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America Under Attack: American Symbols of Military and Financial Might Attacked

Aired September 12, 2001 - 02:00   ET


COLLEEN MCEDWARDS, CNN ANCHOR: Cameras bear witness as one symbol of America's financial might burns, only to watch in horror as hijackers send a second deadly message to the United States.

JIM CLANCY, CNN ANCHOR: And then only half an hour later, another target, another city, this time the Pentagon, the military seat of the world's only remaining superpower.

MCEDWARDS: And there was more to come. Plane number four goes down in rural Pennsylvania, dozens of people killed. A nation, an entire world, is stunned.

CLANCY: Hello, I'm Jim Clancy.

MCEDWARDS: And I'm Colleen McEdwards at CNN Center.

First, we want to bring you the latest right now on Tuesday's terrorist attacks in the United States. In New York City, it is 2:00 a.m. right now. Many lie dead where the World Trade Center lies in ruin. Some people trapped alive have been placing cell phone calls, we are told, quite possibly from the basement of that World Trade Center building.

The combined death toll from New York, Washington, and Shanksville, Pennsylvania will be very high, we're told. President Bush saying earlier thousands of people have been killed.

In New York, search and rescue efforts have continued right through the night. Thus far, at least 2,000 victims treated for injuries.

It was little more than 17 hours ago now that terrorists hijacked four commercial jets crashing one of the airliners into the north tower of New York's World Trade Center, a financial Mecca there for decades; then only minutes later slamming a second plane into the Trade Center's south tower, obviously an extremely well coordinated attack; another jet into a section of Washington's Pentagon building, the military nerve center of the United States, causing a terrible fire there; and finally, the fourth aircraft into Pennsylvania's rural Somerset County, those three attacks leaving behind a nightmare of horrendous proportion.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) RUDOLPH GIULIANI, MAYOR OF NEW YORK CITY: The dimension will be very large. In terms of the people we're looking for, it's a couple of hundred firefighters and police officers, which is a staggering number.

As far as the number of people in the building, that will be in the thousands. There's no way of knowing at this point. We're going to keep praying and hoping that we save as many people as possible.


MCEDWARDS: And in addition to the carnage, the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington effectively shut down both cities, suspended domestic flights at all U.S. airports. Those flights to be suspended, we're told, until tomorrow at least around noontime -- Jim.

CLANCY: Well, between 100 and 800 people are believed to have lost their lives when another suicide jetliner, if you want to call that, slammed into the Pentagon. Sixty-four people were killed aboard the hijacked Boeing 757 as it plowed into the headquarters of the U.S. Defense Department.

Twenty-four thousand people work at the Pentagon. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was in his office at the very time of the impact. He briefly was helping out with the rescue operation. CNN national correspondent Bob Franken will be joining us with more from the Pentagon in just a matter of a few minutes.

All right, as we continue to cover this situation, we know that the 100, 800 people were in the Pentagon. We know also that there were a number of people onboard another aircraft that went down. We want to take a look at some of the events as they happened throughout the day, a tick-tock if you will, of the events as they unfolded, astonishing many Americans, astonishing people all around the world as they watched the explosions, as they heard the events unfolding.

Bill Hemmer giving us now a look back at the day the U.S. president -- we want to go -- I am told now we're going to go to New York Garrick Utley is standing by there with some thoughts from the middle of the night in the city that never sleeps -- Garrick.

GARRICK UTLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Jim, the figures we've been able to report that been more or less given to us by city officials here in terms of casualties really only concern city employees -- firemen, policemen and women, 80 or more policemen and women -- believed to be missing and probably lost, tragically.

Three hundred, and perhaps more than 300, members of the New York City Fire Department lost, 300 entire units of the elite rescue teams. Number One, Rescue Team Number Two, Rescue Team Number Four were in the towers. They're disappeared. They're lost.

Tonight, we see some of the first video coming out. The first giant searchlights have been brought in, run on generators there in lower Manhattan around the area where the towers collapsed. And the third building collapsed in that neighborhood too earlier this evening.

Rescue efforts are underway. But it's going to be a long, long process.

And, of course, when we look at this, the scene tonight, what we remember and what shocks us and touches us is that here in New York it was a day that started really so peacefully.


UTLEY (voice-over): It was such a beautiful morning. The air was clear over Manhattan, the sky a rich blue. The two twin towers stood tall, anchored in bedrock of granite, so secure, so unshakable.

And then -- we've seen smoke and destruction before. But we've never seen -- seen -- badness like this or catastrophe like this.

It was a morning when words could only begin to express the horror.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was like a blizzard, but a blizzard that wasn't cold, a blizzard that had no wind. It was just hot.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was an enormous fireball. There was fire, debris falling to the grounds, then just a whole kind of mushroom of smoke that sort of just billowed up.

UTLEY: We knew that some of what happened this morning, that there could be another attack on the World Trade Center as there was eight years ago, that terrorists might attack the Pentagon and hijack commercial flights. But how could we imagine that all this could happen, that much of the government would be shut down, the Capitol of the United States evacuated and the White House, that the president of the most powerful nation in the world would take evasive action for his own security?

Across this nation from airports closed down to homes to workplace, we watched and tried to comprehend what we were seeing. It took time after the shock of the terror to digest the dimension of the human tragedy. We tried to imagine what those caught in the soaring towers, in the doomed planes, and the Pentagon went through before the end. We can only wonder what happens next.

The president vows action.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The search is underway for those who are behind these evil acts. I've directed the full resources of our intelligence and law enforcement communities to find those responsible and to bring them to justice.

UTLEY: Retaliation, even revenge, may feel sweet one day. But right now, there are only the remnants of terror, the pain of the tragedy, and the tears.

(END VIDEOTAPE) UTLEY: And how do we deal -- handle those tears and the trauma tonight for the victims, their families in Washington and here in New York City? Frank Donaghue is with the disaster relief unit of the American Red Cross. You've been down there today.

Tonight, you're really just housing people. How many?

FRANK DONAGHUE, AMERICAN RED CROSS DISASTER RELIEF: Tonight we have about 13 shelters. The Greater New York Red Cross has 13 shelters open in lower Manhattan.

UTLEY: These are for people in buildings in danger.

DONAGHUE: That have been evacuated, Battery Park, et cetera, where apartments -- people cannot return to that area tonight at all. It's too dangerous.

UTLEY: And you're feeding about 10,000 meals.

DONAGHUE: Working with the Salvation Army, feeding about 10,000 police and firefighters and disaster workers on the scene tonight.

UTLEY: These are the immediate problems. We've seen the medical problems at the hospital. Emotional problems, psychological counseling, you get involved in that too.

DONAGHUE: Absolutely.

UTLEY: Who does it, and what do they do?

DONAGHUE: We have trained, certified volunteers that are certified psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers that are trained by the Red Cross that we have tonight that are working in lower Manhattan, that are working at our center on Amsterdam, and are working actually at LAX, at Boston's Logan Airport, at every airport where people were affected by today's disaster.

UTLEY: And what are the patterns? What are the key things these counselors, these therapists really, can do?

DONAGHUE: Immediate assistance to people, to be there when they hear incredible news that someone that they love very much may well be in that rubble that we see behind us, and to be there to kind of provide solace, to kind of provide direction to them, to help them make it through the first couple of hours.

UTLEY: This is psychological, emotional first aid, if you will.

DONAGHUE: Absolutely. Absolutely.

UTLEY: What happens after tomorrow or the day after or next week?

DONAGHUE: Red Cross' role is to be there, again, immediately on the scene to provide that initial first aid, if you will. We'll be in to them, refer people to their clergy, et cetera, and other kinds of long-term help.

UTLEY: You see again the people in the wheelchairs and the people on the gurneys today. And we can only think of those who are still under the rubble. You've been to Bosnia.


UTLEY: Earthquakes in Turkey.

DONAGHUE: A few years ago, the earthquake. And it's the same kind of eerie feeling when I came through the Holland Tunnel today from Philadelphia and I got down there and listened to that sort of dead silence that you see. And you see relief workers and hundreds and hundreds of firefighters just waiting to be called in to respond.

I saw it in so many places. And now to see it in America, it's pretty shocking.

UTLEY: Shortages, we've heard about blood. Need blood.

DONAGHUE: Absolutely, 1-800-GIVELIFE. Every American can give blood. We never want our country to have a blood shortage again. This is a sign to all of us. We should never have a blood shortage in this nation.

UTLEY: And in a crisis like this, the situation we're going through tonight and will go through tomorrow, what are the other shortages? Not enough doctors, not enough ambulances, what?

DONAGHUE: Not enough volunteers, people to continue to provide relief. This operation will go on for many, many weeks. The folks at Battery Park and those neighborhoods will continue to need assistance.

And Red Cross will be there tonight in other parts of New York are responding to the regular disasters that you see. And so volunteers, blood, financial resources, all of those things are what Red Cross needs. And so many organizations like the Red Cross need to continue to be there when people need us.

UTLEY: Have we ever had this kind of a disaster, calamity, in the United States?

DONAGHUE: This is monumental.

UTLEY: Even more than the natural ones?

DONAGHUE: Absolutely. I mean, certainly the hurricanes and the floods, the things that we see in this country are devastating. And people are stunned. But this is overwhelming to think that this been inflicted upon America by who knows who? But at moments, what you saw at the beginning of the scene at how beautiful and serene New York was, and now look at this tonight.

UTLEY: It will be there tomorrow and the days to come.


DONAGHUE: Thank you so much, Garrick.

UTLEY: ... back to you, Jim and Colleen.

MCEDWARDS: All right, Garrick Utley, thanks very much for that.

Let's move now from New York to the seat of U.S. military defense, the Pentagon. At the Pentagon, the hijacked airliner that hit that building at 9:38 a.m. ignited a huge fire there. Firefighters battled that blaze all day to try to bring it under control. Now, rescuers are searching for up to 800 missing people there.

CNN's Bob Franken joins us now from the Pentagon with the very latest -- Bob.

BOB FRANKEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Colleen, let me put that figure in perspective if i could just a little bit. That is an estimate, a real wide-ranging estimate, from one local fire chief who said there could be between 100 and 800 dead.

That was just his estimate. Pentagon sources are saying that's probably wildly high. But they have been insistent that they were not going to release any casualties until the people who you see in back of me, the ones who have been watching this blaze throughout the evening, are in fact going to go into the building.

You can see aerials that show just the magnitude of the damage that was done here, aerials that were shot here by a Washington station, WTTG. You should understand this is a massively huge building, over 17 miles of corridors. About half of them, by the way, will be closed tomorrow because of concerns of structural damage.

Although, officials here say they are insistent. They want to open this building and at least have some of the workers in and make a statement to the world that the U.S. military establishment has taken a hit, but it is not down.

As a matter of fact, there is some preliminary planning going on, preliminary planning going on for retaliation once the person or the organization or the nation that is going to be deemed responsible is identified. And there was quite a bit of work done in this building today, quite a few public appearances, including on by the ranking Republican in the Senate Armed Services Committee John Warren.


SEN. JOHN WARREN (R-VA), RANKING MEMBER, ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE: We call on the entire world to step up and help because terrorism is a common (INAUDIBLE) to all. And we're in this together. The United States has borne the brunt. Who can be next? Step forward and let us hold accountable and punish those that have perpetrated this attack.


FRANKEN: As I mentioned, the firefighters and the rescue people in the back here are in a holding pattern right now waiting for the rest of the flames to go out. he plan is at daybreak to start peeling away the section that was hit by the airplane and to go in and see just how really serious the damage was inside. The damage, of course, as we can see, is pretty much catastrophic -- Colleen.

MCEDWARDS: Bob, do you have any more information about what was in that section of the damaged building and what kind of work went on there?

FRANKEN: Well, actually, it was fortunate in a way in that none of the vital offices are located in that section. We had some Army offices here. You had some Navy offices here. But the military command center, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the various secretaries, including of course Secretary Rumsfeld, they're in other parts of the building.

As I mentioned, about half of the building is going to be closed tomorrow because of a concern not just from the direct area that was hit, but other areas that my have been structural damage, which could make it fairly dangerous to be there -- Colleen.

MCEDWARDS: Understood. CNN's Bob Franken at the Pentagon, thanks -- Jim.

CLANCY: Colleen, we haven't talked as much about the fourth hijacked plane, United Airlines flight 93. It crashed south of Pittsburgh in western Pennsylvania. Administration officials saying the presidential retreat at Camp David may have been the target.

David Mattingly joins us from the crash site with more on the investigation underway there -- David.

DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Jim, Pennsylvania state troops tonight have the crash site secure, treating it for the moment as a crime scene, yesterday afternoon the FBI clearly taking charge of the investigation.

According to people in the area, the plane was flying at a very low altitude when there was a rush of engine noise. At that time, the plane then turned and plunged at a 45-degree angle, crashing into a field that was part of a strip mining operation near the town here of Shanksville.

FBI confirms there were 38 passengers and seven crewmen onboard, no survivors. There are only small pieces of debris to be found at the scene.

At the crash site, there an impact crater. It appears as a blackened pit at the edge of a green, grassy field. A key find will be the black box and the flight recorder.

There are also reports the FBI is examining a 9-1-1 call originating from a passenger on the plane taken by a 9-1-1 operator at a neighboring county here in Pennsylvania. They had hoped, among so many other things, to find out why this hijacked plane failed to reach its target. And, as you said earlier, government officials are now saying that senior administration officials told Congress they believe the plane was headed for either the White House, Camp David, or the Capitol Building.

Authorities here today asked anyone in the area who saw the plane in the air or going down to come forward and contribute to the investigation. As for what's going on right now, things are wrapped up for the evening. And the investigation will get underway in the morning. Back to you in Atlanta.

CLANCY: All right, David, as we look at the crash scene there, it's a scene that people don't really understand. You've outlined. They don't really have anyone that eye-witnessed this. I had thought that earlier in the day there had been a report of someone describing what had happened as the plane came down.

MATTINGLY: Oh, yes, there were eyewitnesses. But they're calling for anyone who may have seen the plane in the air to come forward. They have the initial accounts, as we have relayed to you, that the plane appeared to have a rush of engine noise and then veer off and then down, striking the ground at a 45-degree angle.

There were policemen at the scene of the crash site saying that it appeared that the plane had come down and the debris had scattered into a wooded area nearby. And, again, the pieces of debris are very small.

We do have some good news for you tonight, though with the Pennsylvania connection to this horrible attack. At 7:56 p.m., a man and two police officers trapped in the World Trade Center were unable to get through to 9-1-1 in New York and call for help. So the man called his sister in the Pittsburgh area who then called her local 9- 1-1. They were then able to direct police in New York to their location and to their successful rescue.

And to quote one 9-1-1 official here, a very positive note through a sad and tragic day.

CLANCY: All right, David Mattingly reporting to us there from Pennsylvania, the latest on that investigation.

Now, a man who was onboard one of the flights that was doomed, that flight we're talking about in Pennsylvania, called his mother as the aircraft was being hijacked. Mark Bingham had boarded United Airlines flight 93 in Newark, New Jersey, and called his mother in the San Francisco Bay Area just before the plane crashed near Pittsburgh.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He said, "I love you very, very much. In case I don't see you again." He said the plane had been taken over by hijackers. And then I said, "Well, we love you very much too, Mark. Let me go get your mother." ALICE HOGLAN, MOTHER OF MARK BINGHAM: I got on the phone with Mark. And he said, "Hi, Mom. This is Mark Bingham." He said his last name. And he said, "I want to let you know that I love you. And I'm flying." I think he said, "I'm in the air. I'm calling you on the air phone of the airplane."


HOGLAN: I presume so. He said, "I want to know I love you very much. And I'm calling you from the plane. We've been taken over. There are three men that say they have a bomb."

And I said, "Well, who are they, Mark?" And he repeated that he loved me. And he said -- I don't think he said, "I don't know who they are." He became distracted there as if someone was speaking to him. And he said something to the effect of, "It's true." And then the phone went dead.


MCEDWARDS: All right, one person on one of the flights, also a man, actually had the presence of mind to phone emergency personnel from his cell phone to report and say, "We are being hijacked."

Let's take a look at a night shot right now, the Manhattan skyline as it looks at this moment, live pictures now of the skyline. You can still see dust and smoke in that area amid the lights of New York, a city that by all accounts will never be the same again, not just in terms of its skyline, its landscape, but in terms of the sensibilities of the people who live in it, who live in this country.

Financial markets around the world have been reacting to this this morning. You can imagine how the attack has unnerved global financial markets that are already fearful of recession. Asia opening today with quite a downturn.

Richard Quest is in London with more on that and all the international tenants who were at this World Trade Center as well. Richard, quite a few in this enormous building where some 50,000 people would go to work every day.

RICHARD QUEST, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. There were some 435 tenants from around 26 countries from across the globe. There were offices from a small suite of offices anywhere in the building to large banks that had several floors and employees.

Taking a look at some of the international companies that had offices and had a presence in World Trade Center One and Two. There was the British company Thompson Financial, which had offices in the World Trade Center.

Morgan Stanley, the largest tenant, had over 22 floors in World Trade Center One. The company put out a statement late yesterday saying all of the businesses are functioning and will continue to function. But, obviously, the prayers and sympathies are with their employees. Some 3,500 people worked for Morgan Stanley at the World Trade Center.

Cantor Index, a company on both sides of the Atlantic, Cantor Fitzgerald as its known, had five floors. Eight hundred employees were working at present in the World Trade Center, the company putting out a statement that over 1,000 employees employed by the two companies in the World Trade Center, the chairman saying, "In a difficult, confused situation, we're doing all we can to determine the whereabouts of our colleagues."

Keefe Bruyette brokerage, specializing in baking and matters alter there. Empire Blue Cross/Blue Shield. That's a U.S. major insurance corporation, the health care insurance, was an international company that had presence in the World Trade Center.

And Credit Suisse First Boston, the Swiss multinational, one of the largest in the world, a banking, investment banking, trading organization. Not only did it have offices within Manhattan, but had a large presence in the World Trade Center.

And Oppenheimer Funds. These are just a short list, if you like, of some of the major names that had offices, some small suites, others large numbers of floors like Morgan Stanley in the World Trade Center.

Now, joining me on the line is Bob Hormat, vice chairman of Goldman Sachs International. Their offices are on Broad Street by the New York Stock Exchange, but not that far from the World Trade Center.

Bob, thanks for joining us. First of all, let's start with Golman Sach's, your employees, and what you can tell us about the situation.

BOB HORMAT, GOLDMAN SACH'S: Well, we stayed open until about 3:00 or 3:30 in the afternoon yesterday. Fortunately, we're fairly far away, as you know, from the trade center. But our prayers and our thoughts are with our friends and colleagues and other bank institutions.

Wall Street is, as you know, a pretty close-knit unit. They're competitors. But there are also companies we cooperate with on a day- to-day basis at the same time. So, we're obviously very concerned, very concerned, about those people and other firms that are down on Wall Street and the ones at World Trade towers.

QUEST: The size, the scale of what's taken place in terms of Wall Street, in terms of the economy, we can have no idea yet what's likely to be the effect.

HORMAT: No, that's right. And I think it will take time to sink in. It's a community that I say works together. We know one another. We work on a day-to-day basis with one another. And firms work on a whole lot of projects collectively and trade with one another. And there's all sorts of business going on on a day-to-day basis.

And it's part of an overall market. They're part of a market. But they're also friends and people we talk to on a day-to-day basis. So, the psychologist impact is going to be enormous.

And the financial impact is going to be enormous. A lot of companies have been active since the market will be hurt, damaged badly.

QUEST: Let me just interrupt you. We're looking at new pictures now of the rubble from the scene of lower Manhattan that have just come into CNN, these shots taken just a short while ago.

Bob, finally, briefly, the financial community has had words from the Federal Reserve, from the U.S. Treasury secretary. The key now has to be to create confidence, not only that there won't be a cash shortage or a so-called credit crunch, that basically this wont' do longstanding damage to the economy.

HORMAT: Yes, I think there are two major things that need to be done. First of all, the United States itself, the Federal Reserve has to take action to lower interest rates further and do so very aggressively. And I believe it will.

And second, from a financial point of view, we have to now realize that some additional physical stimulus is going to be required. I mean, more defense spending, perhaps a tax cut. The idea of utilizing the Social Security surplus to retire bonds, the so- called lockbox, there's going to be a lot more fiscal stimulus to boost the economy and boost confidence.

And the developed countries, the G7, particularly have to work together to restore confidence by showing that they're working together on this. It's not just one country. It's the overall financial world that needs to have confidence restored. And the G7 leaders need to do that together.

QUEST: Bob Hormat of Goldman Sachs, vice chairman of Goldman Sachs, many thanks indeed.

Colleen, the pictures from lower Manhattan, the latest of the rubble from the World Trade Center.

MCEDWARDS: Yes, and some astonishing pictures, Richard. As we look at these just in, we've seen windows blown out of police cars. We've actually seen cars on top of each other in that area in lower Manhattan, thee pictures just coming into us now, the search and rescue, as it goes on tonight right now as we speak -- Jim.

CLANCY: As you look at those scenes, there are a lot of people that want to see someone arrested, someone brought to justice and made to pay for what happened to the United States this day. But how do you -- how in the world do you begin a criminal investigation into something like you've seen here? And who do you focus on as a suspect?

Our David Ensor takes a preliminary look at those issues.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) DAVID ENSOR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): U.S. officials say fugitive Saudi accused terrorist Osama bin Laden's group is at the top of their list of suspects. There are good indications people with links to bin Laden may have been responsible for this attack, said one, including specific intelligence.

In Afghanistan, however, where bin Laden is a guest of the Taliban government, the foreign minister told reporters, quote, "We have tried to assure the United States in any kind of way we can that Osama is not involved in these kinds of activities."

One U.S. official responded angrily, calling that, quote, "a lie."

BUSH: I think we will soon be able to identify who the culprit is, but tonight is not the night.

QUEST: Intelligence and law enforcement officials say though bin Laden is at the top of the list of suspects, involvement of agents off the Iraqi President Saddam Hussein or of individuals associated with Palestinian groups or Hezbollah cannot be entirely ruled out yet, especially given the size and complexity of the operation.

BRIAN JENKINS, RADIO CORPORATION: We may find that this particular action involved actors from several different sources.

QUEST: On Capitol Hill, some members said the Central Intelligence Agency needs to do a better job of infiltrating terrorist groups.

SEN. RICHARD SHELBY (R), ALABAMA, INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY: It's obviously a failure of great dimension. We had no specific warning of the United States being attacked, although people have alluded to that before. We've got to do better. We must do better.

QUEST: At the Central Intelligence Agency, officials point out that no one hears of their successes, only their failures. And they concede bitterness at failing to obtain advance warning of the attacks on New York and Washington.

They note CIA Director George Tenet has repeatedly warned the bin Laden group strike the U.S. at any time. As for how to respond once culprits are found, terrorist experts were relieved to hear the White House say the bombing of Kabul was not U.S. retaliatory missiles but apparently Afghan rebels.

JENKINS: This is not something that's going to be solved by a (INAUDIBLE) of cruise missiles bouncing some rocks in Afghanistan if it turns out to be Osama bin Laden. This will be a war ultimately to bring all of those responsible to justice whatever form that takes.

JAMES WOOLSEY, FORMER CIA DIRECTOR: It's clear now as it was on December 7, 1941, the United States is at war. The question is, with whom? In December of '41, we knew.

Today we really don't. ENSOR: They don't know now, but U.S. intelligence officials say they believe they soon will.

David Ensor, CNN, Washington.




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