'I'm Struck By How Naive We Are'

J$P Instant Transcript! Steve Harrigan on the bomb blasts in Jordan.

From The Big Story, November 9 2005:

JOHN GIBSON [FOX NEWS]: Steve Harrigan stayed at the Hyatt in Amman, Jordan just two weeks ago. And Steve joins us now on the phone. Steve, all of these hotels, my understanding is the American Embassy recommends these as safe places. Was it your impression they were safe?

STEVE HARRIGAN [FOX NEWS]: John, it was probably my foolish impression that they were safe. As a matter of fact, I usually stop in that Hyatt on the way out of Baghdad. Because Jordan, Amman, is one of the few places you can actually fly in and out of Baghdad from. That's why it's a staging area. So when you finally get out of Baghdad after six weeks or a couple months, you do feel like you can breathe easy there. And I think this is really naive. If you look at the security of that Hyatt, it is a pretty wide open place. You can walk in and out of there and you just see porters and valets out front. You don't see heavily armed police or riot police or the machine guns. You see a few police cars off in the distance, but it's a very open, easy place to walk in and out of. You do feel easy there, but obviously that's a big mistake to feel that way.

GIBSON: So Steve, what did you think on hearing this news, three simultaneous suicide bombings. By the way, we're looking at a virtual tour of the hotel before the bombing; this is off line, this is what the hotel looked like and how it attracts visitors. Steve, what did you think about when you heard the news today?

HARRIGAN: I think it makes a lot of sense. It's a prime terrorist target. You have the elite there in Jordan, Western-dressed Jordanians, or else you have Americans, Westerners on their way in or out of Baghdad. So it's a perfect target to target the elite Jordanians and Westerners on their way into the country. And it's a soft target. It's obviously soft. There's probably so many glass wounds from those big glass doors and windows, and it's a place where you can just walk in. So once again, I'm struck with how naive we are, and how we really have to change the way we think about these people, about the people who are trying to kill us.

GIBSON: Steve, as you were talking, Bernard Kerik is still here beside me, and I'm sure you know him. He said a lot of Iraqis stay there.

HARRIGAN: That's right. Government officials on their way out of Baghdad will come in through Amman and stay there as well. So there are multiple targets for the terrorists there. And it's something anyone who stayed there should have sensed. But it's hard. You feel like when you get out of Iraq, now you're in Jordan, you can breathe easy. But really that's an illusion. These terror attacks are not limited to the geography of Iraq, and they're looking for harder--easier targets outside of that geography.

GIBSON: And Steve, before I let you go, so what do you think these bombings do to Amman and to this atmosphere that you were so used to.

HARRIGAN: They broaden the war. They broaden the area where you have to take precautions. They broaden the area of where you need your own professional security. They broaden the area where you need to wear your armored vest. And that area just keeps getting bigger.

GIBSON: Steve Harrigan, of course a lot of time over there. Steve thanks a lot. I know you won't be going too far.

posted: Wed - November 9, 2005 at 05:39 PM       j$p  send