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America Under Attack: President Bush Gets Look at Burned Pentagon

Aired September 13, 2001 - 05:40   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: It is around 20 minutes before the hour of 6:00 a.m. in the east. We want to show you a live shot now of New York and certainly the site of ground zero, the cleanup that continues as New Yorkers will again wake up to this grim picture where the World Trade Center towers at one time stood, and other buildings are severely damaged in that area.

Also, we want to provide you with a live picture here of the Pentagon. And we were hoping to get that shot where we saw the American flag. It's a little wider shot here on the right of the screen and it's draped down, almost fully covering that five story wall on the Pentagon there. So very symbolic is that gesture, as well, as the rebuilding begins.

Well, President Bush got a personal look at that burned out gash in the Pentagon.

CNN's Candy Crowley looks at the White House in the hours immediately following the attack.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At daybreak, the nightmare was still there, smoldering and burning, defying the imagination, thwarting rescue efforts and testing an untested president.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The United States of America will use all our resources to conquer this enemy. We will rally the world. We will be patient. We will be focused and we will be steadfast in our determination.

CROWLEY: Eight months in office, President George Bush is already writing what may be the most important page of his own legacy. In an unusual revelation, officials said both the White House and Air Force One may have been targets.

The news shed some light on the president's first hours following the attacks when, instead of returning immediately to Washington, he flew from Florida to a military base in Louisiana, and then another in Nebraska.

At the Pentagon, hope is gone. Officials say whoever might have survived the concussion of the plane's impact could not have lived through the fires that came after. There's no official estimate of how many lives were lost at the Pentagon or the World Trade Center. Authorities say they don't know, but everybody knows it will be awful.

The FBI says it's identified most of the suicidal terrorists on the planes. Now they search for those behind the mayhem.

ROBERT MUELLER, FBI DIRECTOR: We also have identified through a number of leads, principally at the cities of origin, a number of individuals whom we believe may have had something to do with the hijackings and we are pursuing those leads aggressively.

CROWLEY: It is a very public manhunt. The FBI conducted a shoulder to shoulder search for evidence outside the Pentagon. A SWAT team descended on a Boston hotel in search of suspects. No arrests were made. Authorities also searched a Vero Beach, Florida home and questioned others in the southern Florida area.

Terrorism's reach goes far beyond the areas of immediate destruction. The nation's airliners still aren't flying, as the FAA institutes new security requirements and carriers search for ways to comply.

Wall Street remains closed. The totality of the loss is incomprehensible, but the details are unbearable.

SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: Someone on the 104th floor worked for the good firm of Cantor and Fitzgerald -- we can't find hardly anybody from that firm -- who called his parents, told him he loved them and they haven't heard from him since.

CROWLEY: There are stories like it everywhere. People, knowing they were about to die, calling home to say, ``I love you.'' People running their lives and then stopping to carry a stranger to safety. The story here is that what prevailed in the final moment in the face of death is not fear or hate, but love and courage.

Candy Crowley, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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