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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

America's New War: The Fight Against Terrorism

Aired September 28, 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.
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN ANCHOR: A new appeal to turn over Osama bin Laden gets the same old answer from the Taliban.

Did an Algerian pilot teach hijackers how to fly airliners into buildings -- and will he face U.S. justice?

And another round of protests targets the United States. Why are so many people so angry at America?

Hello, I'm Martin Savidge in New York. We want to show you the latest eye from sky, looking down on the shattered remains of what once was the World Trade Center. These images provided by the U.S. customs service. They were taken just about a week ago.

As you look at them, New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani today said that the massive cleanup effort and recovery work down there will now take possibly nine months to a year. There is more than 134,000 tons of rubble that has been cleared away so far, from an estimated 1.2 million tons of debris that is now on the ground or under the ground. Part of the problem, the mayor says, much of that heavy concrete and twisted steel has been driven deep below the earth.

The Taliban officials declaring diplomacy has -- quote -- "hit the end of the road," President Bush continued his efforts today to line up support for the U.S. war against terrorism. In the next hour, we'll be looking at the diplomatic and military moves, as well as have new insights from the investigation into the September 11th attacks.

We'll also see some secretly-recorded scenes of life inside Afghanistan.

First, Joie Chen has the latest developments from the CNN center in Atlanta -- Joie.

JOIE CHEN, CNN ANCHOR: Good afternoon, Marty. We want to bring our viewers up to date, if they're just joining CNN late on this Friday afternoon, U.S. special forces have conducted operations inside Afghanistan. The White House and Pentagon refuse to comment on this report, but senior U.S. officials say both U.S. and British forces have entered the country. They say this type of operation could include scouting locations.

A Pakistani mission to Afghanistan failed to get the Taliban to hand over suspected terrorist Osama bin Laden. This was the second time that Pakistani Muslim clerics and government officials traveled to Afghanistan to try to resolve the crisis.

According to a new CNN-"TIME" magazine poll, nearly 2/3 of Americans support the use of U.S. ground troops in Afghanistan as part of President Bush's war against terrorism.

And Jordan's King Abdullah pledges his country's full support for America's new war. The king called the campaign a "fight against evil." He met with President Bush today at the White House.

For more developments on the investigation into the September 11th attacks -- on that, here's Marty.

SAVIDGE: Joie, just a short while ago, Attorney General John Ashcroft released a document left behind by the hijackers, He says it reveals a shocking and disturbing view into the mind sets of the terrorists.

CNN national correspondent Eileen O'Connor joins us now with the details -- Eileen?

EILEEN O'CONNOR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Marty, the document that was found in the cars of two of the hijackers and at one of the crash sites, now, it looks like a thorough, handwritten planning document. Sources describe it as a rules of engagement, and we've had a translator looking at it, and some of the quotes are very chilling.

One of the quotes telling the hijackers, "You have to know the plan very well, in all its aspects. You should you expect a reaction and resistance of the enemy." And the word used in Arabic for "the enemy" is in, as the war sense of an enemy. As one source says, it's like they were trying to get them into a zone in other parts of the document. And in that part of the document, the document reads, "think of what God has prepared for the faithful in terms of blessings, when they become martyrs."

Now, this kind of evidence and other leads have not directly led investigators, sources say, back to Osama bin Laden, but investigators believe that at least three of the hijackers had links to associates of bin Laden.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is not just bin Laden, but there is now Al Qaeda network, that has been much written about and much talked about. And I think it is -- one should not focus on one individual, but focus one attention on a series of networks across the world.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O'CONNOR: In London, an Algerian pilot appeared in court on an extradition warrant to the United States. Authorities here say that Lofti Raissi made false statements to obtain his pilot's license.

Now, sources here say they see Raissi as a mid-level operative. The prosecutor in London says there is evidence he trained with some of the hijackers from flight 77 -- that's the one that crashed into the Pentagon. Now, CNN has confirmed that Raissi took simulator training with Hani Hanjour, the one suspected of piloting flight 77, in Arizona this past June. U.S. sources say they believe all involved here were more foot soldiers with Mohammed Atta, the biggest ringleader. But they and international law enforcement believe the plot was conceived, developed and funded from abroad.

Now the focus of U.S. investigators and international investigators is Britain, Germany and the United Arab Emirates. Atta and the two others sent money there before the attacks to a Mustapha Ahmed. Law enforcement are looking into that. They're not sure if that's a false name. As one source told CNN, it was as if they were returning their change -- Marty.

SAVIDGE: CNN's Eileen O'Connor, thanks very much.

Now a few more items on that investigation into the hijackings. Two more men are under arrest, accused of fraudulently obtaining licenses to transport hazardous materials by truck. They are the last of 20 men accused of getting bogus licenses. Initially, officials believed the men might be part of the terrorist plot, but now the FBI says the suspects are not linked to the September 11 attacks.

New evidence indicates that at least five suspected hijackers spent a night in Las Vegas one month before the September 11th attacks. Federal investigators say one of the men was Mohammed Atta. Officials believe Atta was a key player in carrying out the terrorist plot. But investigators say they don't know if the five men took part in a planning, a meeting, or was it a rehearsal, or simply, they took time out for a party during their stay in Las Vegas.

President Bush says the U.S. is in hot pursuit of suspected terrorist Osama bin Laden, and he praised Jordan's king for supporting America's war on terrorism.

CNN's Kelly Wallace is at the White House with that -- Kelly.

KELLY WALLACE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Martin, one other thing that President Bush did not did today -- no real surprise -- he would not comment on any operational aspects to this campaign. Now, President Bush left for the presidential retreat at Camp David a short time ago, and throughout the day CNN has been reporting that, according to a senior U.S. Official, U.S. and British special forces have been conducting operations inside Afghanistan over the past few days. Now, this official, basically saying it is routine for such forces to go ahead into a country in advance of any troop deployments, to do such things, such as scout out locations.

Now, as we said, the president not commenting. His spokesman would not comment, neither would the Pentagon. Mr. Bush, though, earlier, when he was sitting down with Jordan's King Abdullah, he did kind of once again get a message out to the American people that this is going to be a campaign, a war unlike any the U.S. has ever seen.

OK, during that sound bite, which we don't have, unfortunately, the president saying this is really going to be different, that it won't just be fought on the military front, that there will also be a political component here, a financial component and a diplomatic component.

And of course, we did see the president doing some of that diplomatic work today, sitting down with Jordan's King Abdullah, the Jordanian king, pledging full, unequivocal support to the United States in this campaign. He also, though, Martin, is definitely one who is calling for a measured response to the September 11th terrorist attacks, because he is concerned that any response could exacerbate tensions that already exist in the Middle East, and could create a larger worldwide conflict -- Martin?

SAVIDGE: Kelly, thank you very much.

A Navy ship that could see action in America's war on terrorism is the guided missile destroyer USS Higgins. The Higgins is now conducting training exercises near San Diego, and CNN's Frank Buckley is onboard -- Frank?

FRANK BUCKLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Marty, we are several miles off the coast of San Diego in predeployment training. The crew of the USS Higgins unable to tell us when they will next deploy or where, for security reasons. But they've allowed us to come aboard for a rare live look at what's going on here during a training exercise.

And this is a rare view inside the combat information center of this most sophisticated guided missile destroyer here, off the coast of San Diego. Right now we are inside, where we have been witnessing a simulated attack on this ship. This is the C.O. that you're looking at, the commanding officer, Bill Ault. You can see he is outfitted in all of the gear to protect him from fire and debris, as the simulated attack was taking place. This is how they are able to track various aircraft and surface craft. They can track hundreds of craft simultaneously here.

And joining me to help explain what we're seeing here is Shanti Sethi, a lieutenant and weapons officer here. Tell us about the drill that you've been experiencing here onboard your ship.

LT. SHANTI SETHI, USS HIGGINS: At the drill we've been conducting for the past several days involves providing U.S. naval presence in the vicinity of Strait of Hormuz, and protecting merchant vessels transiting through. We've taken some damage, and what we're doing now is working through that damage and maintaining our ability to fight.

BUCKLEY: Tell us, as we look around the room, about some of the things that we're seeing here. We're seeing people gathered around a map, it looks like. What are they doing there?

SETHI: What they're doing there is keeping track of all the surface targets. They have a real-time, true plot of who is where, and that way we can keep track. We have a good, accurate, detailed plot of movement, and we can tell, judging from movement, what craft are threatening and which ones are just transiting through on their own.

BUCKLEY: This is a very similar ship in configuration to the USS Cole that was attacked in October of 2000, 17 sailors losing their lives. Tell me about how that has affected training onboard your ship.

SETHI: Well, I think it's made it a lot more real. One of our primary trainings here, particularly for this week, is damage control. And instead of having that, "it can't happen to me," kind of mentality, you realize -- we saw pictures just a year ago -- of it happening not just to me, but to our friends, and in places, in areas that we walk through every day.

BUCKLEY: If you wouldn't mind, maybe you could take us through the combat information center here, and we're going to walk out into one of the passageways. Because as we say, part of this drill, this simulation, involves damage control, and right now there are people who are working on this damage control effort here in the passageway. And we'll go ahead and step down this way and you can explain what they're doing, as we walk through the passageway.

SETHI: OK, what they're doing right now is they're putting some gear away. We've had several fires, due to a simulated missile hit, and what we're doing is, we fought the fires, but we need to clean stuff out of the way to let people transit back and forth.

Right here is the repair locker, and this is one of the control stations where all the damage on the ship is monitored. We keep that -- we keep track there. That way, in case control needs to be transferred, any one of these repair lockers could take over and direct damage control efforts throughout the ship.

BUCKLEY: And again, this is a simulation, this is a drill. But in the current environment, this -- there must be some effect on the your fellow sailors. Tell us how it's affected all of you, what's happened with the attacks on the U.S.

SETHI: I'd say it's focused us. One of our jobs is to be out there to protect the American people, and we're training to do that. And you know, it's real. We're really out there to protect the United States and her interests, and to maintain that, maintain a high level of preparedness to do that.

BUCKLEY: Lieutenant Shanti Sethi, the weapons officer aboard the USS Higgins. Thank you very much for joining us. Again, a drill, a simulation, but something that the Navy has allowed us to witness here aboard the USS Higgins -- Marty.

SAVIDGE: Frank, that being a U.S.-guided missile destroyer, I presume one of its roles could be to launch Tomahawk missiles, if necessary?

BUCKLEY: That's correct, and that's part of what they've been doing. We just saw them simulate a harpoon missile launch, and that is one of the weapons systems that they have aboard.

SAVIDGE: Frank Buckley, thank you very much, reporting to us from the USS Higgins, just off the coast of San Diego -- Joie? CHEN: Marty, we saw there how important and often exciting the work is aboard ships like the Higgins. But we want to give our viewers a better idea today of the weapons and technology onboard the guided missile destroyers. They are extraordinarily advanced, and they are able to do so much. We wanted you to take a look, here, and see.

Usually, in the large battle groups, they work as escort ships. You see them situated around the big aircraft carrier. What makes them so valuable is that they can be used, not just to attack, but to defend the battle group with the most up-to-date, 21st-century weapons and electronics.

Just to give you a small idea of what there is onboard, first, let's look at the backbone of the Aegis weapons system. It is called the Spy-1D Phased Array radar -- pretty fancy term. What all this means is that this is the most technologically-advanced radar-tracking system in the world. It can track and detect incoming missiles and aircraft, at the same time, determine the source, whether it's friend or foe. It can track tiny little targets, down to the size of a marble, within about a 100-mile range.

Now, the radar can look at all sides -- you see the panels here. There are four panels. You can see two of them from this particular angle. They can look all ways at once, not the conventional sort of radar that we think about, that looks in just one direction at a time.

Now, take a look at this. This is the ship's very advanced weapons-launching system. It's the MK 41 VLS, that means vertical launching system. Hidden underneath these positions, they're called cells, you see all these here. These are the ship's primary weapons. These launchers, those cells can be loaded with up to 90 missiles in the forward and aft compartments. Now, they can fire tomahawk attack cruise missiles, as Frank Buckley was just telling you, you'll remember them from the Gulf War, which are capable of pinpoint accuracy, even at long range. They are therefore very useful as unmanned land attack weapons. VLS can also fire a standard missile, which is still, of course, one of the most reliable in the Navy's inventory.

Now, at the front of the ship, this is the sort of weapon that you might be more familiar with, from older battleships. It's the MK 45 5" 45 Naval gun. It can fire at targets up to 13 miles away, and it can be extremely accurate at the closer ranges. The gun can fire up to 20 70-pound shells a minute. It could be very useful, for example, supporting Marines on a beachhead.

Finally, take a look underneath. This is the sonar suite, the bottom of the bow. This is where the highly sophisticated active search-and-attack sonar bulk uses broadband sensors. Amazing coverage of dangers underwater, like attack submarines or mine fields. Even in a situation of a landlocked nation like Afghanistan, this could be very important if, for example, you need to bring troops to shore.

So you can expect to hear the Aegis class destroyer mentioned very often as a key part of Navy operations if, Marty, there is an attack by U.S. forces.

Later in this hour I'll be back with a different sort of technology. Our viewers who join us on the World Wide Web here at CNN will have an opportunity to ask questions to our guest, a journalist, who will talk about the anti-American sentiment behind the September 11th attacks. What motivates it, and how widespread is that feeling in the Arab world?

We'll look for your questions at cnn.com/community. We'll see you there -- Marty.

SAVIDGE: Look forward to that, Joie. Thank you.

These are uncertain days for American workers. After two turbulent weeks on Wall Street, what's the outlook? Is your job secure? We'll ask an expert when we return.

And later, a rare look at life under the Taliban: what it's like to be an Afghan woman.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SAVIDGE: On Wall Street today, stocks rose in spite of investor concerns about the nation's economic future. It's been a roller- coaster ride for the markets the past two weeks. Last week, when the markets reopened for the first time since the terror attacks, the Dow suffered one of its worst weeks ever. Broader markets were also much lower.

But stocks have risen four out of the past five days, and the Dow appears to have recovered as much as a third of the nearly 1,400 points it lost last week. Earlier today, the Dow closed up more than 165 points.

The terrorist assaults also took their toll on the nation's employment figures. The Labor Department saying that for the week ending September 22nd, new jobless claims nationwide jumped to the highest level in nine years. Since the attacks, nearly 100,000 layoffs have been announced in the airline industry alone. Jobs in New York City are particularly affected by the attacks. Local reports say that 100,000 jobs may have been lost in the city.

As the economic impact from the attacks ripples across the country, unemployment is just one of many financial concerns. Joining us now for some perspective is Margaret Popper, a reporter for "Businessweek" on-line.

Margaret, thank you very much for being with us.

MARGARET POPPER, "BUSINESSWEEK" ON-LINE: Good to be here.

SAVIDGE: Let's talk about the big picture -- I know that's what you focus on, and the bottom line for everyone, not just the investors, or those who have a lot of money, but the people on the street of mainland USA. POPPER: Well, I think the big fear right now is unemployment, and I think that people are starting to worry about how the coming layoffs are going to affect them. You are seeing it in sort of more cautious retail spending, there definitely was a little bit of a slide after the September 11 disaster. And I think that consumers are not sure when they are going to heading back to mall in force.

In addition, I think you've seen a lot of people this year taking hits to their wealth in the stock market. And the real estate market kind of held up. You saw your stock portfolio go down but the value of your house go up, and that was great. That may be pulled out from under people in the coming months, and, you know, the fear that is that people don't feel as wealthy, so they don't go out and they don't spend.

SAVIDGE: Well, that's my next question. This is an economy that is driven by consumer spending. You've got people now, some of them afraid to even leave their homes, let alone spend money that they had reserved. I mean, what is that going to do?

POPPER: You're absolutely right. I mean, that has been the linchpin to this economy. We had business spending go away, and everybody kept saying, as long as people keep buying stuff, we're all right. Well, I think that what we're going to see is that, by the end of December, the numbers will show we are actually in a recession -- that's two consecutive quarters of gross domestic product shrinking.

And there are worse things than being in a recession.

SAVIDGE: But they may be yet to come.

POPPER: I think one of the good things about the period that we're about to enter is, there is so much stimulus going into the economy -- from the Fed rate cuts, from the Bush spending plan -- that I think we can actually say by spring/summer of 2002, we'll actually start to have a real recovery, as opposed to the slowdown that we were in before the attack, when we couldn't judge how we are going to get out of this thing.

SAVIDGE: Well, what about -- what can the government do? The federal government has been talking about stimulus programs, the Fed obviously can cut rates only so far. What should be done?

POPPER: The Fed will cut rates to zero if they have to. My guess is what they're going to try to do is cut in 25 basis point, quarter point increments, and kind of slowly try to infuse liquidity into the system. As far as the federal government goes, they can cut taxes, but that probably would not be the greatest path to recovery right now, because in the mood that people are in, they'll probably save it rather than spend it.

So the best thing for the federal government to do is to probably go on a spending spree, going to increased security. And that's probably the best thing they can do for the economy.

SAVIDGE: Margaret Popper, with "Businessweek" on-line. Thank you very much for coming in on this Friday.

Military preparations for the war against terrorism are gaining momentum. We'll take a look around the country when we return.

And will Jesse Jackson go to talk to Afghanistan's Taliban? That story and more, after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SAVIDGE: While the Bush administration considers its military options, the deployment of troops continues. Members of the Florida Air National Guard are getting activation orders under the latest troop call-up. The Florida Air Guard has activated some of its part- time members for homeland security. It has also reportedly increased the number of F-15 fighters on alert from two to six.

In Washington state, a second wave of airmen moved out at Fairchild Air Force Base. Citing security concerns, base officials would not say how many airmen were deployed, or where they were going. But the deployment was described as slightly larger than the group sent out last week, with many of the base's 60 aircraft.

And the father of newborn quintuplets is facing another dilemma. Scott and Amber Brown became the parents of three boys and two girls on Wednesday. But Scott is in the Army, stationed at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California. And if war breaks out in Central Asia, he may have to be deployed as well.

There's new information today about the investigation into the September 11th terrorist attacks. We'll tell you what Attorney General John Ashcroft had to say, and we'll have a recap of other developments, coming up next.

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