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America Under Attack: President Bush Stops at a Military Installation in Nebraska

Aired September 11, 2001 - 15:25   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.
JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: Just about a block and a half away here in Washington, a block and a half away from the White House, senior CNN White House correspondent John King.

John, you are not traveling, of course, with President Bush who went to Florida yesterday, but you have been talking to a number of people around the president who are trying to stay on top of what has happened.

JOHN KING, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Trying to stay on top of what has happened, Judy, despite the fact that from the ground up anyway the White House complex, which you see behind me, the building itself and the Old Executive Office Building, which is home to a number of senior administration officials, a virtual ghost town, evacuated this morning.

The president, as we have reported, is now on a military installation in the Midwest. The president first from Florida, stopped at a military installation in Louisiana. He was briefed. Then, there was talk that he would come back to Washington, and administration officials saying they believe that is politically very important to send a signal, to get the president back to the White House as soon as possible.

But the president instead stopped at a second military installation in Nebraska. We are told he is participating in a National Security Council meeting by telephone. Vice President Dick Cheney has been in the White House, underground, in the White House operations center, the situation room, which is a fortified command and control structure, throughout the day, with other national security officials, receiving information from around the country and directing U.S. operations from there.

We do know on Air Force One, en route from Louisiana to the Midwest, the president spoke to the mayor of New York and the governor of New York. He has been in constant contact with officials back here, including members of the congressional leadership, who also have been asked by their security to go to a secure bunker area built for just such a situation, a national security emergency in the United States. The leaders of Congress taken as well to a secure location.

Again, the White House grounds were evacuated while all this was taking place this morning. From this perch up here, which you are familiar with from anchoring "INSIDE POLITICS," you can still see smoke wafting up from the Pentagon and National Airport across the Potomac River, usually one of the nation's busiest, of course, now completely shut down as part of the security precautions being taken here.

We are told there is a priority on trying to get the president back to the White House, but priority number one is the president's security. And I have spoken to several senior administration officials, as well as some security sources, who say at this moment they know of no specific additional threats, but of course they were caught so completely off guard this morning, extra precautions being taken, because of the scope of these devastating terrorist attacks -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right, John King, at a location on top of an office building just a few blocks from the White House, as you can see, reporting on the scene there where every federal building in the city of Washington has been evacuated.

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