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Interview of the Vice President
Date:12/6/2007

the wiretapping legislation, if they were to prevail on their view dealing with detainees?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, the way I think about it is that we embarked upon a new strategy after 9/11. We used to treat terrorist attacks as a law enforcement problem. We went out and arrested the bad guy, put him on trial, convicted him, and put him in the slammer. So one of the guys who helped organize the attacks on the World Trade Center is doing life out in Colorado. That was the old way of looking at the world, though. What we learned after 9/11 is we really were under attack. It was a strategic threat to the United States. It was bigger than just a law enforcement problem, and that we had to marshal our resources to go after the terrorists, to go after those who sponsor terror, to go after those who might provide them with more deadly capabilities than they had used up to that time, and that we needed to take steps here at home to be able to defend ourselves against future attacks.

And so we did things like the Terrorist Surveillance Program, which is now all caught up in the FISA statute, for example. We need a robust program for the interrogation of high-value detainees. When you capture Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, you need to know what he knows -- he's the guy who planned 9/11, killed 3,000 Americans -- what are your next plans? And these are all issues that are being debated as we go forward.

I think the policies we put in place in those areas have been directly responsible for our success at defeating all further attacks that have been launched against the United States since 9/11; being able to intercept and disrupt the operations of al Qaeda, as they've attempted them, whether it's launching aircraft out of England headed for the United States that you're going to blow up over the Atlantic, or over U.S. cities. And we've been very successful. It's not an accident; it's because those programs have been there.

If we look at the question of o
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SOURCE White House Press Office
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