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America Under Attack: Powell Identifies bin Laden as Prime Suspect

Aired September 13, 2001 - 16:22   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: And now we want to skip across town to the State Department, to our correspondent there, Andrea Koppel. Secretary of State Powell today, Andrea, identifying Osama Bin Laden as a prime suspect in this. Stepping up the language out of the State Department to some extent?

ANDREA KOPPEL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's absolutely right, Judy. Secretary Powell really becoming the first Bush administration official to publicly single out Bin Laden's organization as a prime suspect.

In point of fact, the diplomatic message that's being delivered by the folks in this building here at the State Department to countries around the world, is uncharacteristically blunt. It really is. Are with us or are you against us?

And the one country that's really getting that message hammered home right now is Pakistan. And that's because Pakistan is not only a neighbor of Afghanistan, but it's also a supporter of the Taliban militia, the government in Afghanistan which the U.S. believes is harboring Osama Bin Laden, the man who runs the network known as Al Qaeda.

And as you just alluded to a moment ago, Secretary Powell, for the first time in the last couple of days, now becoming the first administration official to single out Bin Laden's organization as a prime suspect in Tuesday's attacks.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE: We are looking at those, those terrorists organizations who have the kind of capacity that would have been necessary to conduct the attack that we saw on the 11th. We haven't yet publicly identified the organization we believe was responsible.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KOPPEL: They may not have identified the organization, at least publicly, Judy, but they are getting very close. They say one of the countries that is responsible for at least supporting Bin Laden's network is Pakistan. And that's why they're focusing on the region, on South Asia and on putting a lot of diplomatic pressure on Pakistan. Just a short time ago, Secretary Powell himself spoke with Pakistan's leader, General Pervez Musharraf. Earlier in the day, Powell's deputy, Richard Armitage had the Pakistani Ambassador to the United States here to the State Department to deliver a specific list of actions that the United States is telling Pakistan it must take if it is going to be on the right side of things.

As everybody knows, the U.S. doesn't have a tremendous amount of leverage with Pakistan. There are a lot of economic sanctions that are already in place. But we're being told, Judy, that the message that's being delivered to Pakistan is that the U.S. could help Pakistan if Pakistan helps the United States by telling the United States where it believes Bin Laden is in Afghanistan, where those terrorists training camps are, providing intelligence, things that Pakistan can do as a neighbor of Afghanistan.

There are other things that are on this very detailed list, some of which could include things like getting overflight permission from Pakistan for U.S. planes to fly in Pakistani airspace if that should become necessary, or perhaps to provide grounding sites in Pakistan should U.S. troops be needed to go in there if military action against Pakistan is needed.

So two days into this investigation, into this worldwide investigation, Judy, it appears the United States is really beginning to tighten the noose diplomatically around various countries, but most particular around Pakistan.

WOODRUFF: All right, Andrea Koppel at the State Department. It will be very interesting to see how the Pakistanis respond.

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