIULIANI: The fear is he's going to stop talking. I mean certainly on -- the -- the -- on Christmas Day, that one made no sense at all, because he was a foreigner. He could clearly be treated as an enemy combatant. He came here from a foreign country to attack us. He was talking to us for 50 minutes. You could hardly get all the intelligence you needed out of him in 50 minutes. It usually takes days, if not weeks, to do that. And you rarely get the truth right away. You've got to test it.

So to cut it off in 50 minutes, I think that was a terrible mistake. Hopefully, the administration learned from that and we'll find out how they treated this guy and what kind of information they're getting from him. But that was a big mistake.

KING: If there is a full confession and a guilty plea, there won't be a trial.

It there were a trial, could he get a fair trial in New York or would we have to change venues?

GIULIANI: Whoo, well, I don't know. I mean I don't know if you could get a -- if -- a judge might be -- might be inclined to change venues just to preserve the integrity of the conviction...

KING: Yes.

GIULIANI: -- because then that would just raise another issue on appeal. And this one, again, is a close one, because he's an American citizen. This -- and this brings up the whole question of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and just why the heck they're still hanging onto the possibility of trying him in New York. I heard the attorney general say that the other day. I thought the president made up his mind a couple of months ago to move it out of New York. But for some reason, they're not making a decision about it. I can't understand what the delay is all about.

KING: More on that and other things with the former mayor of New York -- America's mayor, he was known as, Rudy Giuliani.

You're watching LARRY KING LIVE.

We'll be right back.


KING: We're back with Rudy Giuliani, the mayor of -- the former mayor of New York. GOP Representative Peter Hoekstra said this in connection with the Times Square incident. He said: "Our strategy cannot be near misses and calling near misses a success. Being lucky is bad national security policy."

While that may be true, how do you stop a car bomber?

GIULIANI: You know, the reality is that you absolutely cannot be 100 percent perfect in doing this. That's not a political issue. That was true during the Bush administration. It's true during the Obama administration. This one, the police work was excellent. I mean, there was an alert citizen. There was an alert police officer. There's a bomb squad in New York City that's second to none. I mean that police department -- of course, I have a prejudice in favor of it. I have four uncles who are police officers. And, of course, I had the honor of being in charge of it for -- for eight years. They did a great job.

But no matter how great a job they do, somebody can penetrate. Look, I was in London, Larry, when the bombing took place in 2005. I was a half a block away from the Liverpool Station when the first bomb went off. The UK

has the best intelligence services in the world, maybe only -- only equal with Israel.

With all of that, they couldn't predict that bombing, right?

It took place. So you can only be right 99 percent of the time. In these two situations, we did get lucky. We got lucky -- we got lucky in Detroit and we got lucky here. The bomb didn't go off.

What it means is -- I'll tell you one thing we have to do, Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner Kelly are absolutely right, we need more cameras. We need more sophisticated cameras. London has far more and far more sophisticated cameras than we do. We need them in New York. We've got to give up a little teeny bit of privacy to protect thousands of lives. That would be a real improvement.

KING: Back to this question of the trial in New York.

In 2006, after Al Qaeda conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui was convicted in a civilian court in Virginia, you said: "I kind of stand in awe of how our legal system works -- "


KING: -- " that it can come to a result like this. It has to say something about us to the rest of the world."

GIULIANI: It does.

KING: Why not say something more about us by doing the trial right where it happened?

GIULIANI: Well, in Moussaoui's case, we had no choice. There were no military tribunals at the time. So the Bush administration, although it set up the tribunals, they were questioned in court. They were challenged. And then it took until 2006, 2007 to reestablish them by Congress. So there was no other choice and I thought our criminal justice system did as good a job as -- as possible. I mean I think we have the best criminal justice system in the world.

But there's no reason to give these people the benefit of it if you're going to have military tribunals. It makes much more sense to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in a military tribunal. And, frankly, you know, I don't want to be too critical, but the attorney general and the president have removed any kind of demonstration that this will be a fair trial from this whole situation, by already pronouncing that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is guilty...

KING: Yes.

GIULIANI: -- is going to be convicted and I think they even said he's going to be executed. So...

KING: Yes.

GIULIANI: I don't get why (INAUDIBLE)...

KING: By the way, have you...

GIULIANI: -- they're doing this.

KING: Have you ever done that in a prosecution?

Have you ever said, he will be convicted, he will be executed?

Have you ever done that yourself?

GIULIANI: Well, I -- I certainly never said the last part, right. Whether I said -- whether I ever said somebody would be convicted, I don't think so. But, gosh, there are -- I've said so many things, you probably could find a tape somewhere where I said something like that. I don't know. I don't think I ever did.

There were a couple times where maybe...


GIULIANI: I think a couple of times, internally with my staff, I -- I certainly said...

KING: Well, yes. GIULIANI: -- we darned well better convict this guy or -- we've got such a good case, if we lose it, we should be ashamed of ourselves. But I think I've said that.

KING: The front page of today's...

GIULIANI: But I don't...

KING: The front page of today's "New York Daily News," a photo of Faisal Shahzad and the headline is, "How Many More?"

What's your gut tell you about the seriousness of the threat of homegrown terrorism in your town?

GIULIANI: Well, my gut tells me that, you know, it's more than we would like to think. In fact, what is happening now is what I expected to happen after September 11th and what I was told would happen, that they would attempt these car bombings and -- this wasn't a suicide bombing, but that they would attempt suicide bombings.

So I always wondered why it didn't happen. And I thought maybe some of the things we were doing, in being so aggressive in dealing with Islamic fundamentalist terrorism, you know, was helping.

So I hope -- I hope we go back to being somewhat more aggressive about the way we deal with this and not put so much fear in the hearts of the CIA agents and others about the questioning they have to do and getting the information they have to get. This is all about getting intelligence. It's all about getting information in advance. And, you know, the more -- the more you deter these people from -- from their methods of questioning, the less information we get in advance. It's just as simple as that.

KING: A car bomber -- we had experts here the other night, Rudi, saying car bombers are almost impossible -- if a guy has a car bomb -- a bomb in a car, it's almost impossible to stop them, isn't it?

GIULIANI: Yes, it is. I mean , yes, sure. I mean you've got to get lucky.

KING: Yes.

GIULIANI: The more things you have going for you, like we did in New York, the better chance you have of getting lucky -- catch him on a tape, see something suspicious. Here we had a street vendor who saw something suspicious, tells the police. The police brings in the bomb squad. You've got to hope something like that is going to happen.

So that's why I said, if you had cameras and you had more of them -- it doesn't mean you're 100 percent, but it does mean you've raised the percentage that you're going to catch somebody before they set off a bomb.

KING: We'll be right back with Rudy Giuliani on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE.

Don't go away.


KING: We're back with Mayor Rudy Giuliani. This -- Mayor, this seems unconstitutional, but anyway, Senator Lieberman says that any American who joins a foreign terrorist group should have his or her citizenship revoked.

GIULIANI: Well, there is a way to do that...

KING: What did he...

GIULIANI: There is a way to do that...

KING: How?

GIULIANI: -- but it really -- I mean, of course, it would be -- get a big challenge in court. If you -- if you were -- for example, in the Second World War, if you were an American citizen and you joined the Nazi Army, we could take your citizenship away from you.

If you join -- if you join an enemy force that's at war with the United States, your citizenship can be taken away from you.

Now, the question is, would the -- would the courts consider this that kind of war?

Would -- we don't know yet exactly what kind of connection he had with Al Qaeda or with the Taliban or with any of these groups. It seems like he did, but I don't know the proof of that. We know -- we know his motive seems to be to -- to serve the cause of Islamic extremism. But we don't know that he was directed to do it. We don't know that he joined it. There are a lot of questions there.

But if we could prove that he had joined, you know, Al Qaeda or the Taliban, you could then -- you could then -- you could then probably take his citizenship away and it probably would be upheld.

KING: Would you need some law to do that?

GIULIANI: There is a law. You'd have to apply the law...

KING: There is?

GIULIANI: -- that allows you to take citizenship away if somebody joins the enemy. But then you'd have, like lawyers do and courts do, you'd have a debate about did he join the enemy, can you prove that, is it sufficient proof?

I don't know that I want to get into that right now.

Let's see -- let's see how this thing proceeds.


GIULIANI: I mean, I -- it -- let's see how this thing proceeds as it's going right now.

KING: How's your successor doing?

GIULIANI: My successor is doing fine. I think he -- I was very fortunate to have a successor who carried on a lot of the good things that I did and improved on them. I mean he treated New York City -- he ran -- I -- I describe it this way. He runs New York City like a business, not like a -- the old-fashioned political enterprise that it used to be. And he does a really good job. I don't agree with everything. We have some -- we have some differences on philosophy and ideas.

But if you're asking me, you know, how his performance has been, I think his performance has been excellent.

KING: All right. What's your take on -- on -- everybody is talking about it, we might as well get your thoughts, Arizona's new immigration law?

GIULIANI: Yes, you can get my thoughts on it. I -- I think that it -- it's taking us away from focusing on what we have to do, which is to get the federal government to stop illegal immigration at the border. I know it can be done. I hate to go back to -- because I sound like a -- I sound like an also-ran if I do this. I -- I presented a really good plan when I ran for president as to how to stop immigration at the border.

It's only 2,000 miles. We have the camera equipment now -- nighttime camera equipment, heat-seeking equipment to put on the border. We can have 80 or so substations. That would leave the Border Patrol no more than 12-and-a-half miles from any point on the border. We'd need about 16,000 to 20,000 Border Patrol, trained officers to do it. And you stop people from coming in. Just stop it.

KING: Are you saying that Border...

GIULIANI: Just say we're going to stop it and do it. And then...

KING: You're saying, therefore, you -- you don't need this law?

You don't agree with this law?

GIULIANI: I understand the frustration that brought this law about. I don't agree with going -- I don't agree that this is going to help very much in dealing with the core issue of people coming into this country illegally. And it creates -- it creates such opportunity for debate and diversion. I'd like to see the resources put into, you know, training the 16,000 to 20,000 Border Patrol, setting up the 80 substations along the border, putting in the high tech equipment and spending two to three years stopping illegal immigration.

Do not allow anybody into this country without their being identified. That's a rule. Just carry it out. And I believe if you did that, you could drop illegal immigration by 80 or 90 percent. I believe it would be easier to do than reducing crime in New York, which I did with Bill Bratton and -- and a lot of other people, you know, almost -- over a decade ago. And we didn't have the high tech equipment...


GIULIANI: -- that they have today.

KING: Yes.

Our guest is Rudy Giuliani. Another second with him and then his old friend, John McCain, will follow us.

You're watching LARRY KING LIVE.

We'll be right back.


KING: We're back.

In case you didn't know, this is my 25th year here at CNN. We're counting down the top 25 moments as we approach my silver anniversary, June 4th.

Rudy Giuliani figures prominently in one of our picks.




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That is the World Trade Center. And we have unconfirmed reports this morning that a plane has crashed into one of the towers.

KING: On 9/11, I was home in Beverly Hills. Everyone was sleeping. And I clicked on the TV at CNN and I saw a building in flames.


KING: And I knew that my life changed. I knew television would change.

America under attack -- horrible images as terrorists strike against symbols of wealth and power.

How could that happen?

A terrible, terrible day.


KING: Two weeks later, I found myself at ground zero.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This was the North Tower. That was the South Tower. It looks like a construction site, no big deal, you know. They're pulling equipment. But there's 6,000 people. That's what it's -- that's the horror of it.

KING: Going to the Burn Center at -- at Presbyterian Hospital, where I had had my heart surgery.

What was the scene like here when you arrived?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was sort of -- it was like a war zone. I mean, there were just people all over the place.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And then debris started following us, (INAUDIBLE) started following us and sparks. We were all on fire.

KING: It all went through me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good seeing you.

KING: I felt that was my town.


KING: It's one of our top 25 moments. It is the -- well, I guess, the top moment in Mayor Giuliani's life, something we will never forget. And that night, two weeks later, when I was down at Ground Zero, you were on our show that night -- a memorable, memorable night.


KING: It never leaves you, does it, Rudy?

GIULIANI: Every day, Larry. Every day some of the images come back -- sometimes horrible ones, like people jumping out of buildings and watching people die who were hit by debris even before the buildings came down. Sometimes, it's great memories like the construct -- the construction workers showing up at 3:00, 4:00 in the afternoon. Nobody asked for them. Nobody called for them. They just showed up. And one of them said to me, we're here because we can lift things, because we're big, strong guys and we can lift things.

And it was dangerous as heck to walk in there the first three or four days, because the fires were still going on. We're watching the -- you know, watching that picture of the firefighters put the flag up, that kind of lifted my spirits. And then hearing about Father Judge being dead and people I had just been with, Pete Ganci and, you know, Chief Downey and all these people I had just talked to shortly before.


GIULIANI: So they -- it comes back to me every day. And I long ago figured out I'd better not fight it. I just think about it and, you know, kind of say a little prayer and move on.

KING: Thanks, Mayor.

Always good seeing you here.

GIULIANI: Thank you, Larry.

Always good to see you.

And congratulations on 25 years.

KING: Thank you, man.

GIULIANI: Thank you.

KING: Rudy Giuliani, one of our favorite people.

You can view our top 25 clips at and then vote for your favorite five. You can also enter to win a trip to LA, meet me, see the show in person and have dinner. You might get your hands on a one of a kind anniversary edition t-shirt.

KING: You can also enter to win a trip to L.A., meet me, see the show in person. We'll have dinner if that's not enough. You might get your hands on a one of a kind anniversary edition t-shirt. Want to thank Rudy Giuliani, by the way, for being part of "LARRY KING LIVE" history.

We now welcome maybe the most frequent guest in the history of this program, Senator John McCain -- we'll have to look that up -- member of the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee. And he's in a battle to be renominated for his position as senior senator from the great state of Arizona. What does this bombing attempt in New York say, if anything, to you about the level of terrorist threat in this country, John?

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Well, Larry, I think that and the underwear bomber and other attempts that have been made and other plots that have been uncovered indicate that terrorist threat is out there, that there is a radical Islamic extremist element that is bound and determined to train, equip terrorists to come to our country and try to do terrible things.

By the way, I would like to, at the beginning of our conversation, say that our law enforcement agencies and agencies of government at all levels did a great job, and we're very proud of them.

KING: Yesterday, you said it would be -- this is your quote -- "a serious mistake to give the accused, Faisal Shahzad, his Miranda rights until we find out what it is all about." He got his rights. He apparently has been talking. Do you still think it was a serious mistake?

MCCAIN: I think we were fortunate. I think we were fortunate that he didn't insist on his rights and call for a lawyer, who would advise him not to give any further information.

Look, this is a terrorist act, Larry. This isn't a traffic infraction. This is a terrorist act. Obviously, so far, we have found out that there is a network behind this individual. And it is our obligation to protect the security of this nation. There is a clause for public safety that allows people not to give -- read Miranda rights. Also, Miranda rights are not required if the agency that's interrogating does not plan on using anything that person said would be used against them.

So, look, this is a very serious situation. We need to get the information that we possibly can to prevent another attack. And I applaud the work of our law enforcement agencies. But I also say there was an element of luck, both with the underwear bomber and with this one.

KING: What's your read on how the Obama administration handled it?

MCCAIN: Well. I understand there was a glitch. They lost him on the way to the airport, but I think 53 hours is an excellent job and they deserve our praise and appreciation.

KING: Can you figure out how being on the no fly list, he got on the plane.

MCCAIN: I'm told this particular airline didn't do its job. And obviously, there should have been something better. But the fact is to go from a near disaster to 53 hours later intercepting this individual -- I'm not saying it was mistake free, but they deserve enormous credit, including the NYPD who I'm always very proud of.

KING: You've been critical of the idea of trying Khalid Shaikh Mohammed in civilian court in New York. What about the possibility of trying Faisal Shahzad there, because that's where that crime -- where would you try him?

MCCAIN: Well, I think we could get a change of venue for him most any place. We know that if you have one of these trials in New York City, it's a couple hundred million dollars in security. We all know that New York City is one of the prime targets for acts of terror. The mayor, all of the authorities don't want that trial to take place there. Look at the disruption to people's daily lives, much less the security aspects of it.

KING: Our guest, Senator John McCain. We'll be right back. He's at the Russell Rotunda on Capitol Hill. Don't go away.


KING: We're back with Senator John McCain of Arizona. Your dear friend, Senator Joe Lieberman wants to strip Americans involved in foreign terrorist groups of their citizenship. What do you make of that idea?

MCCAIN: I haven't had a chance to talk to Joe about it. I have the highest respect and regard and affection for him. I just like to look at all the ramifications of such a move. As you know, he and I had an amendment that if an act of terror is committed, then that individual should be tried by a military commission. But I have not had a chance to examine his proposal yet. We really need to make sure that individuals are -- who commit acts of terror are treated as what they are, terrorists.

KING: Can this be done, senator, frankly, and still keep our freedom and constitutional rights which we hold so dear?

MCCAIN: I believe we can, Larry. I think all Americans agree that we are under a kind of a threat that we haven't experienced before in our history, but we can still preserve people's rights. There are going to be situations -- for example, in New York City, first time I was on your show, I doubt if they had a single surveillance camera in downtown New York City. Now they do. Obviously, it's important to have it in London and other major cities in the world, but I think we can, and at the same time meet this threat. If we betray our principles and compromise the fundamental rights that Americans have, then, frankly, the terrorists win.

KING: Should authorities be given the right to strip individuals on the federal terror watch list of the right to buy firearms? Senator Frank Lautenberg of Jersey and GOP Congressman Peter King, they've introduced legislation -- I want to get this right -- that would deny the transfer of a firearm when the background check shows the would be purchaser is a known or suspected terrorist?

MCCAIN: First time I heard of it. On its face, I think it's something we should look at very carefully. Again, something that I have not had a chance to examine. Obviously the intent is to keep weapons out of the hands of someone who is a terrorist. I support that in principle.

KING: For your information, Mayor Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Kelly endorsed it today.

MCCAIN: Again, I would like to look at it. The devil is in the details in these kind of things. I would really like to look at it. I really believe that we are doing a better job than we have in the past. But I also believe we're a long way of safe.

KING: Couple of other things; we know what happened in Arizona has received a great deal of national attention, the new immigration law. We know you were one of the spear-headers of a concept of taking a new look at immigration, maybe letting people who are already here pay a certain amount, possibly gain citizenship. Yet you support this law which others have said they're surprised that you would be in support of this tough law when you seem to favor more moderation.

MCCAIN: Actually, Larry, their statements are patently false. The fact is it was 2008 when I was running for president, I said we have to secure the borders first. I said that again as short a time ago as last year, when we had a hearing in Phoenix and we said we have to have 15,000 Guard on the border.

Here's what's happened in the last few years. The drug cartels are in an existential struggle with the Mexican government; 22,000 Mexicans have been killed in that struggle. The violence and the cruelty of the drug cartels and the human smugglers has escalated dramatically. Our borders are not secure. We have to have our borders secure and then move forward with a resolution, because if you don't secure the borders, then people and drugs and human smuggling and all the abuses will continue.

And so we have to secure the borders first. It's a position I've had for a number of years and it's clear that what is happening on our border is unacceptable and the fact that the president of the United States and the secretary of Homeland Security, who in 2006, when she was governor, called for troops on the border -- we have to get the Guard to the border. We have to secure the border. We can do it with surveillance personnel and fences.

KING: You also support this idea of if a person is suspicious, they have to show an ID?

MCCAIN: That's just not the case of the law. You see, the misinformation put out by the liberal media is, to me, incredible on this issue. It states very clearly there has to be reasonable cause. In other words, someone has to be speeding, someone has to be in violation, someone has to have had a reason to apprehend or detain that person before there is any question about identity or ethnicity. That is very clear in the law.

Those who continue to say that it's not are deliberately falsifying the facts. And did I want this law to have to be passed? No. But the frustration of the people of Arizona and our legislature and our governor and our people are so -- the anger is so great because the federal government will not fulfill its responsibilities to secure our borders and we have to secure our borders.

KING: One other thing, do you like the idea of your team, the Phoenix Suns, wearing uniforms that say Los Suns?

MCCAIN: Sure, Larry, Spanish was spoken in our state before English was. We cherish our Hispanic heritage in our state. It's added to our culture. It's added to the richness of our state.

But when drug smugglers come across the border and kill a rancher, wound a deputy with an AK 47, with the human smugglers subjecting people to unimaginable cruelty, we want our borders secure. Every citizen has a right of that. Those who live with building security and all the security they have, maybe they ought to go to the southern part of our state and see our citizens that live there ought to have as secure and peaceful lives as well. That means securing our border. And we can do it.

KING: We interviewed Senator McCain earlier this evening. Since then, he reached out wanting to correct the number of National Guard troops he's requesting on the Arizona Mexican border. He used the figure 15,000. He said he miss poke and meant 3,000.

Next, a former Islamic extremist tells us how some are being radicalized against America. You're going to want to hear this. Stick around.



KING: Joining us in London is Maajid Nawaz. He is a third generation British Muslim, former leader in an Islamic extremist group, now director of the Quilliam Foundation, a counter-terrorism think tank. He was profiled on a recent edition of "60 Minutes." That piece explained how he, a third generation British Muslim, was not only drawn to Islamic extremism but became a leader and a recruiter for the movement. Here's an excerpt.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: After working in England for five years, he was sent a broad to spread the narrative, to Pakistan and then to Denmark. When he went to Egypt in 2001, he was arrested in a post-911 crackdown on Islamic radicals.


KING: Joining us is Maajid Nawaz from London. What changed you, Maajid? What took you from one end of the spectrum to the other?

MAAJID NAWAZ, DIR., THE QUILLIAM FOUNDATION: Well, hello, Larry. Thank you for having me. I spent four years in an Egyptian jail. And during that time, I actually studied, for the first time in my life, Islam from its original Arabic sources and had the opportunity to discuss with former terrorists and former jihadists who had recanted their ideology, who explained to me over that four year incarceration that, indeed, what they had believed was Islam was actually a modern ideology that I now refer to Islamism, a twisted perversion, a Fascistic, totalitarian ideology that seeks to justify itself from Islam, and promotes a certain narrative of propaganda.

And key to that narrative is the idea that America -- this is a false narrative, but key to it is the idea that America is somehow locked in a war against Islam and Muslims. I realize that all of this propaganda was false through my studies and through those discussions. When I left prison, I then voluntarily and unilaterally resigned my position from the leadership of the group.

KING: Why do these Muslims buy that story? NAWAZ: There are two factors to it. One is there are a lot of grievance that they can point to. They groups can point to a lot of instances in politics and in foreign policy to justify that narrative and then twist it through the lens of their ideological framework. And then second is, of course, religious theology is misinterpreted. And the deliberately the profile you see of most people who join extremist Islamic organizations, they tend not be from a religiously educated background. Rather, they tend to be from a secular educated background. And therefore, they are ignorant of traditional Muslim theology.

The recent case in point, again demonstrates that. Faisal Shahzad was a privately educated, upper middle class, son of an air marshal, a former Pakistani air force officer. He didn't come from a theological background, nor does Osama bin Laden, who is an engineer. What is his deputy, Ayman al Zawihiri? He's a pediatrician, a doctor.

KING: we're talking with Maajid Nawaz in London. We have breaking news from CNN's Susan Candiotti in New York. Susan, what's up?

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Larry. We have learned more about that Times Square attempted bombing and the accused terrorist in that case. A law enforcement source tells CNN that it turns out that the accused suspect here made a dry run the night before the attempted attack. What happened was that he drove his white Isuzu down to the Times Square area and parked it several blocks away. And the, according to the source, the next night, when he it in Times Square, in that SUV, Pathfinder, and he selected a street at random, pulled over when the car started to fill with smoke, got out of the car and then made a colossal mistake, because he realized that he left the keys to his supposed get away car in the Pathfinder.

So he then had to make up another plan and he ran to a train station instead and took a train back north to his home in Connecticut.

KING: Thank you, Susan Candiotti, on the scene in New York. We'll be right back.


KING: We're back with Maajid Nawaz. I promise you some more time because this is too important a story and we got a little jammed tonight. I apologize. You travel the world, speak to young Muslims attracted to one side. How do you bring them over?

NAWAZ: A key to what we do is challenging what we call the narrative. That is the propaganda that Islamic extremist organization are so adept at selling to young, vulnerable, Muslim minds. That propaganda involves the twisting of foreign policies grievances and the justification through twisting of religious theology for the stances that these extremist organizations take.

I call it a narrative, the Islamist narrative, and we have to start challenging that narrative. We're doing that, the world's first counter-extremism think tank here, based in London. We travel the world and we do that.

Sadly, I have to say that currently, both in Pakistan and in the United States, yes, there is an effective counter-terrorism strategy. But in both countries, what is lacking, what is the gaping vacuum is that there is no counter-radicalization strategy. Before somebody becomes a terrorist, they have to be an extremist. An extremists usually operates within the law because it involves extremism in terms of ideas rather than violence.

But it's the prerequisite to terrorist violence. And there is no policy in place at the moment to challenge these extremist ideas.

KING: How do you do it?

NAWAZ: The key thing is we have to, first of all, have the skills to identify what the ideology is, how it differentiates from Islam as a faith, and then isolate it from the faith, and refute the key tenants of the propaganda.

So for example, the idea that America is at war against Islam and Muslims. Yes, America went into Iraq with Britain and other countries. Yes, America and Britain went into Afghanistan. But they didn't go into Iraq because Iraqis were Muslims. And they certainly didn't go into Afghanistan because the Afghanis were Muslims. If this was a war against Islam and Muslims, then don't these people know that in the United States of America, there is a mosque in every state and there are many, many American Muslims. There are many British Muslims.

And like Hitler, who started with the Jews inside Germany, if this was a war against Islam and Muslims, you could begin by starting with Muslims inside America. So it's by picking apart these contradictions that we refute the narrative. Currently, there is no counter-radicalization strategy to do that in the state. There is no equivalent of a counter-extremism think tank. Nor is there such a thing in Pakistan.

My request, what I'd like to emphasize, is that the U.S. government, U.S. media, U.S. civil society and U.S. communities -- and the same for Pakistan -- they need to start to devising a counter- radicalization strategy and not just a counter-terrorism strategy.

KING: We only have a minute. Is there a high percentage of Muslim extremists?

NAWAZ: The narrative is spreading far and wide. There's a very tiny minority among Muslims who actually turn to terrorist violence. What we are concerned about is the propaganda that this is somehow a war against Islam and Muslims. That is spreading far and wide. That doesn't translate in the majority of cases to violence. But it does provide the mood music to which suicide bombers dance. That's why we're so concerned about addressing that narrative.

Part of that, for example, the media can play a role in not adopting the binary, polarized, them or us world view. For example, by publicizing the fact that the first person to report this failed amateur bomber in Times Square was himself a Muslim who reported it, who spotted the car bomb, a street vendor.

KING: Good point.

NAWAZ: And that picks apart the narrative. It defeats this mentality that al Qaeda and extremists are so keen on propagating.

KING: Thank you, Maajid. We're going to have you back very soon. Maajid Nawaz, former leader of an Islamic extremist group, fighting against it now, extraordinary story.

Thanks very much for joining us. See you tomorrow night. Now Anderson Cooper and "AC 360." Anderson?