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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

America's New War: The Tools of War

Aired October 1, 2001 - 05:18   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: Well, meanwhile back in this country, it's the tools of war and how to afford them that's being debated.

CNN White House correspondent Major Garrett with that.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MAJOR GARRETT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As the administration prosecutes its war on terrorism, the attorney general warns of the potential costs if the U.S. retaliates.

JOHN ASHCROFT, ATTORNEY GENERAL: We believe there are substantial risks of terrorism still in the United States of America and as we as a nation respond to those, to what's happened to us, those risks may, in fact, go up.

GARRETT: To thwart future attacks, the White House says it urgently needs new law enforcement tools that Congress, to the increasing chagrin of the president, has yet to provide.

ASHCROFT: Here at home, we have to do more than talk. Talk won't stop terrorism. We need tools to reduce the risk of terrorism.

GARRETT: The president's counter-terrorism package is moving in the House, but has stalled in the Senate. According to White House and Senate sources, there are three key sticking points -- how quickly secret grand jury testimony relevant to another terrorism investigation can be shared with law enforcement authorities, the legal process of tracing multiple phone numbers used by suspected terrorists and the amount of time the government can detain suspected terrorists without charges.

SEN. PATRICK LEAHY (D-VT), JUDICIARY CHAIRMAN: We don't want to be like countries that we criticize all the time when if an American goes there they can hold them without even telling them what they're holding them for.

GARRETT: But White House allies say the government already uses these powers in other federal cases.

SEN. ORRIN HATCH (R-UT), JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: We have not given the same law enforcement tools against terrorism that we use against the mafia, that we use against the drug kingpins, that we use against the sexual exploitation of children or that we use against bank fraud. GARRETT: A majority of Americans now support expanded federal powers to fight terrorism. A CNN/"Time" poll shows 56 percent now back broader powers to investigate Americans, a 23 point increase over six years ago.

(on camera): The attorney general lobbies Senate Democrats on counter-terrorism almost daily and the president will make the case personally Tuesday at a White House breakfast with congressional leaders. Senate Democratic sources tell CNN they're on the defensive and expect major progress early this week.

Major Garrett, CNN, Hagerstown, Maryland.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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