Skip to main content
CNN.com /transcript

CNN TV

EDITIONS
SERVICES
CNN TV
EDITIONS

CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

America Under Attack: White House Focuses on Terrorism

Aired September 14, 2001 - 00:09   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.
COLLEEN MCEDWARDS, CNN ANCHOR: U.S. President George W. Bush says terrorism is now the focus of his Administration.

White House Correspondent Major Garrett joins us now with the latest on that. Major saying now terrorism now the focus -- also saying this is a new kind of war.

MAJOR GARRETT, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: A new kind of war -- the first war of the 21st century, Colleen. You can see behind me the lights of the White House mansion have been dimmed, but the security apparatus that protects the President and the White House family is on a very edgy state of alert.

Earlier today, the perimeter around the White House -- the security perimeter -- was extended, and throughout the afternoon, and throughout the evening, there have been a series of false alarms, as far as security is concerned around here at the White House. Even now, as I'm speaking to you, a helicopter circles overhead the White House. You can hear the thump, thump, thump of the helicopter blades in the evening, as it searches around the White House perimeter, searching for we not know what. But, nevertheless, searching resolutely to keep the White House and the White House Family secure.

The President today was asked many questions about this new war. He said the new war of the 21st century. He was also asked how it has all affected him personally. He describes the events in New York City and across the river in Virginia, at the Pentagon, as a terrible, terrible tragedy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I think about the families, the children. I'm a loving guy, and I'm also someone, however, whose got a job to do, and I intend to do it.

And, this is a terrible moment. But this country will not relent until we have saved ourselves and others from the terrible tragedy that came upon America.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GARRETT: You can see the emotion etched on the President's face. Covering the White House, I can tell you it's sort of hard to put all this into some sort of historical context, Colleen. Many U.S. Presidents had to deal with the tragedy of sending thousands of U.S. service personnel to their deaths fighting a war, but never before in recorded U.S. history has a U.S. President had to preside over the deaths of so many civilians, who never once imagined themselves becoming causalities in any kind of war, be it the first war of the 21st century, or any kind of war. The emotional impact on this President must, in fact, be enormous. We saw just a little bit of it there, in that response to a question he was asked today in the Oval Office.

The President, of course, has met with his National Security Team repeatedly. He's also met with Members of Congress, one of them John Warner, Republican from Virginia, former Secretary of the U.S. Navy and a senior member of the Armed Services Committee, said this country -- this President -- must be prepared for a very long and sustained effort against global terrorism.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN WARNER (R), VIRGINIA: This will be a prolonged engagement. It will be over time, and it may be necessary to, time and time again, deal forcibly with those who would challenge the security of this county, and indeed inflict any damage upon us.

I've never seen a President more resolute, more determined, very calm, very confident, very forthright.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GARRETT: Toward the end of giving the president all the tools he needs to prosecute whatever type of war against global terrorism, Congress is preparing to pass a $40 billion emergency supplemental bill to help the President, not only to continue on the investigation into the catastrophe in New York, and in Virginia -- the Pentagon -- but, to prosecute a war against global terrorism, and also to provide him the legal authority to do so. Congress hopes to get that emergency spending bill, and a resolution authorizing the use of force for this President done at the very latest of Saturday, possibly as early as today -- later on today. Colleen.

MCEDWARDS: Major, how much is being made there of Secretary Powell essentially saying that Osama bin Laden is prime suspect in this, and yet other officials sort of not wanting to go quite that far at this point?

GARRETT: Well, there's no secret, Colleen, here at the White House, among the President's most senior advisors that Osama bin Laden, almost from moment one, was at the top of the list of those suspected of either being the person who organized and executed this, or being very close to the person who organized and executed this act of terrorism.

It is left to Secretary Powell to sort of identify -- Secretary Powell is the lead diplomatic of the United States, working with partners of the United States hope will become part of a very broad coalition against whomever the United States tells the world it believes was responsible for this act of terrorism. And, as the chief diplomat, it was left to him to sort of move those potential coalition partners in that direction, by saying, look, we think we're moving in this direction, you should be so advised, because in the not too distant future we're going to be asking you to join in this effort, against this foe. Colleen.

MCEDWARDS: Understood. CNN's Major Garrett. Thanks.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com

 Search   


Back to the top