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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

America's New War: Congressional Debate Over Bush's Airline Security Proposals

Aired September 28, 2001 - 06:04   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.
LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: Now, the Bush administration has launched what it is calling a National Neighborhood Watch in the war on terrorism. To increase American's awareness, the Justice Department has released pictures and names of the 19 suspected hijackers in the terrorist attacks.

Meanwhile, President Bush has started a dialog with Congress over just how to crack down on airport security.

Our White House correspondent Kelly Wallace joins us now live. She's got more on that.

Morning, Kelly.

KELLY WALLACE, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Leon.

Well that debate just getting underway because while Democrats and Republicans both agree on the need to improve airline security, some Democrats don't believe the president has gone far enough when it comes to federal control of airport security and screening operations. We, of course, saw President Bush traveling to Chicago's O'Hare International Airport yesterday, talking to a rally filled with airline employees and the president announcing he is calling for federal oversight of airport security and screening operations. He wants federal standards for security operations, federal training and background checks for security workers and a bigger federal presence at airport security checkpoints. But again, some Democrats would like to see a federal agency actually overseeing all these operations.

They also believe that security workers should be federal employees. Anything less, these Democrats say, simply doesn't do enough to protect the American people.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. PETER DEFAZIO (D), OREGON: We're being offered half a loaf on this critical part of our defense against terrorism on airlines. Yes, reinforce the cockpit doors. Yes, sky marshals. We agree on those measures. Those are great measures and we'll do everything we can to implement them. But the first line of defense is the stuff going onto that plane with the passengers and the passengers going on that plane. (END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE: So expect that debate to really continue next week.

Meantime, the diplomacy continues, the coalition building continuing. President Bush to sit down with King Abdallah of Jordan today. The king met with Secretary of State Colin Powell yesterday. The king has been calling for a measured response to the September 11 terrorist attack because the king is concerned that any response could exasperate (ph) tensions already in the Middle East. This day, actually, the one year anniversary of the Palestinian uprising against the Israelis.

The president and the king will be sitting down in the Oval Office. It's an important meeting because the president has definitely been reaching out to moderate Arab nations and Muslim nations. Very important for the president to get the message out that this is a campaign against terrorism not a campaign against Islam. So expect to see the two leaders meeting in the Oval Office later this morning.

Leon, back to you.

HARRIS: Well, Kelly, I'm sure you've heard the reports this morning that Pakistan is sending another delegation -- perhaps actually two delegations -- one religious, one diplomatic, into Afghanistan to talk again with the Taliban. Any word from the White House on whether or not there's any coordination with them on that?

WALLACE: It does not appear to be that any coordination. Of course you know no diplomatic relations or no recognition, of course, of the Taliban here. The message, Leon, continues to be that it is time for actions not a time for words, nothing to negotiate, that the Taliban very much knows what President Bush's demands are: turning over suspected terrorist Osama bin Laden as well as any other terrorist associated with the al Qaeda network. So the administration is basically saying the Taliban knows what this administration wants, it's up to that government to do it. Of course if the Pakistanis can put any pressure on the Taliban, the administration would appreciate that. But again, doesn't appear to be any direct contact there -- Leon.

HARRIS: All right, got it. Kelly Wallace at the White House, thanks much. We'll see you in a bit.

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