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America Under Attack: The Search for Answers

Aired September 13, 2001 - 20:01   ET


ANNOUNCER: This is a CNN special report. "America Under Attack: The Search for Answers."

With thousands missing, rescue workers desperately race against time in the ruins as investigators learn more about those who carried out the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. It's believed that at least 18 hijackers seized the four airliners. How did they get here? Who helped them? Who sent them?

We'll go live to our correspondents, and we'll speak live with House Intelligence Chairman Porter Goss, and William Webster, former director of the FBI and CIA.

Meantime, the U.S. prepares to respond.


COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE: We'll go after that group, that network, and those who have harbored, supported and aided that network to rip the network up.


ANNOUNCER: The president says his administration will now focus on winning a war. How will the U.S. gear up for a fight? Who's the target? Is Congress on board?

We'll hear live from our correspondents, including Nic Robertson in Afghanistan. We'll speak live with House Democratic Leader Dick Gephardt and get perspective from CNN senior analyst Jeff Greenfield.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening. I'm Wolf Blitzer reporting tonight from Washington.

Behind me, the White House, identified as a terrorist target, the security perimeter has been extended with surrounding streets closed.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Greta Van Susteren. In the background, the Capitol, where Congress is moving to aid families victimized by Tuesday's terror attacks and channel billions of dollars to a new war against terrorism.

BLITZER: Greta, CNN's Jamie McIntyre is at the Pentagon with a developing story on U.S. military reserves and fighter jets. Jamie, tell us what's going on.

JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, as you may or may not have been aware, for the last couple of days U.S. fighter jets have been on 15-minute "strip alert" at 26 bases around the country. That means those pilots have to be ready to take off those fighters within 15 minutes in order to respond to any threat against the United States.

Those have been mostly Air and Guard troops manning those plane. Now the Pentagon is considering calling up thousands of Reservists to provide more pilots and air crews to man those planes and to fill some critical shortages in special areas that might be needed in the rescue efforts.

Right now, I'm told that there has not been a final decision, a final authorization from President Bush to call up Reserves, but it could come as soon as tonight.

The last time the United States activated the Reserves was during the 1991 Persian Gulf War, when more than 200,000 Reservists were called up -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Jamie, this development, what does it say, if anything, about a possible U.S. military response to these terrorist attacks?

MCINTYRE: Well, I think this is more related to the, what's called here at the Pentagon homeland defense, making sure that the United States is able to protect itself first.

You know that there were combat air patrols flown over many metropolitan areas across the United States. Today, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld ordered that scaled back so that combat patrols were just being flown between the Washington and New York corridor, and the rest of the country was protected by planes on alert.

But this is part of an overall increase in U.S. military readiness so that the armed forces will be ready to carry out whatever orders President Bush may give.

BLITZER: Jamie McIntyre at the Pentagon, thank you very much

And as the search goes on for those behind the attacks, authorities have learned a lot about those they believed carried them out. Let's go live to CNN's justice correspondent Kelli Arena for details -- Kelli.

KELLI ARENA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, the Justice Department and FBI today said that they have identified 18 hijackers, said there were five on two planes, four on two others. They're not just guesstimating here. They have their names and information about them.

We were expecting that we might be able to get our hands on those names and pictures of the hijackers sometimes this evening, but the FBI and Justice have decided not to release that information just yet. As you know, though, those are supposedly dead, those 18. So the investigators are truly focusing on any information that they can gather regarding associates, friends, financial backers. So the investigation is fanning out not only here in the United States, but overseas as well.

The FBI has truly increased its forces just from yesterday, where we knew there were more than 8,000 people working on this investigation -- Wolf.

BLITZER: What's going on as far as the scope? What do we know about how many individuals may in fact have been involved in this conspiracy?

ARENA: Well, law enforcement sources have told us that it could be as many as 50, although the numbers keep fluctuating, Wolf. And I have been told to really be cautious about going with any numbers, because it could be much greater than that. They just really have no idea just yet.

BLITZER: And what have you learned, Kelli, about the black boxes from those four planes that went down?

ARENA: Well, one of the flight data recorders was indeed recovered, that the one from the crash in Pennsylvania, which will be a great help to investigators. There's also a signal from the flight data recorder, from the flight that crashed into the Pentagon. So very hopeful for recovery of that as well, Wolf.

BLITZER: OK, Kelli Arena, thank you very much -- Greta.

VAN SUSTEREN: The search for clues leading to those behind the attacks has taken investigators around the world. CNN national correspondent Mike Boettcher has the latest on that investigation, and he joins us from Atlanta -- Mike.

MIKE BOETTCHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, as investigators around the world and in the United States attempt to unravel this terrorist conspiracy, several people have been detained for questioning, and at New York's Kennedy Airport at least one person was arrested today because he had a fake pilot ID, a fake pilot ID according to New York City Police.

But the biggest break in the day came from those comments from the attorney general when he said his agents and the FBI had a list of 18 people who were aboard those hijacked jets.


BOETTCHER (voice-over): Mohammed Atta, shown in this photograph, and Marwan Alshehhi are two of the men on that list of 18, according to federal investigative sources. Both held United Arab Emirates passports, but it's not clear if they are actually citizens of that country.

The lives the two men are the objects of an intensive international investigation, stretching from Florida to Germany. In Hamburg, Germany, federal police launched an extensive search of an apartment shared by Mohammed Atta and Marwan Alshehhi last February.

During an additional search of another Hamburg apartment, a woman was taken away for questioning. She clutched a baby in her arms as German police tried to hide her with a sheet. During the night, a total of eight apartments were searched in the Hamburg area.

Back in the U.S. in Pompano Beach, Florida, FBI agents converged on a small rental car company called Warwick's. Records show that Atta rented two automobiles at that location.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, the first contract, he only put on 200 miles, 254 miles. That was very small. That's exceptionally small.

The next contract was the two-week rental and he drove 1,915 miles, which he had told he had been over on the West Coast. He called me from over on the West Coast.

BOETTCHER: The FBI also came here, a company called Sim Center in Opa-Locka, Florida. The owners said three men, Atta among them, paid cash for six hours of flight instruction on a Boeing 727 simulator. Their instructor, Henry George, said they weren't too interested in takeoffs and landings.

HENRY GEORGE, FLIGHT SIMULATOR INSTRUCTOR, SIM CENTER: What I can recollect from my memory is that we mostly did turns and a couple of approaches. I don't think we did any more than that. It -- it was, like I said, it was not a structure. It wasn't our typical or normal lesson plan.


BOETTCHER: The FBI knocked on hundreds of doors today, and before it's all over, they will be knocking on tens of thousands of doors.

Also tonight, we would like to correct a report that appeared on CNN last night. Based on information from multiple law enforcement sources, CNN reported that Adnan Bukhari and his brother Ameer of Vera Beach, Florida, were suspected to be two of the pilots who crashed into the World Trade Center. Today, CNN learned that Adnan Bukhari is still in Florida, where he was questioned yesterday by the FBI, and after taking a lie detector test, today he was cleared of involvement in Tuesday's airliner attacks. We are sorry for the misinformation.

Through his attorney, Bukhari says he is not connected at all with this, that he is helping authorities, and that any documents that they found with his name means his identity was stolen. He says Ameer Bukhari, who he says is not his brother, died in a small plane crash last year -- Greta.

VAN SUSTEREN: Mike, we know have identified -- or at least the authorities have the 18 hijackers. How about anyone who may have aided or helped them in this terrible crime? Is there any information leading to those? BOETTCHER: Well, there is a lot of information they are following up on in their trips to these various apartments. They have questioned people also at flight training schools and they are really focusing on these flight training schools. And they have made no arrests that we know of right now, that people who were formally being charged as accomplices in this, but they are questioning a lot of people and have a list of names of people that they believe could have been accomplices, and they are looking for these people, Greta.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Thanks to Mike Boettcher, national correspondent in Atlanta.

The administration and Congress seem to be responding to the terror attacks with one voice. Joining us now from Capitol Hill is the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Joe Biden.

Senator, America is quite angry, what can they expect in the weeks to come?

SEN. JOE BIDEN (D-DE), FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE: I hope what they can expect is two things, Greta. Number one is, the biggest coalition that you have ever seen in the world that is being put together by the administration, headed by Colin Powell, to deal with systemic terrorism. This is a big deal. When NATO voted what they call an Article 5 procedure, which mean that they view the attack against the United States as attack against them as well, and required them to come to our defense.

We are getting significant progress in the Middle East, among the moderate Arab states. We are getting cooperation from Russia. We have gotten a commitment -- I spoke myself today to the head of the intelligence services for Pakistan. And so, I think you will see that, number one.

Number two, I think when we have clearly identified who these folks are, taking that to this coalition, we will not only be going alone, we will go with the support of the world, which is a fundamentally different position to be in than we have been before. These guys have crossed the line, Greta, even for terrorists, and they have, in a way -- I view this not as the end of any American freedoms but as beginning of the end of organized terrorism as we have known it in the last part of the 20th century.

VAN SUSTEREN: Senator, is the writing on the wall? Because earlier today, Colin Powell, secretary of state, said that Osama bin Laden is the leading suspect -- he didn't say that he was the only suspect or that he is the person, and President Bush said from the Oval Office on September 11, that "we will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them." If Afghanistan is harboring Osama bin Laden, and if is the one, the leading suspect, the suspect, do you expect action against Afghanistan?

BIDEN: I take the president at his word. I have been privy to these security briefings, it's not appropriate for me to talk about Afghanistan or anyone else. The fact is, we will, we will move not only against the networks, we will move against anyone who has harbored them, is harboring any of them, and we will do it, I believe, with the strong support of the world community.

I'm sorry, I lost you.

VAN SUSTEREN: Senator, is the state of our defense such that in the event the president does decide to take military action, we are ready?

BIDEN: I believe we are. I believe we are ready, and there will be absolute unity. The president needs no constitutional authority to respond in my view, but we are to demonstrate the total cohesion of Democrats, Republicans and House, Senate and the president, we are preparing a resolution of the use of force that will make it absolutely clear to the world we are totally united.

VAN SUSTEREN: What does that use of force action do besides send a message to the world?

BIDEN: That's basically what it does, Greta, but that's a very important thing. It's a very important for the whole world to know there is not any crack whatsoever, no daylight between us or among us, based on party or based upon institutional responsibility. And that's an important thing. That's always been what presidents have wanted and needed at a time of national unity. And in that sense, it's important.

VAN SUSTEREN: Senator Biden, thanks very much for joining us.

BIDEN: Thank you very much, Greta.


BLITZER: Thank you, Greta. To help us learn more about the investigation and what the United States may be up against, we're joined now by William Webster, who served as director of both the FBI and the CIA; and shortly we'll be joined by Congressman Porter Goss, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. Chairman Goss is also himself a former CIA agent.

But first to you, Director Webster, Judge Webster, what do you think -- what happened here? Was someone asleep at the switch in the U.S. intelligence community?

WILLIAM WEBSTER, FORMER DIRECTOR, FBI AND CIA: I doubt it very much, Wolf, and I don't think that's the question we should be asking right now. Right now, we are addressing -- we have addressed the wounded, the dead and the families. Now vigorously undertaking to inform the American people and inform our government who and what is responsible for this event. Those are the questions.

We will find out if someone was asleep at the switch, but I -- 20 years of dealing with terrorism with some degrees of successes, know how difficult identifying small, cellular, secretive groups who pick their time, their place and their instrumentality. We have had some successes, but we can't be perfect on it. We'll just have to see what the facts were in this case. But we shouldn't get off our mission by beginning to point fingers so early in the game.

BLITZER: All right. Chairman Goss, I assume you will be looking, you will be reviewing at some point down the road, your oversight intelligence panel, what may have gone wrong in the days, weeks, months leading up to these tragic incidents. But right now, the immediate question many Americans are asking is: Can they stand down? Is this current terrorist operation over with?

REP. PORTER GOSS (R-FL), CHAIRMAN, INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: Well, I will tell you this, Wolf, I think that it is well understood that there are still terrorists out there, there are still targets of interest to them in the United States, on our homeland, including the United States Capitol, and I think we would be very foolish to let our guard down one iota.

So, I am encouraging people to keep the guard up, to be prudent, not let our quality of life or our behavior of life be dictated by acts the terrorists have taken. But we need to be a little vigilant ourselves of how we go about things, and we particularly need to be aware that we don't want to be fooled by rumor or innuendo or disinformation. This is a time for calm, and patience, and thoughtfulness.

BLITZER: As you look at this situation, Judge Webster, do some structural changes in the way U.S. engages in intelligence gathering, some structural changes, immediate structural changes perhaps come to mind?

WEBSTER: No, I don't think so. Chairman Goss may have a different view of it. I think we are always looking to see how we can improve interchanges between the various agencies that have both information and intelligence. The security issues here have to do with protection of people who get on airplanes and hope to be safe. Intelligence issues have to do with information about plots, vulnerabilities, and those who are seeking to undermine our government.

Those are basically the same. But we are always looking for ways to make sure that everybody involved knows everything that they need to in times like these.

BLITZER: Chairman Goss, we have heard a lot over these past 48 hours about a problem perhaps in the CIA that developed in 1995. Even former President Bush spoke about it today, himself a former CIA director, that the CIA went a stop in effect recruiting spies or agents within some of these terrorist cells, reluctant to put them on the payroll. Is that a serious problem?

GOSS: It is a serious problem. There is some controversy about how serious. But I think the proof unfortunately is in the pudding. In order to deal with this kind of a very hard target to get into and to penetrate, we have to have agents that can get down and dirty and live in the ugly kind of world of innuendo and terror that these people live in. You have got to have that kind of a person.

Now obviously, we don't want to aid or abet those people or reward them in any way, but we want to get information from them. So it's a question of being smart enough to be able to use people like that to our advantage without encouraging them and building up networks.

One area -- and the question you just asked, Wolf, I think is very, very important: We need to reinvest in human intelligence capability. We have stripped down and diminished our assets in that area to a point that is unwise. Many of us have been warning about it for some time, and I think we find ourselves now with not enough capability and not enough properly tailored capability to meet the needs of the hour for our full national security.

BLITZER: Judge Webster, you are unique in this field, you are both a former CIA director and an FBI director. You know that the FBI occasionally has to infiltrate organized crime and put some sordid characters on the payroll. How does the CIA get around this problem that Chairman Goss and others have been discussing?

WEBSTER: I agree with Chairman Goss. It wasn't -- my understanding is that what happened was not a prohibition against using unsavory types, but requiring a higher level of authority which had to go pretty much to the top to get permission, which may have had a dampening effect on those who are able to recruit individuals with solid information but unsavory backgrounds.

I think that that restriction has been, or will soon will be removed, and I support that. The agency knows how to deal with them, but in many parts of world their best sources are people in the military who sometimes engage in torture and other activities we find unacceptable at home, but the information is reliable and important and timely.

Those are hard choices, as the chairman said we don't support it, we don't do anything to help it, but we ought to be able to derive information important to out national interest.

BLITZER: Chairman Goss, let me wrap up by asking you briefly a question that Greta asked Senator Biden. If in fact Osama bin Laden was responsible and if the Taliban regime in Afghanistan is protecting him, harboring his organization, should the U.S. go to war, not only against Osama bin Laden, but against Afghanistan itself?

GOSS: I don't want to say "go to war" and get into the legal argument about what constitutes war. What I do want to suggest however is the idea of state-sponsored terrorism. That definition has charged. I believe that any state that tolerates this kind of behavior or the opportunity for training or safe harbor for individuals, save transit through countries, logistic support, banking support, things of those nature I think we as the United States need to make it clear that that will not be tolerated any longer.

I think we need to give a warning period for people to cooperate and do the decent thing to make life impossible for known terrorists and their activities in those circumstances. And then I think if we don't get the cooperation we need, we need to take force more than diplomatic. And I will leave just leave it at that. WEBSTER: May I add one thing to what Porter Goss said and that is the subject of sanctuary. It wasn't too many years ago that some of our best friends, particularly in the Mediterranean area, engaged in a policy of sanctuary.

You are free to come here and we won't bother you as long as you don't do anything against us. They learned to their sorrow that that pledge could not be trusted. Many of those countries have completely shifted and the pockets of sanctuary around the world have been severely shrunk.

It seems to me that we have one country here that is tolerating terrorist activity, and it needs to be addressed. There are others, but when you eliminate the sanctuary, you make it very difficult for the nonstate sponsored terrorist to be effective.

BLITZER: William Webster and Porter Goss, always good to have both of you on our program. Thanks for joining us.

Let get the latest from the scene on the ground in New York. CNN's Martin Savidge is there. Marty, tell us was is going on over there.

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, they are still trying to get over the emotional devastation of learning the fact that the story originally reported of five firefighters being found is no longer true.

This is the way the officials explained it to us as to what happened. There had been a number of firefighters working at the top of the debris pile today. Some of them slipped and fell. They ended up at the bottom of the pile, picked up by a few rescuers.

When the rest of the throng of those who were there working, looking for survivors saw this, they misinterpreted it. They thought that it was, in fact, five firefighters being pulled from the rubble. Cheers went up. There was celebration. And then the New York city police department confirmed, in fact, that the firefighters had been found.

The hospital, Bellevue, had said that they were awaiting their arrival. In the end, it turns out, according to the fire department, it was merely a matter of too much confusion at the site and perhaps too much hope.

Meanwhile the search effort today went on with a new intensity. They went throughout the day trying to find those survivors. Literally hundreds of New York City firefighters, firefighters from all over. There were also police departments and the rescuers that showed up. And finally here, George Sikorsky, this is an amazing story. He is a volunteer that showed up with a dog named Dominique to look. Dominique is not his dog. The dog belongs to his son Gregory, a New York City firefighter.

That firefighters is now missing. So the father has come to look for the son using the son's dog. This is George explaining how he hopes the two can work together to find Gregory.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was learning how to sniff out the dog on the fire department. Gregory was training him, so I brought him his gloves and I gave him the gloves and he is going to sniff them and we are going to try to locate him. I don't know, it is kind of deep down there but I guess the other dogs down here are tired. We will try anything we can try.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's just desperate times. We will try anything you can.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Still got hope.


SAVIDGE: This is not only case of a relative that has volunteered to help look for survivors and maybe their own relative. Earlier in the day I was talking with a young man who is an engineer. And a volunteer. He is not here because of his expertise. He is here because his brother was working in the World Trade Center and now is also missing among so many others.

Meanwhile tonight's there are concerns about a change in the weather. Also concerns about three building that are thought to be unstable. It remains to seen exactly how much rain is in the forecast, or how much of an impact it will have on the search efforts. Meanwhile the lights are on, the efforts to find survivors goes on and all the while over their heads is the threat of buildings that could still come down -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Marty and we don't know what that rainfall is going to cause. Thanks for joining us -- Greta.

VAN SUSTEREN: Wolf, we are going to go down to New York to Elizabeth Cohen. Elizabeth Cohen is standing by at the Armory in New York. Elizabeth, what is the Armory being used as tonight?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What it is being used as is a place for people that are missing loved ones to come in and register information about who is missing. The line has been around the block all day. I don't know the number but I would imagine it is in the thousands, have come and give information: Hair color, eye color, it is a seven, eight page form they fill out.

When they have given all the information and the person is registered, they then go downstairs and there are two lists. There is a list of people who are in the hospital, and there is list of people they have found who are deceased.

I was talking to a volunteer who worked inside there and she said that she was amazed that almost no one broke down even though it must be obviously, a horrible, difficult thing to go through. I have two families here who went through the process at the Armory today. Let's talk with them. We have here Nilsa (ph) Rivera, who is looking for her husband Isais (ph). They are from Rahway, New Jersey. Tell me, what was the...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Perth Amboy, New Jersey.

COHEN: Perth Amboy, New Jersey -- tell me what -- you put on this poster here, he has a black mole. He has black spots on his neck. He works for CBS. What are you hoping will happen with poster?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm hoping this is a way for media, who has more access than we do, to be able to go around and identify him or try to find him for me. This is the second time of going through this nightmare again. He was also involved in the '93 World Trade bombing and I feel this time the media can help me or, you know, find him, if not a glimpse of hope, some answers as to his whereabouts.

I'm trying to keep the faith. I'm trying to search for him. I want him to come home.

COHEN: The T-shirt you are wearing is from the bombing in 1993. Did he hesitate to go back to work in that building?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, he did. Even though he was very local and devoted and stayed during the World Trade bombing back in '93 and helped Channel 2 stay on the air, and he helped the fire department and police department to evacuate lives, not thinking of his own, and he stayed there, faithfully, until the next day.

Shortly after that it emotionally and physically effected him. And he did express it many times not only to myself, but to coworkers and superiors that he was afraid we would experience phobias and panic attacks to go back into this building because he was afraid that this could occur again.

And eight years later his worst nightmare became a reality.

COHEN: Thank you Mrs. Rivera. We are also going to speak with Franka Arestina (ph), who is looking for her friend Sadie (ph). What was the last thing that anybody heard from your friend Sadie?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sadie called at about five minutes after nine. She said, God, please save me. She said she is trapped on the 106 floor. She was screaming that she can't get out. She is trapped, she can't get out, so she was yelling. She said, now, I don't know what to do. I am coughing, the heat is coming. Please, I am coming. I need water, I need water and the phone dropped.

We have checked the who whole list in the Armory over there. She is not on the dead list. She is not on the list in the hospital, so we are hoping for the best. If she in the hospital she cannot talk. Maybe -- we hope with this picture they will be able to look at her in the hospital and contact us. The numbers are listed below for anybody to contact us: the hospital, officials, police, anybody. COHEN: You are here with so many families who are also looking for people. Have people banded together? Have they helped one another?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. That is what we have been trying to do. We have been calling each other and we've been trying to hold ourselves together. (UNINTELLIGIBLE)

COHEN: Do you still now -- more than two days later, almost three days later -- have hope?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We still have hope, because Arlene is not on the dead list. We think maybe she is in the hospital. Or -- maybe.

COHEN: Thank you. Thank you. Let's talk to -- we're all friends, we're all together. Let's talk to this gentleman here, who is looking for Shabir Ahmed (ph). Tell me about the last time someone heard from him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He is my uncle. Last time he left Tuesday morning about 5:30 in the morning. He was scheduled to work for Windows on the World. He worked for the banquet department. He was working when the crash took place. So since then, we haven't heard from him. Nothing yet.

So we are expecting to hear something good that I could at least today take news to the family of his. He left -- he has two daughters and one son and our family members all are in a shock situation and all are sitting and waiting for him. That's all I have to say to you right this moment. I spent all day here looking for any clues, if they found his name or any information.

COHEN: Have you found any clues?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Unfortunately not. I have to come back, I think. I have to make trips back and forth. I will do it, because he is my uncle, so he was the great person. What can I say.

COHEN: Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are all going to be missing him, as well as other good people, the victims. And that's all I should say. Thank you.

COHEN: Thank you, sir. Sir, you are also looking for a loved one. Can you tell me?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm looking for all the members of (UNINTELLIGIBLE), floor 107. We have nothing on them. We have no data. Everything is gone. All the punch in and out. So we want them to call this number, the union number, so we know what is missing and who is not. About Shabir Ahmed (ph), the gentleman he just said. He was in the first bombing and he make it out, but he couldn't make it this time. COHEN: Some of people that you work for are union, and so some of the people in your union were in the building and made it out in '93.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. One of them was Shabir (ph). But this time he could not make it. But please, everybody who knows anything about Windows On the World call the number, call the union. We are going to have a big meeting on Tuesday, next Tuesday at the union office. Anybody who can attend. All the families gather -- it's a very important meeting.

Has anyone made it out from you union, from this group of workers --from Windows On the World. It's the restaurant at the top of the world trade tower, for people that don't know it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Unfortunately not. Nobody made it. Nobody that that we know made it. We hope that they made it, but we didn't hear from nobody yet.

COHEN: And how many people in this union?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, we are 450 employees, but we are shifts. Not everybody was there. We are at least 450 employees there.

COHEN: How many were there at time of explosion?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don't know. The list they have is like between 80 and 88 people are missing.

COHEN: OK. Thank you. Let's go also to talk this woman here. You are looking for Margaret Echterman (ph). Tell me...


COHEN: Tell me about Margaret.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Margaret is 33 years old. She works for RGIS. She was on the 93rd floor of the second trade center. We talked to her last after the first crash and she called everyone to tell everybody that she was OK.

So we haven't heard anything since then, but we know she is there. So we are just, you know, getting her face out there so everybody can find her. And we've covered all the hospitals and have her on a missing persons and everyone here does support us, so it's great. So we just have to find her. We know we will.

COHEN: Tell me, you spent two days, you are going to the hospitals, public offices. Also, were you at the Armory today? Were you there as well?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have been there as well. We have registered her, and we are going to get back online to see if they have any updates. They keep updating the list, so we keep getting back over there. But we have been traveling around and I've been getting a lots of calls from people that have seen her on the different sites that we have posted her on to try to see whatever they could do to help out. People are really being incredible.

COHEN: Do you have any clues? Any clues at all?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No clues, no. We have been hearing lots of good stories about people making it off of really high floors. We just know that she has been -- she is one of them we just have to figure out where she is.

Tell me about her. She is very beautiful, I can tell from the picture. But tell me more about her.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She was getting ready to run for the marathon, so she was training with a lot of her friends. And she is an incredibly strong person. So she got a sense of life in her that's just so strong that anybody -- you know, we will pray for everybody to find their way out of there but we want...

COHEN: Excuse us.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yeah. She has everybody supporting her. And she's a kind, generous person. She's the kind of person that would make sure that everybody got off the floor with her and helping them out.

COHEN: Tell me about how people banded together. Obviously, there are hundreds of families here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: People have been so incredible. People -- my friend Ted has come done from Boston and my brother is coming up from Florida. We have people all over the country, in Germany, in London, in Italy -- everybody is looking for her. They are all searching the web sites and people are collecting photos of other friends and here, so they are all trying to contribute and help. It's just been phenomenal, the amount of support that we're getting. And like I said, it's really great. Really great.

COHEN: Thank you. This woman is looking for her sister, Margaret Echtermann. You are looking here also for a loved one.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is my brother in law. His name is Karamo Trerra (ph). Fortunately for my sister, he was in the second building on the 97th floor working for Judiciary Trust. And fortunately, he called my sister right beforehand -- before the second airplane hit -- and told her that number one, they weren't evacuating any more and also, that he loved her. So we are just happy that got a chance to say good-bye to each other. And we are happy -- I mean, that's the one important thing. And it's her four-year wedding anniversary yesterday.

We spent day on the web posting his picture everywhere, going to every single hospital. If anyone has seen him, please -- because yesterday was their wedding anniversary and we'd just like a resolution to this. And we really want justice done. This is a horrible tragedy, and I'm like donating a stapler in there. It's ridiculous. I'm donating a stapler and there are hundreds and hundreds of people in so much pain right now. And it hurts me to see in so much pain over Karamo Trerra. It's very hard.

COHEN: It's interesting. I heard from many people with relatives in the second tower that they called after the first explosion and said we are not leaving. It sounds like that's what happened.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right. There were two phone calls. The first phone call that he made to her was that they are evacuating and we were all happy, because we were all kind of on the phone, my whole family and my sister. We were like, "Oh my God, what happened?" Because I work downtown. Then they said they were evacuating and we were happy. "Go, go, go," said my sister. "Go!"

Then he called again and said, "You know, everything is fine. Don't worry." He was trying to calm her down, "Stay calm, I love you so much, don't worry about me. I will be OK." Then they hung up and then as soon -- about you know 50 seconds later other airplane hit. We saw it on the news.

COHEN: You were sitting with your sister as the second airplane hit?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, basically I was downtown on Church and I saw the whole thing happen. When I saw that second tower get struck I ran back inside and I called her on the phone and I said, "Call him! Call him!" And it was too late. So if anybody has information, about Karamo Trerra, please, it is so painful for us. Please call 212-865-3365. Please, if anybody saw him either in his last moments or if they know that he is alive, we are desperate for information. Everyone is desperate for information. Thank you so much.

COHEN: I know families that today have been at Armory. They've been at hospitals. Tell me, for the past two days where have you been? What have you done?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have been to every single hospital. We've been to Beekman, Cabrini, St. Vincent's and like ten other hospitals. We were going to go to New Jersey, but we couldn't. And we also just did the Armory.

COHEN: Thank you, ma'am. Thank you. Good luck to you. We are now going to go back to you in Atlanta.

VAN SUSTEREN: Thank you. Elizabeth Cohen in New York. Horrible stories. Hundreds more in New York and there are hundreds more here in Washington from the terrorism at the Pentagon, which is about two miles behind me.

We are going to turn back to the investigation. Osama Bin Laden may end up the target of U.S. fury. But that doesn't mean he'll be an easy target. Let's go live now to CNN National Security Correspondent David Ensor in Washington. David, what is the status of the investigation? DAVID ENSOR, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: The status of the investigation is still that the evidence is pointing heavily to Osama Bin Laden's organization, but the Bush administration does not have the kind of evidence it's ready to say proves that that's who did this. They're not ready to make a final decision at this point. But already they and a lot of people outside are starting to think about what is next step.

How do you go after Bin Laden and his organization if you do decide that he is guilty of these terrible attacks? It is not going to be easy. A number of officials, senators like Senator McCain and others, have said that likely you would have to use ground troops. That bombs might not do it this time. They didn't do it in '98. They might not work this time either. So there are concerns about that. There is also a sense, though, that the U.S., after the losses it's suffered -- many people in the United States would support a decision, even if it cost some blood to resolve this matter and end the danger of terrorism.

A number of experts argue that it would take more than troops, that it would involved an occupation of long-term type that could be fraught of all sorts of problems. So nobody is ready to say where the administration is going yet. Outside experts say that the choices are not going to be easy ones. Greta.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, thank you. David Ensor. With Osama Bin Laden believed to be in Afghanistan and a potential target, how are people there handling the situation? Our Nic Robertson is in Kabul, Afghanistan, and joins us by video phone. Nic?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Greta, apparently the Taliban leadership growing increasingly concerned about what may happen next, issuing another statement only a few hours ago again trying to distance Osama Bin Laden from what happened on Tuesday in the United States. They said in this statement, how could Osama Bin Laden have been involved in that? They said, how could he have trained pilots? Where could he have trained pilots? They said it was impossible to imagine that he had, therefore proving he wasn't involved. They said that they wanted everyone who was working on this -- on the investigation -- to think carefully about how they proceed next.

And certainly in the streets in Kabul, growing apprehension about what may come next. The streets a little quieter Thursday. It's Friday morning here now, today traditionally a day of rest, a day of prayer. But it's very quiet on the streets. Many people staying at home. Few people were aware of at this time of leaving the city.

After 20 years of civil war, many people here are very, very poor. We talked with some of them yesterday. They told us, "We are concern about what is happening. We are worried about it. But we are too poor. Our main concern is really just getting food for the coming evening." So apprehension here, but a lot of people really not knowing what to do next. A lot of common people really just sitting tight and waiting to see what happens, Greta.

VAN SUSTEREN: Nic, thanks for joining us from Afghanistan. We are going to go back New York to Elizabeth Cohen, who is standing by with the governor of New York -- Elizabeth.

COHEN: We are here on the corner of 26th and Lexington with Governor George Pataki. Just saw him hugging people who are looking for their family members. Tears in his eyes. Tell me, what has it been like for you?

GOV. GEORGE PATAKI (R), NEW YORK: It's not what it's been like for me, it's for the people who are suffering. All America grieves, but those who have lost a wife or a child, their pain is even greater than ours. We have to stand with them. We have to stand with the brave firefighters, the port authority teams down right now. They lost their top management, they lost dozens of their police, but they are out there. We have to stand with them. They are the ones who are going to bring us through this.

COHEN: What can you say to people? I saw you just talking but I couldn't hear what you were saying. What can you say to people here?

PATAKI: They are not alone. The people of New York are with them. The people of America are with them. We continue to make the search-and-rescue effort the highest priority. We are doing everything we can. Thousands of people are helping right now, and millions and millions are praying right now.

COHEN: The people who I have been talking to, they say that the authorities have been incredibly organized, incredibly helpful. But they say they just have no clues. Do you have idea when they would get some clues.

PATAKI: We just can't give timeframes or time lines. That wouldn't be right. There has never been a darker day or a greater tragedy in American history. And that's why we are doing everything we can, trying to give the people as much information as quickly as possible. But obviously, nothing like this ever happened. But we will get through it. The people are strong. They are standing shoulder to shoulder, and we will get beyond this.

COHEN: Tell me, I have mostly seen here what city services have done for people. Tell me what the state of New York is doing for people, for families here.

PATAKI: It's been a great cooperative effort. The shelter behind us is something where -- it's a state Armory where we mobilize the National Guard. But it's not a question of this agency or that agency. The city leadership, the state government, President Bush has delivered every single thing from Washington, from the federal government, we've requested. Most important, you see out here thousands of volunteers, people without any official role. They're just here to help, and they are helping.

COHEN: Thank you, Governor George Pataki. Back to you, Wolf.

BLITZER: Thank you, Elizabeth. And thank the governor for us as well. Meanwhile, here in Washington, Congress is working with a singleness of purpose seldom seen both to fund the recovery effort and to back a U.S. military response. Joining us now, the House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt as well as the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dennis Hastert. Thanks to both of you for joining us.

First of all, Mr. Speaker, what is the status of a resolution or some sort of declaration that you are working on?

REP. DENNIS HASTERT (R-IL), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: There's three things that we have done. First of all, yesterday we passed a resolution sent to the Congress, a joint resolution, saying what the Congress is feeling on this and vowing to work with the president.

The second thing is tonight we will pass an appropriations billing to help FEMA, first of all, take care of victims and try to find the rest of the victims. A huge cost there. And also, to get our airlines flying again, and the transportation committee so that we can make sure that our skies are safe so people can resume traveling and life as normal in this country.

And the third thing is to give the military, or the president, the ability and resources to first of all, investigate and find the people who perpetrated this terrorist act. And then tomorrow we will begin and probably go through Saturday, and debate and pass legislation that gives the president the power to pursue those people who committed this act.

BLITZER: Congressman Gephardt, are there any serious differences between you and the speaker, between the Democrats and Republicans on how much authority to grant the president in terms of planning for military response?

REP. RICHARD GEPHARDT (D-MO), MINORITY LEADER: We are working on that and I'm confident that we will find a resolution of the minor, frankly, differences that there are. We need to be together, and we are together as parties and as people and with the president. This is national challenge, and I think all of our people are united -- as we were in World War II -- to see this challenge down and to make sure we succeed in facing it.

VAN SUSTEREN: Speaker Hastert, Greta van Susteren. Speaker, how involved are you with the White House on this? Or is the White House pretty much handling this themselves?

HASTERT: We have been in constant contact with the White House and it's been done on a bipartisan basis. Both Leader Gephardt and I have been to the White House, we have talked about these issues, and we are working with them. We have to have this type of cooperation to make sure that both the ability to give the president the power is something that we can all agree on, and also the amount of money that we need to clean up the problems, to take care of our victims in Virginia and New York, and incidentally families that go through that whole northeast area. And then go forward and fund the investigation and the ability to bring these terrorists to justice.

VAN SUSTEREN: Congressman Gephardt, let me switch gears a little bit. Lots of changes are going to happen in air travel. How do we balance that with issues of civil rights and the great freedoms we have enjoyed in this country?

GEPHARDT: Well, Greta, we're in a new day. And unfortunately we're in a new world. We're probably not going to go back to the world that we were in. We have to find a new balance in our country between freedom and security. We have do that without giving up the needed civil liberties that we all enjoy and want. This is going to be a hard time, and we have to work together as Americans try to redefine those two issues and return to as much freedom as we possibly can. This is a big challenge, but America is up to it. Every generation of Americans has met the challenges of their time, and our generation is going to do the same.

VAN SUSTEREN: Congressman Gephardt, let me follow up with one more question. If the United States identifies Osama Bin Laden and his cell who is responsible for this terrorism, and of course he is one -- he is on the ten most wanted list in connection with the bombings of the embassies in Africa. If we go forward and handle that problem, can we then go back to where we were in terms of our freedoms?

GEPHARDT: I don't think so, Greta. I would hope that that could be, but I don't think it is. I think we are facing a foe here that is much more complicated and long lasting. Much more committed, much more will power than we would like to even believe and admit. So we've got a long fight on our hands, here. I think we can win it, and I think we can do it while preserving necessary freedoms and civil liberties in this country. But we have got to really work hard together in a united fashion to do that. I'm confident we will do that.

BLITZER: Speaker Hastert, there has been an executive order books since the ford administration -- since President Jerry Ford signed it -- namely that bars the U.S. from engaging in political assassinations. Is it time to rethink that executive order?

HASTERT: One of the things we see here -- this is not necessarily political. These are terrorists. They have infiltrated this country. They have invaded the liberty and freedom that our people in this country have known and cherished for over 200 years. So these people are here to disrupt the lifestyle of Americans, to put this country in terror.

I think first of all this resolve by the American people, by this Congress, by the president -- we are not going to let that happen. Just like any criminal that perpetrates a crime in this country, we are going to go after that person. We will find out who it is, go after him, and bring that person to justice.

BLITZER: The question, I guess, a lot of Americans are asking, Mr. Speaker, is if Osama Bin Laden did plan these terrorist operations and the U.S. concludes that definitely, should he be brought to justice or should he be killed?

HASTERT: I think Osama Bin Laden better say his prayers.

BLITZER: What about that, Congressman Gephardt? GEPHARDT: I think the American people expect to us find who did this, to bring them to justice. In doing that, it may be there has to be violence committed by American troops. If it comes had to that, that's what should be done. This will not stand. What happened in country -- this is the largest violence on our soil by a foreign force in the history of our country, and it will not stand.

VAN SUSTEREN: Mr. Speaker, have we tied the hands of our intelligence community over the years that they were not able to gather the appropriate intelligence to perhaps see this coming so it could have been prevented?

HASTERT: I don't want to go back over what's happened over the years.

VAN SUSTEREN: But if they've not gotten enough funding, have there been rules that have been put in place -- I know that there's a lot of reluctance to pay people who might be in a conspiracy to give us information. But those problems.

HASTERT: I think we need to put resources in human intelligence and I think we need to re-evaluate our whole intelligence regime. Porter Goss, who is our ranking member, along with Nancy Pelosi, who is the ranking Democrat -- we're having some serious discussions. We need to make sure that the resources are there so that we can gather the intelligence to protect the American people. And there are some questions there in the past, but that past is past. We need to move forward and get this work done.

VAN SUSTEREN: Mr. Speaker and Congressman Gephardt, thanks you very much for joining us this evening. Wolf.

BLITZER: Thanks, Greta. From Washington let's go back to New York. CNN Senior Analyst Jeff Greenfield is there. Jeff, you just heard blunt talk from the speaker of the house, a Republican, and the minority leader, a Democrat. Basically saying to Osama Bin Laden, I think I'm paraphrasing what the speaker said "Say your prayers." What does to say to you?

JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN SENIOR ANALYST: It says to me that they are planning to take him out. But the other thing that you talked about, Wolf, that I thought was very interesting was the whole question of how much of our liberties are we going to be giving up? And the real question, I guess, is how many steps are we going to take that will ultimately be fruitless in our effort to get some security? Curb-side check-in. Would that have stayed the hijackers? Every one us has been through metal detectors for the last God knows how many years in airports?

It's that kind of reaction, that mix of we must do everything we can conceivably think of, that in some cases may not only restrict what we do, but have really no impact on the broader fight against this incredible shadowy enemy.

VAN SUSTEREN: Are we willing in the short run to give up our civil rights? I mean, everyone here in this country is willing to give up anything to get on a plane safely. As time goes on, the fact is that curbside checking wouldn't have stopped this. The question about whether you packed own bag wouldn't have stopped, or whether anyone asked you to carry -- none of this would. So in a big picture, what is going to happen? What are we willing to do.

GREENFIELD: I think the most important question before us -- and it is why what follows is in some ways as tough as what we have gone through last three days is -- how much are we going to think rationally about what we have do make ourselves more secure. You know and I know there have been a hundred bomb threats. We saw the capitol being evacuated on a call that perhaps a week ago would not have been taken nearly that seriously. In this sense, we have to be asking ourselves how -- whether or not our understandable instinct to protect ourselves is going to make us far -- not only less secure internally, but lead us into habits that makes us a lot less like America.

Everybody said America is going to change. And that is regrettably probably true. But somewhere along the line, we need to keep sense of reason enough so that we don't give that terrorists yet another victory more than they have already had in what was behind me.

BLITZER: Jeff, as these horrible events sink in, take us down to Manhattan right now. Has there been any change in the mood from yesterday to today, as far as you can discern?

GREENFIELD: You know, there is this slow return to some kind of normal. I mean, the numbness is kind of fading little bit. But every time you go into a major thoroughfare, you can feel the anguish. And remember, Wolf and Greta, we have not yet begun to really uncover the worst. That is all of those bodies.

You see these scenes of people showing up with pictures of their loved ones and saying, "If you have any information, please call." And our hearts go out to those people, in part because we know that literally thousands of them are not -- are missing only in the formal sense. They are buried under rubble. And they will not be seen. We are going to be learning day after day that people we know, we may have worked with, we may have been friends with, who are there.

And just one last point. This has been a golden decade for the city of New York. We have all talked about its renaissance. Crime was down, money flowed in from the markets. The city felt to be the center of universe, in some way. Which is why the terrorists struck here. And to say that we are slowly -- slowly -- getting a sense of normalcy is really misleading. In the long run, this has changed city, I believe, to its roots. And you can see it going out into the streets and watching people react in ways large and small.

BLITZER: Greta, let me ask you, because you've spent a lot of time looking at this investigation over these past few days. Is there one single aspect of what happened that jumps out in your mind that says to you that there must be something totally crazy going on that has to be immediately corrected?

VAN SUSTEREN: It's funny, Wolf. Maybe I'm a little bit lost. Since I heard the explosion at the Pentagon, turned and saw it. And I was only a few blocks away. I had particles actually raining on me. I'm quite raw from it. That's the first thing that jumps out at my mind. But the important thing, I think, is that the Americans devote the resources so that we can get this broad conspiracy. I'm not worried about those 18 hijackers. They're dead.

But what is so terrible about this is that people willing to give up their life to cause crimes, like these suicide pilots, are extraordinarily dangerous. If nothing else, we have to get all the people who were involved and send them a message. If you had just a little bit of involvement, guess what? You're going to take the full impact of the United States. So I think, get out there and investigate. Anybody who had a slight involvement, you're in. And you're going to take full responsibility.

GREENFIELD: Wolf, just one last point. We really have stop calling this act senseless. Evil, monstrous, fine. The terrorists knew exactly what they were doing. And from their twisted perspective, this was a highly sensible act. It struck at the heart of the greatest city in the world's one superpower. It has made us -- it has rained death on thousands of people. It has got us questioning ourselves and our security. And if the response is rational and effective, we have to stop throwing phrases around like senseless. This was a deliberate and successful -- horrible successful evil act.

BLITZER: Jeff Greenfield in New York, thank you so much once again. Unfortunately, that's all the time we have. Stay tuned for CNN's continuing coverage throughout the night, including a special report from Aaron Brown and Paula Zahn at 10:00 p.m. eastern. That's one hour from now. Thank you very much for watching. I'm Wolf Blitzer in Washington. Good night, Greta.

VAN SUSTEREN: Good night, Wolf. And up next, "LARRY KING LIVE." Tonight Larry is joined by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, and others. I'm Greta van Susteren. Larry's next.



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