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Terrorism Attack on New York City and Washington

Aired September 11, 2001 - 12:35   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
AARON BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Jeff, just step back for a second. You know, you talk about anger, and we stand up here and we look at this, and we've all listened to what's been going on now as we've been on the air for three hours or so. And there was a woman that Richard Roth interviewed about a half an hour ago, who said what I suspect that most Americans are feeling right now, and some would like to say it can't, how angry she was, how cowardly this all seemed to her.

Quickly we go back to Washington, and Judy Woodruff. Judy?

JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Aaron, government sources telling CNN that President Bush, who had been in Florida for a two day trip, and who broke that trip off this morning to head back to Washington, will now not return to Washington. Repeating, President Bush will not return to Washington.

We do not know where the president will land or where his aircraft will go, Air Force One. But, we just are passing along this information just as soon as we have it.

Again, as we were talking to former NATO head Wesley Clark, General Wesley Clark a little while ago, he pointed out there are contingency plans that the military and security people have for the president in a situation like this. So, we're not going to do any speculating right here about where the president might be going.

Joining us now on the telephone we want -- there is some information we want to share with you about aircraft in the sky that is, we're told is safe right now. We're told by the FAA, the Federal Aviation Administration. They're telling us 50 aircrafts are safely in the sky right now, all within about 50 miles of their destination.

But in the meantime we want to talk to Utah Republican Senator Orrin Hatch, who's joining us on the telephone.

Senator Hatch, are you there?

SEN. ORRIN HATCH (R), UTAH: Yes, I am.

WOODRUFF: And I know my colleague Wolf Blitzer, who is here with me in the studio in Washington, had also talked with you.

Senator, you've been briefed by what authorities? HATCH: I'm on both the Judiciary Committee and also the Intelligence Committee, and I've been briefed by the highest levels of the FBI and of the intelligence community.

I just have to say, our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims of this terrible tragedy caused by a bunch of cowards. And there is no justification for what these cowards have done to purely innocent Americans. But I do have some information.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Senator Hatch, this is Wolf Blitzer. Tell us -- I spoke with you earlier on the telephone, but tell us precisely what you are now being told in these high-level briefings about those who may -- and I repeat the word may -- have been responsible for these attacks.

HATCH: You're right, they've come to the conclusion that this looks like the signature of Osama bin Laden, and that he may be the one behind this. I think most authorities agree that this is something that we doubt seriously if Iran, Iraq or Libya would try and do, because they know of the massive response that we'd have to bring down on them. But there was no advance notice at all. They had no way of knowing that this was going to happen. It was carefully planned.

And what it means is, it seems to me that if that turns out to be true, we're going to have to revitalize Shah Masood and the other people in Afghanistan who basically are fighting to get rid of this type of terrorism. And I think we're going to have to ask our friends in Pakistan to get, in turn, to be more cooperative than they have in the past. And then, we'd have to work with our allies, have an international strategy to combat this type of international jihad against the West.

WOODRUFF: We're listening to Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah. We also have joining us on the telephone Senator John McCain, from his home in Arizona.

Senator McCain, I assume you've been talking to authorities as well.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Yes, Judy, and I'm on Capitol Hill, in Washington.

WOODRUFF: Oh, I'm sorry.

MCCAIN: Yes, no problem.

The situation is so serious that words don't describe it. I think that it's clear that the organization and magnitude of the attacks required more than a few people to perpetrate it. And it will take some time to determine who they are and who supported these attacks. But I think we'll find them out, and they will suffer the full measure of our justice. This is obviously an act of war that has been committed on the United States of America.

WOODRUFF: What do you mean "obviously an act of war," Senator McCain?

MCCAIN: These attacks clearly constitute an act of war. I mean, unwarranted, unprovoked attacks against innocent American citizens is clearly an act of war, and one that requires that kind of national response and international response.

WOODRUFF: Senator Orrin Hatch, I believe, is also still with us.

HATCH: Yes.

WOODRUFF: And, Senator Hatch, you mentioned the bin Laden organization. Former NATO head General Wesley Clark also said to us about an hour ago in an interview that he believes that it's only the bin Laden that is capable of carrying out attacks this coordinated and on this massive a scale.

What are you basing your information on?

HATCH: Well, keep in mind, there are nations that also could carry out these attacks, but they, I don't think, would dare do that, knowing that their signature's going to be figured out; we're going to find out who did this, and then we're going after the bastards. It's that simple.

And I just have to say that both the FBI and our intelligence community believe that this is bin Laden's signature. And I believe it is. I was the first to point out bin Laden to the Clinton administration and said they're going to kill Americans, and we've got to get on top of that. And I think we've going to have to get on top of it, because this is a cowardly bunch; it will stop at nothing to -- like you say, have a jihad or a war against the United States, and to do it in the most cowardly fashion.

WOODRUFF: But, Senator McCain, I mean, there will be those who are saying the United States was taking all reasonable precautions; we have security at airports, metal detectors, and so forth and so on. How much more is going to have to be done to prevent something like these things from happening again?

MCCAIN: Judy, I don't think our life styles will be the same for a long time, since it was before these attacks, as far as use of transportation, particularly airports, are concerned. You know, there have been warnings about whether our security was good enough, and whether the proper measures were being taken. I'm sure that will all be reviewed.

By the way, I have no information as to who caused this, and I hesitate to speculate.

MCCAIN: But I am confident that the president of the United States will lead us, and we will find out who has carried these acts. And I think it's a little premature to make that determination until we have the hard facts, but I'm sure that we'll get them.

The other aspect of this is that it may highlight over time the need for more human intelligence. We have very good technical intelligence capabilities -- satellites, et cetera -- but we, for many years, we haven't had the kind of human intelligence which determines motivations before actions are taken.

WOODRUFF: I'm going to interrupt you, Senator McCain

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