Transcript of Cheney Interview

CHENEY Well, that we're doing everything we can both to sort of harden the target here at home, to make it tougher for the terrorist who comes to launch an attack against the United States, and military tribunals are a part of that, a tougher visa system is a part of that.

SAWYER And does the intelligence enable us to make a distinction now between what is a real threat and what is a threat we've got to worry about, even though we can't confirm it?

CHENEY Intelligence is, is fuzzy. Sometimes it's fairly precise; sometimes it's a threat focused overseas, sometimes here. It's never, almost never the kind that said on, you know, on Jan. 13, at 4 o'clock in the afternoon, at the corner of Constitution Avenue and 8th Street in Washington, D.C., the following will happen. It's never, never that precise. But our intelligence is, is good, it may not be perfect, though, and I guess the other, the key requirement and, and the best response I can give to people who are legitimately concerned is that a good offense is the best defense. That at the heart of our success, in terms of being able to avoid further attacks against the United States is to go get the "bad guys," for us to go, aggressively take down the al Qaeda network, wrap up Osama bin Laden and punish those states that provide sanctuary to terrorists, on the grounds that they are just as guilty of those acts as are the terrorists themselves. So an aggressive U.S. posture overseas I think is exactly the right place to be and as well as doing everything we can here, at home, to, to make it tougher for the terrorists to operate in our society.

SAWYER But it's been a while since we've had one of those heightened state of alert. Everybody should keep your eyes peeled at every second. It's been a while.

CHENEY Well, you … these are difficult calls to make in terms of when you tell everybody, you know, let's … everybody be concerned because we've got a new threat, and you want people to focus on it. You don't want to do that so often that it becomes routine, that people don't focus on it when it happens. Hopefully people are still very much aware that the world changed on Sept. 11, that we are vulnerable as a society, that we do need to be aware of what's going on around us, that we do need to report suspicious people to the proper authorities, and I think we're getting much more of that than we have before.

SAWYER But have there been events where you thought about going out and saying that and decided, no, in this case —

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