WEB EXCLUSIVE: Senators consider chemical attacks on ‘Crossfire’

Posted 10:15 p.m. Sept. 25 —Sens. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) and John Edwards (D-N.C.) continued a bipartisan theme begun last week as CNN’s “Crossfire” broadcast from the Media and Public Affairs building for a seventh show.

The 30-minute show concentrated mostly on America’s level of preparedness for possible chemical terrorist attacks and the formation of an international coalition against terrorism.

Current media discussions surrounding the possibility of terrorist groups engaging in chemical warfare prompted Edwards to issue a warning to the country.

“We are not nearly prepared enough for attacks of small pox or other things like that,” Edwards said. He warned that such attacks could have a devastating effect.

“There is not enough small pox vaccine to combat a widespread attack,” Edwards said.

Students asked guests about a possible world coalition against terrorism.

Hagel said the contributions of the countries may vary dramatically. Some might provide overt armed assistance and others might simply provide information. Hagel said he is wary of some countries considering joining the coalition. He said the United States should be careful because we cannot fully trust all countries.

“Can we trust Iran? Of course not,” Hagel said.

The hosts discussed the possibility of a “new wave of terrorism.” Edwards insisted the United States must take precautions.

“We need to beef up intelligence and make sure that the intelligence community has the tools necessary to combat this new threat,” said Edwards.

Hagel said that while “security, stability, freedom and democracy” will always be the United States’ main priorities, the country must now make it a priority to attack terrorism at its root.

“Crossfire” will continue to broadcast live from the Jack Morton Auditorium at 6:30 p.m. until Friday.

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