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America's New War

Aired September 14, 2001 - 22:00   ET


ANNOUNCER: This is a CNN Special Report: "America's New War."

President Bush at ground zero of the attack on America, vowing to avenge the carnage.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I can hear you. The rest of the world hears you. And the people...


BUSH: And the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon.


CROWD (chanting): U.S.A.! U.S.A.!


ANNOUNCER: Those who allegedly carried out the evil act are named. But more of them are said to be still among us, ready to wreak more havoc. New York City, still in search of thousands of its lost souls.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What happened over there? And if anybody got out and anyone made it, please call us.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm looking for my son, Seth. He left home that morning and he hasn't called back since then.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: After not finding any news, we are very determined.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: After not finding any news, we are very desperate.


ANNOUNCER: A nation in mourning.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How do we understand something like this? Why does God allow evil like this to take place?


ANNOUNCER: But amid the grief, determination.


BUSH: This conflict was begun on the timing and terms of others. It will end in a way and at an hour of our choosing.


ANNOUNCER: And a call from a man of the cloth for the fiercest retaliation.


REVEREND FRANKLIN GRAHAM: But let's use the weapons we have, the weapons of mass destruction if need be, and destroy the enemy.


ANNOUNCER: This is a CNN Special Report: "America's New War."

From New York, here's Aaron Brown.

AARON BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, again. Friday night of the longest week. After a wet and dreary day here in the city, the sun broke through late this afternoon. And tonight in New York it is clear and cool, and the search-and-rescue teams are at work again under the lights. It's been a difficult day for them. Not only was the weather miserable most of the day, making their work even more dangerous than it has been, but they found no one alive today, no survivors. And the reality is, time is running out.

Here are the headlines in this story today: The Justice Department is confirming to CNN that they have now made their first arrests in connection with Tuesday's attacks. A person in custody is described only as a material witness. At the same time, officials tell us they think there still may be other terrorists in the country who could try to mount other attacks.

President Bush visited the ruins at the World Trade Center this afternoon, offering encouragement and thanks to the search-and-rescue crews. There were a few more flights in an out of the nation's airports, but just a fraction of the normal volume. It is not moving well. Private planes, however, have been cleared to resume flying now, though they, too, are facing additional restrictions.

And airport officials around the country warn it could be as late as late next week before commercial service in the United States is fully restored -- late next week. And four former presidents joined President Bush and hundreds of dignitaries at the National Cathedral today for a prayer service. It was a scene repeated at many churches and synagogues and mosques all across the country, and indeed, around the world, as millions observe what has been declared a day of prayer and remembrance.

Among the stories we'll be bringing you over the next two hours: "A Nation in Mourning." We'll speak with the Reverend Robert Schuller.

How should a nation respond? How should this country respond militarily? We'll hear from a former NATO supreme commander, General Wesley Clark, and a former army intelligence officer who advocates an all-out effort to kill those responsible. In the "Search for Diversions" from this story, for the weekend ahead. Here we go.

On a day when the government raised the specter that the terrorist assault may not be over, that there may be more men out there, it was hard to find much to feel good or safe about today. But there was this, one of those moments that seemed to change the mood, if only for a while, here in New York. The president came to ground zero, President George W. Bush, to see the disaster area and boost the morale of those whose day had been so difficult, with the rain and all the rest. He talked to them, they answered.


BUSH: I want you all to know that America today, America today is on bended knee in prayer for the people whose lives were lost here, for the workers who work here, for the families who mourn, this nation stands with the good people of New York City, and New Jersey and Connecticut, as we mourn the loss of thousands of our citizens.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't hear you!

BUSH: I can hear you!



BUSH: I can hear you, the rest of the world hears you, and the people...


BUSH: And the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon.


CROWD (chanting): U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A.!

BUSH: The nation sends its love and compassion to everybody who is here. Thank you for your hard work. Thank you for making the nation proud. And may God bless America.

(APPLAUSE). UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's get back a little, folks. Give him some room.



BROWN: I suspect that will be the picture on the front page of your newspaper tomorrow, the president waving the flag. It may be that the president got as of a morale boost as the rescue teams. He was out among people again, out of the bubble that all presidents live in. It was a nice moment in an awful week and a difficult day. The president at ground zero.

Here's an indication of how difficult the day has been. Reports that there may be more terrorists out there, and word tonight that the first arrests have been made in the terrorist attacks. So we begin in Washington and our Justice Department correspondent, Kelli Arena, with the details -- Kelli, good evening again.

KELLI ARENA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good evening, Aaron. That is right, the first arrest has been made in direct connection with Tuesday's terrorist attacks. That, according to law enforcement officials.

Now, an individual that was detained at JFK Airport in New York is in custody on a material witness warrant. Now, we don't have any more specifics at this point, but a material witness warrant is issued when it can be demonstrated that there is information that's highly relevant to a criminal investigation, and when there is a risk of flight.

Law enforcement sources say to expect much more such arrests in coming days. Now, sources say that at least two people in custody have provided what they describe as very useful and helpful information in moving this investigation forward. The FBI says that it has issued 35 search warrants, hundreds of subpoenas. It has seized computers and other material, and it's following up thousands of leads, both in the U.S. and abroad.

Sources also say that there are currently 27 individuals in custody on immigration violations, who may or may not know anything about the incidents. Investigators have also put out a so-called watch list, informing various authorities, including border patrol and the FAA, about 150 individuals the FBI says may have information that could be helpful in the investigation. Now, if those people are found, they will be detained for questioning -- Aaron.

BROWN: A couple of quick questions here. One of these, I think, is just helping me understand different terms. How many people do we now believe are being detained? Do we know?

ARENA: Well, we had a discussion about the word "detained" versus "arrest." And we do know that 27 people are being detained by the INS for immigration violations. Now, INS says can you use detained or arrested interchangeably. They're in custody. They're handcuffed, they're taken away.

BROWN: They can't walk away.

ARENA: Exactly. They can't walk away. And they are given 48 hours to file charges or not. Most of the time, there are charges filed and then they can be held for months, waiting to appear before a judge. So, that's one scenario.

And you also have some people that are being questioned and not being held on INS violations, but obviously we know this one person has been arrested, but there are several of the people that are being questioned, and arrest warrants could be issued for them as well.

BROWN: So, just one more time -- I apologize. You've got a group of people being detained on immigration violations?

ARENA: Exactly. These are people -- right.

BROWN: Right. You have a second group that are being questioned, and they, perhaps, they are free to go if they want?

ARENA: They are free to go if they want. They are free...


BROWN: Go ahead. I'm sorry.

ARENA: If there are no immigration violations and the FBI realize really believes that they have information that is crucial to this investigation, then you get what you saw tonight, which is an arrest warrant based on material witness charges.

So there are two ways to go for investigators here. They either can keep people at bay on immigration violations, or they can say this person is a material witness, here's what we've got prove it, and keep them in the country that way.

BROWN: And just to put a button on this, something you said earlier, which is that your sources are saying more to come?

ARENA: That's right, more to come. They say that they're gathering information at breakneck speed. We were told that at least two people in custody provided very useful information, and so we were told by law enforcement forces that yes, they expect in the next coming days we're going see a lot of these people brought in, arrested as material witnesses.

BROWN: Lots of work this weekend ahead for everybody -- Kelli, thanks. Kelli Arena working the Justice Department story.

As we mentioned, officials are telling CNN that there is evidence that there may be more terrorists in the United States. CNN's national security correspondent David Ensor has been working on this story all day long. David joins us again tonight.

David, what have we got now? DAVID ENSOR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Aaron, very little more than what you just said, but you said a lot. There are still terrorists in our midst, U.S. officials believe. They may be planning additional attacks. That is something that I've heard repeatedly from more than one official. Officials say they can't rule out that there may be additional pilots in the United States, and they also believe there may be other types of threats.

So that explains why there has been all this security jumpiness in the last 24, 48 hours, and why, for example -- it might explain why Vice President Cheney, for example, has been moved to Camp David for a period of time, and so on. A number of security measures have been taken because there is a continued threat.

BROWN: And it is understandable -- I think we all get this, even as we may be frustrated on it, that even as you continue to work your sources, they are giving you small pieces of information. We certainly aren't getting the larger picture of what the government may know at this point?

ENSOR: Well, that's right, because the people I'm dealing with have to protect the sources and the methods that they use to collect the information, otherwise they will lose them. So they're very protective of them.

BROWN: David, thanks. It's been a hard day's work out there, trying to get even a sentence or two of information. We appreciate it. Thank you. David Ensor, national security correspondent.

CNN has also learned that the Defense Department is looking into the possibility that two of the hijackers may -- we underscore "may" -- have received training at U.S. military schools. A senior defense official says two of the 19 names of suspected hijackers that were released today -- more on that in a bit -- by the Justice Department do match the names of people who attended schools or courses under a widely-used U.S. military exchange program. Those schools: the Defense Language Academy at Lackland Air Force Base, in Texas, and the Air War College in Montgomery, Alabama.

However, Pentagon officials caution that the matching names could merely be coincidence. It's not entirely clear that the 19 names that have turned up by the hijackers are in fact, their real names. So the sources continue to work, the Justice Department continues to work, the Defense Department continues to work, to figure out if in fact the people whose names showed up as a match are the same as the people who have shown up now on the hijacker list.

The rest of today's developments in the investigation have been an awful. We mentioned the 19 names of the hijackers. There's more to that as well. Here's CNN national correspondent Mike Boettcher.


MIKE BOETTCHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Four-thousand special agents, chasing 36,000 leads, and circulating to 18,000 law enforcement agencies, a growing list of people they want to question. JOHN ASHCROFT, ATTORNEY GENERAL: The Federal Bureau of Investigation has also forwarded a list of more than 100 names to numerous law enforcement organizations. These are the names of individuals the FBI would like to talk to, because we believe they may have information that could be helpful to the investigation.

BOETTCHER: Another FBI list, this one made public: the 19 men who the FBI says were the hijackers of the four aircraft. Seven of the men were pilots, according to CNN terrorism analyst Peter Bergen. Thirteen of them have recognizable Saudi tribal names from the west and southwest of Saudi Arabia, an area where Bin Laden has recruited.

PETER BERGEN, CNN TERRORIST ANALYST: According to a source familiar with the Bin Laden organization, men returning from Afghanistan who had trained with Bin Laden arrived in Saudi Arabia in recent weeks, and were talking about some kind of big operation that was imminent.

BOETTCHER: The FBI searched this apartment in San Diego, where in those final stages Monday before the attack, three men left town in a hurry.

FREDDIE EVANS, NEIGHBOR: They had a truck right here. They was moving out. I mean, I never seen nobody move out at midnight.

BOETTCHER: The trail of another accused hijacker, Mohammed Atta, in the months before the attack, led from Hamburg, Germany, to Florida, and a series of flight schools, rental car agencies and apartments. Then back to Hamburg, a return to Florida, and a final trip to New England, where he boarded a Boston to Los Angeles flight that eventually crashed into the World Trade Center.

U.S. intelligence sources tell CNN the entire terrorist operation required so many people and special skills that they believe several terrorist groups had to be involved. Egyptian Islamic Jihad, led by this man, Iman Zowaheri, a close Bin Laden associate, is one of the groups getting close scrutiny by U.S. analysts. They were photographed together about three years ago in Afghanistan.

A second man, who has not been seen in more than 20 years, is also being scrutinized. Imad Mugniyeh, who is suspected by U.S. officials of masterminding a string of terrorism attacks against Americans, including the 1983 suicide bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut, that killed 241, has had numerous contacts with Bin Laden since 1994, including face-to-face contact in the Sudan, at an Islamic conference. This, according to western and Mideast intelligence sources.

A founding member of Lebanese Hezbollah, Mugniyeh is believed living in Iran. U.S. officials remain convinced that Bin Laden was behind Tuesday's attack, but believe the day's megaterrorism marked the debut of a new, larger and more dangerous organization -- a group with many heads and many faces.

Mike Boettcher, CNN, Atlanta.


BROWN: Consider this for a moment: CNN has learned something about a brief encounter before one of the hijacked flights on Tuesday, a brief encounter that in our new world, the world post-Tuesday, might have raised a very large red flag.

When Flight 77 at Dulles Airport was about to board Tuesday morning, an American Airlines employee was chatting with a couple of Arab men who appeared to be friends. One was holding a first class boarding pass, his friend, scheduled to fly in coach. The plane had many empty seats, so the American Airlines employee asked, "Why don't you guys sit together?" The two men said nothing. She felt that was odd. Those two men are on the FBI's list of the 19 suspected hijackers.

About two hours after that brief encounter, Flight 77 smashed into the Pentagon. CNN has been piecing together what happened aboard each of those four hijacked flights. Working on this all week, and you can see what we've learned tomorrow morning with Miles O'Brien, 8:00 in the morning, Eastern time.

As many of you know and many of you watched, there was a prayer service at the National Cathedral in Washington. The entire Washington establishment was there. Much of the diplomatic corps from around the world was there as well. Afterward, the president headed to New York City, as we mentioned at the beginning of the program, and went to that area that used to be the World Trade Center.

Keeping track of the president, as he always does for us, our senior White House correspondent, John King.

JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good evening to you, Aaron. Certainly a very emotional day for the president, perhaps a significant one as well. We know, as you mentioned, the president up in New York to give a pep rally to those relief workers. That just following an effort to console the nation through that national prayer service. And as all that took place on a busy day for the president, a significant development could be hugely significant, as the administration's deliberations now turn increasingly to both immediate and long-term military options.


KING (voice-over): A firsthand look at the worst of the devastation, and a pep talk that included a promise to those pulling the dead from the rubble.

BUSH: I can hear you!


BUSH: I can hear you, the rest of the world hears you...


BUSH: And the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon.


CROWD: U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A.!

KING: After his emotional tour of New York, Mr. Bush was asked if he knew who was responsible.

BUSH: We got a suspect.

KING: But lead suspect Osama Bin Laden is an elusive challenge, and aides say one of the president's greatest challenges is convincing an angry nation to be patient.

BUSH: This conflict was begun on the timing and terms of others. It will end in a way and at an hour of our choosing.

KING: Mr. Bush declared a national emergency, and authorized a call-up of the National Guard and reservists. And Congress unanimously passed a resolution authorizing the president to use all necessary and appropriate force to retaliate.

Senior officials say they do not rule out a first wave of military strikes in the near future. But Mr. Bush is asking his national security team and other world leaders to develop a long-range plan.

For example, sources tell CNN the president is asking the leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Britain and other nations to do more to break up terrorist cells in their countries, and asking Saudi Arabia and other moderate Arab neighbors to crack down on Bin Laden's financial supporters and to take a tougher line with the Taliban in Afghanistan.

COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE: In our response, we will have to take into account not only the perpetrators, but those who provide haven, support, inspiration, financial and other assets. to the perpetrators.

KING: Mr. Bush also led the nation in a day of prayer and remembrance with former presidents, the cabinet and the Congress joining in.

BUSH: Grief and tragedy and hatred are only for a time. Goodness, remembrance and love have no end. And the Lord of life holds all who die, and all who mourn.

KING: Consoling the nation is another role for a president at times of crisis.

And a father, who knows the strains of the job well, gave his son a supportive tap.


KING: Now, senior officials telling us tonight that the weekend national security deliberations will increasingly focus on those military options. And sources telling CNN tonight they enter those discussions with one very positive development, in their view. Pakistan today -- and Pakistan borders Afghanistan -- promised to fully cooperate with any U.S. operations, including, we are told, giving U.S. war planes permission to use Pakistani airspace, if necessary -- Aaron.

BROWN: That was a very sweet moment, the two President Bushes, father and son, are very sensitive about the relationship and all of that. And when he grabs his hand and squeezes it, that was lovely, wasn't it?

KING: It certainly was. A very close relationship between these two men. This president, very sensitive because of the criticism when he was campaigning for president about how much he relies on his father for advice. The White House has put those conversations off- limits, but they have conceded, among the first people President Bush the 43rd called was his father, for advice in this crisis.

BROWN: Do we -- have we heard anything from the president at all about his reaction to the -- his tour of ground zero, if you will?

KING: We are told he told senior aides when he got back to the helicopter that he was quite emotional about it, that he was struck by it. Struck, most of all, he said, by the anger. As he shook hands along the rope line, the president trying to cheer people up. They in turn were telling him how mad they were. That is what the president told reporters and his senior staffers.

And we also know -- quite an emotional moment for the president there, and not captured on videotape -- but as the president was meeting with families, one woman in New York gave him a police badge. Her son was a Port Authority police officer killed in the devastation.

BROWN: And the weekend for the president is where -- the White House or somewhere else?

KING: The president is not at the White House this weekend, he is away. He will meet with his national security team.

We're being careful, Aaron, we should be clear to our viewers, about disclosing what we know about the president's location, because of what we are told by the administration are continuing threats. So we're going to try to be responsible. When the president is out in public, we will show him out in public. When he's not out in public, we might know where he is. We might not disclose that.

We know he is having serious conversations with his national security team over the weekend. We'll be covering those as the weekend progresses.

BROWN: John, thank you. I didn't mean to put you in an awkward situation there.

KING: Not at all.

BROWN: Thank you. I appreciate your candor on that. Thank you very much. Good work this week, too, as always.

This is -- this seems like the right time, at least. We're starting to talk about how the government might respond to what has gone on. This is a very complicated problem, and there are a number of facets to it tonight, so we'll go to CNN's Jamie McIntyre over at the Pentagon.

First, before we get into military response, there is some news tonight out of there we ought to report on first. Jamie, go ahead.

JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, a couple of things, Aaron. First of all, the death toll has been slightly revised, from 190 to 189 unaccounted for and believed dead. That's because it turns out that one person, a Department of Defense worker who was missing, turned out to have been a passenger on the plane, American Airlines Flight 77, and was therefore counted twice. The old number was 190, now it's 189. But Pentagon officials say that's still a preliminary number. It could change.

On another front, Pentagon sources tell CNN that at least four U.S. fighter jets were scrambled in an attempt to intercept the hijacked jetliners on Tuesday, but none of the planes arrived in time to take any action.

In the case of the first plane, the World Trade Center, Pentagon officials say that two armed F-15s took off about 8:52 from Otis Air National Guard Base in Massachusetts. It was about six minutes after the first plane crashed into the tower. As the planes raced toward New York, they did not arrive until after the second jetliner crashed into the second tower, so there really wasn't much they could do. Air force officials say that there wasn't really any discussion about the possibility of shooting down those planes, because they didn't really arrive in time to do that.

Now, in the case of the Pentagon, again, Air Force fighter jets were scrambled, this time out of Langley Air Force base in Virginia. Two F-16s took off about 9:35 in the morning. According to the FAA, that plane crashed into the Pentagon about 9:39, so it was three or four minutes before the incident took place, that the planes took off, but they were more than 100 miles away.

Now, the Pentagon says that it would take a presidential order for an American fighter jet to shoot down a civilian airliner, but on the "NEWS HOUR" with Jim Lehrer tonight, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz said that that might have happened if you were able to determine that the plane was not under the control of the legitimate pilot, and was about to cause massive damage.

But in both of these cases, the planes never got a chance to get close enough to even consider that.

BROWN: Going what seems like a lifetime ago, back to Tuesday, we were talking at some point Tuesday about what flight controllers, the FAA must have known that they had planes that had veered wildly off course, nowhere near where they were supposed to be, and what happened after that. There's going to be a lot of texture to this, a lot of reporting still to be done, on who knew what when, and how these orders went out, and ultimately, I suppose, what people were thinking was going on up there.

MCINTYRE: Well, they knew they had hijacked planes because they had reports from that, partly from the cell phone conversations and other data. So they knew planes were hijacked. They knew, in some cases, they had disappeared off the radar screen.

But you know, if you're a fighter pilot and you go up, and let's say you were to observe the plane approaching the Pentagon. There are some places where you could shoot down a jetliner like that and it would go into the ground and not that many people might get hurt on the ground. But this is a busy metropolitan area.

Even if you were to have gotten there in time and you were able to determine that the plane was heading for the Pentagon, and the pilot was able to get authorization, which would have had to come from the president to shoot the plane down, there's no guarantee it might not have killed even more people on the ground than it did in this case, 189, if it hit some other busy area. For instance, the Navy annex, right up the hill from the Pentagon. Or the busy shopping area, the Pentagon -- there's a Pentagon City area and a Crystal City area that are just dense with buildings. It could have been even more tragic. So if the pilot had been able to get there in time, he would have had a heck of a decision to make.

BROWN: Well, that's the other part of this, isn't it? I mean, it is -- I'm not sure there's a question here as much as there is a kind of thought, that -- imagine both the pilot, the commanders, or his bosses, if you will -- the people who would have had to make a decision to shoot down a commercial airline plane, a lot of Americans onboard, shoot it out of the sky. It's almost as unthinkable as the ultimate outcome, here.

MCINTYRE: Well, there is sort of a procedure for that. It would have involved the fighter plane, would have had to come up alongside the plane, it would have tried to establish contact with the pilot, ask what his intentions were, he's not on his flight path. Might have tried to signal the plane, then he would have had to radio for authorization. All of that would have taken time, and there wasn't that much time to react, in this case.

And even then, it would have been an agonizing decision that, again, only President Bush could have made. For a U.S. military jet to shoot down a commercial jetliner with innocent civilians onboard, it would have been an agonizing decision.

BROWN: Jamie, thanks. It's unimaginable, at least to me. Thank you for your work tonight again. We'll all be working this weekend -- I was going to say have a good weekend, but that seems about the silliest thing I could think of right now.



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