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White House Investigation Into Terrorist Attacks, New Information

Aired September 12, 2001 - 05:17   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.
VINCE CELLINI, CNN ANCHOR: Washington, D.C., was in the crosshairs of terrorism. Senior White House correspondent John King, and national correspondent Bob Franken on the scene for us this morning in the nation's capitol.

First, let's got to John King. John?

JOHN KING, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESP.: Well, Vince, in the hours ahead look for the administration to move aggressively on several fronts.

First, an effort by the White House to make the case the federal government is doing all it can for the rescue and the relief operation. As part of that there will even be a symbolic blood drive on the White House grounds this morning.

Also, Secretary of State Collin Powell will be out making the round to morning news shows, also delivering remarks here in Washington promising a federal investigation, and promising, as Jamie Rubin was just speaking about, to reach out to governments around the world to build a new coalition against international terrorism.

Now, the president will awake this morning and be briefed once again by his national security team. He will also have a bipartisan meeting with the congressional leadership at the White House and deliver some public remarks after that statement. That, an effort by the White House to show continuity and resolve that the government is at work, even as the investigation and the rescue and relief efforts unfold.

Now, Mr. Bush last night delivered a nationally televised address to the nation, certainly a defining moment for this president on a defining day for the country. Mr. Bush speaking to the American people from the Oval Office said the nation was gripped by what he called, "A quiet, unyielding anger."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: The pictures of airplanes flying into buildings, fires burning, huge structures collapsing, have filled with disbelief, terrible sadness, and a quiet, unyielding anger. These acts of mass murder were intended to frighten our nation into chaos and retreat, but they have failed. Our country is strong. A great people has been moved to defend a great nation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Now, Mr. Bush also said as the investigation continues the United States would make -- quote -- "[N]o distinction between the terrorists and those who habor them." The administration publicly saying the investigation continues privately, though we are told at a national security briefing at the White House last, as well as in private briefings, that key members of Congress, senior administration officials are saying that they are confident the evidence collected so far points to the suspected Saudi terrorist Osama Bin Laden and associates and organizations affiliated with him.

The administration promising to take retaliation when this investigation is completed. One official I spoke to last night after this meeting said they're going to take their time. This official saying they wanted to make sure they sorted this out before acting.

Again, look for more words from the president later this morning after he receives an update on the latest on the investigation as well as the relief and rescue operations underway at the Pentagon and in New York City. Vince?

CELLINI: John, in reading some of the information you've transmitted to us overnight, United flight 93, which crashed in Pennsylvania, may have had a more specific target. I wonder if you could elaborate on that?

KING: Still some speculation involved in this, but we are told that law enforcement officials and other administration officials in their briefings to key members of Congress, said that based on the information they have so far, they believe that that plane was turning south, heading toward Washington.

Three possible targets. One, the presidential retreat of Camp David outside of Washington in Maryland. More likely though, according to our sources, the White House of the U.S. Capitol.

They believe that plane was ultimately headed for Washington. No explanation yet as to why crashed in Pennsylvania. But that is what we are told, key members of Congress are being told as the investigation unfolds, at least so far they believe that the target for that plane was here in Washington - Vince.

CELLINI: White House senior correspondent John King, thank you very much, we'll be checking in with you through these early morning hours and into daylight on Wednesday.

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