Return to Transcripts main page
PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT
Interview with Richard Trumka; Interview with Representative Dennis Kucinich; Interview With John Miller
Aired September 6, 2011 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PIERS MORGAN, HOST: Tonight, jobs crisis, America's and his.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There is work to be done, and there are workers ready to do it. We just need Congress to get on board.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Can Barack Obama save his own job? With the lowest approval ratings ever, is his last chance to get his presidency back on track? I'll ask one of his top advisers, this country's biggest labor leader, if he has turned the president's corner.
And what he thinks of this --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES HOFFA, TEAMSTERS UNION PRESIDENT: Let's take these sons of a bitches back and give America back to America where we belong.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Plus, he says President Obama could face a fight for the Democratic nomination. And will Dennis Kucinich challenge him from the left?
And a man who is part of the team that briefed the president everyday on threats to this country, and sat face to face with Osama bin Laden, John Miller. Will America is safer today?
This is PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT.
MORGAN: Good evening.
President Obama hard at work today on the speech that America is waiting for, his address to a joint session of Congress Thursday night laying out his jobs plan. The stakes couldn't be higher for what may be the make-or-break moment of the entire Obama presidency. And it comes in the midst of a perfect storm for the White House. The president's approval ratings are lower than they ever been. More than six of 10 Americans give him a failing grade on how he's handling unemployment. And today, challenger Mitt Romney said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Growing our economy is the way to get people to work and to balance our national budget. The right answer for America is not the grow government or to believe that government can create jobs. Growth is the answer, not government.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Joining me now, this country's top leader, Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO.
Mr. Trumka, thank you for joining me.
RICHARD TRUMKA, PRESIDENT, AFL-CIO: Piers, thanks for having me on. I appreciate it very much.
MORGAN: It may be a question for you and you're the most relevant guy to ask right now. Do you think President Obama is going to announce anything on Thursday which will get America back to work?
TRUMKA: I think he's going to announce a number of projects, a number of things that will put America back to work. I think that he'll talk about infrastructure, and the need for us to rebuild the country. Our infrastructure is crumbling. It will make us more competitive and will create jobs.
I think he'll talk about the FAA authorization, getting our airports and our transportation back into shape so we can compete around the world. He'll talk about a number of things like that, all of which will have to be taken together as a package to actually get the job done.
MORGAN: How much involvement have you had in terms of the speech? You seem to be very well-informed on what the president may be saying?
TRUMKA: Well, I haven't had any involvement in the speech, itself. But we have had numerous opportunities to communicate with the members of the administration and with the president, himself, about the things that need to be done to create jobs. He knows our position.
And what we need right now is more than anything else, Piers, is for the president to be a leader, to be bold, and to be aggressive and let the workers know that he's going to fight for them.
MORGAN: I mean, I couldn't agree with you more. I think that everyone is waiting for the president to stand up and be counted on this issue. Clearly, as we head towards election year, the clock is ticking, isn't it? I mean, he's going to go on with this. TRUMKA: Well, it's ticking everyday for people out there. We have 35 million people that are underemployed or out of work. They've been out of work for a long time.
They need somebody who's going to fight for them. They need hope. They need our politicians to lead rather than doing the radical-type politics that we've been seeing in the past that drive us up to brinksmanship and prevent anything from getting done.
MORGAN: I mean, the president has always stood for audacity -- audacity of hope, the change, and so son. Do you think that he has it in him to come up with a plan which is going to be big enough, radical enough and effective enough to really transform this jobs crisis?
TRUMKA: I mean, look at the background. When everybody told him that he ought to should let the auto industry go by the wayside, he stepped up and took some very, very bold action, saved the auto industry, put hundreds of thousands of people back to work, saved a lot of communities from pain. When it came to the health care bill, he was willing to stand up.
I mean, he didn't get much help from across the aisle and they did everything they could to negotiate it down so that it wasn't effective, but he stood up for that.
When it came to the stimulus package, he stood up and said, we have to help Americans get back to work.
So, he has done some bold things in the past, but we need him to be bold again. We need him to be a leader again. We need him to be aggressive again and singularly focus on creating jobs, jobs, jobs and more jobs, and actually steam roll anybody who gets in his way.
MORGAN: Do you think that if you were being critical that President Obama has left this far too late, and should have dealt with this almost the moment he took over as president, because he put a lot of time and energy into things like his health care plan and into sorting out Iraq and Afghanistan and so on -- almost everything but jobs. Many criticize him for not focusing on the one thing which is probably the most relevant to the lives of ordinary Americans.
TRUMKA: You know, I think he did focus on it, I think he had a number of problems he had to deal with. He was dealt a pretty bad hand. He didn't ask for Iraq and Afghanistan in a number of other things, he had to deal with them, and he didn't have a choice.
I think where he did make a strategic mistake was whenever he confused jobs with the debt discussion, because they got in the way of one another. We don't have a debt crisis in this country, and we really have a jobs crisis in this country.
MORGAN: Mitt Romney called the Chinese a bunch of cheats today. Did you agree with that?
TRUMKA: Well, in many ways they don't play by the rules. They manipulate their currency. They don't play by the rules, and so, the Chinese have a ways to go.
But I have to say this, unlike George Bush, this president really has tried to enforce the trade laws. He is going through a number of cases. In fact, one of the ones on rubber tires which is finalized today, the Chinese lost their last appeal and we'll have the opportunity to correct those situations. That is hurting this economy.
Them not playing by the rules gives them an unfair advantage over every producer in this country, and we have tried to get it stopped. I think the only thing that they understand is, if we actually get serious about it.
MORGAN: I mean, you can use the word cheat pretty liberally and people are in dealing with China. They have also been incredibly competitive some would argue and just out-businessed America in business. And that's one of the problems.
You know, I throw back at you perhaps responsibility for the employers. Take Apple, one of America's great success stories. They employ 25,000 people in America. The company that makes their computers employs 450,000 people in China.
So where does employer, American employer, responsibility kick in here?
TRUMKA: They have a significant responsibility that they haven't been taking up. Of course, our trade laws help them, and our tax laws reward them for taking jobs overseas. We ought to be creating laws and working together to send products overseas and not our jobs overseas. And I think that employers can do that.
They are taking advantage of when China cheats, they get an advantage of that cheating if they are located in China. They should be working with us to create a level playing field, help us to create jobs here, because I believe when the American workers are given a level playing field, they can compete with anybody in the world.
MORGAN: Obviously, Jim Hoffa had some rather harsh words to say about the Tea Party. Let's listen to what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HOFFA: We got to keep an eye into battle that we face, the war on workers, and you see it everywhere and it is the Tea Party. And you know, there is only one way to beat and win that war, and the one thing about working people is we like a good fight.
President Obama, this is your army. We are ready to march. Let's take these sons of bitches out and give America back to America where we belong.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: So, Mr. Trumka, Tea Party, sons of bitches?
TRUMKA: I probably would not have chosen the adjectives he used. But I think Jim Hoffa is speaking for the anger that millions of Americans have. These people are taking and playing political brinkmanship and not being willing to help us create jobs, not being willing to help us get the country moving. Some of them even announced they want the president to fail in his attempts to get the economy right.
That's wrong. They shouldn't be doing that. And they don't have the right to say that they are truly the only patriotic ones out there when they want the country to fail and 25 million people not to get back to work.
So, I think Jim Hoffa was probably speaking about the anger. And what he was saying is that all politicians that don't stand up for jobs, all politicians that don't help us get back to work and right this economy, we ought to take them out of office. That's what he was saying.
MORGAN: Tell me, what is the mood amongst your members and indeed members of other leading unions? I'm detecting that from what I am hearing and reading that there is a cooling of President Obama and that must concern him, because he's going to need their votes.
TRUMKA: Well, I would say there is a cooling towards politicians in general and to Washington, D.C., because not enough is getting done. I mean, the strategy of the Republicans to not let anything get done to fix the economy has had some effect.
But our members really understand what's happening. It's not that they are saying that we're going to vote for a group of people that are anti-worker and pro-business. What they are saying is, we want more leadership from the elected officials. That includes the president. We want elected leadership from our Senate, from our House, from our governors, from our state and local bodies to actually start focusing on creating jobs, and putting people back to work.
Look, Piers, we are the richest nation on the face of the earth, and one of five children right now are living in poverty. That's growing. The inequality is growing. The joblessness is growing, because they are not focusing on creating jobs.
It's not that we can't do it, it's that they choose not to do it for political reasons. And that's what has angered Americans.
So, they want somebody to lead. And the president has a chance. And if he leads on Thursday night, which I hope and think he will, and he says, singular, our purpose is going to be creating jobs, I think that the American people will stand up and support him, because they want to work. That's what they want to do.
They don't want to get unemployment checks. They need them when they are unemployed, but they want to work, because that's what defines us. MORGAN: And, also, I think that one of the reasons that the mood perhaps of your members on President Obama has cooled is that he did of course go back really on his promise to withdraw those tax breaks for the rich, and we now have this farcical scene of Warren Buffett, one of America's richest people, almost begging to be taxed more. When you heard him say that -- I mean, why doesn't President Obama just come out and say, you know what? Warren Buffett is right. Everyone over $1 million a year, I'm going to tax the hell out of you, because we need revenue, we need this economy back on its feet?
TRUMKA: We do need the revenue. It will put us back on our feet. And as Warren Buffett said, it wouldn't hurt them.
There is something fundamentally wrong about a system that taxes a hedge fund operator that makes $1.5 billion a year at half the rate that his or her secretary makes. There's something fundamentally wrong about that. They haven't been paying their fair share and they need to.
And we hope that the president in the months and the years to come will stand up and say that.
Look, if the Bush tax cuts were allowed to expire in January, 50 percent of the deficit that everybody keeps screaming about, at least the Republicans keep screaming about, will go away.
A surtax on millionaires has 70-some percent of the American public supporting it. It's not like it's a political downside. You have to wonder why they aren't. Every politician isn't jumping up saying, you know, you asked for shared sacrifice, workers did. They took cuts in their pay. They took cuts in their pension. They lost their homes. They lost their jobs.
You're not doing anything different. It's your turn to share a little bit.
If he did that, I think he'd be a folk hero.
MORGAN: Couldn't agree more. Richard Trumka, thank you very much indeed.
TRUMKA: Piers, thanks for having me on again. I really appreciate it.
MORGAN: Coming up: could President Obama face a tougher challenge from his own party, (INAUDIBLE) from Republicans? I'll ask Democratic Congressman Dennis Kucinich.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: There's work to be done and there are workers ready to do it. Labor is on board. Business is on board. We just need Congress to get on board. Let's put America back to work.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: That was President Obama in Detroit yesterday, previewing his jobs plan, a plan that may not be bold enough.
My next guest, Congressman Dennis Kucinich, says America is ready for a second New Deal. He says Washington needs to spend more to create jobs. And Congressman Kucinich joins me now.
Congressman, you're not very impressed then by what you think may be coming?
REP. DENNIS KUCINICH (D), OHIO: We want our president to succeed. But, frankly, we have to go beyond the minimalism that has characterized most of the Obama administration's programs when it comes to job creation. So, I'm hoping that the president when he speaks to Congress on Thursday will talk about big plans on the scale that FDR had when he brought the New Deal forward.
We have 14 million people unemployed. It's very important that we are mindful that just small steps aren't going to do it anymore.
MORGAN: And if you were the president, how big are we talking about? What kind of thing has President Obama got to come out with to really make a difference here?
KUCINICH: Well, I would hope that the president would call on the government's capacity to be able to spend money into circulation, just like the Fed, to create money out of nothing to quantitative easing. The government has the capacity to spend the money into circulation to meet the infrastructure needs of the country. The American Society of Civil Engineers said there's about $2.3 trillion in infrastructure needs that must be met.
We should be creating more -- spending for the purpose of getting all of our employees back to work. You have at least half a million jobs right now that could find funding with the help of the federal government, and we should be looking at the green revolution in terms of funding it.
NASA has enormous capacities to be able to help serve as an incubator for jobs in the private sector, being the creation of the concept, design engineering and lending the private sector running with ideas to help create millions of jobs. I mean, we don't have a lack of resources, truly. We have a lack of imagination, and I'm hopeful that our president will seize the moment, and recognize that the American people are ready for big plans.
MORGAN: One of the problems is that the Republicans, it is not in their interest to support President Obama, because if he does well, and gets America back to work, then he is going to be winning the next election. If he does badly and unemployment goes up, America has got a few months for this to evolve, then he may get booted out of office.
So, where is the incentives of the Republicans to not play partisan games here? KUCINICH: Well, your conventional political analysis is spot-on. However, there are Republicans as well as Democrats who are out of work. The Republican businesses who are suffering from a lack of demand right now, and the only way that you increase the demand is to be able to make sure people have jobs. And so, it's in the interest of the Republicans to come forward and support large big plans, because it helps all of America.
We have to close ranks now as Democrats and Republicans in recognizing that it's unemployment, not the deficit, which is the major economic challenge of our times. And we must meet this challenge, and I'm hopeful when the president comes forward on Thursday, he'll have such a plan to do that and will challenge the Democrats and Republicans alike to pass it.
MORGAN: Mr. Kucinich, when you see what's going on with the Republicans and you see the split between the Tea Party and the more moderate end of the party, what do you think is going to happen then? Because -- is it going to be a shoo-in for the president do you think when it comes to it, because no one is quite sure what the GOP stand for?
KUCINICH: All right. It's going to be about the economy. If President Obama is successful in getting millions of Americans back to work, then I would expect that he would be re-elected. However, if he is not successful in doing that, then people will be looking for change.
And so, this is all about the economy. We have to get people back to work. There are over 6 million people who are still in danger of losing their homes. We have to help people save their homes. We have to protect people's retirement security. These are all things that the president must be concerned about.
And if he's able to address those to the satisfaction of the American people, he'll stay in office. And if he's not, then you're going to be looking at an extremely close presidential race in which the Republican nominee would have a pretty fair shot at it based on the economy.
MORGAN: Can you see a situation where anyone challenges President Obama from within his own party? I mean, you, yourself, have run for the White House a couple of times, and made a couple of bids. Could you see a situation where you or somebody else thinks he knows something we need to have a different face here?
KUCINICH: Well, I'm not a candidate. Can I see someone coming forward to challenge President Obama from the ranks of the Democratic Party? I suppose it's possible. There again, it's going to be about the economy and that's what it should be about.
We have to get America back to work. And frankly, we have to stop wasting money on these wars that is causing us to be able to lose the resources that we need to be able to focus on things here at home.
So, should President Obama have a challenge? I say he should. I think it would make him a better president if he received a Democratic challenge in a Democratic primary. Will I be that candidate? No.
MORGAN: Do you feel that President Obama needs to beat his chest a little bit? Do you feel disappointed like many Democrats do that he's been, I don't know, a little bit tame in the way he's dealt particularly with the Republicans, being pushed around too much, and even down to when he can make a speech? It's a little bit demeaning. Why doesn't he say, you know something, I'm the president of the United States to John Boehner and if you want to move your thing, you move it?
KUCINICH: Well, there is something to what Kipling wrote about if you can keep your head while those about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you, there is something to that.
On the other hand, American people are looking for the kind of dynamic leadership which we believe that President Obama is capable of providing, but that's not just in the rhetoric. The rhetoric has to be matched by action.
That's why I talk about the big plans, about something that will put millions of Americans back to work, that will prime the pump of the economy, that will see our roads, bridges, water systems, sewer systems rebuilt. That will see our young people having a chance at college education, that will do something about the inequities in our society that are growing because people don't have a job.
So, President Obama if he can focus on it with a Rooseveltian panache, I think that we have an opportunity to see a different President Obama emerge. The times call forth from each leader the potential they have. And we all think that President Obama has the potential. The question is whether he'll do it or not, and whether he does it, whether he's able to deliver on the jobs issue is going to determine whether or not he is re-elected.
MORGAN: Without being too dramatic about it, I mean, could the prospect of a second term of office for Barack Obama hinge on this speech on Thursday?
KUCINICH: Hinge on the speech, no. But can -- will his re- election hinge on the speech? No. But will his re-election hinge on his ability to create millions of jobs? Yes.
We really have to recognize that we're in a moment in American history where the same old minimalism that has guided the government's response in the last couple of years is just not going to be substantive enough to be able to meet the challenges of rebuilding our economy. We need to create over 300,000 new jobs every month for the next couple of years just to get back to a level of unemployment that we had a few years ago.
MORGAN: I mean, slightly rephrasing then, my previous point -- if those jobs are not created, and in fact, if there is continued unemployment and the figure goes up, it is going to be almost impossible, isn't it, for President Obama to win the election?
KUCINICH: It would be very difficult. But I will say this. His destiny politically is within his control. And I want to add this, if people will say -- well, you know, he doesn't have the votes. Go to the American people, and get the votes. Rally the American people for jobs, and they will respond and Congress will follow.
MORGAN: Is it time for a bit of audacity and hope?
KUCINICH: Yes. I wish I had thought of saying that, but I would say yes, it is time for the audacity that is creative, that calls forth new possibilities simply by reaching out to people, touching their hearts and imaginations and say this is the way America is going to move forward, and now, let's move together.
MORGAN: Yes, I'm with you, Congressman. Thank you very much for your time.
KUCINICH: Thank you, sir.
MORGAN: Next a man who was part of the team that briefed President Obama on terror threats and sat face to face with Osama bin Laden.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN MILLER: You have been described as the world's most wanted man. There's word that the American government intends to put a price on your head in the millions for your capture. Do you think that they will do that? Does it worry you?
OSAMA BIN LADEN, TERRORIST LEADER (through translator): Praise be to Allah. It does not worry us what the Americans think. What worries us is pleasing Allah. The Americans imposed themselves on everyone who believes in his religion and his rights. We do not worry about American opinion or the price they have put on my head.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: That was John Miller interviewing Osama bin Laden on May 1998, the last Western journalist who get the 9/11 mastermind on the camera. John Miller has also worked for the New York and Los Angeles Police Departments, the FBI, and just stepped down as assistant deputy director of national intelligence. And he joins me now.
Mr. Miller, thank you for joining me.
MILLER: Good to be here, Piers.
MORGAN: The obvious question is -- post the killing of Osama bin Laden and other al Qaeda leaders being bumped off, too, are we seeing the end of al Qaeda as an effective terrorist organization?
MILLER: Well, we're certainly seeing them spin out of control in terms of command and control. You the death of bin Laden who was, if not operationally, intimately involved on a daily basis, certainly the guy who was setting the overall picture. Then you have the recent killing of Atiyah Abd Al Rahman, who was the guy running the day-to- day operations. And then you have the number two, who is now the number one, Ayman al Zawahiri, off to the side, who has now lost his leader and has lost his operations guy, and has deep concerns for his own security.
So that is a very tough way to run an organization. I think you have to qualify that by saying it is an organization that has proven, again and again, that it is adaptable. And we have to be weary of that.
MORGAN: That is certainly true. You interviewed bin Laden, of course, before 9/11. As we approach the tenth anniversary of the events of that day, take me back to when you met bin Laden. Did you ever imagine when you had that extraordinary encounter that he might be capable of pulling off such an atrocity?
MILLER: I was fairly certain from the time I met bin Laden -- and this is not revisionist history. I said this at the time, and it's on record, that bin Laden, as we harden targets overseas, was going to strike on U.S. soil. So on that, I think that I saw that coming to some degree.
But what I didn't see coming, and I don't think what anybody saw coming was the salability of it. What I imagined was a truck bomb on U.S. soil against a public place. The idea of using planes as missiles, or multiple targets in a single day, or killing 3,000 people on U.S. soil was just beyond the concepts that any of us were looking at.
MORGAN: The criticism of that would be that people in your position, and others at much higher level at time, their specific job is to think the unthinkable. Obviously, this was on a totally different scale to anything that had happened before. But do you believe as a result of what happened the thinking the unthinkable planning is now much better than it used to be? And it would be almost impossible for a terrorist group now to carry out something that nobody had thought of?
MILLER: Well, I think two opposing forces have met there. One, we have reduced al Qaeda's capability dramatically. They are not in a position to pull off a 9/11 type attack, with two and a half years in operational planning, half a million dollars in budget, flight schools, logistics and so on. And we have gotten much better at bridging that gap.
I mean, the 9/11 Commission called it, as you just did, a failure of imagination. I think to look at it another way, though, al Qaeda goes to the drawing board everyday, as does each one of its affiliates, and they are still very imaginative. If you look at the London planes plot, where they used a peroxide explosive in a bottle hooked up to a disposable camera, hooked up to a detonator that was disguised as another household item, you see that they had plotted to get 9/11-type casualties, 2,000 to 3,000 people killed, on more than a dozen flights over the Atlantic, by spending just a few thousand dollars.
So they go back to the work bench and R&D all the time.
MORGAN: How much of the fact that we haven't seen further atrocities on the scale of 9/11 -- how much of that is down to better intelligence, more people doing the intelligence work? And how much of it is down to perhaps operations in Afghanistan and so on to dismantle al Qaeda, itself, do you think? Or is it both?
MILLER: Well, it is both. I think that if you look at the patterns there, in the post 9/11 world, we had an average of about four plots targeting U.S. soil or emanating on U.S. soil a year. In 2008-2009, that jumps to nine and then ten. In 20011, we are already on a pace to pass that. Something has happened, a better maturation of ideology, a better way to get the message out, that has caused those plots to be coming at us at literally a rate or a pace of almost one a month.
And when you deal in that kind of volume, you have a special challenge. Number one, we are operating at nearly 100 percent in interdicting all of them and shutting them down. But the odds of being able to maintain that batting average, as the numbers go up, those go down.
MORGAN: You have also met al Zawahiri. How does he contrast with bin Laden? Clearly now he is nominally in charge of al Qaeda. What do you think of him as a man, when you met him? How does he compare to bin Laden? What will be going through his mind now, as he tries to regroup and rally his troops, do you think?
MILLER: Well, al Zawahiri is an interesting man. He is an Egyptian pediatrician. He had his own group. He was captured and tried by the Egyptians after the assassination of the president there. He joined bin Laden basically because he had nowhere else to go.
He had to go to Afghanistan, and he had run out of money. But as an educated ma man, as a physician, he speaks very good English. He understands western culture. And he was interesting to be with.
MORGAN: When you saw the rather pitiful images of bin Laden watching the TV set in that grim little place he was hiding in, it was pretty diminishing for him. But does that kind of sum up really the fact that al Qaeda has managed to bluff the world into thinking that its this incredibly sophisticated, glamorous outfit, when actually it looks like they are just like another bunch of terrorists who may have got lucky a few times?
MILLER: Well, I think that it is no secret to any of us that a lot of television production involves bluff. And if you look at the reengineering of bin Laden's image -- when I sat down with bin Laden, he wore a green army fatigue. He signified that he was a military leader. He carried a weapon.
When you look at the remake of bin Laden, he is wearing formal wear. He is sitting at a desk with a script. It is as if he is in the oval cave addressing the world. That was to resignify that al Qaeda was not just a rag tag terrorist group that was being beaten down in the war, but that it was a global organization. MORGAN: Hold that thought for a moment. I want to take a break and come back and ask you who you think is the greatest threat to America today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEN. DAVID PETRAEUS, CIA DIRECTOR: I do solemnly swear --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: General David Petraeus being sworn in earlier today as the new director of the CIA. Back with me now is John Miller, who just stepped down from his post in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
John Miller, you were part of the team that had to prepare the brief for the president on all the threats and warnings that come in all the time against the White House, against the president, against America. Tell me about that job. I mean, it must be pretty nerve- racking.
Because as they always say, the terrorists only have to get lucky once. You guys have to be lucky every minute of every day?
MILLER: Well, the analysis division in the DNI is the overarching group that has the group of people who prepare the PDA, or the Presidents' Daily Briefing. And looking at that document, and looking at the team of people who prepare it -- and every day, they work all day trying to figure out what are the key issues that need to get in front of the president. And then all night, they work on putting it together in a way that makes sense, that is visual, that is succinct and gets to the point.
It is an extraordinarily hard-working team of people, and they do a great job. But when you look at that document, the first few times you read it, you say, oh, my gosh, this is a very frightening world. And then month after month, you get to realize that is the cadence of the dangerous world we live in.
MORGAN: Is al Qaeda still the number one threat to America's security? Or from everything that you have picked up over the last few years, are there other organizations that you think may -- or even lone individuals that pose a bigger threat?
MILLER: Well, al Qaeda is the key threat to killing Americans on U.S. soil or overseas in rapid operations. There are other threats, national security threats. There is the cyber threat, which is a slow, very expansive, creeping threat.
But when it comes to who is going to blow a plane out of the sky, who is going to put a truck bomb in a U.S. city, who is going to attack a U.S. embassy overseas, al Qaeda is still number one on the hit parade. MORGAN: How concerned are you by what we have seen in the Arab Spring uprisings, in the sense that whilst it looks terribly exciting, and a victory for freedom and democracy and so on, no one really knows who is taking over in places like Egypt or, indeed, in Libya, with these rebels and so on. If you were still in your job, would you be pretty concerned about the situation? Would you think that we need to be finding out pretty quickly who is going to be running these countries?
MILLER: Well, power abhors a vacuum. And whenever you topple a government and there is that vacuum, it is not always filled by the people that you planned it to be filled by, that you desired it to be filled by, or that intended to fill it on the ground. So it is the kind of situation where there has to be a lot of involvement, a lot of hand-holding by the international community in the U.N., but also a lot of intelligence.
It has to be watched closely, because you have to see who is maneuvering on the sidelines that may suddenly emerge. The Arab Spring is a story with a great beginning, of the toppling of totalitarian governments by populist movements. But the story is going to be told not by the beginning. It's going to be told by the end, which is do they achieve something close to democracy, which is what they were seeking, or do we end up with more dangerous situations, or do they end up with more despotic governments?
And that story hasn't -- the end hasn't come yet.
MORGAN: What is your personal view, from all that you have seen?
MILLER: I'm an optimist by nature. I think that one of the great byproducts of this is that these populist movements that rapidly overthrew governments and totalitarian regimes that had been in place for three decades and more, in many ways, did a lot of damage to al Qaeda's business model. I mean, al Qaeda's business model requires you have to blow up buildings. You have to scare people. You have to do tremendous damage.
And here was a leveraging of social media tools in a number of these countries that worked much faster. So I think that's a good thing. But, again, I think it requires regional assistance and international assistance and U.S. involvement to aid and guide before we see this through.
MORGAN: We are going to have another short break. But when we come back, John, I want to ask you, as we approach 9/11 and the tenth anniversary, how concerned you are about another attack perhaps around that day, and what we should be expecting going forward?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER MAYOR OF NEW YORK: Why do I think the country has really not been attacked since September 11th? There have been at least 40 attempts to do such attacks in the United States attacks since then, a lot more than people realize.
And those are 40 that I can find from public documents. From my previous experience in government, I can assure you there are probably a lot more.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Rudy Giuliani earlier today. Back with me now is terrorism expert John Miller. I've got Rudy actually on the show tomorrow, John, obviously one of the pivotal figures of 9/11. Clearly he's reflecting there a concern many have that you can never be complacent about this kind of thing, that the anniversary itself might be used as an excuse to commit some other atrocity, not necessarily just by al Qaeda, but even by a lone individual who wants to make a name for themselves.
How does America prepare for this kind of event?
MILLER: I think America has been preparing incrementally for ten years since 9/11. The intelligence is better. The response is better. The command and control is better. But that is -- those are not tools you want to end up using. I mean, the intelligence is on the front end.
And what Mayor Giuliani was referring to, 40 attacks, that's now closer to 50. And that involves almost about 130 individuals who have become suspects in those cases since 9/11 in those 50 plots. That's an awful lot of plotting and planning that has been interdicted. That's a good thing.
But you have to remember, there are a couple where we were just lucky. The plane over Detroit, that was not a thing where we were there in place to stop it. He broke the detonator and his bomb failed to go off. We were lucky there.
The truck bomb in Times Square in May of '09, with Faisal Shahzad, that was an intelligence failure. He flew under the radar. I think you have to be concerned of two things. One, an attack plotted by al Qaeda. And the intelligence there has, time and time again -- extraordinary work done by the CIA, the NSA and other agencies -- the FBI has stopped those attacks in their tracks, either by actions overseas or things here.
The flip side of that, though, is when they're pumping out over the Internet magazines with bomb-making instructions and tactical advice for how to do a shooting like a Mumbai attack that are on the Internet, and that are available to millions and millions of people, some of whom may be followers, that's pretty hard to keep a thumb on.
MORGAN: And John, what was the thing when you used to do your job? What was the one thing that you dreaded most? What is the doomsday event as far as intelligence operatives go, when it comes to this kind of thing? MILLER: Well, I think, as you said a little further back in this show, you're always trying to out-imagine the bad guys. What have they experimented with? They're experimented with cyanide bombs for the subway. They've experimented with flying small planes into buildings filled with explosives. They have plotted with printer bombs, as we saw several months ago, truck bombs.
I mean, they never stop plotting. The thing that kept me up at night was not so much the plotting or the shape of it, but the thing that kept me up at night, because of my job, which was analytic transformation and technology, how to bring the information together and how to drive intelligence reform, was that the attack would happen and we would find out somewhere in our vast systems we had the information to stop it and we couldn't find it.
And that's still an issue. It's being worked on. But it's not entirely fixed.
MORGAN: Are you a slightly relieved that you no longer have to have this responsibility bearing down on your shoulders?
MILLER: I have to say, the DNI, the Director of National Intelligence, is by and large a policy shop that is meant to lead the intelligence community. And that's a big challenge for any organization. And the DNI, based on the laws it was given to carry out that job, has a challenge there.
The job that really when I left I kind of wiped my brow was deputy chief for counterterrorism of the City of Los Angeles, because it's a significant target. It was plotted against numerous times. We had all kinds of suspects on the street. And we were able to stop a plot in progress.
But every night I went to bed, the question I ask is, who did we miss? Who are we not looking at? Did we not follow a lead that would have taken us somewhere? Because but for covering those leads, you could show up in your police car somewhere, get out and be standing over a bunch of bodies and wonder if somehow it wasn't your fault.
And that was a huge responsibility. The guy who has that job now, Mike Downing, will be in New York tomorrow with John Timoney from the Miami Police and Philadelphia Police, Ray Kelly from the New York Police, Bill Bratton. All of the major chiefs will be here in the city tomorrow, actually in a discussion over what have we done right, what could we do better, at the Manhattan Institute. So that will be fascinating also.
MORGAN: Well, none of you guys ever really get any praise for stuff that doesn't happen. But you soon get kicked when things do. So the fact that we've gone ten years without another event like 9/11 is a testimony to the extraordinary work that you've all done over the last few years. So John Miller, thank you very much.
MILLER: Well, thank you, Piers. And thanks for having me.
MORGAN: My pleasure. When we come back, a preview of my prime time exclusive with Amy Winehouse's father, Mitch.
MORGAN: Coming next week, my primetime exclusive with the father of Amy Winehouse. Fans around the world mourned after Amy's sudden death. But, of course there was no one who felt that loss more than her family. Now her father Mitch is speaking out about the Amy only her family knew.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITCH WINEHOUSE, FATHER OF AMY WINEHOUSE: She had so many qualities and so many frailties. But she was a wonderful, wonderful girl, a wonderful friend. And you've only got to -- all of the nonsense that was written about her in the papers over the last five or six years, it's all gone now.
You know, everybody is full of love and admiration for her, as she was. She was full of love, even for people that didn't deserve it. I just wish she was here so we could give her a cuddle.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: My primetime exclusive with an emotional Mitch Winehouse, Amy's father, for the hour next Tuesday. That's all for us tonight. "AC 360" starts right now.