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America's New War: Resolve and Remembrance

Aired September 15, 2001 - 20:01   ET


ANNOUNCER: This is a special report: "America's New War: Resolve and Remembrance." Calling on those in uniform to get ready, President Bush says flatly, America is at war.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And we will do whatever it takes to smoke them out and get them running. And we'll get them.


ANNOUNCER: But is there a military solution? We'll hear from our correspondents. We'll speak live with former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. And we'll be joined by Jeff Greenfield: Why Adversaries Underestimate the United States.

As America begins burying its dead, a father's frantic search for his missing daughter. And we'll take you to New York's ground zero for a look at rescue crews searching for signs of life. And what they're up against. Who did it, the worldwide investigation. And, we'll hear how some hijackers learned to fly right here in the U.S. And we'll speak live with the man who ran their flight school.

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


BLITZER: Over the next hour we will look closely at America's military options. What will and will not work to take care of the terrorists who cause Tuesday's deadly destruction.

VAN SUSTEREN: And we'll look at the state of the investigation. We'll follow the trail left by the hijackers and their accomplices.

BLITZER: But first let's update the developments at this hour. Meeting this morning with his National Security Team, President Bush said the terror attacks will not stand. He called Osama bin Laden the prime suspect and said America is in a war which it will win.

With security concerns high across the country in the wake of the attacks, troops were on the scene tonight outside the Pentagon to aid in the efforts to remove a suspicious package. The investigation into Tuesday's deadly attacks continues with an arrest warrant issued for a second material witness. And even as New York begins laying the first victims to rest, officials say hope is alive. Rescue crews continue their desperate search in the rubble of the twin towers where close to 5000 people are still missing.

After tests of communications links, the Chairman of the New York Stock Exchange says all systems are go for Monday's reopening of both the New York Stock Exchange and the Nasdaq. Police, fire and emergency representatives will ring the opening bell. Two of the four flights that were hijacked Tuesday, originated at Boston's Logan airport. Amid heightened security and jangled nerves, Logan reopened today. But Washington's Reagan National airport remains closed. Airlines are being allowed to remove stranded planes, but there is no word on when or if the airport which is near the Pentagon and the White House will be back in business.

The airline business is hurting badly. Continental today furloughed 12,000 workers while urging Congress to help keep the industry going in the wake of the terrorists attacks. Continental's chairman says, the industry is losing up to $300 million a day. President Bush says the United States is at war and vows to track down those responsible for this week's devastating terror attacks. Officials are not ruling out the use of ground troops.

Let's go live now to the Pentagon and CNN's military affairs correspondent, Jamie McIntyre for the latest -- Jamie.

JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN MILITARY AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well Wolf, those were the words, "we're at war" from President Bush today up at Camp David, where he met with his national security team to plot strategy, their next move. Bush seemed to be preparing the United States public for a sweeping and sustained military campaign. These were some of his strongest words since the Tuesday attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, and he seemed to be preparing Americans for what could be a long campaign against those responsible for the deadly attacks.


BUSH: They will try to hide, they will try to avoid the United States and our allies, but we're not going to let them. They run to the hills, they find holes to get in and we will do whatever it takes to smoke them out and get them running. And we'll get them. And listen this is a great nation. We're kind people, none of us could have envisioned the barbaric acts of these terrorists. But they have stirred up the might of the American people, and we're going to get them. For however long it takes.


MCINTYRE: The United States seemed to be also moving closer to naming Osama Bin Laden as the person responsible for these. Again President Bush calling him simply, the prime suspect. At that Camp David session, he was flanked by both Vice President Dick Cheney, and Secretary of State Colin Powell.


COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE: What we have to do is not just go after these perpetrators and those who gave them haven, but the whole curse of terrorism that is upon the face of earth. And this is a campaign that we have begun this week, and we will stick with it until we are successful.


MCINTYRE: And again, no one here is giving any indication of precisely what kind of military response may be in the offing, but again, White House spokesman Ari Fleischer today, that he did not rule out the use of ground troops. Wolf,

BLITZER: Jamie, is there any indication from your sources over there, or elsewhere in Washington about the nature of the specific military action the United States might be preparing for?

MCINTYRE: Well they are playing it pretty close to the vest, Wolf, but you get the feeling here of a couple of things. One, I have been talking to people at the Pentagon, I have a feeling that nothing is imminent, certainly not in the next couple of days. And two, you get the feeling that when they are talking about this sustained campaign, they are not necessarily talking about military strikes day after day, but a long campaign of pressure that would be punctuated by perhaps aerial bombings and even perhaps the use of special forces on the ground to try to snatch or kill Osama bin Laden.

The big thing that's changed here is the so-called zero-casualty mentality. Before this, the Pentagon had to be sure that they were going to take almost no casualties in an operation. But now, with the number of casualties here in the United States mounting, public support will be behind the Pentagon, even if some of the troops lose their lives in the pursuit and the fight against terrorism -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Jamie McIntyre, at the Pentagon, thank you very much. He knows as much as anyone about long bitter conflicts. He won the Nobel Peace Prize for his role in the Vietnam Accord, and he invented Shuttle Diplomacy in the Middle East.

Joining us now from Kent, Connecticut is the former Secretary of State Dr. Henry Kissinger. Dr. Kissinger, welcome to our program. And let me just begin by asking you this. The United States had a bitter experience in a guerrilla war in Vietnam, the Soviets had a bitter experience in a guerrilla war in Afghanistan, what makes U.S. officials, perhaps even you, think the United States will have any better experience in Afghanistan than the Russians had?

HENRY KISSINGER, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: This is a different kind of war. In Vietnam we tried to control the territory and to preserve it from a communist attack. In Afghanistan the Russians tried to conquer the whole territory. The purpose of whatever operations are being considered now is not to hold any territory, not to occupy any territory but to get the terrorists on the run, as Secretary Powell said and to keep them on the run. And make it impossible for them to operate, and to destroy them if we can. BLITZER: So what is the best military and diplomatic step, if you will, that the United States can pursue right now?

KISSINGER: I would make a distinction between two kinds of actions. One is retaliation against the perpetrators of this outrage. And when we have identified them and I think we are near enough that Osama Bin Laden, whether he was behind this one or not, has been behind enough of them that he is clearly an international terrorist. Second is, to break up the networks that exist independent of Osama Bin Laden around the world. For the first, once we have identified the target, we should go after it by means that the Pentagon can describe better than I can.

For the second one, I think countries have to be put on notice that safe haven will no longer -- for terrorists -- will no longer be accepted by the United States. These terrorists cannot undertake the actions that we have experienced last week unless they have a base from which they operate, unless they have an organization, communications. It takes a long planning, and we cannot permit them the period of quiet in which they prepare and which they strike us. So I think we should declare a policy that safe havens will not be accepted. And that therefore governments run the risk, not just from the terrorists whom they may be afraid, but of American and hopefully other countries' reaction. And it shouldn't be only military...

BLITZER: Well let me...

KISSINGER: ... countries that offer safe havens should be cut off from communications with other countries if at all possible.

BLITZER: Well is that the extent of it. You say that safe havens should not be permitted, should the United States go to war against these countries?

KISSINGER: No, they shouldn't go -- technically -- to war, but the countries should be put on notice first that there will be severe penalties. Countries that tolerate terrorist bases on their soil, hopefully will be cut off from all visas, from all financial transactions, and from all economic reactions.

Secondly, we and our allies should reserve the right to strike militarily at these bases, and at institutions that support these bases. That shouldn't be the first step, but it should be a step that is clearly available. Because now that this outrage has been committed, we should not stop until the back of these terrorists networks have been broken.

BLITZER: Which leads me to my next question, Dr. Kissinger, the sensitive issue of assassination. The executive order on the books right now in the United States says this, "No person employed by or acting on behalf of the United States Government shall engage in or conspire to engage in assassination."

We spoke about ten days or so ago, before these terrorists attacks, about this issue in connection with the Israeli policy. At that time, you said -- and I'm quoting you -- "It is the absolutely correct policy of the United States not to engage in assassination as an act of governmental policy." Is this an extraordinary circumstance that has now developed?

KISSINGER: I think as a basic policy, it is the correct policy of the United States. But, we may have to review a number of the restrictions that have been put on intelligence services to prevent a repetition of what happened, or anything like what has happened.

BLITZER: And I think you would agree...

KISSINGER: And it would -- but that is a very extreme step which we should look at with extreme care.

BLITZER: But a lot of experts have pointed out, and you probably will agree, that even if Osama bin Laden, who may or may not have been responsible for these acts were captured or killed, the problem would not necessarily be resolved.

KISSINGER: I think it would be a terrible mistake if we got, if we became so obsessed with Osama bin Laden that we would be satisfied with the destruction of his, himself, or of his own headquarters. This is now a wakeup call for a systematic attack on all terrorists groups of international reach.

BLITZER: Dr. Kissinger, I want you to listen to the very strong, powerful words uttered today by President Bush. Listen to this.


BUSH: We are at war. There has been an act of war declared upon America by terrorists and we will respond accordingly. And I appreciate very much the American people understanding that.


BLITZER: Do you have any fear that President Bush may be under too much pressure to respond quickly without a well thought out plan?

KISSINGER: I'm not going to second-guess President Bush. I totally support what he has said. I think the American people should support him. I hope and expect that there will be a plan that will not be satisfied with one retaliatory strike, but that goes to the heart of the problem. And I have every confidence through my knowledge of the people involved that that is what they will do.

BLITZER: Dr. Kissinger, looking back over the past many years, how did the United States get itself into this current predicament?

KISSINGER: Well it is very difficult for a society like ours, which has such an ease of social contact to come up against people whose hatred is so deep, that they live off their hatred. That they are willing to destroy themselves and thousands of innocent civilians in order to achieve their fundamental objective, which is really to change the structure of societies.

So what we have done up to now, when there has been a terrorists attack, we treated it as a criminal act, and we thought we'd concentrate on the individuals who did it, bring them to justice. And believe that that was a deterrent. But the ones we can catch are secondary individuals anyway. Or we would take, make a one-time retaliation, which was usually very ineffective. I understand that, it is very hard for a society like ours to understand the nature of terrorism.

And in fact when allies of ours, like Israel were faced with terrorism, we always urged them to take a very measured response. Now we are faced with a situation where we have experienced it on our own territory. We've never faced an attack on the Continental United States, never been attacked with such magnitude. But the people who perpetrated this attack misunderstood America. And I believe we are now going to go after them and root it out, and that's what we have to do.

BLITZER: Dr. Kissinger, it is always good to hear from you. Thank you so much for joining us.

KISSINGER: Pleasure to be on.

BLITZER: Thank you, and President Bush says this will be, in his words, quote, "A different kind of conflict against a different kind of enemy."

To find out why, let's turn to our CNN national security correspondent David Ensor.

David, tell us why this is different?

DAVID ENSOR, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, for so many reasons. The whole field is different, there are so many different reasons why it is, and let me go to them.


(voice-over): An angry and determined President is promising action.

BUSH: We will find those who did it. We will smoke em out of their holes.

ENSOR: But if Osama bin Laden is the culprit, revenge against him or against his hosts, the Afghan Taliban government will not be easy. Cruise missiles in 1998 missed bin Laden and may only have strengthened his image. Even if bin Laden is killed, many analysts say that would not stop terrorism by his followers.

GEN. WILLIAM ODOM (RET), FORMER NSA DIRECTOR: I would want to destroy as much of bin Laden as possible. I'm simply saying, that's like picking a wart off your neck or something. That doesn't do much, that's a very superficial blow against this kind of capability.

M.J. GOHEL, SECURITY AND TERRORISM EXPERT: To get rid of one man, or to launch any kind of revenge attack, isn't going to help. Revenge alone is not an answer. There has to be a complete eradication and elimination of all the training camps.

ENSOR: But bombing alone would not likely achieve that, and there are indications those terrorists training camps in Afghanistan are today largely empty.

Much of bin Laden's support is across the border in Pakistan in the area around Pishauer (ph). One reason the promise by Pakistani President Musharraf to help the U.S. against the terrorists could be crucial.

POWELL: We especially want to thank the president and the people of Pakistan for the support that they have offered and their willingness to assist us in whatever might be required in that part of the world as we determine who these perpetrators are.

ENSOR: But can Musharraf convince his military, and intelligence services to stop their long and active support for the Taliban?

GOHEL: Pakistan is supplying fuel, funding, infrastructure, training, arms and administer to help the Taliban. Without the Pakistani lifeline, the Taliban would not survive.

ENSOR: Senior administration officials warn, none of this is going to be easy or quick, and that the United States can not do it alone. It could in fact take years, analysts say, of political, economic and military effort, before Americans can over come their newfound fear of mass terrorism on U.S. soil.

PAUL BREMER, FORMER COUNTERINTELLIGENCE AMBASSADOR: We're talking about a war and it's a campaign. And in any campaign there are going to be a lot of battles. We're going to win some of these battles, we're going to lose some of these battles. There are going to be more civilian casualties on both sides. More Americans will die.


ENSOR: Before it's over, many analysts believe that U.S. ground troops in the region may be required. For now though, the main effort of the Bush team is diplomacy, an effort to build a strong international coalition, much as the President's father did before the Gulf war, Will.

BLITZER: Well, the U.S., the Bush Administration says David, they are getting good response from Pakistan. What's to suggest that there will be the appropriate follow-up in addition to just the...

ENSOR: Well that's right, they have at least, first of all, been told that the first requests are possible. And one of those was overflights. So that makes it possible to take military action, flying over Pakistani territory. But of course if there has to be ground troops into Afghanistan, Pakistan is the obvious staging post. They would need that, and that would be very, very difficult for Musharraf to say yes to. It could lead to insurrection in Pakistan.

BLITZER: Is that right, David Ensor, our national security correspondent, thanks for joining us.

What kind of options does the U.S. military have? Our CNN military consultant General Wesley Clark joins us now.

General Clark, when you were NATO's Supreme Allied Commander, there was a war in the Balkans, you got the job done mostly through air power. What are the military options in dealing presumably with Osama bin Laden and his network of terrorists.

GEN. WESLEY CLARK, FORMER NATO SUPREME ALLIED COMMANDER: Well I think we have to start by following up on everything that has been said so far. Principally, we're in a diplomatic effort to build a coalition. When we get that diplomatic coalition built, then we expect support. We expect information, we expect action by police forces and interior ministry forces in these various countries.

It may be their own forces going against the terrorists cells. We expect these people to be detained, we expect to get information about this that will help us crack open other terrorist cells and go after their headquarters. None of that necessarily involves the US military. And ideally, their will be no requirement for U.S. military forces. The ideal world is the Taliban would have a change of heart and turn in Osama bin Laden. Now that's not very likely. But that's the course of action that is the most desirable in this case.

Whatever we do though, the world knows, it's backed up by America military might. And what we've got in this case is the full arsenal of the United States at work. We saw it in Kosovo.

BLITZER: You're standing, General Clark, in front of a map. Show our viewers the complication in military action in presumably Afghanistan. We've done air strikes with cruise missiles in Afghanistan in the past in 1998. But, it is a long way into Afghanistan and I don't know exactly the route of the cruise missiles. But however they came, they came a long way. They take time to fly. We've got permission now to use Pakistan's air space if necessary. But cruise missiles are limited. You launch them, they're on a fixed target, and they are only going to strike facilities, a fixed point in the ground. So we've got other options.

We could use manned bombers, they are more flexible. We've got options to put small teams in there who could direct the forces. We've got options to put slightly larger teams in there who could actually engage small groups of terrorists, detain them, bring them to justice or fight it out if that was necessary and extract them. And finally, we've got an option, if we had to, we could put larger forces in. But all of these options take careful preparation, staging and timing.

BLITZER: General Clark let me interrupt for a second. If you look at that map, you see Pakistan, you see Iran, you see the former Central Asian countries of the Soviet Union. None of which seem to be a good staging point for US military force, if there is going to be ground force for example.

CLARK: This has got to be the toughest area in the world to go after. It is a long way from the ocean, we don't have the mileage scale on this. But this is hundreds of miles, this distance right here. And to get in there, we would probably stage through Pakistan. Other armies had followed this invasion route, the British did, up to Kabul, twice in the 19th century. It is a very tough route. We could stage through the states of Central Asia, the Russians have done that. That also is very tough.

But remember, what we are going after here is a network of terrorists. We're not going to occupy a country, we're not fighting a state. In that sense, it is totally different than World War II. It's what the President means, it's a new kind of war. We've got the military muscle behind us, but the first line of action is diplomatic, intelligence, informational, and police.

BLITZER: General Wesley Clark, thanks once again for joining us, we really appreciate your insight.

CLARK: Thank you.

BLITZER: Thank you, and life goes on for many thousands who live near ground zero in lower Manhattan. But it is not life as usual. And likely never will be again.

CNN's Brian Palmer joins us now with more on that -- Brian.

BRIAN PALMER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good evening, Wolf, tonight we're actually in Jersey City, New Jersey just across the Hudson River from what used to be the magnificent skyline of lower Manhattan. This afternoon we were walking around the neighborhoods just north of the blast zone and the contained zone talking to residents who fled the blast, but who are trickling back in to pick up belongings, but they are not staying.


KEVIN SEGALLA, LOWER MANHATTAN RESIDENT: This morning, I'm standing by the door there and I hear the plane. And I look up and I see this huge explosion.

PALMER (voice-over): Film producer Kevin Segalla saw the obliteration of a landmark from his terrace, with his one-year old son, Griffin. Segalla and his wife Michelle returned to their apartment for the first time.

SEGALLA: My life, the moment that plane went into the building, really pretty much stopped. I think everybody's lives have stopped. I don't live here any more. I haven't been to work again.

PALMER: This was the view from his terrace that day, this is the view now. The area around ground zero covers about five square miles, and was home to roughly 50,000 people. When the towers collapsed, the familiar rhythm of life stopped in this corner of Manhattan. The West Side Highway, one of the main roads downtown, now the primary route for the massive recovery operation, as well as a staging area for the effort, complete with a mobile animal hospital. On the once bustling street corners of fashionable Triabeca (ph), military checkpoints. 20 miles of high-voltage cable, all installed since Tuesday, snaked through the streets of lower Manhattan. Shuttered stores and a few reminders of the devastation just seven blocks away. Few shoppers, many curious passers-by and shell-shocked residents. Many moving in with family and friends north of the area.

HOLLY HAFF, LOWER MANHATTAN RESIDENT: Everyone is so focused on the rescue that all of us in the neighborhood who are displaced, you know, are really secondary. And that's how it should be except we don't know what to do. So we're hoping to try to organize amongst ourselves.

SEGALLA: Every bit of activity out there is geared towards this disaster, and you walk out there and you can't get it out of your head if you are seeing it every second.

PALMER: Seeing it every second, living like this for months. Normal life as it was before, likely years away.


PALMER: Wolf, it was almost like people were apologetic about telling their stories, saying certainly their suffering couldn't match the suffering of those people who lost their lives or the people who lost loved ones. But I think these examples represent the ripple effect that such a horrific event has throughout a community, though out a city and then across the whole world. Wolf.

BLITZER: Brian, I can't get over that view right behind you, that view that used to have the World Trade Center, the twin towers right there. You've spoken to people who have been looking at that view for years and now for few days of a very different view. What are they saying to you?

PALMER: Similar to the things you have been hearing all week, disbelief, people call it surreal. I just got up to this position about an hour ago, and I couldn't stop looking at it. Because it is almost like our idea of permanence has changed. These two solid and enduring landmarks just disappeared.

BLITZER: Brian Palmer just across the river from Manhattan, thank you so much for being with us tonight.

And a final farewell today in New York to three of the city's many heroes, firefighters who lost their lives in the Trade Center attacks. Hundreds turn out to mourn 68-year-old Franciscan priest Michael Judge, who had been the fire department's chaplain for 10 years. He died while administering last rites to a fallen fire fighter. The priest who eulogized him said, even at the end of his life, the chaplain commanded respect.


(MUSIC) REV. MICHAEL DUFFY: I think it was beautiful. The fireman took his body, and because they respected and loved him so much, they didn't want to leave it in the street. So they quickly carried it into a church, and not just left it in the vestibule, they went up the center aisle, they put the body over the altar, they covered it with a sheet and on the sheet they placed his stole and his fire badge. And then they knelt down, and they thanked God.



BLITZER: Also laid to rest today, former federal prosecutor and conservative commentator Barbara Olson. The wife of the U.S. Solicitor General Theodore Olson was among the 64 passengers and crew members on the American Airlines flight that crashed into the Pentagon. Barbara was eulogized by Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, who said she had a wonderful spirit. She was also a good friend to all of us at CNN.

My colleague Greta Van Susteren is standing by here in Washington. For the next half hour she will focus on the investigation into Tuesday's terrorist attacks -- Greta.

VAN SUSTEREN: Wolf, investigators are connecting the dots, and the line still points at Osama bin Laden. President Bush today called bin Laden, quote, "the prime suspect." But there are still plenty of unanswered questions about Tuesday's terrorist attacks on the U.S.

CNN's Mike Boettcher is in Atlanta with the very latest on the investigation.

Mike, let me first start right with the most important question: Is it all over -- the terrorism on Tuesday? Has it stopped, or should we still have fear?

I guess we've lost contact with Mike Boettcher. When he becomes available we'll bring him right back.

But as details of the terrorism plot unfold, ordinary people are discovering, to their horror, that they knew some of the hijackers. One man not only knew a couple of them, he helped teach them to fly.

CNN's John Zarrella has his story.



JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Henry George is carrying a terrible weight, a burden he says he will carry to his grave.

GEORGE: I don't have an extensive vocabulary where I can come up with words to express, you know, how you feel to have been part of this thing.

ZARRELLA: Last December 29 and 30 at his Opa Locka flight training school, George gave two Middle Eastern men some basic lessons in a simulator on how to fly a jet aircraft. The to men was Mohammad Atta and Marawn Alshehhi. Federal law enforcement agents believe Atta and Alshehhi were likely flying the planes that hit the World Trade Center towers.

The story they gave their flight instructor was this:

GEORGE: They were on their way home and they wanted the exposure to jet flying, or an introduction to jet flying because they were hoping to get a job with their airline in their country.

ZARRELLA: George says Egypt was mentioned once or twice.

No less than 12 of the 19 suspected hijackers lived in south Florida for a time. Federal agents believe at least four of the pilots trained here, spending tens of thousands of dollars, mostly cash, on flying lessons. Florida made sense -- flight training schools are everywhere. It's a huge business. They could get all the training they needed and never spend too much time in one place.

Atta and Alshehhi first surfaced at Huffman Aviation in Venice, on Florida's west coast, where they took lessons. That was six months before they showed up at Henry George's flight school, which wasn't their final stop. One of the two, Atta, as recently as three weeks ago rented this plane at Palm Beach Flight Training.

MARIANNE SMITH, PALM BEACH FLIGHT TRAINING: He was a normal person, very well spoken. He just said he wanted to build 100 hours and he wanted to fly a low-wing aircraft. So I showed him our airplanes, and he decided that he wanted to fly this one right here.

ZARRELLA: The Opa Locka flight instructor had a similar experience with Atta and Alshehhi. They were low-key, and in the simulator there was nothing special about their flying abilities.

GEORGE: What I can recollect from my memories is that we mostly did turns and a couple of approaches. I don't think we did any more than that.

ZARRELLA: What they didn't do, George says, is practice how to land.

John Zarrella, CNN, Miami.


VAN SUSTEREN: Joining me from Fort Myers, Florida is someone else who has suddenly discovered you cannot tell a terrorist from an ordinary guy.

Rudy Deckers is president of Huffman Aviation, a flight school that John Zarrella just mentioned.

Rudy, which terrorist -- or which one of the suspected terrorists did you come in contact with?


I've spoken with Mohammed Atta and Marawn Alshehhi.

VAN SUSTEREN: Let me first talk about Mr. Atta. What was it -- was there anything about him that was unusual about him to you?

DEKKERS: The only thing that was unusual was when I saw him I didn't like him at all. He had a behavior that he felt he was above everybody. He was not acting normal by making contact with people. He was there, apparently, with our flight school to obtain training, and he was not socializing with anybody. As a matter of fact, he was rude to everybody.

VAN SUSTEREN: When did you first meet Mr. Atta?

DEKKERS: When did I meet Atta, is that what you said?

VAN SUSTEREN: Yes, when did you first meet him?

DEKKERS: He came into our facility July 3, 2000. He left January 3 this year.

VAN SUSTEREN: And Mr. Alshehhi, was there anything unusual about him?

DEKKERS: No, he was a likely (sic) young man. He was very friendly, laughing. He enjoyed flying. He was more normal, to say. Of course, we don't call him normal anymore for what they did. But they were not socializing with anybody else. The two stuck together and didn't socialize with any other students. We are used to that with Middle East students, though.

VAN SUSTEREN: When Mr. Atta was training did he get extensive training with you?

DEKKERS: When Atta walked into our facility and checked it out, he showed that he already had a private pilot license obtained with another school somewhere in Florida.

VAN SUSTEREN: So what did he want from you?

DEKKERS: I can't hear you.

VAN SUSTEREN: What did he want from you? What kind of training did he want from you?

DEKKERS: OK. They obtained both their private, commercial, single-engine, multi-engine training. They did the multi-engine training in a Seneca 2. It's a six-seater, two-engine; it's a very small airplane.

VAN SUSTEREN: Now Rudi, is the training that they received on a small airplane, was it enough to steer a big aircraft to a target? DEKKERS: Well, no. I have said no, although I'm not a professional on the big airplanes, only on the small airplanes. We checked with some captains of airlines and they said no. We heard, indeed, that they went somewhere in south Florida to obtain more training in a simulator, and as I understand they trained in a 737. And that's where they got some more experience. But with our licenses they were only at the start to begin to fly with other equipment, but they needed to get training.

VAN SUSTEREN: Looking back, Rudi is there anything you think to yourself tonight, oh, I should have been -- this should have been a tip to me or a clue that there might be something afoot.

DEKKERS: No. We found nothing. Even now, we know what they did, we couldn't find anything that was -- a sense of anything. Atta was just not a likable person. We couldn't find anything. I heard you saying -- or one of your colleagues saying that they paid cash with our facilities. At our facility they had paid with checks as they were going. They paid $1,000 check, two weeks later another $1,000 check. There was nothing unregular (sic). All the students who come over to the facility from overseas, they come there to obtain the commercial license to fly back home in an airline. And there was nothing, absolutely nothing, that we had any clue what they were doing.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, Rudi Dekkers, thanks for joining me this evening.

This terrorists not only attended flight school in Florida, they rented cars there. Brad Warrick now knows he did repeat business with one of them. He joins me from Fort Lauderdale.

Brad, with whom did you do business?

BRAD WARRICK, WARRICK'S RENT-A-CAR: Both Mohammad Atta and his cousin Marawn.

VAN SUSTEREN: And did you notice anything unusual about them?

WARRICK: No, the funny part is everything was totally on the up- and-up. All their information matched. They had driver's licenses -- Florida driver's license, Allstate Insurance, addresses on everything matched. They seemed to be a normal customer with not a very heavy accent at all.

VAN SUSTEREN: Brad, now the first time you are rented a car, as I know, to Mr. Atta it was in August of this year. Is that right?

WARRICK: That's right, August 6 was the very first time.

VAN SUSTEREN: How is it that you even remember renting a car to him, since I assume you rent lots of cars.

WARRICK: Well, the funny part -- the funny coincidence is I was the person that rented the car to him each time he was in, and I closed the contract each time he was in except for the very last time on Sunday; I was not working that day, and somebody else took care of the cousin when the cousin returned the car. But other than that, it was myself all the time.

VAN SUSTEREN: Did you actually have a conversation with him, and spend some time talking to him while he was at the counter, or was it strictly business?

WARRICK: No, we didn't engage in any personal conversation as to what he was doing or where he was going, other than he told me he was going over to the west coast; and he actually even called me from the west coast once when he was over there. But other than that it was all strictly normal business.

VAN SUSTEREN: Did he tell you his occupation?

WARRICK: No he did not.

VAN SUSTEREN: Did you have any indication that there might bed something afoot with him?

WARRICK: No, actually he spoke to be a very intelligent man and conducted himself as such. And I thought he was just a businessman that was doing some travel in the state of Florida. And also when he left one time he returned a car and said he was going up to New York and was coming back in a few days. He did, and started another contract. So I just thought he was another businessman.

VAN SUSTEREN: Was it weird that he started one contract, ended it and started another one? Was that unusual at all?

WARRICK: No, because he left to go up to New York and he came back.

VAN SUSTEREN: What about the second car that he rented? I understand he put about 1,000 miles on it within about two weeks.

WARRICK: Actually, no, he put 1,900 miles on it over the course of two weeks. And that was the car he took over to Venice. He called me from Venice to let me know that the "service engine soon" light comes on -- the car needed to be serviced, and wanted to know if that was something he should be alarmed about.

I said, no, just let me know when you bring the car back.

VAN SUSTEREN: Is it unusual to put 1,900 miles on a car in that period of time or not?

WARRICK: Well, a local person wouldn't be, but if it's a person traveling around the state like tourists do or business people do -- I mean, it's nothing to send up a red flag of any type of alarm, because some people do rent a car to do some traveling.

VAN SUSTEREN: What was your impression of him?

WARRICK: My impression of him was, number one, he was a nice, polite man. I never had any problem with him. And he was very intelligent and appeared to be a businessman.

VAN SUSTEREN: When you read about the fact that his name -- at least people believe that he was one of the hijackers, what did you think?

WARRICK: Well, I was shocked as the pieces of the puzzled started unfolding here and I realized how much we were involved in it and how much close contact I had with an international terrorist. Yes, it was quite shocking.

VAN SUSTEREN: And when he brought the car back, I assume there were no problems, nothing unusual whatsoever?

WARRICK: No, he looked out for my best interests and let me know about a car that needed to be serviced. They didn't trash the cars or abuse them at all.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, my thanks to Brad Warrick for joining me this evening.

WARRICK: You're welcome.

VAN SUSTEREN: Joining me on the phone right now is Richard Serma. He owns a motel in Deerfield Beach, Florida. Some of the men suspected of being terrorists apparently stayed there studying flight manuals.

Good evening, sir.


VAN SUSTEREN: Can you tell me what you know about these suspected terrorists?

SERMA: They were nice people, average-acting, and fairly intelligent, I would say. And they kept to themselves.

VAN SUSTEREN: When did they first rent a room?

SERMA: They came in August 26 for one week; they paid. And then they paid again another week, September 2. They stayed until September the 9th.

VAN SUSTEREN: And how many men were there?

SERMA: Two in one room, but one extra visitor kept visiting them every single day.

VAN SUSTEREN: And do you know who that was?

SERMA: No. It never dawned on me to ask. One time he slept there overnight just before they checked out the next day, and my wife asked him, what are you doing here? But then, they were gentle people, so she left them alone.

VAN SUSTEREN: Was there anything left in the room after they moved out that was unusual?

SERMA: Just one utility knife. One of those razor -- box-cutter things. And some -- a box of frozen food that looked like spinach, but it was in Arabic, so I couldn't -- I didn't know what it was inside.

VAN SUSTEREN: When you say utility knife, could you describe it more fully please?

SERMA: It was kind of thin. The newer type, not the bulky one.

VAN SUSTEREN: Is it the kind of knife that you'd buy at your local hardware store, just a regular carpet knife or box knife?

SERMA: Yes, yes.

VAN SUSTEREN: And have you -- has that been turned over to the FBI?

SERMA: The FBI took it, put it in the bags.

VAN SUSTEREN: And have they done sort of forensic testing of the room? Have they fingerprinted the room and looked at it?

SERMA: Yes, they did. They sealed it off completely and they stayed here for three days, three nights dusting and putting some violet dye on it. There was also some things in the dumpster that they threw out. That was a thing I kept.

VAN SUSTEREN: Which was -- what else was in the dumpster?

SERMA: Well, there was flight manuals and a lot of maps from the eastern part of the United States. But they were nautical maps, and there was also a fuel tester. It looked like a giant syringe. And also there was a German-English dictionary and three marital arts books.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, thank up very much for joining me tonight, sir.

SERMA: You're welcome.

VAN SUSTEREN: Now to CNN's Mike Boettcher in Atlanta with the very latest on the investigation.

Mike, when I thought I had contact with you before, I wanted to know the answer to the question is the fear over? Has the terrorism on Tuesday stopped?

MIKE BOETTCHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, to tell you very precisely, Greta, on Wednesday I talked to several intelligence sources who said, quote, "It's not over." And then David Ensor, our national security correspondent, took it a step further after that and he talked to his sources who said there are still terrorist cells in this country who may be trying to launch terrorist attacks. So the bottom line, Greta, is it's not over and it won't be over for a long time.

VAN SUSTEREN: When you say there are terrorist cells in this country, is there any more information in terms of geography -- where they might be, what they might attempt to do? Are we learning anything at all?

BOETTCHER: What I am trying to piece together is the potential -- and I'm still working on this, but it appears clear that there was a concerted effort to insert cells over the past few years into this country. That seems obvious; but it wasn't the normal tit-for-tat sort of terrorism. This was a much more concerted effort.

How many? Numbers? I don't know. These people operate in what are called sleeper cells, a lot of them. They go over somewhere else, overseas for training, come back here get additional training, like the pilots in this whole terrorist act, and then they lead normal lives. And then someone activates them and they commit their deed.

So, you know, it's a tough thing for the FBI, for the CIA, for any of these people to try to know exactly what they're doing because it is so closely knit, these particular sleeper cells. And a lot of them don't know each other, anyway.

VAN SUSTEREN: Mike, what about the people who are in custody? What do we know about them?

BOETTCHER: Well, there are two material witnesses now, one in custody, one not. The one in custody was arrested Thursday when the airport reopened at JFK. He was onboard an aircraft and he was caught with a fake pilot's ID. He wasn't in the cockpit, he was a passenger.

And then you see the two people up here on the screen, they are two material -- they are not material witnesses, rather, they are two men who were taken off a train in Fort Worth, Texas, one of 25 people now held by the Immigration and Naturalization Service who are being questioned by the FBI. On these two were found box cutters. Now, similar weapons, authorities believe, were used in the hijacking of the four aircraft.

VAN SUSTEREN: Is there a certain strategy that the investigators are following in trying to track these people down?

BOETTCHER: The strategy they have an adopted early on is to look to the past to try to figure out what happened this time, because bin Laden -- even though this is a much bigger operation -- bin Laden operates pretty consistently in the way he organizations his troops.

There is this manual, which we have in our possession, that was introduced in the embassy bombing trials in New York. And they follow that pretty closely in terms of operations, communications, transportation. And so they've gone back to past cases like Kobar Towers. And they've also gone to the USS Cole bombing.

And in terms of that, the Cole, they've found a connection between a couple of the people, the hijackers in this most recent incident and the Cole bombing. The CIA apparently had surveillance set up in Kuala Lumper on a suspect in the Cole bombing. One of the people who was the hijacker who crashed the plane into the Pentagon was seen in that surveillance video.

A couple of weeks before Tuesday's incident, the FBI was told by the CIA to be on the lookout for these two -- for one guy and his associate; both of them were on the American Airlines plane that went down. And they've opened an investigation.

Now, what happened after they opened that investigation, we don't know.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, Mike Boettcher, thanks very much for joining us tonight.

Almost 5,000 people are unaccounted for in New York. The crushing agony of not knowing what has become of them has paralyzed parents, families, friends and many Americans.

CNN's Candy Crowley introduces us to one man who is living this nightmare.


DAVID VINCENT: Yes, Dan? Yes, this is David Vincent.

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He's an Eastman-Kodak executive from Webster, New York, a man with a problem to solve; a man on a mission.

VINCENT: The house is being set up so that I can make the best use of my time, because you're working a timeline here. You have to get to your daughter as fast as you can.

CROWLEY: Melissa is missing. She's a technology recruiter at Alliance Consulting.

VINCENT: Be we know that they're -- that's 102nd floor of tower one.

CROWLEY: The enormity of what's happened in David Vincent's life shows on his face, but does not slow his step.

VINCENT: The police take a picture, the police focus on the picture to the get her face out there so that...

CROWLEY: Working on three hours sleep and a couple of crackers, he protects his fondest hopes, battles his worst fears, and sometimes loses.

VINCENT: I don't have any video of her. To be honest with you, Melissa didn't like to be videod. She used to holler at me every time I did.

CROWLEY: "I'd give anything," he says, "to have her holler at me right now."

It's a rare lapse. Mostly there is a desperate monotony to his mission.

VINCENT: I know she made a 911 call at 9:02:07.

CROWLEY: It's all that David Vincent knows about what happened to his eldest daughter. It's enough to hang hope on.

VINCENT: When we went back to the cell phone provider, the only thing that we had that they could tell us is that there was a 911 made from that cell phone at 9:02, which was some 17 minutes after the jet had piled into the thing.

CROWLEY: 9:02:07: he tells it to everyone he talks to. He clings to it for dear life because, of course, it is.

VINCENT: I need to know where she was when she made that call because that will tell me whether she was downstairs just getting off the path and maybe in a void someplace downstairs or whether I have to understand that she was upstairs on 102 and have to wonder whether she was able to get out or not able to get out.

CROWLEY: By evening David Vincent has pretty much worn out the corner of 26th and Lexington, and his cell battery is fading, so he moves on.

Craig Spitzer is CEO of Alliance. Seven employees; everyone thought to be in the building that morning are missing. He cannot, will not, bring himself to believe they're gone.

(on camera): Somewhere in your head you know they're gone, right?

CRAIG SPITZER, CEO, ALLIANCE: I'm not going say that to you right now.

CROWLEY: You can't?

SPITZER: No; and I won't. And I won't for myself, and I won't for the people in there.

CROWLEY (voice-over): In there is a roomful of people who have loved someone too long to give up so soon. And what's left after hope is unthinkable. It is why they agreed to expose this rawest of human times to the glare of the camera lens, because maybe somebody out there has information about Roland (ph); something that will keep his brother moving,.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I go to sleep with hope; I wake up at night.

CROWLEY: And perhaps somebody saw Eric (ph) in a stairwell racing to safety.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We don't know. Maybe he's out there someplace, got hit on the head and he doesn't know who he is. You know, maybe he's unconscious and he doesn't have any identification on him.

CROWLEY: And as it turns out, nobody can say for sure that Melissa was in the office for that 8:30 meeting.

VINCENT: I have too tell you, Craig, that's the best news that I could possibly hear, because what you're telling me is you can't confirm Melissa in that office space, and that's what I had to know. That what keeps me going.

CROWLEY: So if you know anything about Melissa, call her father. He'd give anything to hear her holler at him again.

Candy Crowley, CNN, New York.


VAN SUSTEREN: There's no doubt about it: Americans are facing a tremendous challenge; not just mourning our dead, not just rebuilding our cities and getting on with our lives. There also is the matter of attacking global terrorism. Can we do all of that?

CNN's senior analyst Jeff Greenfield is in New York to remind us we have before.


It may be because of our wealth or our exuberant, often raucous culture, our love of material comfort, even our relative youth as a nation, but there is something about America that leads our adversaries over and over again to underestimate our resolve. In fact, sometimes we even underestimate ourselves.


(voice-over): Adolf Hitler, for example, was convinced America wouldn't and couldn't defeat Nazi Germany. We were, he thought, a mongrel nation, weakened by different races and religions and by a decadent popular culture. We could never conquer the racially pure Aryans.

We did.

When the Soviet Union launched the first satellite in 1957 Americans plunged into self-doubt. Soviet youth were studying physics and rocket science, "LIFE" magazine warned, and Americans were consumed by trivial diversions. Could we withstand this threat, "LIFE" asked?

We did. The Soviet Union no longer exists. Neither does "LIFE" magazine.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In Vienna Mr. Kennedy constructed his major adversary.


GREENFIELD: In the early '60s Soviet Leader Khrushchev thought President Kennedy weak. Poet Robert Frost reported that Khrushchev had told him America was too liberal to fight. Khrushchev may not have said that, but he acted on that impulse when he put Soviet missiles into Cuba. The U.S. would never challenge that move, he thought.

We did.


JOHN F. KENNEDY, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: To halt this offensive buildup, a strict quarantine on all offensive military equipment under shipment to Cuba is being initiated.


GREENFIELD: A later generation of Soviet leaders was sure America would not protect Europe with medium-range missiles.

We did.

And when Japan emerged as an economic superpower in the 1980s we told ourselves that we were so consumed by short-term thinking we would never preserve our evening supremacy.

We did.


GREENFIELD: And now we have new questions to answer: Can a nation where most of us have known only easy times cope with demands on our comfort, on our safety, on our families that we never imagined we would have to face?

If history has the answer, we will -- Great.

VAN SUSTEREN: In other words, Jeff, are you saying that history has shown that American will can overcome -- can trump strategic obstacles?

GREENFIELD: Indeed, and can trump complacency and can trump the things we're hearing today.

Admiral Yamamoto of Japan, after Japan bombed Pearl Harbor said "I fear we have awakened a sleeping giant." And that is the history of this country, that we can drift into isolationism, we come drift into comfort, we can turn our back on the world, but when the world reminds us it is here, as it has done in horrifically historic ways this week, the history says America will respond. We're going to be talking about that with Senator McCain and some others later tonight.

But the guide from history is pretty encouraging. The question, I suppose, is that I don't believe ever before have we gone through so sustained a period when we have faced, really, not much of a challenge; when we have been at peace, when we have been prosperous, when a younger generation has really not had much asked of it. That's the question we have to answer this time around. VAN SUSTEREN: What happens to the critics, the dissenters, when that starts to appear on the horizon?

GREENFIELD: See, I think actually that's an encouraging sign. I think the fact that, you know, through World War II for instance, people had this image that we marched in lock-step. There were plenty of political arguments, plenty of criticism of how Roosevelt was running the war. Roosevelt was very worried about the congressional elections of 1942 because there had been setbacks.

There were some exercise in black market activity. There were -- not everybody pitched in. But the fact of the matter is that that very kind of dissension, that cantankerousness that's so much a part of America is actually, I think, a sign of our strength.

I actually look forward to the first bit of political bickering that develops because it shows that we're feeling comfortable enough about who we are to remain Americans. And this is a country where political disagreements are, you'll pardon the expression, as American as apple pie.

VAN SUSTEREN: It's interesting for me, Jeff -- I didn't grow up in World War II, so I never lived through that -- sort of that Great Generation. I grew up in the Vietnam days where there was certainly a lot of criticism and dissent, and we certainly had a divided country.

Now we have such a national threat that the country seems so united, seems so different.

GREENFIELD: And I think that is really the difference between the Vietnam generation, and even when whole post-war era. Korea was not a war that was fought out of any unity. There was tons of criticism of President Truman at that time because the war was stalemated.

I think the difference is that what has happened here in New York and in Washington is so over overwhelming that it does -- everybody has said it, and I think we started saying it Tuesday, it simply has changed us as a country. And that for once that's not an overstatement by the media, that's fact.

VAN SUSTEREN: And when you say isn't overwhelming, I mean, it is a fact that everybody across this country -- I had some reservists on last night, one from Milwaukee, one from San Antonio, and one from here in Washington, D.C. ready to go. I mean, it's not just a New York, Washington thing at all.

GREENFIELD: We may find out that we have lost more Americans on this day even than in Antietam, when 7,000, I believe, died. There were 22,000 casualties in 1862. If the country doesn't change because of that, it never will. There's simply -- I don't know of any way to measure this, even, by history. History almost fails us as a guide, this is so overwhelming an event.

VAN SUSTEREN: As always, thanks to CNN's Jeff Greenfield. CNN's coverage of "America's New War" continues in a minute with "LARRY KING LIVE." I'm Greta Van Susteren in Washington, and I will be with you again tomorrow night.

We leave you, though, with the haunting sights and sounds of this sad, mournful September day in New York.




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