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America's New War: Bush Administration Moves to Freeze Terrorists' Assets

Aired September 24, 2001 - 16:06   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.
ANNOUNCER: They struck at the heart of America's finances. Now President Bush is taking aim at the terrorist financial base.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Money is the lifeblood of terrorist operations. Today we're asking the world to stop payment.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: The Bush administration also moves to defend against a potential threat from the sky. And even as the U.S. mobilizes against him, suspected terrorist Osama bin Laden reportedly faxes a new message of defiance.

JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, I'm Judy Woodruff in Washington, where President Bush is promising today to starve terrorists of their funding. Hi, Joie.

JOIE CHEN, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, Judy. From CNN center in Atlanta, I'm Joie Chen. Details on that and some other developments in the war against terrorism.

We want to begin with some of those other developments right off. President Bush has now signed an executive order which freezes U.S. assets to people and groups that support terrorism. And he is calling on other countries to do the same. Mr. Bush says the world is on notice: If you do business with terrorists, you will not do business with the United States.

Meantime, the airline pilots union says it wants Congress to allow pilots to be deputized as law enforcement officials, so they can be allowed to carry guns in the cockpit, and have more power to try to prevent hijackings like the ones that took place, of course, on September 11th.

A federal ban on the use of crop dusters in most of the United States remains in effect until shortly after midnight tonight. The reason for that: Aviation regulators have extended the ban as a precaution because of FBI concerns of a possible of biological or chemical terrorist attack. And in New York, the city is making it possible now for families to file death certificates for those missing in the ruins of the World Trade Center, even if no body has been found. More than 6,400 now are listed as missing. Mayor Rudy Giuliani now says it would take a miracle to find any more survivors.

Amid an outpouring of praise for the mayor's handling of the crisis, Giuliani says he has not had time to think about his own political future. But on the eve of the mayoral primary, he did not rule out trying, at some point, to extend his stay in office, despite term limits that now require him to leave his job at the end of the year.

Among the other top developments overseas now: Suspected terrorist Osama bin Laden apparently sent a fax today calling on Pakistanis to use all their means to resist what he calls "the invasion of the American crusader forces in Pakistan and Afghanistan." Officials with a Qatari-based news channel say they received a fax today in their offices at Kabul, and based on past messages they received from bin Laden, they do believe it is authentic.

The fax expresses sorrow for three Muslims who were killed while protesting Pakistan's support for the U.S. war against terrorism, and it goes on to say: "We hope that these brothers will be the first martyrs in the battle of Islam, in this era against the new Jewish- Christian-crusaded-campaign that is led by the chief crusader (Bush) under the banner of the cross.

Let's get more, now, from near Pakistan's border with Afghanistan. CNN's Nic Robertson is in Quetta, in Pakistan -- Nic.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Joie, we do know that this news organization has had communication with Osama bin Laden in the past. They have been given video footage of him and people at his training camps, and also been given statements by him from him in the past.

However, Pakistani officials here say they doubt the veracity of the statement. They base it on the fact, they say Osama bin Laden has been held incommunicado for the last several years by the Taliban, had his satellite telephones and fax machines taken away from him. We did ask Taliban officials here earlier on if they could verify the statement, and they said they would look into it.

However, just earlier in the day from their embassy here in Pakistan, they said they didn't know Osama bin Laden's whereabouts.

SOHAIL SHAHEEN, TALIBAN EMBASSY SPOKESMAN: I don't know exactly where he is right now. But of course, as you know, our supreme leader has accepted the recommendation made by Olammah (ph) and the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) to deliver that message to him. And of course, he will be somewhere in Afghanistan, in some hidden place.

ROBERTSON: Well, from the Taliban's Ministry of Information and Culture in Kabul, another statement today from Mullah Omar, the Taliban's supreme spiritual leader. He said that he knew Osama bin Laden was being targeted for attack by United States, and he believed that he was being targeted as well.

But he said the only way for the United States to get out of its current conflict situation would be to stop its involvement in the Gulf, to remove its troops from the Gulf region, to remove its involvement and cut its involvement in Israel and to withdraw from its position, they call it, against the Palestinians. And they said, also, that the United States would have to stop interfering in Islamic countries.

Now, here in Pakistan today, one of the main Islamic parties that has support for Taliban issued a fatwah. That fatwah today saying that if the United States put any troops on Pakistani soil, they would start a jihad, a holy war against those troops. And they said not only against the American troops, but if the Americans come, they said that they would also start the same jihad against Pakistani troops here.

Now, despite that, senior U.S. military officials did have meetings today with Pakistani government officials, and also the U.S. ambassador here, Wendy Chamberlin, announcing debt relief for Pakistan, some $396 million of debt relief for Pakistan. There are, however, still large debts outstanding to the United States by Pakistan, some $3 billion.

Pakistan's total international debt at this stage is some $40 billion. It is a small amount, but it's significant for Pakistan at this time. These efforts seem very much trying to boost General Pervez Musharraf's position at this time, as he gives support to the United States in their war against the terrorist strikes in the United States.

CHEN: Nic, may I ask you, Afghanistan, we already know, is a country of so many people uprooted from their homes. Can you tell us anything about the refugee situation from Afghanistan at this point?

ROBERTSON: Well, several things we've learned today. One very significant fact is that the Taliban have taken over and sealed offices belonging to the United Nations and the world food program. Aide officials have been very concerned about the aid relief situation in Afghanistan. There are some four to five million Afghans who depend on some form of aid from aid organizations, whether it's food, whether it's shelter, whether it's bread, whether it's just work, providing an income. So, many people dependent on it.

Perhaps those worst-affected, and those humanitarian officials have the greatest concern about at this moment, are those who have been displaced from their homes by the ongoing four-year drought. Now, that is some 150,000 people in a camp in Kharach, in the west of Afghanistan. Some 200,000, they tell us, in the North, near Mazare- Sharif and about 100,000 in the south around Kandahar.

Many of these people are nomadic people. Many of them no longer have their flocks, their herds, or any form of livelihood. Their only support has been through humanitarian hand-outs: bread, oil, beans, that kind of thing. And humanitarian officials are very, very concerned about these people now -- Joie. CHEN: CNN's Nic Robertson for us, in Quetta, in Pakistan. Now Judy.

WOODRUFF: Well, Joie, White House press secretary, Ari Fleischer, is saying that the purported fax from bin Laden is a -- quote -- "chilling reminder" of the terrorist threat. Let's get more now on the Bush administration war against terrorism. We'll go to our senior White House correspondent, John King.

And, John, they were moving on a number of fronts today.

JOHN KING, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: They were, Judy, and let's follow up on what Nick Robertson was just reporting. White House officials saying, as you noted, they can't vouch for the authenticity of that letter that says it's from Osama bin Laden, but U.S. officials saying no surprise at all either that bin Laden or somebody associated with him or somebody who supported him would try to foment anti-American and anti-Jewish sentiment in the region.

That has been one of the concerns all along -- that in Pakistan, and elsewhere in Central Asia and across the Middle East, the bin Laden organization would try to get fundamentalists to protest it, to go into the streets to try to discourage other countries from joining this U.S. coalition.

As for the remarks from the Taliban leader, that only way to end this, in their view, is for the United States to pull out of the Persian Gulf region completely. White House officials say that has been a bin Laden view for years now, and that it simple is not going to happen.

Now, as for the president's action today. Mr. Bush saying today, in effect, that his pen was the first weapon used in the war against terrorism. This event in the Rose Garden to announce the president had signed an executive order. It is designed to tighten the financial noose on organizations associated with bin Laden and other groups the United States accuses of being involved in terrorism.

What it does is it hits a list of organizations, now. The treasury secretary, you see in there, Paul O'Neill, will send that list out. All U.S. banks are ordered to immediately freeze the assets of the organizations on the list. Mr. Bush said it was the first shot in a long war.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH: We will starve the terrorists of funding, turn them against each other, rout them out of their safe hiding places and bring them to justice. I've signed an executive order that immediately freezes United States financial assets of and prohibits United States transactions with 27 different entities.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Included in the 27 entities, individuals and organizations, Osama bin Laden, the lead suspect, Al Qaeda, his organization, also sometimes referred to as the Islamic Army. Also, the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, based in Egypt, of course, and the Wafa Humanitarian Organization and the Al Rasheed Trust. Those last two, nonprofit organizations that the White House says are little more than fronts for international terrorism.

Now, here in the United States, this action perceived to be largely symbolic. The Clinton administration took similar steps, came up with very little assets from Mr. bin Laden or any of these other groups, but Mr. Bush saying today the reason he wanted to publish this list is that this United States government will now pressure other governments around the world to get their banking systems to do the same thing: freeze the assets.

And the president bluntly today saying any country that does not go along, any country that does not have its banks freeze these assets, will face punishment from the United States. In fact, Mr. Bush saying any bank overseas that doesn't go along will have its assets here in the United States frozen by the United States treasury -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: John, another thing some of us noticed today. Yesterday, Secretary of State Colin Powell on television interview program said, among other things, that soon the administration would be making public evidence that would link Osama bin Laden to the September 11th terrorist attacks.

Now, today the White House said that's not the case. What's going on?

KING: Not exactly, anyway. I guess this depends on your definition of soon and just what evidence you were looking for. Secretary Powell was quite adamant yesterday, saying yes, governments around the world would get what he called a white paper on the evidence soon.

But here at the White House today, President Bush bristled when that subject came up. He noted that bin Laden is already under indictment here in the United States, and from a legal perspective, he feels no obligation to provide the evidence to anybody. The president then brought Powell into the conversation, speaking to reporters. And the secretary said, well, the goal would be to release some evidence down the road as it becomes available. But he also noted that most of the evidence here classified, and that the United States would not release that.

I spoke just a few moments ago to a senior official at the State Department, who said it would be correct to say -- quote -- "we got pulled back a little bit by the president" -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right. Fascinating to watch all this. John King, thanks.

Well, now to efforts to make the skies safer after the attacks on New York and Washington. CNN's Patty Davis joins us with a report on a new move, Patty, to permit airline pilots to be armed. PATTY DAVIS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. The Airline Pilot's Association, Judy, is calling on Congress to change the laws to allow its pilots to carry firearms in the cockpits. Now, this in the wake, obviously, of the terrorist hijacking two weeks ago. And the pilots union is saying that it's necessary in order to propose -- to keep the integrity, protect that integrity of the cockpit.

Now, the pilots say that they are willing to undergo extensive background checks. They want to be actual claw enforcement officers. This would be voluntary for any pilot who wanted to do this. Now, last week the Airline Pilots Association recommended simply having at least two stun guns as standard equipment in the cockpits. This, obviously, a big change. The Airline Pilot's Association head, Duane Woerth, a president of that group, going to make that recommendation to Congress tomorrow. He is testifying, along with other aviation officials.

This, in addition to the addition of more sky marshals to the skies. So the Airline Pilots Association saying it wants its 67,000 pilots in the U.S. and Canada -- 47 different airlines -- to be able to choose whether or not they carry firearms -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: So, again, a request from the Pilots Association. They're saying we want this power, but in terms of giving it to them, we're not there yet.

DAVIS: We're not there yet.

WOODRUFF: All right, Patti Davis, thanks very much.

To Capitol Hill, where Attorney General John Ashcroft has been urging lawmakers today to quickly approve new anti-terrorism legislation that would broaden some law enforcement powers.

Let's check in now with our Congressional correspondent Jonathan Karl.

JONATHAN KARL, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Judy, the attorney general made that case today before the House Judiciary Committee, which is right now working with people in the Senate and the administration on that very package of expanded law enforcement authority.

The main points of this, what Ashcroft wants the main points include, and it is a broad package, but it includes so-called roving wiretap authority. And what that means is that you get a warrant for a wiretap on an individual, can enlist it on him regardless of what phone he uses, or even in what city or state he is in.

Also, they want to be able to use wiretap information from other governments, even if other governments got that information in violation of the Fourth Amendment's protection against unreasonable search and seizure. They also want to allow law enforcement to seize suspected terrorists voice mails and e-mails, as long as they have a search warrant. In addition, they want broader disclosure of grand jury information. Grand jury information, as you know, is secret, but what this would allow is that information could be shared with intelligence officers here in the United States, and intelligence officers with other governments.

Also, this new proposal would give the attorney general the power to seize for an undisclosed amount of time, an undetermined amount of time, anybody the attorney general deems, any noncitizen he deems to be a threat of possible future terrorist threats.

Now, this was obviously a controversial list of proposals, many of which have been considered after previous terrorists attacks in the United States, some of which were considered after the Oklahoma City bombing. And it did not go anywhere last time, because it raised civil liberties concerns from both the left and the right.

John Conyers, the ranking Democrat in that committee, said that many of these proposals, he's concerned about.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP, JOHN CONYERS (D-MI), JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: Permitting information for illegal wiretaps performed abroad against United States citizens, to be used in the federal courts as the administration proposes, is -- well, some have said it's unconstitutional on its face. Let me be more polite. We're deeply troubled. We're deeply troubled by it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KARL: But John Conyers and other Democrats on the committee said that they will work with the administration, in fact have been working with the administration, working with the attorney general on this package. Said there was much that they agreed with. And the attorney general, for his part, said that these extra law enforcement powers are especially needed because of the threat right now in the United States.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN ASHCROFT, ATTORNEY GENERAL: It is our position at the Justice Department, and the position of this administration, that we need to unleash every possible tool in the fight against terrorism, and to do so promptly, because our awareness indicates that we are vulnerable, and that our vulnerability is elevated as long as we don't have the tools we need to have.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KARL: And Congressional leaders who just couple of weeks ago would have rejected many of these proposals, tend to agree with the attorney general. In fact, Judy, all during the weekend, the key staffers, Democrat and Republican, on the judiciary committees in the House and the Senate, worked with those at the attorney general's office on these proposal, and they are very much on the fast track. They may not all go through, but the expectation here is that within a week or two, perhaps most of this package would be approved by the U.S. Congress.

WOODRUFF: Jonathan, most of it would go through, but I also hear you're saying that with the kind of opposition that's mobilized on both the left and the right, it is quite possible that some of these additional powers may not be approved.

KARL: Well, a very interesting thing happened just a few moments ago in that hearing, which is still going on right now. Maxine Waters stepped forward and expressed concerns over a number of those provisions, and noted that they were essentially the same concerns that Bob Barr -- of course, Bob Barr had expressed -- Bob Barr, perhaps the most conservative Republican on that committee, Maxine Waters, perhaps the most liberal Democrat on that committee -- both having concerns about this.

But while the concerns are there on the left and the right, there is broad support for almost all of these provisions now, given the events of September 11th. Some of those, especially that immigration provision, the one that would allow the attorney general to basically detain for an indefinite period of time anybody he suspects could pose an immediate threat -- that's a very controversial provision and may have a tough sell up here on Capitol Hill. But a much easier sell than it would have been two weeks ago.

WOODRUFF: All right, Jonathan Karl. We'll obviously be watching all of that as it does move through the Congress.

Coming up next, we're going to go live to New York for the latest on recovery efforts there, and rescue.

Plus, new speculation about the political future of Rudy Giuliani.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHEN: City leaders in New York have been trying to emphasize getting their city back to some sense of normalcy, and for better or worse, they did get something pretty common to New York today: Monday morning traffic on the streets of the city. Mayor Giuliani said this morning that he has tremendous confidence in the city's economy, and he had words of praise for the president today as well.

Joining us now from New York, CNN's Martin Savidge, from his rooftop position -- Marty.

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The mayor did imply by the traffic patterns that were being seen that traffic was starting to get back to normal. The above-ground rails seem to have a fairly normal load. However, he noted that the subways were not carrying up to capacity like they usually did, and the streets were crowded with cars. He encouraged people to take mass transit if they could.

The search-and-recovery effort, that is still under way. It is still very difficult, very grim work that is ongoing. And now there's a new problem on the horizon, quite literally. We're talking about weather once more, a cold front expected to pass over New York. And that could bring torrential rains overnight, could also lightning.

This is some of the newest video that has come out from the area of the Twin Tower site. And this is footage, once again provided to us by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. As you know, FEMA is a government agency. Their cameras are allowed down there, ours are not. Safety is the main concern. You continue to see the work that's being done on the piles, there -- a lot of it still being done by hand. Carefully sifting through, looking for evidence, obviously looking for remains.

What they are going to do is clear away the smaller pieces, bit big challenges are the big pieces. They have brought in some heavy trucks from the side roads around here. Eventually, with the big cranes, they will lift those big pieces out of there. And then the challenge is to transport them through the city streets to a nearby pier. They'll place them on a badge and they'll be over to the Fresh Kill site.

So this is the latest video coming from their efforts working today. Cutting through that steel, especially the larger pieces. At one time they didn't even have the equipment to do it. They now are very prepared for the job they have to do.

Mayor Giuliani updating the figures. The numbers continue to grow even more sad as the days go by. Official reports of the missing now listed at 6,453. That is up 120 from yesterday. Two-hundred and seventy-six bodies have been pulled from the debris. Two-hundred and six of those have been identified. And the mayor was also complimenting President George W. Bush for the action that he took today to freeze the financial resources of terrorist organizations. Here's what he had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAYOR RUDY GIULIANI (R), NEW YORK: If you can take away the financial resources of a terrorist group, or limit it in much the same way as we used to take away the financial resources of organized crime families, that is often as important as arresting them. Because if you arrest them and you leave their financial resource behind, then somebody else can come along and just keep operating the organization.

Maybe the person won't be as effective, maybe the person won't be as charismatic, but all the resources would be there for that person to reestablish the organization. If you can do both, if you can find the people who did it, but you can also take away a lot of their financial resources, then you can really crush them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAVIDGE: The mayor of New York also had some financial news of his own, talking about the New York City was recovering economically -- slowly, he pointed out. The number of visitors has not returned in great numbers. He said that people are still mourning, still grieving and in fact, may still be fearful. But they will come back, and will come back in their own time. He noted that a number of the Broadway shows that have had great difficulties with attendance the first weekend after the tragedy, last weekend showed increased numbers of people coming out. He saw that as a good sign.

Another good sign, the Yankees return to town for the first time since this tragedy. The Yankees are the mayor's favorite team, but he also believes that their return home will do a lot to bring this city back home to normal, if possible -- Joie.

CHEN: CNN's Martin Savidge for us back in Lower Manhattan. Of course, Mayor Giuliani had other images and other issues he wanted to present to the voters in New York today. Judy on that.

WOODRUFF: Well, actually, Joie, we are going to go to that, but in the meantime, CNN's Eileen O'Connor has come up with information about two more arrests in this investigation -- Eileen.

EILEEN O'CONNOR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, basically what we have is some information from the U.S. district court in the eastern district of Virginia, Judy. They have one confidential witness helping them, and two, they have made charges, filed charges in fact against another man, Herbert Villa Lobos (ph). They say -- the court says in this affidavit that I have that was signed and submitted to the court, according to an FBI agent that they found that he in fact aided and abetted two of the hijackers on two of the different flights in obtaining Virginia driver's licenses and residency cards.

So false documentation, that is what he's being charged at, but more interestingly, the other person working as a confidential witness. That could be a break in the case.

WOODRUFF: So just to be clear, Eileen, one person has been -- is being held, has been charged. Another person is cooperating is what you're saying.

O'CONNOR: Absolutely. And we are not being told whether any charges have actually been filed against that person so far. They're not commenting, not giving us any names. He's only being known in this affidavit, in this filing in the court basically as confidential witness No. 1.

WOODRUFF: All right, Eileen O'Connor with the very latest from district court. Thank you.

We're going to take a short break. When we come back, more on Rudy Giuliani's political future.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: To politics now. Mayor Rudy Giuliani today urged New Yorkers to vote in tomorrow's mayoral primary amid speculation that he may try to extend his stay in office. Giuliani says it makes no sense for anyone to write his name as a candidate in the primary, but he did leave open a possible challenge to the state's term limits law in the days ahead.

Giuliani already has served two terms, and he's currently prevented by state law from running for re-election. As we all know, he's earned high marks for his handling of the current crisis and the city's newspapers featured reports this morning that he may be considering ways to stay on the job.

Giuliani did not comment directly on those reports.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GIULIANI: I really don't want to speculate about it now, because anything I say is going to be interpreted by, you know, half the people one way and half the people the other way. And I need time to think about it, and I haven't had the time. It's a very important decision. I need time to think about it. I need time to talk to people about it. And I have not had the time to do that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: In a poll, 91 percent of New Yorkers say Giuliani has done a good or excellent job of leading the city since the attacks. But when asked if term limits should be eliminated so that Giuliani can run for re-election, 57 percent said no, 33 percent said yes.

With more now on Mayor Giuliani's performance and talk of his political future, I'm joined by CNN senior analyst Jeff Greenfield, and our senior political analyst, Bill Schneider.

Jeff, to you first, what if people go ahead and write in the mayor's name even if the state law says he couldn't serve another term as is?

JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN SENIOR ANALYST: It would have been like writing in Bill Clinton with the 22nd Amendment. If they don't change the law, he is ineligible to hold the job. It would be a pretty interesting psychological and political event if the new mayor took office knowing that, you know, a majority of people wrote in Giuliani's name. But it would have no practical impact unless the state legislature or city council removes term limits, and that's upheld ultimately, I guess, by federal courts.

WOODRUFF: Bill, what could happen now? As you consider the state legislature, the city, is it all up to the state legislature in effect now?

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, legally, it is up to the state legislature or the city council to pass some sort of emergency law, suspending the term limits law presumably only for the mayoral contest. But let me tell you something: If enough people get, say, we need Giuliani in there, we can't lose him now, and they either write in his name in November, a very complicated thing to do on machines in New York, or say he gets a third party or an independent line and vote for him that way, if Giuliani wins, then I don't think the city council or the state legislature is going to stand up and say, the people want Giuliani but to hell with the people. They're all politicians and they're going to follow the will of the people. GREENFIELD: I -- I need to take issue with my colleague on this one. There is a very formidable obstacle to this, and that is the fact that if the state legislature tries to do this, the speaker of the state assembly, a Democrat named Sheldon Silver (ph), who, by the way, opposed term limits in the first place but now says there is no way that he is going to permit this law to be change -- and I do think if the people were to write in Giuliani, because practically he can't get another line on the ballot, there's not enough time. If enough people -- if a majority -- say a majority writes in Giuliani but he's not eligible, then what would have to happen is that the powers that be would have to deem him the mayor even though he wasn't eligible to run. And that, I think, would be chaotic.

What they -- there are two things that can be done. One is to repeal term limits, and it doesn't, by the way, have to just be for the mayor, because that would be -- that would create its own problems. There could be -- any current office-holder right now, if you want to write that office-holder in, go ahead -- that could be a law.

There has been a proposal on the table, which I think is even dicier, simply to extend the mayor's term for a year. That was proposed today by the head of a conservative think tank and some others -- and the other officials, just postpone the elections for a year.

But all of this depends on the willingness of Democrats, who have been -- who are pretty they're going to get City Hall back after eight years, to take the step and say, OK, we can preserve the principle of democracy not by extending the term, but by repealing term limits. And then let's say to the people of New York, as Bill pointed out, if you want to take the incredibly complicated step of trying to write a guy in -- and let me tell you, compared to that, the Palm Beach ballot was a breeze last year -- then I think you'd have at least some credibility.

The principal problem is that there are people saying if you do that, the terrorists will have won what they -- will have won. And the other side is no, no, if the system is malleable enough to change and still put the decision in the hands of the people, the terrorists have lost. I think that's where we are now.

WOODRUFF: Well, I'm going to tell both of you that those of us who don't live in New York City are having a little bit of a hard time following all this, so we're going to be counting on the two of you to explain it to us, not just tomorrow, but all the way to November.

Let's just move on now. Rudy Giuliani not the only elected official getting high marks from the public. President Bush has a 90 percent approval rating in the latest CNN/"USA Today"/Gallup poll. Now, that is the highest rating ever for a president, one point higher than President Bush's father had at the end of the Gulf War.

A struggling economy, as we know, later eroded support for the first President Bush. And as for the current economy, more than three-quarters of Americans predict that conditions will be good or very good a year from now. 20 percent said poor or very poor.

Bill, are you surprised that it's 90 percent for the president?

SCHNEIDER: No, because in a sense the American public was prerallied. He didn't have to do what his father did in the Gulf War and work for months to rally the people.

Remember, the Gulf War was passed by a very narrow vote in both houses of Congress. This was, the authorization for the use of force in this case, when we were attacked, was almost unanimous in Congress.

Americans are as solidly behind the president: 90 percent gives him a lot of power. He can really do anything he wants without a lot of -- without much political resistance. But as you said, there's a danger there, because he has staked his personal authority and reputation on this struggle. He's made it his personal struggle, and he's going to be held accountable for the results. And he can ask his father about how long a 90 percent rating can last.

WOODRUFF: But Jeff Greenfield, given the challenges facing this president, he almost couldn't have a better political climate than he has right now with these kinds of polls and the confidence people say they feel in the economy long term.

GREENFIELD: Oh, absolutely. I mean, if you're trying to figure out how to go into probably as difficult a crisis, certainly as difficult a crisis as any president has faced, you want to go in with people having confidence in you. The speech Thursday night went a powerful way to doing that.

I'll just put one thing on the table I've discovered, or many other people must know this. But I was reading about World War II, and a year after Pearl Harbor, when the country rallied around Roosevelt in the congressional elections of 1942, the Republicans picked up 40 seats. They almost got control of the House because people were complaining about rationing, they were complaining about all the difficulties, that there was a feeling that Roosevelt, among conservatives, was using the war to establish government power.

So as Bill has spent a lifetime teaching us, the idea that you have a 90 percent approval rating in day one, even in these circumstances, is no guarantee of where you're going to be in six months or a year, particularly if people begin to feel that it isn't going well.

But you're quite right, Judy: If you're going to start down this incredibly dangerous road, not bad to have a 90 percent approval rating.

WOODRUFF: All right. Thanks, gentlemen. Good to see both of you. Jeff Greenfield in New York, Bill Schneider with me here in Washington.

And when we come back, we will talk about the diplomatic pressures on the president with former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Richard Holbrooke. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHEN: President Bush, as you know, has been working to secure a global coalition against terrorism, and one of the subjects that has come up is how much should be known and who should know what the administration has in its case.

Joining us now, State Department correspondent Andrea Koppel.

Andrea, what is the Bush administration doing now?

ANDREA KOPPEL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Joie, CNN has learned that later this week the Bush administration is going to begin to lay out the evidence that it has been gathering against Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda terrorist network. This evidence, according to diplomatic and State Department sources, will directly link bin Laden and his network to the September 11th attacks.

We have learned that the No. 2 in the Pentagon, Paul Wolfowitz, is supposed to head over to Brussels on Thursday to meet with other NATO defense ministers. And it's there, we're told, that Paul Wolfowitz will show essentially the evidence and the details and the pieces of paper, if you will, that the administration has gathered showing in its eyes that bin Laden and his network were behind the September 11th bombings -- Joie.

CHEN: Andrea, why does the administration feel that it needs to lay out so much of its case?

KOPPEL: Well, it really doesn't feel that it should have to, but in point of fact they are trying to appeal (UNINTELLIGIBLE) public diplomacy to a number of governments, and a number of people, citizens around the world, many of them in Muslim and Islamic countries, who don't believe in fact that bin Laden and his network were behind the attacks. And they have said that they think that it's more a religious war than anything else. So, that is why the U.S. is going to present this evidence and it's going to begin to do so on Thursday -- Joie.

CHEN: CNN State Department correspondent Andrea Koppel on the Bush administration reaching out to its allies. Now to Judy.

WOODRUFF: In the meantime, the Vatican is saying today that Pope John Paul II would understand if the United States has to resort to force to fight terrorism. A spokesman says the pontiff would prefer the U.S. respond to the September 11th attacks in a nonviolent way. But he says Washington has, quote, "the right to apply self-defense."

During a visit today to Kazakhstan, the pope denounced in his clearest terms yet those who use Islam to justify murder.

Well, we are joined now -- and this from Iran, which is increasingly playing a diplomatic role after the attacks against the U.S.

President Mohammad Khatami phoned the leaders of Russia, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Syria today. We're told that his goal is to drum up support for his country's position that the United Nations must lead any global fight against terrorism.

In that vein, we are joined now by a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. That was during the Clinton administration. Richard Holbrooke now is serving as vice chairman of Perseus LLC, a private equity firm. And he joins us from New York.

Ambassador Holbrooke, what about this move by Iran to get support, pushing the U.N. to say something else? Hasn't the U.N. already issued several resolutions on the matter of Osama bin Laden?

RICHARD HOLBROOKE, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: The U.N.'s role here is much misunderstood. Let me be clear: For the United States to take unilateral military action, we don't need the U.N. We were attacked, and under the U.N.'s own charter we can exercise the right of self-defense.

NATO has declared under legendary famous Article V that an attack on one country is an attack on all, the first time since its inception in 1949 that that Article V has been invoked. And therefore, the NATO does not need the U.N. either.

But for these other countries, the ones you just named, it is quite important. Now, there are three governing U.N. resolutions, and I hope your viewers will bear with us for a minute, because this is not just diplomatic mumbo-jumbo. The first one was passed in October of 1999, the second in December of 2000, and the third the day after the outrages in New York on September 11th.

The first two authorized what is called Chapter VII actions. That is they authorize the use of force. And those are pre-emptive, and I believe that they refer directly or indirectly to Osama bin Laden.

The third one, passed on December 12th, says "all means necessary," which clearly means the use of force.

Now, to Pakistan, to Egypt, to Saudi Arabia, to Russia, to China, those resolutions are very important, and I know from talking to the ambassadors and leaders of these countries that they will look to those resolutions to justify supporting us.

WOODRUFF: Well, does that mean that no further U.N. resolutions are needed?

HOLBROOKE: That's going to depend on the individual countries, but I don't think the administration needs to go back to the U.N. I think it has in these three resolutions I just named the authorization it will need to move forward. And I think what you just reported from Iran is extremely significant, and the most important event in the international arena in the last week was the Pakistan president, General Musharraf, decisively lining up behind the United States for action.

And I know from contacts with friends of mine from Pakistan that in their case the U.N. resolutions are essential to gain support as will be the proof that Andrea Koppel was talking about a moment ago.

WOODRUFF: Well, what about that -- that proof, Richard Holbrooke? We heard -- we had the secretary of state, Colin Powell, yesterday saying that information would be made public soon. Today, the White House pulling back, saying we don't -- we don't plan to make it public. Now -- now Andrea, as you note, is reporting it's going to be shared with those who need to know. Is that going to be enough for those states, countries that may be on the fence out there?

HOLBROOKE: You know, in all of the great crises over the last 40 years, from the Cuban missile crisis on, the world eventually needed to know that the U.S.-led coalitions for peace and security were based on real facts.

I have no doubt that Osama bin Laden and other extremists are behind this. No Americans doubt it. But we need to make our case to the rest of the world. They can't just take it on faith.

And I'm glad that Wolfowitz is going to Brussels. I think that the information will have to be shared selectively with other key countries in order to mobilize support.

WOODRUFF: What about, you mentioned Pakistan is onboard. What about a country like Egypt, from which we've heard very little?

HOLBROOKE: I think you put your finger, Judy, on the key question: Why have President Mubarak and the Egyptians been so silent? Well, you know yourself from your own coverage of diplomatic events that the Egyptian Islamic Brotherhood and other organizations, the ones who killed Sadat, had had the war -- the horrible attack at Luxor, these are very dangerous. And many of the terrorists in New York and Washington appeared to have been Egyptian in origin.

So I think Mubarak is the key player here. Cairo is the most important Arab city in the world. And the fact that Mubarak has not yet made the kind of decisive moves the Pakistanis have made is some cause for concern. And I have no doubt that General Powell and his colleagues are working very hard on Cairo as we speak.

WOODRUFF: Well,given the very delicate nature of pulling this diplomatic support together, Ambassador Holbrooke, can the administration afford to wait to get this kind of support before it moves militarily?

HOLBROOKE: Judy, I think you've raised another key point here: The American public expects military action. I hope the American public will maintain its unity while being patient. We should give the administration as much time as it needs for two things: to put -- three things really: to put the military forces in place, one. Two, to choose targets which are correct. We can't just go around making the rubble bounce in Afghanistan. We've got to hit the right targets and be successful. No more of some of the failed military operations of the last 30 years. And three, to get a strong international coalition.

And I think we should give the administration as much time as it needs.

It took from August of 1990 to January of '91 to use military force in the Iraq-Kuwait crisis. If they want that much time -- I don't they will -- but they should take as much time as they want.

WOODRUFF: Former United Nations ambassador -- ambassador from the U.S. to the United Nations, Richard Holbrooke. Thank you very much.

HOLBROOKE: Thank you, Judy.

WOODRUFF: And our coverage of "America's New War" continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: Saint Nicholas was a small Greek Orthodox structure that stood in Lower Manhattan for 170 years. But for the last 30 of those years, it's been in the shadow of the World Trade Center. When the Twin Towers fell, St. Nicholas Church was one of the victims.

But as CNN's Brian Palmer reports, its spirit lives.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRIAN PALMER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): An anxious Father John Romas returns to what was a familiar place.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the place where St. Nicholas (UNINTELLIGIBLE). Now it is no more.

PALMER: Rescue and recovery workers pull sacred objects from the debris.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And a cross. And a cross (UNINTELLIGIBLE) as you can see, all burned up.

PALMER: Church elders pray. Atop the ruins of the 170-year-old building that had stood next to the World Trade Center and housed the Greek Orthodox congregation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is inside on a holy Friday.

PETER DRAKOULIAS, ST. NICHOLAS PARISHIONER: St. Nicholas has been described as the little church that could, if you will. You know, it's 22 feet wide, as I said, 55 feet long, 35 feet high. And when it sat amidst the Towers -- of course, the World Trade Center and everything else around it -- it was an odd site, and you wondered why it could survive.

LORRAINE ROMAS, WIFE OF PASTOR: And the beautiful part of it was it reminded everybody of the little village churches in Greece.

PALMER: The building didn't survive, but the church did.

FATHER JOHN ROMAS, ST. NICHOLAS PASTOR: The building doesn't make the difference. It's the faith. PALMER: Shared faith makes this story one church the story of two. Father Romas and his congregation welcomed by Father Evangelis Karunas (ph) and the people of St. Spirido (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... Christians, and Christians generally help. We can pray for the victims and all persons affected by the tragedy of the disaster of New York and Washington, D.C.

PALMER: And Greek Orthodox churches around the world have already donated thousands of dollars to the St. Nicholas reconstruction fund. Caretaker Bill Tarazonas was inside St. Nicholas when the first and second planes hit the Trade Center towers.

BILL TARAZONAS, ST. NICHOLAS CARETAKER: It's hard, but we will rebuild again, and we'll be back again as one family as we used to be.

PALMER: Brian Palmer, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: One of the many uplifting stories to come out of that terrible tragedy.

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

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