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America Under Attack: Government Commencing With Investigation

Aired September 13, 2001 - 04:04   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.
JONATHAN MANN, CNN ANCHOR: The FBI says it's pursuing some 2000 leads in its investigation of the attacks on the symbol's of American's financial and military might. It says as many as 50 people may have helped plan and execute the attacks that leveled the twin towers of the World Trade Center and damaged the pentagon.

Among that group the FBI says it believes between 12 and 24 hijackers commandeered the four jets involved. And it says investigators have identified many of those it believes hijacked the plans.

Attorney General John Ashcroft calls the probe into Tuesday's attacks the most intensive investigation and the most massive in American history. As David Ensor reports U.S. officials apparently have already made real progress.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAVID ENSOR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: U.S. officials say on the passenger manifests of the hijacked planes used in the attacks they found names associated with terrorist groups. Intelligence officials say they evidence still points to the Al Quieda group headed by Osama Bin Laden.

REP. PORTER GOSS (R), SELECT INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE CHMN.: There had to be some brains behind this. We have some good promising leads. They're obviously being followed.

ENSOR: Publicly, the Bush administration is accusing no one so far, while warning nations they too will pay for any help given to those who attacked New York and Washington.

COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE: We will hold accountable those countries that provide support, that give host nations, if you can call it that support and facilities to these kinds of terrorist groups.

ENSOR: Afghanistan's Taliban government ha long offered haven to Bin Laden. But U.S. officials say they have no evidence thus far of any state directly assisting the attacks in New York and Washington. Many analysts argue that such a coordinated broadside could not have been possible without it.

GEN. WESLEY CLARK, FMR. NATO SUPREME COMMANDER: Osama bin Laden represents a complete terrorist network. He will have one or more state sponsors, countries that he's either based in or working in collusion with. There will have been passport support, communication support.

JAMES WOOLSEY, FMR. CIA DIRECTOR: One thing I think that ought to make us a bit suspicious about whether Bin Laden was involved in it alone or not is that he goes to great lengths to advertise himself. And when you see something like that you begin to wonder whether or not there may be an effort to draw our intention solely to him to the neglect of someone who may be his principal contractor.

ENSOR: If there was state support a number of terrorism experts point to Iraq as the most likely suspect. A statement from President Sadaam Hussein on Iraqi television said quote the United States reaps the thorns that its rulers have sewn in the world.

(on camera): U.S. officials say they are developing good law enforcement and intelligence leads. They do not know yet who was behind these attacks, nor whether any state assisted them, but they believe they soon will.

David Ensor, CNN Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MANN: The U.S. Military says its assuming a defensive posture along both costs of the United States to protect its borders. For more on that we go live now to the Pentagon and CNN's Mark Potter. Mark.

MARK POTTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well John, activity is still afoot here at the Pentagon. It's quite at this hour. But the building is still very operational, lots of things going on. And we're told that it will be fully operational later today all of available personnel are expected to report to work despite the damage to the building which we are seeing a live picture of right now.

In this area destroyed by the airplane attack workers continue to sift through the rubble and to try to shore up the structure so they can do deeper into the building. They're looking for victims. And they say they don't expect to find any survivors. The anticipated death toll here is in the area of 200 including those who died in the plane.

Now we have a graphic that we would like to show you if we could showing the area hit by the plain and effected by the very intensive fire. Fully half of the entire pentagon complex as we can see here is shut down now. And corridors leading to those areas are blocked by armed guards. Ironically, the area hit by the plane had just be renovated.

Now officials say it could take months if not years to repair the damage to the building. Thousands of people here have been displaced including the chiefs of the Navy and the Army. They will all have to work out of temporary offices now. In a recorded message to U.S. troops Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld once again hinted that upcoming military retaliations.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD RUMSFELD, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: It is my duty as head of this department to tell you that more, much more will be asked of you in the weeks and months ahead. This is especially true of those who are in the field. We face powerful and terrible enemies. Enemies we intend vanquish so that moments of horror like yesterday will be stopped.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

POTTER: Now here at the Pentagon, FBI agents also are on scene sifting through the rubble looking for evidence that would support a criminal case. Officials are also looking for the black boxes from the plane, the voice and cockpit recorders.

And they believe that there is -- there could be information on those boxes if they are found that could provide information on exactly how this attack was planned. And perhaps could answer the question of whether the hijackers actually intended to attack the White House before turning the plane to the Pentagon. That's a report suggestion coming out of the White House which says it has credible information to that effect. A gain those black boxes have not yet been found. Back to you.

MANN: Mark, there are war ships now up and down both coasts of the United States west and east. It's an impressive display of gunboat diplomacy or something. Is it symbolic? Or do they really expect still some kind of attack to come by see?

POTTER: Well U.S. military officials say that those ships along the east and west coast are there in a defensive posture particularly when talking about the east cost. They say the ships there are to protect particularly the areas of New York city and Washington, D.C., against further airborne attacks.

There are two carriers and support ships, five support ships on the east coast, one carrier, and 14 was ships on the west coast and in the area of Hawaii. It is a symbolic gesture on the one hand. But it does haven an important defensive position. And it does represent a concern on the part of the U.S. military.

MANN: Let me ask you about something else that we just heard from the secretary of defense who described the U.S. facing what he called a powerful and terrible enemy. When the secretary of defense of a nation as powerful as this one uses that kind of language, who's he talking about?

POTTER: He's talking about the terrorists, the international terrorist. People who are willing to die in the furtherance of their goals. A very difficult enemy to fight. That's exactly what he's talking about. And he's bracing the troops for the possibility that they may have to go into action.

MANN: Mark Potter at the pentagon, thanks very much. TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com

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