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America's New War: President Meets With Congressional Leaders; Pentagon Prepares Its Strategy; Congress Readying Stimulus Package

Aired September 19, 2001 - 17:00   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.
BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: "America's New War": the president's fight against terrorism. Tonight, there is a new name. Also tonight, forces have the order to deploy.

And good evening once again from Manhattan. It's just about 5 o'clock on the East Coast here in New York City. I'm Bill Hemmer. Joie Chen also with us again this evening from Atlanta.

First to Joie in Atlanta with the latest developments. Joie, good evening to you.

JOIE CHEN, CNN ANCHOR: Bill, good evening, and here is the latest news beginning with the latest military developments we're hearing today.

The Pentagon ordered about 100 combat aircraft deployed to the Persian Gulf. Now, this is the first visible movement of forces concretely linked to the terror attacks last week. A top official says more such movements will follow.

The name of the effort? "Operation Infinite Justice."

Also today, the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt left its home port of Norfolk. Officials say it is headed to the Mediterranean, and perhaps then farther east. Two Navy carrier groups are in the Persian Gulf right now.

President Bush meantime tomorrow will address a joint session of Congress. He made an announcement within the past half hour at the start of a meeting with the congressional leadership.

He said he will explain in his speech tomorrow evening just who is behind the recent attacks and why they resent America.

The FBI says meantime that three Arab men were arrested at an apartment in Detroit with false identification, airport contractor passes and airport diagrams. They are among about 80 people now being held in connection with the attacks on New York and Washington. The government says about 190 people still are being pursued.

Meantime, Pakistan's leader pleaded with his people to trust him today. In a television address, General Pervez Musharraf said he has no real choice but to align his country with the United States. Scattered anti-American protests did break out, though, today in Pakistan, and General Musharraf's opponents will try to mount a general strike on Friday, they say.

Wall Street staged a final-hour rally today to erase much of a midday collapse. Over the last 90 minutes of trading, the Dow Jones industrial average gained some 300 points to finish with a loss of just about 140 points on the day.

After the market closed, American Airlines announced that it will cut at least 20,000 jobs.

Back on the latest signs of a plan in motion from the Pentagon, CNN military affairs correspondent Jamie McIntyre joins us now -- Jamie.

JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Joie, Pentagon sources tell us that the orders have been sent for dozens of warplanes to move to the Persian Gulf region and that other orders may quickly follow. That will send dozens more right behind them -- altogether, pushing the number of planes to over a hundred.

Now, sources say these planes are mostly headed for bases in the Persian Gulf area where U.S. warplanes already operate. And some of the thinking here is to put more land-based planes in the Persian Gulf region to assist in patrolling the no-fly zones in Iraq so that the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson can leave the Persian Gulf and go into the Arabian Sea where it would be available for possible strikes against Afghanistan or targets in Afghanistan.

Sources say that among the aircraft being deployed in these initial orders, F-15 Strike Eagles and F-16s. These are the kinds of planes that routinely patrol in the southern no-fly zone. In addition, sources say that B-52 heavy bombers, capable of firing air- launched cruise missiles, may move to the British base in Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean. But sources again indicate that this initial deployment of planes is basically aimed at freeing up the aircraft carrier. And in addition, a third aircraft carrier, in addition to the Enterprise and the Carl Vinson, which are already in the area, the Theodore Roosevelt left on its port in Norfolk, Virginia today, again destination undisclosed. But in theory, the U.S. could soon have three aircraft carriers in the region, each one with 75 planes, about 45 of those combat planes each -- Joie.

CHEN: CNN's military affairs correspondent, Jamie McIntyre, at the Pentagon. And Bill, of course, we have been closely watching, along with Jamie McIntyre, what is going on at the Pentagon, what decisions are being made there. And that will reflect a great deal on what the Bush administration plans next.

HEMMER: Indeed, Joie. A few moments ago, the White House, the president more words, and we do know we'll get more words tomorrow night. The president will be on Capitol Hill for an address before Congress.

To the White House and CNN's John King for more on that. John, hello. JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hello to you, Bill, and in these remarkable times, a remarkably rare event: the president going to deliver a joint address to Congress in the middle of crisis. We've seen the president's State of the Union addresses. This, of course, scheduled because of the tragic events last week, Mr. Bush saying he wants to make his case directly to the American people about the scope of the investigation and his plans to respond to it.

Obviously, Jamie just updated us on the military planning. At this hour at the White House, urgent sessions with the leaders of Congress about an emergency economic package. No. 1 is a plans to bail out the struggling airline industry. The airline industry wants a $24 billion government package. Mr. Bush favors about $15 billion. Congressional leaders hoping to emerge from the White House in just a few minutes with a deal on that plan.

And the president serving notice just a few moments ago he is in intensive negotiations with Congress on a broader economic stimulus package. Many think the economy is about to, if it has not already, slid into a recession. Mr. Bush saying, quote, "This has shocked our economy, and we're going to respond."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Not only has someone conducted an act of war on us, our economy has slowed way down and this is an emergency. We've had all three, it seems like to me. And I'm going to work with Congress to -- to send a clear message to America, American workers, American business-people that this government will respond to this emergency.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: The negotiations focus on an agreement, a package, one round of new tax cuts, especially a capital gains tax cut designed to help Wall Street, also some additional government spending to try to prime the economy in these very difficult times -- Bill.

HEMMER: John King at the White House. John, thanks to you.

Back now to the military front at this point, a carrier headed out to sea earlier today. That in Norfolk, Virginia. The USS Theodore Roosevelt left several hours ago, headed out for the Mediterranean, and perhaps points east of there.

The carrier, with 75 warplanes, is leading a 14-ship battle group of some 15,000 sailors and Marines.

We have two reports tonight. CNN's Kyra Philips is at the Fallon Naval Air Station in the state of Nevada and Brian Nelson at the U.S. Army base at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

We begin now with Brian.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) BRIAN NELSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Brian Nelson at Fort Bragg in North Carolina, watching this base and nearby Pope Air Force base. There are 42,000 soldiers here at Fort Bragg, and many of them are trained to go in behind enemy lines at night. They're made up of the 82nd Airborne and members of the U.S. military's special operations group.

They're highly trained and lethal.

So far, Fort Bragg has not been put on alert, but the training here continues. In fact, there were live-fire exercises today and a parachute jump yesterday.

The 82nd Airborne is mandated to be airborne within 18 hours of receiving a call to duty. So far, that call has not come. But everyone here at Fort Bragg expects it to come pretty soon.

Brian Nelson at Fort Bragg in North Carolina.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KYRA PHILIPS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is Kyra Philips live at the naval air station in Fallon, Nevada, home of NSAWC, the Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center.

Right now, fighter pilots, Hilo (ph) search-and-rescue squadrons, and special operations forces are training intensely as an integrated unit, perfecting their power, precision and tactical warfare capabilities. Tag 9, call sign Shogun, is the air wing here, and that going airborne around the clock, practicing air-to-air combat, waiting to see what happens during this war on terrorism, and preparing to deploy on whatever missing is assigned to this air wing.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HEMMER: Kyra, thank you. Brian, thanks as well. Condoleezza Rice will give a briefing in about 15 minutes' time. We'll have that live for you when it happens.

Also want to let you know for more on what a U.S.-led strike would look like, head to our Web site at cnn.com and click on the "retaliation" section there online. There's a list of possible military options from CNN military analyst there General Wesley Clark, who is working with us throughout this operation here at CNN.

Back to Atlanta and Joie with more.

CHEN: Bill, a warning to his own people today. Pakistan's president, General Pervez Musharraf, says his country faces its most critical time in three decades after he agreed to join the United States in an international coalition against terrorism. General Musharraf's decision has sparked violent protests in Pakistan, one of only three countries to recognize Afghanistan's Taliban rulers.

On TV today, he urged his people to unite and he explained his decision.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEN. PERVEZ MUSHARRAF, PRESIDENT OF PAKISTAN (through translator): Whatever America is planning, the United Nations General Assembly and Security Council have passed a resolution supporting them. This resolution is to fight against terrorism, and this particular resolution is of course, to attack those people who support terrorism.

And I also wish to tell you that all Islamic nations have supported this resolution.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHEN: We mentioned the general's warning earlier to his people that this was such a critical time. Indeed, General Musharraf says Pakistan's 1971 war with India was the last time his country had faced such a trying times.

Thousands of refugees have fled Afghanistan, fearing the possibility of military strikes by the United States and its allies in this new war on terrorism. One of the hot points in the refugee crisis is the town of Quetta in Pakistan. It is just across the border from Afghanistan, and this week up to 15,000 refugees have arrived in Quetta.

Earlier today, CNN's Nic Robertson made it there himself after being asked to leave Afghanistan by the Taliban because of safety concerns.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Certainly a lot of interesting things to see on the road that gave as a real insight into the mood in Afghanistan at the moment. Kandahar itself, normally a bustling city, today the streets very empty, very few cars on the road, and a lot of stores shut. On the road we were looking out for refugees, to see if they were a lot of families fleeing toward the border. There weren't. There were a few cars on the road, but not -- not crammed with families, not crammed with family belongings.

There are very few people, it appears at this time, making a run for the border. Close to the border itself, checkpoints, normally manned by armed guards who are fairly relaxed, today those armed guards seemed very tense. They had bayonets fixed on their guns, and they were certainly very inquisitive about what we were doing.

At the border itself, normally a bustling, small market, townspeople quite friendly to strangers, today, however, a lot of somber-looking faces, people very serious. No smiles as what one would normally see, a lot of happy faces.

Today, also, a lot -- saw a lot of people looking at their radios. Clearly, they're trying to find out what's going on and exactly what could be happening to their country. And right on the border itself, a very interesting situation, Pakistan says it's sealed its border. We saw several hundred men on the Afghan side of the border throwing stones and rocks at the Pakistani policemen on the other side. The Pakistani policemen gesturing as if to fire their rifles in their direction. Of course, they didn't fire, but one Pakistani official at the border told us the situation there has been getting more and more tense in the last three or four days.

And the border itself, perhaps not as sealed as first indications might be. As dusk fell, we saw a lot of those men actually walking across the border and several vehicles coming across here. The border, not quite sealed and people coming through in dribs and drabs.

But a very interesting insight into the mood in Afghanistan, which is, clearly, people preparing for the worst, people locking up their shops, not going out on the streets, not rushing for the border at the same time, but certainly keeping a very low profile.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHEN: That's CNN's Nic Robertson, reporting to us from Quetta in Pakistan.

There's other news today. An up-and-down day for the New York Stock Exchange. Let's take a look at the markets recovery in the last 90 minutes of trading today. Also ahead here, what's been learned about the military response to last week's attack? How close did the Air Force come to shooting down those planes? Some surprising information from correspondent Miles O'Brien is coming up in this hour.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HEMMER: The latest videotape we have here at CNN provided through the New York Fire Department, video we have not seen just yet. We're seeing it for the first time now. But again, this is the rescue operation, the efforts that still continue down in an area that has been called "the pile" by some. And some firefighters down there also call it "the zone."

We'll continue to watch this videotape. In fact, we'll put it up in the corner there so you can watch it with us.

In the meantime, we want to move on to financial news today, and what a wild ride it was today on Wall Street. Stocks were hammered. They fell off the table at midafternoon today, down more than 400 points at one point on the Dow. They rebounded later, but still off today. The Dow off 144 points and the Nasdaq off 27 points today.

It's been a tough week, and for tough times as well.

Peter Viles with us tonight to take us through what happened today and possibly why. Peter, good evening to you here.

First of all, before we get to what it came back to today, why did it fall off the table at midday?

PETER VILES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you had bad news in the markets in the morning, particularly Boeing, the news that this weakness in the airline industry had spread to the industrial sector. But then you just had an avalanche of selling. Some people even call it "panic selling" midafternoon as this market sort of got ahead of itself, and thankfully, I think, for market participants, there was this buying surge, the first real surge of buying we've seen this week. It shows that somebody thinks there's a level this market shouldn't necessarily trade below.

HEMMER: So take that a step further: What's to explain the bounceback?

VILES: I think when you have a bounce this strong it has to be the big market players. This was not Main Street investor making a patriotic decision. This was Wall Street institutions making a business decision. They felt this market had gotten ahead of itself.

HEMMER: I saw Rhonda Schaffler on the floor at the close. There was really a buzz of activity. It appeared anyway that investors and brokers and traders were -- maybe felt invigorated by the fact that there was strength coming back into the markets today.

VILES: Sure, and as I said, this is the first real bounce we've had this week. We really didn't get one Monday. A lot of people thought we would, that we would have a sell-off and a bounce. There was no bounce Monday, no real bounce yesterday. This is the first sign of life in the market, the sign that some big participants believe stocks are worth buying.

HEMMER: It's been tough-going. We'll watch it again tomorrow, 9:30 a.m. Eastern. And Lou Dobbs will have much more coming up shortly as soon as sign off at 6 o'clock Eastern Time here on CNN.

Again, the videotape you're watching, fresh into us here at CNN, provided by the New York Fire Department. We'll continue to view that, but for now, back to Atlanta and more with Joie.

CHEN: We will continue to watch those pictures, very grim, very hard to look at. Bill, thanks.

The airline industry is calling on Congress to help it recover from huge financial losses suffered in the wake of the attacks. Delta Airlines chairman Leo Mullen represented the airline industry today on Capitol Hill, and Mr. Mullen joins us now from Washington.

Mr. Mullen, what is your warning both to Congress and to the nation about the airline industry right now?

LEO MULLEN, CHAIRMAN, DELTA AIRLINES: Well, the first thing we want to say, Joie, is that we feel that it is extraordinarily safe to fly.

CHEN: Excuse me, Mr. Mullen. We're going to have to go to Dennis Hastert, the speaker of the House, talking again about issues he's just taken up with the president at the White House. Let's listen.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

REP. DENNIS HASTERT (R-IL), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: ... do that in a timely basis, and finish our work as far as appropriations and those types of things, and basically, to make sure that this country is secure from terrorists. And those were very, very, I think, productive discussions, and...

Mr. Leader?

SEN. TOM DASCHLE (D-SD), MAJORITY LEADER: I think the Speaker said it well. I think the questions are, how do we do what we need to do, when do we do it, and how much can we get done. I think we looked at the array of challenges that we have to face, and as we have now said on several occasions, we intend to do it in as unified a manner as we possibly can. The president reiterated that pledge today.

We restated our desire to work in close concert on the many challenges we face. We recognize from an economic point of view there are a number of issues that we have to address. We also recognize, as the Speaker said, that we have a job to do with just the normal operation of our country and the government for the passage at least of the appropriations bills.

So we have our work cut out for us, and we're looking forward to the president's address tomorrow night.

REP. RICHARD GEPHARDT (D-MO), MISSOURI: I would just add, I have been telling our caucus and I've told the leaders today that we're in a new world and we have to act anew and think anew about all the problems we face.

I think we are unified. I think we have resolve. And I think we are committed to be patient, to work with this president and this administration to see this thing through.

We must never have things like this happen again to our people, and we intend to do what it takes to make sure that we find who did this and bring them to justice as quickly as possible.

SEN. TRENT LOTT (R-MS), MINORITY LEADER: There's a key word that's already been mentioned two or three times by the other leaders here, and that's we're unified. This is a continuation of an effort we saw last week where the president and his administration, the Congress, both bodies of the Congress and both parties, have been unified and working together to do what's necessary in this critical moment.

This meeting today was a continuation of the communication that is needed in order for us to keep that united effort, to understand what our challenges are and what we're going to be doing in the days ahead.

I think it's very important that the president come before the Congress. We're pleased he accepted an invitation to come to speak not only to all of the government, including the Congress, but even more importantly, to the American people, to lay out in a specified period of time, beyond just a five- or 10-minute interview, exactly what has happened, what our responsibilities are, and how we're going to go about dealing with this very serious problem.

QUESTION: How large is the stimulus package going to be? And it's going to be mostly tax cuts or spending?

HASTERT: We haven't made that decision yet. We've gotten together, talked to various economists and people that are familiar and deal with this on a daily basis. We plan to continue that discussion and come up with a prudent plan.

Thank you.

CHEN: Brief comments from the leadership from the Hill, visiting with the president this hour, and talking with him of his plans for the anti-terror campaign.

We turn now to Capitol Hill and CNN's Kate Snow standing by there.

Kate, we also anticipated the discussion would include something on the economy, a little bit more information about what the administration plans to do to bump along the economy here, but that didn't seem the emphasis.

KATE SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think, Joie, what's happening right now is you're seeing a unified front from the leaders of the House and the Senate. But in terms of the details and the nitty-gritty of what are they going to do, how big is it going to be -- are they are going to include tax cuts? Are they going to send out more rebate checks? Are they going to cut taxes for businesses? -- all of those are key questions, and those questions simply haven't been resolved yet.

They did meet this afternoon with Alan Greenspan, the Federal Reserve chairman. They also met here on Capitol Hill with Larry Lindsey, the president's economic adviser. So they're trying to generate ideas, but they're not at the point right now where the Congress can effectively pass something right this minute -- Joie.

CHEN: All right, Kate Snow, stand by for a minute. We want to talk again. We had just started to speak with Leo Mullen from Delta Airlines about the situation for the airline industry before we had to go away to Mr. Hastert and the others speaking at the White House.

I wonder if you could return to that point, Mr. Mullen, because indeed the stimulation of the economy, particularly for those of you in the airline industry, does seem to be reaching a very critical point.

MULLEN: Well, it does, Joie. The -- obviously, we have been doing a tremendous amount to assure the traveling public that we've put secure and safe airplanes in the sky. And now, stimulation to that demand is just crucial for us. You know, all of us are now flying with very low load factors. Delta's load factor was only 30 percent yesterday. So anything that this administration could do to stimulate the economy would be great. And we're coupling that with the assurance that we've done everything we possibly can to assure the traveling public that it is safe to fly.

CHEN: We're seeing it in some of these lines. The airline industry is predicting maybe 100,000 layoffs in the industrywide. We saw today again American Airlines saying it will cut 20,000. Boeing says that it's going to have big cuts as well. What do you anticipate in the days ahead if there is not quick action?

MULLEN: Well, the first and most important action that needs to be taken is to pass a package of financial support for the industry. We have requested today in extensive hearings in the House $5 billion of immediate aid and a $12.5 billion loan guarantee program. This is necessary to assure everyone that we have the financial underpinnings to perform moving forward.

And in coupling with that, obviously we're interested in minimizing, to the extent possible, any kind of employee impacts, but they are going to be considerable given the kinds of capacity reductions we need to make given that the demand really so is low at the current time.

CHEN: Mr. Mullen, I'm afraid I'm going to have to interrupt you again. The press of breaking news continues here. Let's go to Bill in New York now.

HEMMER: Joie, thank you. We were just watching and listening to congressional leaders who arrived at the White House. Back there now with John King and a special guest with us this evening -- John.

KING: That's right, Bill. That special guest, the speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert. A number of dramatic developments this afternoon here at the White House and in the president's negotiations with the congressional leadership.

Let's start with the first one, Mr. Speaker. Tomorrow night, an address to a joint session of Congress and to the American people by the president of the United States. In your meeting with him, what did he say he wanted to accomplish in that speech, and specifically, is the president prepared to connect the dots, if you will, and update the American people on the investigation?

HASTERT: I think he'll do that. I think he'll lay out, you know, where our place is in the world on this thing. It's just not the American people, it's the world. And to lay out that communication -- why did they choose America? What should our response be? How should we do it in a measured way and make sure that we don't do it in a way that steps on the civil liberties of our American citizens as well?

So I think it will be a very measured response, and really kind of lay out for the American people what our -- what our vision is in the next couple of months. KING: We have heard from the president and other members of his Cabinet that the lead suspect is Osama bin Laden and his organization. Did the president tell you anything in these meetings today that they've advanced further than that? And do they have a solid now identification of Mr. Bin Laden as the one responsible?

HASTERT: Well, you have to build a case any time, in a court of law or in the throes of war. We suspect that it's Osama bin Laden. He has been indicted in two aspects, not just this, but in previous atrocities. So there is a case against him. And I think that's the major entity that we're going to move against.

KING: Let's move to the other subject of urgent discussion as a result of this crisis, the economy. They were just interviewing on our air Leo Mullen, the CEO of Delta Airlines, the airline industry obviously looking for some help here. There seems to be a commitment to give them help but a disagreement over the numbers. The airlines want about $24 billion in a mix of direct aid and government loan guarantees. Another package has been in the area of $15 billion.

Do you have an agreement with the president and how fast will the Congress move to address that?

HASTERT: No, we didn't get that specific agreement. The White House is going to send up their proposal. I think what we'll do is probably a two-step approach, two-tranches of funds. One, immediately to solve the problem to make sure that the security is there, to make sure that they have the ability to operate, and we don't see these massive layoffs.

The second is tranche how this reaches out. And there is going to be recommendations October 1st. Two different studies are being done. And I think we'll act appropriately then. But to say that we're going to do a huge bundle of money and not know what the cost is, I think, would probably be a poor use of American taxpayers' dollars.

But we need to keep the airlines flying. That's how America does business. That's how we do business in this country and the world. So we need that to happen.

KING: Two more questions, the first one being an easy one to answer, maybe. Do you think the initial package then based on what you just said will be less than $15 billion?

HASTERT: I'm not putting a number on it. We're going to do what we think is appropriate.

KING: OK, and let's talk more broadly about the state of the U.S. economy. A remarkable set of consultations -- the leadership of the Congress working in a bipartisan manner; meeting with the president consistently and his team; but also the chairman of the Federal Reserve, Alan Greenspan; the former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, a Democrat brought into these discussions.

Many believe the U.S. economy, if it hasn't already, is about to go into recession. What are you going to do about the economy, sir?

HASTERT: We want to be able to do the right thing, and of course that's a broad stage that we can walk on.

But first of all, we need to look at what is out there, what are some of the fixes. And I don't think we have to go and say it's going to be A, B or C. But it may be a combination of many things.

I think what we decided today is to continue our discussions, not to propose things, but to make sure whatever fix we lay out there, it's first of all bipartisan, that does meet the needs of the American economy, and it's not just a quick fix. It's something that will reach in and really change this economy to the best way possible.

You know, one of the things we have done, we have almost no data out there. We've done that over the last available debt. And we have a tax cut. We don't even know how this tax cut is really going to affect the American people.

But we have to have consumer confidence, and we have to have confidence that we can do business in this country. And this is our way of life is going to move on. So we need to do the stimuli there that will help those. And we don't know exactly what the right thing to do is yet.

KING: Speaker Dennis Hastert, thank you for sharing your thoughts today, just fresh from this meeting.

HASTERT: My pleasure. Thank you.

KING: Thanks very much for your time, sir.

And Bill, as I toss back to you in New York, we do know, we are told that in these meetings with the congressional leaders the Federal Reserve chairman, Alan Greenspan, cautioned them to wait two weeks before acting on an economic stimulus package. Mr. Greenspan saying in about two weeks there will be much more evidence, much more data of the economic impact of these tragedies here in the United States -- Bill.

HEMMER: Very interesting. John King at the White House, many thanks to you.

Again we anticipate Condoleezza Rice, who heads up the national security team for the president, to speak at any moment. We will have her comments when they happen live here. We'll continue with "America's New War" in just a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHEN: Back and continuing our live coverage now: Nearly every aircraft that flies across North America is tracked by some form of radar. So many are wondering why the United States didn't choose to stop the four hijacked planes from crashing into the World Trade Center and then the Pentagon and then of course in Pennsylvania.

The United States, as it turns out, did scramble jets, and now we can see images of just how close they came to intercepting.

Joining us here, CNN's Miles O'Brien, who's been following up on this for us -- Miles.

MILES O'BRIEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Joie, today NORAD, the North American Defense folks out at Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado released their official timeline of what happened. Now, CNN has already reported this, but we think it's worth restating exactly the events, because there had been so many questions about this fighter response. And what you have to remember is, first of all, the system is not spring-loaded to track down a commercial airliner and in so doing perhaps be faced with the possibility of shooting a civilian airliner down. Secondly, the controllers were sort of slow to realize exactly what was going on here.

It would have taken some time to understand this, since nobody thought this was a possibility.

Let's start it off at 7:59 a.m., and what you're seeing right there is the departure of American Airlines 11 from Boston, a 767. Let's shoot the clock up, 15 minutes later. Boston once again, UAL, Flight 175. Both of these planes ultimately would make their way to New York City. They were bound for Los Angeles.

Bring it up to 8:20 a.m., and American Airlines, right over the northwestern part of Massachusetts, begins showing signs of trouble. Its transponder quits, beginning what appears to be the moment in time when the hijacking actually begins.

Now, let's move it forward to 8:38 a.m. Boston air traffic center notifies NORAD that American 11 has been hijacked. Now, that took them 18 minutes to realize this was a hijacking. American 11 was already there. But they immediately assumed that it was some sort of mechanical failure or a failure of the electrical systems, and thus were trouble-shooting the situation, keeping traffic out of the way, not aware that it was a hijacking situation.

Now, at 8:44 a.m., Otis Air National Guard Base, Air Force base out there on Cape Cod, is notified of the event though NORAD that there is a hijacking, and they begin the process of scrambling their aircraft, the F-15 aircraft that are there.

Right about this time, I should let you know, United Airlines 93 was taking off from Newark on its way to San Francisco -- just to show you the kind of synchronicity of all of this.

Let's move it ahead now to 8:46 a.m. American Airlines Flight 11 strikes the World Trade Center, disappears from radar screens. OK? The fighter jets are still not in the air at this time. 8:52 -- excuse me, that's 8:50 there. Let's move it up to 8:52. Those F-15s are finally in the air. Bear in mind the World Trade Center, the first tower is already up in smoke. United 175 is coming down. It's going to make a loop like this and head back for the South Tower. United 93, the one that went out toward Cleveland and back toward Washington, is on its way. Now, let's go to the next step, 9 o'clock. United 175 flies south of New York City and United 93 out toward Pennsylvania, the F-15 fighter jets are east of Hartford at this point, moving along, we're told, at supersonic speeds at this point.

9:02 a.m., United 175 disappears from radar screens, striking the other tower. The fighters are here 75 miles away. So there was just -- they were just in no position to even make a decision as to possibly shooting down.

Changing maps now, American Airlines 77 -- our time now is 8:20. We put the clock back just a little bit. It departs Dulles on its way to Los Angeles.

And now the next screen, 8:42, American Airlines 77 flies out to the West, and United 93 has taken off from Newark Airport. It's on its way to San Francisco. Moving ahead now to 9:16, the FAA informs NORAD that United 93 may have been hijacked, indicating some problems there. And let me see -- indicates 93. And then at 9:25 a.m. the FAA notifies NORAD that 77, American Airlines 77 has been hijacked. It begins heading back to Washington, D.C.

Now, at about 9:27 NORAD orders jets scrambled from Langley Air Force Base, three F-16s. OK. They begin heading toward the Washington area, with American Airlines 77 very near to its date with destiny at the Pentagon.

Now, 9:37, American 77 crashes into the Pentagon. Those F-16 fighters are still out of position. They have not made it to the Washington, D.C. area. They get to the Washington, D.C. area as United 93 begins its course, homing in on Washington. But as we all know, the story ends this way. United 93 crashes in Shanksville, Pennsylvania in a cornfield. The F-16s remain over Washington, never having to make the dreadful decision which may have lain ahead of them, to potentially shoot down that United jet.

They did have orders from the president to do so if that became a necessity.

So, that's the timeline. That gives you a sense of how quickly they responded. About as fast as you could expect under the circumstances -- Joie.

CHEN: CNN's Miles O'Brien helping us understand exactly what has happened as investigators, we are sure, continue to try to put together all the information.

We are standing by now. At the White House we're expecting at any time National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice. There you see her at the podium. She is about to speak to reporters about her meetings.

Let's listen.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS) CONDOLEEZA RICE, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: ... a very successful meeting with President Megawati of Indonesia. He took that opportunity at this meeting, which was planned before but nevertheless came in the middle of this situation, to express to President Megawati, where there is, of course, the largest Muslim population in the world in Indonesia, his very great desire that everyone understand that America believes that the terrorism that we experienced is not the work of Islam, it is not the work of Islamic people, it is not the work of Arabs, it is the work of extremists. And he used the opportunity again to underscore his message of tolerance that he has been underscoring all week.

He also met with German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, who delivered a message of support from Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder; with Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov of Russia, who did the same from President Putin. And he had a couple of phone calls this morning, one with President Mbeki of South Africa and another with President Kim Dae-jung of South Korea.

The president has met with his National Security Council this morning. The pattern is that he meets with his National Security Council in the morning. He chairs those meetings himself. And then the principals reassemble later in the day to share notes, to consult and coordinate and to prepare the next day's National Security meeting.

The president also received the leadership of the Congress, the two House leaders, Speaker Hastert, Leader Gephardt, and the two Senate leaders, Senator Daschle and Senator Lott.

RICE: And he was delighted to receive from Speaker Hastert an invitation to go and address the joint session of Congress tomorrow.

So it was a very busy day but, I think, again, a very successful day, as the president begins to lay out the first phases of this campaign that he wants to underscore is going to be a very long campaign in this war against terrorism.

QUESTION: Can you tell us what he hopes to accomplish tomorrow? And will the American people have any better idea of who he's going to strike, where he's going to strike, when he's going to strike, what he's going to strike?

RICE: This is not a speech to announce military action. The president has made very clear that he intends to be patient, that he is going to review his options, that he is going to look for ways to be effective in whatever it is that we do, and that we are now launched on a long campaign.

And so, what the president will do tomorrow is to use the opportunity to talk to the American people about the kind of threat that we face. The American people have a lot of questions about what kind of people would do this to the United States? Why this kind of hate would exist against the United States? So we'll get a clearer picture of the enemy that we're facing. I think the president is going to use this as an opportunity to talk about the sustained nature of this campaign. That this cannot be a campaign that is thought of like the Gulf War, where there was a capital with a leadership that one understood fully in the way that we traditionally understood leadership. I think he will use it as an opportunity to urge patience and reason, and to demonstrate, again, that his resolve is going to be over a long period time not in a single moment.

One other thing I'd just like to mention is that he is going to talk about what Americans can do to prepare for this effort.

RICE: And he's going to talk some about the nature of the support that we're getting from around the world, which is really quite extraordinary. I think everybody understood that this was not just an attack on America, this was an attack on freedom.

QUESTION: You said that the president reiterated the message of tolerance and the importance that this is not a campaign against Islam or Arab nations generally. Has it been communicated with the administration from those nations from that part of the world that you've been talking to recently that it is a highly critical thing for the president to do, not just once, but over and over and over again? If so, why?

And President Megawati has returned to the building. We've seen her enter the West Wing just a few moments ago. Can you tell us with whom she is meeting and what we can read into that?

RICE: I believe that President Megawati was scheduled a long time ago, during this, to have a meeting with the vice president. She's meeting with the vice president. But it was not arranged hastily or anything like that. It was scheduled as a part of her program.

In terms of the tolerance message, it was very much the president's instinct from the very beginning that it was extremely important that he, first as president of the United States, make very clear that we had a lot of Muslims in the United States of America who are patriotic people, who salute the flag just like all of us do, who were appalled and saddened by what happened on September 11, and that we are a country that judges not by their religious beliefs or by their color, but by the fact that we're all Americans. So that was the first part of the message.

The second part of the message is that we have a lot of friends around the world who are Muslim.

RICE: We have countries that are long friends of the United States who are of the Islamic faith. And the president wanted to be very clear that this is not a war of, quote, "civilizations," that this is not a war against Islam. This is a war against people who in many ways pervert what Islam stands for. Islam stands for peace and stands for nonviolence, and he wanted to make that very, very clear. QUESTION: If I can just follow up, Dr. Rice?

RICE: Yes, sure.

(CROSSTALK)

QUESTION: ... become more pronounced after the president invoked the word "crusade" on Sunday and that raised some alarms within the Muslim community in America and internationally?

RICE: This has been part of the message from the very beginning. And in every conversation that the president has had with leaders of all countries, but also with Muslim countries, he has been saying this from the very beginning.

QUESTION: Is the president prepared for the inevitable comparisons with President Roosevelt vis-a-vis tomorrow's speech?

RICE: Well, I think the president is going to deliver the speech on its own terms.

But, you know, it allows an interesting point, which is that this isn't Pearl Harbor. I know that there are a lot of comparisons to Pearl Harbor, but this is different, and it's different in a lot of ways.

This is the first war of the 21st century. In that case we had a country with a capital, with marching armies and beaches to storm and islands to take, and in the last war deserts to cross. That is not the nature of this war.

There will be, undoubtedly, some things that our military forces and the military forces of others can do. But this is also a war of will and mind, it is a war in which information may be the most important asset that we have. And so we're asking a lot of countries to help us with information.

RICE: These are not traditional enemies. And so he's going to have a very different task.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) different speech for us, then, than the one Roosevelt delivered?

RICE: This is a speech that will seek to start to broaden and deepen the American people's understanding, indeed, people around the world -- the understanding of what it is we face and how we're going to have to face it, because we're in this for the long haul.

QUESTION: Does the president believe and will he try to prepare people tomorrow night for some sort of sense of sacrifice? For instance, we're already talking about spending some $100 billion on things other than what it would have been spent on. Clearly, something has to give.

RICE: I think that every American understands that life changed on September 11. Now, what didn't change is our way of life, and we have to, as the president said when he welcomed workers back here at the White House complex, it's every American's duty to try to get back to doing the things that make us American -- going to work and going to shop and taking your kids to school.

But there's no doubt that the country faced a severe shock and blow, and we have to respond to that. And he said to the leaders that this country is going to respond and its leadership is going to respond. He's been heartened by the fact of unity between the Congress and the executive branch on exactly this point.

But, yes, this is going to be a time of sacrifice. I think the president is not afraid to say that, and he will make that case.

QUESTION: A lot of nations around the world are calling for the United States to act with restraint -- China, Egypt, Jordan saying that we should act with restraint. And some are even suggesting we operate through multilateral institutions.

What's the balance between this coalition-building that the president is doing and the U.S. exercising its right under the U.N. charter to act unilaterally?

RICE: Well, the United States faces the situation in which we really are in a situation of self-defense. If no one believes that these are dangerous people to the health and well-being of the United States, then just look again at that tape on September 11.

I would caution that this is a different kind of coalition. This is not the Gulf War coalition, where we all mobilize our military forces and march off to war after 100 days. This is a coalition in which, I think, a lot of states have recognized that this is not just an attack on the United States, this is an attack on freedom-loving peoples everywhere. This is an attack that was meant to generate maximum fear in countries that don't want to close their borders, that don't want to act in a fearful way.

Now, there are going to be a lot of different fronts in this war -- some on the information side, some on the financial side, some on the military side, some on other fronts. And I think that we will have broad support. Different countries are going to play different roles. There are going to be countries that you may never hear of their contribution but it might actually be the most important contribution in locating this network. So this is a different kind of coalition.

The president is absolutely committed to doing what the United States has to do. But I think that we have tremendous support and understanding that there have to be several phases to this and this has to go on for a long time.

QUESTION: Does the U.S. feel constrained at all by the calls from other nations, especially as time passes and the urgency of the moment fades? Does the United States feel constrained about it? RICE: Well, the president's made clear that he's not going to lose his focus. And with every foreign leader -- and I've sat in now on lots of meetings with leaders -- every conversation is about how the world cannot lose its focus on what happened, cannot -- start to get back to normal life, we want to do that -- but forget that this is a threat that is out there and that will strike again if we don't take the necessary measures to root it out, to draw them out of their holes, as the president said, to bring them to justice. And so, we're not going to lose focus, and we don't think that the rest of the world will lose focus.

But the main thing here is to do something effective -- to do something effective in the first phases, but also to continue to do something effective over the long haul.

QUESTION: In my mind, the president left the impression today that, in terms of coalition-building, the first objective is that the U.S. has the right and the obligation to retaliate against those who are responsible for the World Trade Center attacks and the attack on the Pentagon, and that that's first. And that for the longer part of the sustained effort, that coalition-building may come after that. Is that a fair reading?

RICE: No. I think that we believe that this first phase in which the president demonstrates, if you will, that what he said about being determined to root out those who perpetrated this act and those who harbor them -- in other words, that there isn't a distinction here -- that that is an important part of the next phase of this. That you have to be able to demonstrate to states that might harbor terrorists that that's not going to be a good thing to do in the future, and to give states that have been harboring terrorism a chance to change their ways.

But the president is committed to the coalition because the coalition is being committed to him.

And I want to caution. Talking about "the coalition," again, we tend to think of the last war and we tend to think of the way that the Gulf War coalition was put together.

RICE: But countries are going to contribute different things, and the most important contributions may come down the road as we deal with the financial networks of these organizations; that we deal with rooting them out of countries in which they are burrowed in and ready to strike. This is a long conflict, a long struggle, and there are going to be a lot of different contributions along the road from a lot of different countries.

QUESTION: As you say, the president isn't going to announce military action tomorrow night. So what would he say that we have not already heard from him? Is he going to tell us anything new?

RICE: The president will take this opportunity to make a case, I think, to the American people of why we are entering this long struggle, and to understand better its nature. This is not something that is going to be over in a matter of months.

And so the president feels an obligation to bring the American people along with him in his thinking; to bring them along with him in his deepening understanding of what it is we face; to understand that there may be sacrifice along the way. Also to rally the country and the world to understand that this really is an attack on freedom. It's a chance to bring this together in a way that lays the foundation for what is really going to be a very long struggle.

QUESTION: Did the president today sign any deployment order, as was reported on at least one network, regarding additional airplanes to the Gulf region to beef up the no-fly zone forces there and potentially clear up other forces to deal with something in Central Asia?

RICE: The United States is repositioning some of its forces to support the president's goal. I'm not going to talk about operational matters or further about troop movements. I can refer you to the Pentagon for anything further. But we are repositioning some forces.

QUESTION: But can you explain it at least, without the specifics, as an order signed and approved by the president, whatever the order said?

RICE: Well, you understand that the president has done a couple of things. The order on the call-up of the reserves. He's talked with the secretary of defense about what is necessary to prepare the United States for any action that it might wish to take in accordance with the goals that he's laid out.

QUESTION: Dr. Rice, Chinese President Jiang Zemin has been waging a quiet campaign that's quite different from the United States. He called several world leaders, including President Chirac, who's just been here yesterday. And what they are saying basically is that the United States, if you want to wage a war, you have to go through the United Nations Security Council and respect the so-called territorial integrity and the sovereignty issue.

Well, a lot of analysis saying that the Chinese real target is Taiwan and Tibet. I just wonder whether the president has any idea on this. I mean, Chinese foreign minister is due here tomorrow.

RICE: Yes, the Chinese foreign minister is due here.

But let me say that one of the first phone calls that the president had was with President Jiang Zemin. It was a very positive phone call that promised cooperation.

RICE: Again, we do not expect every country in the world to be involved in every phase of this operation or in every aspect of it. We expect, though, that everybody understands that terrorism is a real threat to civilization, to freedom-loving peoples. And that, we believe, the Chinese understand and understand fully.

QUESTION: Will you need another U.N. resolution to do it?

RICE: Look, the United States, first of all, we had an expression from the U.N. of support for the United States and an understanding that there are things that may have to be done. I can't tell you what further U.N. activity there may be or we may request.

We have had several expressions of support from a number of countries, from a number of alliances. And I think the most remarkable in this regard was NATO's invocation of Article V that an attack upon one is an attack upon all.

But the United States, of course, has certain rights to self- defense. I think people understand that. Again, if you don't think that this is about self-defense, just look at those pictures on September 11.

QUESTION: Condi, several of the leaders have had asked for evidence of Osama bin Laden's involvement. You've heard this today from Pakistan. We've heard it from China as well.

Within the constraints that you have, given the classification of the material, what are you prepared to go do, and what model in the way of faring this evidence to help build the coalition? And what model do you use for this? Does it go back to the Cuban missile crisis, where, obviously, some intelligence data was shared? What do you do, and how central is that?

RICE: Well, the first thing to say is that, obviously, there's an ongoing investigation, and so I can't get into details of what is being looked at.

But I will say this. The organization that we're talking about has a history. There are already indictments out against members of this organization and against Osama bin Laden himself. This is an organization that is well-known to have been involved in several other terrorists incidents or attacks against American interests. There are a number of operatives whose names have popped up during this investigation that are known to be linked to Osama bin Laden. I think that we know who we're dealing with and what we're dealing with here, and we've known for a long time.

I would just say that, we are more than happy to talk with allies and friends and the rest of the world about what it is we need to do. But the United States is going to have to take measures in self- defense to deal with this problem.

Let's be very clear: The president is concerned to protect the United States in any way that he can. And rooting this cancer out of the tens of countries that are out there in which it's operating has got to take place, because that is in the self-defense of the United States and frankly in the self-defense of all countries that favor freedom.

QUESTION: Can you tell us anything about the speech preparation, how long has the speech been in the works and how is he putting it together? And also, what is the explanation for why people would do this?

RICE: Well, I think that I'd refer you to the president's speech tomorrow night. I think that he's going to really lay out this case for the American people as a foundation for what we're about to face.

RICE: And I urge you very much to listen to it in its totality.

The speech-writing process is, you know, the speech-writing process. There have been a number of people involved in it. Wouldn't surprise you that...

QUESTION: When did it start?

RICE: You know, a couple of days. The president's been thinking about the speech for a couple of days but not with a specific date in mind. I think he's known for quite some time that he wanted to make the case to the American people for what it is we're about to embark on and that he wanted to do that in a way that is not hurried, not a press soundbite here or there, but really lays out the case.

QUESTION: As far as the message of returning to a normal life, returning to school, returning to a job, what does the president intend to do for those people who have no job to return to in the wake of massive layoffs, particularly in certain sectors? Is he going to outline in any way or reassure the American people of any economic stimulus package, any assistance to particular sectors that have been hit in the wake of all of this?

RICE: Well, you know that the president is in discussions with his economic advisers and also with the Congress about what can be done to deal with the national emergency that we have faced. I think the president is quite aware, as everyone is, that there have been effects on the economy of what happened.

But I know that he said to the leaders today that he wants to work with them and that he is prepared to try to think about what it is that he needs to do. But, you know, beyond that, the details will come.

QUESTION: Many Americans expect some kind of decisive military action. From all that you've said, this being a campaign of mind and will and so forth, is part of the president's intention to suggest that perhaps what will be decisive here will not be military action?

RICE: The president is going to be results-oriented. And he is bringing to bear all of our instruments of national power. He is also bringing to bear the assets and instruments of national power of a vast number of countries around the world.

I have no doubt that military power is some part of that, but we are not facing a traditional enemy here. We're facing a quite unconventional enemy. The president, though, made very clear that, while he wants to root out those who are hiding, who we've gotten accustomed to is the car bomber who runs and hides, but who this time perpetrated this well-orchestrated terror attack on some of the most important symbols of power and authority and prosperity of the United States, that he's got to get them. He's got to root out that organization wherever it may be. But that he also believes that those who harbor them -- it needs to be demonstrated to them that harboring these terrorists is not good for one's well-being.

So there will be a host of instruments brought to bear on this problem, and that's the case that the president is going to make tomorrow.

QUESTION: Are you suggesting today that it might be useful to think of this as multiple coalitions for multiple purposes?

And second, this 192 countries that have responded with condolences or offers of help include a lot of countries that are not, as you described, freedom-loving countries, people that the vice president has described as some unsavory characters.

QUESTION: And I'm wondering -- some of these counties are able to provide the most help in routing out this terrorist threat. I'm wondering how you're going to be guided in striking a balance between how far the United States can go in dealing with these countries to get at this threat?

RICE: Our values matter to us. And I want to make the point that our values matter to us internally, as we try to think about how to secure ourselves better -- civil liberties matter to this president very much -- and our values matter to us abroad. We are not going to stop talking about the things that matter to us -- human rights, religious freedom and so forth and so on. We're going to continue to press those things. We would not be America if we did not.

We have a particular threat here to, not just our well-being, but to our way of life. And the coalition and what countries can bring to it, it's very important to take advantage of what can be brought from a variety of different countries and a variety of different means to address that threat. And, yes, I think the notion of multiple coalitions is probably a good one.

There is clearly one big, overarching coalition that says, "This could have been us, and we understand that when America was attacked, more than America was attacked." But what different countries will bring to the equation, what different fronts people will fight on against this war on terrorism, I think, will unfold over this period of time.

RICE: But I do want to say that the really interesting thing about what happened on Tuesday, if you try and step back from the horrors of it -- and it's just really horrible -- is that when the World Trade Center went down, the world's trade center went down. There were citizens from numerous countries that died in the World Trade Center. This was not just Americans. These were Pakistanis and Brits and people from the continent of Africa and Latin Americans. What really was attacked was this world community that trades and works and tries to make people more prosperous and enjoys the freedoms and the kind of freedom of life that we're so accustomed to in the United States.

And so when the president says...

CHEN: You are looking at a picture of Mr. Bush. That was his national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, speaking.

Note to our viewers: "LOU DOBBS MONEYLINE" will be with you just in one moment. I just want to update you on what you have been watching here on CNN.

You have been seeing Condoleezza Rice, the nation's national security adviser, speaking with reporters at the White House in the briefing room there, giving them something of a preview of what Mr. Bush plans to say in his address to Congress and indeed to the nation tomorrow evening.

As you noted, that he will not be coming forward to announce any military action, but will be giving lawmakers and all of us some more information about what has been learned and about what we should expect ahead in the war on terrorism.

Mrs. Rice also talking about the many visits that the president has had from many world leaders: the French president, Jacques Chirac; the Indonesian president, Megawati Sukarnoputri earlier in the day; as well as the foreign minister of Germany, Joschka Fischer -- all coming to talk and consult with the president at the White House. And indeed, Ms. Rice among the many advisers continuing to work at the White House on developments there and on the nation's plans for what is ahead.

Of course, you can always get the latest information here on CNN. We'll break in with additional news at any time. Now we move on to one of the nation's most important stories now. That is its economy.

With that, Lou Dobbs, "MONEYLINE."

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