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America's New War: Military Mobilizes; President to Speak to Nation

Aired September 20, 2001 - 18:30   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.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: About 2,200 Marines mobilized at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina today. Dozens of warplanes, including bomber and fighter aircraft, have also been ordered to move out. They're expected to deploy in the Persian Gulf region.

The White House has rejected a recommendation by Afghanistan's grand Islamic counsel that the ruling Taliban militia asked suspected terrorist Osama Bin Laden to leave the country. Bin Laden is considered the prime suspect in last week's attacks. And the U.S. and other countries have demanded he be handed over to the West.

Turning now to the investigation. The FBI today arrested a man linked to an associate of Bin Laden outside of Chicago. Federal authorities continue to search for more than 190 people they say may have more information about the attacks.

New York mayor Rudy Giuliani has updated the number of people missing and presumed dead following the attack on the World Trade Center to 6,333. New York City will hold a prayer service Sunday at Yankee stadium for the victims of the attacks.

And President Bush is getting ready to address Congress and the nation. That speech, which begins 2.5 hours from now, is expected to focus on the U.S. response to terror. Of course, you can see Mr. Bush's speech live here on CNN. That's at 9:00 p.m. Eastern.

Now to the White House for a preview of the President's speech. Let's go to our senior White House correspondent John King. John, give us a preview of what we can expect to hear.

JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, one major headline the President will announce tonight, CNN has told in his speech to a joint meeting of Congress and to the American people that he is creating a new cabinet level position to coordinate "homeland defense." Essentially, to be the czar who coordinates all the information the United States government has to fight domestic terrorism.

One of the criticisms in the wake of the tragic attacks in New York and at the Pentagon is that some federal agencies were not sharing information, that state and local governments were not getting information from the federal government.

So the President will announce a new cabinet level position of homeland defense czar. In that speech, the President promises the American people "we will direct every resource at our command, every means of diplomacy, every tool of intelligence and every necessary weapon of war to the disruption and defeat of the global terror network."

The President also delivers a blunt message to leaders around the world, as he tries to build an international coalition for he calls a war on evil-doers. The President says, "either you are with us or you are with the terrorists."

Mr. Bush, Wolf, also calls this, the war "freedom and fear are at war." We're told there is no timetable for military action, but the President makes clear the United States is building up its military overseas. And he delivers a direct message, we are told, to the Taliban ruling militia in Afghanistan, saying they should that they should turn over Osama Bin Laden or face the wrath of the United States -- Wolf.

BLITZER: John, this may be totally premature, but I'm sure you've heard all the speculation about Mayor Giuliani and the job he's done over these past several days. Any speculation at all about who that homeland defense czar might be and whether there's any consideration of Rudy Giuliani

KING: I've not heard that name, nor any names, Wolf. The President came to this conclusion, we are told, in his deliberations in recent days. But you mentioned Rudy Giuliani, the mayor, who has been saluted by this President repeatedly, will be in the VIP box with the First Lady tonight. So will Governor George Pataki.

And on the side of the international support the President is building, the U.S.' most staunchest ally, Great Britain, Prime Minister Tony Blair will be there as well. And in the speaker's box tonight, Wolf, an emotional moment. The President will salute Lisa Beamer. She is a mother of two. She's pregnant with a third child on the way. Her husband, Todd Beamer, among the passengers who fought with the hijackers on that flight that crashed just outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Wolf:

BLITZER: John King at the White House. Thank you, very much.

And I want to show our viewers now some videotape that we shot earlier today in New York City. Former President Bill Clinton touring a fire station with Sherry Blair, the wife of Tony Blair, the visiting prime minister of Britain.

They went there from a memorial service with the former president participated in. President Clinton, of course, having an exceptionally strong relationship with the British prime minister Tony Blair and Sherry, visiting some of these firemen and some of the workers, fire fighters, who were involved in this rescue operation in New York City earlier today.

And of course, stay with CNN for President Bush's speech the Congress. That is at 9:00 p.m. Eastern. CNN anchors Aaron Brown and Judy Woodruff, senior analyst Jeff Greenfield will bring you that coverage live. Once again, 9:00 p.m. Eastern, 6:00 p.m. on the West coast.

And our partners at the Gallup organization have conducted a new poll gauging attitudes in Britain for a possible military assault on terrorism.

For more on that, we turn now to Frank Newport. He's Gallup's editor-in-chief.

Frank, what are they saying in Britain?

FRANK NEWPORT, GALLUP, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: Well, indeed, John King mentioned a moment ago, Britain our staunchest ally. That's what we're finding in our daily telegraph Gallup poll of the British people. We'll show you the numbers that show some levels as high or higher than what we're finding in the United States.

First of all, a significant percent of Britons say they are in what is the equivalent of war. Kind of thing we're finding in American polling. Two-thirds agree that Britain is at war. Should the U.S. and its allies take military action? That's the question we're finding 8 to 9 Americans generally agreeing with. Well, in Great Britain, 70 percent say indeed they should. And by the way, when we ask these people, the poll asked them, who if that meant British casualties, you find two-thirds continue to support the idea in Britain, the kind of thing we're finding here.

One last point, we asked the same question we asked here in Britain about concern and worry over being the victim of a terrorist attack. In the U.S. this weekend in our CNN/Gallup poll, it was 51 percent. But look at that. Wolf. In Great Britain, it's even higher. 57 percent of residents in Great Britain say they're concerned.

So generally speaking, Britain is sharing many of the same emotions and attitudes we're finding here in the United States.

Wolf, back to you.

BLITZER: Thank you, very much, Frank Newport of the Gallup organization.

And the United States is working diplomatic channels worldwide in an effort to build a broad coalition in its new war against terrorism. For an update on efforts to organizing a united front, here's CNN State Department correspondent Andrew Koppel.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANDREA KOPPEL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was a picture that spoke a thousand words. The United States and one of its key Arab allies, side by side in the war against terrorism. Saudi Arabia's foreign minister made clear his government's support.

SAUD AL-FAISAL, SAUDI FOREIGN MINISTER: For Saudi Arabia alone, but for the international community to take what is necessary and combat this scourge of terrorism that exists in the world.

KOPPEL: During the Gulf War, Saudi Arabia played a pivotal role. Now the Bush administration is again looking to countries in the Arabian peninsula, the Persian Gulf, as well as in north Africa to join a new collision against terrorism. Secretary of State Powell said during their meetings, the Saudi foreign minister spelled out what his government could offer.

COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE: He was rather specific in our conversations about things they will do within the kingdom to support us in the separate.

KOPPEL: In particular, the U.S. is looking to the Saudis to share intelligence on Osama Bin Laden, his terrorist network, and cut off financial support, to open its air space and allow the U.S. to operate from its own bases on Saudi soil.

And perhaps most importantly, the U.S. needs Saudi Arabia, a prominent voice within the Muslim world, to spread the word, this war is targeting terrorists, not Islam.

One potential land mine, other targets beyond Bin Laden and his network in Afghanistan. In a letter sent to President Bush Thursday, a group of prominent conservatives said even if evidence does not link Iraq directly to last week's attacks, the U.S. should make a determine effort to remove Saddam Hussein from power.

GEOFFREY KEMP, THE NIXON CENTER: By putting together a coalition against Afghanistan is easy because everybody hates the Taliban, including Iran, India, Russia, and Saudi Arabia. Putting together a coalition against Iraq, totally different story.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KOPPEL (on camera): But administration officials say any one and every one, including Iraq, will be fair game if there is evidence of terrorism. But one Arab diplomat warned widening the circle beyond Afghanistan without the necessary evidence will lose their support for a coalition.

BLITZER: Andrea, what are you hearing about divisions within the highest ranks of the Bush administration about targeting Iraq at this stage?

KOPPEL: What I'm told is, and primarily from diplomats is that yes, Secretary Powell in this building at the State Department understands and appreciates the necessity of keeping, at the moment, keeping a very narrow target, keeping focus on Afghanistan.

But having said that, one official I spoke with said nothing is ruled out. And as far as Secretary Powell and others in the administration are concerned, as time goes on, you need to be prepared for broadening that coalition right now.

BLITZER: Andrea Koppel at the State Department. Thank you, very much. And U.S. forces and aircraft are ordered to deploy. Up next, we'll take you to the Pentagon for the latest on the U.S. military planning. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: The United States has embarked on its new unconventional war against terrorism.

CNN military affairs correspondent Jamie McIntyre is over at the Pentagon. He has the details. Jamie, what happened today?

JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, the U.S. military is on the move. Those deployment orders that went out yesterday have set in motion almost 100 planes from U.S. bases to move closer to the region, to the Persian Gulf and Central Asia region, including B-1 bombers and B-52 bombers that left from Barksdale, Louisiana. These bombers are capable of firing air launch cruise missiles.

In addition, Army Secretary Tom White indicated that U.S. Army special forces may have gotten their deployment orders as well, as the U.S. begins to mobilize. Today, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said these deployments, which he declined to detail, are all about giving President Bush more options.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD RUMSFELD, DEFENSE SECRETARY: What we're doing is we are trying to get ourselves arranged in the world with our forces in places that we believe conceivably could be useful in the event the President decided to use them for one thing or another.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MCINTYRE: In addition today, the Pentagon released a list of more than 5,000 National Guard and reserve troops that are being called up, most of those in order to support the so-called homeland defense mission, nicknamed "Noble Eagle".

The campaign against terrorism had a working title of "Infinite Justice." But Pentagon say and Defense Secretary Rumsfeld said that may get a reworking because some Muslim groups have said that the term infinite justice could be offensive to Muslims because in their religion, only Allah can dispense ultimate or infinite justice -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Jamie McIntyre, thank you very much.

And let's expand now in the military effort, in this new war on terrorism with a former high ranking member of the Armed services. He's retired Major General George Harrison of the U.S. Air Force. He joins us now from Atlanta.

General Harrison, thanks for joining us. You see the types of equipment, troops that are being mobilized, that are moving out. That seems to suggest at least on its surface that this war is probably going to be a lot more conventional than unconventional. Am I wrong based on what we've seen so far?

GEN. GEORGE HARRISON, USAF: No, I don't think you're wrong. I think that the issue is it's going be far more complex than we're used to. This is not going to be a simple one or two strike operation. It's going to be a coordinated national and international effort. And I'm personally very encouraged by the deliberate nature of the planning that's obviously going on by more former colleagues in the Pentagon.

BLITZER: Obviously, you've heard all the speculation about if Iraq, once again as it was 10 years ago, becomes a target. That would not only complicate the situation, politically, diplomatically, in terms of coalition building, it would complicate the situation militarily, wouldn't it?

HARRISON: Well, of course. Any time you have to move in more than one direction, it's a very complex issue. But I'm confident, given the time that's being taken on this operation, given the way the pieces are coming together, I'm confident that all those contingencies are being worked out and they will give us the right result.

BLITZER: Given the Soviet, the former Soviet Union's experience in Afghanistan 10 years losing a huge war over there, are the U.S. special operations forces prepared to go into Afghanistan, the terrain, the geography that's there, the fighters, the Afghan fighters who are there. Are they prepared language-wise and all other ways, to get in Afghanistan?

HARRISON: Well, again, I'm sure that given adequate warning and the warning we have, I'm absolutely positive that our special forces, our special operations folks, and our conventional forces are doing the right kind of planning and operations specific training that's going to be required to prevail.

And naturally, all these folks are students of history. They've studied very well the British experience in Afghanistan, the Soviet experience, all those kinds of operations. So they'll will quite a bit of target study, area study and language preparation.

BLITZER: One final question, given the pace of what's going on, how long of a haul do you think this campaign is going to be?

HARRISON: Well, that's pure speculation, of course, but I believe that this will be a very long campaign. I think it'll probably be months and years, rather than days and weeks.

BLITZER: OK, retired General Major Harrison, U.S. Air Force, thank you very much.

HARRISON: Thank you.

BLITZER: Thank you. And the view of the wreckage of the World Trade Center, as the number reported missing rises. A live report from CNN's Gary Tuchman is coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BLITZER: Welcome back. British prime minister Tony Blair arriving at the White House right now for a meeting with President Bush. Looking at live pictures at the White House. The British prime minister.

There he is, walking into the White House for this meeting with the President. There he is, President Bush received Tony Blair.

Britain has been strongly supportive of the U.S. in the aftermath of last week's terrorist attacks. Secretary of State Colin Powell standing by for this meeting as well. Administration officials insisting, this will be an important session in terms of coordinating strategy between the two allies, the U.S. and Britain.

They're very hopeful, the Americans are, that the British will be fully on board and all indications right now that they are. They've going into this meeting. Afterwards, the President will be heading over to Capitol Hill for his address before a joint session of Congress.

And as the intense search goes on in the wreckage of the World Trade Center towers, the number of missing and presumed dead has climbed once again. New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani gave the latest numbers just a short time ago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAYOR RUDY GIULIANI (R), NEW YORK: CNN's Gary Tuchman actually standing by near the wreckage of the World Center towers in New York. And he joins us now live.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: Gary.

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, the news was very jarring, those numbers you were just talking about. But mayor of New York City, Rudy Giuliani, has added 900 more names to the list of people missing and presumed dead. 900 since yesterday.

6,333 people are said to be missing right behind me at the World Trade Center complex. Yesterday, the number was 5422. Why such a steep increase? The mayor of New York says that countries around the world have been compiling lists of their citizens who were nearby. And those names have been added to the list.

It's obviously a very fluid list. It could up further. It might go down. But either way, very jarring news that 900 more names are added to that list.

In addition, 6,291 people injured. That means 12,624 people are either missing or injured. And also more bad news, 241 bodies have been recovered. That's only 8 more than yesterday. 24 hours, they've only been able to locate 8 more bodies. So all this news is very bad.

It's been raining much of the day today. And that's also made work much harder because they continue to look for the possibility of survivors, despite the fact that no survivors have been found for 8 days.

A structural engineer inside the site has told us the makes the rubble much heavier, much harder to lift. So it's harder to look for people who might be alive. It's also much more dangerous for the workers there because the steel gets very slippery. It's muddy and it's very treacherous.

The bosses back there have been warning their workers, "Please be prudent. Please be careful because it's very dangerous."

The pictures you're looking at right now come from 35 stories up in a skyscraper looking down at the site where the work has been going on since Tuesday.

One more thing we want to mention to you today. 38 U.S. senators came to New York via the train. They went from Washington to New York's Penn Station on Amtrak. They toured the site with New York's two U.S. senators, Hillary Rodham Clinton and Charles Schumer. 40 percent of the U.S. Senate was in New York City today for that tour. And never before has bipartisanship been more important and more apparent.

Wolf, back to you.

BLITZER: Gary, I take it that with hope of finding any survivors right now quickly dwindling, the number of loved ones, family members, friends that had been close by, they're searching, groping, looking for some evidence. I take it that number has virtually gone away?

TUCHMAN: What the officials have been trying to do, Wolf, is to keep the family members and friends away from the site for a number of reasons. It's very crowded and also, it'd be very tough for them to deal with. So there's family assistance centers nearby where counseling is available. And those have been very busy throughout this entire period.

BLITZER: All right, Gary Tuchman in New York. Once again, thank you very much. And up next, an inside look at what reportedly are terrorist training camps. That story when we return.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Welcome back. You've probably heard this question and you may have asked it yourself. Just who is the enemy the United States plans to fight and where does it live? Our next report may contain some hints.

It comes from India from CNN's Satinder Bindra.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SATINDER BINDRA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Days after the worst terrorist attack in U.S. history, India has passed on vital intelligence information to Washington, including footage of what New Delhi says are terrorist training camps.

(GUNFIRE)

For more than a decade, India's says Islamic militants have been training for a jihad or holy war. Indian intelligence sources say seven camps are in Afghanistan. Many more they say are in Pakistan.

New Delhi is now sharing with Washington what it believes are the locations of some of these camps. At one such training center, militants are seen using a picture of former U.S. President Bill Clinton for target practice.

Leoca Pali (ph) has first-hand knowledge of camps like these. A former militant fighter and instructor from the disputed region of Kashmir, he says he was trained in the early '90s in Afghanistan.

LEOCA PALI, FORMER MILITANT: We used to learn how to handle machine guns, heavy guns, how to make bombs, how to use mines.

BINDRA: It's not clear how this camp in Pakistan was funded. Insignias and logos on the tape indicate the camp may have been operated by a group called Al-Bother (ph). The group says it's not associated with Osama bin Laden. Still Al-Bother shares some of Bin Laden's ideology.

(on camera): Indian intelligence sources say there are more than 120 training camps spread across Pakistan and Afghanistan. Given most of these camps are small, easy to relocate and sometimes hard to track by satellites in rough terrain. Indian defense strategists here in New Delhi estimate it could take Washington more than a decade to flush out all the militants and terrorists.

(voice-over): Former militant Leoca Pali says if the U.S. wants to win this war, it must strike hard and fast at the roots of the global terrorist movement, the training camps?

PALI: If you don't do anything to him or if you don't hit terrorist camps, if you don't control those countries which are harboring terrorists, I mean, you know, you are going to have lots of terrorists all over the world.

Pali says these camps have already motivated thousands with hate. Eliminating their training bases, he believes, is the best way to make the world a safer place.

Satinder Bindra, CNN, New Delhi.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BLITZER: And remember two hours from now, President Bush addresses Congress. CNN, of course, will carry that speech live. And this additional note, President and British prime minister Tony Blair are still meeting at the White House. We hope to bring you their comments live during the next hour.

I'll be back at 8:00 Eastern to preview the president's address to Congress and his military options. Remember, breaking news anytime here on CNN.

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