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America's New War: Is Airport Security Still Too Lax?

Aired September 25, 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: After the attacks, is airport security as tight as it can be?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I had a pair of scissors that were much larger than these.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HEMMER: What's still getting past security.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is no longer feasible to expect that the airlines alone can protect the industry.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HEMMER: Word from the top: why the Taliban will not give up Osama bin Laden.

And progress with another ally.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I am most pleased that the Saudi Arabians yesterday cut off relations with the Taliban.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HEMMER: While threats surface on another front.

It's 5:00 on the East Coast. Hello again from New York City. I'm Bill Hemmer. Today marks the second week since terror struck this city. Our coverage continues this hour. Let's start with the latest developments as we have them now.

What's left of the World Trade Center's south tower, two World Trade Center, now coming down. At this hour, workers expected to knock it down. Officials say that move necessary so workers can gain access to that part of the World Trade Center site. Saudi Arabia breaking diplomatic ties with Afghanistan's Taliban. The Saudis saying the Taliban use Afghanistan to -- quote-- "harbor, arm and encourage criminals." President Bush called the move the latest sign the international anti-terrorism coalition is now gaining strength. Also, Pakistan now the only country that recognizes the Taliban.

At the Pentagon, calling up nearly 2,000 more reservists and national guard members. They're part of the more than 35,000 national troops being called to active duty. The total called up so far though, about 14,000.

Earlier today, President Bush visiting FBI headquarters, urging Congress to approve his anti-terrorism measures. To the White House and more with John King there. John, we also heard his message: "stay at it," to FBI workers there.

Hello to you.

JOHN KING, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hello to you, Bill. Stay at it is right. The president traveling across town to give a little pep talk to some of the thousands of FBI workers working on the largest criminal investigation in U.S. history. Mr. Bush using that stop to also to put in a plug for that expanded authority the Justice Department is asking the Congress to approve so that it can do a better job, in its view, of tracking terrorism. Some of that, quite controversial.

Earlier today at the White House, more coalition building. The Japanese prime minister was here. As you showed in the top of the show, the president also praising Saudi Arabia for breaking ties with the Taliban. And with each passing day and all the tough talk about the Taliban, many asking here if a goal of this campaign is not only to capture Osama bin Laden, but to knock the Taliban from power in Afghanistan and replace it with another government. Mr. Bush saying today that that's not the case.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH: We're not into nation building. We're focused on justice, and we're going to get justice. It's going to take a while, probably. But I'm a patient man! Nothing will diminish my will and my determination.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: The president saying there the United States is not into nation-building. Yet, at that same session with reporters, the president called the Taliban regime repressive. He also said that if they do not turn over Osama bin Laden, he would consider them a good military target, that United States would have every right, he said, to target them, because they harbor terrorists.

And the president also urging anyone within Afghanistan who has problems with the Taliban to rise up. So, Mr. Bush certainly stirring questions again about whether the administration is hoping at the end of this, whether it's a specific goal or not, that the Taliban is gone from power -- Bill.

HEMMER: All right, John. John King at the White House. Thanks to you, John.

Back to Washington, also, Judy Woodruff standing by with a guest at this hour. Judy, hello.

JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: That's right, Bill. Joining me now, the Republican leader in the United States Senate, Trent Lott.

And, Senator Lott, I want to ask you about the briefings you have received, you and other senators today, from Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, Secretary of State Powell -- you've also been to the White House. Anything you can share with us among this information you're getting from the administration?

SEN. TRENT LOTT (R-MI), MINORITY LEADER: Well, first, our breakfast this morning with the president included the four top leaders of the Congress. We are continuing to be together all the time, and move forward in a united, nonpartisan way. The breakfast started off with the president giving us an update on where we are, with regard to our developments, and trying to take necessary action against the terrorists. Nothing was said there that I could repeat publicly, but we are being kept up-to-date by the president himself. And of course the vice president was there.

And then we had a substantial briefing, almost an hour and half, this afternoon by Secretary Powell, Secretary Rumsfeld. They answered questions, from any number of senators. And a lot of different questions, some of them were suggestions. I don't think there's anything new that I could add, except to say that they are committed to going after bin Laden and his supporters, and that they are, you know, looking to go after them probably in more than just one place.

WOODRUFF: Senator, if I may interrupt you.

LOTT: Sure.

WOODRUFF: Is it fair to say that members of Congress are by and large accepting the administration plan for how to proceed in this war?

LOTT: I think that Congress is very satisfied with the plan that we know of that is going forward at this time. I think that members of the Senate, men and women, indicated they appreciated the job that Secretary Powell, Secretary Rumsfeld have been doing. And I sensed in that room that there was great unity of purpose, and approval, of how they are approaching it.

WOODRUFF: Senator, let me ask you about the cost of fighting this war. Your Senate colleague, Kent Conrad of the Budget Committee saying today that new Congressional estimates are saying it could cost up to $60 billion in lost revenues. We're now hearing that the spending is another 60 billion. Does this mean that we are clearly headed from surplus to deficit next year? LOTT: Well, it shouldn't, but everybody agrees, Republican and Democrat, and the administration and Congress, we're going to do what's necessary. But I think we also have a fiscal responsibility to our constituents, to the taxpayers, that make sure we don't allow this to turn into just a way to get into the public till. We have already approved $40 billion for cleanup assistance and disaster assistance and for transportation and defense costs, and there may be others. In fact, we are going to have costs associated with the airline bill that we passed last Friday, and there may be additional costs with regard to security. So there are costs.

But we shouldn't turn this into just a blank check. We need to ask questions. We need to know what the plan is. But I suspect that there will be additional costs for our military, and I suspect there will be some costs associated directly with the events of September 11th that we have not yet addressed. But we're going to be careful as we go forward, in both of those areas.

WOODRUFF: And that $100 billion stimulus number that Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan and Former Treasury Secretary Bob Rubin put out there today -- does that sound, quickly, to you senator, in the ballpark?

LOTT: Well, I wonder if they're talking about in one year, or two or what? If it's one year, I must confess that kind of rocks me back on my heels a little bit. They have asked the Congress not to rush in with an economic stimulus package, for us to take a look at what we're already done, see how that's playing out and see what the economic indicators are. And then come together and try to think about what would be a helpful package. Clearly, we need some -- I think, some incentives for growth. The question of how much, we'll have to see.

WOODRUFF: All right, Senator Trent Lott, the leader of the Republicans in the Senate. Thank you very much.

LOTT: Thanks a lot, Judy.

WOODRUFF: Good to see you.

LOTT: Good to see you again.

WOODRUFF: And now back to Bill in Atlanta -- in New York!

HEMMER: That's OK, that's all right. Mostly in Atlanta, but New York for the past two weeks. Judy, thank you.

Another note from Washington coming out of the White House now. The president, scheduled to fly to Chicago on Thursday to show that it is safe to travel by air again across the U.S. Aides say Mr. Bush will meet with airline workers and thank them for their hard work in these trying times of huge layoffs.

As we talk about that, here is Jesse Jackson in the city of New York. REV. JESSE JACKSON, CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST: ... do damage, the whole of the human family. And at this hour, as I have said to many families in distress, while there is a lot of fear, we must choose our faith over our fear and go forward, by our faith and by our hopes, and not backwards by our fears.

The one thing I would say to New Yorkers today is that, we fall down sometimes, Donald McClurkin says, but we get back up again. Said on one occasion, Ali was not down in a fight. At the count of six he stumbled toward the rope and his trainers were saying, "Give up fight," and he held on until the bell rang. The commentator said, "Why did you get back up, you knew you were out on your feet?"

He said, "Well, the ground is no place for a champion." And that has to be the American spirit. We fall down sometimes. We get up again, we hold on to the bell, and then we go on to win the fight, because the ground is no place for a champion.

Thank you and God bless you.

HEMMER: "The ground is no place for a champion." Jesse Jackson with Mayor Rudy Giuliani here in New York City at this time.

We left off talking about the president. Later this week in two days again he'll fly to Chicago to show that it is safe to travel by air again. Aides say the president will also meet with airline workers and thank them for their hard work in these trying times. Earlier today, the president was that the White House with the Japanese prime minister.

He will also express confidence in new airline and airport security measures. However, there are signs that the tighter security we're hearing so much about not working everywhere.

Let's go to Atlanta and Joie Chen with more on that -- Joie, hello to you.

JOIE CHEN, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, Bill, there is an issue about that here at Atlanta's Hartsfield International Airport, which, as you know, is one of the world's busiest all the time. Officials say a man walked undetected through an airport checkpoint with a handgun in his pocket.

Now, the insurance agent, Charles Hilden (ph), says he realized himself he had the gun when he reached his concourse, and then immediately notified authorities. Hilden did have a permit for the gun. He was charged by police with having a firearm in a prohibited area.

Meantime in Philadelphia, a man is accused of smuggling four box cutter knives past an airport security checkpoint there. Investigators say he did it to prove a point to his wife. We'll get more on that from Dann Cuellar, of our affiliate WPVI.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) DANN CUELLAR, WPVI REPORTER (voice-over): Fifty-nine-year-old Dennis Knaus crouched down in the back seat of the car, out of view of news cameras, as FBI agents drove him away to the federal courthouse. Disturbed about the state of security at the airport, authorities say Knaus went through a security checkpoint at terminal E being manned by personnel working for International Total Security, and got through with four box cutters and two sharp-edged paint scrapers in his briefcase.

When nobody noticed the items now banned by FAA regulations, he called the FAA to complain. He was told go outside and speak with a supervisor. When he went outside and didn't find a supervisor, authorities say he went right through the same security checkpoint, and again, no one noticed the items in his briefcase.

But his call earlier to the FAA had prompted a call to the Philadelphia police, who arrested him before he boarded his Northwest Airlines flight to Minneapolis. There was no comment from anyone at the International Total Security office on Essington Road about the security lapse. Meanwhile, Knaus may be now in trouble with authorities, but others see him as some sort of good Samaritan.

SANDY MUGGLER, HOLLAND, PENNSYLVANIA: I sympathize with that and I understand for every reason why he is doing that. And I think many of us would probably stand beside him.

CUELLAR: Sandy Muggler's confidence in airport security was also shaken when she got through a different security checkpoint for a flight to Myrtle Beach with a large pair of scissors and tweezers in her carry-on bag that she had forgotten about.

MUGGLER: I had a pair of scissors that were much larger than me. They were very large, stationary scissors with large handles.

CUELLAR: Muggler says she didn't realize the lapse in security until she was trying to fly back from Myrtle Beach and security there detected the items.

MUGGLER: Philadelphia owes us, or Philadelphia International Airport and all airlines, owes the citizens and everybody who flies in and out of this airport, that level of security that we all need.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: That report from Dan our affiliate we are hearing quite a few stories of people being very concerned about their own safety and what they've been able to get through checkpoints with. As well, of course, we still are following up to Capitol Hill where, of course, you've heard that the Airline Pilot's Union has suggested that pilots have greater access, the ability to bring guns onboard with them to protect themselves and their flights.

Bill, more on security with you.

HEMMER: Joie, yes, indeed. And experts say you can't fix the system overnight. One of them, joining us by phone now with his special insight on airport security.

Issy Boim is president of Air Security International. He helped found the aviation security concept for El Al, that's the national airline in Israel. He also spent many years in the intelligence and anti-terrorism arena.

Mr. Boim, good afternoon to you, sir. I understand El Al security, that is an airline that brags about how successful it has been, and for pretty good reason as well. How would you say how far the U.S. system is away at this point from what they're doing in Israel?

(OFF-MIKE)

HEMMER: All right, I apologize, Mr. Boim. Apparently our audio connection there in the state of Texas not operating too well at this point. Hopefully we can establish a line that is a bit more secure and a bit louder so we all can hear. Issy Boim, I hope you're standing by there in the state of Texas.

In the meantime, though, there was word today from the state of Florida about attempts by one of the suspected World Trade Center hijackers to buy a crop duster. You may have heard about this report earlier. A Florida bank president says Mohamed Atta tried to get a loan from the Department of Agriculture last year, but he was turned down because crop dusters do not qualify for farm loans. The threat of a biological or chemical attack with a crop duster caused the government to ground all crop duster flights Sunday and Monday.

One more note on the economic damage to the airline industry today: Delta Airlines says it will announce job cuts and winter flight schedule restrictions tomorrow. A spokeswoman says the airline will use voluntary leaves and early retirement incentives, but furloughs are also possible with Delta. The airline would not say how many cuts are being considered, but Delta also said it's lost about a billion dollars since the terrorist attacks.

When we come back here, we're going to take you overseas. Coming up: an exclusive report from inside Taliban territory. There, they say, they are bracing for a fight.

Plus, find out why the Taliban refuses to turn over Osama bin Laden when our coverage here on CNN continues in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HEMMER: Afghanistan's ruling Taliban increasingly finding themselves a bit isolated from the international community. It took another step forward today. To Atlanta again and Joie -- Joie.

CHEN: Bill, the U.S. diplomatic campaign against terrorism is gaining momentum. Earlier today, Saudi Arabia cut formal relations with the Taliban. Meanwhile, there are concerns that Afghanistan's refugee crisis will get even worse as its people flee from a potential conflict. CNN's Nic Robertson has been covering the story. He started out in Afghanistan. He's now reporting to us from across the border in Quetta, Pakistan. Here's his latest report.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Taliban officials concerned that as the Saudi Arabia cuts relations with them, that they could become even further isolated. They appealed today to Pakistan not to severe their diplomatic ties.

The Taliban also today, seeking to define in the face of the way that the international community is defining, this as international war on terrorism. The Taliban seeking to define it as an international war, not on terrorism, but on Islam.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Here, wars between some people who believe in their weapons, and others who have strong belief in what's in their hearts. We only defend ourselves with our simple ways and with dependence on God's will. With this belief, we will be in a war against the Americans. The Americans are fighting so they can live and enjoy the material things in this life. But we are fighting so we can die in the cause of God.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERTSON: Now, Pakistani officials here have said that they do value continuing their diplomatic relations with the Taliban at this time, they say. Despite the fact they pulled their own staff out of Afghanistan, they will allow the Taliban to maintain an embassy here in Pakistan. That, they say, will allow the international community to communicate if they need to with the Taliban, and for the Taliban to have a window of the international community and see how the world is reacting to them.

Nic Robertson, CNN, Quetta, Pakistan.

CHEN: And as Afghanistan becomes more isolated from the outside world, its people are preparing in many cases for war. Kamal Hyder, who is reporting from within Afghanistan for CNN, has been told that about 13,000 men have now volunteered to help the Taliban if Afghanistan is attacked. Earlier, Hyder reported on the mood he's seeing inside Afghanistan.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

KAMAL HYDER, CNN: In most places, there is now an opinion forming that an attack on Afghanistan would be considered an attack against the people of Afghanistan. And there is, of course, a lot of anxiety and tension, as people sit around radios. Has always been an occasion, where these days we find more and more people congregating around a single radio.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

CHEN: Hyder says that the Taliban's force is basically a volunteer army, lightly armed, his weapons mostly those which are captured from Soviet forces during Moscow's long and unsuccessful war in Afghanistan.

The State Department is defending its decision to keep the Voice of America -- a government-supported broadcaster -- from airing its recent interview with Mullah Mohammed Omar, the Taliban's leader. "The Washington Post," however, has obtained and published transcripts of that interview.

During the interview, when asked about Osama bin Laden, Omar said: "If we give Osama away today, Muslims who are now pleading to give him up would then be reviling us for giving him up... The very same people would be asking: Why did you sacrifice the prestige of Islam?"

The U.S. should step back and review its policy, Omar said later in the same interview. "It should stop trying to impose its empire on the rest of the world, especially on Islamic countries."

More perspective now on what is going on within the Taliban and in Afghanistan, we go to Richard Mackenzie. He's a documentary film writer and investigative reporter who has extensive experience in Afghanistan. We appreciate your being with us, if you could just give us a bullet on what your experience is in Afghanistan.

RICHARD MACKENZIE, DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKER: Well, over the last 15 years, I probably spent two to three years of my life in Afghanistan covering the Mujahideen during the war against the Soviet Union, and tracking the rise of terrorism since.

CHEN: For people in the United States, I think there is still a very difficult time to try to understand why the Taliban would not want to give Osama bin Laden up.

MACKENZIE: There are long ties going back between Osama bin Laden and the Taliban. You first have to remember that Osama bin Laden came there in the mid 1980s with suitcases full of money, which he poured into certain segments of the Mujahideen who were fighting the Jihad, or the holy war, there at the time. So he made very strong friends and very strong ties that go back at least 15 years.

In 1996, when the Taliban came and took over Kabul, he was in the area that they took over, and the ties only increased and they agreed to protect him. He's also reputed to be married to -- one of Mullah Omar's daughters, is his fourth wife. So there's both financial, logistical and family ties.

CHEN: And some ideological ones, as well.

Now, I want to get to something that I have read reported in some places, and I want to get two inside baseball on this, but it has to do with key leader of the Northern Alliance, which, of course, is the rival to the Taliban. Ahmad Shah Massoud, who was killed in the days just before the September 11th attack, assassinated in the course of an interview with somebody he thought was a journalist. There are some people who are conjecturing now that this was something of a gift, perhaps, from Osama bin Laden's people to the Taliban, and the payoff might be his continued security. Do you buy that?

MACKENZIE: Yeah, I think that there is definitely a link between Osama bin Laden and the assassination of Ahmed Shah Massoud. It's a type of assassination that's done in a way that has never been -- that's not done in Afghanistan. This was much more an Osama bin Laden fingerprint than anything on -- even on the Taliban.

But having said that, Osama bin Laden really had to get Massoud out of the way, in a sense. I think it was probably more self- interest on Osama bin Laden's part to assassinate Massoud, than as a gift to the Taliban, because Massoud was leading a still fairly potent force against him and the Taliban, and he wanted him out of the way before he did the big one.

CHEN: We had heard from the Bush administration, today, and from the president himself, a very clear statement that there is to be no nation building -- that is, any effort to strike is for justice, and not an attempt to topple the Taliban. What do you think the opportunities are -- the president did note that this was a regime that he did not have respect for, certainly -- but what do you think is the stability of the Taliban at this point?

MACKENZIE: I think the Taliban at this point is fractured. The Taliban until now has really spoken with one voice, and that was Mullah Omar. And he, in turn, spoke only with God, until he issued the orders that he heard. So, you know, but there are now other voices in the Taliban. There are now other opinions being put forward. There have been fractures in the Taliban before this, but I think that this certainly will not help the situation.

CHEN: Insight from someone who has been there, Richard Mackenzie, documentary film producer and investigative reporter. Thank you very much for being with us today.

MACKENZIE: Thanks for having me.

CHEN: And now back to Bill.

HEMMER: All right, Joie. It is a growing and rather significant concern among many Americans: Is the U.S. vulnerable to the possibility of a biological threat? We'll look at the reality when we come back here.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HEMMER: Down at ground zero at this time, want to direct your attention to the area known as Two World Trade Center. This is what remains of the South Tower. Back on Friday then at ground zero, we were informed that this tower was quite precarious, and it was posing a danger to workers in and round the area.

The intent was to bring it down to the ground by today, Tuesday, and in fact, we're being told that that will happen. It may take up to an hour to do it, but the area has been cleared out. The mayor, last hour, said they want to preserve this wall as much as possible, hinting at the possibility -- the possibility that at some point this could be part of a larger memorial established on the site here.

Said to be several stories tall, and the only remainder at this point that many can make out of the former Two World Trade Center, again, the South Tower. We'll watch this throughout the evening. It's 5:30 local time here in New York City. We'll get break here, but the latest on the investigation, when we return.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HEMMER: All right, at the half hour now here in New York City, want to give you a quick recap on the latest we have on "America's New War."

Saudi Arabia has severed relations with Afghanistan's ruling Taliban, reportedly for harboring terrorists. Pakistan now the only nation with diplomatic ties to the Taliban. Also, demolition crews are poised to take down what remains of 2 World Trade Center. That's the South Tower. You're seeing this in a live picture.

New York officials say they have to tear it down in order to get the area cleared out, and it has posed a danger to rescue workers in and around that area for the past 14 days.

Nearly, 2,000 more Reserves and National Guard members also being called to active duty. The latest call-ups including soldiers and Airmen from 10 states and Puerto Rico. In all, the Pentagon has called up 14,000 National Guard and Reserve personnel to this point.

With the latest developments there, let's have a look at the latest, what's happening on the investigative front. Two weeks after the attacks here in New York, sources saying the FBI releasing a Texas radiologist who been detained as a material interest. Authorities say they found no links between Dr. Al-Badr Al-Hazmi and any other terrorists. Also, French police have detained four people allegedly involved in a plot to bomb the U.S. Embassy in Paris. Several other suspects taken into custody last week, but no charges filed there.

Police believe that in addition to the embassy, the suspects also planned to hit other U.S. targets in France.

Attorney General John Ashcroft saying some suspects who may have links to the hijackers tried to obtain licenses to transport hazardous materials. Ashcroft says in some cases they got the licenses, and he urged Americans to still remain alert on this front and much more.

To the White House now, CNN's John King developing news there. John, what do you have for us?

KING: Bill, already we have seen in recent days how dramatically this crisis of two weeks ago has changed the president's domestic agenda. Now, evidence that it will also affect Mr. Bush's international agenda as well. The president next month was scheduled to take a trip to Asia that could last up to two weeks. He was scheduled to go to Shanghai for the annual Asian-Pacific economic conference, then go on to China for what was billed as a very important summit meeting with the Chinese president, Jiang Zemin. Stops were scheduled in Tokyo and Seoul as well so the president could consult with key allies. But the White House has just announced the president is cutting back that trip.

Again, it might have been long as two weeks initially. Cutting it back now to two days. The president will go only to Shanghai for the Asian-Pacific Economic Conference in the end of October, October 20th and 21st. Then he will, we are told, return to Washington, putting off for now the summit meeting in China, in Beijing, and those planned stops in Tokyo and Seoul so that he can get back here to Washington.

Aides say the reason is obvious. The president believes he needs to be here to direct the war on terrorism -- Bill.

HEMMER: John, obvious indeed. When the president goes, one would assume he'll court support from the Chinese. At this point, how much has Beijing supported Washington?

KING: The public statements from Beijing have been quite supportive. Mr. Bush met with the foreign minister in the past week. The one concern the administration had was early on. President Jiang Zemin said that he thought any time the United States contemplated military action, it should go on a case-by-case basis to the United Nations Security Council.

The administration made clear in no way would it do that, and there has been no subsequent statement of that from the Chinese government. There have been public statements from the Chinese government saying that all the world's nation's must come together in the fight against terrorism.

So, so far, the administration says the cooperation and the words of support from China have been quite welcome.

HEMMER: All right, the headline again, a two-day trip shortened for next month for the president in China. John, thanks.

Now to Atlanta again and Joie.

CHEN: Well, of course, in the wake of the September 11th attacks, many of us, many people across the nation have been concerned about the possibility of future terror attacks and those that could involve biological weapons.

David Siegrist is the director of studies for countering biological terrorism at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies, and he joins us now.

David, you know, I have heard a great deal of public concern about biological weapons, about this kind of threat, particularly after the reports that at least one of the suspects had expressed some interest in crop dusting, that they had gone and looked at crop dusters that could possibly be used for this sort of purpose.

Do you think that that level of concern is justified at this point?

DAVID SIEGRIST, POTOMAC INSTITUTE: Well, I think, Joie, biological terrorism is a lot more difficult than many people believe, and that I wouldn't be unduly concerned about biological terrorism at this time.

The -- Mr. Atta appeared to be very interested in the crop- duster, as it was, which would have been suitable for lying down a chemical weapon. However, to dispense a biological weapons slurry, it would have needed to be a much higher-pressure system.

CHEN: You say biological weapons slurry, which I guess would mean a liquid sort of form, but I understand that some of these things, anthrax perhaps, can be released in sort of an aerosol form, dumped from the air or it would have to be sprayed in some way. How much contact? How close?

SIEGRIST: OK, the traditional nightmare scenario on chemical and biological weapons is for a crop-duster type aircraft to dispense this poison from the air upwind of a population center. There's basically two kinds of biological weapons: wet and dry. The wet is a slurry. It's a suspended powder in liquid. That's fairly easy to make but hard to dispense. Further, that could be dried, refined, purified, and milled done to a respirable particle size. That, it would be a dry powder. That's much more worrisome. That's much harder to make, but unfortunately, much, much easier to dispense.

CHEN: Of the agents that are most often discussed -- say, such things as small pox, anthrax, botulism, the plague -- are -- is the United States prepared in terms of antidote where it is available or vaccine?

SIEGRIST: OK. Usually, vaccines have to be taken beforehand in order to build up immunity to the disease.

CHEN: Like anthrax is like more than a year you have to take it in advance.

SIEGRIST: Actually, Joie, it's closer to six to eight weeks before you have a rise in immunological titer in your blood. So that, for instance, God forbid, you were exposed to anthrax, you could take antibiotics for a while to prevent -- prevent symptoms from showing, all the time after you're inoculated building up your immunological titer so that you could be taken off the antibiotics and you'd never get sick.

CHEN: And then these other things, small pox?

SIEGRIST: Small pox, also we catch something of a break with small pox in that as long as you were vaccinated shortly after exposure, certainly before the symptoms start to show, you will be immune to small pox before you show symptoms. CHEN: I know that everybody remains very concerned about the notion of a biological threat. These are very scary concepts. But you would say -- and I need a quick answer about this -- you would say that a chemical threat is still probably more likely or conventional attack?

SIEGRIST: Conventional attack with bombs and guns, much more likely. Chemical weapon after that. Biological weapons can be two orders of magnitude, 100 times more destructive than chemical weapons. It looks to me like these guys were trying to use the crop duster for some kind of makeshift chemical weapon. At least that appears what they were looking for.

CHEN: David Siegrist, director of studies for countering biological terrorism, Potomac Institute for Policy Studies. We really appreciate your being with us and that additional information on all of this.

SIEGRIST: Thank you.

CHEN: How is the national recovering from these terror attacks and how can it prepare for any future assaults? Check out our in- depth feature on CNN's Web site. You'll find this at cnn.com/newwar, the latest information on all areas -- Bill.

HEMMER: Let's take a quick look now at some of the other related stories from around the world at this time. The top Islamic authority in Indonesia calling for all Muslims to unite in holy war against the U.S., this if Washington and its allies hit Afghanistan. Indonesia is the world's most populous Muslim nation.

Also, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw met in Tehran today with his Iranian counterpart, this part of an attempt to enlist Iran in an international alliance against terrorism. Iran, however, saying it wants the U.N. and not the U.S. to lead any alliance. Straw is the highest-ranking British official to visit Iran since late 1979.

Israel's foreign minister says he plans to meet Wednesday with Yasser Arafat when the Palestinian Authority president returns from his trip to Syria. Shimon Peres says Arafat must make a choice between terror and legitimacy in his role as an international leader.

Also, Pope John Paul II, who's been speaking out for peace after the terror attacks, appeared a bit exhausted while visiting Armenia today. Aides rushed to his side after a brief speech as he sat slumped in a chair, but later in the day, the pope appeared to rebound. The 81-year-old pontiff on the fourth day of a tour of Central Asian states.

Back here in New York, the mayor, Rudy Giuliani, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) on the sidelines and waits there as voters choose his potential replacement. Coming up, we'll bring you up to date on New York's primary today and Rudy's next move. Also Jeff Greenfield standing by live. We'll talk with him and more when we continue.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) HEMMER: Again, a live picture of 2 World Trade Center, expect that to come down some time this evening. It has been quite dangerous for rescue workers working down in that area. We'll have more on this throughout the evening here.

In the meantime, the numbers still staggering. More than 6, 000 listed as missing and presumed dead from the attacks two weeks ago today. Officials also saying the bodies of the vast majority of those missing will most likely never be recovered from the debris.

Starting tomorrow, New York City will allow families of the victims to file death certificates for their loved-ones without having to produce a human body.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAYOR RUDY GIULIANI (R), NEW YORK: If you -- if you know that your husband or father or relative was working there, and you have come to terms with the idea that they're dead and they're not going to be recovered, then you can make the choice -- and it's your choice -- to apply for a death certificate.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HEMMER: Having such a certificate makes it easier for families to collect death benefits and also gain access to bank accounts of their loved-ones.

Just about two weeks now since the World Trade Center attack: New Yorkers participating in a rite of democracy today. They're voting. The city holding its primary for mayor, which was postponed on the day of the attacks back on the 11th of September. Term limits bar Mayor Rudy Giuliani from running for re-election, but Giuliani has received widespread praise for his leadership and there is talk by some New Yorkers of extending his term or repealing the term limits law before the November general election, set for the 6th of November.

Is it possible or just fantasy? Let's talk more about it with our senior analysts: Jeff Greenfield joining us live tonight here in New York City. Good evening to you.

Wishful thinking for some or not?

JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN SENIOR ANALYST: Depends on the powers that be. The state legislature -- for that matter, the city council -- but the state legislature could make Rudy Giuliani eligible to run again by simply repealing the term limits law. Some people talk about extending his term in office, but they could simply say, OK, we'll count write-in votes for him.

However, there are people within the state legislature -- most specifically, the Democratic speaker of the assembly -- who has said, given every indication he has no intention of doing it. And right now, we're in limbo.

And a lot of people are less interested in the results of the primary tonight than what Mayor Giuliani is going to tell us tomorrow or the day after about his intentions.

HEMMER: We heard the write-in votes will not truly be known possibly until next week. That was the word drifting out today. But knowing the governor came forward last Friday and said, hey, if I could vote in your city, I'd write him in, where's the groundswell? Is it from politicians on his side that favor him or are we hearing it mostly from citizens in the city?

GREENFIELD: Well, you've heard it from a couple of newspaper. I mean, this is a very complicated city to figure out. But "The New York Post," which has always been in Giuliani's corner, has advocated one way or another that he be allowed to stay. People who have written for "The New York Daily News," the other tabloid newspaper, have expressed the same idea. "The New York Times," which is more liberal, never particularly liked Giuliani in terms of their political system -- political views. They suggested this is a bad idea. This would be an undermining of democracy.

Anecdotally, I can tell you a couple of people, you know, on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, a Democratic stronghold, not a Giuliani stronghold, did try to write him in today. It's slightly more complicated than figuring out the Palm Beach ballot last November. But I think we're going -- we're not going to know anything significant until the mayor signals what his intentions are. If he says, look, forget, forget it. If he says, you know, this intrigues me, then we're going to find out just how ardent the New Yorkers who've said they like are about trying to do this.

HEMMER: Which is an interesting point, because yesterday, when he was hammered on the issue yesterday morning, he did not give a yes or a no. He said go and vote, and choose from the candidates on there. But he did not take himself necessarily off the table.

GREENFIELD: No, clearly, you know, in politics they call it taking a Sherman, after General Sherman: I've not entered, I will not run; if elected, I will not serve.

All Rudy Giuliani had to do was say, look, the law is the law, I'm term-limited, I can't run, let's go choose a new mayor, and this whole thing would be dead. So he is at least showing a bit of ankle about his intentions.

HEMMER: And I think it's just absolutely amazing, I mean, the past two weeks have been so extraordinary and so clearly tragic in so many ways, Jeff. It's extraordinary that we're talking about this mayor, after serving eight years, the possibility that he'd hang on.

GREENFIELD: Well, it does have to be put on the table, whatever you think of the idea, that this is not just another...

HEMMER: Indeed.

GREENFIELD: ... chapter in New York's history. It's not a transit strike, it's not a subway strike, it's not municipal bankruptcy. It's the worst thing that's ever happened to the city ever, and I think that's what's got a lot of people thinking maybe the system is malleable enough to adjust.

But again, if Rudy -- if Rudy doesn't signal clearly that he wants it done, it dies. And even if he does signal it's being done, it's still along shot.

HEMMER: And interesting to note New Yorkers who talk about it say, he gives us security and that's what we need at this point.

GREENFIELD: Listen, the fact that Ed Koch, who wrote a book called "Giuliani Nasty Man"...

HEMMER: That he did.

GREENFIELD: ... now thinks it's a good idea tells you how the climate has changed.

HEMMER: And you've got Jacques Chirac coming in here calling him "Rudy the Rock," too. His profile has...

GREENFIELD: He can't vote. I'm sure of that.

HEMMER: That's true. Thank you, Jeff. We'll see you again tomorrow.

The Yankees are back in town. A preview of tonight's game in Yankee Stadium in a moment here.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HEMMER: On Friday of last week, the Mets came back to Shea Stadium for the first time since terror hit this city, and tonight the New York Yankees go back to the Bronx. Here's Josie Karp out at Yankee Stadium watching that.

Josie, hello.

JOSIE KARP, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Bill, it's been more than two weeks since the Yankees have actually played a game here at their home park in Yankee Stadium. It doesn't mean that this facility has not been used. Of course, on Sunday they had a prayer service here.

Right now, fans are just starting to trickle in. And the Yankees have taken notice. They've seen the Mets come back to Shea. They've actually been part of two sort of homecomings at different ballparks around this country.

But earlier today, I spoke to the manager of the Yankees, Joe Torre, and he said, considering everything that's going to go on before this game, including the son of the fire commissioner of New York -- and we know the fire commissioner is Thomas Von Essen. His son, Max, is going to sing the national anthem. Torre said that knowing all the different things that are going to happen, he has no idea what to expect from his team emotionally.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JOE TORRE, MANAGER, NEW YORK YANKEES: It's tough to prepare when you really don't know. You know, we've never -- we've never been through anything like this before. Yeah, we have clinched a pennant before, and hopefully that happens tonight. But to have what happened a couple of weeks ago and the effect it's had on everybody, we don't know how we're going to react.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KARP: Joe Torre alluded to the fact that the Yankees can clinch the division title if they win or if the Boston Red Sox lose, and we saw last week when the Seattle Mariners clinched their division title, it was a very subdued ceremony. They carried a flag around the stadium and actually had a moment of prayer right near the pitcher's mound. And what Torre said is that there is room for celebration, but it's going to be a much different type of celebration if in fact that does happen.

Bill, back to you.

HEMMER: Josie, quickly, those players for the Yankees live in this town. Have they said how they may react tonight?

KARP: Well, I think that again is very uncertain. They say that they have seen what everyone else has gone through, but because it's such a personal moment, they all have no good idea of what to expect from themselves.

Josie Karp at Yankee Stadium, emotional night indeed. Josie, thank you.

KARP: Thank you.

HEMMER: Well, first lady Laura Bush was in New York today. Mrs. Bush agreed several months ago to appear at an education event. In the aftermath of the attack back on the 7th -- the 11th of September, though, Mrs. Bush said she thought it was important to keep this appointment today. The first lady praised teachers in schools near the attack site for keeping their students safe.

When we come back here, if terrorism is on your mind, stay tuned: Northern Afghanistan, people there are talking about the same issue. We'll pay a visit in just a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HEMMER: As the wind kicks up here in New York City, I want to take you back to the south end of Manhattan again. I want to show you what Two World Trade Center, that south tower, has looked like for the past 14 days. Said to be upwards of 20 stories tall. This has proved quite dangerous for workers down there.

At this hour, they're dismantling that part of Two World Trade Center, and you can see it's been diminished so far. The mayor indicating last hour that part of this wall that was still standing may be used as a memorial at some point after the cleanup is finished. Again, that continues throughout the evening.

In Washington, secretary of state...

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE: ... Foreign Minister Ruggiero of Italy: He and I have formed a very strong relationship in the few months we have been working together. We talk several times a week on the phone, and it was a pleasure to have an opportunity for a little more in-depth discussion today.

I took the opportunity to thank the minister, and in turn to thank Prime Minister Berlusconi and the Italian people for all the solid support they have provided to us in this time of crisis and to extend my sympathy to those Italians and Italian-Americans who were lost in the World Trade Center.

We had a good exchange of views on how to move forward as an alliance, how to move forward as nations concerned about terrorism, and how to coordinate our efforts. And I look forward to staying in regular touch with the minister in the days ahead.

And so, Renato, thank you for being here. And I invite you to say a word or two. And then the minister will take questions, because I have to be at another meeting in about one minute.

HEMMER: A parade of international dignitaries coming through New York City and also Washington, D.C.: this the Italian foreign minister being introduced by the secretary of state, Colin Powell. Expect to see much more of this in the days and weeks ahead.

With that, we're out of time. For Joie Chen in Atlanta, I'm Bill Hemmer again live in New York City. We'll see you again tomorrow from Manhattan, but for now to Lou Dobbs and "MONEYLINE."

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