Donald Rumsfeld Reflects on 9/11
Former defense secretary recounts events of 10 years ago
- Duration 6:20
- Date Sep 9, 2011
Former defense secretary recounts events of 10 years ago
Also in this playlist...
This transcript is automatically generated
-- Hannity now it has been ten years since the tragic 9/11 terrorist attack on American soil.
And former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld will never forget that September morning which He vividly describes in his book known and unknown a memoir.
And I sat down with secretary Rumsfeld to discuss the attacks the upcoming ten year anniversary and much much more.
Can you believe it's been ten years I can't.
It it is it is amazing thoughts to that we've managed to navigate through ten a decade almost.
And and not had another successful attack.
Here in the United States -- been attacks elsewhere in the world to be sure yeah but we've been very fortunate.
Walk us through your day.
On 9/11 and as it's happening what -- thinking how you deal with that tells tells about that.
Well you go to work like.
Like it was any other day beautiful day -- -- lovely sunny day.
In Washington DC and I had breakfast with.
Eight or ten members of the United States House of Representatives.
And I was deeply concerned about the defense budget.
After every major conflict we've had in this country we've.
Breathe a sigh of relief and then relaxed and we cut the defense budget we cut the intelligence budget.
And then we pay a penalty later and and we did -- after World War II after career after Vietnam and after the Cold War for a decade we did -- so when president George W.
Bush and I arrived back in office.
The then we needed to increase it and I was sitting there talking to them and said literally something to the effect that.
Something's gonna happen in this country and you're gonna want to be a supporter of the defense and intelligence budgets.
Because we're going to need them to to deter and defend the American people.
And we were told that a plane -- hit the need.
World Trade Center.
I thought it was an accident.
And then of course when the second one hit it was not an accident you know right away we all -- lecture yeah.
We were under attack and and I was in my office right next to -- breakfast room.
And the building shook.
Literally and we had been hit you know -- a bomb or an aircraft but.
I've I've raced down the -- to seemed like -- figure out what had happened to the place because you couldn't know was communicating anything at that stage of people were still trying to figure it out.
What -- how close to that.
-- you know it's a five sided building the Pentagon and it was it was not the next one but the one over.
And feel pretty close -- and I got down the -- on the smoke was so bad I couldn't go any farther the place was burning and we went downstairs and -- outside.
And I ran into -- lieutenant colonels who told me that he'd he'd seen the plane actually hit the building and so that.
Clarified that and I looked out and here -- these Paul pieces of metal.
Parts of the aircraft all over the long lead apron around the building.
There were not a lot of people there at that moment.
The first responders hadn't arrived -- and people were coming out of the building burned and hurt and and wounded and being taken out.
I stayed their for a few minutes.
And attempted to help and then realize that first.
The people for coming in if they didn't need me there and and I went back to my office and began the process of thinking through and talking to the president the vice president.
As you look at this administration.
Had a hard time even acknowledging war on terror still do apologizing for America.
And we saw this most recent deal on on the debt limit.
Yes and automatic cuts them a big portion of which will come -- -- defense would if you are from the richest must not happen.
Well it's it seems to me I'm not have a lot of faith in this super committee.
That they're actually gonna come to a consensus.
To cut Washington spending I don't think they have the moral courage seemingly to do so.
So it seems He automatic cuts will come what does that mean for our country security in the long run a week do you predict.
Because I'm gonna -- I think there's more coming.
I pray I'm wrong I I I I pray that I'm wrong -- but I think we are letting our guard down and what we've done if you know 45 times in my adult lifetime I'm 79 years old we dated after World War II -- over to pick up.
-- and it did it after Korea and did it after Vietnam and at the end of the Cold War just said well it's the end of history.
We can live it live in this world and and not worry about the dangers in the risk.
And it's simply not true with the dangers are there there weapons -- are so -- so dangerous.
That we simply have to recognize that weakness is provocative and we can't provoke people limited trying those things.
I know it doesn't bother you but I have to ask the question anyway you you became as this war on terror began a different more than we've ever fought them.
You became -- very controversial central figure in this she even offered to resign a couple times you described in your book about president wouldn't accept your resignation.
It happened after the what 2006 election do.
And I guess the question is as we dealt with Guantanamo.
Black sites rendition all of these issues that came Patriot Act the Patriot Act and other -- You know military -- -- to fire.
As you know look back on every decision on every new thing that we put in place.
Any regrets or do you think even more strongly today that these -- the right decisions.
Well I think they were tough decisions and I think the president made the right decisions and I and I think the fact that that that these same structures exist today.
Speaks volumes in an administration that campaigned against every single one of them.
And yet they're still there why.
Not because it's anyone's first choice but because we live in a world that's dangerous and these structures have protected the American people.
And end the bush administration of president George W.
Bush deserves a lot of credit for and so do you.
secretary can always good to -- thanks so much for being with us thank you --