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Regarding Administration's Failure In Homeland Security Since 9/11 - Shepard Smith Gets Mad!

Reported by Donna - December 5, 2005

Today on Studio B with Shepard Smith he actually became angry with guest, James Carafano from the Heritage Foundation, which is a conservative policy think tank institution. But this time, Smith wasn't allowing this administration apologist to get away with any talking points.

In a segment regarding the failing grades that the 9/11 Commission is giving the administration on Homeland Security, Smith called Carafano on every one of his talking points.

The following is my partial transcript (paraphrased, but pretty much verbatim).

Smith said the failing report card "looked terrible." Carafano said that it was good that the 9/11 Commission was keeping this on the front burner. Smith immediately started in on the fact that the police and fire departments still can't talk to each other. Smith said this was one of the reasons that firefighters and police personnel died on 9/11. He said that if, in 30 minutes the Empire State Building was blown up they still wouldn't be able to talk to each other and every American should be outraged 4 years after 9/11.

Smith said he saw the same thing with Katrina. Carafano commented that it wasn't important that every police officer should be able to talk with any other fire department in America. Smith yelled, "In America?!" Carafano started to yell, "Now wait a minute. Now look!" Carafano went on to say that the reason we don't have a terrorist watch list is because people don't want their civil liberties stepped on. (Comment: Talking point) He said, "You can have it fast or you can have it right." (Comment: Talking point)

Smith said, "Fast? It's been 3 years!" (He later corrected it to 4 years) Carafano kept repeating, "It can't be solved in 10 minutes." (Comment: Talking Point) Smith jumped on him, "With all due respect and I have loads of it for you, it's been longer than 10 minutes." Smith then went on to talk about how the government has a plan for 2009 to have a special frequency, but right now the Empire State Building or the St. Louis Arch or LAX could be attacked and multiple jurisdictions can't talk to each other. He added, 'And we know that."

So Carafano tried a different approach and started talking about New Orleans. He said that they couldn't talk to each other because all of the police and fire departments were underwater. (Comment: Talking Point)

Smith (still angry) stopped him, "James, that is so not fair. Now wait, first you talk about 10 minutes and we come to the realization it's been 4 years. Then you talk about it wouldn't of mattered. I'll tell you what would have mattered. Someone would have been able to tell someone just the other side of the bridge where it was dry and for instance, because it's what I have life experience on, the bridge where we were, where it was dry, might have been able to get a water truck or some baby formula over. Had they been able to communicate, everyone involved said it would have been better."

Carafano said that it's better to stop terrible terrorist acts to begin with. (Comment: And when did they start doing that? Examples, please) He also went on that the Senate has voted down these exact things three times (Comment: He didn't say what else was in these bills). So then Carafano decided to challenge Smith about 9/11. He said, "The reason theyy couldn't talk on 9/11 was because they knocked the tower(s) down and the fireman lost their communications." (Comment: Talking Point)

Smith stepped in again, "Actually, no. That's not true. The reason they couldn't talk was that the police department and the fire department were on differend bands and there was no overall umbrella system where one agency could talk to another. Where the Port Authority could talk. Where the police could say on the radio to firefighters to tell them to get out of the building, we think it's about to fall."

Smith abruptly ended the segment, "James, I hope they get somewhere from this. I know you do, too. I'm sorry I'm out of time, I appreciate you coming very much."

Comments: Wow, Smith was on fire. He wouldn't let the conservative guest get away with his talking points and stopped him dead in his tracks. Good for Smith. The bad news? The 9/11 Commission has been getting by with private funding and is about to disband, so, no more watchdog.

How could Smith top this? Probably by showing the correlation between the money being spent on the war in Iraq and what could have been spent on establishing not only a better way of communication but everything having to do with Homeland Security. Overall a surprising and good interview from Shepard Smith.

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